A confession and a new strategy

I tried a few different ways of saying this, but I’m going to keep it brief because it’s unpleasant and I just don’t like talking about this on the internet.

My health has gotten very bad over the last two months. Not bad like I’m going to die, just bad in that I am not able to function. I am still learning how to navigate my life with unpredictable health, and I’ve not been doing a good job of it. I keep thinking I’ve got it figured out, that I can predict how this illness is going to work and how I’m going to be able to cope with it, and it keeps defying my expectations.

When I announced the publication date for Cheerleaders from Planet X, I thought I had given myself a large enough buffer to account for every contingency, particularly because the book was so close to being done when I announced it. I was wrong. I am now very close to my (second) deadline and, while I possibly still might be able to make it, I am concerned that the quality of the book would be very poor.

The reason for this is that I have been having to take anti-seizure medication almost every day for the last month. (Basically nonstop since I made that post where I said, “It’s not my health this time,” which apparently made my body say, “Oh, I’ll show her.”) The medication I am on doubles as a sedative—basically, it stops the seizures by putting me to sleep. Trying to complete rewrites and edits while sedated is not a good idea. I have been doing some really bizarre things while sedated (such as inverting numbers when I transfer money in my bank accounts, which is fun to explain when I try to balance my account) and I am very, very concerned that I would end up putting out a book that made absolutely no sense or was missing scenes or had a bunch of homophone typos1)The homophone thing is something I’ve been doing a lot as well: “She said allowed” instead of “aloud,” etc. or something. It would be very unfair to you all as readers, as well as to this book that I love. I want it to be the very best book it can be. A book I finished while distracted or high on seizure meds is definitely not going to be the book I want it to be, or likely a book you are going to enjoy.

I realize I keep having to make posts like this, and that is probably very frustrating for readers. I’m sorry. It’s because I still am having trouble figuring out what my body is doing. I’m hoping that this will be the last one, because I’m changing my strategy after this. Up until now, my tendency had been to work on a traditional publishing model but merely giving myself a large buffer to account for the health weirdness. This episode has showed me that this model is not going to work for me. I chose to be indie for a reason, and part of that is because it is more flexible. I have realized now that traditional deadline setting is not going to work for me, because I managed to burn through a three-month and then four-month buffer like it was nothing. Having these kinds of illnesses is nothing like having a cold where you can reasonably expect that if you rest, you’ll be better in a week or two. I’m just really sorry that I didn’t realize this before I announced the book and got everyone’s hopes up.

From this point on, I am reformulating my publishing strategy. In the traditional publishing world, you announce books well in advance to build buzz. In the indie publishing world, there’s a big emphasis on getting books out quickly in order to hook readers. I’ve tried to incorporate these strategies into my writing career, and I’ve failed because I’m simply not able to predict what I’m going to be capable of. Even something I was able to do in the past2)For example, I announced Different Worlds when the book was far less done than Cheerleaders had been when I announced it, and I still had it finished with time to spare is not an indication of what I’ll be able to do in the future.

So my new plan is to not announce books at all until they are 100% done and ready for publication. This will likely translate to a lot of, “Surprise! Here’s a book.” I’ve seen this be effective with other indie authors, and while I was hesitant to use that model because I wanted to be competitive in the traditional YA sphere, I think that’s going to be my best bet based on my health.

What does this mean for my writing? It means that Cheerleaders From Planet X is not coming out on April 25. I don’t know when it will be coming out—I will not be announcing a new date until the book is 100% done and ready for publication, to avoid anything else like this happening again. Please note that the book is not cancelled. It is still coming, and hopefully soon.

If you are on the list for receiving an ARC, you will still receive an ARC when they’re ready. I will make sure to send them out at least a month before the release to give you plenty of time to read it. If you are unable to do so because of this change in plans, that is okay. I still want you to at least have a copy in exchange for all of this nonsense I’ve put you through.

If you signed up for the blog tour through Rich in Variety, please accept my apologies. Blog tours need to be booked far in advance, which is part of the reason I decided to announce the book when I did—I honestly was confident with this large of a buffer, I would be able to do it. This is another aspect of traditional publishing that I’ve learned I’m just not going to be able to be a part of. I’m sorry about that. If you were signed up to participate in the blog tour and still would like to receive an ARC when they’re available, please let me know.

In regards to my future releases, such as the rest of the Iamos Trilogy, if you’d like to know when they become available, please sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss anything. I will also make a point of posting on this blog when I have announcements.

Thank you all for your understanding and support. I’m sorry.

NOTES   [ + ]

1. The homophone thing is something I’ve been doing a lot as well: “She said allowed” instead of “aloud,” etc.
2. For example, I announced Different Worlds when the book was far less done than Cheerleaders had been when I announced it, and I still had it finished with time to spare

4 Comments on A confession and a new strategy

  1. I said this to you personally but it’s worth saying twice: We all love you. I love you and want you to feel supported and safe and comfortable. There is no shame in this. (Plus, I mean, who’s arguing with surprise! books??)

  2. Please rest and feel better. You are awesome and so are all your amazing books.

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