Sun, Jul. 20th, 2008, 12:52 pm Discoveries Line dries up
So I've read at numberous sources (PSK's blog, Matt Forbeck's blog, Fantasybookspot) that WotC is doing away with its Discoveries line of novels after 2008, and cancelling a few other novels. The ones I know of: a series from Matt in Eberron (no word on whether the line itself in danger), and novels from Marcy Rockwell, Ari Marmell, and Jeff LaSala. They all suffered a loss (in some cases multiple losses) as sharp as the death of a loved one.
My sympathies go out to all those affected by this decision. I've had things like this happen to me--and I've just been crushed--but never were they quite as dire as the cancellation of a completed novel. The time that went into the proposal, the heartache of getting it all right, the nervous biting your nails while you wait for an editor who may or may not get back to you on any given day. The jubilation of getting the contract, the flurry of working with the editor, the hours and hours and HOURS spent writing. The untold hours of test readers and editors--your friends and family who sacrificed of their time to help you along your quest. And then, when the writing is done and it's just smooth-sailing, to have it all ripped out of you . . . it gives me chills just thinking what that must feel like.
A book takes on the character of a loved one--someone who takes up your time, money, and the other things you could be doing. The call or email from an editor saying it's cancelled is a little like the police knocking on your door, saying they've got some bad news.
There really isn't anything to be said to make something like this better, except maybe to note that all the time and resources spent writing it--all the vacation days, the sick days, the sacrificed moments with your family--all that time wasn't wasted. Every word you write makes you a better writer, and completing a novel is like a dozen steps at least. Your next one will be all the better for this setback. And the books can always be revised and resold--I mean, if one publisher already bought them, you'd think you'd be able to market them elsewhere.
I feel for you guys, and if you ever need to talk, I'm here. I wish you the best of luck remarketing your stuff, and hope to see it on the shelves one day. I know you guys, and know that you'll bounce back from this better than ever before. :)
Thanks, Erik, but shed no tears for me. I only had a single book canceled, and I hadn't gotten past a three-page outline yet. I feel much worse for Jeff LaSala, who'd already completed his first draft.
Yes...and my loyalty to WotC took a severe and perhaps even fatal hit because of this STUPID decision from some little toad who probably just graduated from college. Why should I give money to a company who treats people the way they do, when there are so many other people deserving of the little I can send out? While I will still support my friends, I'm afraid WotC has left such a sour taste in my mouth that I have no desire to give my money to them. (I supported the Discoveries line and enjoyed what was put out...so it isn't a question of quality at all...this is all about some phantom numbers...and that's deplorable).
I'm afraid this sort of thing is not at all uncommon in a significant number of publishers. Different companies handle things in their own ways, but sooner or later, many corps bite off more than they can chew.
While it's tempting to produce a single convenient target, I'm afraid Eytan has the right of the situation, below. This happens all the time--it's not unique to WotC by any means. The works that I've had cancelled post-acceptance have not been WotC.
Also, with WotC's unique situation (being the financial slaves of Hasbro), it may have absolutely nothing to do with WotC at all. They could be just the unfortunate messengers.
Perhaps. On the same token, these were my friends...and regardless of whether it was WotC or Hasbro, I feel no loyalty whatsoever to a company, bu trather to those who put in the hours and effort it takes to write the books. I will support them no matter where they go. I'm certainly not married to a game...and I suppose I'm one of the very rare people who can enjoy a novel without playing the setting. Now, I'll enjoy neither, which is okay. I have plenty to read for years to come.
I understand, Erik...I didn't mean to be argumentative. It just really angers me when stuff like this happens. I can understand if it is done in the early stages, but once work is actually begun on a book and especially if said book is already written...it shouldn't be erased from existance. White Wolf did that to two other author friends several years back and it was completely disheartening. I feel for any author that has had that happen to them...and wonder what would be the case if ALL freelance writers rebelled against their overseers. :) They'd no doubt never get work and be replaced by scabs. Ugh!
The most recent time something like this happened to me, I had been accepted, my work had been edited, sent back to me with comments, then revised (by me per the comments), and sent back to the editor . . . only to be at that point withdrawn. Absolutely crushing.
Fortunately, though, that was only a short story, rather than a full novel.
Kinda turned me off writing unsolicited short stories for about a year afterward. I still don't do it very often, mostly because they rarely go anywhere.
If all freelance writers rebelled against their overseers, then they would all be out of a job, and the editors would just print stuff sent to them by newbie writers taking advantage of the opportunity and you'd have a new generation of writers.