Fanmail FAQ: Size Matters or Breaking Up is Hard to Do…

Several months ago, I got a bunch of e-mails concerning the German translation of Wise Man’s Fear. They all had a similar theme: specifically, people were upset that the book was going to be broken into two volumes.

Whenever a bunch of people contact me asking the same question, I try to respond on the blog. This is doubly true if people are unhappy about something, and triply true if they’re unhappy for the simple reason that they don’t have all the facts at their disposal.

So I started writing my response blog. I e-mailed the publisher, did some research, talked to some German fans, did some more research….

Then I got the news about my dad and decided I didn’t give a shit about writing blogs for a while.

But now I’m back, and since I know some people out there are disgruntled, I feel I should do my best to gruntle them. Failing that, I can at least make sure folks have all the facts about why the German translation of The Wise Man’s Fear is getting broken up into two parts.

So here we go….

First, here’s a fairly good example of what the e-mails were like.

Pat,

Many of your German readers are very disappointed that “The wise man’s fear” appears here in two parts. There is the long waiting period part 1 and part 2. Worse, we have to pay twice for expensive book. The publisher says, “Patrick Rothfuss agrees with this plan.” But this seems wrong to me. I read your blog, and you do not seem like a person who would make this sort of brazen rip-off.

I am sorry my English is not good. Please forgive my mistakes.

J.

Actually, that’s a very polite example of the e-mails I received. This one is not, for example, accusing me and/or the publisher of maliciously fucking you, the loyal, loving reader out of your hard-earned money.

Let me reassure you.  This isn’t just the publisher trying to chisel money out of you. I wouldn’t stand for that.

The problem is that my books are long. Really, really long.

Take my first book for example. It was over 250,000 words. That’s more than double the length of most fantasy novels.

To put things in perspective, The Name of the Wind is almost as long as the first three Harry Potter novels put together.

It’s for this reason that many publishers (Swedish, Danish, Slovakian…) broke it up into two volumes.

Other countries, namely Japan and Korea, broke it into *three* volumes.

They didn’t do that in Germany. My German publisher printed it as one great, gorgeous, high-quality book.

What’s my point? My point is that The Name of the Wind was 250,000 words long, which makes it a really big book.

Okay? Okay.

The Wise Man’s Fear was even bigger than that.  A lot bigger. The Wise Man’s Fear was nearly 400,000 words long. Almost 60% longer than my first (really massive) book.

How long is that? Well… to put it in perspective, The Wise Man’s Fear is more than twice as long as the final Harry Potter book. It’s longer than all three books of the entire Hunger Games trilogy (Which is barely 300,000 words all stacked together.)

Or how about this: the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, including the appendices, is about 450,000 words long.

Yeah. My second book by itself is almost longer than the Lord of the Rings. I was a little shocked when I found that out.

Anyway, earlier this year, my German editor contacted me and asked if it was going to be okay if they broke the book into two parts. Their main reason was the fact that when you translate something from English to German, it tends to get about 30-40% longer. For example, the US hardcover of The Name of the Wind was 662 pages. The German hardcover was 864 pages.

This meant that since the US version of The Wise Man’s Fear was almost 1000 pages, the German version was going to be upwards to 1400 pages.

I agreed that 1400 pages was a pretty crazy length for a book, and that breaking it up seemed like a reasonable solution. This wasn’t a startling development for me, because, as I’ve said, several other countries had already broken up The Name of the Wind.

That’s why they’re broke it up. 1400 pages is a really insane length for a book. Physically, it’s hard to bind durably so it doesn’t fall apart. It’s harder to ship. It’s harder for bookstores to fit it on shelves. It’s heavier to carry around.

This does mean, unfortunately, that folks in Germany will have to buy two books. And in some ways that sucks. It’s more expensive.

But you have to consider a few things:

1. You’re getting more story.

Take a look at The Name of the Wind and Volume 1 of The Wise Man’s Fear side-by-side.

You’ll note that they’re the same size. That’s because they’re almost exactly the same length. (861 pages vs. 859) You can’t really claim you’re being ripped off. It’s not like we’re cutting a ham sandwich in half and selling it to you twice. This is a full sandwich full of book. Or something. You know what I mean.

I mentioned before that The Wise Man’s Fear is 60% longer than The Name of the Wind.  That extra 60% is, effectively, what’s getting printed in the second volume. Yes, you’re having to buy a second book, but that second book contains… well… an entire second book’s worth of story.

2. Breaking the book into two parts means you get to read the book sooner. Since they’re treating it as two books, the publisher didn’t have to wait for the entire translation. That’s why the the first, larger part of the story came out a week or so ago. If they printed it all at once, you’d probably have to wait until February of next year to get hold of it.

