Last year, when I completed the latest, and what I believed would be the final draft of the manuscript for City of Air, I thought I would be relieved. Finally, after more than a decade of writing (I’ve lost the original notes, but it was about that long ago,) I was done with this book. Instead, I had to take a few weeks off, not to bask in the glory of completion, but to figure out what to do with it.
City of Air is the first of a five part series, an ambitious idea that evolved in the heady days of first drafting. (“Oh, this is going to take more than one book to cover! I must do more than one book, or even three!”) I posted the first draft on fictionpress as I figured out the story I wanted to tell and how I was going to tell it. The story has undergone significant changes since then, that draft is now gone, and I think I’m overall happier with this version. But still, what to do with it?
When I decided to become a writer “for real”, no longer handwriting novels in notebooks or posting fanfiction, I had a general idea of the process of publication. Get an agent, the agent helps get a publisher to buy the book, the book is edited, marketed to various readers, reviewers and booksellers, and you make a lot of money on publication (or you get a huge advance.) But that’s not quite true. For one, there are many ways to publish a book, and two, there are no guarantees on any of it. I want to publish this series, I think people will love it, but I don’t know if I want to do it anymore. So again, what to do with this book?
Well, for now, another revision. There are parts of the story that I think will be stronger for it. And then I think I’m going to put it out into the world in serial form, and eventually as ebook / print paperback and hardcover. Self-publication is also a difficult process, but I’m not going into this alone. I know that I can’t do this story alone, I need guidance and goodness knows I struggle with asking for help.
I am going to continue writing other things for traditional publication. Short stories are fun but a struggle for me who loves to go long with stories. Novellas and flash fiction are intriguing ideas I want to explore. The other novel ideas I have planned, I also want to look for agents for. But this particular series, I think I need to follow my gut and take a different approach. I hope that I can entice readers to join me on this journey.
So, instead, at a later date (probably next week,) I’m going to post a schedule for when I’m going to start the serial. In the meantime I will be making arrangements to get the finished book ready for publication. The serial may or may not remain up after publication.
To close this out, here’s a summary of the story to come:
“Leona Ruby can talk to ghosts, which is bad because that’s illegal. The Britannic Empire has long outlawed aether magicians, people like Leona believed to have power over life and death, and especially in her island colony of Kairi. And Leona has spent much of her life keeping her ability a secret, under the watchful eye of her teacher, Master magician, John Opal. But she longs for the freedom to practice her magic. And then one night, a ghost comes through her bedroom window.
“The ghost just wants to retrieve his stolen watch. This leads the two of them to a group of legendary magicians like Leona, the Calins, who have been using their power to protect the people for centuries. Leona seeks them out for the chance to see her dream realised. She’s not expecting to be refused. She’s also not expecting to instead catch the eye of James Tolliver, a powerful magician sent by the authorities to quest unrest in the colony.
“James Tolliver is also an aether magician, and he convinces Leona to join him on a secret quest in exchange for saving her brother’s life. Soon, Leona finds herself part of a daring heist to recover the fabled, magical Book of Earth. It will take her from her quiet life in the colony to the halls of wealth and power in the Colombian Republic, and across a horrifying conspiracy. Sometimes monsters wear the face of men.”