Waiting for your book to be released is always an interesting time for a writer. But behind all the excitement and the impatience and the work, there is one question — one ever-present question — that shouts louder than any of the others.
"Will they like this one?"
Because what if they don't? What if this book is the book where they finally realise you're not a writer? Or that your best work is behind you? What if the enthusiasm you have grown accustomed to finally runs out?
It's a possibility. I started my career with Skulduggery Pleasant, a series that ran for nine books with one spin-off and one short story collection. That's how I got my readers, and my readers have a genuine love for those characters and that world. That's what I'm used to. That love and enthusiasm is now what I expect whenever I release a book.
But Demon Road is different. Demon Road is new.
It doesn't have the advantage of being part of a long-running series. It's part of a trilogy, yes, but it's the FIRST part.
There is an unwritten rule in publishing. It's not a particularly nice rule, but it's an understandable one. This unwritten rule states that your second series will not reach the heights of the first series — at least not at first. Given time, it will gather its own fans and its own readers and it might even surpass the first, but upon its release it will flounder when compared to the heights previously scaled. My publishers told me about this rule years ago. I have had a lot of time to absorb it.
And I'm okay with it.
I think Demon Road is a good book. Of course I do, I wrote it. I think it will gather its own fans. A lot of these will be Skulduggery readers. Some won't be. Regardless, it was written to stand apart, to begin a new adventure, to introduce new characters and a new world, and it will rise or fall on its own merits.
This, to me, is the essence of writing. Each new book is a brand new lie, and each new lie brings an age-old truth. If a writer is lucky, he'll get multiple opportunities to tell these lies to an audience that is willing to give him the chance. Nobody wants to read a book they don't enjoy. Everyone wants the book they're reading to be the book that changes their life forever.
I've been very lucky in the past, and I reckon I'm ready for what's to come.