I’ve gotten a lot of emails recently about the status of various projects I’ve been working on. Now that the revisions for ARTHAS have been turned in I have a smidge more free time, and I hope to address each of the various projects and let you all know what’s going on. I also would like to address some other questions I see a lot in my emails, as unfortunately it has become nigh impossible to address them all individually. So look for some essays on writing, suggestions and so forth soon!
Bless you my wonderful readers of my original fiction, because most of the questions right now concerns the Dancers series (ON FIRE’S WINGS, IN STONE’S CLASP, and UNDER SEA’S SHADOW). Particularly, it seems, the fact that the third installment is out only as an e-book.
It’s hard to know where to begin with this. First of all, let me say thank you–because even in the most frustrated emails, I know what’s behind it–you all love the books, you want to read them, and you’re upset that you can’t.
The fact is, that most of the time, we authors don’t really have a lot of clout when it comes to what happens to our book after it’s turned in to the editor. Contrary to popular belief, we rarely get to have any input on the cover, we don’t write the back cover copy, and sometimes we don’t even get our first pick on the title. Think about that–three large factors that determine whether a book goes home with a reader are almost always out of the author’s control.
It’s the same with what format a book gets published in. In the contract, we know how much we’ll get paid and what our royalties will be if the book is released in A) hardcover, B) trade, C) mass market, D) audio, E) electronic format. Usually it’s decided ahead of time verbally what the publisher would like to do. Sometimes they change their minds. Recently, ARTHAS went from being a mass market to a hardcover–a very happy change! But sometimes it goes the other way.
When the Dancers line was launched, all the LUNA books were going to be published as trade paperbacks. That was my understanding when I sold three books to LUNA. It was my hope and the editor’s that there would be a fourth and fifth book.
I think you know what I’m going to say now…the author also usually isn’t the one responsible for a series ending in the middle. Sometimes they are–they find other projects, or lose interest. But most of the time, when you find yourself wondering, “Hey, whatever happened to that series? It ended right in the middle!” it’s because sales were not sufficient for the publisher to choose to continue the series.
LUNA Books was a brand new line when I signed on with them. As time went on, it became clear that urban fantasies were doing the best for them, and many of the more traditional epic fantasy series were let go. Sadly, the Dancers series was a casualty, although the editors were very supportive of me and my work for as long as they could be.
For a while, it was not even certain that the third book, although contracted for, would come out. LUNA eventually did decide to publish it as an e-book. So that is why there are, currently, no more Dancers books slated for publication, and why UNDER SEA’S SHADOW is not available in print.
I noticed that there are a few comments and complaints up on Amazon.com in the form of one star reviews of UNDER SEA’S SHADOW. None of the reviewers has read the book, in fact, that’s why they are posting with one star—they’re unhappy with the format. If any of the reviewers are reading this, I hope you will understand that this will do nothing to get the book in print, and only harms my reputation as a writer, as people will think the reviews refer to the book itself, not the format in which it was published.
People also think it’s very easy for me to simply take the series somewhere else. Unfortunately that’s not so. Even with very solid numbers (which the series had) other publishers are reluctant to pick up a series that has been cancelled.
The good news is, I have not given up hope on the series. My agent and I are exploring various options, and I very, very much want to finish it out (there are some really magnificent twists coming, I promise you!) With all that is on my plate over the next couple of years, it may be a while before I can get to it. But Kevla, Jareth, Copper and the other Dancers and their Companions are very dear to my heart.
One way or another, I think I’ll find a way to complete their story. After all, that Shadow is still out there….