So what happens now?

I submitted my manuscript on the 9th, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for an editor to be assigned to me. This could take a while; I know it was four or five months before “Too Many Controllers” got any stirrings of activity–bad news on that front, but more on that later. Let’s focus on the good news of “Murder at the Veterans’ Club” and the Peterkin franchise.

A sequel is in order, of course. But with the publishing timeline being somewhat longer than I expected, and with the additional time required to properly fund a campaign … plus the sheer chutzpah it would require for me to begin asking for orders on a second book before the first book is even in anyone’s hands…. If I plan on getting the Full Publication deal on something, I think I should probably not start the funding campaign until after the launch of MatVC, which means it could be two years or more in between books. That seems … likely to result in an overall loss of interest.

So, I’m toying with a couple of ideas.

One: start a new campaign anyway, for the short story collection “Peterkin Investigates the Anthology”–but aim only for the 250 orders required for the Quill imprint. It won’t get all the services of the Full Publication deal, but then it isn’t a sequel and it isn’t a full-length novel, and it will be out there and available within a year after “Murder at the Veterans’ Club”.

Two: take that collection apart and publish the stories individually via Kindle Direct; say, one every two months.

I haven’t quite researched these options yet, nor have I decided on a course of action. It seems the adventure is only just beginning….

Meanwhile, the bad news about “Too Many Controllers” is that it’s being cancelled. The cited reason is that some of the stories have little to do with the stated theme of video games, and that this would make it difficult to sell the book, both on the traditional market and in the market of property rights. The email came to all of us writers back on the 13th, informing us that the project would be axed and all the backers refunded in about 30 days.

I rather wish we’d had a bit more of a grace period or warning … some time to correct the works at fault. I can only assume that Inkshares looked at those works and decided that bringing them in line with the topic would constitute too drastic a change to the work–or that it would involve too great an expenditure of time and money for them to recoup–and it would therefore be dishonest to give us the illusion of a way out. Conventional wisdom holds that anthologies do not sell as well as stand-alone novels, after all, so questions of sales possibilities and expenses probably matter a little more here than they would elsewhere.

Inkshares has always retained the right to refuse to publish something even if it should make the magic 750 pre-orders. I remember actually feeling relieved and reassured when I learned this, ages ago now: it meant that if I were published by them, I wouldn’t be sharing the shelf with another “Atlanta Nights”–some troll gaming the system to put rubbish on the shelves. While acting in bad faith is definite grounds for refusal, I also realise that a writer could submit a story in good faith and still be refused, on the grounds that there are enough factors against it that even the backing of 750 pre-orders cannot erase the company’s doubts as to its viability.

So, I find I really can’t complain. It’s disappointing, sure, but … I guess my feeling is that I’d just unfortunately fallen on the wrong side of a business deal. I admit I might have it a bit better than some others: I wasn’t counting on “Too Many Controllers” to be my big debut. But all I can do, really, is focus on my own stuff and move on.

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