Hey, why isn’t that next book of a series out yet?

Dear humans,

The Sneaky Kitty Critic here. The past few weeks have seen a lot of humans asking my human where a certain next book in the series is, and why it isn’t out yet. So, I thought I’d take a few minutes to discuss it with you!

My human’s books help pay for the household (and my food.) As a result, she has several categories of books she works on.

  1. In-demand books.
  2. Continuation of series.
  3. Play Projects.

The in-demand books get the priority. These are books her fans buy reliably. When you purchase a book, she’s paid a royalty for the sale. That money feeds me. In order to keep enough money to feed me and my sister plus pay the rent and the things humans eat so they don’t whine or be hungry, she needs to release in-demand books once every few months at a minimum. It’s a harsh reality most readers don’t want to think about.

The covers cost money. (Anywhere between $140 through $850 dollars.)

The editorial costs money. (On average of $500-600 a novel.)

Marketing costs money. (Usually a minimum of several hundred dollars a month.)

Maintaining my missives to you humans also costs money, but it’s negligible in comparison.

But, the financials of writing aren’t your problem, readers. But the books you purchase pay for those things plus put food on the human’s table. (And in my belly. I eat a lot.) At a minimum, it takes 200 nice readers buying my human’s books for her to pay back her expenses on a single title. Some of her books cost the equivalent of 500 copies to pay everything back. Only when she sells this many titles (of each book!) does the royalties go to helping pay her expenses and feed her family.

She’s fortunate in that she has a lot of amazing readers who buy her books, but it often takes a month or two after each book has released before she can start adding money to the household funds. It can be very scary and stressful on my human, but she loves to entertain, so she perseveres.

If a series isn’t being worked on, it’s because the first book or two just didn’t sell. If the first book hasn’t earned out, she can’t justify writing the second book. That’s tragic, but it is what it is. While my human will work in these titles, they’re shunted to the back of the line behind books that put food on the table.

You, the reader, often decides what my human writes. If you want to see a specific series be written, buy the books in that series–and get your friends to buy the books in that series.

In no particular order, here is the short list of books/series that fall under the poor seller categories:

  • Jesse Alexander
  • Requiem for the Rift King
  • Pack Justice
  • Karma
  • Tales of the Winter Wolf
  • The Dae Portals novels
  • The Fall of Erelith

While continuations of these series will be done, my human has to work on them as play projects. So, once she’s finished the drafts and they’re ready for an editor, they’ll go to the editor and are slid into the production cycle, but my human can’t realistically promise dates on these titles. They’re labors of love, and they take away from her ability to help provide for her household.

Steel Heart, the second Jesse Alexander novel, is the first labor of love novel that’ll be given a publishing slot. The third Dae Portals novel has a publication slot at the end of the year. I expect the next Requiem for the Rift King novel will have a 2019 slot. After that, it all depends on where I get with them while they’re play-project status.

I understand humans don’t like to think about the business of writing, as it takes away from the charm and magic of it, but the reality is… these books cost a great deal of money to produce. Books in these series often take a year or more to make back their expenses–if they make back their expenses. Water Viper has made back its expenses, barely. My human invested a great deal of advertising dollars trying to jumpstart this series, and unfortunately, the book simply didn’t perform as she hoped. That happens. It just didn’t hit the market.

But it has made back its expenses, which means my human can justify adding it into her publication rotation. It just hasn’t performed as well as she hoped.

There are many reasons an author might abandon a series, but for my human, the number one reason she will delay working on a series or a book involves money. Books aren’t cheap, and to keep her career alive, my human must write the books people want to read.

So, for those of you who do want to see more of the series listed above, please be patient. She’s working on them, but she has to work on them slowly, because these books don’t put food on the table or pay back their costs.

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3 comments
Jack FLynn says February 6, 2018

Thank you for explaining that to us! Though for the life of me, I can’t figure out how Water Viper isn’t a best seller. Or, frankly, any of the others. I adore all the books on your list.

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    The Sneaky Kitty Critic says February 6, 2018

    Water Viper really surprises me, too. It could be the cover or description, but a lot of people *love* the cover. It’s one of the covers I get the most comments about. The International Bookbub helped nudge it over the edge from losing money to earning money, but it just didn’t take off like some of my other books. Steel Heart, honestly, got a spot this year because I love the series so much–I’d actually booked it before it earned back.

    But, when I was scheduling, I realized I could fit in one play project, so I picked Steel Heart.

    Reply
Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt says February 6, 2018

Excellently put! Writing is a business for most writers – and they will have to stop writing and get an office job if they can’t sell their work. You’d think this would be obvious, but it isn’t.

Only retirees like me can afford to write for love all the time; and I’m slower. I won’t produce as many books as you will, by far, but I get to please myself.

On the other hand, as my energy is almost zero, and I have less time left than you younger writers, I have to make my choices count. I hope that makes the fewer books worth me having spent all the energy I have, and all my time on them.

The reality is that all living things have to eat, including cats, or they can’t write anything (nice post from the cat, BTW).

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