Publishing is one of the slowest art industries because books are one of the slowest artforms. While films--even massive, globe-spanning blockbusters--can be shot in a few months, novels typically take several years to write, and while a film can be experienced in two hours and passed from person to person to reach hundreds of viewers in a matter of days, a book moves slowly. A book requires weeks or months between each link in the chain. It requires deep investments of time and attention. It doesn't travel virally on a surge of impulse clicks. A book demands a committed relationship. It's laughably ill-suited to the modern age.
Because of this, the publishing industry operates on a time scale best described as geologic. The delivery of a final draft is just the beginning of the process--the sales team reads it, they pass it to other sales teams, booksellers, critics, blurbers, media, catalogs, stores, and each step requires at least one human being to actually read and care about a book. Mountains rise and wear away, rivers carve canyons, and finally, if a thousand little factors have lined up just right, the book survives to reproduce.
I'm explaining all this because some of you may have noticed that THE BURNING WORLD--the third book in the Warm Bodies series and the first true sequel--has been drifting. For a while, the release date was in August, 2016. That's the date I shared with all of you and the date I was planning my life around. A summer release! A summer tour! What a grand adventure 2016 would be!
There was only one catch. I hadn't finished the book.
Although I wrote the last page of the first draft of the whole mega-story last summer, the realization that it was actually two books inspired a lot of revision, and after honing it through several drafts with my equally geologic editor(s), my worst nightmare came true: I missed the window. The release date had to move. And because publishing is so weird, with its complex system of seasons and shelf space and marketing bandwidth, it couldn't just move by a month or two, it had to move...all the way to next year.
The release date is now February 7th, 2017.
I'm sorry, readers. I didn't want this. I'm acutely aware that it's been five years since WARM BODIES. Your patience with my meandering process has been a great gift, but I can feel your restlessness, and it's surpassed only by my own. I've been locked up in the writing tower for over three years now and I'm so ready to come down and share what I've been been building. No one is more excited about this book than I am, and adding another 6 months to the wait sounded like a cruel joke.
So I fought it hard. I flew to New York for a desperate meeting with Atria Books in the hopes of finding some other way, but as we discussed it from all possible angles, I started to see a different picture. This delay wasn't about penny pinching or a lack of imagination. It was about allowing room to do something big.
THE BURNING WORLD is an exciting book. It's a love story and a war story and a road-trip story, full of action and humor and emotion--a page-turner! But it's also a nonlinear, semi-meta, poetically styled epic about the roots of human nature and the future of consciousness and oh yeah, zombies? It's a weird book that fails to fit neatly in a genre or a market, and our culture isn't kind to mutants. So it's going to take a big push to get it in front of readers, and that's what we're going to do.
We're going to release a new special edition of WARM BODIES that includes THE NEW HUNGER. I'm going to make two national tours: a quiet one this summer to reconnect with readers and bookstores, and a glorious circus next year for THE BURNING WORLD's release. And we're going to launch a major campaign to introduce the world to the big, crazy saga this humble "zom rom com" (ugh) has evolved into. Atria is investing real resources into getting it to its readers, and for that, they need time.
So even though the book will be polished and ready to print within a couple months, it has to wait for its moment. After everything I've poured into this story over the last three years, the last thing I want to do is rush it out the door naked.
The fact that you guys continue to care about R and Julie's world so many years after WARM BODIES makes me misty with gratitude, and it kills me to add another year to your/our wait. But I hope you'll hang in there with me a little longer. 2016 won't be an empty year. There is a lot of exciting stuff in the works--new covers, secret events, contests and giveaways and even some new stories for the most dedicated fans--and if all goes well, I'll get to actually meet some of you this summer. I won't bring any security--after all I've put you through, you deserve the chance to beat me up.
I'm sorry I'm so slow, and that publishing is so slow, and that love dies and the sun explodes and our cats can't talk to us, but thank you for keeping hope alive. I hope when you finally dive into this strange little world I've built for you, it'll be worth the wait.