What Ever Happened to: Shanna Swendson

A reader wants to know what happened to an author she enjoyed – and my google-fu yielded little.

Book Cover Sarah, here’s a “Whatever happened to”.

I loved the Enchanted, Inc. books by Shanna Swendson, but after she couldn’t sell the 5th book (per her out-of-date website), I see nada.

From what I can tell, I think the story, unfortunately, ends there. But perhaps she’s started writing under a new name?

Anyone know what’s up? 

ETA: Sorry comments were closed – open sesame!

ETA II, 6 August 2012: I have received an email from Shanna Swendson! 

Last October, I was the subject of one of your “What Ever Happened To?” posts, with readers curious about what happened to the Enchanted, Inc. series. I thought you (and your readers) might be interested in an update. My agent whacked me about the head and shoulders with the Clue Stick and finally convinced me to digitally publish the rest of the series. Although the US publisher didn't want to continue the series, the Japanese publisher did, so I wrote books 5 and 6 for them. Since they were sitting on my hard drive, I eventually decided that the only way to get them out there was to do it myself.

Book 5, Much Ado About Magic, will be published August 15 and book 6, No Quest for the Wicked, is coming in October. I just struck a deal with the Japanese publisher to do a seventh book and am currently writing that. I imagine that one will be digitally published in English, as well, depending on what happens with books 5 and 6. You can take partial credit for this coming about because the response from readers to your post (and the shock of feeling like a has-been for even being the subject of a “What Ever Happened To?” — in Hollywood, that would make me a candidate for a third-tier reality show) had a lot to do with convincing me that people really would want to read these books, even if it was digital only (and we're working on getting a paper version, as well).

 

So, thanks for being part of the kick in the pants!

Categorized:

General Bitching...

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  1. 1
  2. 2
    Kristin says:

    While her website is out of date, her blog isn’t. She has an active community (she responds to most of the comments) on her live journal blog http://shanna-s.livejournal.com/ and she cross publishes that blog on blogger. She is currently having an issue with someone plagiarizing her blog and I bet some Smart Bitches could help her out.

  3. 3
    Kristin says:

    Oh yeah, while she did publish as Samantha Carter, she says on her website that she retired that pseudonym.

  4. 4
    Jody W. says:

    No info to add except I love her Enchanted, Inc series.

  5. 5
    Jessica E says:

    I check in on her livejournal from time to time, but with school I can’t keep up with all of the authors I like so I have to pick and choose.  Her Enchanted, Inc, books are total comfort reads for me.  I asked her, via her blog, if she had thought about self-publishing the final book(s) in the series and she said that she wasn’t interested at that time.  This was at least 2 years ago when e-books really started to take off so maybe she’s changed her mind?  I too hope that she publishes the final books in the Enchanted, Inc, series.

  6. 6

    I loved those books. I hope she does end up self publishing them.

  7. 7
    Kelli says:

    I really love these books, too, and wish she’d continue the series.  Immediately after reading the Enchanted, Inc. books I went to her website and saw the notice that it’d been discontinued, and that she wasn’t interested in self-publishing or e-books.  I wish she’d change her mind.  I read a lot of pnr, and her books are still so fun and refreshing and different, that it’s really a sad lack to not have her continue them.

  8. 8
    Madd says:

    I loved that series. So bummed when I realized more Enchanted, Inc. books were unlikely. Totally hero crushed on Owen, even though he’s a little too “perfect”, because who doesn’t love a hot geek?

  9. 9
    Kara says:

    I was also a huge fan of Enchanted Inc. It seems to me that the 5th book would be a perfect self-publish option for her. I don’t understand why she’s so anti-self-publishing, but to each her own.

    Another author I wonder about is Marion Keyes. I’m waiting for Helen’s story to finish out the Walsh family. Her last blog post was May 2010, and it details that she’s suffering from major depression.

