Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Dance with Dragons to be split in two (a la A Storm of Swords)?

Another brief update on ADWD from GRRM's Not A Blog:

"Spent the day in the rainwood. 1205 pages. More to come.


DANCE has now passed A CLASH OF KINGS to become the second longest volume in the series, though still three hundred pages shorter than the monster that was A STORM WITH SWORDS."

I'm wondering whether Dance will end up being split in half and released in two volumes like A Storm of Swords was. A Clash of Kings is a monster of a paperback, even with a small font size, (or at least the version I have is), and given that GRRM has confirmed there's still more to write, it seems logical to assume that Dance will end up being not too far short of A Storm of Swords' total word count. If this is the case, I wouldn't be surprised if the publishers release it in two volumes...

Guess we'll have to wait and see.

21 comments:

Aidan Moher said...

There would be fucking genocide if they decide to publish it as two volumes. A Storm of Swords was released in one volume here in NA.

~Aidan
A Dribble of Ink

Iain said...

@Aidan. Quite. Just look at what happend to Pat when he published an excerpt from the next Dunk and Egg tale.

I read ASOS in paperback and it was split into two volumes. Don't know about the hardback edition.

Adam Whitehead said...

As my publisher contacts like to point out, the publishing industry and its profit margins have changed a great deal in the last ten years. Books that were published in the 1990s in one volume would be two if they were published today, and this has been a driving force behind so many new fantasy novels being relatively short (relatively meaning 400-600 pages rather than the 900+ page behemoths that used to be commonplace).

What makes this determination is sales versus the expense of publishing the book. A 1,000-page hardcover is much more expensive to publish than say a 400-page one, but they will be expected to retail for the same price. So the book will have to be a mega-seller to justify the increased publishing costs, otherwise it will have to be split. Since sales of ASoIaF have increased by at least a third and maybe half in the last few years, it is entirely possible that ADWD will have overcome these limitations and in fact can still be published as one novel even if it's somewhat larger than ASoS. It's also possible it will have to be split even in the USA even if it comes in at slightly shorter than ASoS. It all depends on how the economics work out.

This isn't helped by the fact that HarperCollins Voyager - ASoIaF's UK publisher - is, by far, the most split-happy SF&F publishers out there, and they may decide to split even if it's perfectly feasible and affordable to publish the book in one (as they did with the paperback of ASoS).

James said...

I imagine it wouldn't go down well...

Though of course, I'm merely speculating. Like I said, my UK paperback of ACOK is massive and has small print, so if ADWD has already gone past that length, it just raises the question of what might happen...

David Wagner said...

He should release it on a series of hand-lettered, illuminated scrolls - each scroll sealed with wax and stamped with the Flayed Man sigil of House Bolton...

Yeah, that's the ticket...

Honestly? I don't care how it's released and in how many volumes, I'll buy it. I have to see what my favorite noseless dwarf is up to...

Phoenix said...

if you look and the latest Malazan mass market paperbacks in the US you see that you can go a bit longer than ASOS which was just under 1200 pages including the appendices

The bonehunters - 1229 pages
Reapers Gale - 1280 pages
Toll the Hounds - 1295 pages

and factoring the fact that ADWD will definately be a new york times bestseller i think it could be done in one even if it is sightly longer than ASOS

but in the UK that is another story, how were these malazan books published in the UK?, i dont recall them being split

Icarus said...

I'm new to your blog. Are you talking about splitting ADWD into two volumes for the UK release, the USA release, or worldwide?

I'll still pick up ADWD if it is in two volumes, but I'll definitely go bargain hunting first for the lowest price hardcover used copies chow up on eBay. I don't mind waiting for paperback either with all the books on my TBR pile right now.

GRRM is not our bitch, but that does not mean that we have to be his either.

Matjaž said...

No UK edition of Malazan was split. Also no hardback edition of Song was split, so I very much doubt that they would split it this time. If they do it with paperback I don't really care. Also the UK version of Feast is almost twice the size of the Storm.

Jebus said...

I honestly probably wouldn't care either way, so long as they were released right after each other. Of course if they split the HC version then that would be annoying but also considering the economics of publishing, quite understandable.

Fr example:
If you have 100 people who will definitely buy one hard cover, it make economic sense to split it into two volumes if the page count is very high. Even if only 80 people buy both hard covers that's an extra 60 books sold. Mercenary maybe, but it makes sense in business terms. Online communities may cry out and gnash their virtual teeth but it'll make very little to no difference to the consumers and a major difference to the publisher's bottom line - they're a business after all.

Here in Oz the price of HC versions of novels is horrendous - up to $50. As of writing this $50 AUD is 28 pounds or $44 USD. At Borders at the moment Feist's "At The Gates of Darkness" is selling for $34.95 AUD and that's 35% off (proclaimed in a massive sticker on the cover as in "look aren't we awesome?"). Of course the problem lies in publishing costs so there's not much we can do beyond buying books from BookDepository.

Adam Whitehead said...

The Malazan comparison is irrelevant, unfortunately, because they are from a different publisher working under different situations and rules. Although I agree it is annoying when one company says something is impossible and another company seems to be able to do the same with impunity.

