I Need Your Feedback
When typing last week’s Kickstarter update, something jumped out at me. The first book, Commodore: A Company on the Edge, dealt with basically 4 computers and comfortably fit into 540 pages. This book, The Amiga Years, deals with around 14 computers and 3 major unreleased computers. The entire story encompasses a longer time-frame. Other topics come along for the ride too, such as new chips, side-projects (genlock, scanners, Q-Link, Habitat, Geos, C64 mouse) and the people involved with these projects. This has naturally resulted in a book that is much less comfortable at 540 pages.
One thing began to worry me: this is going to hurt the quality of the book if I try cutting it down. There was a time when I thought the book would end up at around 700 pages, and cutting 200 pages was possible. Right now the book is over 1030 pages and growing. If I go forward with the plan of cutting from 1030 to 540, it will adversely affect the quality. Editing it down will also take a long time, resulting in a greater delay for backers.
My expectations have been changing since this project began. I started out thinking it would be a relatively small job to cover the Amiga Years, but as the research continued, the full scope of the story became apparent. The fact is, I’ve written two books worth of material since this project began! You guys can be the judge, having seen the first part of the book, but I don’t think I overwrote. I’ve tried to keep the writing pretty tight and minimal. This issue has slowly snuck up on me to the point where things have come to a head and it’s time to address this head on.
A New Plan
You've probably guessed by now that I'm considering a new plan. Before making any decision, this idea needs to go past you, the backers:
- I'm considering separating the current manuscript into two books: The Amiga Years and The Final Years
- The Amiga Years would start at the formation of HiToro/Amiga in 1982 and end when the Amiga offices in Los Gatos are shut down in March 1987
- Backers would receive The Amiga Years eBook ASAP. This includes around 2 years of never before seen material (compared to the preview released before Christmas) because the book goes to 1987 instead of 1985.
- The Amiga Years could go into layout once the final corrections are made, followed by printing.
- Backers would also receive the third eBook, The Final Years
- To finance the printing of The Final Years, another Kickstarter could be held later.
As much as I’ve resisted making this story into three books, it seems like that’s what the Commodore story requires. The meaning behind titles is often nebulous, and "The Amiga Years" referred to the period in time when Commodore produced Amiga computers. Now that title can describe the period of time when Commodore operated the Amiga company in Los Gatos.
These are some of the benefits to splitting the book:
- There will be fewer players to concentrate on in each book. With The Amiga Years, the original Amiga team will have the most focus throughout the book. It starts with them and it ends with them.
- Many interesting subjects will no longer have to be cut from the book.
- With less computers to cover, each book becomes more focused.
- Lots of things end in 1987, including Thomas Rattigan’s reign as CEO (along with “his” people). It’s a good place to divide the manuscript and it mirrors the ending of the previous book when Jack Tramiel left the company.
- Backers will receive the printed book and rewards much sooner.
- Good things come in trilogies! Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Star Wars. :) (okay, neither of these ended up with only three)
Let me know your honest feedback. As the people backing this project your input is the most important consideration when it comes to such a decision. Please post your thoughts below or send them via a personal Kickstarter message.