Harry Connolly recently announced that Del Rey wouldn't offer him a contract to write additional Twenty Palaces installments. You can the read this post on his website. That's too bad, for I believe the series had a lot of potential.
Harry Connolly is the author of Child of Fire, Game of Cages, and Circle of Enemies. I enjoyed the first two volumes, but felt that they lacked some depth. Interestingly enough, some of the shortcomings I elaborated on in my reviews were more widespread among readers than I thought. . .
Sadly, this proves once again just how harsh the publishing business can be. Harry Connolly sold his first three books in a pre-empt to Del Rey. He was pimped as the new Jim Butcher. His debut benefited from a vast marketing campaign, with ARCs and Advance Reader Editions going around to most reviewers out there. The book received blurbs from Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Charles Stross, and even more genre writers. Child of Fire was named one of the “Best 100 Books of 2009″ by Publishers Weekly. His books earned starred reviews from PW. Connolly got terrific reviews from Locus and other print and online venues. It looked as though the man had it made, right? Wrong. . .
Here's an excerpt from his post:
The thing is, I think these books are successful artistically. They’re pretty much what I was hoping to create, and I think I did a good job.
But commercially it’s failed and there’s no one else to blame for that but me. It’s my job as an author to overcome hurdles, not blame them for tripping me. Cover art? Format? Weather? It doesn’t matter. It’s my job to write a book so awesome that it breaks through every barrier. And while there are readers who’ve really loved the series (best people on the planet, no joke) the numbers are irrefutable: there aren’t enough of them.
“Thank you,” is what I want to say. Thank you to everyone who’s read the books, recommended them to their friends, blogged or tweeted about them, or sent me kind notes. I hear all the time about authors having weird or contentious interactions with their readers, but that’s never happened to me. The fans of this series have been great.
There are no guarantees in writing. You work like crazy on a story that means a lot to you, and when you send it out into the world where it’s met with scorn, or indifference, or casual contempt. There are no guarantees that X will be a great story or that Y number of readers will fall all over it and spread the word. I know as well as anyone that no one owes me anything.
Here's to hoping that Connolly's future projects will enjoy a bit more commercial sucess so that readers are not left hanging like this.
Harry Connolly's post offers some insight as to how the business works. And as such, I think that it's well worth reading. . .