Off The Books
Answer: never. HarperCollins dropped me after "The Deer's Cry", without so much as the courtesy of a phone call or any other regrets. Perhaps they didn't HAVE any regrets about cutting me loose, but still. And a series that's already been at three houses (Blue Jay, NAL/ROC and HarperCollins) isn't going to be picked up by anyone else. That's just the way it is.
I could, of course, go the print-on-demand route for Keltia, and I may yet. But I'm just not into it at the moment, so I'd say we've probably seen the last of Aeron, Gwydion and the rest of the folk.
Currently I'm having no luck at all selling another series, so this one I DO intend to POD. Assorted editors at many publishing houses all pant how much they love it and what a great idea, yet when it comes to actually putting money and a contract down they all beg off, claiming that it "falls between two chairs" (it's a BOOK. It doesn't NEED a chair...), meaning really that they can't figure out where to shelve it at the bookstores or how to pitch it to the salesmen: is it a murder mystery, is it rock and roll, is it romance, is it a 60's period piece, is it chick lit.
It's a NOVEL. It has ALL those elements. Real books often do.
These days, POD is the resort of choice for authors far more famous and successful than I. People who want to break out of one genre and try another only their publishers won't let them do it. Midlist authors, such as myself, whose loyal audience just wasn't BIG enough to satisfy the bean-counters.
With POD, I will not only earn more royalties but I will have total control. And y'all probably know how important that is to me. Downside is that the POD places like xLibris and iUniverse take an 80% cut, and that without an advance. So it's far from ideal. But at least it will get the series out there.
Oh, and nobody wants my Viking novel, either. Because nobody is buying Vikings. Therefore nobody buys Vikings. Of course, once someone actually manages to get a Viking novel SOLD, then everyone and their cousin will want Viking books of their own. (And mine is a damn good Viking book, if I do boast so myself...hey, how Viking is that!)
Anyway, I'm planning on taking a leaf from Ani DiFranco and do the sell-it-over-the-Internet thing. I'll be setting up a website down the road once things get more definite, where sample chapters can be read and, hopefully, books ordered. I have three completed books in the series, plus four or five more in various stages of construction, so I'll be able to pop them out pretty quickly once everything is a go and the first book is out. It's just a question of getting the set-up money for the first book together. After that, we'll see how it goes for the rest. I have about fifteen or so planned, and an artist friend of mine will be designing the jacket art, and I'm compleeeetely in love with the characters.
Yes, they're rock and roll, but they're not Jim and me AT ALL, even though, yes, she's a journalist. She's a proper journalist, though: she's like no one I ever knew or met or heard of, and her boyfriend/husband is an Eric Clapton clone only without the drug problems (but with some other interesting problems of his own). She's got a bisexual Janis Joplin-style best friend, a sympathetic though rich and dorky ex-husband, and she moves through the Sixties and early Seventies in a murder-magnet fashion.
Hopefully, we might see the first POD of the series (The Rennie Stride Mysteries) by early next year. And then maybe two more, and my Viking book. And maybe...but don't count on it...one day, Keltia again. I shouldn't have to do it this way. But apparently I do.
I'll keep you posted.