I haven’t been posting much lately about my writing, mostly because I feel as though I’ve been keeping a dirty secret. You see, I’m not just writing book four of The Marked Series, I’ve also begun a new project. Actually, I’m currently bopping between three different WIPs: Resolution of the Marked, my prequel Bray Novella, and the first book in a new Young Adult Fantasy series with the working title “Irons and Roses.”
For those of you have been waiting forever for the final installment of The Marked Series, who are dying to know how Bray and Yarrow’s story ends—I KNOW. I feel you. Waiting sucks, and knowing that an author is working on something other than the thing you’ve been impatiently tapping your foot over is an unpleasant revelation. Which is why I’ve been so reticent to admit it.
First, I want to say that you don’t have to worry that I’m not going to finish the series. I absolutely am. I owe it to myself, my characters, and my readers. I’m honestly so excited to get the finale out there, so you can all see how it ends. I began this project nearly six years ago, and I’ve been building up to this book since then. This book is happening. I am working on it. It’s just going to be a while longer (But still definitely a much shorter wait than between books 2 and 3!)
If you’re wondering why I’m not giving it my full attention, well…the answer is probably also going to be unpleasant. The truth is, my Marked Series doesn’t sell all that well. It’s a difficult series to market because it isn’t terribly similar to anything else selling at the moment. It’s such a hodgepodge of fantasy sub-genres that it doesn’t fit neatly into any category. That makes is hard to advertise. I can’t say, “If you liked A, you’ll love Division of the Marked.” There’s nothing near enough for that kind of 1:1 comparison.
It’s alright. This was my first series, and I’ve learned so much about the craft of writing and the industry over these past several years. Most people don’t hit it out of the park on their first go. But, you see, I have this dream: I want to make a career of my writing. I don’t aspire to superstardom or to put out huge bestsellers, only the ability to contribute to my household income with my books. And Resolution of the Marked is not going to help me achieve that dream. In all honesty, upon release, I will probably only break even on editing costs, as I did with Lamentation. And taking on a huge, emotionally-charged project when you know it isn’t going to reach many readers or earn much return on investment is…disheartening.
Which is the reason for Irons and Roses. I read a ton of YA fantasy in 2017 as market research, and I planned out this new series so that it will appeal to a pre-existing readership (as opposed to writing a book designed only to appeal to myself, as I did with The Marked Series). It fits neatly in a sub-genre (fairytales —> royalty) and will be much easier to market. However, it is by no means a knock-off of anything out there, nor do I think it is unoriginal. In fact, it’s been a pleasure to write. These characters have come alive for me so readily, the world feels real and textured, and my new magic system is a ton of fun to play around with. I can’t know for certain that it will sell—because I’m not an oracle, of course—but it gives me hope, at least. And that’s why I’m writing it concurrently with Resolution. I needed that hope to get me up and at my keyboard every morning.
I’ve found that working on multiple projects to be SO MUCH more satisfying that focusing on just one. Whichever story is speaking to me on a given day, that’s the one I write. I’ve been having far less trouble with writer’s block because I can bop back and forth as the muse strikes me.
So, there you have it. I’m writing three stories. I’m writing the Bray Novella because it has been circulating in the back of my head for YEARS, and there are all of these little pieces of it that I want so badly to get on paper. It feel like canon, and so it should be. I’m writing Resolution of the Marked because I could not possibly leave these characters, my old friends, adrift and lacking in closure. And I’m writing Irons and Roses because I believe it will find and please readers—and because it’s reminded me of the simple joy that is starting a new project, when everything is a fresh discovery and the possibilities are endless.
The Irons and Roses series is currently planned to be five books long, and I intend to write the first draft of the entire series before heading back for revisions, which means it won’t be released soon, but when it is released there will be little waiting between books. Likely you’ll get the Bray Novella next, then Resolution of the Marked, then Irons and Roses. At least, that’s the plan. Look out–2018 is going to be my year!
Phew. It feels good to get that off my chest.Kyle Glenn