As you have no doubt detected from the melancholy tendency of my latest blog posts, I’ve been going through some personal stuff. Nothing terrible or tragic, thank The Mighty Robot King, but irksome, nonetheless. One of those things is something I feel comfortable talking about now.
Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest will be my last novel with Orbit Books. I’m parting ways with my current publisher. That’s not so troubling. I’ve ended relationships with a publisher before (Tor), and just as in that case, I harbor no ill will toward Orbit. It’s just a question of whether they thought my next book worth publishing, and they made a judgment call. It wasn’t honestly all that surprising, but still, disappointing. Orbit was a fine publisher (as was Tor before), and I wish the company well with all their future endeavors.
Right now, I’m between publishers, though there are promising developments on the horizon. I’m cautiously optimistic, and things are looking up. I’m currently working on a new project, and, yes, it’s my first trilogy. I’ve tried this standalone thing, and I know it’s made me a stronger writer. But it hasn’t been all that great for my career. People like series. A writer has to be realistic. I don’t plan on doing an open-ended series. This will be a trilogy. Not an endless series of adventures in an ongoing universe. It won’t be based on anything I’ve previously written. And that’s about all I can say about it at this point.
I know this trilogy will be good, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been stuck for a long time as a writer, and while I’d like to believe this will be the thing that takes me to the next level, I really have no way of knowing. There’s no way of gauging the audience. You put stuff out there, and you hope for the best.
That’s why series are so popular among publishers and filmmakers. It’s impossible to know what people will like, but if you start with something people already like, you’ve got something somewhat reliable. The new Amazing Spider-Man movie might be great. It might stink. It doesn’t matter. People will see it, and from a business perspective, it’s only sensible to make it. Hell, it even makes sense from an artistic perspective. As a writer, I’ve been discouraged at how much great stuff (as I see it) I’ve written and how little notice it gets outside of a handful of people. That’s not about ego. If I could find one guy who paid me a million dollars a book, I wouldn’t give a damn if anybody else ever read them. Outside of that possibility, I have to play the numbers game. I need to expand my audience, and series are a good way of doing that. Seems like the only way at times.
Lest you think I’m just doing this because I feel I HAVE to, I want to be clear that this was my idea. It’s not much different than what I’ve always sought to do in my career. Something different. I’ve written enough standalone novels (and if you haven’t read them all yet, you really should because they’re all awesome) that writing a trilogy is actually a nice change of pace. It’s a challenge, and that’s invigorating. Will I end up loving at as much as standalone novels? Who can say?
But it’s something to try. We’ll see if it finally vaults me to heights of novelology superstardom or merely gives me a nudge in the right direction.
The future is waiting, Action Force.
I’ll meet you there.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,