I’ve been umming and ahhing about writing this particular blog post for a while because at the end of the day, I doubt it’d make a difference. But you know what, if we’re not speaking up, an issue like the one I’m about to relay would probably never be heard and understood from the reader’s perspective.
You’re probably wondering what the heck I’m going on about, and I don’t blame you. That’s not much of an intro is it?
What I want to bring up today as a reader and blogger for…oh gosh, five years now (yes I am aware that I missed my blogoversary d’oh! But a post is coming!)…is around why it’s important that publishers of unpopular (or non-mainstream) series shouldn’t give them the flick without letting the author complete it.
The particular series I’m talking about is The Lovegrove Legacy by Alyxandra Harvey, published by the lovely people at Bloomsbury. Please note that this is not an attack on the publisher, I’m only using them and the series as an example because it’s what brought on this post in the first place.
I first picked up A Breath of Frost, the first book in The Lovegrove Legacy, back in 2014 when I was interning at Bloomsbury Australia. Back then, my reading tastes were pretty limited and I was not a fan of regency based novels. A Breath of Frost completely opened up my eyes to this brilliant new genre…and what’s more, it was filled with the fantasy/paranormal elements that I love. Yes, it was a paranormal fantasy novel set in Regency England. Then in October of the same year, Bloomsbury published the second book in Alyxandra Harvey’s series — Whisper the Dead — and once again I fell in love with the story and the characters all over again.
As quite a sporadic blogger, I’m often a little behind when it comes to the release dates of books, particularly new books in ongoing series. Thanks to The Lovegrove Legacy, I’ve been more inclined to pick up more regency based books over the years, with the Lady Helen series being the most recent ones I’ve been obsessing over. Having finished the second Lady Helen book at the end of last year, it got me thinking about The Lovegrove Legacy again and wondering why I haven’t heard about it or the third book in a while. For two years in fact. After a bit of Googling, I found out that unfortunately, Bloomsbury had decided to drop the series, and Alyxandra Harvey did not get a chance to finish telling Emma, Gretchen and Penelope’s stories.
I was pretty devastated until I found out that the author had released a ‘third’ book, for fans that wanted closure. Of course, I purchased a copy, but disappointingly, I found that it wasn’t as long as I expected…and it was a very rushed ‘book’. I got the closure that I needed, but it wasn’t enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m soooo thankful to Alyxandra for even putting this ending up, but it sucks that the characters and stories that I had invested so much time in didn’t get the wrap-up that they deserved.
And here’s the predicament: I understand why Bloomsbury dropped the series. It wasn’t popular. It was a series that got next to no marketing/PR budget, and its storyline/genre was obscure enough that it was definitely not up most bloggers’ alleys. And that’s totally fine, no one should have to read something they’re not interested in.
But here’s the thing — there were fans. Plenty of fans…but just not enough. The first two books have pretty good ratings on Goodreads, but when it’s competing against popular books with ginormous global marketing budgets, then it gets lost in the crowd. Particularly the YA crowd these days. If a book/series is not getting the push and backing from its publishers, then there’s a good chance that people will not hear about it or pick it up.
Can you understand why it’s a predicament now? On one hand, I understand why it was dropped, but on another…waaaah 🙁 I’m not saying I have a solution to this because I’m sure no publisher wants to be the bringer of bad news…particular one around dropping a series before it’s complete. But perhaps giving the author the chance to finish their story off via an ebook would be something to think about? Even though it kills me to not have the full series on my shelves, I’d still pay to finish off a series that I adore in ebook form.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever had a publisher drop a series you love and wanted to finish?