3. The publisher asked my opinion as to where they thought the best place would be to break the story. We agreed that we didn’t want to leave people with a cliffhanger, and chose a natural resting place. When we had a slight difference of opinion, they let me have my way. Which you have to admit is pretty cool of them.

4. You also have to give Klett-Cotta (my German publisher) credit for not dragging their heels with the release date of the second half of the book. Conventional publishing wisdom says that they should wait at least six months between volume 1 and volume 2. But they aren’t doing that. The second half is coming out as fast as it possibly can, in January of 2012.

So there you go. That’s why the German translation comes in two volumes. There’s also a German article about it over here if you’re interested and can verstehen die Deutsch.

More soon,

pat

This entry was posted in Fanmail Q + A, foreign happenings, Things I didn't know about publishingBy Pat94 Responses

94 Comments

  1. IDV
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Oh. Well, that makes sense. I assume the same thing applies for the Swedish translation… You do give them pointers on where you think the best place for a breaking points would be too, right?

  2. Hecuba
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    ‘cutting a cutting a sandwich’ – slight typo or subtle irony?

    Great blog, as always, thank you for taking the time to do this! :-)

  3. Tager
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    I think you explained this before Pat, and I personally would not mind one bit if the English version of the book was split for the same reasons.

    Edit: It didn’t let me post a comment because of the influx of people for a while, somebody’s got popular!

  4. Neville Longbottom
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    This got me wondering how long Finnegan’s Wake is.

    I figured that would be relatively easily googleable, but I haven’t yet found the answer. Actually, I half expected google to handle it in much the same way that it handles unit conversions, as though after the search I might see something like:

    10,000 words in The Name Of the Wind = 12,000 words in Finnegan’s Wake.

    Alas, there are still mysteries in the world….

  5. CrymsynEve
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    My jaw dropped when I read the comparison between the length of LOTR and WMF. That’s more than slightly awesome, in my opinion.

    I think the German publishers are really nice to try and publish the second volume as fast as they can. I can’t imagine waiting another six months to see how the story ends.

    Keep up the good work Pat!

  6. favourite_weakness
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    It’s the same in Poland, we get the second book split in two parts, with the space between each of them about 2 months long. Since I already have the English version I don’t care much, but still…I wouldn’t mind the act of splitting one bit if we got to have our covers as beautifull as German ones :) Maybe I’m just dumb, but I can’t find the correspondence between Polish covers and the inside of the books themselves.

  7. spikyc
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Out of curiosity, which part did you leave as the end of the first half?

  8. Robo
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    As an American, this is just unfair. Why do the Germans get to have TWO Patrick Rothfuss books on their shelves in place of my one? Why do they get to get TWO books signed for everyone one of my one? What the heck did we win WWII for? So we could have less? It’s un-American, I tell you! And I’m mad as well and I’m not going to take it anymore!

    Everyone that agrees with me should sign the petition at http://www.Breakthewind.com.

    • Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:46 AM | Permalink

      I’ll admit I actually clicked that link….

      • Robo
        Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

        Shwiiing! Hope it put a smile on your face, Pat. A pittance for one of the thousand or so you’ve given me.

    • themantheycalled mikeal stanne
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

      197$ a month eh?

  9. Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Well argued and defended.

    (pins “I’m with Pat” button to his shirt)

  10. Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Geez Louise. I felt like a failure when I couldn’t finish Wise Man’s Fear within 24 hours like I do with most books. Now I feel a little better. How many words will the third book be? Longer than the Bible? The Tax Code? The library at Alexandria?

  11. alvr
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    Just to clarify – Slovakian version of the Name of the Wind has’nt been split up – it came out in one part – ISBN: 8055117621.

    You may have meant the Czech version – ISBN: 9788025700891 and ISBN: 9788025700907

    • Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

      Hmmm… yeah. There are a bunch of countries that split it up. I think you’re right, I mistook the Czech for the Slovak…

  12. mischo
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Actually, Pat, the first book was published in one pleasantly thick volume in Slovakia.
    Funny story: Readers kept asking when will the Slovak translation of the second book come out (long before The Wise Man’s Fear was finished), because the Czechs already have it. Turned out Czech publisher made two books out of The Name of the Wind :o).

    (Just to clarify, Czech Republic and Slovakia used to be one state until 1993, so the people here can read both languages.)

  13. kethdurazh
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    As a book collector, I just wanted to emphasize one of the points that Pat made.

    “That’s why they’re broke it up. 1400 pages is a really insane length for a book. Physically, it’s hard to bind durably so it doesn’t fall apart. It’s harder to ship. It’s harder for bookstores to fit it on shelves. It’s heavier to carry around.”

    There is an upward limit of the amount of pages that can physically be bound and the bindings of gigantic hardcovers are much, much weaker. Splitting into two volumes may actually save you money in the long run. Especially if you’re going to read your book multiple times (and really, who wouldn’t read Pat’s books over and over again, right?), the bindings of larger books can crack and pages can start to slip out.

