Finally, some good news.
The folks at Samhain have graciously reverted the rights to WAY OUT WEST, the new Markhat novel bought by Samhain shortly before the shutdown was announced.
(To read this entry in a large print format, click here!)
Which means the book is mine again, and I'm free to do with it as I will.
This leaves a couple of options open to me.
I could shop the book around, to agents or publishers. There are a number of advantages to this approach. First, of course, is getting a publisher's marketing and editorial engines behind the book. An agent could maybe get the book on the right desk, and make that happen.
My second best option is to publish WAY OUT WEST myself. With some help, of course.
I'd no sooner try to edit my own book than I would drill my own teeth. I'm a lousy editor of my own work.
But as it happens, my former Samhain Editor, and the former FLE (first line editor), and both now doing freelance work.
So what I've decided to do is hire them, go through the same process we used at Samhain, and put the book out myself.
You'll be getting the very same book you would have if Samhain was handling it, because the same people are doing the same jobs. I'll be confident we're turning out a really good book. I don't think most readers will even realize the process has seen some changes.
The upside to handling WAY OUT WEST this way is time.
Let's say I pitched WAY OUT WEST around. Months would pass. The wheels of publishing grind slowly. Even if a publisher picked it up, it would probably be middle or late 2017 before the book came out.
That's a long time to wait for the new book in a series.
By hiring my own editors and cover art, I'll probably have WAY OUT WEST on the stands in June or July. Of this year.
That's the upside.
If the upside is time, I'll bet you can guess what the downside is.
Money. That's right, filthy lucre. Professionals don't work for free. Nor should they.
I want WAY OUT WEST to be every bit as polished and professional as the Samhain titles were. It will be, because the same team that produced the other titles will be right back at work on the new one. None of the first ten titles were a solo effort, and I've worked too hard and have too much respect for the series to do anything less than the best I can for it.
So, for everyone wondering about the future of the Markhat Files, you can look forward to a new book this summer. And of course you can still buy the earlier titles in the series as ebooks right now, and keep buying them until Samhain actually shuts down. I wish you would buy one or two. The longer the lights stay on at Samhain, the better for me and all the other authors sharing the situation.
Now if a publisher should drop down out of the blue and offer me a deal, I might take it. Might. It would depend entirely on the publisher, and the deal. At the moment, I have complete faith in Holly, my editor, and I'm honestly not even considering the need for a change. To be quite honest, despite the costs, I'm oddly comforted knowing that by doing this myself, I don't have to worry about a publisher closing their doors again.
If you're a writer in need of an editor with genuine real-world publishing experience, you can find Holly here:
That's the plan. I thought some of you might enjoy a peek behind the scenes.
So what is WAY OUT WEST about?
Well, without saying too much, this one involves a long ride on a train. Murder. Magic. More murder. Darla is there, of course, and some new faces, as well as the usual crew.
It was a blast to write. I hope it'll be just as much fun to read.
And I'm thrilled that it will be read.
I'll post progress reports here along the way.
And I'll beg a little bit, too. There is one thing you could do that doesn't cost a dime, and only takes a minute.
If you've read any of the other Markhat titles, and you liked them, please consider going to Amazon and leaving a review.
If you've already left a review, thanks!
Reader reviews on Amazon play a huge role in whether people see the books or not. 50 seems to be a magic number -- a book with 50 or more reviews winds up featured in those "You might also like this book" emails Amazon sends out from time to time.
I know that's true because the Paths books, which have more than 50 reviews each, show up in those emails all the time.
So if anyone is so inclined, please just follow the link below, pick any book of mine you're read, and leave a quick review.
It could help the series live on!