Since You Asked
A large unresolved set-up
My crackpot theory is that writing is not about looking good. It’s about risking looking bad and giving others that same opportunity.
Brandon wrote via The Cult to ask:
I am a fan of the Damned/Doomed series, was the intent for there to a third book at some point? I just wanted to pass along the fact that there are still fans interested to see how the story concludes.
The answer is yes, but the full answer is awkward so I’ll just blurt it out: The first two books didn’t sell strong enough so the publisher couldn’t risk putting money into a third. Whew! There I said it. I’ve pushed that story line along in Fight Club 3, not realizing the hardcover would be priced at thirty dollars. You see, I’ve no sense for money, that’s a huge blind spot on my part. As with most writers—Mark Twain, Margaret Atwood, Bill Bryson—it will probably be my downfall.
It’s embarrassing, but I’ve seen this happen so often, not to name names. A proposed series looks strong, and the writer gets a contract, then the series fails to find a large enough readership. The publisher has paid an advance, and the editor who championed the first book finds her job in peril. Too many such missteps and the editor is dismissed.
In a similar vein, many movie projects shoot all the footage for several sequels. This allows producers to get the actors before they age out of their roles. But when the first release fails to be profitable the remaining footage is shelved because it’s not worth the money for post production and release. It’s embarassing for all parties involved.
Take heart. As with so many things, the trick is not to die. Look at the many failures of George R. R. Martin. Until the internet, your past didn’t dog you so closely. You could reinvent yourself more easily. Martin stuck it out, but I’m curious why his Wikipedia page seems to omit the very early horror novels he attempted. What’s important is that he didn’t die. That, and he continued to write.
Madison Spencer will have her day. Just not yet.
This has been a big incomplete in my life, and I appreciate you asking about it. To show my gratitude I’d like to send you a bookmark that will be too long to ever really use. As I travel I collect rocks because hunting for agates is my earliest memory of my father. My father obsessed over finding and polishing semiprecious rocks. These rocks I combine with bits from my mother’s jewelry, and the resulting bookmarks range from very long to impossibly long. If you send Dennis a snail mail address I’ll make one for you.
There it is.