The task of splitting the story into separate books began. I thought I had a good start, but I was told that at 187,000 words, my first book was far too long. So I broke it off even earlier, at just 135,000 words. Then the next problem became obvious; due to the length of the entire story, there has to be a good deal of setup. Setup, while utterly necessary to the story, isn't nearly as exciting as when the plot gets into full swing. Don't misunderstand me, there is excitement in my setup, which is essentially the first book, but it builds slowly. The main character also begins as a fairly inexperienced woman, and grows steadily throughout the entire storyline.
I toyed with the idea of pulling a miniature Star Wars maneuver, and beginning the first book in the middle, then backtracking, but I couldn't figure out a good way of stepping back to provide the beginning. I ended up writing a prologue that does a fairly good job of introducing some of the truly important individuals in the later books and a hint at what will be happening later on when all heck breaks loose.
So now my story progresses more like the early Babylon 5 episodes, where lots of things are going on that at first don't seem to have much cohesive meaning, but after having read the entire series, nearly every single thing that has happened earlier will fit into the whole like the pieces of a huge puzzle.
I'll admit, the first two volumes of the first book do not have a whole lot of action, and no real romance. That will change, on both counts! When the time is right.
Is this the right way to go about it? I have no idea. Some people love what I have published so far, while others find it too slow. One of the many wonderful things about independent publishing is that, if we learn that something isn't working out right, we can change it!
I recently split my first book into three volumes because I knew I needed to give away some of my writing for free, and didn't have the heart to give away all 135,000 words. Now I'm giving them away anyway, so I'm contemplating re-joining the volumes. I had also originally had a certain level of romance in the first book, but took it out so my children could review my writing without having to skip sections. Maybe I should re-join them and also add back the juicier bits? It's a thought. I do love independent publishing.