This is a bit of a strange post, but it illustrates one of the big changes happening in publishing right now. A number of you have emailed me or left messages here on the blog or on my Facebook pages, asking why you can’t buy some of the Dragonfire or Dragon Diaries books. Most of you have thought there was something wrong at the portal or the publisher, but that’s not what’s going on.
When an author sells a book to a publisher, it’s for a finite measure of time. It’s not forever. Each publishing contract includes at clause that defines when and how the rights to publish the book return to the author. This is called Reversion of Rights. The trigger can be a number of different things – in the case of these contracts, when the number of units sold of a specific title drop below a defined quantity over a certain period of time (in this case, over a year) that title is available for reversion. Once that happens, the author or his/her agent asks for the rights to revert and the publisher has a number of months in which to reply. They might choose to promote the titles and give them new life so they sell more units again, or they might choose to let them revert to the author.
Right now, Penguin’s rights to the Dragon Diaries, to Harmonia’s Kiss and to two Dragonfire books, Ember’s Kiss and Flashfire, have reverted to me. I’ve made Harmonia’s Kiss available in a new digital edition. The publisher has the right to continue to sell their existing print copies of these books – but not to print more – and they can’t sell the digital editions. That’s why these books have disappeared from online portals, at least in the digital format. You still might find print copies, either at online portals or at bricks-and-mortar bookstores.
There’s a bit of a wrinkle with the Dragon Diaries, as Penguin sold UK Commonwealth rights to Allison & Busby for Flying Blind and Winging It. You might find the A&B editions of either of those books – in both print and digital – available for sale in your territory. A&B never did acquire the rights to Blazing the Trail, so they don’t have an edition of the third book in the trilogy. (Nope. I can’t explain that.)
I will make new editions of the Dragonfire books available once the rights to the remaining six books revert to me. I’ve no idea how long that will take – in a real sense, that’s up to all of you. The fewer copies that sell, the faster the rights to the books can revert to me. When I do republish the series in print and digital, the print editions will very likely be in the same trade paperback format as the final three Dragonfire books, The Dragon Legion Collection, Serpent’s Kiss and Firestorm Forever. I’ll also produce the entire series in audio.
This is why the publication dates for both the Dragonfire Companion and Hot Blooded, book #1 of DragonFate, have been delayed. I won’t be publishing any new books about the Pyr until I have all those rights back. I’m still working on all of those upcoming titles, so we can have a real dragon celebration once I have the rights to Dragonfire again.
Thanks for your patience and understanding. 🙂