As I mentioned the other day, hybrid publisher Booktrope, the publisher behind my own novel, War Witch: Rise, is ceasing operations and the end of May. There’s a lot of reasons behind that, but to be honest, I’m not privy to them all, so I take it good faith at this point that it was not a decision that was reached lightly.
This post is more for the folks who read War Witch, loved it, and are wondering what this means for the future of series. Though, to be honest, any writer who works with small press can take a few notes from this, because small publishers like Booktrope go under pretty often.
I figure I should address that matter first. So, here’s what you need to know, fellow authors. Don’t panic, first off. It’s understandable that you’ll be angry, hurt, and feel the need to vent. By all means, do so, just remember that the internet is both eternal, and unforgiving. Letting your anger take hold and saying something publicly might make future publishers less eager to work with you. Keep a level head, and deal with the situation as calmly as possible.
This isn’t easy, trust me. When the announcement came down Friday evening, I spent most of the night feeling sick to my stomach, and crying more than a little. Still, I know Booktrope isn’t closing out of spite. Hell, if anything, the folks at the top are no doubt finding themselves with a hell of a lot of debt they’d rather not have. When a business goes under, nobody is really the winner.
After the fact, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong. Getting rights to your work back, being left holding the bag for promotions, and even lots of copies of a book that suddenly, you can’t do a lot with. Many of us at Booktrope are just happy they are handling the rights reversion so promptly, so as not to tie our work up for years.
Again, when any business, including a publisher, goes under, pretty much everyone is the loser. So it’s best to move forward as calmly as possible, and only involve lawyers when you have no other choice. Deal with others involved as politely as you can, and above all else, keep a professional image online and in correspondence.
You may think your former publisher was run by monkeys with dicks for noses, but try not to say it.
Which brings me to the closing of Booktrope. Yeah, as I said, I’m hurt and angry, but the thing is, there really isn’t anyone to be angry with. Shit happens, and when it does, it rolls down hill, getting on everyone. I know that, so while I’m angry at the situation, I’m not angry at the people involved. They are hurting just as much as everyone else. After all, this whole publisher thing was their dream first.
As for what all this means for War Witch, and the future of the series, I can’t really say right now. There’s too much uncertainty to be sure of anything. Until the end of May, when the rights revert back to me, I can’t do much of anything. Even then, there’s other matters to sort out regarding work done by other members of the team that helped me get it to print. They deserve to be treated well, because they did an outstanding job, and War Witch wouldn’t have been half as good without them.
Which means I can’t just run and self publish on June 1st. Things have to be dealt with properly, because we aren’t just talking about team members here, but friends. Nor can I just run straight into the arms of another publisher, at least, not without taking what everyone wants and needs into consideration.
While another small publisher is a possibility, at the moment, there’s a list of other issues and matters to address and tend to first. What that all comes down to is, War Witch may not be back up and available immediately. It may take a few weeks, or even several months, before it can even be turned around on the self publishing market. Worst case scenario, a year or two before I can get the first book back in action.
Again, this is not anyone’s fault. No one is to blame for this. It’s just the way things are. Publishing is a tangled thing, and when it falls down, it just gets more tangled. That’s an unfortunate reality. It’s part of the risk in doing what writers, editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and marketing managers do, that they may find themselves caught up in that tangle, with no clear way out.
Here’s the thing, though. I’ve spent twenty years working to get this novel to the market. I’m not about to let any of this stop me from telling this story. Not at this point. Rise will be back, and the rest of the series will follow it, as well as other books by me, in some way, shape or form. Just what, at the moment, I can’t say, but I know it will happen, because I’m not going to let it not happen.
Rise got nothing but good reviews. Everyone who read it, and talked to me about it, loved it. The only blemish on its record was one person giving it a one star review on Goodreads, but one look at his list of one star ratings shows he doesn’t seem to like women getting the leading role in anything, so I don’t really take him very seriously.
People liked this book. They liked the characters, they liked the plot, and they liked the way I wrote it. That matters to me. More than a little.
So, yes, War Witch will be back, somehow, at some point. That’s a promise. Ramora, Chara, Esteban, Izra and all the cool characters you’ve yet to meet will have their story told. And once they have, I’ll tell more stories set in that world. Till my dying day, I will write about it, and get it published, somehow.
It’s just gonna take some patience. That’s all.
So, for those of you wondering if the collapse of Booktrope means you’ll never get the next installment of the series, rest assured. You will. I’ve had a taste of it now, that whole being a published author thing. I’m not gonna let it go.
We’ll be back. Just give us time to sort everything out, do it all the right way, and we’ll be back.
Fellow authors, when you find yourself in the same boat I’m in right now, remember that it isn’t the end, just a speed bump. Stay calm, stay cool, and keep pushing. There’s people out there who want to read your work, after all.
In the meantime, while I get all this dealt with and develop a plan, I’m gonna keep talking about anime, D&D, and other stuff here. So keep tabs, and when the future of War Witch is settled, you’ll hear it here first.
Take care, and talk to you soon.