  10. 10

    Wow, I pop over here in a fit of procrastination when my friends aren’t making Facebook updates fast enough for me to justify lingering online instead of doing something more productive, and what do I see at the very top of the page? It must be fate.

    Anyway, here’s the update:
    The publisher, for whatever weird reason, declined to publish the fifth book in the series (the reasons keep changing every time my agent points out evidence that the last reason doesn’t apply—it’s really not about sales numbers). The main problem seems to be that the publisher classified these books as “chick lit” and no longer wants to be seen publishing chick lit. The books coming out under that imprint now are all what I call book club bait. Regardless of the popularity of urban fantasy or the acceptance of my books as fantasy, the publisher has refused to reconsider the branding and positioning.

    I am holding off on e-publishing for a number of reasons that I don’t want to get into here (but believe me, I have put a lot of thought and research into it), but mostly because I’m stubborn, and I’m determined that one day they will beg me for that book. I’m worried that self publishing will preclude it being published traditionally, and a tiny fraction of the sales of this series have been electronic, so e-only publishing would exclude most of my readers. I have other plans in place that I hope will one day lead to the begging to come about, but sadly, the world doesn’t function on my timetable (oh, but when I rule the world, that will change!).

    The website isn’t really all that out of date because most of the information on it is, sadly, current, since nothing has changed. I haven’t updated mostly because the web design software is on my old computer that no longer plays nicely with the Internet, and either redesigning with new software or finding a workaround isn’t worth it when there’s not much to change. I do blog every weekday, though.

    I can’t tell you how much it means to me to see that this question is still being asked, that there are still readers out there who love this series as much as I do. Today especially I needed something nice to happen, so thank you!

  11. 11

    Oh, and one more thing I need to clarify:

    I am not opposed to e-publishing. I just don’t think that’s the best thing for this particular book at this time, and I don’t think this book is the best project for my first e-publishing venture. It means too much to me to be a test case (I need to know what I’m doing first, and that book would be up alongside books that were professionally produced by a major publisher). I do have other plans in progress that are part of my overall Make Them Beg plan, and e-publishing is part of that. It is possible that I will eventually e-publish book 5, but not now.

  12. 12
    Sandra says:

    @ Shanna Swendson:

    and a tiny fraction of the sales of this series have been electronic, so e-only publishing would exclude most of my readers

    .

    Probably because the books (at least on B&N) are trade size, and the ebooks have trade size pricing attached to them. I know that’s a publishing decision that you have no control over. But I’m not willing to pay $10-12 for an ebook, even though the series looks interesting.

    I have found, in the six months since I took the plunge and bought a nook, that I have no interest in buying paper books any more. I’ve bought more ebooks in the last six months than I did paper in the prior 12 months. And I can’t understand how a publisher can justify asking anything above MMPB price for an ebook. But that’s my rant, and again, there’s nothing you can do about that, unless or until, you recover your digital rights. So, unfortunately, your ebook sales will probably continue to languish, which is a shame.

  13. 13

    But I’m not willing to pay $10-12 for an ebook, even though the series looks interesting.

    That’s one of the reasons I don’t think this is the best project for e-publishing at this time. The fifth book in a series (and this one would not be a good entry to the series for those who haven’t read the other ones) where the first four books have prices set by a publisher at a rate that many people won’t pay for e-books is probably not going to pick up a lot of new e-only readers.

  14. 14
    SB Sarah says:

    Shanna:

    Thank you for stopping by! HOW my googling didn’t reveal your LJ I do NOT know but I am so glad you did. Indeed, it must be a really nice feeling to know readers loved your books and wish for more.

    Good luck to you!

