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13 January 2011 @ 04:12 pm
Inheritors’ Cycle update  

I’ve had a number of people ask over the past couple of years whether there would be more books about Belinda and Javier (THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, THE PRETENDER’S CROWN). I finally have an update about that, and the answer is, “Not for the foreseeable future.”

This is a business decision, not a lack of enthusiasm. The people who have contacted me about the Inheritors’ Cycle have loved it, as do I, as does my publisher. But let me try to explain what happens in the life cycle of a book (and writer).

THE QUEEN’S BASTARD sold pretty well; THE PRETENDER’S CROWN, rather less so. Therein lies the problem.

When bookstores order books to put on their shelves, they look at the last book a writer has produced. If that book sold 10 copies at their store, then they’ll probably order 9 copies of the next book. Maybe even eleven. It doesn’t matter if it’s part of the same series. All that matters is who wrote it.

So if the last book sold 3 copies, they’ll order two. And it still doesn’t matter if it’s a different series. They’ll order two, and that means only 2 people are going to be able to grab it off the shelf when it comes in. And they might say, “Great, those sold, we’ll order two more!”–but if there’d been 10 in the first place, and 10 people had snatched them up, they’d be ordering 10 more.

So if PRETENDER’S CROWN sold 3 copies, the bookstores aren’t going to say “Oh, different series, these ones move faster!” when DEMON HUNTS comes out. They’re going to say, “Oh, she only sold 3 books last time, let’s not order more than that.”

You can see the potential knock-on effect this has on a writer’s career.

So at the moment, both the larger part of my reputation as a writer and the market is interested in urban fantasy, not alternate history epic sci-fantasy. That’s what’s selling for me, and it’s what my publishers are interested in, and it is therefore what I’m interested in.

Don’t get me wrong. I hope the worm will eventually turn and I’ll have the opportunity to go back and write more in that world. But for now, well, this is how I pay rent, so I’m pitching urban fantasy ideas, and we’ll see how that goes.

(x-posted from the essential kit)
Current Mood: exanimateexplanatory
UrsulaVursulav on January 13th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
What's the common wisdom...selling the first book is easy, selling the second book is even easier, it's selling the THIRD book that kills you?
Geek of Weird Shit: statlerwaldorfgows on January 13th, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
Oh, poo. :(
Brianlogrusboy on January 13th, 2011 04:17 pm (UTC)
Stoopid book store purchasing algorithm! :(
Merlin Of Chaosmerlinofchaos on January 13th, 2011 05:49 pm (UTC)
I actually remember being surprised; I thought you were going to use a different pseudonym for your more true fantasy stuff to prevent this kind of thing.
kitmizkit on January 13th, 2011 05:51 pm (UTC)
Publisher decided they were buying the CE Murphy brand when they bought my book, so decided to use that name. Now, of course, I wish they'd chosen differently, or that I'd argued about it, but *shrug*
Merlin Of Chaosmerlinofchaos on January 13th, 2011 06:03 pm (UTC)
C'est la guerre. :/
A large duckburger_eater on January 13th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry; that sucks. It'd be nice to have a variety of genres to work in.

I'm planning to talk about an open pen name with my agent at some point soon.
kitmizkit on January 13th, 2011 07:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah. One of the reasons I wanted to do that series was to prove I wasn't a one-trick pony. But y'know, oh well. We'll see where things go.
(Deleted comment)
pgwfolcpgwfolc on January 14th, 2011 02:26 am (UTC)
That's sad, but fascinating. Thanks for explaining.

But... if you're interested and your readers are interested, perhaps the solution is one you've already tried? Would it be practical to crowdfund a full novel?
kitmizkit on January 14th, 2011 09:20 am (UTC)
I don't know if we could hit the going rate for my novels with crowdfunding, and there's not much point in doing it for less, y'know?

Also, perhaps more importantly, I am under strict orders from myself, my husband, family, agent, editors (ok, not them, but everybody else up to and including supreme beings such as Q) to not go under contract for more than 2 books a year from here on out. I *have* to adhere to that, because otherwise I'll get in over my head, and I'm already very tired. And I /do/ expect to sell another book to Del Rey. So crowdfunding an Inheritors' novel would put me at 3 books under contract, which is Against The Rules.
pgwfolcpgwfolc on January 14th, 2011 12:40 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I figured it'd probably be a bit of a financial stretch, but figured it couldn't hurt to suggest/ask. But no, if it doesn't make sense, it doesn't make sense. And certainly wouldn't want you to break The Rules and overtax yourself, especially with Young Indiana around.