Next?

Now the dust has settled, it’s time for me to consider what to do next in my writing career. And, specifically, what to do with New Gods, the third in my Antarctic trilogy.

Having been dropped by my publisher after two books, it’s not an easy decision to make. No publisher is going to take on a single book in a trilogy – they wouldn’t have any share in the intellectual property (so no potential film/television rights, though that’s a very distant dream) and, with diminishing sales a massive probability, really what’s in it for them?

So my choices seem to be pretty much one of four. I can:

  1. Abandon the novel. This would be gutting, not only for me – I’ve put a lot of work into it and, as I’ve said before, I really regard it as the best in the series – but for the few fans who’ve persisted and really want to see the finale. But it’s perhaps the most realistic option
  2. Wait seven years. In seven years’ time I regain the rights to the first two novels. I could then try and find a publisher willing to take the series (though heaven alone knows how) as a whole and issue the whole lot as a reprint. Or I could self-publish the trilogy as a whole
  3. I could self-publish Book 3 now. There’s nothing to stop me doing this, as far as I’m aware – nothing except cold-hard economics. I’m under no illusions as to either my appeal or my abilities as an illustrator. I’d have commission someone – hell, I have to find someone – to do the cover art and that would cost money (all artists should be paid for their work. To hell with exposure). And even if I do all the typesetting and publishing and editing myself – a risky business, publishing without professional editorialness – there’d still doubtless be costs. I don’t believe that I’d ever cover these with sales as – at the end of the day – who am I? I’d sell maybe a dozen to family and friends, maybe a few more through this blog and via Twitter, and that’s all, folks
  4. I could release it free of charge, possibly serialised through this blog. I haven’t really thought this option through, yet. But I want to get this novel out there. It’s good. And, if I spend anything I’ll lose. So why not just save the costs and let you lot read it anyway? One potential downside is that my seven-year plan of reclaiming my rights and then seeking a fresh publisher might be harmed by this; I will have shot my bolt somewhat

So what would you do? All opinions gratefully received – and any options not yet considered would be appreciated also.

In the meantime, what do I do? Well, I’ve got Oneiromancer to flog. I’ve got Our Kind of Bastard to edit. I’ve got an as-yet un-thought-through new novel to start thinking through.

In other words, I need to get back into the word-mines. It’s what I do.

Sayonara, lovely folks.

4 thoughts on “Next?

  1. I’m a strong believer of the idea that writers ‘create’ a product, publishers make it sellable. Bookshops do the selling. With that in mind then, you have a product, but snarled up in ‘route to market’. This makes your conundrum a business related choice.
    You have two books already out there, traditional published. Ask yourself what’s the best way to support the sales of the two you have, plus profit from the one in hand. (future you will be thankful if you do). Facts:
    1. You won’t make anything from publishing via your blog, and market research says interest is likely to be low.
    2. Waiting? That’s leaving the publisher to promote the books they have, isn’t it?
    3. Self Publishing 3, will ride on the back of 1 + 2 support sales, and earn you a little bit. Covers can be easy, editors aren’t all hugely expensive. And what’s stopping you SPing the other 2 in seven years?

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    • Well indeed, and thank you. It seems that most people are backing self-publishing so at the very least I’ll get out there and do some more reading. Thanks again: a very helpful breakdown and analysis

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  2. At least research the costs on self publishing. If you get the third book up on Amazon, you could make it a lot cheaper for the Kindle version (because you choose the price as your own publisher, plus hello, no printing costs) and readers might try that book first. (The Kindle prices for the others look too high for me as a reader.) There are packages which do type-setting etc for free, actually putting it on Amazon is free – I learned this at a writers conference, not personal experience. Where you choose to spend money is on independent editing and the cover as you already mentioned.

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