Moving On

Here’s the cover for the last book in my The Incorruptibles series, titled Infernal Machines. I just sent off the final (hopefully!) edits and this novel should see release later this year. I hope to receive great acclaim and copious book sales. Though the latter is doubtful. The former is doubtful, too. Actually, everything in publishing is doubtful – my advice is to expect the worst and anything happy, even the mildest good news, feels like salvation.The Incorruptibles sold passably well, with three printings, but like most series, sales drop off after each release. I can’t expect much. So there’s that.

I have, in my mind, already moved onto my next project – or projects, rather – and I’ve focused my attention on the horizon, new works that are totally dissimilar in tone, theme, and market than what I’ve written in the past. I am creatively restless, and want to try new things. It’s somewhat of a hindrance to my career, after each big project, I want to pull up stakes and write something different. Had I, after the publication of Southern Gods (still my most popular work), buckled down and committed to writing horror novel after horror novel, my life and career trajectory might’ve looked different. However, that was not something I wanted to do. I wanted to try something different. And so I did, I wrote a young adult series. And now, I’ve wrapped a fantasy series (with, eventually, a fuckin’ dragon, as this cover shows).

Endings and career talk makes me ruminate on my short history in publishing, all the awesome people I’ve met. And some of the not so awesome. When you’re out promoting your work, hitting the convention chitlin-circuit, hawking your books on panels and readings, you often find yourself in the company of authors at the same point in their careers, or authors writing the same kind of stuff. You get to know them, you have drinks, shoot the shit. You do and say dumb stuff and that gets joked about. Bonds are formed. Bonds are broken. It’s an exciting, heady industry where everyone knows everyone else’s business. I’ve seen people I know rise to great success, and some fall to failure. I’ve been betrayed by some people I thought were friends, and found steadfast ones I would trust with my life, for whatever that is worth. Still – publishing is the greatest game out there. It’s like Sayle’s law: “Why are academic politics so bitter? Because the stakes are so small.”

It’s been an interesting ride so far and I look forward to the rest of it. I’ve been privileged to have passed through the horror community, the crime community (from my time at Needle Magazine), the young adult scene, and finally the fantasy community. I never felt 100% welcome in any of them, but that is, as the Winchester brothers might say, on me. It’s very compartmentalized, that kind of worldview. I should state, instead, that I’m a member of the larger writing community and leave it at that. (Though the writing community may not want to claim me.)

Whatever the case, I really loved working on this series. There’s so much about this world that appeals to me still, especially the characters of Shoestring and Fisk, Livia and Carnelia. I could stay with them for a long while. I felt very much the same about my YA protagonists, Shreve and Jack. As a writer, you have to fall in love with your narrator’s voice, if you’ve chosen to write in first person. Side note: I will not be writing first person for a very looonnnng time.

In the end, I hope, with time, The Incorruptibles will gain an audience. Books are often compared to author’s children. You want your kids to be healthy and happy, to find productive avenues in life.

Authors want their books to find an audience. That’s all any author can hope for, their books finding the right hands to unfold in.

That is all.

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