Posted On October 18, 2013 by Print This Post

Death of a Series? Nah. by Tracey Devlyn

You’re in the midst of writing your series when your publishing contract ends. It’s not the end of the world, and RU co-founder Tracey Devlyn explains why.  

Welcome back, Tracey!  

Tracey Devlyn_088HighCloseCropHello, RU! So fun to be back on campus.

Today, I’m going to talk about what happens when an author’s contract comes to an end, but her series is alive and kicking.

When I signed my debut contract with Sourcebooks back in 2010, the contract stipulated three books in the “Lady’s Revenge series” with an option for two more books in the series.

I wrote my third novel, A Lady’s Secret Weapon, with the mindset that there could be two additional books contracted. So, I added a few characters and left the overarching storyline open for future heroes and heroines to tackle. Genius, right? Would have been had my publisher offered me a contract for books 4 and 5. LOL

Some of you are thinking, “No problem, just revise Book 3’s ending during edits.” If only! Unfortunately, I learned about the end of the Nexus series while reviewing the galley for the third book. Once a book reaches this step, an author can’t make any major changes–and this would have required a rewrite of the last third of the story.

What’s a girl to do? I really, really wanted to tie-up the loose ends I’d left. Not only for my wonderful readers, but for myself, too. For those of you who have followed my publishing journey, you have heard me say that the traditional approach to publishing is the right approach for me. That I don’t have enough time to balance family, a demanding full-time job, and coordinate all the aspects of self-publishing a novel.

Well, I was wrong. I found out that when you want something badly enough time’s not a problem. Who am I kidding? Time is always a problem! However, developmental editors, copyeditors, proofreaders, cover designers, etc. are incredibly accessible and affordable, these days. And there’s a huge network of talented, business savvy, and successful self-published authors out there who are eager to share what worked for them and what didn’t.

A few short years ago, my options would have been limited to either watching my Nexus series fade into oblivion or writing an alternative ending and slapping it up on my website. Today, I can overcome a difficult situation by providing a quality, satisfying e-story that will be available to many (not all) of my Nexus readers.

There’s freedom in self-publishing that I didn’t fully appreciate until I was faced with the death of my series. Although I’m not quite finished with my next Nexus story, I have thoroughly enjoyed working one-on-one with my cover designer and editor. I’ve also established a business and set up business accounts with all the major booksellers. It’s been an incredible experience, and I can’t wait to share more about my super secret project in the next few months. 🙂A Lady's Secret Weapon

Just to be clear–I’m not turning my back on traditional publishing. I’m greedy and want both, because my goal is to reach as many readers as possible on as many platforms as possible. An author with a diversified publishing portfolio is currently labeled hybrid author. I’ve never been overly fond of labels, but I know some folks need them to form clear pictures in the minds.

You can call me hybrid author, self-published author, traditionally published author–or simply just author. To me, publishing is about the stories, the readers, and building a sustainable, fulfilling career. Everything else is ephemeral like a spring wildflower. 😉

I’m incredibly excited about 2014. Until I sign with another publisher, I’ll be going it alone and loving every minute of it!

Fun giveaways:

WebsiteOctober contest – 3-book Nexus Series, plus a custom made Nexus book thong (Ends 10/31)

New Release Be a Nexus Agent contest – iPad Mini (Ends 10/31)


Readers: Have you ever wondered why an author doesn’t finish a series?
Authors: Have you ever been faced with the death of a series? What did you do?


Author Melinda Curtis joins us on Monday, October 21st. 


Bio: Tracey Devlyn is an award-winning authors who writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine’s happy ending). She’s a co-founder of Romance University, a group blog dedicated to readers and writers of romance, and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, Chicagoland’s exciting new reading salon devoted to romantic fiction.

An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website.  |   Dangerous Darlings Street Team  |  Newsletter  |  |  |

“Devlyn is a smart storyteller who crafts taut, exciting, emotional novels–the type of story that lingers long after the happily ever after.”  RT Book Reviews, TOP PICK, 4.5 Stars

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25 Responses to “Death of a Series? Nah. by Tracey Devlyn”

  1. I confess that I haven’t read “A Lady’s Secret Weapon” yet (although I intend to), but I loved the previous book in the series, and actually gave it DIK status at AAR, so I’m pleased to hear you’re going to be able to conclude the series as you’ve planned.

    Posted by Caz | October 18, 2013, 6:40 am
  2. Did you have to wait a certain amount of time? I know the contracts I’m under right now don’t allow me to write in the world of my series and publish outside the publisher I’m with. I would have to look at the specifics in my own contract…can’t remember if it was an allotted time or something, but I thought this was a standard clause within a publishing contract. Just curious!

    It would be awful to not finish a series!! Especially for the reader, but for you, too. Good luck with your secret project! 😀 those are the best.

    Posted by Bethanne | October 18, 2013, 7:51 am
    • Hey Bethannie,

      Great question! Once my editor rejected the two option book proposals and my super secret project, I was free to do whatever I wanted with those stories. I think it’s considered right of first refusal.


      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 18, 2013, 12:13 pm
  3. I faced the death of not one, but two series… and at the same time. One series had two books published and a third in draft. The second series? That had the first book published and the second in final edits with two more in the wings. And unfortunately, the one publisher who would consider the combination of reprint and new works had to close due to the death of one of the partners.

    To aid in the learning curve of self-publishing, I polished up a stand-alone novel I had written a while back, made the contacts for cover designer and with fingers crossed took the plunge giving birth to Imprisoned in Stone. With that experience, am now moving forward to independently publish the four books of the Dragshi Chronicles. 2014 should be a wild year.

    Posted by Helen Henderson | October 18, 2013, 8:20 am
    • Helen, I’m so sorry to hear about your series/publisher trouble. So heartbreaking.

