If you're extremely online like I am, you may have seen what just happened with the TV show Brooklyn 99. FOX announced it was canceling the show due to low ratings, but the fan uproar was so intense that NBC swooped in and picked it up in less than 24 hours.
I haven't seen the show, but I have a strong personal interest in any art that's beloved by fans and critics but fails to meet the demands of a mass market and therefore can't be allowed to exist. What happened with Brooklyn 99 seemed kind of miraculous to me and I don't even fully understand it. No matter how passionate the fans are, the ratings don't lie, right? What would inspire NBC to pick up a show that the numbers don't support? Unless maybe they see an untapped opportunity there. Unless they think that passion could be converted into ratings, if they can be smarter than FOX and find the right way to promote it.
I saw a lot of intriguing parallels to the current situation with my books, so I posted this tweet:
It was kind of a joke referencing the situation with Brooklynn 99 which was just then unfolding, but a lot of people took it literally to mean that the last book in the series, THE LIVING, was officially never coming out. I need to clarify this.
A book series can't really be “canceled." The publisher only owns the rights to the books they've published, not future installments. And if no other publisher wants to touch that final book, there's always the self-publishing route, which I'm considering more seriously every day. So one way or another, THE LIVING will be released. Eventually. In some form.
But in the TV analogy, the series has been “canceled" for about a year now. This is old news to me and anyone who's been following my struggles online, but if you haven't been tuned in maybe it comes as a shock. It actually happened very shortly after the release of the latest book.
THE BURNING WORLD got good reviews and high reader ratings, but it had everything else working against it. The series was already hobbled by years of strategic blunders, mismanagement, and neglect. (I take the blame for much of this.) Then we dropped book 3 right into the middle of the political/cultural hurricane of 2017.
It sold a few thousand copies. Book 1 sold a few hundred thousand.
So the publisher, being a large commercial house, said they couldn't move forward with book 4 until sales of book 3 improved. But since they had no plans for any new promotional efforts, I took that as an official statement: due to low ratings, the Warm Bodies Series is canceled.
In the year since, I've been fighting to revive it. I've launched big promotional campaigns of my own and fans have rallied to try to spread the word. My agent has been talking to other publishers in the hopes of finding someone who sees an opportunity to rub the dirt off a diamond.
The series is definitely not canceled. The final book is written and will be published. It's just a question of when, and how well. And honestly, I don't even want you to pressure Simon & Schuster. I want whoever publishes this book to do it because they believe in its potential and know how to make it shine. So if you want to protest this “cancelation," don't aim your passion at publishers, aim it at readers. Join R's Rmy and brainstorm with other fans on how to keep spreading the word. Decisions will be happening very soon, and every voice of support makes that diamond a little shinier.
As always, thank you for sticking with me. I had planned to release this book last summer. Sitting on it all this time has been my personal hell and I promise you I can't endure it much longer.