Since wrapping up the StarDoc series back in 2010, more folks around the biz than I can count have let me know that they were a silent, unknown part of my readership. The mentions range from You should write more SF to God, I loved those books. Often the way they tell me (usually a quick aside in an e-mail or during a phone chat) seems like a confession of bad behavior, like we're discussing something that has to be whispered so as not to be overheard by others.
In a strange way it reminds me of that weird interval following a bad divorce. After it's all over, people you know who have never once commented on the situation begin confiding how happy they are that you're free of the jerk, or the many reasons why they disliked your ex, or even how they knew he was cheating on you but never said anything because they didn't want to hurt your feelings. It's nice that they want you to know, but . . . why tell you now?
It's also difficult to know how to react to these confessions. Of course I say thank you, and I am grateful (who wouldn't be?), but for me personally it's history. This is because for the readers StarDoc came to an end in August of 2010, but for me it happened in 2007, when I discussed wrapping up the series here. While back then I still had a couple of books under contract to write, I knew I was heading down the same road as I had with the first five books, and I couldn't put my readership through that again.
It's been five years since I made that very difficult decision, and while I will always love StarDoc and the readers who kept me writing the series, I've moved on.
Now that I'm returning to writing Darkyn novels, I do wonder at times if history might repeat itself. For the second time in my career I've revived a series that my publisher killed but that the readers wanted me to keep writing. I have three new Darkyn novels under contract, and if these do well, I can certainly write more after this trilogy concludes. Since this has been my bestselling series to date, and readers have been very vocal about wanting more books, I think I have a fairly decent shot.
That said, I can't take anything for granted. While how well the new trilogy does is 99% dependent on things beyond my control, I know I can make more of an effort to do what I can for the series and its readership. So this time around I'm trying to approach the problem differently. Primarily I'm focused on selling all the books that share a storyline under one contract; this should keep me from getting entangled in a series that I may or may not be able to end. I think this works better for the readers, too, as from what I've observed most of them don't seem interested in following lengthy series any more.
I'm also getting more involved and taking some new directions with promotion and marketing for this trilogy. That's been more painful -- I'm always going to be better at writing than self-promoting -- and I don't know if it will actually make a difference. I figure if nothing else I'll learn from it.
Nightborn will be hitting the shelves on March 6th, and as part of my do-more effort I'm also trying to make myself more available. So: if you have a weblog and would like to interview me, get some info about the book, or have me write a guest post for you, and you can post that between now and March 6th, please e-mail me at LynnViehl@aol.com to let me know. I have a few ARCs of Nightborn left that I can offer as giveaways (not many, so this will be first come first served) or signed copies of my other Darkyn novels. In late February I should have the final edition author copies of Nightborn if you'd prefer those as prizes.
If you were one of the readers or a reviewer who got a Nightborn ARC (either from me or my publisher), and you have the time and inclination to post a review on your site or at one of the online booksellers' pages before the book is released, that would also be great, and much appreciated.
I'm also going to put one last signed Nightborn ARC up for grabs here, so if you'd like a chance at winning it, in comments to this post name a novel series that you wish other people would read (or if you can't think of any, just toss your name in the hat) by midnight EST on Saturday, January 21, 2012. I will choose one name at random from everyone who participates and send the winner a signed ARC of Nightborn along with a surprise (and no, I won't tell you what that is, but my surprises are always good ones.) This giveaway is open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something here at PBW in the past.