The goal of almost every writer is to be published by a big publishing firm. These big publishing houses pretty much had a lock on the whole shebang until about 20 years ago, when small and on-demand presses started popping up. Then, when e-publishing started to take off, authors had even more options open to them.
But, for most of us, the Yellow Brick Road still leads to Oz, and all those other venues are just waypoints for which we must “settle” if we can’t get all the way to the Big Publishing House.
I’ve hit pretty much every stop on the Yellow Brick Road. Under normal circumstances, I’d be taking my new novel down as far down that road as possible, but FC:V is a bit of an edge case.I’ve been to Oz. The first four FC books were published by Roc Books, an imprint of Penguin. The first two were even picked up as alternate selections for the Science Fiction Book Club. But, due to diminishing sales in FC:III and FC:IV, Roc decided not to make an offer on FC:V. Publishing, as it turns out, is a business, and doesn’t give a whit whether books are good as long as they make money. This was a hard lesson for me, but I’m a bit more sanguine about the whole thing, now. As a result, I can confidently say that the chances of finding a Big Publishing House who wants to print the fifth and final volume in a series that didn’t make a lot of money is Really and Most Sincerely zero.
I’ve also stopped at the Small Press Station along the Yellow Brick Road. My Dreams of the Desert Wind was published by Fairwood Press, which didn’t mind taking a chance on a mixed-genre title. My royalty agreement was also a little better, and Fairwood’s tireless publisher was a very good promoter of his titles. Because of this, Fairwood is getting a chance to see FC:V first, but frankly I have small hope that they’ll pick it up.
But even if Fairwood makes an offer for FC:V, I may not take it. You see, I have my own calculations to consider, and money is only one aspect.
The things I want most for FC:V are these:
- The first four books are published (2nd edition) along with FC:V
- All five books have a similar look and feel
- Minimalist cover art
- Available in both hardcopy and e-book forms (Kindle preferred)
In order to get all of these, I will probably, almost certainly have to stop in at the “Self-Pub” Pub, the first way station on the Yellow Brick Road. It’s a long way from Oz, but as we know, when you go looking for your heart’s desire, you should always start in your own back yard.