Which is really what it's all about.
"Um ... what?" you say. Let me explain by starting with a couple of examples.
Example #1 - An Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series that's extremely popular, best-selling, with a TV show and everything. I started reading it years ago. I stopped a little over halfway through because the author was losing me. The quality of the stories had gone from good to meh, and when the next book came out, I just wasn't interested at the time. I've never caught up. I've heard it's gone downhill even more, so I probably never will.
Example #2 - An Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance series that's extremely popular, best-selling, doesn't have a TV show but should, with a fabulous on-going story line. I've only read the first six because they came in a box set. There's no specific reason I haven't caught up, except that the books haven't been right at my fingertips like the hundreds that are on my shelves and my ereader. I've heard the most recent release is amazing. I can't think of any fans who have complained about their interest sliding as the series progresses.
I've always been scared to death that the Soul Savers Series would become like Example #1. With each book, I've worked hard to make it better than the last one. Readers tell me the series keeps getting better, and if reviews are any indication, that must be true. I really like this trend. I want to stay on it. I want you to love each book just as much if not more than the others. I want to be Example #2.
But this is where my integrity comes in. See, at the end of last August, when we were getting ready to release Power, we didn't want to leave you hanging with nothing about the next book. So I at least gave you a release time of Spring 2013. That was 8-9 months - surely I could have it written, revised, edited, polished, and formatted by Spring.
At that time, however, I didn't expect to be going to the London Book Fair, doing a UK tour and attending RT Booklovers in Spring 2013, causing me to basically lose a full month of productivity. I also didn't anticipate writing and releasing another book - The Space Between - right before then. Toward the end of 2012, when we started looking hard at our 2013 production calendar, I figured, "Well, June 21st is technically the first day of Summer, but I can do it. I've made a promise, and hopefully this is close enough to Spring 2013 that readers will forgive me."
So way back before I even started writing the book, I publicly announced a release date. I also made a commitment to myself to write more and write faster. After all, I'm a writer. I'm a full-time writer now. Others produce lots faster than I do, so I need to pick up the pace. I. Can. Do. This.
Except I can't. I can't bring myself to rush my writing and editing process just to get a book out on a certain date although it may not be the best it could possibly be. I cringe every time I read a book that's been hurried to market before it's ready. Indies have been slowly overcoming the low quality stigma, only for it to return as these rushed books are full of errors. Some have even become best-sellers, but the poor editing and proofreading is going to backlash on all of us. I can't bring myself to contribute to that. I also can't bring myself to destroy my health and family and home life any more than I already have.
Most of all, I can't bring myself to disappoint you. As I said in the beginning, you deserve so much more from me. You deserve the best damn book I can possibly write for you. You deserve an amazing story that you can't put down until the last page is turned. You have stuck with me and the series thus far - you deserve only my best.
And I've made the decision, along with my publisher, that you deserve a high quality book that you'll get to read one day this summer, rather than a crappy story you might read on a specific day in June. I hate - let me say it again, HATE - backing out on a release date. I've never missed one before and usually deliver early. I feel like I'm breaking a promise, and it's killing me.
But ... I've also set a promise of a good book for you. I hope Soul Savers Book 5 won't break that promise, especially since you have to wait even longer for it. I know right now, though, that if I were to release it on June 21st, you would totally hate it. And I'd rather keep the promise of quality than the promise of a date (which means I won't be giving a specific date right now - just sometime this summer).
So I guess it's not really quality vs. integrity. It's quality and integrity. I can live with that. I hope you can, too. *pleading smile* okay *drops on knees and begs and kisses your feet*
I thank you in advance for your understanding and support and forgiveness. Like I said, I hope the story in Book 5 will make up for it.
Soul Savers 5 Coming Summer 2013