“So, When Is The Next Geekomancy Book?”
In the last couple of months, I’ve had several people have asked me a variation of this question. That’s great! It’s good to have people excited about your next book! And it makes sense that this is the series people ask about. The first book in the series, Geekomancy, is still my best-selling book (though 50% or more of those unit sales are at a deep discount). These books are what a lot of people best know me for, and they hold a very special place in my heart – they launched my career, they let me forge my passion for geekdom and pop culture into fiction, investigating what I loved and what I found troubling about fandom.
Unfortunately, while the first book has done very well, each successive novel in the series has sold less than half of the copies of the book before it, so that “best-selling of my books” numbers very quickly become “hard to justify continuing the series” numbers. Book #4 (Hexomancy) has been out for almost two years, and it’s sold less than 13% of what Book #1 (Geekomancy) has sold. Even if we just look at the first two years of Book #1’s sales and then the first two years of Book #4’s sales, Book #4 is not doing well.
And that’s despite Hexomancy being, in my opinion, the best-written book in the series. It’s often the case that later books in the series are better-written but don’t sell as well, due to reader attrition. There are a ton of different reasons later books might not do as well. Someone liked Book #1 but #2 didn’t do it for them, so they opt out. Or it’s too long between Book #2 and #3, so they forget about the series or miss the newer releases, etc.
Beyond the Geekomancy books, some of my other releases haven’t hit well, either. Neither Shield & Crocus and The Younger Gods sold well for the publisher to ask for sequels, despite works I’m very proud of and learned a lot from writing. A lot of books published don’t earn out their advances and/or don’t sell enough for the publisher to offer on sequels. Again, this industry is tough.
The Not-So Glamourous Writer Life
It’s not fun to talk about this. Writers are supposed to be eternally confident, never exposing weakness. Every book is spoken of only for its successes. The writer’s life is glamour and marvels, fancy cocktail parties in the Big City. I’ve been very lucky in my career so far, in having Geekomancy discovered on Book Country, in having an editor come back to me about Shield & Crocus, and in having a lot of help from friends and family.
But even with that luck and assistance, that glamorous version of the Writer’s Life isn’t the experience that I’ve had. And maintaining that illusion of Writer’s Career As Eternal Awesomeness At All Times obscures the hard realities of trying to build a career as a commercial fiction writer. Even very successful writers face challenges, doubts, and setbacks. I’ve gotten much stronger as a writer with each book I write, but there are more amazing SF/F books out there than any one person could ever hope to read, and competition is fierce. The political stuff this year and pushing myself in 2015/2016 has meant that this year I’ve had to take stock on a lot of things, and I’m trying to be kinder to myself and more open about the process, the business, and in life. So here I am, showing my cards.
I’m very glad that more and more writers are throwing back the curtain and talking candidly about their careers and about the challenges writers face, commercially and creatively. Every writer that banishes the illusions makes it easier for other writers to do so, and makes it easier for new writers to come into the field with a better understanding of the realities we face.
So, What Now?
If I didn’t have other things going on, it’d be easier to write more Geekomancy stories on spec. But I have a novel to finish revising so my agent can sell it, more Genrenauts to write to build that promising series, a Sekret Collaborative Project that is taking off now, and trying to get into comics writing. That’s honestly already too much, without even getting into my idea of returning to my geeky roots and trying to assemble writers to play RPGs live on streaming channels like Twitch and/or YouTube.
I still have stories to tell in the Geekomancy setting and want to. I said in the acknowledgments to Hexomancy that I would keep writing if people kept reading, but the trick is that if only a few people are reading, the releases will be much shorter and less frequent. I have considered running a Kickstarter to see if there’s enough interest in another book. But right now, I am focusing on other projects to move my career forward, which I hope will then put me in a position to do more with Ree & company.
I have considered running a Kickstarter to see if there’s enough interest in another book. If you’d be interested in a Ree Reyes Kickstarter for more books, please let me know (comment below). By my calculations, I’d probably set my Kickstarter goal at close to $10,000 or more to justify writing a Ree Reyes book instead of the other projects on my to-do list.
Being able to run a very successful Kickstarter would re-arrange the lines of career and financial priority, but Kickstarters also take a *lot* of effort. I’ve also considered launching a Patreon for my writings about the business of publishing/being an author, but focusing more on non-fiction writing would require taking more time away from writing fiction. The only way that becomes a really good idea is if the Patreon $$$ becomes enough to justify working less on other stuff. And launching a Patreon is, again, something that takes its own effort.
So for right now, I am focusing on other projects to move my career forward, which I hope will then put me in a position to do more with Ree & co.
There have never been more opportunities for creatives to forge their own path in building their careers and their businesses. But everything takes time, and no one can do everything at once. Non-fiction writing time means less fiction writing time. Learning how to write comics means reading more comics and less fiction, which means I am less current on what’s happening in the fiction market. It’s a lot.
The more people buy and read and review the books, the easier it will be for me to write another book and continue the series. Right now the sales have halved with each successive novel, so continuing is not viable financially.
Geekomancy and the Ree Reyes books are discounted right now in ebook. This is convenient for those who haven’t read the series or are looking to spread the word by pointing friends at the series or gifting ebook/audiobook editions to friends/family.
Right now, you can get all four books in the series for just $10.96 in the US (Book #1 and Book #4 are just $.99 each at the moment)
Also: I do want to make sure that folks have seen the free Christmas short story I released at the end of last year as a treat for Geekomancy fans: http://michaelrunderwood.com/2016/12/25/a-very-geekomancy-christmas/
Let Me Sum Up
I’m very honored to have the every reader for the Ree Reyes books and my other works. Thanks so much for your support!