But I already have had the Advanced Reading Copies—the ARCs—in my hot little hand, so it seems like a real book to me. How it feels to be in the middle of a series?
Muddled, for a start. Not the writing itself; there I see an improvement in each book. It’s the muddle-headedness of publishing and marketing in general. About five years ago, another writer commented that those of us who would publishing between 2000 and 2025 would be the vanguard for a new way of thinking about books; that we might be the last generation of writers who distributed and marketed books in the traditional way.
As it’s played out so far, authors are far outstripping publishing and distribution in leaving the old ways behind. Web sites are passe (but you still need one), blogs are overloaded (but you still need one), and authors have moved into podcasts and video book trailers as a matter of course. Unfortunately, distributions systems are still stuck in the early 20th century. We can get the word out about our books, but we can’t get the books themselves out. The old systems are crashing and the new systems are not in place to replace them.
Next I feel mushy. Contrary to common belief, selling your first book isn’t the key point in a writer’s career. It’s selling the fourth book, and so far, book #4 in my series has not sold. In mysteries, the series has been the absolute king for years. Cracks are appearing. Many writers—including me—are intentionally limiting their series. For example, I knew going into it, that it would be five books in total. One very successful writer recently said in an essay on publishing that well-established mystery writers are beginning to go for stand-alones because one book is all they can expect to place with any publisher.
Even though #4 hasn’t sold, I decided to write it anyway. I need to finish this series and have it on the shelf. And, I have a stand-alone in the planning stage, just to cover all my bets.
Finally, I feel marvelous. I’m really, really doing this. Maybe not as well as I’d hoped, but as well as I can, and I’m having a great time. I’ve made tons of acquaintances in the mystery community. I’m a part of critique groups. I know far more about the business end than I want to, or than anyone sane person should have to contend with, but basically, being in the middle is a great place to be.
Writing quote for the week (and blatant self-promotion to boot):
First, the book Soldier on the Porch by Sharon Wildwind was great!! I got nothing done around the house because I didn't want to put the book down.
Some Welcome Home and First Murder in Advent.
~Deborah Andolino, Aliens & Alibis Books, Columbia, SC