Oh, the ups and downs of publishing. I figured I better post about this since some of you are starting to wonder… hey, weren’t you supposed to have a book come out around now?
If you’ve been following me any time since 2013, you might have heard me mention The Vanished Chronicles, my sex magic urban fantasy series, that Tor Books bought back then. At one point the first book was slated for release in 2016, but that turned out to not be a realistic target. However, I really didn’t expect it to take an additional three years for it to see the light of day. But that seems to be what’s happening.
A bit of background: I turned in the manuscript in September 2015. A few months after that, David Hartwell (rest in peace) died of a brain bleed, and all of Tor Books was thrown a-kilter as other editors had to try to pick up his workload while simultaneously grieving. I didn’t hear back from my own editor for nine months. (That’s considered a long time by Big 5 publishing standards.)
By the time I did hear back, I had written two other books for other publishers and Trump was on the verge of being elected. I wasn’t the only person who found it difficult to work during the noisy, anxiety ridden months leading up to the election or in the months afterward. The rewrite took longer for me to do than the first draft. I eventually finished it and turned it back in… and it was slated for May 2018 release… and then it mysteriously slipped to September 2018… and then came another long wait for me to hear back on the rewrite.
Notes came back on the revised manuscript asking for just a few last changes to clean it up. I did those. Book two was due on her desk by that point, in September 2017, but by that date my editor still hadn’t signed off on the final rewrite of book one, and I felt I couldn’t write book two until I knew we weren’t making any more changes in book one. Maybe other authors could, but with a complex magic system and an overarching plot to the series, I just stalled.
Meanwhile we had been promoting book one. Many of you have seen the black cover with the ceremonial knife on it. I handed out swag of it at RT and other conventions throughout 2016 and 2017. I started a Thunderclap for it. Et cetera.
In December of 2017, we finally got acceptance of book one with no more changes, and I felt I could finally START really writing book two. At that point though, after two years of delays, my editor’s feeling was that the cover we had been using was rather dated, and honestly she never loved it anyway. I thought it was okay and at least not objectionable, but I would be happy to see a more eye-catching cover put on it. She also felt that this type of series will die on the vine these days if they only market one book at a time without a firm date for the next release. So she said they would like to push back release of book one again until we actually have book two in hand.
If I’d been almost ready to turn book two in, I would have fought and said look, this book is already two years late launching. But the truth is I’ve barely started book two. And I would like to see this series have its best chance to survive. So in December we said let’s go back to square one on the series design, do all three covers at once, and move forward from there.
Of course now in a few days it will be June, and I have seen no sign of new cover designs. And I have not made as much progress on book two as I should have over the winter, but some extenuating circumstances hit me, as well: I took over the Fetish Fair Fleamarket on a temporary basis when NELA’s leadership had a #MeToo era implosion. The good news is that a few days ago I handed over the bank accounts and everything to newly installed board members, the FFF is in good shape, and I can now get back to my life!
Including writing this book. To that end, I’ve also turned down some speaking engagements and cancelled plans to attend some conventions this summer. I won’t be at RWA in Denver.
I *will* be at Worldcon in San Jose in August, however. Hopefully with some shiny brand new cover designs to show you! And maybe even a future release date…? We’ll see how much I write in June and July.