Monday, November 27, 2006

BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS: A long discussion on the vagaries of publishing

You have been warned. This is going to be a long one.

I've been absent from the 2 B Read blog for several months (I know, you probably didn't notice) because I received some devastatingly bad business news. My publisher decided not to publish the third book in my contract. They paid me for it, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been, and they offered to possibly, maybe publish it as an e-book another year or so down the road, but the book in a paper format--the third book in a fantasy trilogy--was off the schedule. And I couldn't bring myself to blog about it here. I did post it on my own blog, but that's a little more private--those who read it are mostly fans and friends. Blogging about it here...was just too hard.

Partly because I didn't know what to say. Partly because--well, if you talk about awful news in public, that makes it more real. And partly because it seemed like...I don't know...inflicting my misery on other people...airing dirty laundry in public--that sort of thing.

The book was cancelled because sales of the first two books did not live up to expectations. The first one did fairly well, but orders from the bookstores of the second one went way down--who knows why. Which resulted in the reality of the entertainment business these days. Television shows get canceled within four episodes. Movies get yanked or sent straight to video if they don't get good buzz. And book contracts get canceled, and the authors have to write under another pen name. This is an object lesson for readers in the value of buying new to support authors they like, and for authors in the value of getting our book-eggs into many publisher-baskets.

But the title of this blog post is Bad News, Good News, and my sad story has a happy ending. I went to the World Fantasy Conference in Austin at the first of November (because Austin is semi-close and I could attend cheap by staying with my parents) and chatted up several editors there, including a couple of editors for new small press fantasy and/or paranormal romance imprints. I actually never met the paranormal romance editor, though I went by looking for her several times. But friends of mine met her. And one of them pitched my third Rose book to this editor. And later, she shared contact information, with the end result that the editor tracked me down at a writer's group meeting on a Saturday afternoon and made an offer to buy the book sight unseen.

Juno Books is a brand-new small-press publisher, so they will not have the vast distribution of the first publisher, but they will be bringing the book out in trade paperback format, like the first two books, and they will be bringing it out in July, 2007, only one month after it was originally scheduled for publication. I am thrilled for my readers--and for me, of course, but mostly for my readers who were unhappy at the prospect of not getting the last book in the trilogy. They will be able to get the book in a quality paper edition. And Juno Books will have some guaranteed sales because of my wonderful loyal readers, which will be good for them as a new, small publisher. Win-win-win.

Writing books is a roller coaster business, but as long as I don't get into any loop-de-loops, I'm going to stick with it. I always liked roller coasters...

5 comments:

Colleen Thompson said...

Hugs to you on the book's cancellation. That's a hard blow, but if you're in publishing long enough, you see just about everything that can happen. Happily, GREAT stuff happens sometimes, too, and your new contract is a fine example. Congratulations to you, and I hope it leads to bigger and better things.

L. Faye Hughes said...

Gail,

Mega congrats on the new sale. I love happy endings.

Faye, tossing handfuls of glittery gold confetti into the air and generally making merry

Kalen Hughes said...

So glad to hear some GOOD news. Congrats on finding a home for the third book. I KNOW your fans will be pleased!

Nancy Morse said...

Ah yes, the ups and downs of publishing. Not for the faint of heart or the thin-skinned. Not all such stories have a happy ending, but I'm sure glad yours did, Gail. Congratulations.

Gail Dayton said...

Thanks all. It's a crazy business, but lots more fun than asking "Do you want fries with that?" :)