I shuddered at the thought of switching editors mid-stream, as many of my colleagues have been forced to do.
Editor’s Note: When news came that Bradley P. Beaulieu was leaving his publisher, Night Shade Books, and making the change to self-publishing, I was puzzled and intrigued. I’ve invited him here to talk about his experience, his decision and the changing landscape of publishing. If you’d like to support Beaulieu, he is currently running a Kickstarter to support the relaunch of his trilogy, The Lays of Anuskaya.
Several months back, I learned that my editor, Ross Lockhart, was let go from Night Shade Books. It had been very good to work with Ross up to that point. He was enthusiastic about the series, he kept the wheels of publishing (at least for my books) oiled and running smoothly, and he gave me some great advice on the series. I’m grateful he was there to help for all three of the books in The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy, and I shuddered at the thought of switching editors mid-stream, as many of my colleagues have been forced to do. Such a change can end up well in the end, but it can just as easily cause serious and permanent damage to an author’s career.
So Ross’s departure was worrying news, indeed. It comes as no surprise to any who have cared to look that Night Shade has been a cash-strapped business for some time. This is bad enough, worrying about where your future with them was headed, but the loss of my editor made me doubly worried about how my books would now be handled. Taking a pragmatic look at the change, cutting back on staff is normal in business. It can help a business survive. But when it happens it means that fewer people will be doing a lot more things, at least in the short- to medium-term. None of this boded well for the release of my third book, which frankly I hadn’t heard much about from my publisher. Not having heard anything different, I had assumed it would be coming out in April of 2013, as the first two books had been released that same month. Everything else—the initial editing, copy edits, and artwork—were all in works already, so things seemed good for an April release, even if it would be a bit rushed. Continue reading
A few days after announcing his next trilogy, The Song of the Shattered Sands, Bradley P. Beaulieu announced today that he has left his former publisher, Night Shade Books, and will be republishing eBook editions of The Lays of Anuskaya, as well as entirely self-publishing the final book in the series, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh. These new editions will feature new covers.
Beaulieu gives reason to his decision to redesign the covers for their eBook release:
As part of the gear-up for the release of my third book, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, I’m also re-releasing The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh. I have to admit some disappointment that the previous versions didn’t have a unifying theme. So I designed these around that basic premise, that they would look and feel like a series. I hope I’ve hit the mark.
[I've] closed a deal with Betsy Wollheim for a new epic fantasy trilogy called The Song of the Shattered Sands. It’s a story set in a powerful desert city that controls the flow of trade and spice through otherwise impassable terrain. There are echoes of both A Thousand and One Nights and Thieves’ World.
It’s a story about Çeda, a woman who fights in the pits to scrape a living from the cruel but beautiful city she calls home. As the story opens, she discovers that the book her mother left her before she died holds the clues to the unraveling the mystery of her mother’s death, which was tangled up in the story of the Twelve Kings of Sharakhai, men who have ruled the desert with an iron fist for nearly two hundred years. As Çeda begins to unlock the secrets hidden within the poems in the book—as well as what her mother was trying to do before she died—the Kings learn of her, and they will stop at nothing to keep those secrets buried in the desert where they belong. And so the chase is on. Çeda must unlock the hidden riddles of her mother’s book before the Kings find her. She had better hope she does, for she is the last hope for the people of the desert.
It’s great to see Beaulieu take the critical success he received for his first trilogy, The Lays of Anuskaya, published by Night Shade Books, and parlay it into a deal with a larger publisher. Daw is home to some of the best (traditional/epic/secondary world) Fantasy writers working today, including Patrick Rothfuss and Saladin Ahmed. Beaulieu’s Arabian Nights-inspired trilogy sounds like it will be a good fit. It’s great to see more Fantasy written that features a setting inspired by something other than Medieval Western Europe. After Beaulieu’s first trilogy, with a Russian-inspired setting, he’s quickly asserting himself as one of the most interesting world builders in the genre. I’m quite looking forward to this.
My friends, sometimes you have to be careful what you ask for. When I first started talking to Aidan about a guest post on A Dribble of Ink, I thought of a couple of subjects that seemed easy at the time. The first was about the differences between writing a Book 1 in a series vs. its sequel. The second was about finding the sweet spot in terms of the number of POV characters for an epic fantasy. The first one was pretty easy to knock out, because it was more about relating my experiences over the course of writing the first and second novels in my trilogy. This second one, though, has been a tough nut to crack.
Why? That’s a fair question, because let’s face it: on the surface this question is easy to answer. How many POVs do you need? However many the story needs to tell it effectively. While I believe this to be true, it’s also about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. It doesn’t really illuminate the choices that have to be made with respect to POV, so I think what I’ll try to do is examine the question using two epics I’ve read recently.
On the one extreme, we have George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. How many POVs does Martin have now? A few dozen between A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, which really comprise a single novel broken up geographically (as opposed to breaking a large novel up temporally). Had anyone told an editor twenty years ago that they were going to start a series in which the novels would expand to twenty POV characters, they would have been laughed out of New York. And yet, here it is, a masterful story with a scope about as wide as you can have in fiction.
I recently published my debut novel, The Winds of Khalakovo. I also recently finished the first draft of the second novel in The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy, so when Aidan brought up the possibility of a guest post, one of the things I immediately thought of was talking a bit about the differences in writing Book 2 vs. Book 1.
I had been wary of writing the second novel in a series for quite some time. That sounds strange, even to my ear, but it’s true. I didn’t used to think this way. When I first starting writing seriously, ten years ago or so, I thought a sequel would be a natural extension of the first book, and in many ways that’s true, but as I grew in my craft and began to go to conventions and get advice about writing a sequel, I grew … not worried, but certainly concerned.
Why? Well, there are a few things going on here.
First of all, you don’t want to be complacent. The Winds of Khalakovo was my first published book. Not my first book, mind you (I have a trunk filled with three others), but the first one I’d published. By the time Night Shade Books accepted Winds for publication, it had been workshopped and critiqued a number of times. It was tight, but it had taken a lot of energy from a lot of people (not just me).