|ACE won't be finishing the Heroes series but I will
||[Aug. 30th, 2011|07:16 pm]
So, ACE won’t be publishing the rest of Lee and Taro’s story.
If you’re put off by the followed tl:dr block of text, I’ll say at the beginning that I’m finishing it anyway and putting it on my blog and/or website for people to read for free.
I feel awful about this news. I’ve been asked some questions about future stories, and I didn’t know how to get around that. Believe me, I thought long and hard about the interview with Bookaholics Romance Book Club, how to answer those questions, given that I wasn’t prepared to give my announcement at that time. I decided to go with what I considered the truth. I was writing a bunch of stories, and I was writing a book. They would be available for people to read. They just weren’t going to be published.
There will be no changing of minds this time, and the hope that there would be was not the reason I’ve waited to tell everyone of this decision. I like to think I’m a logical person, and to hope for a second reversal simply wasn’t logical. While I was shocked and disappointed to be told ACE wouldn’t be publishing any more books – I thought the books were doing better than they obviously were – what I had with ACE were two-book contracts, and I was well aware of the possibility that ACE would choose not to renew.
The most selfish reason for the delay is SpoCon. I had known about it for quite a long time. I had never had a book signing and I had never been a panellist at a convention. I may never do those things again. I wanted to go and participate and enjoy without having to talk about the fact that the other books weren’t going to be published.
Another reason that I waited to tell everyone was that I was hoping to have some information about the team book. ACE doesn’t want it, (Am I supposed to admit that? Have I just ticked off my agent?) and my agent is currently shopping it around. It’s probably unreasonable to expect an answer of any kind so soon, but it really bugs me that I don’t have one to give you, whether someone wants to publish it or everyone hates it. Kind of like it bugs me when people take ice cubes out of the tray out of order. Or how it really bugs me when there aren’t enough decent apples/pears/whatever fruit in the grocery bin to pick out six. Because I can’t buy five. I won’t even touch them if there are only five. And don’t try to make me buy seven. That’s just wrong.
That seems like a tangent but I’m actually trying to make a point.
Here’s the thing. Would I love to be a bestselling author? You bet. Would I love to be able to live off my writing? Definitely. But the advantage to not relying on my writing for a living is that I can write a book while knowing that no one will want to publish it.
I started writing Lee’s story in 1997. Yes, fourteen years. Those who think I write slowly now should have seen me back in the days before deadlines. I have been planning the grand finale from the beginning. I’ve left hints in all the other books about what’s going to happen. There is no way I would leave the story unfinished. It would make me all twitchy, like trying to buy five apples.
I’ve never left a writing project unfinished. My horrible first book had a horrible sequel. I wrote a ridiculous trilogy with an elven main character and was clattering away at the third even while getting rejected for the first. I’ve always had a grand arc for this series. It took longer than I’d expected to get there, but now that I’ve gotten this close, I can’t just leave it hanging with all the threads dangling out. That’s just messy.
After I learned that the rest of the series wasn’t going to be published, my ideas about what to do with it began to change. I’ve been speaking for years about writing a book from the point of view of another character, but as I got closer to that part of the story, I became convinced that a) the publisher wouldn’t go for it and b) it wouldn’t really work. However, now I can do whatever I want, and what I want to do is take that same portion of the story and write it in a collection of short stories, from the points of view of a whole bunch of characters.
And that is going to be damned fun.
And then I’ll wrap it up in one final, slightly larger book.
The primary purpose for the delay is that I wanted to provide a sort of proof that I would be finishing the story for those who would be interested in reading it. You don’t know me. You don’t know that I finish what I start. I wanted to be able to show you that I have already put serious work into this, and that I have written the first chapter.
I’m hoping to have the whole final book on this blog for anyone to read on September 1, 2012. That’s the goal. Along the way, I will be posting short stories. The way I’m planning it, readers won’t have to have read the short stories to understand the final book, but my wish is that the short stories will provide some extra insight into why characters are behaving the way they are.
Maybe no one will be interested in a book that isn’t professionally published. I wouldn’t blame anyone for that. And I’m certainly apprehensive about people learning just how much professional editing has improved my writing. But this is what I have to do.
Above is a photo of my work to date. (Meant to be below, but my skill with computers was as reliable as usual.) At the top are the notes I’ve taken while rereading the first six books. On the left is the list of short stories as it stands now. The list will get longer. On the right is the outline. On the bottom is the first chapter.
