As I’ve explained, we missed the original turn in date for White Hot. We missed it because 2014 was a very heavy year. The promotional demands of our career jumped sharply, and because I was already overworked, it caused a complete collapse. I had to take time off. It turned out that the time required was two months. We finished Magic Shifts in time for publication, because it was two thirds done, but we failed to meet the deadline for White Hot. The deadline was extended to October 1st with the tentative release date of May 2016. We met this deadline. The manuscript was finished and ready for editing.
When the edits came back, I called back to Erika, our Avon editor, to talk about the edits and found out that things changed. 2016 wouldn’t work.
To some extent, we’re the victims of our own success. The first book did well. They want to launch the second book with a strong push, and 2016 simply doesn’t work for that.
Unfortunately, that means two and a half year gap, which is an enormous obstacle, especially in Romance. I remember saying, “We can’t come back from this.” Romance readers are voracious, but they are also quick to jump on new trends, which romance spins out faster than any other genre. Vampires, werewolves, billionaires with a penchant for BDSM, sweet contemporaries, motor cycle clubs, the “hot” trends rise fast and fall fast. I sat there and thought, “Nobody will remember our books even exist by that point.” And Erika said, “We’d like to relaunch.”
Then, over the past couple of weeks, the terms of the relaunch went through Avon and our agency, until they were confirmed yesterday.
Relaunch will go as follows:
- Books will be given new covers/cover treatment (apparently your cover hate has been heard and they are doing something about the covers.)
- February 2017 – Burn For Me is rereleased. It will include extras, perhaps a Rogan POV.
- May 2017 – White Hot is released.
- August 2017 – Third book is released.
This is a really big push on Avon’s part. It was a lot more than what we expected. This is the kind of push typically reserved for a brand new series a publisher is really excited about. I’d like to complain about it, but I really can’t. The releases are within 90 days of each other.
For us it means only one release in 2016, which cuts our income by a third to a quarter for that year. We will likely be doing some self-published work to compensate and hopefully keep the name profile up. So 2016 will be the year of writing all the things, followed by the year of releasing all the things.
For you, it means that you will get the whole story but you have to wait until 2017. I’m sorry for the delay.
Avon is bad and evil for moving the book, and I want to go and complain on your behalf.
Avon is neither bad nor evil. They are directly invested in the success of the series. They have a lot of authors, they believe in our work, and they are trying to give themselves – and us – room to really push the series. They are doing everything we could ask for. Yes, 2017 stings, and there is a risk of the series being forgotten, but with circumstances what they are, the relaunch is the best effort we could ask for. It’s not an emotional decision, but a business one. Yes, we could probably throw a huge fit and get White Hot wedged into the 2016, but it would come out with minimal publicity and more importantly, the schedule for 2016 is full. That means we would be bumping some other author off their spot. That’s equivalent to reaching into a person’s mouth and taking their food out. No matter how much risk the delay carries, neither of us is willing to deliberately do this.
There is this recent trend in the online book community of people who have disputes with the publisher using their readers as a club to clobber the publisher. I want to stress that we would appreciate if you didn’t clobber Avon. They are doing everything they can and the primary fault lies with me for missing the deadline.
Why don’t you just break contract and self-publish?
We could break contract and self-publish. We would have to take out a business loan to pay off the advance, but we are reasonably confident that we would make the money back. The issue here is that we are under a legal contract. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, we gave our word, just as Avon gave their word. Avon is not in breach. The 2017 release is within the time frame specified in the contract (it specifies 18 months from acceptance, and acceptance will likely be December 1st, which is the deadline for our edits.) Breaking this contract at this point is the equivalent of throwing yourself on the floor and yelling, “I won’t do it, because I don’t like it.”
I’m bitterly disappointed and I want to tell you how I feel.
Perfectly understandable. Please use the comment thread below. Please remember to remain civil. Comments with blatant personal attacks will be moderated.