A Setback and an Opportunity

This blog is subtitled Adventures and Misadventures of a Science Fiction writer, and this post is on point.

AVIANS has gone out of print, at least for the time being: Five Rivers Publishing has ceased operations. That’s the misadventure part.

Like many small presses, Five Rivers was essentially a one-woman show. When that one person cannot make the massive commitment in time and effort any more, the only proper course is to close down. This has been done, and done properly.

All rights to AVIANS reverted to me on June 1st. Printing ceased a few days before that, catching me off guard and causing my local bookstore to miss the deadline to order a few more cases. If you have a first edition in your possession, congratulations: you now own a collector’s item. I have just one mint copy left, and that bookstore, Elizabeth Campbell books in Kenora, has maybe a handful. As far as I know, those are the only unused copies in existence.

If you’ve been reading this blog in the past, you probably gathered that the book was not selling in the thousands or making me tons of money. Nonetheless, I love it and am reluctant to see it go out of print. So, as one of my tweeps said, “Second Edition time!”

I do not think another press is going to want to pick it up; I think that would only happen if the book had made a big impact. I’d love to be wrong about that, but I’m not going to troll all my publishing contacts to offer it around.

Which takes me to self-publishing. This is the adventure part.

I already have a registered company: Binary Planet Books. I have contacted Ann Crowe, the cover artist, and she has granted me the right to use her exterior and interior artwork. I have filed for a batch of ISBNs (for this purpose, a second edition is a new book, and different formats require separate ISBNs.) One pleasant surprise is that Lorina from Five Rivers not only encouraged me to take this step, she actually forwarded me the book’s design file!

I will have to make some changes, beyond altering First Edition to Second Edition. References to Five Rivers will have to be removed from the boilerplate at the front and back, and their logo will have to be replaced on the cover.

I also have a small errata list. As far as I know, only one typographical error has ever been discovered, and when I checked the manuscripts, it clearly originated with my edits, not the printer. Still, there are some other minor errors: I named the wrong airship once, for instance. I’ll fix those.

There are a couple of scenes that I’d like to revise slightly to better favour showing over telling. I’m going to take the opportunity to do that. The wonderful ink illustration of Mel & Raisa on the title page–originally offered as a cover concept by cover artist Ann Crowe–can take its deserved place as a full-page frontispiece.

I want to include a map of Nufuji at the front, so last week I created one. That was… educational. Nothing I described in the book was impossible to map, but the end result was not the same as my former fuzzy mental images.

The dedication is terse to the point of being cryptic. I think I’d like to explain a little.

One thing that had been much on my mind for the last year or two: what was I going to do with the sequel? Five Rivers had been reducing the number of publications they were taking on, and editor Robert Runté had left as things slowed down. I wasn’t confident that they’d contract another book from me. Now that can also proceed through self-publishing, which will allow me to promote them together.

Because I have all the rights again, I could explore those film and television rights. One or two readers have suggested that it would make an exciting movie, but I’ve always felt it would be best as an animated series. With the aviation aspects and the mainly female cast, it could be like Nausicaä x Sailor Moon.

Anyway, the adventures will continue!

 

 

One thought on “A Setback and an Opportunity

  1. You’re right to keep the Anne Crow cover…and I’d love to see you pitch the book as an animated series. Excited to know there is a sequel. Avians is one of my favorite novels, and bringing out a second title in that world is the best way I know of promoting the first book.

    Having worked with a number of authors who did their own maps of their world…may I suggest getting Anne to do that for you too? 🙂 Not saying it’s impossible for an author to do their own map, but having it in the same style as cover & frontispiece has some advantages–especially if you’re going to try to flog the concept to an animation studio.

    Good luck…the world needs Avians and its sequel.

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