Ending the Magic ex Libris Series
I noted on Facebook that Revisionary was the final book in the Magic ex Libris series. (Unless something drastic changes, like Hollywood paying me ridiculous money and making a movie, or the books suddenly hitting the NYT list.)
This note was met with a number of very disappointed comments, which is awesome. I mean, not awesome that people are sad or disappointed. But the fact that they loved the characters and the stories and wanted them to continue. That means an awful lot.
This will be the third series I’ve brought to a close, and it’s bittersweet each time. In each case, I have ideas or notes or little scraps tucked away on the hard drive for potential continuations. A fourth goblin book, a fifth princess book … and in this case, there’s definite spinoff possibilities with Revisionary.
So why end the series? Several reasons.
- It gives me the chance to write something new. After all, if I’d never ended the princess series, we wouldn’t have the Libriomancer books. I know some authors can jump back and forth and juggle multiple series at once, but I have a much harder time with that.
- The series reached a natural stopping point, one that brings closure to a lot of the things I’ve been doing throughout the books. In truth, Unbound could have been a good end point as well, but I’m happy to have been able to take that next step with Revisionary.
- Economics. Libriomancer was my best-selling book to date, which is awesome. Thank you to everyone who bought, read, reviewed, or otherwise helped make that book so successful. Sales of subsequent books in a series almost always drop off. The question is how much they drop off, how much new books drive sales of the earlier books in the series, and so on. And while I consider this a successful series, it wasn’t successful enough to make Magic ex Libris #5 a better bet than writing something new.
I sent a pitch to my agent over the weekend, and revised it based on his feedback earlier today. I’m hopeful DAW will like the idea. I’m also working on Project Bob, an on spec manuscript (meaning it’s not under contract) that would let me branch out in a slightly new direction. There’s at least one more idea waiting in the queue as well.
My son gets very sad and upset when a show he likes comes to an end, and I understand where he’s coming from. He’s young enough he doesn’t understand the danger of a series stretching out too long and jumping the shark, or simply losing its magic. What he does know is that he likes the show and the characters and the stories, and it sucks that there won’t be any more.
I get that. And I hope that eventually, I’ll be able to come back and play more in these worlds. Maybe via self-publishing as things go out of print. Or maybe there will be a surge of renewed interest someday, and publishers will throw obscenely large bags of money at me.
But for now, Revisionary will be the final book in the series when it comes out in February of next year. As always, my thanks to everyone who’s followed along on this journey, and I hope you’ll join me for the next one.
September 21, 2015 @ 3:26 pm
I will be sad to see it go. I was excited for the series from the day in Lansing when you told me there might be something more coming based of “Mightier Than The Sword” from Gamer Fantastic. I love your writing and will be excited for whatever comes next.
September 21, 2015 @ 3:30 pm
I will be sorry to see it end, I have enjoyed the concept of it very much, it mirrors some idle daydreams I used to have 🙂 I am glad for what you brought us though and I look forward to the final book with bittersweet regrets.
September 21, 2015 @ 3:43 pm
But … but … but … does it have to end? Sigh. I look forward to whatever you do next, but I’ll definitely miss these characters.
September 21, 2015 @ 4:03 pm
I have to repeat what others have said – I’ll be sad to leave this world behind, I’ve really enjoyed it – BUT I’m also glad you can move on. I’ve certainly read some series where the writer keeps writing characters or in a world much longer than they should and the stories get repetitive and the characters get boring.
I look forward to the next world you’re going to create.
September 21, 2015 @ 4:32 pm
For me as reader this information hurts. Isaac Vainio has become something like a distant relative to me: I would only meet him rarely but enjoy every occasion. Probably I would have still read the next half dozen books “con gusto” ;-).
But I understand your arguments and it is your “world”, not mine. One of the thrills of books is, that you cannot control the story and “have to” live with it as it comes. So the next book will be a bitter-sweet experience for me.
Thank you for a great series. All those recursions and cultural references (real and fake ones) gave me a tremendous joy!