  14. Silkblossom
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:13 PM | Permalink

    I say learn to read english. I’m from sweden and prefer to read it in english. All those subtle words and meanings are hard to translate and often do not come forth in a translation. And if you can read Mr Rothfuss blog in english and complain in english, well then you don’t need a translation do you. Just saying…

    • Jesse Custer
      Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

      I agree with that. Almost everyone who is willing to read a book of 250000 words should be able to do that in the author’s language, at least when the language English. I’m out of school for more than 15 years (almost 20 years, to be honest), don’t have anything to do with English language in my job, but reading “Name of the Wind” and “Wise Man’s Fear” wasn’t really posing a problem (Though it took a little longer than reading in German. )
      We Germans are just a little bit lazy when it comes to untranslated books or movies. It’s soooooooooo comfortable to have movies synchronized and books translated. But there is a prize to be payed. For example “Der Name des Windes” loses a lot of it’s poetic beauty found in the original No one can be blamed for it, actually I think the translator did a good job, it’s just inevitable.
      So give it a try, read the original! In one part!

      • mischo
        Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

        Although I agree that the original is the best, I would argue it is nearly impossible to get a grasp of another language to a degree where you can fully appreciate it – especially if you don’t want to be limited to English only. There are too many little things and nuances and it’s too easy to miss something. After all, there is a reason why we call them first and second language.

        • mischo
          Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

          And not to forget, there’s quite a difference between a blog and a literature with poetry and all ;o).

        • Silkblossom
          Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

          Well I personally grasp english better than swedish which is my native language. I agree with you that it can be hard to grasp. But on the other hand english is the second language to most countries and reading in english is a good way to learn it. And after watching so many people write to Mr Rothfuss in a unkindly and angry way that it takes to long to translate in a particular language and things like that. It makes me so angry when he is being so nice about it all.

          • mischo
            Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

            Agreed, I don’t understand that kind of fans either.

      • Toxis
        Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:52 PM | Permalink

        I completely agree with you – I bought the Lithuanian version of Name of the wind only for my father and sister to read (ended reading it again myself:) . And I can only conclude, that name of the wind in English is much, much better (I don’t trash the translation it’s quite good actually)…

  15. ZyFeZ
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Hoooray, after a long waiting season, The Wise Man’s Fear is finally reaching Brazil by the end of this month, and I’ll be a single book. Already did the pre-order, can’t wait to read this book =]

  16. ZyFeZ
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    “I’ll be” no, “It´ll”, sorry the typo.

  17. priscellie
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    Heck, I would’ve loved to see the American version split! Doorstop books are hell on the wrists when you’re trying to read on a subway. I seriously considered tearing my Amber omnibus in half so I could actually carry it around NYC. I suppose this is why God invented Kindles. :D

    I’m delighted your international publishers are being so flexible and understanding. Props to them!

    • Dianadomino
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

      Yes, I have signed copies of the books in my vault, but also have both on my Nook. Does save on carpel tunnel and all that.

      • fordified
        Posted November 7, 2011 at 7:32 AM | Permalink

        I second the having a version on the nook. Much easier to transport.

  18. Diogo Teixeira
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Patrick, i’m from portugal and i believe that you have just wrote the biggest history in all over the world. I am also a writer and i used to imagine a similar history you wrote for kvothe, but you perfected it. Sorry about my english. I know it’s far away, but try to come to portugal one of theese days. Diogo Teixeira

  19. Valkyrie-Dark
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    Hello Pat, I hope you are doing better these days. I don’t really have anything related to say, but I thought you could use a laugh with this, since Halloween just come and gone and you are a baby person now =) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YQpbzQ6gzs&feature=player_embedded

  20. BBB
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Pat…its great to have you back.

    I am an only child and am used to being spoiled.

    With my full appreciation, thanks for the blogs.

    Cheers

  21. TheJaguar
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    Ok. Two posts in a row with “or” separating two possible complete titles for the blog post.
    Have you been watching Hung?
    I’ll admit, I mostly stick to fantasy novels and recent stuff, so if the splitting up of titles in such a fashion is from something I should know about, I don’t.

    But if you’ve been watching Hung, nice. I need to get around to the latest season at some point.

  22. phiredrops
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    Massive hardcovers are epically awesome – I have a shelf set aside just for my mason-block-sized books of Winning +7.
    However, they are very impractical. As one who has worked in a bookstore for nearly a decade, I can also say they fall apart very quickly. The typical hardback isn’t going to receive the Library binding treatment. Case Binding is the norm and that’s just glued sections. Hell, once the book makes it to Trade or Mass – Perfect Binding is a joke. I can fully sympathize with not wanting to wait but at least your books won’t be falling to bits.

