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I’m proud to announce that the rights to publish Unfettered have sold to Orbit Books UK.

This is great news but not for the reasons you might think.

A little background. When I found out I had cancer, you might be astonished to find that my first thought was not survival. It was there but it was in the back of my mind, like an itch that can’t be scratched. No, my first thought was, “How the hell am I going to pay for treatment?” Due to a pre-existing condition, I could not find affordable health insurance. Then the inevitable happened. I was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkin’s lymphoma and quickly accrued a massive medical debt.

Luckily, I’ve made some friends over the years. Unfettered exists because of those relationships and their good will, the anthology paying off my debt in its entirety as of two weeks ago.

I told my contributors when they agreed to help me that a few things would happen over the course of the next two years:

  1. All foreign rights sales of Unfettered would be split between them. I did the math early on and realized if I sold out my US print run that I would pay off my debt. Therefore, any rights sales to foreign publishers could go to my writers, for helping me during my time of need.
  2. Unfettered would help build their individual audiences. This is the more significant of the two points, I think. The great thing about the anthology format is its ability to create new readers who try writers they otherwise might not read.

The UK edition of Unfettered will publish February 20, 2014

Both have happened, thankfully. And the Orbit Books UK deal is an extension of both of those points. The UK edition of Unfettered will publish February 20, 2014 and the money for that deal will be split between the contributors. And when Orbit Books UK ramps up publicity for the anthology in December 2013/January 2014 and they finally publish the book, they will help drive interest for all of the anthology writers.

I am so excited for UK readers to find new writers. It has already happened in the US. The vast majority of Unfettered reviews are by readers who have found new writers and are excited to read new series. I am proud to have taken a terrible life experience such as cancer and turn it into a positive one for the people who helped me during my time of need.

Orbit Books UK is the first foreign publisher to complete purchase of rights. They have already begun work on the anthology, with a new cover planned, a marketing plan in place, and possibly a few surprises I cannot speak to yet.

[The sequel to Unfettered] already has several writers attached and it will officially publish at Worldcon 2015 in Spokane, WA.

Unfettered has been a silver lining to a horribly dark cloud. All has worked out for the best though. And recently, numerous readers have asked if there will be a sequel. I can announce there will be. It is currently untitled, although Brandon Sanderson firmly believes I need to keep ‘unfettered’ somewhere in the title. I agree with him. All proceeds from this new anthology will go toward alleviating medical debt accrued by writers and artists in our genre, the launch of a new non-profit similar to Stephen King’s Haven Foundation. I have been given a platform—no matter how small it is—and I plan on helping as many others as I can.

The forthcoming anthology already has several writers attached and it will officially publish at Worldcon 2015 in Spokane, WA, my backyard!

I hope you are as excited by the Orbit Books UK deal as I am. And here’s to a future where we all keep watching out for one another.

One book sale at a time!

12 thoughts on “Shawn Speakman on Unfettered, its UK sale to Orbit Books, and his next anthology(!)”

  1. Shawn, this is great news. Congratulations to you and the authors on the foreign rights sale, and I look forward to the next volume!

  2. Elektra says:

    Congratulations on all counts! See you at the book launch!

  3. Great news. Congratulations to Shawn and my fellow Unfettered authors. Orbit is a great publisher and I’m sure they will do a fabulous job with the book.

  4. Orbit will do a great job. And I’m super excited about the next anthology. The next anthology will be easier to put together, having done it once already, and we have enough time to really create some great stories that are longer in length and feature a loose theme that should create some interesting tales. More when I know it!

  5. joe says:

    Never trust a guy who thinks he us too cool to smile for a picture.

  6. Sean says:

    Many congratulations. Not too many positives following cancer. I’ll pick it up when it releases in the uk.

  7. Thanks for the congratulations. I have a lot of work ahead of me. Thankfully the sequel to THE DARK THORN is coming along quickly. If I can get it wrapped up by April 2014, I can spend the following six months working on the new anthology. Fingers crossed!

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