I made the tough decision last week to remove some of my titles from circulation. Not an easy or overnight decision by any means — I spent many months reaching that conclusion. With the closure of one publisher, now was as good a time as any to reconsider some of my older works. Those I’ve withdrawn no longer represent me. My style has changed as I have improved. I may re-release some after an edit but I’m happy to let others rest for now, if not indefinitely. A few books I never intended to write, owing to the muse and opportunity. I regret none of them — they were all a learning experience — but my interests have grown, as have the possibilities.
To some writers, particularly those still seeking publication, the decision to withdraw books from the market may sound surprising. No one warns you of the heartache when a good publisher closes, or having to make the sometimes heartrending choices, and this was definitely one of those. I was pleased and proud to hear their door remains open to me. This re-enforces the fact they were a wonderful group to work with and tells me they’ve appreciated the stories I produced for them. Didn’t make parting ways any easier.
The simple truth is some older works can do more harm than good, particularly when the writing has improved so much as to be almost unrecognisable. I don’t mean the older work is necessarily poor, but the difference can be so great it may influence someone’s decision to hire the writer, and there can be many factors too many to bother mentioning here. If a work weighs heavily on the writer, if there’s a smidgen of doubt, the best thing can be to put the work to bed. In the matter of love, it’s sometimes said the heart wants what the heart wants. It’s a peculiar lesson for the writer to realise the same can be said of one’s writing.
Two announcements this week. First, I’ve signed a contract with JMS books for a brand new work entitled Flowers for the Gardener. It should be out in April. Also, Christmas Angel makes it to print.
One question I heard many times over what had to be ten years was would Snow Angel ever see print, but I had no satisfactory answer to give. At this time of writing, it has. With Snow Angel, the sequel Angel Heart, and the new Christmas Angel (the last book completing a trilogy), now out in print, I can at last say a big thank you to those who requested print copies. Before now, the only reply I had to give was… maybe. A simpler answer was yes, because if all else had failed ‘one day’, I would have self-published. The trouble with that (discounting the fact I’m not currently of a mind to take the self-publishing route), I couldn’t state how far away ‘one day’ would be.
It’s official and Snow Angel became a best-selling book, doing better than many conventional printed paperbacks, with its sequel closely following in the rear. So why didn’t the first publisher take the initial titles to print? The reason a predominantly ebook publisher produces a print book is long and convoluted, and as easy to answer as the length of a piece of string. There is one answer I could give, and that was because both books fell out of the range of that publisher’s ‘accepted length’ for a printed book — one too long, the other too short, and together being impossible. So I knew the first publisher would never print the book.
The print option in the contract had long since run out and there was nothing to stop me trying to find a publisher that would print the book separately, but this was difficult and unlikely. The markets most willing to print the book would no doubt want electronic rights, too. Fine, if I could find someone to take it on as a complete package, but then I would have had to negotiate with the then current publisher to remove the book — a thing I could only do when the original contract came up for renewal. When a title is still selling, it’s a fine balance to know when to pull a book from the existing market. Once upon a time, books were forever, but nowadays many have a more immediate shelf life — a commodity just like a loaf of bread.
The right moment came when I added a third title. I asked fans of the book what they wanted and should put out as is or whether to re-edit the original titles. They told me my style had improved and the new book would jar with the older titles, so the votes came in for re-edit. I did so with success. My trilogy has a home now with JMS books and with everyone who took an anti-hero to heart.
I missed blogging last week because I was too busy with edits. I’m pleased to announce I’ve signed contracts and completed about everything for another foray into the life and times of one Lethbridge-Stewart. More on that shortly. For now, you might like to pop along to the new Lethbridge-Stewart website and dig around.
I’ve about caught up with work in progress and have some new plans for 2018, with projects spanning several genres, some studying, and other things. I’m even ‘having a go’ at plotting, interesting for a general ‘pantser’ of a writer as in ‘fly by the seat of’. Won’t surprise me if I end up doing a little of both. As for this month, although I’ll likely be back with an end-of-year message or two, for now I’m taking a break, and a much-needed holiday. Best wishes to you and yours.
I’ve rather sadder news to mention before I end on a more upbeat note. Many of us heard this weekend that my major publisher, Loose Id, is closing. It’s hard to hear as I had hoped to write for them again this coming year and was working on finalising a submission. I’ve had a rough four years, which included two moves and other issues. Problems that seriously interfered with and finished my hoped-for writing schedule. I had at last hoped to return to working with Loose Id as I had next to nothing new out with them during that time… a time now finished but unforgettable.
Loose Id gave me my first full-length publication. They helped me step from the realms of publishing short stories in magazines to writing longer length work. Though not my only guidance, they were there at the beginning, and I’ve taken that learning process, added to it, and use it in other genres. Those I’ve worked with will always have my gratitude. Such closures have almost become part of the publishing industry backdrop but on this occasion, for many, it truly feels like the end of an era. My books will be available with them until the end of May 2018. As to the future for those titles… I’ll let you know as when I decide. There’s no reason to re-release without at least tidying these titles.
On a better note, the last book in the ‘Snow Angel’ trilogy released on 2nd December in ebook form, with the print copy available soon. Books 1 and 2 are already available (those ordering from the UK may be best to do so from Amazon) in re-edited and even extended editions. Don’t forget, I also run separate Dark Fiction and Romance Sites if you want more extensive information.
Book 3: Christmas Angel
True love’s path seldom runs smooth. Can love change a man who doesn’t even understand himself?
2011? How was this 2011? Seems like yesterday and still one of my favourite stories because I got the writing and story just as I wanted. Thinking of including it in a collection.
I also remember sshhhing the husband while putting on the final polish.
My inspiration was the title of the anthology and the ‘Green Muse’ painting by French history painter and illustrator Albert Pierre René Maignan.
Bitter and Intoxicating
Émile beheld the rough lines of age and labour in the hand before him. The network of passing years bisected by a scar and punctuated by torn cuticles threatened to entrap him in a labyrinth of wanting. If only he could capture the essence of that hand, the person it belonged to, in a drawing.
To celebrate 7 years of JMS Books grab a copy for just $1 dollar but only direct from the publisher on 5th July.
Should a writer have favourite books when it concerns their own work? That may be up for debate but while I have a fondness for many titles, there are a handful where no one can deflate my deep sense of a job well done. Hard Pressed is one such title.
Can absolution arrive in three little words?
When one man has the worst of reputations and believes any misfortune befalling him is deserved, it’s hard to feel worthy of love. Can absolution arrive in three little words?
Journalist, Phillip Drake, is beginning to doubt the career he’s chosen, his motivation, his whole existence. When an assignment arises to trail up and coming, and coming out, actor, Gary Caldwell, he’s well aware it’s his duty to dig for dirt…and when Caldwell seems less than co-operative, Phillip half-convinces himself he’ll be happy to do so.
Gary has always been attracted to the reporter and finds it difficult to maintain a distance. Something is going on with Drake, not least of all the surprising revelation when Gary realises Drake is gay, and the attraction is mutual.
After an intimate encounter, Drake disappears and Gary sets out to unravel a mystery that not only involves tracking down the reporter’s whereabouts, but may also explain why Drake has done the things he has, why Drake harbours more than a little self-hate and more than emotional scars, and why the one thing Drake doesn’t believe he deserves — love — is the one thing he’s worthy of.