  23. Toxis
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Hehe I was saving my ‘read-through’ of Wise man’s fear for my annual book-trip (my wife and i usually take a one week vacation in late spring and go somewhere to Turkey/Egypt/Greece just to lie in the sun with a cocktail and a book (usually at least 4/5 of them: )… So now I understand why i had to buy a bigger suitcase this time… I knew wise man was big, but almost all LOTR books.. geez Pat, If your next book will be even bigger (and I hope it will;) – do a split too (it will still technically be a trilogy;)

  24. D.G.
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:14 PM | Permalink

    I’m soo there with you priscellie. I almost broke a wrist trying to read this book in the subway so instead I’m keeping my signed copy at home and just downloaded the audio from the library.

    I have to say though that I’m digging the German covers.

  25. Beke
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    Hi everyone – and thanks very much for this blog, Patrick!

    I’m from Germany and when the German publisher announced that The Wiseman’s Fear would be published in two parts, it made me very sad…
    I pretty much had the same opinion as the fans you wrote this blog for.

    But I totally understand that a book like The Wiseman’s Fear is way too big in it’s German translation to be published in one single part.

    Unfortunately there are some German publishers (not Klett-Cotta), who split even a 500 pages book into two parts and you have to wait 3 months to get the second part. They’re doing it with paperbacks and no one can tell me that isn’t because of the money… And that makes me very angry…

    I’ve already got The Name of the Wind and The Wiseman’s Fear in English and Der Name des Windes and the first part of Die Furcht des Weisen.
    I started with the English books… And they blew me off! I haven’t been reading the German translations yet, but I hope the German translator did his very best job!

    Finally thanks very much for writing such amazing stories! :)

  26. taren
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    Pat, thanks for the explanation.
    I’m one of your german fans who was startled by the sight of the announcement saying “WMF Volume 1 and 2″. I’ve already read it in English, it doesn’t matter to me (expecially because the translation can’t hit all your wonderful subtle wortplays and metaphors), but now I understand the decision of the publisher here (and now I’m tempted to read it again in German just to see how they made it…). And, yepp, two volumes can probably be a good thing – my back had a rough time carrying WMF to university and back for a week or so… (-;

  27. Zee
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I cannot wait to read the 3rd book. I need to thank you for all the pleasure you have provided me with. Best of luck with writing part III :)

  28. Carthasis
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    Pat,

    while in the case of your book it does make sense to split it in two (alas, German is wordy and needs more space to say things English manages in short, elegant sentences) certain German (fantasy) publishers have a very unfortunate tendency to split all manner of books into shorter instalments. Usually with complete disregard for narrative arc etc. They then proceed to sell an original three-book series as a nine book series – with each short book costing about the same as the original volumes would have cost had they not been split. You can’t tell me the main motivation in such cases is not greed. It’s not as if German fantasy fans were not quite happy to read huge bricks of novels – quite the contrary.
    F or me at least it was one of the big reasons (paired with the nasty translations…) to turn my back on the Germany fantasy publishing industry – I haven’t bought or even read a book from those publishers in over a decade.

    Luckily, I think that this practice is getting less common, but still, seeing it done to a new release will invariably leave a bad taste in many a reader’s mouth. I think you can’t blame us here.

    Which doesn’t excuse rude behaviour towards you, obviously.

  29. Yoni
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Out of curiosity, where did you choose to split up the book? Before he leaves for the Maer?

  30. Posted November 4, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    Size matters…That’s what she said !

    Sorry, a strange force compelled me to write this ! :-)

    Breaking up is hard to do…That’s what she told me too !

    There, I did it again…

  31. Posted November 4, 2011 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    I must concur. Your books are really, really long. When I saw the chapters in Wise Man’s Fear, I didn’t think that was real. But I was also very happy, because I actually breeze through normal novels. I like long books. Why does that sound a bit pervy? Hmm. I like an extended read? Nah, that sounds worse. I’ll just quit trying to make that sound good.

    I hate it when fans get rude. They forget that you’re the one gracing us with your words. I admit, I get impatient when it’s been 5+ years on a book series *coughTheAssassinKingcough*. I still just wait, and if another series dies, so be it. Authors have lives too. Sometimes real life throws us a curve and we never finish things we started. As an artist, I know it’s hard to create something if my heart isn’t into it.

    • TexasAlien
      Posted November 4, 2011 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

      My hubby is an old “emphasis on old” fan of Robert Jordan….waited years for the final in his series…poor Mr. Jordan died and my hubby was devastated. Felt just like a member of his family died. Another author picked up the story line and the last Wheel of “whatever came out” and he enjoyed the read. but I think it was with tears in his eyes.

      So Mr. Rothfuss, “live long and prosper!” I bought your first book thinking it was more my hubby’s style of literature…..goes to show what a good book is….even us girly girls love you. Thank you, and am looking forward to the next in the series. P.S. Hubby hasn’t even shown an interest in reading the first one…..??? Man is a mystery.

