Carousel horses

OK I’ve mostly avoided talking about my unpublished books and general writing status, because I tend to view expounding about my own private world as lame. And I tend to think: Does anyone but me care? But lately I’ve been getting questions from friends/coworkers who know I write, with the subtext: what’s taking so fucking long? And that’s nothing compared to my own pure impatience to kick this baby bird out of the nest. So it’s a fair question, and I’m going to squash my reluctance to talk about myself into a little ball for this blog post.

Actually a lot is going on.

To regurgitate the past, here are the basics:

    1. I have a series of epic fantasy novels that I’ve been dorking around with since before Trump’s sixth bankruptcy (I started them around 2007). These actually were based on a novel I started in my teens, but that’s neither here nor there. None of the writing remains from that time.
    2. This series (titled “Spellgiver”) actually started out as one big book, which I have since split into two, “City of Shards” and “In the Claws of the Indigen”. I’m now working on a third (name TBD).
    3. Both completed books have been read by legions of beta-readers, which have collectively deposited more red ink than I knew existed.
    4. Based on all the comments, I have revised and revised and revised both books. And then I revised them again. And then I sent to new waves of beta readers. Yes, like someone with severe personality disorder, I hired a 4th wave of beta readers. Though to be fair, that was mostly because I had finished book2 and they needed to read book1 first anyway, so why not get those comments too. But still, it smacks of OCD.
    5. Waves 3 and 4 of the beta readers (and to some extent the earlier waves) have truly loved both books. I don’t say that lightly, and I’m not trying to sell anything here (see my snake oil page for that). I’m simply stating fact. Everyone whose read these things in the last couple years has found them highly compelling. Not without flaws, but very enjoyable. So, you would think they’re ready to be published.
    6. Yet, none of them have been published, none.
    7. Because. I. Have. Issues.
    8. OK, there are some real reasons why I haven’t done so (see below), but I still can honestly say I don’t know anyone who’s been working on the same set of books for so long without releasing them into the wild. It really does feel very wrong.

So my status now is: I’m working on the 3rd book, and have just hired a cover artist for book1, with the probable intent to publish sometime in early 2018 (see below for why I say “probable”). My goal is to publish book1 in about Feb-March of 2018, Book 2 about 3 months after that, and Book 3 about 3 months after that, assuming it is ready.

So why haven’t I released book1 yet? Two reasons:

    1. Reason 1: Last January, an editor from a UK publishing house requested to see the full manuscript after reading a partial at the SDSU writer’s conference. Then in March, an agent also requested to see the full manuscript for Book 1. The UK editor opportunity went away, but the agent still has it. So technically there’s still a chance it may be traditionally published, though this is not the holy grail for me that it once was. In some ways I almost prefer to self-pub, but I’m going to wait a little longer for the agent to get back to me.
    2. Reason 2: Theory of momentum. This is a theory I have heard that when people see the first book in a series (especially a self-pub series), they will hold off purchase until they see at least one other book in the series, and maybe the third also. The reason is that many self-pub authors start out with a series and then get bored and never write book2. No one wants to get invested in a series that will never be a series. And while having two books is better, if it is a trilogy, people are less likely to buy unless they know that book3 is out or coming soon. So part of my reason for delaying is that I want to have the third book  ½ to ¾ written before I release book1.

So there you have it. Although this has taken way too long due to previous slow decisions, my delay now is about strategery and marketing. At least in theory.

Still, publishing day is coming. Assuming I don’t go the traditionally published route, book 1 of the Spellgiver series “City of Shards” (Morphat name went bye-bye) will be out in Q1 of 2018.

And I can’t wait.