First, Soulless is over, all but the first five chapters are down from the site, but the full book is available in the store. It’s still PWYC (sorta–there are a bunch of price options in lieu of the old donation button) with the lowest option being $3 because this is a full-length novel–not a novella or short story, but just a little shorter than my usual work–and that seemed fair.
Second…River has funded.
River is set to release toward the end of next month, because you guys are AWESOME.
Melissa is organizing the blog tour and you can sign up here if you’re a blogger.
Campaign contributors: I’ve been picking up perk items and updates are incoming, I’ve just had a really rough June. Thank you so much for your patience.
What About the Sequel?
For the sequel, Wolfe…because the funding reached it’s stretch goal, Wolfe will be republished. Because, again, you guys are AWESOME.
It won’t be on my plate until next year but it will re-release in at least ebook sometime in 2015, after rewrites and such. The cover is done and will be revealed in the back of River.
What I’m Working On (or Not)…
The biggest news I have is that, other than River releasing…I will likely have no news for the next several months.
A few inquiries came in around the same time in May about Demons of Oblivion–questioning when I’m going to get going on the next book and the ones after it, etc. I sat down and did the math, looking at precisely how many copies Exhumed sold in two years to see if I could justify the time spent on Oblivion this year.
The result is that I had to make the difficult decision to take Oblivion off my plate this year and cancel all planned books after it.
[this is not a decision I made lightly, so below are details for those who care; otherwise, just skip to the next heading]
I have to split my writing time (which I siphon from my freelancing time, since I’m in my 30s now and physically can’t bear 16hr days at the computer) between passion projects and pay projects. Passion projects are what I write for my own sanity; pay projects are what I write for money.
Unfortunately, Oblivion is currently at the bottom of both project lists.
Even writing quickly as I do with a solid zero draft, I can only pull off 3-4 books a year if I want them to have any emotional depth and care to them. They’re each 90K-100K words long, and that can be anywhere from 200 to 300 hours per book. And as I write very deep first person, the books are emotionally draining and require a recovery period.
In nearly two years, the amount of money I’ve made on Exhumed is under $2 per hour spent on it.
And that’s a book written quickly, five months spent on three drafts, plus edits, and taking in consideration that I’ve sold twice as many books after striking out on my own. The reality is that Oblivion will sell even fewer copies because it’s “not a Zara book” regardless of the fact that every book is a “Zara book” and what the rest have all been leading to. I will also have to pay out of pocket* to have it edited. At this rate, a decade could go by before Oblivion is worth the time sunk into it.
I get that the series is unfinished and a full-length novel hasn’t come out since mid-2012, and that sucks for readers. And I am really sorry about that.
But, to be blunt, what sucks MORE is that I lost twelve pounds in May because I couldn’t afford groceries and had to ration the food already on hand for the next four to six weeks. I am up to my eyes in vet bills with more on the horizon and it will actively cause my dog harm if I’m unable to pay for treatment. I don’t say this for pity, but as an example of the reality I live with. We write for the love, yes, but we publish for the money.
I’m not just intentionally dicking around with Oblivion or procrastinating: it’s financially irresponsible for me to make this series a priority.
Further, I’ve been saying for two years now, “future books will depend on sales” which was my nice way of saying, “I am extremely doubtful but I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet.” Bloodlines has been out in one form or another since 2008. Exhumed has been out since 2012. These books have had long enough. It’s not fair for me to keep telling readers “maybe” when all evidence has pointed to a definitive “no” for years.
You guys deserve better than that.
So What Does that Mean for Oblivion?
Oblivion will still go exactly as I’d planned it. It caps off one arc and lays the threads for the next. Those threads just won’t be picked up again** but it will have, I hope, a satisfying conclusion.***
It just won’t happen until next year at the earliest because I have to be in a more financially secure place before I can make it priority.
I have many wonderful supportive readers and I am so incredibly grateful that you found the books and have followed them, and that they (hopefully) brought you some entertainment and escape. And I wish I could do better by you, and I wish I could’ve done better by the story. I love the characters, I love the world, and while I’m tremendously proud of it, I don’t think the, “What ifs” will ever stop playing in my head.
Realistically, I think there was a lot stacked against the series–some on my end, as I don’t make the, er, “traditional” marketing choices in what I write (alternating narrators for starters)–while other factors were out of my control in terms of the (lack of) promotional push the books had in small press way back when they debuted, and my lack of financial means to give them continual pushes now. And there’s also the “click” factor–some books click with enough readers to sustain them and take off, others don’t, and we’ll never know why.****
Regardless, it’s done. And it’s a bit of a relief to let it go because my stress level doesn’t need the guilt I’ve been feeling.
So that is where things stand. River will likely be out at the end next month. Usually my next quarterly state of the union is in October but I might skip it in favor of a January one; I’m hibernating for a few months to work on things so I don’t get kicked out of my apartment. I have a lot of irons in the fire right now, including for-pay writing projects that need 100% of my focus.
Thank you again for the time you’ve spent with my world and characters, and for your continued interest in more works by me. You are few, but you are mighty, and your love for these fictional people means the world to me. I wouldn’t trade you for anything.
(Except Doritos. I’d probably trade you for Doritos right now. But only Sweet Chili Heat. Maybe Jalapeno Cheddar.)
* A reader offered to lend me money to publish Oblivion (and I know others might as well), but a. it’s not just the cost of editing/publishing: the real issue is the time invested, and art patrons are unfortunately no longer A Thing (I know about Patreon, but I’d need a couple thousand regular readers to sustain that given 2-4% might donate), and b. I don’t accept loans from anyone ever.
And I’m not terribly comfortable doing another crowdfunding thing. Oblivion would end up tapping the same people, and I absolutely refuse to dip into the pool of my friends to give me money every time I want to publish a book.
** Unless, of course, future books leap onto the pleasure project list, in which case I’ll one day consider releasing them.
*** If you’re only reading for Zara/Nate, I’ll stop you right here. Nate is barely in the book. There is no conclusion to their relationship (unless I decide to kill one of them). It is *not* paranormal romance series; it is urban fantasy and, as such, the main plot arc is not about two people hooking up so it is not my focus.
**** It was actually suggested that people won’t buy/review/recommend my books because of my name. o.O
I am an obscure UF writer from small press which is not known for its marketing. Exposure is pretty hit or miss, and for me it’s been miss. Further…look, if you’re not reading my books because you don’t like my name? That’s your loss. IT’S MY NAME, not a “brand”. My identity. It’s who I am, and after being made fun of for it during most of my school years, I have embraced it and it’s important to me. If that’s enough to turn anyone off of my work, I wish them well elsewhere.
ETA Nov 1014: Also? Turns out I am really fucking sick. So I’m on a hiatus from publishing for a least a little while.