Thursday 11 April 2013

The Great Clawback

Finance English has a great many amazing terms. One of my favourite is "clawback", which is a contract term meaning that when a deal or project goes "tits-up" (another common expression in finance English), whoever was in charge (usually a manager) might have to return some of the money they were paid to do the project/deal. Say, you hire a Fat Cat Banker who turns out to be a mouse brain and rams the financial institution against the nearest wall - he might have to pay some of the ££m yearly salary back. I like "clawback" because it's strong, it's ferocious and it's like "tooth and nail" or "teeth and claws".

So I might say I'm "clawing back" my rights of my older work, but the practice isn't really about failure to deliver at all--at least not on the part of the publishers who held those rights. This is old work, and I was an idjit four years ago. I didn't really understand romance, I had big pacing issues, and I misjudged the length of my stories horrendously. What's a short story now (Deliverance) should be at least a series of novellas, or a novella or a novel (Burn). What's a novella now (Clean Slate) should be a novel. First Blood doesn't have length issues, but there are things I want to fix. Risky Maneuvers has already returned to me and needs fixing and maybe a sequel. Transit has a couple pacing issues I want to address.

So that's the backlist titles I'm looking at with the cold, jaded eye of me, four years older. I don't really recognize the author who (co-)wrote them, so I'm assuming I got better. I just know they don't represent me-the-writer very well at present and I want to fix them. Some stories I've pulled entirely from circulation (Blood Run Cold). I'm very pleased with the new version of Scorpion, which was the first story I "clawed back". Again, there was no failure on the part of the publisher--they did exactly what they said in the contract. The failure is mine; I wasn't the writer I'm now. I totally fail at letting this go, too. So, expect to see a mix of "old and new" (previously published by Dreamspinner and Loose Id) in 2014 from me, as I clean up after myself. I also have positive news that I can't talk about yet, but it's related to these news.

So, bear with me--the whole clawback thing is really my neurosis and my inability to let go and write things off. I think all of these stories have a good, decent core, and I'll make sure to make this worth your while, hopefully releasing sequels and related stories as I publish the original story. No waiting for sequels/prequels, I'm aiming at delivering the whole thing in one go. It'll take a while because I'm cramming them into a schedule that's already full of new stuff. I'm determined to make both 2013 and 2014 massive years in terms of releases and productivity, which will hopefully help me to quit my day job in 2015/2016.

ETA: This goes to say, don't bother buying old titles, as the new version will come out at some point. However, if you are a collector and completest (sp?) - and some of you are, this might be a good time to stock up on books I published pre-2011, because many of them are going to vanish until 2014. 

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