It’s not the end of the world, it only feels like it.

Me_Central_ParkI’ve been sitting on this news for a while now, not knowing how to bring it here.  I’ve discussed it one on one, face to face with some folks, but here I am to tell it to all of you who visit here.

Tor dropped my series.

As the title here says, it’s not the end of the world.  I’ve already written the next two books so there is more Sarah coming. How/Where is still to be determined.

But before we talk about that I want to clear the air about a few things.

I get emails from fans who love this series.  I know there are people out there who love Sarah and Katie as much as I do.  I get it, I feel it.
It’s not about the characters or the stories.  It’s not the books.
Look, they’ve won awards.

Spectrum Award Nominee for Best Novel, Black Blade Blue, 2011
Finalist for Compton Crook Award, Black Blade Blues, 2011
Spectrum Award for Best Novel, Honeyed Words, 2012
American Library Association: Over the Rainbow book list.  Black Blade Blues, 2011
American Library Association: Over the Rainbow book list.  Honeyed Words, 2012

So that’s not the issue.  I know these books have broken some new ground out there.  To tell the truth it’s a numbers game.  The books just did not sell enough to keep the publisher happy.  They are a for-profit company and at the end of the day it all comes down to the total number of units sold.

Honeyed Words didn’t sell as well as Black Blade Blues.  Forged in Fire sold better in hard back, but not as well in trade.  They won’t be putting a mass market out for Forged because they believe that the ebooks are replacing mass market.  Not something I agree with, but no one asked my opinion.

I love my editor.  She’s top notch.  This is just one of those things that happen to writers and books, no matter how much folks love them.

As I told a friend of mine, this is me leveling up as a writer.  Now I have that achievement unlocked: dropped series.  What I need to do is write the next thing and move on.

Writing this makes me feel like I’ve let all of you down.  I know I’ve been pretty devastated by this.  When you are a new writer and dreaming of your first sale the thought of having a series dropped isn’t even something you can conceive of.  But I took it personally which shut me down for a while.  I’ve been on auto pilot for too long and I’m fixing that situation.  I’ve decided to start a new series and am deep into the outlining phase.  Not sure when I’ll start shopping the new one, but I’m anxious to finish writing it.

There are some short stories out in the world, looking for homes.  I’ve written several this year, which is good.  Keeps my feet wet in story.  But I need to get back on the horse and finish a new book.

Stay tuned for news of that.  It’s just a matter of time.

And for the next two Sarah books, I’m in conversation with one of the industry’s superstars to get some professional advice on whether or not I should launch a Kickstarter for the new Sarah Book and self-publish it.  I’ll post, of course, as soon as I figure something out.

Feel free to let me know what you think about the Kickstarter idea, or anything else, for that matter.

This is just a thing.  I’ll get past it.  There is more story swimming in my head than I could write in three life-times.   Right now I’m going to play in a new one for a bit, see how the world gels around me.

It’s time.

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47 Responses to “It’s not the end of the world, it only feels like it.”

  1. J Kathleen Cheney

    ugh! I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s the kinda prospect that we all dread. (I actually wrote my book 2 with a ‘clean’ ending specifically because I worried that would happen to me.). I’ll think good thoughts for the new series getting picked up!

  2. Derek

    That really sucks to hear. I can tell you that you can count on backing from me if you get the Kickstarter launched.

  3. Chris Bauer

    So sorry to hear the news. I agree with Derek above; I’m in for Kickstarter if needed. Your writing and stories are top notch, so it is only a matter of time before Sarah and company find a home.

    As my late grandfather used to say “When one door closes, its time to bust a home in that sonuva bitch wall.”

    He was a quiet and wise man. Good luck!

  4. Chris Bauer

    Oops. Grandpa would be rolling right now. His quote was “…time to bust a HOLE in that sonuva bitch wall.”

  5. Jill

    Sad news for all your fans. I hope another publisher picks it up, but I’m in for backing the Kickstarter if you go that route!

  6. D. McAtee

    I am so sorry to hear this! I LOVE your work and Sarah and Katie and all the dragons. If you do the kickstarter, I will definitely be there with checkbook in hand.

    I do hope you find another publisher as the urban fantasy world needs you books,

  7. Scott Drummond

    I’d do the Kickstarter! Best wishes!

  8. Diana Pharaoh Francis

    You’d mentioned this to me and I’m still sorry about it. Hopefully the next project will go big.

  9. Sara A. Mueller

    **hugs** The cruelest thing of all would be if this kick in the teeth stopped you writing.

  10. Sandra Wickham

    I would support a Sarah and Katie Kickstarter project! 😉

  11. Pam Uphoff

    Get out the contracts, see what rights you licensed, get a letter from Tor on the reversion of the rights (You’ve probably already done this.) Then talk to your agent, shop those two manuscripts around, but give yourself a time limit. If it doesn’t sell, go Indy. With a fan base in place, you’ll sell well.