      But YAY YOU for taking the dive into self-publishing. That’s the beauty of today publishing world–writers have options and, most importantly, hope. The lack of hope can kill a career just as quickly as any publisher’s decision.

      Enjoy the ride in 2014!


      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 18, 2013, 12:19 pm
  4. Morning Tracey..

    You go girl! I’m glad you’re continuing on with your series and your characters…they deserve it!

    How do you deal with the stress this situation has given you? Your life has changed so much in the past two years…

    glad to have you back in class for the day! =)


    Posted by Carrie Spencer | October 18, 2013, 8:29 am
    • Hey Carrie!

      Honest answer? Although I’ve loved my time at Sourcebooks (beautiful covers, great publicity), I didn’t have a lot of stress when the decision came down. Sadness, yes. A little lost, yes. Stress, not really. Why? Because self-publishing was available to me.

      Now, if this had happened 2+ years ago, I’d be experiencing mega stress. The way I’ve learned to deal with any publishing-related stress is not to think too much about it. All I do is put my head down and plow through as best I can. 🙂


      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 18, 2013, 12:29 pm
  5. Yay, Tracey! Most of the series I read can really begin or end at anytime but I never want to let them go. I also know that an author has to decide how things move based on sales and interest, etc.

    I for one love your Nexus series and look forward to anything you do with the series in the future. I still don’t know a lot from the publishing end of things since I am a reader-only, but as a reader, all that matters to me is a good story. There are some not so good traditionally published books and some outstanding self published books I have seen recently that hit the NYT list.

    will continue to read anything you write regardless of how it is published! 🙂

    Posted by Amy R | October 18, 2013, 8:43 am
    • Hi Amy!

      Honestly, it’s best not to get too bogged down into the publishing/editing side. The more you know, the more you analyze the books you’re reading, which can dampen your enjoyment of the story. That’s my only regret in becoming an author–it’s hard to read a book and not analyze. LOL

      Thanks for all your support!


      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 18, 2013, 12:34 pm
  6. Hi Tracey,

    If I’m hooked on a series, waiting for the next book is difficult. I’ve read the Nexus series(loved it!!) and look forward to your next project!

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | October 18, 2013, 9:52 am
  7. I was in the same situation a couple of years back. Finish your series. Your fans are waiting! Trust me on this! I’m one of them.

    Let me know if I can be of any help!


    Posted by Ann Macela | October 18, 2013, 11:43 am
  8. Congratulations on finding a way to make this work, Tracey – your readers (speaking as one of them) appreciate your efforts!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | October 18, 2013, 2:42 pm
  9. Have I abandoned series? Yup. Due to lack of sales, interest, changing climate in genre popularity, etc. Have I self-published books? Yup. I did my first stint in June of 2012 and it was awesome! This December I’ll be finishing up that first series in SP land. I think being a hybrid author gives you many, many choices and allows you to understand a greater chunk of publishing 🙂 Best wishes!

    Posted by Sandra Sookoo | October 18, 2013, 3:23 pm
    • Agreed, Sandra. I have to say that I’ve learned a ton more about the publisher’s side of the business since joining a self-pub loop. I really like understanding the whole picture. Good luck with the rest of your series!

      Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 18, 2013, 7:23 pm
  10. Hi Tracey,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us. I appreciate and admire your candidness and your positive outlook. It’s encouraging that authors have so many more options than they did a few years ago.

    If you could name one thing (okay, maybe two) that you’ve learned from publishing with a traditional house that has helped you the most, what would it be?

    Posted by Jennifer Tanner | October 18, 2013, 4:21 pm
  11. Hi Jen,

    Thanks for inviting me back.

    The biggest thing I learned from being with a publisher is the steps it takes to produce a book. There are a lot of them. 🙂 It was nice getting a schedule of when I would get the developmental edits, copyedits, galley, and then the ARCs would show up on my doorstep. A couple months later the final book would arrive. Designing the covers, sending ARCs out, etc.

    For my SP project, I almost missed the copyediting step. LOL

    The other thing I appreciated about Sourcebooks was how they would send bookmarks to authors right before RWA. They would also send new ones anytime I needed them. I mention this because I know not all publishers do this. At the Spring Fling conf last year, I remember a very successful historical author said she purchases all her promo materials.


    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 18, 2013, 8:10 pm
  12. Thanks Tracey for thoroughly explaining and answering all of my questions about the Nexus series. I know I’ve brought it up after I read ALSW in an email and you said as much, but I’m still glad you’re working on it and not giving up on us readers and your characters. I can not wait for 2014 and this super awesome secret surprise.

    Posted by ki pha | October 18, 2013, 11:01 pm
  13. Hi Ki,

    Thanks for stopping by! I think when you and I last spoke my super secret project was scheduled for November. But I’ve postponed the release until January. 😉


    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | October 19, 2013, 7:18 am
  14. Thanks for sharing your experience, Tracey! I’m sure this happens to authors frequently–especially in this quickly-changing publishing environment. So glad that you decided to move forward with your series as an indie author.

    I’m waiting to hear back on a proposal for a third book in my series with my publisher. Of course, I hope they pick it up. But there is something empowering about knowing that–no matter what–this third book will be published.

    Posted by Reese Ryan | October 21, 2013, 7:46 am
  15. Tracey, so glad to hear this! And so impressed. It’s so true that there are loads of options for all of us. Half the battle is to embrace the possibilities, and it sounds like you are doing that with gusto! Best of luck–on both fronts!

    Posted by Jenna Blue | October 22, 2013, 9:07 pm


  1. […] Devlyn – whose latest book A Lady’s Secret Weapon I adored – wrote a post over at Romance University about how to handle it when your publishing house decides to…. I’m not sure what her publisher’s (Sourcebooks) motivation was (I’m guessing the […]

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