September 21, 2015 @ 4:40 pm
I’m happy to see one more book in the series, but will also be sorry to see it end. I work at a B&N and participate in a sort of contest- the 100 club, where we try to handsell 100 copies of a book we enjoy. After reading the first few pages of ‘Libriomancer’, this was an easy choice. I’m not at the hundred yet, but have been working hard. I’m also looking forward to seeing you in Cedar Rapids next month!
September 21, 2015 @ 4:42 pm
Somehow sad new, but I liked both your Goblins and Magic ex Libris series’. Should be interesting to see your next projects.
So – any news if Unbound and Revisionary will be translated into German, or do I have to ask Bastei-Lübbe if I have to start reading all series in English to find out about the end?
Jim C. Hines
September 21, 2015 @ 6:05 pm
I’m afraid Bastei-Lübbe has said they won’t be picking up books three and four.
Jim C. Hines
September 21, 2015 @ 6:06 pm
Thanks so much, Mandy!!!
And I’ll see you at ICON 🙂
Jim C. Hines
September 21, 2015 @ 6:06 pm
Me too, Katherine.
Jim C. Hines
September 21, 2015 @ 6:07 pm
Bittersweet is an excellent word for it. Thank you.
September 21, 2015 @ 6:33 pm
Assuming Revisionary brings the series to a satisfying close, I will be content. While I love the world, the characters, and the magic system, it’ll be enough for me to know it exists as its own thing, and to dream that someday other stories might be told in the same world, even if someday never comes.
My first introduction to your work was the Princess series, and from there I read the Goblin books, and you’ve got enough credit built up with me as an author that whatever your next project is, I’ll be picking up the first book when it comes out.
September 21, 2015 @ 6:47 pm
While I’m sad about it ending (Libriomancer was my first introduction to your writing), I’m definitely looking forward to Bob: The Series or whatever else you come up with in the future.
By the way, is Lena carrying a METAL sword on the cover of Revisionary?
Mason T. Matchak
September 21, 2015 @ 8:37 pm
There aren’t many books that I’ll unconditionally recommend to anyone who likes to read. This series, though? I will, I have, and I’ll continue to do so. And while I’m sad to see it end, I understand why you’re choosing to end it, and I hope that whatever you work on next is awesome and even more successful.
September 21, 2015 @ 9:00 pm
/Luke: NOOOOOOOOOO that’s impossible!!!!!!!
September 22, 2015 @ 12:12 am
2 out of 3 Skywalkers agree. NOOOOOOOOOOO!
September 22, 2015 @ 2:14 am
I may be a little weird for saying this, but I’m a bit happy to see that a series has ended. It shows that there has been an overall plan and that it has been followed. As you said, there is a danger of overstretching an idea. Congratulations on finishing the series, and looking forward to your next one!
September 22, 2015 @ 5:32 am
Damn. Well, thanks for the info, then I’ll push your English sales a bit.
September 22, 2015 @ 9:33 am
Who was it that said, “Always leave ’em wanting more?”
I think the best time to end a series is when you’ve reached a natural stopping point and people are still interested and delight in each book. Finity can be a good thing. (It’s totally a word. Shut up.)
Publishers throwing bags of money at you? Hope that’s paper money and not coins! And now I have an image in my head of a game in which people are throwing big, balloony, cartoonish moneybags at each other. Not sure what the object is, but I think someone should totally invent this game so I can play it.
Congrats on a successful wrap, and many happy returns!
Jim C. Hines
September 22, 2015 @ 12:52 pm
Thanks so much, Mason. I hope so too 🙂
Jim C. Hines
September 22, 2015 @ 12:53 pm
Thanks! And yes it is. If you click to enlarge the covers, the one Lena’s holding on Revisionary is the same sword Isaac’s creating on the cover of Libriomancer.
Jim C. Hines
September 22, 2015 @ 12:55 pm
Wait, by process of elimination, does this mean Princess Leia wasn’t a fan of the series? 🙁
September 22, 2015 @ 3:20 pm
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of the books in the series so far, and while I’m sorry to hear that it’s coming to a close, I’m happy to hear that an author I enjoy reading is going to keep writing.
