So now that we have agreed and accepted the offer, I can tell you guys all about it–Seventh Bride got picked up by 47North, Amazon’s spec-fic imprint, and they’ll be publishing an expanded version, mostly likely this November!
Basically, what happened was that Bride was doing really well–4K copies–and one of the editors there was looking for a book that was sorta like a book they’d just published, and happened across it, and then she loved it and wrote to make me an offer. And since I am incapable of dealing with this sort of thing, I turned to my agent and went “AAAAUGHGHH HELP!” and she took it and repped it and got me more money and dealt with all the fiddly bits that I would have been lost with, which is why we have agents and why they more than earn the chunk they take and it doesn’t matter how this brave new world of publishing falls out, I will keep my agent until she takes out a restraining order against me.
As far as you, the reader is concerned, what’s going to happen is that come November-ish, it will be unavailable anywhere but Amazon, as an expanded version with a new cover on it. And it will have a trade paperback edition, and probably an audiobook edition and possibly even some other exciting stuff. (The copy you have, if you have bought it already, will not go away. I checked specifically on that, because that would have been a deal-breaker for me. Apparently 47North aims for–one quotes–“seamless transition” on this.)
I’ll be honest, this is both very weird and a great relief. I’ve always felt like Dragonbreath was a weird fluke that could never be duplicated and either Hamster Princess would tank or someday my beloved editor at Dial would retire and I would never sell another middle-grade book.
So that someone just stumbled over a T. Kingfisher book and said “Let’s make this happen!” made me feel like I suddenly exhaled–it’s not a one-off, I can actually do this, if everything collapses, I can rebuild a career from the ashes, etc.
…and, of course, it’s also weird, because once again, my career is progressing based on the thing happening that never happens.
A lot of people who self-publish express a desire to get picked up by a trade publisher if things do well, and other people clutch their heads and say “Please, no, don’t do that. This book isn’t your audition tape. Concentrate on making a really fantastic self-published book, not on a dress rehearsal for trade. Focus your business on doing self-pub WELL, not on a vague hope for a statistically unlikely event.”
And this is very good advice, and I would give it to anyone and it never actually occurred to me that I would find myself in that statistically unlikely event. Lightning struck me and the shark I was riding.
But here we are.
RESULTS NOT TYPICAL.
I mulled this one over at great length, honestly. A lot more so than I have previous deals. I contacted authors with the house. I talked at length to my agent. This was actual…like…business decision stuff. And it was doing well as a self-pub, so I had to think about it in a way that I am not good at thinking about things.
I am a great flounderer from place to place. This felt like I floundered someplace very unexpected.
Still, I’m going for it. Without getting into details, by going with a trade publisher (any trade publisher!) I am taking a paycut on royalties on Bride…but there’s an advance, and more importantly, it’ll put the terrifying Amazon marketing machinery behind the book, and however mixed my feelings are about it, I still sell 95% of my copies on Kindle. So it could get a HUGE bump. T. Kingfisher is a complete unknown, and if 47North moves this book, even if I never publish another thing through them, the OTHER books I write as T. Kingfisher–including, incidentally, the retelling of Beauty & the Beast that will be out this May–will totally benefit from it.
And it may do amazing. And if it does, they can come back and talk to me about Beast.
And an audiobook and a print book do not suck, even if they won’t get in most physical stores (for reasons I completely understand!)
At the end of the day, though, what basically decided me was–I wanted to be a hybrid author. I went with a pen-name because that was my experiment with self-pub. So here’s the great hybrid experiment doubling back on itself, and we’ll see what happens. I wrote this book to see where they’d go, and I did not expect it to go where it did, but sometimes you just grab on and go for the ride.
So that’s what’s happening. And I totally do not know what’s going to happen next, but I’ll keep you posted as to how it goes!
ETA: I feel a vague urge to apologize to someone for having done this all backwards. I think I did self-pub wrong, somehow…