by L.J. Sellers, author of provocative mysteries & thrillers
I've been reminded of that nearly tragic scenario because Dying for Justice, the fifth book in the Detective Jackson series, just won the silver in the 2012 Readers Favorite Awards in the Mystery category.
But I almost abandoned this novel and the whole series back in winter 2009/2010. I had decided to give up the series because it was floundering under a small publisher. I'd had two failed launches in a row and I wasn't making money. I thought if I could launch a new series with a new character and new publisher, I might be able to save my career. So I mapped out a plot in which Detective Evans, one of Jackson’s sidekicks, was the lead character with Jackson as a strong secondary character—hoping my readers would come along with the new series. I thought I had written my last Jackson book.
Then everything changed. I was laid off my newspaper job, e-books started to take off, and I re-envisioned my novelist career. I set aside Dying for Justice to rewrite two standalone thrillers and publish them on Kindle, then to regain the rights to my other Jackson novels and self-publish them as well. That took six months.
In October, my Jackson stories became bestsellers on Kindle and readers were asking for more. At that point, I was ready to start writing again. After reading through my outline for the Evans-based story, I decided I really liked the plot and would go ahead and write it, giving the two detectives equal POV roles.
Dying for Justice went on to become a readers’ favorite and the highest-rated crime-fiction novel on Amazon. It also fully launched the Evans character who later took a starring role in The Gauntlet Assassin, my futuristic thriller, another reader favorite. So today I'm celebrating the Jackson story that almost didn’t make it to publication, but I’m so glad it did.
Here's a link to an excerpt if you're curious.
Have you ever abandoned a novel and regretted it? Or brought it back later in a new form?