State of Publishing, Plans & Projects
So, things have been happening the last few weeks—err, months.
It’s fitting that my last blog post was about my love of Buffy, because the 20th anniversary hit me pretty hard. As in, I dove headfirst back into fandom. I decided to give my Spuffy fanfic backlist an edit, which is slow coming but worth it, as I am truly proud of the work I did there. I have completed two edits (as I said, slow but worth it), and I’m actively working on a WIP I abandoned in 2008.
Other things have happened, obviously. I had what I had been charitably calling an ambitious writing schedule that has more or less completely fallen apart. Books that I had planned to have done in spring still have a ways to go before I can put a pin in them. Among these were some re-releases. I’m beginning to think I need to rethink my entire publishing schedule, because my calendar is pretty damn full with re-releases now.
Two weeks ago, I requested back the rights to all five of my Sinners & Saints books. I received them this morning. Which means that, yet again, these books are unavailable for purchase. I’m beginning to think I need to rethink my entire publishing schedule, because my calendar is pretty damn full with re-releases now.
My decision to leave my publisher had nothing to do with my experience there. It was, hands down, the best publisher I had the privilege to work with as an author. The editing staff was phenomenal, the author liaison staff friendly and helpful, and the process of getting these books back (even though I bought out my contracts—something I’ve never done before) easier than any other publisher with whom I’ve parted ways.
My reasons for leaving the publisher were personal. It boils down to my desire to be completely independent. The publishing world is changing so rapidly—there was no way I could have predicted what would happen to the (now nonexistent) publishers I have worked with previously. Each announcement of closure, staff cuts, and policy changes hit me from nowhere. In at least two instances, I was all but certain the books I had with those publishers would be lost forever. I have never been so happy to be wrong.
The move to take back the Sinners & Saints series is preemptive. I truly believe that we’re still in the middle of a larger industry shift. It took a while for the Yellow Pages to become obsolete after Google became a thing, but with little exception, no sane advertiser would recommend their clients spend money in Yellow Pages in 2017. If we look at the rapidity of changes just over the past few years, it’s evident that the market hasn’t quite landed on a new normal. The advent of self-publishing has changed the way books are published; if the small publishers are feeling the pressure now, the big ones aren’t too far behind.
This is my prediction, at least. I work in marketing in my day job, so it’s hard not to see how the internet has changed the face of business itself, never mind publishing. But the two are definitely related.
All this to say, I made the decision to request those books back now because I knew, ultimately, that they were not going to be there forever. I knew that self-publishing these books was the end-goal. I didn’t want to stop writing the series and I wanted to be in charge of when books were released. It didn’t make sense to me to continue writing and publishing them with a publisher when I knew my personal long-haul objective was different.
So – when are the books coming back?
Look, I’m not kidding myself. The books aren’t in demand. They’re important to me, yes, but very few people have read them, as is evidenced by my Amazon sales rank. That said, I am enormously proud of each of these books—of the series—and I feel the reason they aren’t more widely read is due to several things. The competitive market, sure, the saturation of paranormal romance, visibility, Amazon algorithms, and so on. Thing is, most of those things can’t be controlled. But something can be.
The time between books.
I started writing this series in 2010. I had no idea at the time that it was going to be a series, or that it wouldn’t be complete nearly eight years later. I’ve had a number of major life events over the last few years, including a marriage, buying a new house, taking care of my sick father, and then losing him to cancer. I also wasn’t an editor for what was (in 2010) a very active publisher. I wasn’t an in-demand freelance editor, either. In short: I had more time, which was why the bridge between books 1 and 2 was so narrow. It took me 2 years to write Book 4 and a year to write Book 5. Book 6 is nearly done, and I have one more Sin to go before we get to Lucifer. In short, trying to schedule my publishing life is a nightmare. I have two demanding jobs that I have to answer to before I get writing time. That’s just the way it is. And it’s not doing the series any favors by releasing books sporadically.
So I’m going to wait until Book 7 is done before I release the existing books again. The good news is Book 6 is nearly done, and now that I have the rights back to the rest of the series, I feel more motivated to bust the rest of this out.
In the meantime, I need to seriously reorganize my writing schedule. Now that all the balls are in my court, I get to change the rules.