  32. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 5:21 PM | Permalink

    That’s gotta be stressful for those readers. I could probably read the books in Spanish, but I don’t think I’d understand and enjoy them as thoroughly as I do in English, so the fact that some people have forsaken their native language translation in order to get your books sooner blows my mind a little bit.

    Thanks as always for enlightening the masses.

  33. Alessa
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    Mr. Rothfuss, I’ve been in love with your books since I first picked up NotW, but you just rose another mile and a half in my esteem. Because, you know, I read LotR and I really liked it, but man, some parts were really dragging their feet. In a “what, they’re still wandering through the forest?” kinda way. And I skipped the appendices. Wise Man’s Fear was entertaining all the way through. It really did not feel like the whole triology of LotR. Actually, it felt like it could still go on for several hundred pages, and I’d be totally happy about that. So yes, talking as a German fan, breaking up the book is totally reasonable. (In all honesty, I’m probably not going to pick up the German translation. I’m very nitpicky about translations. They very seldomly capture the original language, the jokes etc. Also, they’re published later, and are usually more expensive. Which is why I learned to read English very well at an early age. ;)

  34. B
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    so does this mean there’s not going to be a 2-volume or 3-volume Omnibus edition? I like to read and lift weight at the same time… all 3 days in one convenient 70 lb. mega-book… no?

    for shame….

    would look awesome on a coffee table – or maybe it could just double as a coffee table? functional masterpieces…. who’s with me?

  35. Teppic
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    I think it´s okay to split the wise man´s fear in two parts. But to be fair, I (as a german) have to mention that spliting english novels unreasonable often, has kind of a history here:
    I started “the wheel of time”: There are so fare 35 german books and that are just the translations of the first 13 english books.
    I gave up reading that series (after the 18. book), because i cant afford to buy a 250 page book for 12 €, because the books have no real beginning or ending and because I thought (and still think) that that´s just exploitation. Best thing was that the puplishers put in every (!!!) book the same f**king 50 sides of index (is that the right word? It´s a dictonary explaining/discribing the world and the protagonists).
    I just wanted to say that to show that these Germans (or at least some of them) might just think: “Not that shit again.”

    Anyhow, i already read the english version and i don´t believe that i´ll buy the german translation: As Master Elodin teaches: “every translation is imperfect” (The german titel alone… The translater deserves the special hell, where people belong who talk at the theatre. When i first read that i got a feeling as if someone tries to carve with his fingernails in a blackboard).

    Great story by the way, I convinced quite a number of people to read it.

  36. Lexxa
    Posted November 4, 2011 at 9:52 PM | Permalink

    I actually bought 3 copies for myself. One in hardcover for my bookshelf. One for my Kindle so I didn’t have to lug that big ass book around and one from Audible so that I could have it read to me. So here’s a question: Are they splitting the book in the e-reader version in Germany? Just curious…

    • Erzberger
      Posted November 5, 2011 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

      That´s an interesting question.

    • Salix
      Posted November 5, 2011 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

      I actually found this series on amazon and it wasn’t until after I’d read the two books twice and sought out the blog for news on the third that I realized there was a reason it took me extraordinarily long to get through them. I do like having a kindle, but word counts no longer exist…

    • DrFood
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

      Since Part I is already out before the entire translation is finished, I think the e-book will also be in two parts.

  37. Eedamme
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 12:46 AM | Permalink

    When you buy a book you’re not just buying a product, you’re buying a piece of art. A book is worth so much more than the cost of binding, printing, and distributing. Not only do hundreds of hours worth of the author’s time go into it, but editors, proofreaders, designers – a whole team of behind-the-scenes people. Imagine how much you have to pay a translator for 1000 pages of work! I don’t think it’s unreasonable to split a book into two volumes for these reasons alone, not to mention the very practical ones Pat mentioned. I sympathise with the fans who are upset about paying twice and having to wait, but the money goes to a good cause – more books being made, and paying a lovely, talented author (and authors don’t make a huge profit on each copy sold!) for their hard work.

  38. Erzberger
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    I gotta say, the German versions of the book are beautiful. Frankly, it´s the reason I bought the book. I saw it lying in the bookstore and was drawn to it. I did order the english version, but the German book did first awaken my interest. Klett-Kotta is awesome in that aspect.
    I bought the German version for a friend some time later. She treasures good-looking books, so it´s a cool gift. It has the little velvet page marker thingy and everything. Just gorgeous.
    So the german readers have this advantage over the english/american buyers, and the disadvantage of having to buy two books this time around. Evens itself out in my opinion.

  39. David B
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

    While it kind of sucks to pay twice the amount of money for the same story, I really do understand the concerns of the publishers with books of that length. It is fairly common anyways (take Martin’s whoppers for example. All of them have been split up in two in German as well), which makes me wonder why so many people are upset about it. And truth be told, it looks kind of cool to have MORE beautiful books on your shelve :) I’m actually thinking of buying the German versions because they look fantastic (even though I much prefer to read English literature untranslated, as every translation – no matter how good it is – lacks from the original. At least in my opinion).

