January 14, 2016

why THE GUILD CONSPIRACY isn't out yet

Not that anyone checks this blog anymore... 

I have a long-ish update to make regarding the release of my next steampunk novel, so if you're wondering why the hell it hasn't come out yet, or want to know why you haven’t heard a recent update from me, here's why:

1.) It took a lot longer to write than I originally anticipated.

I thought I would be done with the book in March 2015, but because of delays with The Brass Giant, I wasn’t able to start on it until February. Even so, the goal was to finish the first draft by the end of April. Three months seemed more than doable for the 80,000 word novel I had planned. However, I didn’t account for editing my novella, The Mechanical Theater, or all the marketing and promotion I had to do for The Brass Giant ahead of its release in May, so an April deadline stretched on and on to a July deadline, and my original plan for 80,000 words morphed into a 127,250 word monster of a draft, even after cutting over 13,000 words in a desperate hope to bring the word count down early on in the drafting process. But drafting took six months altogether (with about six weeks of editing work mixed in). Not bad, really, though slower than I would have liked.

Also, it bears mentioning that I have a toddler, and she is one of the primary reasons I take so long to write and edit. I have a very limited number of hours each day in which to write uninterrupted, and they are constantly shrinking. Things take longer than they used to, and for this book in particular, I had to work many long nights and weekends to make up for that lost time during the day. This was not good for my health or my sanity. Do not recommend.

2.)   Editing took longer than anticipated.

Okay, so I finished the first draft mid-July. The idea was that I would give myself a short break, until the first of August, when I would start editing. I figured that I could have the entire thing edited by mid-September, giving me six weeks to complete the second draft before turning it over to my editor. Great. Except the book was even more of a mess than I thought, and I had a lot of work to do before I would feel it was good enough to send to my editor. I ended up cutting another 65,000 words from the novel, total, but between rewriting scenes and adding new ones, I added another 40,000 words back into the draft, ending up with a book that was still nearly 25,000 words over my initial goal. I finished the second draft and sent it off to my editor in the first week of October. Two months to edit 127,000 words. I had to bust my ass, but I did it.

3.) My editor has other clients.

I’m not the only one on her schedule, and because of the delays I caused by being late with my book, I probably got shoved to the back of the manuscript queue. Can’t be helped. But that comes to the crux of the situation…

4.) My editor left Harper Voyager and took on a new job at another publishing house.

Which throws a great big damper on things. With my editor’s move to a new publishing house, that means I now have to switch to a new editor who already has a handful of clients to start with, and just got saddled with a handful more. So my book has to, once again, shuffle into the first available slot for the imprint’s production schedule. There is literally nothing I can do about this, but that’s okay. In the long run, I think it’s going to work out for the better (see below).

The Good News

I now have a rather good estimate for when the book should release, barring any additional delays, and right now, the book is scheduled to release August 9, 2016. It may shuffle a bit, depending on the rest of the publisher’s lineup and needing to time releases optimally, but it’s safe to say that the book will come out in the general timeframe of mid-August. Which means!—and this is the really good news—in light of the delayed release date, I have a chance to edit the book one more time before my editor gets her hands on it.


Why this is a Good Thing™: You’ll see above that I edited the full 127,000 word novel in a mere two months, working late nights and tiring weekends to get it done as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, quickly as possible doesn’t always equal best as possible, and in the months after turning my book over to the publisher, I’ve realized a few things that I should have done differently with the story. The truth is, the book I turned in was not my best work. But now I have an opportunity to fix it, make it better. And you better believe I’m going to seize that opportunity.

Despite the annoyances of yet another delay in the book’s release, I know that I can sculpt the draft I turned in last October into something much better now that I’ve had the proper distance from the story to see it more objectively. I now have a chance to tighten up the writing, strengthen the emotion in each scene, further develop the characters and the setting, and really optimize each scene as it plays into the greater plot. And in the process, hopefully I can bring the word count down to something a bit closer to the word count listed in my contract.

Yes, it means that the book will release later than planned, but in the end, it will be a better book. And that, my dears is a Very Good Thing™. 

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