Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Shadow Twin update

…. I hate to say this, because I hope you are all waiting breathlessly for the release of Shadow Twin, but I have decided it will be better to release this book next spring rather than this summer.

Several factors have gone into this decision, but the most important is this: I have nothing scheduled for traditional release in 2018. I can’t stand an empty year. Given that I had two traditional releases this year, I think it just makes sense to make 2018 THE YEAR to really pursue self-publication. Do the whole thing: apply for Book Bub ads and really try to promote my titles (but not, of course, with spam tweets or anything).

I’m thinking of a 2018 schedule pretty much like this:

February: Shadow Twin. That will put it three months after the release of Winter of Ice and Iron, which is better than stacking one release right on top of another.

March or April: Third collection of Black Dog short stories. (I need to write two and a half more stories. I have a great novella which I just love, plus the beginning of a short story or novelette. If there is a particular character you would like to see featured in a Black Dog story, you should definitely let me know because I’m still playing with ideas.)

June or July: Something that is not related to the Black Dog world. I am thinking of a collection of unrelated novellas and novelettes. I have a nice novella sitting right here that is not related to anything else I’ve ever written; and I would like to take the protagonist who got excised from The Mountain of Kept Memory and turn the first part of his story into a novella. After that, well, I have various ideas.

You know what would be interesting? Trying to do a tie-in novella or short story for each book currently published. Start with The City in the Lake and just go straight through my whole bibliography, one story per. I don’t know that I’ll do that, but it’s an idea.

October or November: Door Into Light, the sequel to House of Shadows.

I know, right? It’s been practically forever. I’m thinking 2018 looks good for that. Heaven knows when I will ever get rights back to HoS, so I don’t think there’s much point waiting for that. So that suggests I should just go ahead with it, and next year looks like a reasonable time to pursue that option.

Getting the rights back to The Floating Islands may be complicated for various reasons, but if I can get that to happen in the near future, then I could either seek a new home for that one plus the sequel plus perhaps a third book, or I could self-publish.

So you see, there are quite a few possibilities for 2018.

Meanwhile, of course, I will be working on various things aimed at traditional publication. The plan is to make 2018 an exciting year, not allow it to stand empty; but I don’t intend to stop traditionally publishing books either.

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23 Comments Shadow Twin update

  1. Matthew

    Your 2018 schedule has me incredibly excited. :)

    I like your idea of stories related to each of your earlier novels. It reminds me of Shinn’s “Quatrain” — a book I found utterly delightful and satisfying.

  2. Rachel

    Thank you both!

    Matthew, yes, I really enjoyed Quatrain as well, especially — which surprised me — the story based on the Blue and Gold world.

  3. Linda S

    I’ve definitely been looking forward to Shadow Twin, but publishing it in 2018 makes a lot of sense. Good luck with the self-publishing plans!

    For Black Dog story requests, I’d like to see a story about Alejandro, and I’d also be happy to see another story about Thaddeus. But I don’t think I’m in the target demographic for that series.

  4. Evelyn Hill

    Maybe a story about Amira? I always liked her.

    Self publishing looks scary. I think I’m going to have to dip a toe in that pool. I wrote a book /specifically/ for one of HQN’s lines, to fulfill the option clause on my contract. And then right before I submitted it, they closed the line. It’s funny — there are tons of books and podcasts and blog posts giving advice on how to self publish and here I sit not sure how to start. Are you happy with the experience so far?

  5. Rachel

    Linda, Thaddeus is one of my favorite secondary characters, so that’s a good suggestion. We’ll see if any ideas occur to me that would suit him.

    Evelyn, it would make sense to do a story focusing more on Amira now that I finally managed to write the difficult one showing Keziah’s background.

    Self-publishing . . . eh. In some ways thumbs-up, in some ways thumbs-down, so far. I do think taking a year to devote much more attention to promotion might pay off. It’s very clear discoverability is THE issue, for all authors who haven’t really broken out, traditional or self-published.

    One issue seems to be that whatever worked last year for people who were self-publishing may not be working this year. Like Book Bub ads worked really well for self-publishers a year or two or three ago, but now it’s much harder to get a Book Bub ad, I hear, and who knows what will be going on next year? Not to mention that what works for one author seems to completely fail for another author. It’s difficult. I need to read more of the most recent posts and articles about self-publishing myself.

    Yet I too have had the kind of issue you mention. Not just with Pure Magic, either. I wrote a sequel to The Floating Islands because my editor asked me to. Then the Penguin / Random House merger took place and the acquisitions process got shaken up and poof! Even though my editor liked the sequel, suddenly she was unable to offer for it and had to ask for standalones instead. So . . . self-publication at least means one way or another that kind of yes-we-want-it-no-we-don’t book can be brought out.

  6. Sandstone

    This all sounds very cool! For monetization purposes, I wonder if it might not be better to release the novellas as individual ebooks though? As a reader, I’m willing to pay up to $2.99 for an individual novella, but would balk at paying more than $7.99 for a collection of novellas in ebook. Of course I suppose there’s cover art for each and other things to take into account that might make a collection more economical…

  7. Rachel

    Sandstone, that is something to consider. Novellas for me tend to run around 20,000 words, so it’s not quite the same as someone writing really long novellas. Martha Well’s Murderbot novellas seem to be more like 160 pages and I think those stand up better to publication as individual works.