It’s going to be a fun year.
But Ace seems to have a habit of doing that to series.
You still may be able to publish those books electronically and still get paid for your work.
I know of 3 or 4 previously published authors who've done so with some success.
2011-08-31 12:11 am (UTC)
I am, at this time, not comfortable with the idea of charging people for a book that hasn't been professionally edited. I have looked into hiring an editor, but the cost is enormous.
What bookMobiler said.
I know some other authors who've moved self pub and done well.
I'm pleased to hear that we're going to find out what happens but I do hope another publisher picks up the series
I don't know that it's likely another publisher would publish the last book of a series that didn't do well elsewhere. I've gotten used to the idea of just putting it on my blog.
ACE is foolish in my opinion for not finishing the series. I love it and will be reading whatever you put up on your site. I am crazy about your characters and writing style and am so beyond pleased that you will be finishing it out for us. Thank you so much for that--please know that it will be enjoyed.
Thank you so much. (And you're welcome. :D) I truly can't imagine not finishing the story.
2011-08-30 11:47 pm (UTC)
I'd pay for it.
I'm heartbroken that they won't publish the rest of the story, and I can only imagine how you feel. I'm so very sorry. Publishers seem to be doing this to a lot of good authors lately, from what I read. Even with good sales, they cut authors because it's not a huge bestseller.
Self-publishing might work, especially as you have an audience. And there are some small presses out there doing the e-book market.
I'm selfishly happy to learn that you'll continue the story; I've loved Lee and Taro from the first, and I'm dying to see how it all ends. I've been curious about the grand story arc and where it's going, too. :) And I hope the team book has better success.
As I said above, I'd definitely pay for it if you wanted to charge, or if you choose an alternative publishing method. Heck, I was happily paying for it before.
Thank you so much. I know it's getting tougher for traditional publishing companies, but it is hard to be one of the ones to get the axe.
I don't feel comfortable with self-publishing purely because of the fact that people are paying for a book that hasn't been professionally edited. However, the idea of an e-book publishing company is interesting, as I assume they do edit their books. And they're cheaper, right?
For now, I'm just going to focus on the writing. If some fantastic way of giving people an easy-to-read format - because it's going to be a nightmare for people to read it off the blog - comes to me over the course of the year, then I'll reconsider.
Thank you for directing me their way.
*waves hand frantically* I'll read it!! I don't care if it's not professionally published! I buy books from comic artists at conventions. People who publish their own stuff. I'll gladly pay for anything you publish online! Or print in book form from Kinkos. Whatever!! I'll buy it!! ^_^
And on the plus side, no more pics of Taro holding a sword and Lee (wearing clothes she wouldn't be caught dead in) with weird lights and fog coming out of her hands. Accentuate the positive! Look forward to more adventures with Lee and Taro!!
LOL, thank you. I have to admit I'm surprised that no one seems to care about the lack of professional editing. But then, they might not really know just the kind of changes good editing can make.
And a talented friend of mine has already offered to design a cover.
Having no e-reader, I'm not a fan of e-books, but surely in this digital day and age it must be easier than ever to self-publish without the stigma? I'm sure I've seen the topic on Smart Bitches
before... Hell, there's also Kickstarter
, which I know for a fact some webcomic authors are using to fund runs of their own books.
Are you concerned about editing simply in terms of catching grammar and spelling, or the sort of editing that goes "I think this chapter takes away from your main plot but this section could be fleshed out"? I'm sure you can find better options, but copy-editing is something I do regularly at my job. I'd be happy to help if you ever need a resource.
It's truly not any feeling of stigma that I am leery of regarding self-publishing. (Ugh, grammar. See? This is why I need an editor.) There are a lot of really talented people who should be published but aren't, so if this is the only way they can get their books out there, I'm all for it. But for me, the cost is prohibitive. I don't mind giving a self-published stranger a try when the book is six or seven dollars, but I can't see paying twenty-five or thirty dollars for a short book with no editing.
If I were to hire someone to edit my book, I would love it all. Typos to inconsistent characterization and plot holes. If you would like to email me, at some point, at firstname.lastname@example.org, I'd love to discuss the details, though it will be many months before the book will be fit to be read.
Oh no! That's terrible news about your publisher. I'm so glad you're continuing the series, though--I hate it when publishers drop a series and the author never finishes it. And it seems to be happening more and more often. I know of two other authors in the same boat this year, and I love their books.
