Last week, fans of Rick Yancey‘s award-winning YA horror series The Monstrumologist learned that no more books in the series would be forthcoming. Though critically acclaimed–the first book won the 2010 Printz Award–Simon & Schuster had decided not to continue the delightfully gory, relentlessly creepy saga of a monstrous race of zombie-like creatures known as Anthropophagi, who require human hosts in order to breed. According to Yancey in an interview with Bookshelves of Doom last week, the publisher cited low sales as their reason for dumping the series after it had filled its contractual obligations to publish just three books.
Fans were obviously disappointed to hear this, especially since news of the series being canceled before the third book is even out yet is likely to plummet sales even more. But bookblogger Stephanie Oakes took her disappointment a step further, calling on her blog for fans of the series to ask Simon & Schuster to reconsider. “For such an innovative series to be cut short, when the author has said he’s chomping at the bit to write more,” she wrote, “is devastating as a reader, a writer, and member of the YA community.”
Other fans obviously agreed with Stephanie. After School Library Journal and Booklist both picked up on the buzz, Simon & Schuster alerted the author that they had decided to reconsider and would continue the series with the fourth novel in 2013. Yancey tweeted the news and then added, “Publisher surprised by fan reaction and I’m surprised by publisher’s!”
The success is the most recent in a long line of instances that denote the growing influence of fan-run book blogs on the publishing industry itself, such as 2009’s much-touted decision by Bloomsbury to change the whitewashed cover of Justine Larbalestier‘s novel Liar after the author shared her fight to change the cover with the blogosphere before the book was published. A similar instance happened in 2010 with the whitewashed cover of Jaclyn Dolamore‘s Magic Under Glass, as well as with a massive word-of-mouth book blogging campaign to boost the sales of Cindy Pon‘s Asian fantasy Silver Phoenix.
But as one fan reminded Twitter, “Now that S&S is pubbing the 4th book in @RickYancey‘s #Monstrumologist series, all who clamored for it must buy it!” It’s a sad truth the publishing industry faces that not everyone who says they’ll buy a book actually goes out and does so–especially with the price of books and even e-books rising all the time. Still, we’ll count this one as a victory for fandom. Fans taking an active role in the franchises they love–outside of the publisher, is anyone really surprised anymore?
Aja Romano blogs regularly at Bookshop.
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