I was reminded that I have new readers who might not have heard the explanation of why so many of my series are missing their endings, so I thought it would be a good time to talk about that again!
In the long, long ago, when I first started trying to become a professional published writer, the only way novels could ever get into anyone’s hands was through a major publisher placing them in a physical bookstore. I had done a lot more short story writing than I really wanted to, not being a natural at short lengths, but my real heart was in novels. After selling a few shorts, then, I returned to my real goal: to place a novel.
Now, there were about… five? Five publishers at that point accepting unsolicited submissions, so for every novel I wrote I had five opportunities for a sale. But once that manuscript had been to all five places, I was done for: that book was dead in the water. It didn’t matter if it was the beginning of a promising series; there was no point in writing the sequels because no one had bought the first one. Any time I spent writing the sequel was time I was taking away from writing a new “book 1″ for some other series that might catch someone’s eye. And that was actually a smart business decision, even for the languishing, unwanted stories, because if some new book succeeded I might be able to pitch the previous, unwanted series to an editor now predisposed to want more from me.
I write fast, so you can probably imagine what happened next: I wrote a lot of “Book 1″s, hoping to get an “in” somewhere so I could finally start writing Books 2, 3, 17, whatever.
There were a couple of near misses, and those near misses resulted in sequels: “Her Instruments” exists as a complete trilogy because a Roc editor liked the second book but said, “this sounds like it needs a prequel, though. Send me that one.” So by gosh, I wrote her Earthrise and sent it off, and while she was considering it I polished off Book 3 in case she wanted the whole set… which she… may have, but I would never know because she moved on from that imprint and the editor who replaced her wasn’t interested in her predecessor’s history with me.
But for the most part, what happened was that I wrote a lot of beginnings and no endings because I was looking for that first contract. That first contract almost happened twice, but never came through, and then the publishing revolution hit… and now finally you can all read all these stories I’ve been sitting on for so long—
—that don’t have endings. But that’s okay, because now I can write them.
And that’s the short tale of how a messed-up industry gave me a wonky inventory. By 2015 I think I’ll have finished off all those trunked novels/series, though, and I can concentrate on all the new stories which I’m continuing to develop at the same time as I’m polishing off the old ones.
Mirrored from MCAH Online.