  15. 15
    Bonnie says:

    From what I understand, self-published ebooks actually bring more money to the author than traditionally published books, even at prices such as $2.99 a pop.  In another genre, mystery/thriller, Tim Hallinan, author of among other things the Edgar-nominated Queen of Patpong, is not only bringing out his backlist of traditionaly published books to Kindle, but has also epubbed two original books in a new series (Junior Bender:  Crashed and Little Elvises).  He’s told me it’s very gratifying to see those percentage payments stream in while for the trad-pubbed books he’s waiting a long time for minuscule and in arrears royalties.  (The Poke Rafferty books have a new traditional publisher, Soho, for the 5th in the series, so that will still be a hardcover with all that entails.)
    So, if nobody has the rights to it, it could well be worth a try.

  16. 16
    s says:

    I just wanted to add basically a “squee!” I love that series, and have been reading them since the second one came out. I’ve been getting all my friends hooked on it too, and really want to find out how it ends! here’s hoping the hurdles get overcome SOON! I would buy the fifth book in a heartbeat in whatever form it is released in, even though my book budget is not very big at all!

  17. 17
    Anne Stuart says:

    Very interesting to read another take on the whole e-book thing.  I was in the same position—my publisher refused any more books in the ICE series, and I couldn’t leave my characters dangling.  For me publishing the new book (ON THIN ICE) and romantic suspense backlist at Amazon made sense.  But then, despite being Taurus, I’m not stubborn, I’m impatient, and I won’t be held hostage by a publisher.
    But I think everyone has their own reasons, professional, financial, and creative, for their decisions. I chose a different road, but that doesn’t make it right for everyone.
    Door47—when one door closes 47 others open.

  18. 18
    DebStover says:

    What Anne Stuart said. Thus far, I have only released back list reissues digitally.  However, I am considering continuing my Mulligan series via self-publishing.

    Shanna, we’d love to read more of your work.

    And I will follow Anne Stuart anywhere….

  19. 19
    joykenn says:

    Shanna—I love this series but didn’t like their large trade paper size (though I bought them).  I’d really like to finish the serials but will wait impatiently until you publish the whole serials electronically.  Like Sandra I’ve totally switched to purchasing ebooks rather than paper.  And, like her it is TOO easy to buy them.

    I can well understand that learning the new technology for self-publishing is not as simple as it seems.  When you get the rights to the earlier books I DO hope you are able to negotiate the covers which I think are really funny.  Hurry up and bite the bullet and get into epublishing cause your fans would really like to read more that you’ve written.

  20. 20
    Nicole says:

    Aw, thanks Sarah, for posting my question. And thanks Ms. Swendson for stopping by and commenting. I will keep hoping that the 5th book comes out and keep hanging on to my copies.

    I do agree that the trade paperback price sucks as far as ebooks go. One reason I haven’t replaced them w e-copies.

  21. 21
    P.N. Elrod says:

    Hi, Shanna! :waves madly:

    We have similar situations: established professional writers with books our publishers aren’t interested in buying.

    You’ve seen me at the conventions in our area. You know I’ve been openly contemptuous of e-book publishing and self-publishing. I’ve done panel talks on it for years with dire warnings for writers on those venues.

    Oops. I was wrong. Wrongity-McWrong.  I was right once upon a time, but no longer. The industry has changed that much that a stubborn loudmouth like myself has done a 180 on the topic.

    Here’s my situation, which is not so similar to your own:

    I wrote a novel set in my best known series, hoping my publisher would pick it up. They said no, didn’t even bother reading it. My agent urged me on to other projects. (She did sell one of those to Tor this year, so I’m still alive to commercial publishing.)

    I had Plan B in place for my orphan title, taking a scaled down Cory Doctorow route. I self-published a signed, numbered, limited-edition on acid-free paper. Doctorow can sell such books at 50.00 a pop, but a humble mid-lister like myself can only get away with pimping a trade-size soft cover for 10.00.

    It worked.

    The first print run sold out in 2009. I made back my investment and turned a profit. I used some of the profit to pay for the second print run and again made back my investment. For a self-published book it was a runaway bestseller, but I wanted better numbers.

    So this year—just to see what would happen—I released it as an e-book and got the shock of my life.

