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Darth Richard II

Kate Elliott's Black Wolves series cancelled by publisher.

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There's is not an angry enough emoji face for me right now. Anyway this just popped up on goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/questions/1419706-when-will-the-dead-empire-be-out-in

No idea what the fuck is up there, but, shit. Black Wolves was one of my favorite books of the last few years.

(Also, I swear there was a Kate Elliott topic, but I can't find it.)

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That is said.  This one got a pretty heavy push too, i am a bit surprised.  

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Fuck’s sake.

 I thought this was on the cards when Dead Empire didn’t come out when it was supposed to and there weren’t any updates.

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4 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

I remember a BIG marketing push for it

True. From Edelweiss catalog:

https://www.edelweiss.plus/#sku=0316368695

Kate Elliott is one of epic fantasy's leading female writers. Well-known for her intricate world-building and deadly politics, this series will bring Elliott to a whole new readership.

Kate Elliott's previous novels King's Dragon and The Golden Key were finalists for the Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award, respectively.

This fresh new series will be published internationally with coordinated schedules and marketing activity to relaunch Kate Elliott to a much broader epic fantasy readership.

PUBLICATION SCHEDULE:
#1. THE BLACK WOLVES (TP: 10/15)
#2. The Dead Empire (TP: 10/16)
#3. The Killing Fire (TP: 10/17)
Edited by Jussi

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It has ~1300 ratings on Goodreads after 4 years. A strong indication it didn't sell very well. And if it got a big push and didn't sell well then the publishers may be wise to cancel it.

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Bizarre. Orbit had had great success with Crown of Stars, Crossroads and Spiritwalker, so it's odd to me that the new series would not do as well. Book 1 in a trilogy not selling greatly is perhaps not a huge surprise, given the vast numbers of readers now waiting until a series is down before committing to it, but given her previous form you'd assume they would stick with her until at least the trilogy was finished.

It makes me suspect corporate shenanigans. Her Court of Fives YA series has done much better, and I wonder if Orbit was partially narked off by her writing another series. That seems unlikely though as it was for their sister imprint (Little, Brown YA), and it's pretty much accepted in this day of laughably low advances than authors will often be writing multiple series for different publishers.

Still, she's now penning a space opera saga for Tor, with the first book (The Unconquerable Sun) due in July, so she's still trucking along.

Edited by Werthead

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Truth be told, Black Wolves wasn't that good. It garnered a lot of rave advance reviews and enjoyed critical success. This may have raised expectations and could explain why readers were disappointed and then the book tanked.

Orbit still holds the rights for both sequels, and world rights at that if I remember correctly. Given the poor commercial success of Black Wolves, it's doubtful that another publisher would be willing to try to by those rights from Orbit. So like Paul Kearney, it's unlikely that Elliott will see these novels released any time soon. . .

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6 hours ago, Blank said:

It has ~1300 ratings on Goodreads after 4 years. A strong indication it didn't sell very well. And if it got a big push and didn't sell well then the publishers may be wise to cancel it.

I dunno, I’ve seen way more successful series have way fewer ratings. But that’s a different discussion.

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I also see fairly glowing reviews on GR, so I wouldn’t say readers were disappointed. I suspect corporate stuff as well but that’s just me being bitter these days. 

 Interesting that it was cancelled two years ago.

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1300 ratings for a novel that received such a promotional push from its publisher truly isn't much, all things considered.

Also, Elliott likely didn't get a 5,000$-10,000$ advance for it, which means that she had to sell a much greater amount of units for Black Wolves to earn out.

This is probably a case of Orbit bailing out early so they wouldn't have to pay money they potentially would never recoup.

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5 hours ago, Lord Patrek said:

Orbit still holds the rights for both sequels, and world rights at that if I remember correctly. Given the poor commercial success of Black Wolves, it's doubtful that another publisher would be willing to try to by those rights from Orbit. So like Paul Kearney, it's unlikely that Elliott will see these novels released any time soon. . .

The Kearney situation is rather different. Solaris was waiting in the wings to publish the third book, Bantam US just pointblank refused to give the rights back to Paul when they should have done, and Bantam US seems to have kept the first two Sea-Beggars books in print purely to stop the rights reversion whilst also refusing to publish the third book. That's an altogether more bizarre situation.

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I just don't trust goodreads these days as a metric for anything, though I admit it's gotten better since that weird influx of indie ya authors and there sockpuppet armies went to war with each other.

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It's not a perfect metric by any stretch of the imagination, you're right. But it's probably the best tool we have out there to measure the success of a book.

If Mark Lawrence's theory works in this case (no reason to think it doesn't, given that the numbers worked for countless SFF authors), that would put book sales at about a little more than 9,000 units sold in 4 years. For an author of Elliott's stature (even by midlist standards), that's extremely low.

And as mentioned, I have a feeling that she signed a deal that was way above the 5,000$-10,000$ plateau regarding her advances. Which would explain why Orbit elected to drop the series rather than pay money on novels that might never earn out.

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15 minutes ago, Lord Patrek said:

It's not a perfect metric by any stretch of the imagination, you're right. But it's probably the best tool we have out there to measure the success of a book.

If Mark Lawrence's theory works in this case (no reason to think it doesn't, given that the numbers worked for countless SFF authors), that would put book sales at about a little more than 9,000 units sold in 4 years. For an author of Elliott's stature (even by midlist standards), that's extremely low.

And as mentioned, I have a feeling that she signed a deal that was way above the 5,000$-10,000$ plateau regarding her advances. Which would explain why Orbit elected to drop the series rather than pay money on novels that might never earn out.

What is Lawrence’s metric?

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A year or two ago, he analyzed the numbers of books sold by himself and every author he knew. Then, to make sure that the correlation worked, he asked other writers to join. What he came up with and what worked with basically every author in the study is that for any novel that's been out for at least a year, you need to multiply the number of GR ratings by seven and you get roughly the right amount of books sold. Sold, not read.

This doesn't work for new books or for novels that have been out for years. But for everything else in between, he was surprised to discover that the metric was almost always right on the money.

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45 minutes ago, Lord Patrek said:

And as mentioned, I have a feeling that she signed a deal that was way above the 5,000$-10,000$ plateau regarding her advances. Which would explain why Orbit elected to drop the series rather than pay money on novels that might never earn out.

Wouldn't it make more sense to renegotiate the advances on the sequels? The first book is likely to sell a lot better in the long run as part of a complete series than one that's never going to be completed.

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