When A STORM OF SWORDS was split in the UK (for the paperback, the hardcover and tradeback were still in one volume), a LOT of people were really annoyed with Voyager. Combined, the American one-volume mmpb edition of ASoS is 1,200 pages long, about the same as not only Peter F. Hamilton's books (whose UK publishers have no problem churning them out in one volume each) but also THE LORD OF THE RINGS, which HarperCollins (Voyager's parent company) publishes. So from a binding and practical viewpoint, splitting ASoS in two was done purely to make money rather than because it was financially essential. The fans were not amused.

"I'm new to your blog. Are you talking about splitting ADWD into two volumes for the UK release, the USA release, or worldwide?"

The UK edition will probably be split at an earlier point than the US one. My guess would be somewhere between 1300 and 1500 MS pages, Voyager in the UK would want to split it, and if it's much over 1500 pages, Bantam in the USA would want to split it as well. It's also possible that, as with ASoS, Voyager may released it as one hardcover and only split it for the paperback.

"GRRM is not our bitch, but that does not mean that we have to be his either."

In fairness, this would not be GRRM's decision, but down solely to his publishers. If they choose to split it, fans can bombard Bantam Spectra and HarperCollins Voyager with complaining emails instead.

Aidan Moher said...

On another note, if they were going to split it in half, why not release the (assumedly) complete first half now? We know that most of the book is written, and likely the parts he's working on now are from deeper in the novel.

Just doesn't make sense to split it after all this time.

Anonymous said...

@ James

I first thought with the title of your post that this is a confirmed thing.

Thank the Gods that hopefully this might not be the case, but like Adam has pointed out with the current economic set up it might happen.

And Aidan has come up with the best solution, if they plan to split it anywhich ways then since GRRM has 1205 fixed pagesm why not publish half of them already?

Dan L.

Adam Whitehead said...

"Why not release the (assumedly) complete first half now?"

If the US or UK hardcover editions are going to be one volume anyway, then they have to wait for the book to be finished in its entirety, plus it's possible that writing decisions taken at the end of the book may involve some minor adjustments and rewrites earlier on. Also, the time for the split decision hasn't come yet (and hopefully never will).

Another issue is that Bantam US is GRRM's primary publisher, and he submits the MS to them and then to Voyager, who will then take the decision. So if Bantam decides to keep it as one and Voyager decide to split, again that decision can only be made once the book is fully completed.

Adam Whitehead said...

A quote from GRRM from February 2000 which clarifies this point:

"I may get a new idea while writing chapter fifty two which requires me to go back and change chapters three, nine, and twenty-one. If you lose the ability to do that, because the earlier chapters are already set in type before the later ones are finished, you're binding yourself in chains."

So since ADWD will probably be split linearly (if it is split at all, which is far from certain), rather than by location or theme (as AFFC was), it won't be possible to publish either part until the whole thing is 100% completed.

Elfy said...

I dread to even contemplate the fan reaction if this does happen. ASoS was released as one book in TPB format, it was only the mass market paperback that came out as 2 separate books and now with the new covers it's one big paperback. That's how it worked out down here.

Adam Whitehead said...

"I dread to even contemplate the fan reaction if this does happen. ASoS was released as one book in TPB format, it was only the mass market paperback that came out as 2 separate books and now with the new covers it's one big paperback. That's how it worked out down here."

Really? Where is that?

Here in the UK, the book was released as a one-volume hardcover and tradeback, then as two mass-market paperbacks (entitled A STORM OF SWORDS: SNOW AND STEEL and A STORM OF SWORDS: BLOOD AND GOLD). When Voyager put the new covers on in 2003, they simply gave the two sub-volumes new covers as well. You can see the various editions here:

http://iceandfire.wikia.com/wiki/A_Storm_of_Swords

Elfy said...

That's in Australia, Adam. The TPB and hardcover were released as one book. The mass market paperbacks were initially released as 2 paperbacks with separate titles, I can't remember exactly what, something along the lines of Steel & Snow & Blood & Gold, I think. Then some years later new editions, with different coverart came out. ASoS is one huge paperback with a blue cover and a sword on it.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, but I don't really feel you're pain (yet anyway). I'm still halfway through the first book, so it's gonna be long time till' I have to worry about publication dates O_o

But then again I like WOT and it took some 4-5 years between Knife of Dreams and TGS so I know that it sucks to wait for the sequel when it comes to a series of books

David Wagner said...

Maybe if I get Samwell's likeness tattooed on my left buttock and email the pic to GRRM, it will inspire him to finish faster...

Glad I could further the conversation so thoughtfully! You are all welcome...

The Evil King said...

I don't really care myself - although it'll be annoying if there's a big gap between releases, or if the hardback is split.

Basically I just want it asap.

Adam Whitehead said...

@ Elfy:

That's odd. It sounds like you got the UK editions initially (as Australia usually does, as a Commonwealth country) and then they switched to importing the American editions. The US edition of ASoS is one volume with a sword on the cover.