What it’s come to is that I enjoyed the series so much, and am eagerly looking forward to Revisionary, that I’m going to keep reading whatever Jim puts out.
September 22, 2015 @ 6:46 pm
You’ve ended the series? FINE.[/flounce] I will just have to start reading it over again.
September 23, 2015 @ 5:32 am
I loved this series. I’ll be sorry to see it end, and I’m going to miss the characters, especially Isaac, Lena and Smudge. 🙁 Thanks so much for giving us the Magic Ex Libris series, and I’m looking forward to reading Revisionary.
September 23, 2015 @ 10:18 am
I cried when the Princess series ended (and then wrote the “sudden but inevitable plot and characterization” review, if you remember that) so I’m prepared.
…totally not prepared.
September 23, 2015 @ 10:36 am
As a long-time fan of fantasy and a less long-time librarian, the Magic Ex Libris series has been my favorite of your works to date (although I haven’t gotten to the Princess books…yet). I was immensely satisfied with Unbound and eagerly await Revisionary. Congratulations on another series under wraps, even if I would have bought the shit out of more books in the series. I look forward to what you’ve got coming next.
September 23, 2015 @ 12:36 pm
Perhaps she can be turned around.
She was not very interested in Han at first either.
September 24, 2015 @ 1:40 am
I have love the Magic ex Libris books, it’s the only book crush I’ve had in the last few years (Libriomancer made me remember how it felt to really fall in love with a book), so I’m very sad to hear that it will be ending 🙁
At the same time it is good when it is the creator that decides that a story should end because it come to a good point to do so and not because inspiration or money is lacking. So that part of this announcement makes me happy.
I look forward to your future books because so far I liked all that I read 🙂
September 24, 2015 @ 6:21 am
As a very busy head-of-state, chances are the series is still on Leia’s to-read pile 😉
September 25, 2015 @ 10:32 pm
I’m sad, but I also realize that it’s best to go out on top. There are too many examples of series going on too long.
And, who knows, in ten or twenty years Isaac may have another adventure.
September 26, 2015 @ 5:14 am
Yes I saw the little hints at the end of the princess series.
Looking forward to the next project.
It’s always sad to end a series you love. I’m saving pratchetts last book for a special occasion. A nice long weekend, on a snowy day. Cup of hot chocolate, pots of tea. Phone on do not disturb.
It’s ok I’ll still daydream up fanfic. But it won’t be the same. Thanks for creating that world. I’ll read it with a good Pinot Grigio I think.
September 27, 2015 @ 11:01 pm
One of the things we have a lot of trouble with in our culture, it seems, is the idea of accepting endings. Rather than accepting there’s an end to all things, we’re hooked on this notion of perpetuity. It means we have problems with things like accepting the ends of fictional stories – in a way it’s a sort of a memento mori for us, a reminder that one day our own personal story will end, itself.
Knowing when to stop is as important a skill as knowing where to start. Some of my favourite authors were good writers, but they didn’t know where to stop – they kept churning out more and more of the same story lines, and eventually I lost all enthusiasm for their works. (I gave up on Anne McCaffrey when she started basically creating novel-length versions of her short story collection “Get Off The Unicorn”; Mercedes Lackey’s “Valdemar” books started getting a bit same-y after about the “Mage Winds” series; I trust I don’t have to explain why David and Leigh Eddings fourth iteration of their singular story line wound up being thrown aside with great force?)
Things end. All things end. Humans have trouble with endings. The hardest part for any creator is being able to say “okay, it’s done”, and let their creation go out there into the world, complete (and probably imperfect, but that’s a different set of neuroses). Congratulations for being able to do this with yet another series, Jim.
October 6, 2015 @ 9:42 pm
Sad to see it end but I know the book will be great and cant wait for next series. Are there any hints or ideas about what is going to come next from the great mind of Hines
Jim C. Hines
October 6, 2015 @ 10:05 pm
I sent an idea off to my agent. Waiting to hear what DAW thinks of it. I’ve also got a few other possibilities. But I don’t want to get into details until things are a little more solid.