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Status of the Woodcutter Sisters

I’ve been putting off writing this post. When you read it, you’ll realize why.

Once a week or so, I get an email asking about the fate of the Woodcutter Sisters series.

The short answer: Get everyone you know to pledge their support to my Patreon. When I hit $2500, I will drop everything and finish writing the Woodcutter Sisters, as originally planned. (Seven books in total, Sunday – Monday…and yes, I know exactly what happens)

Woodcutter Sisters 3

The longer answer: Harcourt still has the North American rights to the first three books in the series.

Back in 2014, I was dumped by my publisher and my boyfriend on the same day.

Harcourt had some big reorganization and everyone who ever worked on the Woodcutters left the company. In a way, getting dumped was a blessing–few authors have positive experiences working with a new editor after they’ve been “orphaned.”

It also paved the way for a project I’d pitched that they’d turned down: Writing a short novel based on what happened to Trix in Hero (a storyline they made me remove from the book entirely because “pacing”).

My goal was to finish Trix’s novel and use it to teach myself all the ways of this new-fangled “indie publishing.” I had launched my own small press back in 2005 (Nyx Books), but a lot had changed in the decade since I’d dipped my toe in the print-on-demand business. I did have a leg up, having owned a publishing company before and having a ton of contacts in the industry…but that also made it scarier. Because I knew just what I was getting myself into, and the superior level of quality I expected from my books.

And let’s be honest: mentally, after getting dumped, I felt like a Giant Failure. Plus, remember how 2014 was the year that a bunch of my close friends and family kept dying?

Yeah. One doesn’t exactly snap back from that.

It took a while to get off the ground, but eventually Trixter was published, along with Tales of Arilland (the fairy tale short story collection I’d pitched and gotten rejected) and a few other things. I even wrote a sequel called Trix and the Faerie Queen — not something I’d originally planned, but a plotline I realize I LOVED.

I started writing Thieftess (Thursday’s book). I even had a model do a photo shoot for Thursday’s cover. (Yes, we still have those pics. She is SO Thursday!)

I wanted to¬† get myself on better financial ground before I completely threw myself into writing the rest of the series. It takes a lot of head space to get into a series like the Woodcutters, and anxieties like “bills” and “utilities” and “credit card debt” and “car repairs” really chip away at that space. (I still have no car, btw. Haven’t for over a year.)

What I found out was: continuing to write in the world of Arilland wasn’t making me significant money. The reason? I don’t have the rights to the first three books. I can’t put them on sale, or make the first one permafree. I can’t offer them up for Bookbub deals.

I make 89.9 cents on every paperback copy of Enchanted sold (as opposed to $2-3 on each indie book sold). I get that money twice a year. And those books aren’t selling particularly well. Enchanted, Hero, and Dearest combined pull in about $2000 every six months. That’s not nearly enough to live on. The up side is, once the sales of those books fall below a certain threshold, I can have the rights back.

So you see my dilemma.

When I get my rights back for Enchanted, Hero, and Dearest, here is the plan:

–Reprint all of the books, with better covers. (I’ll keep the titles, because we’re in this too far to change them now.)

–Release an “author’s preferred edition” of Enchanted, that puts back in most of the 30,000 words the publisher asked me to take out. (A lot of this is about Prince Rumbold, which was published in Tales of Arilland as “The Cursed Prince.” A lot are deleted scenes I read on YouTube.)

–Audible is still interested in producing the rest of the series, when they are published, and Katy Kellgren is still interested in narrating.

What I am doing right now: I am writing.

The Truth About Cats & Wolves: A Nocturne Falls Universe NovelI spent years teaching myself every aspect of indie publishing…and realized the hard way that I’d taken the wrong road by pursuing the Woodcutters. I ended 2016 broke, desperate, and still writing like mad.

I threw everything I had into my career, pulled out all the stops. Thus my recent (and awesome!) endeavors in Nocturne Falls, the “Once” anthologies, and The Simi’s ABCs book.

I also have plans to start a new series–comedy romance, like the books I write for NFU, but obviously more fairy tale based. In fact, I’ve seeded a bunch of characters and worldbuilding into my NFU books already…

Yes. I would like to at least finish Book Three of The Trix Adventures (Trix and the Fire Witch), but as of the writing of this post, my life is All Nocturne Falls All the Time. And traveling with Sherri. And narrating stories for ACX and IGMS. And doing about a thousand other things to try and bring in every penny I can, because I know how fickle this industry is, and I’m still not standing on financially solid ground.

So there you have it. The very long (and mildly depressing) answer.

I would love to be able to write the rest of the Woodcutter Sisters books. As a terminal optimist, I believe that one day, I will be able to. YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO LOVE THEM SO MUCH!

In the meantime…buy a t-shirt! Buy Trixter or Trix & the Faerie Queen or Haven, Kansas! Or any of my short stories or audiobooks! Review them! Buy them for your local library! Share them with friends!

And please support me on Patreon!

All the love in the world,

xox

Alethea

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