Torn, book two of the Bound trilogy, came out on March 31.
On April second, I got the first message asking when book three was coming out. Others soon followed, all polite and wonderfully enthusiastic.
I’m so glad people are as excited about finishing this story as I am. Putting a book out into the world, especially when expectations are high, is a hard thing to do, and positive reader response is like iced tea on a warmish day in Hell.
I love the enthusiasm and the desire for book three.
I do feel bad about not having hard answers for people, though.
See, I didn’t put a release date for book three in the back of Torn. Not even an approximate guess. I have my reasons for being secretive, but as the messages, e-mails, and Facebook comments come in I’m starting to feel like I owe some kind of an explanation so that people don’t think I’m going to flake on them.
The explanation is this: Deadlines set too far in advance have a nasty tendency to bite me in the ass, so I’m not making anything public yet.
Not enough explanation? Read on.
Before Bound came out, back when there were maybe twenty people really waiting for it, I set a deadline. I said it would be out June 2014. I’d heard back from my editor, I knew I had things under control, we were good.
…until my basement flooded and we had to evacuate, and everything was up in the air for a while.
I still got it out on June 23. I said “Winter 2015” for Torn‘s release, thinking that left me plenty of time. Eight months shouldn’t have been a problem, right? I was already on draft three, ready for first readers, yadda yadda.
I didn’t think about the fact that I didn’t have my editor booked yet, and couldn’t pay him until I had money from book sales in-hand*. Then there were more delays, and edits turned out to be a slightly bigger challenge than I had anticipated.
Cue major stress as I realized how much work I needed to get done to meet my foolish, self-imposed, late-March deadline.
Such stress is not great for the creative mind, or for families who enjoy things like clean laundry and hot meals. I felt like I was constantly juggling family, too many work balls, my mental health, my physical well-being, and social obligations, all at double speed–and truth be told, I totally suck at juggling. My confidence was shot, and I worried I was going to disappoint everyone.
This isn’t a “woe is me” party. I survived, the book is exactly what I hoped it would be, and I learned a lot from the experience.
But I don’t want to go through that again, so I’ve chosen to not make promises this time until after edits are back in August.
Do I have an idea of how long it will take? You bet. Unless we run into horrible delays in the editing process, we should be looking at the same space between Torn and Sworn as there was between Bound and Torn. About 9 months.
Put the pitchfork down.
I would love to be able to put out a book every three months for you guys and have them be exactly the quality you expect from me, but I can’t do it. I could have a complete but not professionally-edited book out this summer. I could have a rushed-but-okay-I-guess book out in October for sure. I could probably guarantee something satisfying for December…
…but that’s not good enough for me, or for you.
I’m not releasing Sworn until I know that it’s the most epic, kick-ass, beautiful, gut-wrenching, heart-shattering, oh-gods-I-need-to-reread-this-series-right-now conclusion I’m capable of producing.
And that takes time. That takes editors and readers and chances to sit and think things through. It takes middle of the night epiphanies and long, boring drives when I can perfect tiny details to the best of my ability. It means not settling for the first ideas that come to mind, but digging deep into every character, pushing them harder and further, studying the way the threads weave together and figuring out how best to bring out the fullest beauty of the story.
I get one shot at this thing. I’m going to give you guys all I’ve got.
…in the 4.5 whole hours a day I get to work on it.
But we’ll talk about that another time.
*My editor is worth every penny, but it’s a lot of pennies.