    Of course, it leaves people, whose English is not good enough to understand the original versions, at no choice but to either pay the price (literally :D) or to skip one of the most magnificent fantasay novels of the last decade – well, at least the second half of it o_O.

    Best wishes from Germany,
    David.

  40. Holmelund
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 4:19 AM | Permalink

    A piece of advice.

    If you are from Denmark and can read english, then by all accounts read it in the original language.

    I read the original and when the translation came around I tried reading it.

    And cringed.
    After about 100 pages I dropped the horrible danish translation and read the original again.

    So why is it terribe you ask?

    The best way I can describe it is this:
    Imagine having a story read to you by Christopher Lee (I like his voice), then imagine having the same story read to you by
    Boxxy
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx_SIFiyxGQ&feature=related
    or
    Fred!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-CehxoJy0I

    Thats how I felt. The words where translated right but the translation didnt cath the right “sound” and made me grind my teeth if you get what I mean.

  41. ama-ri
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 5:10 AM | Permalink

    I’m probably one of the few germans who didn’t rage about the split. When I first heard about it, I wasn’t so happy about it either, but as soon as I got my hands on the english version I totally understood. It was so HEAVY and hard to read in a comfortable way. I always had to put it down somewhere. And since I know, that most german words are way longer than the english ones, I think it was reasonable. I think it’s better to read a book without having to train your arms first.
    And I don’t mind paying twice the price for a book as awesome as this one. Or three times. Though the english one is my sister’s. But if she hadn’t bought it, I would have.
    The only thing I didn’t like about the german version is the translation this time around. Not exactly the writing of the translatior but rather the fact that they didn’t really proofread what they wrote there. There are so many misspelled words this time…
    Anyway, I already read WMF Part 1. Can’t wait to read Part 2 (even though, I already read the whole book.) So I just started to read NOTW a third time. What have you done to me, Pat? What have you done?

    • Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

      I empathize with you, for I too ask that same question repeatedly “What have you done to me, Pat?” I’m embarrassed to admit to having read NOTW three times and WMF two times in an ongoing Rothfuss induced loop of literary euphoria. This means I read book 1 then book 2, then book 1 then book 2, then book 1… At this point, school began and I was forced to set aside Pat’s weighted river-smooth-stone story. I am in Rothfuss withdrawal until “Winter” break – whereupon I intend to spurn all Christmas humbuggery and read Pat’s story again. I freely admit it I’m jonesing. Though on second thought, I can’t pass up the juicy ripe oranges and salty peanuts that for me, makes Christmas Christmas..

      So yes, we would all like to know.
      “What have you done to us, Pat?”

    • DrFood
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

      After reading and re-reading the books on my own, I’ve found it very enjoyable to read (and eventually participate in) the “excessively detailed re-read” of NOTW and WMF by Jo Walton on Tor.com

      http://www.tor.com/features/series/patrick-rothfuss-reread

      I do recommend starting at the beginning, although it will take many hours to catch up. She posts a new section, each looking at a few chapters, every week on Thursday.

      Her stuff is great, but you really should take the time to read all the comments. She highlights some of the commentary of the previous week in most of her posts, but she can’t summarize it all. There are lots of bright and imaginitive people offering their insights. You’ll likely learn something new you hadn’t picked up in your multiple prior readings.

  42. Chris_has_opinions
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 5:16 AM | Permalink

    I must say that one thing that is becoming more and more obvious is that there appears to be a very slim chance of this being a trilogy(even in English) unless the final book will be an exponential increase in words compared to that from book 1 to book 2…Thus creating a book which may in some states be banned, seeing how it can be used as a lethal weapon or as a rather effective portable roadblock:-)

    • Erzberger
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 6:14 AM | Permalink

      No, I think you´re just having wrong expectations what the final volume of the book will be about.

  43. Oliver Stein Inc.
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    Anyone think this song is kinda similar to Kvothe’s feelings on Denna?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbKGsEK_T9g

    • Dianadomino
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

      I think Pat has captured that elusive lovely feeling of falling in love perfectly, as so few really can. (And the Beatles are among the few I think.)

  44. Xandira
    Posted November 5, 2011 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    According to my Goodreads stats, I have read 4 fewer books this year than last (so far) but almost 3000 more pages. I have chosen to blame your books for this. Congrats! :-)

  45. Posted November 5, 2011 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    It’s a credit to the quality of the writing that people don’t feel the length of your novels. The average book starts to feel it’s dragging a bit in the last third for me. Your novels don’t. That’s doubly impressive given how objectively long they are!

