Everything in this post is subject to change if I mention a book order or so on. Mostly, I want to talk about reader expectations versus writer obligations.
The only thing a reader ever owes a writer is the price tag of their novel. In my case, $5.99 for a full-length novel, $6.99 or $7.99 if the length is utterly ridiculous, $2.99-$4.99 if they’re shorter works, and $9.99 for collections.
I base the price on the word count, and the lowest I’ll go is typically around 20,000 words. I prefer 30,000 at the low point, but sometimes a novella just doesn’t pop in long enough. (I leave most of my short stories for Patreon or anthology collections.)
I, as an author, owe readers precisely one thing: the best job I can do on the book they are purchasing.
Readers never owe a writer a review (however much they are appreciated.)
Writers never owe readers a completed series, a happily ever after for a character, more stories about a character however much the reader wants, a book a month, books more frequent than a year, etc.
Lately, the entitlement, especially towards KU authors, has grown to ridiculous standards.
A lot of you are worried about my health, and I am the first to put on the brakes if I need to. (When I don’t feel well, I stop. I will do my absolute best to meet deadlines and provide books as promised… but if I can’t because of my health, I’ll push off a deadline by a month (or several months) to prevent a meltdown.)
I don’t really burn out; I love to write too much. But I get frustrated and physically ill when overly stressed because of the deadline press. (or I REALLY want to work on something else and I can’t. 99.9% of the time, this is the cause of my crabbiness.) Typically, I thrive under deadlines. I love them. They’re my bread and butter. They challenge me.
My main problem is this: I DO try to take on too much because I love the challenge.
For example, right now, I REALLY want to write/plot/etc a story involving World War III having coated the planet in a gaseous yickies resulting in bubbled city-states and flying mounts and a mix of magic and technology.
Spoiler alert: I am spending like 20-30 minutes a day picking at concepts, selecting my bubbled city-states, figuring out how things like agriculture contamination works, and so on. At this pace, I can buy cover(s) in 2025.
Right now I have to write a Mag Rom Com that is due at the end of the year, and truth be told, I love the story, I love the characters, but writing this thing is pulling teeth. (I want to work on things like Fox Witch, Witch & Wolf, and Requiem for the Rift King right now. Probably Requiem first.)
There’s nothing WRONG with the Mag Rom Com I’m writing.
It’s just not the story I want to be writing right now, but I have to finish on time. (Whoopsy.)
I need me some more serious fare with some humor sprinkled in. In good news, I’m almost done the novella, and I love where it’s gone. I just need to FINISH it. (When I want to be working on something else, rather badly.)
As y’all have been concerned, I’m doing okay. My foot hurts, but it’s improving. I got fancy compression socks, which have really been helping. Alas, the cold-loving person in the Blain Household (me) can’t do cold with my foot, so I have been roasting for the sake of foot recovery.
(I will survive. There may be sad sighs, but I will survive.)
So, as a reminder: I loathe leaving projects unfinished.
If there is a lot of time between projects (I’m looking at you, Requiem/Jesse Alexander/Witch & Wolf) it’s because they don’t pay the bills and I’m doing them as a labor of love and passion. As such, I’m balancing finishing versus having enough money to pay bills and fund a series that just doesn’t earn very much.
(As a gentle reminder, authors are under zero obligation to finish; if they can’t afford it, they can’t afford it. I prefer to take significant losses to finish a failed series… but I don’t feel authors should have to make that decision unless they WANT to, truly and genuinely WANT to.)
I won’t even lie; If I DO need to end a series early because it is a complete failure, I will rewrite the series/end book to cut the extension short but leave it with a sense of completion.
I really don’t like flat-out abandoning things.
So, since I’m here talking about things that may feel abandoned, here goes:
1: Last but not Leashed WILL get a sequel. It is called Leashed I Could Do. I need to do significant plot work on it; I have completionist paralysis, which is basically a general fear of disappointing people. (Dale is one of my babies; I ADORE Dale.) Not sure on length; if over 50k words, it’ll be released as its own novel. If below, it will go into an anthology.
2: Serial Killer Princess 2: the thing that was holding me back on finishing has been mentally resolved and is on the docket. Not sure how long it’ll be; if over 50k words, it will be released as its own novel. If below, it will go into an anthology.
3: Requiem for the Rift King World: I have covers in hand for the first three Requiem books. This means my plan to do yet another edit pass of Storm Without End and Storm Surge will be completed before republishing them with their new covers. As such, Tides of War will release as its own book rather than in an anthology. RIP wallet. I do not yet have the Requiem for the Rift King cover.
There will be at least two standalone novels in the same world. Rider of the Sun Horse features an ancestor of the indomitable Rift King. I love this book. I’m 80k into it, and it’s nowhere near done. I am expecting a 200k+ monster at this rate. I would be happy with 150k. But I expect 200k+.
The second one is called The Queen’s Deception. It should be amazing. I have several ideas for other books in the world, but I will not be guaranteeing them. It depends on how the other books sell. (I’ve already invested thousands into the series.)
4: Witch & Wolf World: Karma’s next book (Old Secrets), Sean’s Sequel, and the final book in the Wolf Hunt trilogy are on the docket. Dustin will get another anthology. You might be able to talk me into a Dustin novel, but… that whole financial vs time issue.
5: Jesse Alexander: There will be two more novels and one anthology. I have no timeline for this.
6: Seeking the Zodiacs: I will be working on the prequel sometime soon ™ although I cannot justify working on the second novel. However… I might bite the bullet and try it with an advisory warning in the description. I really want to resume working on this series, although I simply don’t know if I am a skilled enough author to pull this off with the required grace and sensitivity.
P.S.: Stop being racist towards Asians. Asian Hate is NOT cool.
Author who really wants to write this really cool book.
I’ve forgotten stuff, but assume I’ll be working on it with a sprinkling of main series.
List of Current Main Series Books:
- Booked for Theft (Vigilante Magical Librarians)
- Silent Stalker (Lowrance Vamps, releasing in March.)
- Fox Witch World #3, which is entitled Death’s Door.
- Client from Hell sequel (IF sanity allows)
- Royal States (Trickster King, The Prince of New York.)
- Murder Floof (Bernadette Franklin)
I am taking a break on main Mag Rom Coms; you’ll be getting Plaidypus in May, 101 Ways to Die in June. The next Mag Rom Com will not happen until late 2022 or early 2023. Client from Hell’s sequel will be as close to Mag Rom Coms as I’ll get.
I’m super tired, so I’m going to bed now. Have a great holidays!