I do hope you go with a good small press so I can continue to support you by buying your books. Has your agent approached any other publishers about picking up the last book or books of the series? Night Shade Books might be a good one to approach; they pay modest advances and get books into bookstores, although they're still pretty small as publishers go. Or you could go with one of the bigger epresses like Double Dragon. You won't get an advance, but you'll be assigned an editor and will get modest royalties. (I'm not entirely unbiased here--for one thing, I would love to be able to buy your next book as an ebook rather than having to convert the text myself from a blog post to an epub file so I can read it on my ereader; for another thing, Double Dragon has published two of my books and I know they do a good job.)
Personally, I think the series might do phenomenally if reissued with a set of decent covers. Good luck, though, whatever you decide to do. I hope you keep writing no matter what!
Well, I can see why authors don't continue with a series if they're not going to make money from it. That's a piece of advice professional writers give to budding writers again and again. Don't write a second novel until you know the first is going to be published, or something like that. They say keep writing, of course, just don't waste your time on that series until you know it's going to be picked up.
I have no problem with that. Writers usually hope to make money from they're writing. I'd love to be able to live off my writing, too.
But it's also really important to me that I like what I'm doing. This is a hobby. It has to be fun. I don't consider finishing the story a waste of time. And if I didn't finish, that would bug me for the rest of my life. That's melodramatic, but it's true.
And I'm honoured that you would be prepared to pay for the book. Thank you.
I'm really glad that you will be finishing the books, and I think it would be great if you had a way for people to pay you money for an ebook or a print on demand version, or an audiobook, or something.
So far, people have given me a tonne of suggestions about where to go to self-publish, or small publishers who might be willing to take on the last book. That was unexpected, and it makes me feel wonderful.
I'm so sorry to hear about this. But I want you to know that if you decide to sell it online, I will buy a copy.
Thank you. I'm kind of astonished at the number of people who have said the same thing.
Truth about the covers. My copy of Heroes at Odds arrived the other day and when I opened it I felt the need to defend it from its cover!
I'm sure that a lot of the people who've been with it from the beginning would buy it no matter what (I know that I will if it becomes available in that form!) but there is the likelihood of less fresh interest in it.
So, downer on the loss of ACE publishing, but thank you so much for continuing to release the story in your own way!
Yeah, I feel delighted to learn of people discovering the series so long after the first book was released, but that's not likely to happen when people realize the series isn't going to be finished. I'm writing the rest for people currently reading the series, not really in the hope of attracting new readers.
2011-08-31 09:38 am (UTC)
You are one of my favorite authors and I love Lee & Taro, so I’m very happy that you are going to finish the series in whichever way possible.
Sorry for my bad English, I’m Swedish so English isn’t my first language.
First, thank you. Second, your English seems perfect. I have enormous respect for people who acquire a second (or third or more) language. I tried it with French and it was a disaster.
I'm really sorry they decided against publising the rest of the series. I only discovered your books four months ago but I've been looking forward to following the series to the final book - I'm relieved that I still can in one form or another.
I think it's admirable of you to finish Lee and Taro's story, not everyone would spare the time to do so and I think it's great you can use this opportunity to try something new. I hope you'll get positive feedback for the team book, until then keep up with the good work.
So far, I've gotten no response to the team book. If no one wants it, I'll be putting that on my blog, too.
2011-08-31 10:20 am (UTC)
Very long comment with thoughts on this - without having read any of the other comments
I feel for you in this decision of the publishers, and I'll read what you want to put out in the way of Lee & Taro in any case - but I was wondering (in the interest of at least getting SOME revenue from your labour of love) if you might not decide to join a group (of course I have no idea if they have open spaces, but there seem to be regularly new members) like the Book View Cafè
- who not only re-release old books of the members but new books that have not found a publisher - and they release it on their site and via Smashwords, which eventually distributes to B&N and Apple, and they release it on Kindle.
I have no idea how the editing and proofing is shared or what a member must do in return for getting the support of the others, but it wouldn't hurt to ask, I'd think.
Regarding covers - manipulated stock photography, old - in the public domain - paintings - or in the case of some Sherwood Smith books even her own artwork have all been used (maybe you've got a Deviantart fan who would donate a cover to you for your efforts?)