  46. Atreus
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 12:48 AM | Permalink

    Finally got ahold of a Korean language copy. Only had time to get a few chapters in, but the translation seems pretty solid so far. Although songs and rhymes don’t have the same impact they do in English – the Tinker’s Rhyme in the beginning is just a direct translation with no flare at all.

    Also, Kvothe’s name is “크보스” – (Keuboseu – which sounds like ‘k-bose’). So it is not quite the same as “Quothe”. :)

    And based on what reviews I have read, it seems to be well-liked by those who have read it. One reviewer pretty much said, [the cover said this book was a fantasy like Harry Potter, but it was nothing like it and much better]. Didn’t like the Harry Potter connection myself – it is pretty much the tagline of the book – so glad some others were able to recognize higher caliber literature themselves.

    So, yeah, the book is considered awesome just about everywhere at this point it seems. Well done.

  47. Nilaiha
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

    Well, I’m one of the German fans, and I couldn’t wait for the translated book to be released, so on the march 1st, I went to a book store asking the saleslady politely “I want to buy an English book, could you please look it up and order it for me?” (in German, obviously ^^)…. but what I thought was something like “Hurry, I need this book, now… NOW!”
    And yes, I’m a proud owner of a British copy (although the US version was the one I actually wanted), I love this book, but what I’m interested in: Does anyone know if there are differences betweeen the original und British version? Except the cover, of course.

    (While learning English you are often told ‘this word is British English, and that word means the same but is only used in America” and stuff like this.
    I hope you get what I want to say… ^^)

    • Elena
      Posted November 6, 2011 at 7:06 PM | Permalink

      (I’m from Germany as well but i feel weird answering you in German XD)
      As far as I know there is no British “translation” (if there were, they would’ve had to put the translators name in the book obviously…). But you are right there often are small changes between American and British books, for example things like movie/film, pavement/sidewalk etc. ;) I must admit that I don’t know if they hire a translator for small changes like that and I haven’t compared both versions word by word, so I can’t say if there are such small differences :D

  48. Phyramus
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    actually they did a great job translating. the “test sides” are really great.
    But besides that i already read your book ~4-10 times in englisch.

  49. Cloudgazer
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 5:34 PM | Permalink

    Pat, don’t know if you caught it but there was a 50minute podcast devoted to Wise Mans Fear recently.

    http://5by5.tv/incomparable/63

    If you don’t like reading/hearing critics then skip it, but generally they were very positive, well except perhaps John Siracusa – but he is famously negative about everything.

  50. Posted November 6, 2011 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    Seems like everybody’s splitting things up nowadays, and you know what, I don’t mind!

    I’m totally with ya, Pat. We did get a ton more story. And Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 was a great movie only because we got all the boring exposition out in part one. And A Dance with Dragons (hope bringing up Mr. Martin isn’t a faux pas) was only amazing because we’d already dealt with all the Dornish characters in Feast for Crows.

    If you’re prolific, go ahead and split it. Even though size matters, I’m sure anyone would be satisfied to a Felurian degree by even have a Rothfuss book.

  51. Dianadomino
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    Best use of the word “gruntle” ever.

  52. Horst
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 2:43 AM | Permalink

    The problem is the “Buchpreisbindung”, the seller can’t change the prizing. So you have to pay ~50 Euros in total for both books. Compare that to the ~$20 you pay in the US. That is a difference of ~$48… for a book… we pay more than thrice as much. Seems quite unfair to me.

    One of the reasons why I only buy ebooks directly from US merchants.

  53. Rhia
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    This is slightly off topic, but only slightly as you were talking about the German translation.

    Congratulations for making Number 12 on the SPIEGEL’s Bestseller list (DER SPIEGEL is a major German news magazine, comparable to Newsweek or Time)!!!

    Just realized that you apparently went up from No. 13 last week, so I didn’t notice your name on there in the last issue, shame on me.

  54. mike_s
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Well, I’d better not joke about Germans and their art of complaining (for those, who want to complain now: I am German)

    Still the explanation makes perfect sense to me – German sentences and words tend to be longer than their English equivalents (I think French is even ‘worse’ in that aspect) and a 1400 pages book is quite a brick. Well and yes, for the sake of the smaller bookshops, there are still laws for the pricing of books in Germany.

    So, I guess, anyone who feels he or she should complain, just ask yourself: what is the cost of translation, the extra cost for the additional pages, the editing and that also for a number of copies, that should be much smaller than the original version?

    Im Klartext: Hört auf Euch zu beschweren und bezahlt für den Extra-Service, dass es jemand für Euch übersetzt oder versucht halt das Buch auf Englisch zu lesen! Einfach mal probieren :)
    Danke!

