Endings and Beginnings

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.

Keelah Se’lai

Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,


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  1. Posted May 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Have read everything and am looking forward to this trilogy. Hopefully you’re writing a world in which you’ll love to be in! As an indie filmmaker, I know how hard it is to get your stuff out there but you’re WAY far ahead of a lot of people so that’s awesome : )
    Keep writing and we’ll keep reading!!!

  2. JB Sanders Jr
    Posted May 1, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear that bit of news Alex, you are a good writer and a great story teller, and some of the things you come up with I can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. You gotta hook up with a new publisher, or an old one, to keep me from trolling through the gutters to get my yearly Martinez fix. I don’t want to have to hang around in those parts of town any more. Know that the Action Force is behind you.

    The Commodore

  3. Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    And Alex said, “let there be a series.” And it was good.

  4. Greg Lowry
    Posted May 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait.

  5. Beau A
    Posted May 3, 2014 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    Excited about an upcoming trilogy; if your stand alone books are great, then a trilogy will be thrice as great, right?Or does it work exponentially so your trilogy will be great cubed? I do have to ask, since it was mentioned a while back, what is the prognosis on the short story collection?

    • Beau A
      Posted May 5, 2014 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      Oops, I just realized the short story collection has been available on Amazon for Kindle since December.

  6. Shawn P. Bellamy
    Posted May 4, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    This sucks! Now we have to wait even longer for a new book.
    I like to think you are on low simmer, now you are turning up the heat. You made a fan of me now and I will buy anything you write but this just might help others to find you.
    BTW…Who are you anyway…Lee or Alex?

  7. Posted May 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Lee, ever since I discovered your writing, you have been one of my heroes. While I have always admired your willingness to stick to your guns about writing single books instead of series, there is nothing innately bad about an ongoing saga and I am sure you’ll bring your usual panache to the project. And hey, if it gets more people to notice your previous works, all the better.

    That said, I hope we aren’t going to lose out on One of These Doomsdays.

  8. Posted May 10, 2014 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about the irksome changes, but hope the cautious optimism proves fruitful.

    I have read several of your novels, and what I have always admired about them is your versatility in setting and your genre-bending, while also retaining your own voice. I love the fact that your books have been stand alone, because it has allowed you, as a writer, a much broader playground to explore, and, as a reader, take that journey with you. While I like some of your novels better than others, I have always respected your voice, and courage to do something new. Many authors, after their first book won an Alex and got some decent buzz, would have continued the adventures of those characters until they wound up becoming parodies of the original book. I like the fact that you didn’t create a series just for the sake of having a series.
    I have also suspected that the reason your career hasn’t catapulted is for the same reason I have admired it so much. Sadly, in the genre(s) you write in, audiences feel the need for a series. As though one good story with a conclusion isn’t enough. There is a true craving for an extensive mythology, people want to argue whether every detail is “canon” or not.
    You are correct— from a career standpoint, writing a trilogy (and, more to the point, selling a trilogy) gives publishers and audiences a proposed future to invest in.
    It’s all good. I am certain you won’t just write A trilogy for the sake of it—there are many great trilogies out there with wonderful self-contained books that are an integral part of one giant story. I will look forward to reading yours.
    All the best to you, and thank you for your books. It’s hard to break formulas in a formula-driven market, and be an original voice. Keep it up.

  9. Brian Woods
    Posted May 11, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    I’ve recently stumbled across your books and I am chewing through them. Thank you very much.

    I am sorry to hear you are having trouble, but I am very much enjoying your books, and recommending them to everyone I know (I have one particular buddy who’s a sucker for anything that combines detectives and sci-fi, so I think I can hook him by introducing him to Mr. Megaton,)

    Anyways I just wanted to say thank you, and that I am looking forward to the new trilogy (and to the couple of your older books I haven’t yet gotten to!)

  10. Kelly
    Posted May 18, 2014 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Whichever publisher is wise enough to have you on their roster will be lucky. Your story telling is fantastic! And your fans don’t care which publisher markets them as long as you are writing them. Just keep us posted so we can run out to the bookstore or click on Amazon the minute they are released. Thank you for your work. You make life just a little more fun for your readers.

  11. Posted May 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I know you’ve expressed your dissatisfaction with publishers before and the business and trying to make a career out of this, and I wouldn’t be saying this except that I’ve read the above concerns, worries, etc. over and over again on this blog.

    So, I would encourage looking into publishing your own work. You’ve made your opinions pretty clear on that, this is just advice from someone who sees another person miserable with their current approach to things. You might think self publishing is arrogant, that it fills the market with bad stuff from authors who aren’t ready. Whatever you might think about us, I find it difficult to believe they contribute so much value to your work that you couldn’t be an author without them.

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