Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty-Four

The finished book of Realms of Light is now available, and I have the donors’ copies piled up on our dining table. I’ll be sending them out in batches over the next week or two — they should all be on their way by Thanksgiving (that’s November 25th, for you non-Americans).

I should have had the first batch in the mail by now. I don’t. This is because I didn’t have the chapbook of Setting the Stage ready; I kept putting off finishing it because it didn’t seem urgent. Keeping up with The Final Calling and family matters seemed more immediately important. I had the text partially done for months, every so often getting a bit further, but it was always a low priority.

Then one day the books showed up, and it was suddenly very urgent, so I spent three days doing very little else, and got it all written and ready to go. (My printer ran out of toner while cranking out the first batch, which didn’t help with the timely completion.)

And of course, though I did try to edit and proofread it, I found a stupid typo after I’d printed them — there’s a missing “of.” There are probably others, as well. My apologies.

I sent out an e-mail asking donors to confirm their shipping addresses, and to tell me which of a couple of possible extras they wanted. More than half of the donors have responded, but there are still several I haven’t heard from, so I’ll be sending a follow-up. At least one response somehow wound up in my spam folder, so it may take a few rounds before I have everyone squared away.

Right now the major bottleneck is that I’ve run out of packing supplies — I hadn’t stocked up yet. See above about not thinking it was urgent, and then spending three days working on the chapbook and therefore not going to Staples or Office Depot. I’ll get more Monday, when I mail off the first batch.

Anyway, everything will be shipped out reasonably soon.

If you aren’t a donor, or want additional copies, you can always buy the book from FoxAcre Press — they have a package deal if you buy both Nightside City and Realms of Light. You can also get it from the usual online sources.

There’s no e-book yet, but FoxAcre does intend to release one in the near future.

So, with the book published, what happens to the serial? Not much. I’m no longer taking donations, and the remaining five chapters of the first draft will never be posted. I’ve removed the buttons and most of the “about” page.

I think the failure of this project has demonstrated why I stopped writing science fiction, and why I don’t plan to return to it. The publisher at FoxAcre has asked me to write a third Carlisle Hsing novel, and I’ve told him I have no intention of ever doing so. This novel delayed the serial of The Final Calling by about a year to no good purpose, and generated so little net income for me that I really shouldn’t have bothered. I am severely disappointed that nothing I said or did could convince more people to support it. I think it’s a good story, and I very much appreciate the support and enthusiasm of those who did donate money, but clearly, it wasn’t what most of my readers wanted from me.

I’ll know better in the future.

Meanwhile, thanks again to everyone who sent money. I’ll get those books shipped out as quickly as I can, and I hope you’ll enjoy them.

12 thoughts on “Realms of Light: Progress Report Thirty-Four

  1. “This novel delayed the serial of The Final Calling by about a year to no good purpose”

    More than a year and half. Chapter one of Realms of Light was posted 11/26/2008. Chapter one of The Final Calling was posted 6/16/2010.
    I’m happy that The Final Calling is now in progress.

  2. No. You misunderstand. There is no way I would have done The Final Calling before June of 2009, at the earliest. It was absolutely essential to do a non-Ethshar story first, to see whether it would work.

    But Realms of Light should have been finished by May of 2009. Then a month off, then The Final Calling.

    If you wanted The Final Calling sooner, you should have donated to Realms of Light. I said so, several times. The failure to generate the necessary money to maintain a weekly schedule delayed The Final Calling by about a year.

  3. I am curious why you wouldn’t consider writing another Carlisle Hsing novel, especially if the publisher is asking for one. Are they not offering an advance, or not enough of one to make the effort worth the bother? Or are you actually so soured on that realm now post-Realms of Light that you just don’t like it enough to want to write about it again? What are your feelings about War Surplus, given the crossover between Science Fiction and Fantasy?

  4. I’m sorry you’re so frustrated by the results of the ‘Realms of Light’ experiment. For what it’s worth, I am interested in science fiction authored by you. Just not that particular book, which didn’t manage to catch my interest after a few chapters.

    I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me the problem was that RoL failed to convey it’s “big idea” early in the book. Much like Carlisle herself, I wasn’t all that interested in the case, and I didn’t see any intriguing science fictional idea’s implications being explored.

  5. FoxAcre is a very small press; their advances are in three digits. Roger wants a third Carlisle Hsing novel not because he thinks it would make money, for him or for me, but because he wants to read it.

    I can’t afford to spend that much time on something that brings in so little income.

    As for War Surplus, I had several readers asking for Realms of Light, which was why I wrote it. (In fairness, most of the people who asked did donate to it; it’s just that almost no one else did.) In the twenty-three years since The Wizard and the War Machine appeared, I’ve had maybe a dozen people say they really wanted to see The Exile and the Empire, and none of them offered me money, so I would expect it to flop even worse than Realms of Light.

    So it won’t happen.

    I’m not soured on either setting, but if readers aren’t enthusiastic, why should I be? I have plenty of other things to write.

  6. I, for one, only donated to Realms of Light because i wanted the FC to come sooner, and to see the ending, which seemed unlikely to see the light of day any time soon. Also, in case I am one of the “still several I haven’t heard from”, i have not responded because Lawrence’s info was correct, so I had nothing to say or ask for. Also, since I am lazy 🙂

  7. Did you get the email I sent? I tried to pick from one of the options, but wanted more info on the remaining options in the “Books for Sale” section. I never saw a reply.

  8. Hi,
    As a Realms of Light donor, and a fan, thank you for writing it. I am sorry it did not pan out.

    As a reader I wanted to get _Setting the Stage_ and the third Carlisle Hsing novel.

    As a creator I agree with you whole heartedly. I created an add on adventure for a Palm Pilot game. The creators wanted me to update it for the iPhone, I refused. I wanted to update the game and play it myself on the iPod Touch, but it took two years from my family. Despite not charging for my time, it barely broke even on overhead costs. I could have actually *lost* money.

    So when I saw how slow RoL donations were going, I decided to skip upgrading my previous donation to get _Setting the Stage_ and save my upgrade money for the next serial and the one after that.

    Thank you for continuing the serials. But if they stop breaking even, please stop.

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