    Some publishers may be reluctant to pick up a series in the middle, especially if the earlier books have not reverted. This may be the time, and the two books, to test the Indy waters. If you don’t like the experience, you at least have some money from the “orphaned” books, and you can start with a new series, back in traditional publishing.

  12. Erica

    Sorry to hear about this :( It sounds like you have the right attitude about it. You gotta keep writing. A Kickstarter project sounds like a good idea.

  13. Julianna H

    I’ll back a Kickstarter for more Sarah and Katie!

  14. liz

    Love your books, i’m sorry to hear you were drop by Tor. Your work is amazing. I hope you can find a new publisher soon.

  15. Nigel

    Great series and a service to the strong female protagonist of any persuasion. I’m sure it will be able to get a chance to be published, but if not you’ve got a loyal fan right here who’ll back a Kickstart, new series, or whatever’s next. Writers of you’re caliber and as innovative are in decline in the mass market of novels stick with it for the good fan’s faith. More importantly stick with it to stick it to Torch honestly don’t know what they had in you.

  16. Nigel

    Tor not torch darn auto correct

  17. Revy

    Sorry to hear they have droped the series. I love Sarah and Katie and can´t wait to read more about their story and their development.
    I live in Germany an it was hard to get your books, but if there is a chance for you to publish the next 2 books I would do every thing to get one :)

  18. Dee

    I’ve been checking in here for the last couple of months expecting to find news about the next Sarah book coming out any minute now, and then this. Go indy for this series (if it is even possible, considering publishing rights and all). Might be faster, which works for me, anyway… Do kickstarter. I’ll be looking for that next.

  19. Roy

    You write good books and in my opinion they’re getting better. Get with a good editor who holds the bar and helps you get better.

    Self-publish – one example is but there are others out there.

  20. Mata

    If anything definitely do the kickstarter! Seems like you’ve got quite a few backers for Sarah (and you and your writing too of, course!)

  21. Sigena

    I was too busy to return here for a fortnight and just received a gut punch right at the door step…it felt like coming home and finding your place burnt to the ground.

    Don’t let them dragons at Tor win this battle…the story of Sarah is way too good to not being told…so please do tell it, with or without their help.

    Backing a kickstart seems to be working from all over the place so please count on the German fans as well if you would choose this way.

  22. Amy

    I would buy it any where!

  23. Brian

    I’m sorry to hear this. The Sarah Beauhall books are right up there with “The Dresden Files” on my list of do not miss Fantasy books.

    It’s a short list.
    1. The Dresden Files
    2. Sarah Beauhall

    I don’t read a lot of fantasy, but ever since I saw the cover of the first book I’ve book hooked.

    I wanna suggest Roc. They seem to have better appreciation for Fantasy these days, but they’re still a huge house, so who knows. Either way, I love these books, and I hope you do find a new house to take the next two, and any more you want to write after that to finish the series out.

    Otherwise, I’ll be there for the Kickstarter Campaign

  24. AR

    Would enjoy reading more and if a kickstarter is the way to do it – then go self publish

  25. Seanna in Florida

    Sorry this happened to you. Hope you find a better publisher, but in the meantime I’m in for kickstarter or however – if you put it online I will buy it! But soon, please??????

    Thank you for writing more,

  26. James Finton

    I absolutely love your work and would need, NEED, to contribute as much money as my small coffers could allow to get the chance to read the next book. So Kickstarter sounds good to me.

  27. Rodger Nichols

    Damn! And here I was afraid I’d missed the latest because I couldn’t make it to Orycon. Thought I’d check the site and see what was next.
    You know how strong a fan I am. I would back a Kickstarter campaign, write a blurb, brag on you to a potential publisher, whatever.
    Your stuff is first class AND original.
    If you’re ever down this far, the beer is most definitely on me.

  28. ms duck

    self publish! I’d buy them :)

  29. Samantha

    I’m so sad but understand that’s how publishing works. I think the kickstarter would be a great idea and would support it to my best ability. I also look foreword to any future stories. I’m glad that you aren’t going to let this defeat you.

  30. Dale Carothers

    I came here looking for information announcing the publication date of the next book. Now I am sad. This was the first Urban Fantasy series that I enjoyed, and it’s one of the only ones that I read. I’d love to see more of Sara, but I’m equally intrigued by your talk of a new series.

    I love Sara and her adventures, but it’s your name on the spine of the book that really means something to me. Write anything. I’ll read it.

  31. Lily Laces

    If you do a kickstarter, you can count on my donation.

  32. Lily Laces

    Once again, please, PLEASE continue with the series! You have no idea how much is means to so many people! You put up a kick starter, you can count on my donation! Hell, I have been wanting to cosplay her!

