So … How Marketable is Cadence Drake?

Ammit asked if I thought that Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood and other Cadence Drake novels would be more marketable than C: The Secret Project.

I started to answer in comments, but discovered that I had a fair amount to say about the question.

The sad truth is that a Cadence Drake sequel will be considerably LESS marketable in the pro market than C, because the first novel set in the world, Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood, was published by someone else. That makes the whole project tarnished goods.

If we use a slightly raunchy analogy, publishers want one of two things. They want a virgin, or they want a really profitable whore. Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood was a nice girl who didn’t put out, married the wrong guy, and got dumped just as she hit the Locus Bestseller List. (HTCB sold through its print run right away, and my publisher didn’t reprint.)

My agent already read HTCB and passed on trying to sell the sequels; Cady may be a sexy, strong heroine, but HTCB was too SF and too “smart” for the current market.

However.

I’ve been wanting to write more about Cadence Drake since I came up with her, and now, dammit, I’m forty-five years old, and part of why I wanted to be a writer was to tell the stories I wanted to tell. (The other part was to stay home with my kids while getting paid.) I’ve been waiting a long time to tell Cady’s stories.

So what will happen is that if there’s interest, I’ll end up doing the Cadence Drake books on the side, and publishing them myself in my spare time.

And if, at some point in the future, I can point to numbers that publishers find impressive, maybe someone will want to pick Cady up as a profitable whore. ({sigh} That really is a depressing analogy.) If not, I will still have written the books I wanted to write.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

11 comments… add one
  • Mikaela Dec 8, 2005 @ 4:42

    When I read your post, I recalled that Tor was reissuing Jane Lindskold first book. It was published by AvoNova 1994, I think. Maybe a publisher would be intrested in reissuing the first book, and publishing a sequel?

  • DarkAngel Dec 7, 2005 @ 13:30

    Ah, I see. Thanks for explaining that, Holly.

  • scottbryan Dec 7, 2005 @ 12:13

    It’s been a couple of years sone I last read HTCB but I liked it quite a lot – the opening scene was very good, very RAH-like. I second and third the motion that a sequel would be well recieved but I know just enough about publishing to know you’ll never get paid what it would be worth, regardless of publishing medium. Sad but true.

  • cherylp Dec 6, 2005 @ 22:33

    I’m glad you’re thinking about writing Cadence Drake’s story. I’ve always felt that HTCB was unfinished—that Cadence only won by virtue of being the last person standing. I’d like to see her come to some kind of resolution. I’d buy the book.

  • Jaye Patrick Dec 6, 2005 @ 20:28

    I liked HTCB, but I thought the cover was… ick. Too fanciful for a Sci-Fi.

    Would I read a sequel? Cadence would be a more mature person, as you are writing about her. There would be differences in style, plot, characterisation, everything. Yep, I think a sequel would be a better, more professional, well written piece of work that I’d be happy to read.

  • ammit Dec 6, 2005 @ 18:00

    I appreciate your lengthy answer.

    Too smart and too SF? Most of the people I talk to seem to think there isn’t ENOUGH smart SF around. I guess they’re a minority.

    You could always sell Cady novellas or shorts to Asimov’s, F&SF, etc, and use that as evidence of interest (and some spending money).

  • Chassit Dec 6, 2005 @ 17:47

    I agree with DarkAngel, I’ve been wanting to learn about Cadence Drake since your “Professional Plot Outline” workshop too. And I agree with “chk” and “Deathbyabsurdity”, pro market or not, I’d buy your books.

  • chk Dec 6, 2005 @ 16:41

    I second “Deathbyabsurdity”; I’d buy a sequel.

    (You’re using WordPress! Yay! 🙂

  • Deathbyabsurdity Dec 6, 2005 @ 14:42

    I will buy whatever you produce, be it from a “pro” publisher or not. Stinking politics over good writing. Argh!

  • hollylisle Dec 6, 2005 @ 13:43

    The publisher didn’t reprint because he was unhappy with me, and with my agent, who was trying to sell him the SECRET TEXTS trilogy for considerably more money than he wanted to pay.

    It was one of the last books I did with him. The last book that bore only my name and that hadn’t been contracted through a packager (i.e. the Bard’s Tale stuff.).

  • DarkAngel Dec 6, 2005 @ 11:39

    I’m confused- I’m woefully ignorant at this point about the publishing business, so this may be a stupid question- but if the book sold through, and it was on the Locus bestseller list, why didn’t the publisher reprint? Surely that means that the book was profitable and they could have sold more? Sorry if this seems like a nosy question, feel free to ignore it if the reasons are personal or whatever.

    And on a side note, I hope you do get to write the Cadence Drake books, I’ve been wanting to read more about her ever since I read your “Beyond the Basics: Creating the Professional Plot Outline” workshop.

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