Will there be more Artifact Hunters?
Occasionally a reader asks if there will be another instalment and it is an incredibly difficult question for me to answer. I love these characters and they have long, convoluted adventures in my head that I wish I could continue putting on paper. I love that readers care as much about Cara and Nate as I do. I wish I could have you all live in my basement and feed you continuing adventures. But apparently that’s not legal.
As hard as it is to say, the answer has to be “NO” and it’s not because I don’t want to or because I’ve run out of ideas. The answer is because of simple economics. While it seems cold and callous to discuss money, but there are two simple truths when it comes to books…
Writing is an art.
Publishing is a business.
Here’s the dirty fact I have to work around – it costs money to publish a book. At a minimum there is cover art and
editing, and maybe paperback formatting. Now since I don’t have a publisher behind me to pick up those costs and since I’m not independently wealthy (publishing is my part time job), I need to count my pennies and a book has to (at a minimum) earn back what it cost to produce. Let’s not even consider a little something for the months it took me to write the book. I do that for free. Imagine if your boss said: “hey, not only am I not going to pay you any more, I expect you to chip in for electricity, your computer and the space you occupy.” Let’s be honest, how long would you keep working, if you had to do it for nothing?
The publishing business is crowded, there is a downward pressure on book prices and unfortunately, some readers expect more for less. I’ve had emails complaining about a 99 cent book and asking for a free copy. And don’t even get me started on people who buy a book, load it to pirate sites and then return for a refund. Interesting factoid, did you know that on a 99 cent book, Amazon takes 70% and the author gets 29.7 cents, less tax. On a lower priced book an author has to move a significant quantity just to make a modest amount of money to put toward their costs. Now this probably all comes across as griping and it’s not intended that way. I love being a writer and that will always be a part of me regardless of what happens. I’m just trying to explain the cold hard facts that go into deciding whether to continue a series or not.
The reality is that while I could continue the Artifact Hunters, I would be losing money to do so. Same with the Serenity House series and Obsidian Eyes, the numbers simply don’t make more books viable. Now there are a number of things that could happen:
- I find sufficient new readers to boost sales and allow the series to continue. I have tried. I have advertised but it’s not picking up enough new readers.
- I win the lottery and carry on writing without worrying about cost. Hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll keep buying a ticket! 🙂
- I figure out why people either don’t pick up book 1 or why they don’t carry on to book 2. I am trying to figure that one out, but no solutions are leaping out at me and even if I pinpoint the problem, it would probably mean a fundamental re-write.
- I stop publishing altogether, return to an accounting job and maybe at some point in the future if I have sufficient funds set aside, I could continue those series.
- I move on and try something new.
Now I’m not saying there will never be another book in either the Artifact Hunters, Serenity House, or Obsidian Eyes because I don’t know what is around the corner. If I am fortunate enough to be in the position where money isn’t a factor, then YES, I will return to those characters. But while I need to earn a part time income from my writing, I need to keep an eye on the bottom line. That means making some tough choices.
I’ve chosen to move on and try a new series, a slightly different genre and hopefully widen my reach and number of readers. Long term, that might allow me to continue much loved books. I don’t know, sometimes you just have to step onto a new path and see where it goes, I hope you will join me on a new journey.