Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Serial Willing

I know we are on the "Selling a Series" topic this week, but currently I feel more qualified to provide warnings/insight/my experience with starting a series...and watching the opportunity to finish it evaporate.

I hadn't intended to write a series.
When I sold VICIOUS CIRCLE, I had no idea that JUNO BOOKS was being considered for a co-publishing deal with POCKET BOOKS. When the editor for JB informed me of this, I was also told a contract would be coming from PB. She didn't know what it would entail, as it was from them, not her. I assumed it would be a single book deal. When it came, it was a three-book deal.

Color me surprised. It was a dream come true. 

They wanted a little info on what the other two would be about.

I had to figure that out, too. I started working on an over-arching story idea spring-boarding from where VICIOUS left off. When I had it, when I got serious about the details needed to tell this story, I realized I would need eight books to tell it all. 


But I could at least give the publisher some idea of where I was going.

Honestly, I'm not sure what I gave them then because when I sat down to write, it didn't go as planned. I had cut so many characters from the first book, see, and they were all still in my head, fighting for some page-time like beauty queens backstage at a pageant. 

Heh heh heh. 

 So, I wrote a story that gave them all a little time, via a big "which witch will be in charge" pageant. HALLOWED CIRCLE kind of came out of nowhere. Which meant I'd need nine books to complete the story.

Opening in mid-October, the first three set the stage for the characters, maneuvers them into situations that tell you exactly who they are and what they are willing to fight for. Persephone has a big destiny. She has to be pushed into accepting the reality of it.

The second three books bring the three main characters to a shaky understanding that they must work together. It also shifts them around. For our heroine, the vampire who had status and power has lost it. Also for the heroine, the waerewolf who was avoiding status and power has stepped into the limelight. Both men have their weaknesses exposed. Seph has finally accepted what she is, and has seen people actually sacrifice their lives to save hers because of what she is. Everyone has lost someone they loved. The last scene of book six is the extended family of the main character at Thanksgiving dinner; they are all clearly changed since the opening. Barely six weeks of their lives have passed. 

Most importantly, the big-bad of the final showdown has been introduced.

In the final three books...things get serious.

So here I am, six books deep, and there is no contract to complete this tale.

I could scream and kick and cry. I could write a powerful, awesome synopsis of the final three books. It wouldn't make any difference. Publishing houses publish books, but they are a business. They love the story if it sells. If your numbers aren't good---even if they are low because your publisher had a major disagreement with a retailer who subsequently decided not to carry any non-guaranteed-best-seller releases which took affect in the month that your new release came out so at best your book only made it onto a scant number of shelves and basically the business side of publishing slaughtered your numbers (and many, many other authors' numbers) through no direct action of your own---there's no contract.
I get it. It wasn't personal; it was just good business.

They didn't say, "Linda you suck. You should give up on writing." It was more of a "Hey, sorry. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Better luck next time." But there are folks who want to know the rest of this story.

So I've taken a break from Seph's world. I've worked on other projects. Soon, I'll be back in her world. I've got to finish. For me. For those who write me the emails and message me on Facebook. Because I know the best parts of the story are these last installments. Because I believe in me.

I don't know where these last books will land. I haven't written them, let alone pitched them. But I know what will happen. And I can't wait to share the rest of the story.


  1. FWIW, Catherine Valente had huge success selling her unpublished story via Facebook and her blog by "donation". It was so successful that a publishing house ended up buying it. Something to consider.

  2. My chest siezed in panic when I read your opening...and then you confirmed my fear. No more Seph, Johnny or Menessos!
    Guess you can tell I was unaware, and I am still hoping for the rest of the series. Even if you have to self pub it, all of us waiting patiently for the resolution of the triangle will jump for joy.
    So I will cross my fingers that you get the chance and a contract to finish Seph's story...cross them really really hard.