First things first. The fourth The Chosen book now has a title– Redemption— and a release estimate– early October 2012.
Thank you to everyone who has emailed, sent me Facebook messages, posted on my Facebook Timeline and sent me tweets, all asking WHEN would the next The Chosen book be out. I have never felt so loved and wanted. Well, except for my youngest child who is often a cling on.
In this post I’m going to address why there’s a fourth The Chosen book, why I have three series, and why it takes me “so long” to release a book.
I’ve stated this before, but it’s buried in posts so there’s no harm in repeating it: I had intended for Sacrifice to be the last book of The Chosen series. In first draft, I had gotten to 80,000 words and realized I was only halfway through my intended plot. (The typical adult book is 80,000-100,000 words.) I had a huge dilemma. While I had never stated it was a trilogy, it WAS my intention. (I left myself a back door to add more if necessary, the beauty of self-publishing. I get to call those shots.) Also, the three symbols insinuated it was a trilogy. But to keep it three books meant restructuring the book and taking a LOT of character development out, as well as some history to the game. So I emailed my beta readers and asked what they thought of a fourth book. Would they be upset the series wasn’t done? The response was an overwhelming “We want more books!”
The point where I hit my wall in Sacrifice was the big scene with Will and Emma in New Mexico. If you’ve read Sacrifice, you know this scene. If you haven’t, it hasn’t spoiled anything. I realized I was a close to a fantastic spot to end the book and leave the readers satisfied (hopefully) and okay with waiting for the next book. But then came the REAL dilemma. When was I going to write the fourth The Chosen book?
I currently have three series going. An adult urban fantasy, a Rom Com mystery, and a young adult science fiction romance. Why? When I started my writing career, I did it with the goal most writers aspire to. Find an agent, get a book deal, have published books. So I wrote Chosen and queried agents (the query letter is almost identical to the blurb) I got requests. I got a lot of them, but all were rejected. Unfortunately, most came with no feedback, just that they loved it but didn’t think they could sell it to New York. I had no idea why. Was paranormal untrendy? Should I try a different genre?
I’m an eclectic reader. I read pretty much EVERYTHING. A few days before a devastating rejection for Chosen, I took my son to the DMV and said “It would be awesome to have a character in a book who worked at the DMV.” Ross rolled his eyes, but the idea took root. Three days later, the day after my rejection, I had a semi plot for Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. It was THEN I realized, “Hey this is a mystery.” So I wrote it, sent out queries and hardly got any requests. I revised the query letter multiple times and nothing. The few requests I got were all rejected with some variation of: great plot/great voice/great character, not for me.
I was a bit frustrated. (understatement) I realized mysteries for unknown authors weren’t selling well. About that time, my then thirteen year old daughter pestered me AGAIN “Mom, will you please write a book my friends and I can read?” Why not? My other books weren’t going to get bought by New York and I had begun reading a lot of YA. So I wrote Here, then titled Torn. Little did I know the main premise of Here was “the next big thing” in YA trends. So when I queried it, I got a few requests, but most rejections said they already had a client writing a similar project and I would competition.
What the bleeeeeeep?
I got my last DEVASTATING rejection for Here, the agent had spent three hours telling me how much she loved the book, how she worked with clients, what did I expect from an agent, etc. BUT she had a client with a similar project and rejected me two weeks later. I would have gone to bed and buried my head under the covers for days if I wasn’t pursuing an alternative publishing path.
I’d already set the wheels in motion to self-publish Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. A year ago, when I started the processs, I still intended (hoped) to sell The Chosen Series and Here to a traditional publisher. But the voices are SO different, and NO ONE wanted Twenty-Eight, I thought, “why not publish it myself?” I would have been thrilled to sell 200 copies. I was told by others who had self-published before me to expect to sell 20 the first month. If I was lucky.
But after the initial success of Twenty-Eight, (I sold 200 books the first month) and more rejections on Chosen and Here, I decided I’d had enough rejection and I was taking charge of my career. I had two and a half books on my query backlist (Hunted was written but not edited.) so why not publish them?
Note: Self-publishing is NOT the end of rejections. Just check out my Amazon and Goodreads pages for proof of that.
But that meant I had three series, which really isn’t a problem in the traditional publishing world when books in a series typically come out once a year. But it is a problem for readers. I suspect that’s probably a gripe of theirs with traditional publishing, that they HAVE to wait a year. It took me until last month to realize I was thinking of my self-published books using the traditional publishing paradigm. I needed to leave those expectations and rules behind and make my own.
But I still had three series. I realized I need to only have two at a time. The Chosen series include my most popular books, followed by Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes. So I decided to rearrange my writing schedule and finish the Chosen series first. (I already had Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons written and readers had been waiting for it since last July) Then I’ll make the On the Otherside a two book series instead of a trilogy and finish it. I hope to release it by the end of the year. I’ll write the first book of my new adult urban fantasy series this summer between Redemption and There. I’ll give it to my agent to try to sell to a traditional publisher.
I hope you all have noticed I have not slammed traditional publishing. I have not climbed onto a cliff and become a self-publishing prophet. I think successful authors of the future will pursue some type of BOTH publishing avenues.
Bottom line: My ultimate goal is to have two self-published series at a time– The Rose Gardner Mysteries and another urban fantasy series, with a book published every three to four months. This is my goal for 2013, but things are ever changing. I have no idea if that will still be my goal in six months. However, my readers “happiness” is very important to me. I wouldn’t be in this position if I didn’t have readers. Still, I can’t release quality books in two months. Quality is very important to me. My books go through MULTIPLE professional steps:
Multiple professional proof readers
Those first three steps take some time. I’m at the mercy of the professionals’ schedule, although I’m fortunate that they are very accommodating of my schedule.
Thank you to everyone who reads my books and recommends them to others! If you really loved a book, I’d very much appreciate if you’d leave me reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or any other site you prefer. I love that you want to read my stories and I’m doing my best to provide more. I truly love what I do!!! I have the best job in the world!!!
I love hearing from you using any of the above listed forms of communication. I always answer, even it might take me a couple of days! So if you don’t get a response from me, please send it again.
Email me: DeniseGroverSwank@gmail.com
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