Oh, look! Ian’s updating his blog again! Something must have changed.
Well, no, not exactly.
I’m at a kind of crossroads right now as far as what to do next. I’m nearly caught up to the part of The Archmage where the pages are blank and the story isn’t finished. That is the crux of my dilemma. I’ve been either consciously or unconsciously avoiding any new writing by editing pretty much nonstop since December 1st. Pariah’s Moon was the last new writing I did, and that was only a NaNo book (although in my own defense, I’ve been editing it at work because we’re really slow and I have a BlackBerry, and it’s kind of scary to look back at what might very well be some of the best writing I’ve ever done and not find much to edit out on the first go-through). If I continue on with The Archmage, I’ll have to write new stuff. But should I? Aye, there’s the rub…
The Archmage is part of the Just Cause series of books, and would be the fourth one I’d have at least a first draft completed (the others being Mustang Sally, Deep Six, and Enter The Jackrabbit in case you have a scorecard to fill out). Not one of those books has been published, and given the current state of the publishing industry, I’m not likely to see one published unless I do it myself. Should I finish yet another Just Cause book that may wind up another self-published failure a la The Milkman, which has been a disappointment to me pretty much from the get-go? If I did opt to self-pub the Just Cause books, knowing what I now know about self-publishing and What Not To Do, I think I could get a pretty decent product out there, but ultimately they will not be in bookstores and will be so heavily discounted by online retailers (Yes, I’m talking to you, you teabaggers at Amazon) that I will likely never earn back my investment, even if I can produce the books on the cheap (and I can, because I have connections).
To get the special pricing structure on future books, I would need to move The Milkman from its current “home” at iStupidverse to another POD service called Booklocker. If I was to do that, I would want to release a Special Edition – a “Director’s Cut”, if you will, loaded with special features like commentary, soundtrack listing, deleted/extended/extra scenes, bloopers, etc., because I don’t want to simply rerelease the same book with a new cover. I want it to be worthwhile for people who might have already bought the original book to pick up the new edition. Basically, I’d give it full Lucasizing.
The long and short of it is that if I want to self-pub the Just Cause series, which I think will be a good business decision and get a product out there which readers will enjoy, even if they aren’t the readers who happen to control the publishing industry, I will have to retool The Milkman. That means even more rehashing of my work and editing and rewriting and not really producing any brand-new manuscripts. Right now I’m not feeling the need to write new stuff, but I can tell I will be soon, and I have to juggle my time enough as it is.
The alternative to the plan I’ve just laid out would be to set aside my beloved superheroes and write something brand spanking new. What would I write? Not a sequel to Troubleshooters (and I have one in mind called Sins of the Mother) or a sequel to Pariah’s Moon (Pariah’s War, anyone?), because I’ve learned it’s foolish to write sequels to unpublished work without an agent getting you the multi-book deal. I have a couple ideas to kick around, but nothing that’s taken my by the throat, dragged my heart through the dust, and kept me awake at night. At least, not yet.
What would you do?