So… It happened to me again. Not a new story for anyone who’s been in the publishing business for a while. Not even a new story for me. But it bites every time, anyway.
My Market Center Mysteries series has been orphaned.
Five years ago Five Star/Cengage published the first book in the series, A Gift for Murder in hardcover and large print trade paperback. Harlequin Worldwide Mysteries reprinted it in mass market paperback 18 months later.
It took me a while to finish the second book in the series, Wired for Murder, but I did finally finish the first draft in 2014, had it read by a couple of beta readers, revised it based on their suggestions, and submitted it. In March, 2015, it got approval from the editor, who sent it to the contracts department.
I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Inquiries met with silence. Fortunately I’m on an author’s list for Five Star authors, where I learned that a few other authors were in the same position. And some authors with contracts were having their releases pushed back multiple times.
I began to get a bad feeling in my gut. I’ve been published for twenty-five years and I’ve seen publishers come and go. I’ve been orphaned before. Not just once, not just twice. I’ve seen this pattern and it rarely ends well.
In January, the expected word came down. Five Star had decided to close its mystery line. They would publish books already under contract but that was it. No new contracts. All the books they were holding were released back to the authors.
So I had an orphaned mystery series. I queried a few other publishers about it, with the expected result. They don’t want the second book in a series that started with someone else.
After a lot of rumination and discussion with other authors, I’ve decided to self-publish the remaining books. As of right now, Wired for Murder is with an editor and the third book, tentatively titled A Perfect Home for Murder, is in progress. A fourth, untitled as yet, is the preliminary thought stage. I haven’t decided whether to wrap it up there or make the series five books.
Self-publishing involves a lot of work and expense, so I’m going to be interested to see how this goes. But I really love the characters and the setting and I want to write these books very badly. So onward and forward. I hope to keep you updated on my progress.