Monday, June 15, 2009

The Good News, and the Bad

The good news is that my thriller publishers loved the proposal for The Babylonian Codex, so all systems are go with that book. Phew.

The bad news is that I still haven’t heard from the publishers of my Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery series. My editor, Ellen, loved the proposal. So the problem isn’t the book. The problem is the economy.

Although Where Serpents Sleep hit significantly higher on all the lists than any of the previous books in the series, the actual number of sales didn’t increase. Now, given that the book came out last November in the midst of the horrific stock market crash, when everyone was focused on the economy and the election, and given that its performance on the lists indicates that its relative sales were better, I think the book actually did pretty well. Without a promotional budget, it always takes four to five books for a mystery series to catch on. We’re at the tipping point. I’ve worked so hard on this series, for so long, that I’m feeling kinda sick at this point. I heard back from my thriller publishers in two days. My Sebastian book’s proposal has been with Penguin for at least a month.

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21 comments:

Steve Malley said...

For what it's worth, your books're getting excellent drop here in Australasia-- front of store *and* the aisle in front of the mystery section. Folks over this way are clearly backing Sebastian!

orannia said...

*crossing fingers*

And if I may be so bold, my local library has the Sebastian St Cyr books on auto-buy, which they wouldn't do if the patrons weren't reading them.

And because I loved the first two books so much, I just bought the first three books in MMP format, as did a friend :)

Susan/DC said...

I feel slightly nauseated at the thought that the series might not continue and think I'll go lie down. If you provide the name/address of someone at the publishers to write to, I'll write a snail mail letter, as I hear they pay more attention to those since they take more effort. Or, even better, I now know what I'm getting everyone on my birthday/holiday list: a copy of a St. Cyr mystery. Won't add too much to sales (my list of family and friends isn't small, but it's not that big), but every little bit helps, yes?

Anonymous said...

I & if I might say so, several of my friend can't wait for the next
5th book in the "Sebastian St Cyr" series!! Loved every page of all 4 books.

Anonymous said...

Love all four of your books in the Sebastian St Cyr series. When will the next one be out???

cs harris said...

Steve, I didn't know that! That's great news. My Aussie publishers were really excited about them. Unfortunately, my Australian editor has been seriously ill so everything has kinda stopped for a while.

Orannia, the publishers say my sales are strong with libraries and independents; I think they're less dependent on promotion. And thanks for getting the books in the MMP format (which I have actually never seen!)

Susan, I wasn't trolling for a writing campaign, but I'll see if I can find an address. Every little bit helps.

Anonymous 1, thank you! I was actually surprised to hear the sales were "flat" because I've talked to so many new readers lately.

Anonymous 2, thank you. The next book, What Remains of Heaven, will be out in November.

Kay said...

Say it isn't so! Sebastian has a permanent place on my keeper shelves right next to your historical romances which I still use to entice non-romance readers to the genre.

tinabelle said...

Add my voice to those who would be hugely disappointed to see the Sebastian St. Cyr historical mystery series come to an end. This is one of my favorite series and I await each book with anticipation. Your research is top notch and the historical events form such an integral part of the story, the characters are complex and intriguing, and your writing is so intelligent. I feel immersed in the politics and culture of the Regency Era when I read your books. I hope your publishers come to their senses and give the green light to continue.

Virginia DeMarce said...

Oh, no. This series is great. I really hope it keeps going.

Charles Gramlich said...

Somewhere along the line surely some more rational heads will arise concerning the Sebastian series. I surely hope you get to complete the basic overall arc for the series as a whole.

liz fenwick said...

Fingers definately crossed here!

Going back to your cover issues - have you seen this http://www.fidrabooks.co.uk/blog/?p=463
lx

Lainey said...

Oh no! I just discovered Sebastian St. Cyr! A friend who knows my reading preferences sent me a link to the website.

I tried What Angels Fear and was hooked. I've just finished reading Where Serpents Sleep, counting the weeks until November's release.

cs harris said...

Kay, thank you; I'm still hoping it ain't so.

tinabelle, I do so hope I can keep going; I have ideas for another dozen books!

Virginia, thanks so much.

Charles, I keep holding on to Pam's "Flat is the new up" comment.

cs harris said...

liz, interesting article. Although I'm speechless at the thought of repackaging Emily Bronte to appeal to Twilight readers!

Lainey, thank you. I'm still hopeful!

Susan said...

I love the Sebastian books. Please, please - need another one soon!!

laughingwolf said...

rotten luck with the economy going bust when it did, candy, but i'm sure things will pick up a bit by next year...

PeggyP said...

What? No response yet...oh, those rat bastards! I'm all for a writing campaign, let's go and get this thing moving.

cs harris said...

Susan, number five, What Remains of Heaven, is coming in November!

laughingwolf, one can only hope.

PeggyP, I just heard that they're getting back to me tomorrow. Which is kinda weird. I mean, why make me wait? I have a feeling it's not for a good reason.

muriel said...

Oh no... I just finished "Where Serpents Sleep" and felt the need to drop you a line to thank you for such a fabulous series!

I discovered the books late last year and read through the first three in withing a month but didn't get to this last one until a couple of days ago. I've loved them all but "Where Serpents Sleep" is my absolute favorite so far! I'd been patiently waiting for Hero to come more to the forefront and you didn't disappoint with this entry. I've actually just pre-ordered the next one over at Amazon and the thought of this superb series ending is really upsetting.

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed as well and wish you the best of luck!

Lainey said...

Fingers crossed, holding breath, eating dark chocolate brownies . . .

cs harris said...

muriel, lainey, it worked!