- a GNU open source epub editor, which takes .txt and .html files and compiles them into .epub format, there's Calibre
(which does have flaws but is also free) to turn an .epub into other formats - there are even book cover and digital conversion services offered (Moriah Jovan, whose books are excellently formatted, does that but has a long waiting list
). There are professional editors offering their work, too (so many have been laid off, after all) - for that matter Laura Anne Gilman at BVC used to be one (apart from being an author). She might know good people for the genre.
It would all depend on how much money you were willing and able to spend, of if you'd want to spend the additional time and do it all yourself (Michelle West
is rereleasing 30 of her short stories, slowly but surely and did at least get professional covers done. I think all else she did herself. She's Canadian, too, so maybe you know her and could ask about her experiences there...) Sharon Lee of the Liaden Universe has done/is doing the same with the previously in print available chapbooks
. Diane Duane is doing it with her older work
, Lois McMaster Bujold seems to be doing it with UK ebook versions of the Vorkosiverse.
Basically I think you ought to get some money from the people with ebook readers ^^. At least add a Donation button when you put stuff up.
2011-08-31 04:07 pm (UTC)
Re: Very long comment with thoughts on this - without having read any of the other comments
Thank you for this enormous list of options. You must have put so much time into it. And I can't believe so many well known authors are doing this. Apart from everything else, it's fascinating watching how this relatively new way of publishing is developing.
I'm sorry to hear about Ace but I agree with everyone else regarding buying it if you self-publish. As a regular Literotica reader, the lack of professional editing has never stopped me from reading a story I like. It makes me happy that you'll finish Lee & Taro's story and I'm really looking forward to reading it.
Fortunately, I've got at least a couple of people who have volunteered to read through the book and be brutal. (Though polite, of course. Anyone who tears into me instead of my writing isn't going to get read.) They're both avid readers. So that makes me feel a little better.
2011-08-31 02:30 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear that, but I have to say that I really respect you for finishing off the series. I hope you have fun!
I anticipate having a lot of fun. One of the benefits of not having to satisfy an editor is I can do whatever I want! Not necessarily a good thing, as we've all seen from huge bestselling authors who aren't edited anymore, but the possibilities are there.
Hm. Boycotting Ace now.
I'm furious. From what I can tell, they've been doing this sort of thing to you from almost the start - and now they're just pulling away like little...fucking assholes. Sorry, but this is true. I'm pissed off, as a fan, as a writer, and as someone who genuinely feels for you and is really upset and sad for you. I can't imagine how horrible this feels.
I also second the whole "checking out smaller presses" or "publishing electronically" vote, but I also know that this means your audience will be smaller - which sucks, since not everyone has access to online books and sources.
That being said, I will support you and definitely continue to purchase the Archives of the Triple S Series in whatever format you have. Ace is pulling a bullshit, asshat, diva-fuck move, and they need to know it.
Thank you for thinking to boycott ACE, I'm honoured, but by doing so you're also boycotting ACE's authors. While I did feel horrible when I first found out, I've gotten used to the idea, and have even come to see some advantages to it. And it's not as though I'll stop writing. If I never get professionally published again, I'll just keep putting my stuff up on my blog. And I'm happy to do that.
I am making notes of all the suggestions being made. I'm still leaning towards putting my story up for free, but I might as well know my options, right?
2011-08-31 03:35 pm (UTC)
ACE is stupid.
I'm glad you didn't let it get you down though, and that you are still planning to post it on your blog (and I would happily buy a self-published version :D). I can't wait to see what you have in store for Lee and Taro next, and every time you talk about your team book, i itch to get my hands on it. I wouldn't worry too much about the editing... even professionally edited books end up with errors, and knowing how concerned about it you are, I'm sure your readers will be more lenient :)
Oh, I agree that even professionally edited works have their problems. When I reread any of the books, I'm hit with errors and contradictions and wondering how, out of the whole team of people looking through the manuscript, no one caught that.
I am as shocked as everyone else is, but I can't even imagine what it feels like for you. I am however very happy with your determination and positive attitude regarding finishing the story.
Honestly I don't understand anything about publishers etc., but i would also like to support your books whatever way they get published.
I must admit that I am somewhat curious what a book is like unedited :)
6 apples LOL! That is crazy!
I've gotten a fair amount of praise for continuing the story, which is great, of course, but could anyone just drop a story this far in? Barring health issues. (Like dying.)
Just to agree with all the above. Heroes Return and Heroes at Odds arrived from Amazon this week.
