My point is not to make my friend a scapegoat, but to address some things he believes as a writer. I see similar things said by writers in various social media groups. They say the book needs to be as long as it needs to be. If you are trying to get picked up by a traditional publisher, that’s not going to fly. Likewise, my friend made a point that King, a popular author, wrote a book that broke a rule and his readers made the point of not buying the book that crossed whatever line he crossed. I saw several examples of things where King crossed the line and gave less than valid answers as to why he thought it was okay.
I have a friend who has six (6) self-published books on Amazon. Two of the books are part of a trilogy he added back in 2014. He never finished the third book. The second book didn’t do well compared to the first book, but from my perspective if you say it’s a trilogy, you finish the third book. Best to figure out what went wrong with the second book, then correct the issue for the last book. His first series started in 2012 has four (4) books and he last published a book in 2017. He could have published the next book last year, but decided to ignore the rules on word count. He tried to rationalize why he can ignore word count, by using more popular authors in his genre who have exceeded word count. There tends to be ranges for word count based on genre and sub-genre.
He thinks he can ignore those ranges because he thinks he can. In general, most readers are picky about word count. A few aren’t. However, he has another problem. He doesn’t pay a proofreader to catch spelling and grammar errors, and his books are full of both. It’s not quite as bad as a traditional publisher author in his sub-genre who make his books seem to have fewer errors than this well-known author. My friend is using an editor to address plot issues, but those tend to be expensive to hire as they generally charge based on word count. His goal with this series is at least 20 books. He has no problem making each book much longer than the expected word count for his sub-genre.
If that’s not bad enough, he decided to start on a different series in another genre that’s probably going to be a trilogy before he finishes his book that’s already almost two years behind schedule. He mentioned it to me and I pointed out the numerous flaws in doing so, but he’s so sure he can do it that he ignores several people that have said the same thing. He’s going to use a pen name with this series although it will be obvious it’s him. He tends to drag out each book well past its limits. He is the kind of writer who does his own thing and doesn’t care what anyone thinks of his books. That’s a bad attitude for a writer to have. Your readers decide if they are going to buy your books. Part of that is respecting your readers. Another part is taking pride in your work. I don’t mean going overboard with hubris level pride. I mean making sure your books are as good as they can be. He has made enough money with his books that he should have used some of the money to get the editor and proofreader skills he lacks.
He’s already lost some of his readers by posting on his blog the next book would be out last year, then updating it as being out this year. You don’t keep readers when you lead them on with false promises. He had plenty of time to finish it last year, but he wasted too much time on other things. Plus, the choice to drag out the word count didn’t help.