  33. cad68m_m

    Sorry to hear about Tor. Are you familiar with Subterranean Press? They publish several of my favorite authors, though I have no idea how well they pay. If you are building an email list to announce kickstarter, or some other small press, please add mine.

  34. Dane W.

    Kickstarter! Please! I love this series and need more!

  35. owen c.

    You can count on me to back a kickstarter

  36. Susanne D.

    This really sucks. I love the series and I’m really hoping to read more of it. If you decide to actually launch the kickstarter you can count me in to support it.

  37. Viki

    I just found the Sarah books and I absolutely love them so I’m really sorry to find out all this heh but Yeah if you did decide to do the kickstarter or anything like that I would back it in a heartbeat. It’s funny I spent a long time wishing for a certain type of book that I could read and just happened to pick up Black Blade Blues one day and it was exactly what I was looking for, Thank you so much for the wonderful stories you have written so far and I hope you find a way to continue

  38. Scott

    Sorry ’bout you getting dropped J.A., good friend and neighbor of ours (Lane Cohen) is a writer and he is on the same rollercoaster most of the time. Keep going with the Black Blade, very enjoyable series, we love it, hang in there. We’ll buy the stories, keep putting them out there. Firefly is to Fox what Black Blade is to TOR, Sandox, Sand-Trap…. their loss in the long-run.


  39. indrek

    Thats a shame. I bought from amazon, 1st on paper and 2&3rd for kindle (couldnt wait for delivery, needed to read NOW) and loved all of them. Please check amazon ebook self-publishing option –
    On surface seems like fair(ish) option and i would be more than willing to buy as soon as they become available.
    All the best to You!

  40. Lindsey

    As many have said above me, I would support the heck out of a Kickstarter. Its too soon for Sarah and the gang to go away!

  41. Forest Leonard

    I just grabbed these from Audible. Books 1, 2 & 3. They are amazing. This isn’t the first great series to get the rough treatment and I know other authors have done what you are proposing.

    I would be happy to support a kickstarter campaign to continue the series.

    I am sorry but TOR really dropped the ball with this series. I read near 10 Paranormal books a week and am always looking for new stories. I didn’t hear word one about this series until I saw it in the new selection on Audible. TOR has no one to blame but themselves for this series not being a hit. They obviously didn’t properly market it… because it is great!!

    Thanks for the hours of entertainment.

  42. Tim Trott

    I also just discovered this series, and love it.
    I have so many paperback that i have acquired over the years, that i stopped buying them (with a few exceptions)
    I am a voracious reader. My answer has been to switch to audio-books and epubs. So ,the kindle route seems more promising to me. I don’t know about paydays for that, and as a professional writer that got to count in your decision but I loved the characters and twists and subject matter and am eagerly awaiting the publishing of the next two books regardless of method.Good luck

  43. Sigena

    Regarding the publishing format…I own all currently available Sarah books as hard cover and would like to see the next books at least on paper as well…call me old-fashioned, but I do love to have a real book in front of me instead of some electronic device that I even can’t control…it’s simply part of the all-senses-reading experience.

    OTOH I fully understand that epubs are a lot easier costwise than paper…and I purchased that recently released short story despite the format as well-worth every cent, btw…

    So-if possible publish the next books on paper, if needed as ebooks…but don’t give up with publishing at all, please.

  44. Alison

    Frankly I think that being dropped from Tor should by no means be viewed as a bad thing, nor do you need a professional publishing house to call home. Of course the decision to put out your hat and go self published should by no means be a quick one without calculation. If you do feel you need that structure, I’d recommend Baen. They’ve changed after Jim Baen’s death, but Eric Flint still seems to be very active and making it a good home for amazing stories.

    I also disagree with you about the future of books being in print. I’m an avid reader (~40 dollars a month) and haven’t purchased a dead tree format in 8 years. I think you’ll find the majority of the industry reflecting that. The growing strength of Audible and audio books being just another aspect of that.

    Rachael Aaron is a fully employeed self-publishing author with a ton of graphics and discussion on how to make it work. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her before, but even if you have I highly recommend her braek down on Amazon ebook sales, The ebook pricing discussion is simply first rate. Tons of resources out there of course, I’m sure you’ve brushed up quite a few yourself.

    As I said I read a lot, I’m no professional, I’m not in the industry, but from my novice view as an avid consumer your on to something.

    I think financially you’d be best of self publishing ebooks and simply want to encourage you strongly to take a look at that market.

  45. Lanen

    I have been binge reading the books since Tuesday and LITERALLY just finished the 3rd book and knew there had to be more. I was caught from the very beginning because I figured if nothing else this was a book from my neck of the woods. I am in the SCA kingdom of An Tir and have been to a few of their shindigs. Though i am not with the SCA i am in another re-enactment world where you meet people that cross over with them as well. I love the books and can’t wait to see what happens next. Will be waiting anxiously for the next book to premiere!!!


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