You might want to check out KK Rusch's site kriswrites.com she is writing about current publishing including ebooks (her husband Dean also blogs).
Another writing couple to check is Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, they published two novels online, on a regular schedule, they hoped to put up chapters when they reached a minimum donation level. The donations were always ahead of the chapters!
C E Murphy is doing something similar with short stories.
All the above are getting paid by their fans much more than expected.
Smashwords is the easiest way to turn a manuscript into a distributed ebook. (there is a free ebook on what to do).
Thank you for these fabulous suggestions. I've been making a list from all of the advice people are giving me. I'm so grateful.
Sucks that they're not going to finish off your series - but kudos to you for finishing. Who knows? Maybe your series'll be picked up by another publisher.
As for the "Professional Editing" thing - could you define professional editing?
For me professional editing means having it done by someone who performs this kind of editing for their main source of income. I do have a few people willing to trawl through the book looking for problems, but after that it would be nice to hand it to a professional for a final polish.
I can only second the sentiments that have been voiced before me, but it means enough to me that I think it bears repeating.
I have paid for all of the books so far and would gladly pay for others, whether professionally edited or not. As someone before me mentioned, I purchase self-published doujinshi without a thought, provided the artwork is good. Your writing is wonderful. Therefore I would not hesitate to buy it.
Although terribly disappointed that ACE has decided not to publish anymore, I'm quite glad that the story will be finished and available. This is one of my favorite series and I look forward to reading the conclusion and anything else you feel led to write and share with your fans :)
I've been getting so much supportive reaction to this news, I've been surprised and honoured. Especially about people's willingness to pay for something unedited, when they could have it for free. And as I mentioned before, well, what if they see the unedited version and think "So it was all about the editing?" The thought of it makes me cringe.
I just wanted to chime in with everyone else and say how sorry I am about ACE, but I would gladly pay or donate to read the last book in the series- professionally edited or not. I love the short stories and look forward to seeing how the story ends. I am excited to see what you can do without having to fit the publisher's cookie cutter standards for length and content. Thank you for giving your fans closure to a fabulous series!
There are definitely some perks about not having to fit any kind of mold. I've actually decided to go a little nuts because of it, writing wise. Which may not be the best thing, but, yeah, lots of fun.
2011-09-01 04:13 pm (UTC)
Shocked New Reader
I stumbled onto your books just this weekend when I came across a recommendation from Felicia Day's blog. I've already purchased them all as e-books and read them. I thought they were excellent and have already started recommending them to friends. I was astonished to see just now that the end of the series will not be published, but I'm quite relieved that you do intend to finish the series. I thought your books were much better than many bestsellers I've come across, and this publishing situation really saddens me. As a simple reader, I fear there isn't much that I can do to help, except add positive reviews where I can and promise I would definitely purchase anything you self-published to finish this series. Anyway, thank you for your promise to finish this story, and thank you for sharing it with us all in the first place.
2011-09-07 03:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Shocked New Reader
Believe me, talking about my books and writing reviews is a huge deal. A whole lot of people have told me that the reason they tried the books was because so-and-so recommended them. That's amazing.
I should probably send some flowers to Felicia Day. She sent a whole lot of people my way.
Thank you for your support, and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.
Given how publishing is these days I thought it was a bloody miracle they let you publish so long without everything being a smash hit, so I guess I'm not surprised exactly. You did awfully well in this era, I've heard enough series that don't go past 2-4 books by now when the author intended more.
But, HUZZAH THE STORY WILL BE FINISHED!!!!! I'll pimp it wherever I can when it comes out, even though I'm planning to be moving on the release date and it might take me a bit to get there. I love that you're going to keep doing it. It's really annoying when certain writers are all "Oh, there's plenty more story, but I'll just never tell anybody about it on the 1% chance that someone MIGHT let me get paid to do that universe again," when we all know it's not happening.
Yeah, I'm still baffled by how the publishing industry works. One shock was that although a book might be called a bestseller, have it stamped on the cover and all, it still isn't necessarily making much money. Unless there are a whole lot of bestselling authors out there who hold on to their day jobs just for the fun it. (Couldn't imagine doing that, but hey, people are different.)
As to authors who won't finish their stories until they know someone will pay for them, I can't blame them if they're relying on their writing for their living. Especially if they have kids or other obligations, and therefore limited time. I'm lucky to be in different circumstances.
Though, yes, very annoying to have a series abruptly stop.