First a little background…
A long time ago (in 2005) in a galaxy far far…err…well..this one…I sat down and wrote a short story called Tiny Fingers that spawned an online serial called As The World Dies.
My epic zombie story became very popular and after I finished the serial in early 2007, the fans wanted it to be published. After meeting quite a bit of rejection from publishers and agents, I self-published As The World Dies as three books because of the enormous word count/page count. To make all three sections work as actual books, I added scenes, fleshed out a few characters, and tried to give the original fans something new to enjoy in the old story.
In 2010, a major publishing house, Tor, picked up the trilogy for publication in North America. Working with my Tor editor, I revised all three books into much stronger, more exciting versions. I added new scenes, ditched old ones that weren’t working (usually repetitive or filler), and crafted the story to look more like my original vision. I had allowed the fans of the online serial to affect the story and my editor could easily point to those weaker sections. She empowered me to do what I felt was right in the story. The Tor versions of As The World Dies are the absolute BEST versions.
Honestly, I am a much better writer after working with my Tor editor.
Now to answer a question that I’ve been increasingly getting in the last year.
Why Isn’t As The World Dies Available in My Country? In My Language?
After the As The World Dies trilogy sold to Tor, my foreign agents immediately started trying to sell it to foreign markets. We all had high hopes that it would land in many different countries, but discovered a reluctance from publishers due to the trilogy being set in Texas. It was regarded as “too regional” and the opinion was that people in other countries would have no interest in reading about a group of people trying to survive in the Texas Hill Country. Of course, my fans from all over the world would disagree, but this was the call of the publishers.
Much to my delight, there were a few publishers who didn’t see it this way.
The First Days has been published in three countries now: Italy, Denmark, and Poland.
Fighting to Survive is being published in Poland this month.
Denmark has already secured the rights to Fighting to Survive.
Poland has secured the rights to Siege.
Italy has now made The First Days available in ebook. Whether or not they publish the rest of the trilogy has yet to be seen.
The foreign rights have only sold to these three countries. Sadly, I do not have the resources nor the funds to attempt to self-publish foreign translations in other markets. Hopefully, the zombie genre will get a nice boost from the success of the World War Z movie and renew interest in my trilogy.
After some discussion, my contract with Tor was amended to include distribution to the UK, New Zealand, and Australia. I queried about this possibility after some bookstores and fans contacted me about availability of the trilogy.
Which leads me to the next question I’ve been receiving quite a bit:
Why Isn’t it in eBook in my Country?
I realize that my status as a Hybrid Author (both self-pubbed and traditionally published) can be a little confusing for some people. I used to be just an Indie Author, but now I’m a Hybrid. The books I self-publish, I have absolute control over. That’s not the case for books published by Tor, or any other publisher. They have total and final control over the cover, distribution, marketing, and to some degree, the content.
My latest self-published release is As The World Dies Untold Tales Volume 3. I wrote it as a love letter to all my fans of the original trilogy. I feel it is the final and proper send off to the world created so long ago when I wrote Tiny Fingers.
After each release, I usually check reviews for about one month, then stop reading them. That first month usually gives me a really good idea of how my fans have embraced the latest book.
So…I was a little stunned when I read the following:
From Paddy’s review of Untold Tales Vol 3 on Goodreads:
why can’t I buy the original trilogy on Kindle? These untold tales stories are just brilliant, and make me want to read the main story even more. SO WHERE IS IT!!! For this reason alone I have marked it down to 3 stars. The story is worth 5 stars all day long , but not without the main story and I’m afraid that paperbacks just aren’t convenient enough anymore!
I was saddened to see that the book was docked so many stars because of the availability of the As The World Dies trilogy. I wasn’t aware of the phenomena of docking stars from a book as a protest for things other than the story. I was a little stunned and commented on the review to explain about Tor publishing the original trilogy and my lack of control on how it’s distributed (something I’m going to go into greater detail about in this post).
This was the answer from the reader:
As a reader you naturally hold the author responsible. I have no idea how your publishing is done, really that’s your business, all I know is I’ve read three tasters (the 3 untold tales) and can’t get at the main story which is very frustrating. I thought I’d made it clear enough in the review for anybody that read it, that the story was worth 5 stars and it wasn’t why I’d marked it down. I realise it makes a difference to your average and I am sorry for that, but I stick with what I’ve said.
I have no control over the original trilogy anymore. I can’t self-publish the ebooks. Those rights have been sold to Tor. Now, Tor most likely will be putting the trilogy out in ebook at some point, but I have zero control over when that will be. I also have no control over the price they set and formats it is sold in. My hands are tied in the situation, yet another one of my books is going to take a hit to its rating because of something I can’t control. All I can do is ask Tor when they’re going to put out the ebooks (which I have) and take the hit to my rating.
This is one of the harder parts of being traditionally published.
Paddy isn’t the only one complaining.
From an email:
It would be great if the As The World Dies series was available via iTunes Australia. Other titles of yours are available but not the trilogy
And, again, my hands are tied. I have no control over the distribution of the books published by Tor.
Though I love being a Hybrid Author and the benefits it brings me, there are times like these when it can be a bit rough. Even with my self-published books there are markets I can’t reach yet. Also, I don’t have the funds to pay translators for foreign language versions of my self-published books.
I get agitated when I can’t provide fans with something they so desperately want. Disappointing readers is not something I want to do in any way, shape, or form.
The only real answer I can provide is if I can find a way to get my books into the languages and formats readers demand, I WILL do it.