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!
I think most of your fangirl readers will be happy with whatever you write. We may have our favourites and whine gently from time to time, but I know I, for one, am just happy with new things to read, no matter which series. Although I’m now yearning for some bubble cities. That sounds awesome.
My love to all the members of your household, furred and not. Have a wonderful holiday, and celebration.
I completely agree with Haidee. I waited 12 years for a book before. i can do it again lol.
Happy Holidays to you and yours. And many blessings going into the new year.
Recently re-read all the Witch and Wolf books. Still loved them so much. I’ll buy anything you write, as you have a wonderful way of making characters that I love.
Have wonderful holidays, RJ. All the best for 2022.
Take your time. Write what you can. I personally love everything you write. Keep healthy because without that we won’t get any books and you’ll be sick. Have Happy Holidays take time for those.
As always books and stories are appreciated. Expectations are what silly people have for others who bring us joy. This year has been hard for my family (loss of a beloved pet, loss of my boys’ father, a serious injury for a child, other things) but your books have helped. I’ve read and reread books by you and your alterselves as a way to cope. I dutifully track release dates and pre-orders. But above all, I know you will do your amazing best and when it’s time, I’ll fall in love with the world a little more. I’d rather you not burn out on writing. Thank you!!!!
I love your books and happily await each novel, novella, story you write. I escape into your RJ Blain output. Of course we want your books now, but that is the problem with reading ongoing stories. But take your time, relax and write what you will, when you will. I will wait patiently. I have other books to read/reread, things to knit/crochet while I wait. Take care and be good to your self.
I love most of your books and appreciate the work that goes into them. That said, I have to add that I would rather have fewer books than take the chance of your burning out! Your brain is so creative you need to take time off, mix with people who are not focused on writing/publishing/selling books, and always take care of your health.
I just got some things to say.
In this order:
2.Dale is Adorable, his blue sparkly fur is too lovely.
3.Serial Princess is AWESOME!
4.Requiem for the Rift King is something I’d love more than anything to be it’s own book. Truly a lovely read, Kalen is awesome. I love how he has so many kids. I love how he is just doing his best, and when I don’t feel well, this is one of the places I go to.
5.Rider of the Sun: sounds awesome!
6.Witch & Wolf: Would love to read more.
7.Jesse Alexander:I’d love to see what happens next
8.Seeking the Zodiacs: AAAAHHH I love this one cause the world is so interesting.
9. Overall, do what you can. I’ll be here for a long time anyways, I love your books too much not to be here.
Thank you for the update. Have a wonderful Christmas and I hope you are looking forward to a healthier New Year. 🎄
I can really understand your frustration and your desire to please your readers but you have to do what you feel is not only a good fit but finacially good sense for you and your family, And as a really happy reader of your I want you to be happy and healthy and be able to have a happy time writing. Love your work and your writing style
rereading your books is like getting in touch with old friends and finding new things about them. I have read every thing that you have written and though I do wish for more, take it easy and please don’t burn out. Thank you for doing what you do
Love your stuff and if you kill yourself overworking, I don’t get any more. Please take care of.yourself and I will enjoy anything you toss my way. Happy holidays!
I love your books and have been rereading them and finding new things that I have missed from the time before. I am very thankful for every book you have given us..
I have only recently encountered your stories and have been enjoying each, trying to pace myself and not just gorge. It’s been a little frustrating as I’m having trouble with my eyes and can only read for an hour or so each day. Are there plans in the works for any more audiobooks?
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
Yes, but they’re all on hold for the holidays because I’m not asking my staff to work over the holidays.
Expect at least 6 months following ebook release; they take a long time to produce and are very expensive.
you rest while disappointed in delays I’d rather a delay than no books because you had a breakdown . just finished runaway loved it and your sneaking in the vampire of Montana for a cameo was cool . also now really want RPS antho and hope Terry’s story is in it
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
As Terry is getting a novel, no, he won’t be an RPS anthology.
There are no plans for an RPS anthology, only novels.
Best wishes for a blessed Holiday season and a deeply felt wish for a wonderful and a much less stressful 2022. Thank you for the update and I look forward to anything you write, whenever you can share with us. I truly enjoy every one of your books and am very grateful for your hard work and wonderful creativity. 🙂
Just now catching up. I am looking forward to nearly everything you listed and will be pre-ordering much of it. Especially looking forward to more Dustin, Leashed and Serial Killer Princess, as well as Wolf Hunt and Karma. Very much enjoy your books and calendar every one.
I can’t wait!! But I will. Patiently. Maybe semi patiently. I actually have some series to catch up on so…. Thank you (and the kitties) for the update. Please don’t stress yourself out and get cranky and sick! My semi impatience is my problem and everyone else’s is their problem. We will endure and we will be grateful for each and every story that you give us. Have a Happy New Year 🎉🤟
Ahhh, I’m so excited you are still writing even though the douches are annoying and income affecting. (Imagine their butts tied to your most uncomfortable chair while you watch the management sitting on their heads while sharpening their claws while you assault their ears with an author read version of whatever part annoyed them enough to choose douche-I-ness)
And Aaaaahhhhh, I get to read plaidypuss ness in the near future!! Just because I want endless Jesse or Lowrence or anything else that strikes my fancy doesn’t mean you have to provide. Humanity is real. Stuff with bad turkey stuffing (that’s another kingdom I’d love to hear more about) anyone who doesn’t allow you to be human. Xx have a great day!
Not that it would sound assault-y, just that their douche-i-ness would mean they were super unhappy with anything so make them listen to me reading ikea instruction interpretation would be just as effective (and confusing to their mean little minds). But of course your work would be much more fun to listen to. I think I might just go and wander back to my corner now. Read you later.
I wish there was a way to mark in Amazon how many times you have read a book, lol. Yours are some of my most frequently re-read (and I re-read a LOT), because they always make me happy. Happiness is hard to come by most times, and I adore how your books always bring a smile to my face, even the more serious ones. Thanks for making a difference in my life with your writing!
The Sneaky Kitty Critic
<3 You're welcome. I'm so glad I've been able to bring some joy to you!
Love your stories. I will eagerly pounce on anything you put out, and will review with lines like “Next please!” or “Waiting for the next one!”. That’s not pushing you, though, it’s just expressing my eagerness – I’ll get them when I get them and I’d rather you were healthy (selfishly, healthy/happy author keeps writing, more books!) than that books came out faster. Don’t overload yourself!
Absolutely luv luv luv All of your work. My favorite is the Royal States Series..I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve read them… And the hilarious ones written under Bernadette Franklin alias…really looking forward ( hopefully) to more of those. But most of all I truly appreciate your sharing your gift with us. May the new year bring you and your family the best of health, abundance of all good things, and prosperity. Taking time to recharge your soul and body will benefit everyone. !! May the muses continue their dance with you. Blessings PS .. luv hearing from your furbabies…😁