    • Tungil
      Posted November 10, 2011 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

      Habs ja auf Englisch gelesen ( noch länger hätte ich wirklich nicht warten können ;) ), aber dann nochmal ZWEI bücher zu kaufen(von denen ich ja weiß wie sie ausgehen), als Student… Naja, mir gehts jetzt wenigstens ein bisschen besser, da Herr Rothfuss alles so wunderbar dargelegt hat :)

      In short: Thanks for clarification Pat!

      ps.: This must be the 30%-40% longer translation^^

      • katy
        Posted December 13, 2012 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

        Was wär denn überhaupt der Sinn darin, die Bücher in der englischen und der deutschen Version zu kaufen?

    • katy
      Posted December 13, 2012 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

      I used to believe that we Austrians are the ones who complain most :-D

  55. UpYourMind
    Posted November 8, 2011 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Hi, in Portugal the WMF were also divided into two parts, but the release dates interval is very small, the volume 1 one was released in mid september, and volume 2 is to be released in a few days.
    I’m not a big fan of dividing books, but i understand the publisher reason to do it, besides being turning a huge book into two more “easy to carry”, it turns the book more economically profitable, assuring that it will print the future releases by the author.
    For example here the wheel of time by robert jordan wasn’t divided, final result was that each book costed almost twice as a normal one, the public didn’t bought and after releasing the fourth book the saga was discontinued.
    So i prefer to have divided book, than not have them at all =)

  56. Posted November 15, 2011 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    I’m glad I read the second book in English already. I’ll just buy the German ones to put them in my shelf next to the first one. It makes one look so… intelligent to have huge books in one’s shelf… especially well-read paperbacks…

  57. Sote
    Posted November 18, 2011 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    Like pat wrote somewhere- translating a book is a pain in the ass – ( or at least something similar)
    Just read the book in english! the book will be far more pat-like. the german version might be good translated perhaps but it’ll still be different.

    Reading the book in english should solve your splitting problem!

  58. ella
    Posted December 3, 2011 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    My german translation of NoW is falling to pieces so I do appreciate the German translation comes in two volumes. I bought the first volume yesterday. I have read the first page and had to lay it aside – till January 2012. Because I am (a bit) odd and need the Silence of Three Parts. At the beginning and at the end. So I am patient and wait. Thank you Pat – for the wonderful story you tell, no matter in how many volumes

  59. chat
    Posted February 25, 2012 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    شات
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    ahj
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    دردشة مصريه
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    مركز رفع
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    مقالات
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    شات عراقي
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  60. katy
    Posted December 13, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I still need to say this. Hey guys, German is my first language, but you know what? I think it is absolutely CRAZY to read any of Mr. Rothfuss’ books in any other language than English, because his style, his choice of words, everything is just so extremely beautiful and poetic and just…well…epic, it’s really worth learning English simply to be able to read the original version of his writing. (Just in case anybody should doubt my judgement, I personally know a native English speaker who said so too.) Although I desperately hope that everybody who gets the chance to do so is studying English anyway. It’s an important language, just in case anyone didn’t already know that.
    And while I am absolutely convinced that the Klett Cotta Verlag hired the very best translator they could get, a translation can never match the original. It just isn’t possible. Also, it should be common knowledge that a German translation of an English text will always be much longer, given the fact that German (excuse me, but it is true) can be a really cumbersome language, especially compared to English. Every language has a special way of saying things, even of thinking. The German one is long and complicated. German doesn’t think like English. Not in the least. So please, do not read translations, if there’s any possible way to avoid it.
    Btw, personal anecdote: When I first read “The Lord of the Rings”, I bought a German translation, and I absolutely hated the books. They were just so tedious, it took me ages to read them. But, loving the movies as much as I do, I tried again with the original (=English) version and I finished reading after a week or two. So, here it is. Proof. Translations suck.

  61. robotpassion
    Posted May 6, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    Well, I really want to thank you for this statement. Same as many german readers, I couldnt understand that split up into two parts. Now, its more comprehensible.

    The Point is: While you pay 8€ for the English second part, the German ones cost almost 50 euros. This is much if you are a student or something like that.

  62. ledi_rufus
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    My dear and kind annotators,

    I cant understand you. Pats arguing is absolutely und completely wrong. Did nobody read this book?

    His explanatory statement is: That Book is too long… Can anybody feel with me?

    Kind regards from Europe, ledi_rufus

  63. Rafe
    Posted December 6, 2013 at 6:48 PM | Permalink

    I am a German reader of your books. And I love them. I have never read books which were like them, I can’t tell you why here, it would last to long. What I wanted to say is, that it makes me happy to see you still care about the opinions of your german. So first I thought you were just awesome. Now I know, that you are REALLY AWESOME! Well, thanks for the books, don’t hurry with the last one. Take as much as you want, however I expect that you then make it really good ;D

    PS: Sorry for my bad English, I’m still learning.

    • Rafe
      Posted December 6, 2013 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

      *as much Time as you want, I forgot to write it, was too excited ;)

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