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Wizards Novel Canceled

Erin Evans, one of my editors from Wizards of the Coast, called the other day. I immediately took this to be a bad sign. Editors are generally happy to work with you entirely by e-mail until something goes wrong. They they call you to break the bad news personally (which, honestly, is a brave and classy act). So when I got the voice mail on my cell phone, I suspected something was up.

I called Erin back, and she let me know in as polite and professional a way as possible that I do not need to keep working on the novel she commissioned from me, as the entire series of books (a sub-line for one of Wizards’ worlds) has been canceled. Management at Wizards apparently wants to do something different with the book department, although I’m not privy to what it is. They’ve removed a number of books from their schedule recently, including (it’s reported) their entire Wizards of the Coast Discoveries line of original fiction.

For myself, this is not a bad thing, as I’ve had too much to do lately to spend any time on the book, which wasn’t due until December. All I ever put on paper for it was the initial pitch. Despite that, I get to keep my initial advance, so I really can’t complain. It’s decent money for a few pages worth of work, and I now have a bit more time to work on more pressing things without feeling guilty about not getting rolling on the book yet.

The news is a bit sadder for the people who’d gotten farther along on their work, like Jeff LaSala, Marcy Rockwell, Paul Kemp, and Ari Marmell, plus Steve and Melanie Tem and many others I probably don’t know about yet. They all have my sympathies.

Comments 18

  1. Matt:

    Sorry to hear that your series got shot out from under you. πŸ™ I’d heard that there had been some serious shakeups in the fiction department over there, but I didn’t think something of this magnitude was going to happen. I know you’ll hit the ground running, regardless, and I have no doubt BL will be happy to give you all the work you can handle. πŸ˜‰

    Mike

  2. Matt:

    Sorry to hear that your series got shot out from under you. πŸ™ I’d heard that there had been some serious shakeups in the fiction department over there, but I didn’t think something of this magnitude was going to happen. I know you’ll hit the ground running, regardless, and I have no doubt BL will be happy to give you all the work you can handle. πŸ˜‰

    Mike

  3. Oh man. Sorry news for the fans, indeed!
    I love the Forbeck-Eberron work and I’ll reckon that was the intended product.
    I like Jeff’s work and Marcy’s, as well.
    Marcy loved my shoes at GenCon last year and she is swell writer.
    Always wanted to join in that play-by-post that they are both in.

    Looking at that list, I am seeing an Eberron line diminishing. Probably too late to cancel Don’s book (thank the maker) but I was hoping for more from the writers I have come to enjoy. Bet they’ll republish more dark elf reprints (can they milk that cow any further!?). Another collectors edition, while the new talent languishes. I feel badly for the Discoveries line authors. “You’re signed!” “You’re fired.” Ouch.

  4. Oh man. Sorry news for the fans, indeed!
    I love the Forbeck-Eberron work and I’ll reckon that was the intended product.
    I like Jeff’s work and Marcy’s, as well.
    Marcy loved my shoes at GenCon last year and she is swell writer.
    Always wanted to join in that play-by-post that they are both in.

    Looking at that list, I am seeing an Eberron line diminishing. Probably too late to cancel Don’s book (thank the maker) but I was hoping for more from the writers I have come to enjoy. Bet they’ll republish more dark elf reprints (can they milk that cow any further!?). Another collectors edition, while the new talent languishes. I feel badly for the Discoveries line authors. “You’re signed!” “You’re fired.” Ouch.

  5. Right back at you, Matt.

    And, Stephen, yes, I loved those shoes! Wear them again this year! πŸ˜‰

  6. Right back at you, Matt.

    And, Stephen, yes, I loved those shoes! Wear them again this year! πŸ˜‰

  7. The Tracy Hickman Presents line was also canceled recently, even though there were some more titles planned. Lucien, Dan, and Paul should all see their books published, but there were a couple of authors scheduled for additional novels who won’t see publication.

    We had thought it was because WotC decided they didn’t want any more Dragonlance novels after 2009, but I get the impression from your news that it’s more widespread than that.

  8. The Tracy Hickman Presents line was also canceled recently, even though there were some more titles planned. Lucien, Dan, and Paul should all see their books published, but there were a couple of authors scheduled for additional novels who won’t see publication.

    We had thought it was because WotC decided they didn’t want any more Dragonlance novels after 2009, but I get the impression from your news that it’s more widespread than that.

  9. Thanks, guys! As I’ve said, I’m worried less about myself than many of the other writers, especially those who’d finished books that won’t see print. It’s a damned shame.

    Mike: I haven’t pressed BL for anything lately, but I may get back on that again. Or not. There are some creator-owned projects that have been itching me for a while, and this may finally be time to scratch.

    Stephen: Wizards will still be publishing many novels, I hear. From Cam’s note (thanks for the tip, Cam!), it looks like the cuts have been across the board.

    My sense is that the division is retrenching. Given the relative lack of marketing support for new or lower-selling authors, I can understand this. They need to either get behind their books hard or let them go.

    I don’t know what their new strategy will be, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

  10. Post
    Author

    Thanks, guys! As I’ve said, I’m worried less about myself than many of the other writers, especially those who’d finished books that won’t see print. It’s a damned shame.

    Mike: I haven’t pressed BL for anything lately, but I may get back on that again. Or not. There are some creator-owned projects that have been itching me for a while, and this may finally be time to scratch.

    Stephen: Wizards will still be publishing many novels, I hear. From Cam’s note (thanks for the tip, Cam!), it looks like the cuts have been across the board.

    My sense is that the division is retrenching. Given the relative lack of marketing support for new or lower-selling authors, I can understand this. They need to either get behind their books hard or let them go.

    I don’t know what their new strategy will be, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

  11. Ooof. Makes me glad I did not submit anything last year when there was an open call. On the bright side, all that extra time when I wasn’t writing what I did not submit was spent on my own stuff.

    Good luck in Indy next month. Won’t be able to make it unless the job thing turns around in a specific direction.

  12. Ooof. Makes me glad I did not submit anything last year when there was an open call. On the bright side, all that extra time when I wasn’t writing what I did not submit was spent on my own stuff.

    Good luck in Indy next month. Won’t be able to make it unless the job thing turns around in a specific direction.

  13. Matt:

    Good luck with the creator-owned stuff; I definitely think you should pursue them!

    Mike

  14. Matt:

    Good luck with the creator-owned stuff; I definitely think you should pursue them!

    Mike

  15. Yeah, I always wanted to have a bit more balance between the work-for-hire and original stuff, but paying bills always seems to take priority. Thanks for the encouragement!

  16. Post
    Author

    Yeah, I always wanted to have a bit more balance between the work-for-hire and original stuff, but paying bills always seems to take priority. Thanks for the encouragement!

  17. Thanks, Scott! I’m looking forward to seeing your book in print! It’s too bad you won’t be at Gen Con this year, but we’ll tip a few in your direction in your honor. Here’s hoping the job thing turns out right.

  18. Post
    Author

    Thanks, Scott! I’m looking forward to seeing your book in print! It’s too bad you won’t be at Gen Con this year, but we’ll tip a few in your direction in your honor. Here’s hoping the job thing turns out right.

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