The Waiting Game

by Jessica Mifsud

Published at 2013-03-22

I’m sure this has happened to you, too. You pick up a real page-turner from the bookstore. It’s so good that you can’t put it down until you finish it, not even to eat or sleep. You enjoy reading it so much that you don’t want to finish reading it, because then you won’t get to continue reading it, but you can’t stop. Finally, you reach the end. All seems lost … until, on the very last page of the book, you see it: the author is writing a sequel! Your sails billowing with optimism, you begin what every series-reader eventually comes to dread: the waiting game.


Sure, at first it seems like it won’t be so bad. You only have to wait a year, maybe, before the second book comes out, which will certainly be even better than the first one was because now the author is wiser and more mature and has royalties from the first book to feed him as he writes the next one. So you wait, patiently, trying hard not to think about how everything else you’re reading just isn’t as good since you read That Book.


But … What Now?


If you’re lucky, your book comes out as expected, and you grab it and roll around on your couch like a happy cat as you read it. But sometimes there is no luck to be had. The weeks of waiting turn into months, and then, horrifyingly, the months start turning into years. The internet starts generating false release dates for your book, and you can’t figure out why. The author of the book writes hundreds of blog posts about how he’s trying to write the book or, worse, the author disappears from the internet altogether.


You start inventing reasons why you don’t have your book. The author has given up writing and forsaken all worldly goods to move to Nepal to become a monk. The Publishing Gods have withdrawn their support from your writer (and you start researching to whose house you need to have the 60 anchovy pizzas delivered). The book has already been released, and you’ve been painfully oblivious, even though you refresh the author’s website six times a day.


Worst Case Scenario


And then, sometimes, the author gets diagnosed with depression and has so much other stuff going on that he just can’t write. We could be talking about George R.R. Martin’s “Song of Ice and Fire” series here, which is notorious for having a six-year gap between Book #4 and Book #5. But we’re actually talking about American writer Scott Lynch, author of the “Gentlemen Bastards” series, whose third book has been highly anticipated for what seems like forever, but is probably closer to four or five years.


Lynch found himself dealing with depression during the writing of The Republic of Thieves, the effects of which caused many delays in finishing the manuscript. The publication date got pushed back from 2011, to 2012 … and was finally, officially announced (by three different sources, two of them publishers) to be October 8, 2013.


But what about all those people who were waiting? As noted in this press release from Gollancz, Lynch’s publisher in the UK, this time they really made a difference:


Simon Spanton, Deputy Publishing Director at Gollancz, said, “Some of you will know about the real difficulties that gathered around this novel for Scott. I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank Scott for sticking with it. I know that he was always painfully aware of the delays and what those meant both for his publishers and his fans. So I’d also like to thank Scott’s readers for their patience and for the immense support and the profound goodwill towards Scott that they have shown during this time. It’s been a long wait but I have every faith that their patience will now be rewarded with The Republic of Thieves.”


This announcement is great for a lot of different reasons: because Lynch is writing again, because the publisher is excited, and because it means the waiting is almost over! Only 201 days to go …