    I grant you, if I wind up with eight or so shorter novellas, it will make sense to do two collections, not one.

  8. Grace Spengler

    I shall just be happy to see more Black Dog fiction! I would like to see the young Black Dog from the previously released Thaddeus short show up again. I liked the China town setting and he would bring another dog into the mix.

  9. Rachel

    Grace, we’re very likely to see that kid again. That’s one of the stories I’ve already started.

  10. Andrea

    So excited for Door into Light. House of Shadows is my favourite book of all time (and this is coming from someone who reads a 200+ page book in two days, and therefore has read a lot of books). The sample teaser you posted quite a while ago has had me worried ever since I read it though. The sequel seems like it is going to be a lot more violent and have a lot more people dying in it. One of the things I liked about House of Shadows is that no almost no one died. When so many books now are so dark and have so much death in them (because people somehow have the idea that death and darkness = mature) House of Shadows managed to be deep and interesting and thoughtful without being dark. In the sequel, however, a bunch of people, including the prince’s body guard (an important character) die, and a finger gets chopped off (which disturbed me). I’m not sure I like the darker turn the book is taking. Also, we are barely reintroduced to the character before he gets killed off. That makes it hard to care about it, as it takes a while to re-settle into a world and the characters, and immediately killing one of them off makes it hard to do that. The writing still has that same tone to it that is so hard to describe but so lovely, as well as those same beautiful character interactions, though, so I still have hope that it will be a good book, and am really looking forward to it. The unexpected way they end up in Kalches mean the story will be interesting for sure!

    As for everything else, it’s exciting to see how many things you have planned! And the idea about a short story or novella for each published book would be really awesome. I never knew that there was supposed to be a sequel for the Floating Islands. Areane’s power was really innovative and unique and it would be cool to see more of how it works and what she can do with it. I did like Trei, but her and the prince were my favorites.

  11. Rachel

    You’ll have to try it, Andrea, but I will say that the violence at the beginning precipitates the action rather than presaging a general slaughter.

  12. Craig N.

    Two collections: I suppose split them between the YA fantasies and the adult fantasies, although for your books that’s usually seemed to be a pretty artificial division.

  13. Katie Patchell

    I LOVED City in the Lake, and a novella would be amazing! It’s one of those great (and timeless) fantasy books that can easily be standalone….but after my 2nd or 2rd re-read (recently), I realised how much room there is left for a sequel. Or at least, novella. I wonder what would happen if Nimue and Niall ever went searching for their mother’s family?

  14. Rachel Neumeier

    Except wouldn’t they be terrified of finding their mother’s people?

    I’ll have to give CITY some thought. Neill is my favorite…Wonder if I could have him appear at least tangentially…

  15. Elaine T

    On the subject of Alejandro, it has always seemed to me that having been – even if briefly – normal human, it ought to have an effect on him and I’d to see what.

    I, too, would like more Thaddeus and to know more about that black dog kid from Chinatown. I worry about him.

    I’m also very fond of Neill. Maybe he and Timue would want to find the people, if only to learn more about how to protect against someone like their mother. If it’s possible. Would have to be done very cautiously… it’s just as likely that other local powers – there must be some besides the Hunter – could take an interest in the half-siblings, seeing what other ‘gifts’ their mom left.

    And … welll, just everything everyone else said.
    Even something more in the WHITE ROAD world. and the KEEPER – being closed off is not generally healthy for a land – and MOUNTAIN. There’s lots of world which means possible stories in all of them.

  16. Rachel

    Re: Keeper of the Mist — I know, and I tried to leave a loophole so they wouldn’t be completely closed off. That was an interesting situation because initially I tied Nimmira more closely to the other land at the end, but then my editor thought the ending seemed too pat and happy. I wouldn’t mind opening more of a connection between those two countries. It’s something to think about.

  17. Kim Aippersbach

    Wait, there’s a sequel to Floating Islands? Already written? Just sitting in a drawer somewhere, languishing, alone? When there are people who would love to read it?? Do you have to get the rights to the first novel back before you self-publish a sequel? That doesn’t seem right.

    Very excited about Shadow Twin, but just as excited about the novellas/short stories: I love the way you explore each character. I particularly liked Ethan and Thaddeus’s developing relationship. I second the vote for something from Amira’s POV. It also would be interesting to get Grayson’s POV. And maybe he’s still too young, but Thaddeus’s son would have an interesting perspective on everything.

    Just everyone, really!

  18. Rachel

    Why, thank you, Kim, I hope everyone feels that way! a) Yes, there is; b) no, I don’t NEED rights back on the first to go on with the second; c) but I would like to do it that way if possible and there seems to be a reasonable chance of prying the rights back to the first book soon. Or else if not soon, it may be really tough so I might as well go on with the sequel without waiting.

    Also, thanks, I really like Ethan and Thaddeus’s relationship too! I’ll have to think seriously about what kinds of trouble Amira might get up to.

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