Friday, July 25, 2014

The Immutable Law of Canceled Series

Ah, yes. The canceled series. Have one of those. The SFR Enemy series was canceled after book two in a five book arc. And I'm currently writing a series that is open ended enough to on forever or end where ever. Canceled series can and do happen to anyone. The publishing world is littered with the corpses of perfectly good books that just didn't sell well enough. Fortunately, for readers and for authors there are now options for wresting victory from the claws of CANCELED defeat.

1. Shop the rest of the series to another publisher (hard, but it can and has been done).
2. Self publish - this includes all sorts of permutations like serializing the remaining novels on your website (think a chapter a week posted), Ebooks, web comics - whatever makes sense for your story and your interests.

The only caveat is: You DID read your contract before you signed it. Right? I ask because some publishers don't just buy the rights to the novels you present to them. They tie up your characters and situations. If you signed such a contract, then your only option is to stick a fork in that canceled series, cause it's done. Any attempt to self pub or go to another house with those characters you adore could get you sued. So, please. READ your contracts. If you don't understand them, find a contract lawyer, paralegal, or agent who can explain what you're signing. Ask questions. Make sure you aren't selling rights you want to retain.

Bonus: The Little Known But Immutable Law of the Canceled Series - any series canceled before the story has run its course will be canceled on a cliffhanger ensuring that readers and critiques alike curse the poor author's name for years to come.

I don't know what to do except shrug and say this is an immutable law. If you decide to write a series, keep it in mind as you decide how to end each novel. If you decide to read a series, I beg you to keep this law in mind as well because I assure you the author is banging his or her head against a wall about it, too.

What do *I* intend to do about my canceled SFR series that did indeed end on a cliffhanger at the end of book two? Write the rest of the series and get it out into the world by hook or by crook. In fact, finishing up book three is next on my slate. Right after the proposal for book three of the urban fantasy series (Nightmare Ink and Bound By Ink). With luck, book three will be available in some form or another by the end of the year.

I won't lie. It is a major kick to the ribs to have a series rug yanked out from under you. Scream. Cry. Consume mass quantities of chocolate. But then get to planning and writing. Because you have options and your readers may threaten to hunt you down and beat the story out of you if you don't avail yourself of them.