    For every hard copy sold, I sell 40-50 e-copies.

    The writing is on the cyber-wall.

    Kindle and others have changed publishing as we know it.

    While my numbers are nothing to a commercial publisher, the 70% royalty rate allows me to sell fewer books yet make more money.

    For a mid-lister, it’s a financial godsend.

    For a bestselling writer like you it’s a potential gold mine.

    I’m determined that one day they will beg me for that book.

    I hear you!  I wanted that for MY work—but the industry that bought the series from you back then is not the same one in operation today.  They’re not going to beg. They don’t have to and won’t.

    Your books have sold far more copies than mine, you’ve a large and loyal fan base and yet the publishers are turning you down along with the profit they could make on your words.

    If they’ve not grabbed your book by now, they never will.

    It stinks.

    They think they can get along without you—and me and a few thousand other writers—and the crappy part for us is they will.

    The good part is we’re finding that we don’t need them.

    So here I am, sounding like I’ve been reprogrammed by J.A. Konrath, but I cannot deny the fact that I have more e-book sales with ONE title under my own tiny imprint than I get with the combined sales of 12 print books from a major publishing house.

    I’m not slamming them. They’re following the business trope as they know it. It works for them, and I’m guessing they’re making money or they would not be hanging onto my whole backlist.

    But I’m not making a living from it any more.

    I’m not making a living on the ebooks—yet—but every month a check goes into my bank account. It’s bigger than the totals I get for 6 months of hard copy books.

    I think you’ve got my phone number. Call me up and I’ll be glad to tell you about it in detail.

    Otherwise, let me toss this idea out:

    How about you write a 5,000 word short story set in your Enchanted universe?

    Pay yourself .10 a word for it, $500.00. That’s more than Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine paid me for a story I sold them last year.

    I will edit it for you at a penny a word and format it to Kindle. (I have the software.) 

    You get the same edit job that I put in on the NYT bestselling writers who have tribbed to my collections with St. Martin’s Griffin.

    I will do this on spec.

    You put it up on Kindle for .99 and pimp it from your blog, website and FaceBook.

    When the profit exceeds $550.00 you can pay me.

    If it only ever earns $549.99 you don’t pay me at all.

    If you like what happens, then maybe you can have a re-think on the best option for your next

    title.

    I know your fans—and count me in that number—would love to see it!

    Cheers & hugs—Pat

  22. 22
    Kelli R. says:

    Oh, please do, please do!  (Poor Shanna Swendson, look at all the peer pressure! But at least you know your work is loved and well-respected!)

    I have to say, I discovered your books through Kindle- I doubt I ever would have otherwise, so you owe at least one fan to e-books!

  23. 23
    DS says:

    I’m going to sound negative—not about e-publishing, but about the books currently on Amazon.  I have read none of the books in question so I have no opinion about the writing.  But even at Amazon’s reduced rate on paperbacks, I’m not interested in paying $10.95 to $11.25 each.  Kindle is just as bad at $9.99 to $11.99.  Honestly what is Ballantine thinking?

  24. 24
    Melissa says:

    I’ve been an anti-ereader person for years.  Swore I’d never get a Kindle or a Nook, that my eyes were too old for them, and that my Luddite soul needed paper books.  Yada, yada, yada.

    However……….

    If the only way to get the 5th Enchanted Inc. book was to get a Nook and buy the e-book, I’d do it in a heartbeat.  I’d eat my words and be exposed as a hypocrite.  I love the series and want the final book that much.  :)

    My captcha is trying36 – because I’m begging for the last book for the 36th time.

  25. 25
    Bethany says:

    Hey Y’all (HI SHANNA!)

    It’s been sad to me that they haven’t published the 5th book. I even snuck the question in when I interviewed Shanna on my blog. The thing is, the publisher is not publishing it at this time for whatever reasons. I suppose the best thing to do is to go out and buy the books, and get others to do so, too. Sometimes those sales numbers speak louder than words.

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