A small update as I’m getting a few comments stacked up both here and on some separate forums, wondering about the overly due third book. Here’s what I can say, its on the way. I missed my original target date hard, but for good reasons I believe.
I know all too well that next installment books in a series need to be released in a timely manner or else you risk losing your hot readership and any momentum you’ve built to that point. I get that, I really worry about that, the one thing that makes me feel better though is that quite honestly in this case, the longer it takes, the better.
I could have pushed out another short book. I sometimes wonder if that was what I did with Pillars although looking back, that one was a story that was honestly really easy for me to write; it flowed out effortlessly. Of course my total numbers sold reflect that it was maybe too easy as it doesn’t get even close to half the reads that Against the Grain does. Or another way to look at the data is that people didn’t like Against the Grain enough to pick up its prequel. I try not to dwell on that…
The third book however is already hovering around 275 pages and will probably go to 300. The other two barely left the 200 page count. That has been one common critique, that the books are too short. I wanted to write short, easy to read books for this genre, it was something that there wasn’t any option of… which was apparently a double edged sword. People complained because it wasn’t longer like all the other books. Sometimes you just can’t win. I never tried to keep the other books short, and I’m not trying to lengthen this one, they just take as many pages as the story takes to tell and this one has more action, more understated humor and more of the lifestyle that my little fictional world has created.
The reviews and readers comments reflect that Pillars didn’t reverberate as well with the original readers of ATG. I am not a master strategist with my writing, I don’t story board out multiple books or the entire series in advance and weave and interconnect them all before writing a single word like real authors do, I just write the same characters in the same “universe” and let the connections fall into place. Trust me, I’ve learned that the successful authors are artists at pre-planning and that is not something I actively do. Hell, Pillars only got written because I told my editor I was thinking of doing a little short story on this blog telling of when the main character went out to get the Harris family and bring them all together. Clint, Blake, Danielle… none of those characters were even thought of as being in a prequel book when I passingly wrote them into Against the Grain.
OK, enough behind the curtain of illegitimacy.
The third book is differing from Pillars in that I am planning it out more, I am trying more with this story. I’m actually paying attention to the growth and development that is supposed to come along in a storyline… a storyline that I originally intended to read more like a journal than a book. I am actively refining this craft, and doing it while I work full time, have a family, continue to make progress on the time (and money) intensive car and gun hobbies, stock firewood for two families… all that besides having written 75 pages (of notes!) for a separate book in a separate genre. My previous books were largely written during the winter before kids and a second hot rod showed up, apparently I had a lot of time on my hands before lol.
So yes, its taking more time than it should but I truly believe that the finished product is going to be worth the wait. It is a fun read and I think a little more back to the roots of what people liked about Against the Grain.
Either way, I really do appreciate the messages wondering about the timeline as it shows that this is still worth doing.