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Then, on 6/22/07 came the email letter that struck me numb. Viking-Penguin had re-thought the whole thing. They weren't that happy about the sales of the first two books. Even though Amazon had re-stocked several times and the chain bookstores were carrying Creature and Clan, it wasn't enough. Apparently they expected a monster seller that could squash Harry Potter #7, and didn't get it. So V-P decided that they were never going to sell more than 2100 copies of the new hardcover, therefore they weren't going to make any money, therefore they were going to cancel the book. Cancellation agreement to follow, nice doing business, but you were a disappointment. We'll just move on to the next potential Hunter or Rowling.
I am sure that the decision came from the higher-ups in Viking-Penguin, and that Sharyn herself tried to fight it. She believed in the series; they didn't.
Not that it mattered that they asked me to write the book in the first place, and I spent more than a year of my life doing it. And that I completed my obligations as stated in the contract, supplying copies of the old books, writing the new one and turning it in on time, even going far out of my way to be helpful. None of that, apparently, mattered. Nor did it seem to matter that readers and reviewers who got one of the few advanced readers copies of Courage raved about it.
Richard Curtis and I fought like rabid cougars, using everything we could think of, including a letter that had quotes from the emails I had received from fans eager for the book. Nothing worked.
Then, more discouraging news from V-P. Oh by the way, we're thinking of canceling Thistle-chaser and Challenge as well.
Us rabid cougars redoubled our efforts and some Ratha fans offered to pelt Viking-Penguin with protest letters. In the end, it was a compromise. We saved Thistle and Challenge, but we lost Courage.
The next two books came out in the Fall of 2007, appeared in bookstores and on Amazon. Fans on Library Thing and Goodreads rated them between 4-5 stars, as they had the first two. Though I was desolate over Courage, I had gotten the series back into print.