Tuesday at least started out well. The announcment that Orbit was going to release my series was like graduating from a thirty year college. At long last my dream achieved. I was anxious to share this with those who helped, who cheered me on, those who supported me. I was pretty happy…for about two hours. After that I had to seriously ask myself if I ever wanted to write again.
While many comments here and elsewhere have been positive, there has been a good number that have not. Readers have vented frustration at not being able to obtain a complete set of the printed series. Some have accused me of orchestrating this in order to resell the series to make more money. Others have directed their anger at Orbit (apparently because all publishers are the devil incarnate.) Still others are just mad that they will have to wait eleven more months for the final book.
I suppose it was naive of me to expect everyone would be happy at this turn of events. I knew that those who had purchased the print editions would want the full set. To be honest, I want the full set, too. I spent six years making this series. I wrote it, edited it, designed the covers, the interior layouts, all the little symbols, and the back cover texts. Just imagine how much I would like to have the series that I created sitting on my shelf at home.
So why am I signing with Orbit if that won’t happen? It’s not because of the money. Orbit did offer me a generous advance, but given my present sales, I would very likely make more money selling independently. The reason is despite the surge in electronic sales, ebooks still only make up a fraction of the total books sold. There are venues I can’t access with Ridan. These are audiences I can’t reach without Orbit. Also the legitimacy of a major publisher allows for an increased chance to offer the books worldwide.
While I greatly regret disappointing all of you who wanted that six book set (and disappointing myself as well,) I had to weigh that frustration against all those others who will never have the chance to know my books exist. There is still a large segment of the population that refuse to purchase anything through the Internet. Most of my family is this way, which is why you don’t see reviews by them on Amazon. I thought it was more important to give the largest number of people the chance to read these books.
Why is Orbit producing a trilogy as opposed to a six book set? Actually that has more to do with you readers than Orbit. I have read numerous comments and emails where readers have berated my books for their length. Fantasy readers have come to expect thick books. Anything short of six hundred pages is considered a cheat. Some have even accused Ridan of purposely dividing the story into six books as a means of making more money. (Once again denouncing publishers as the devil—not realizing that Ridan is a company my wife created.) The interesting thing is that the Orbit’s version of Riyria will very likely be cheaper as readers will be getting two books for the price of one. Orbit’s reasoning is that readers appreciate longer books for their money, and that it will make it easier for readers to find the whole series on bookstore shelves. With six books, invariably there will always be one or two volumes missing. So for those of you who think Orbit is the “bad guy” here, you might want to reconsider.
In any case, I’ve asked Orbit to help those who want that last book. I did this knowing that if I were Orbit I would refuse. The vast majority purchased ebook versions, and producing a small run of the sixth book would be logistically difficult to make available. I fully expected Orbit to immediately, refuse, and yet they haven’t. At the present time they are considering a POD and ebook solution for the last book. The subject is still being debated and I’ll keep you informed as to what can be done. For those that are interested, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating how many copies you are interested in so I can get an idea of the counts required.
After reading the barrage of messages I received, many of them surprisingly negative, I have to admit, I felt like crap. The deal with Orbit will grant me the ability to devote more time to writing and make my work available to a larger audience. I would have thought this is what you would have wanted as well. But now, quite frankly, I’m so depressed I can’t even think about doing the remaining edits on Percepliquis, much less writing anything else.
All I can say is, I’m sorry I let some of you down. I have only ever wanted to do the best I could by everyone—including Royce and Hadrian.