Which brings me to another topic you all might be wondering about. Although the ARCs went out weeks ago, not a single review of SOoW has been posted. Any guesses as to why that is when it's standard operating procedure to release ARCs so that reviews can be posted and buzz can be generated well before a book is published? Mmhm, it's simply because I requested that ARC readers not post their reviews or ANYthing even remotely indicative or spoilery in their reading updates. And I did that BECAUSE of how TOFitS ended.
It's no secret that I abhor spoilers, not only terms of my work but in others as well, and I want everyone who can be called a diehard GYP fan—those who've chosen to ride this series out with me and have been patiently (or not-so patiently) waiting for each and every release day—to not have a single aspect of these books spoiled or ruined for them by someone else, even if that someone doesn't think of what they've said in an update or a review as a spoiler. People think of spoilers in different ways so even knowing POV beforehand could potentially take away from someone's experience. That's why I'm so vague and non-committal when asked questions about even the smallest details, like the timespan of the series for example. It's not that I'm trying to be a bitch or frustrate readers on purpose; on the contrary, it's incredibly difficult to keep my damned mouth shut so that I don't inadvertently say something that gives something away or could potentially spoil the story in general for even ONE person.
I work extremely hard to make these stories as detailed as possible and most of you know that although I'm verbose AF regardless, almost every single thing I write is written for a reason. Not only that, but the GYP series is highly character driven and for me to write it that way, I feel like even knowing the mundane is most often necessary for people to really and truly connect with a single main character, and I have EIGHT of them. That means a reader is gonna be getting a lot of seemingly unimportant content that some might term as "page filler," and if a reader isn't a fan of that sort of thing, no biggie. I don't expect everyone to be a fan or even like my work. However, there are a lot of you who are indeed fans and who actually want that filler, like I do when reading a book, so that's primarily why I'm as wordy as I am. Additionally, I don't like to see everything coming, I want a story that keeps things interesting and can even throw me a curve ball every now and again, because I personally enjoy trying to figure out the ending before I get there to see how
All of that means is that if you read with an eye for the future, chances are you'll pick up on clues and be able to piece things together on your own, and if you've spent precious time doing that already and someone comes along and shoves a spoiler in your face, you're gonna be pissed. I know I am every time I see a spoiler in a status update or a review of my books, and it's not because I've just had the book ruined for me, because you know, I already know what's gonna happen when all is said and done anyway. I'm pissed about it on behalf of my fans. So, that's why I tip-toe around questions and why no one will see a review of Shark Out of Water until next week at the absolute earliest. Actually, I'd prefer ARC readers hold their reviews until release day, but that's just me. If anyone does want to discuss anything that's happened in the series thus far, there is a fan-organized and ran group on Goodreads called Grab Your Pole Group Therapy and it's set up so that those wanting to talk,discuss, theorize, or just cry on the shoulders of others can do so without the risk of running into spoilers.
With all that said, let's move onto how, for fuck's sake, could I end TOFitS the way I did...
Put simply, it's because if I didn't, SOoW wouldn't be the book I wanted it to be and the GYP story as a whole would've suffered. It's not because I was trying to up my sales or generate a lot of talk by including a nasty cliffhanger like that because honestly, in my experience people love ranting about them, but a lot of times hearing of a cliffhanger in a book will deter people from reading until a later date, however they rarely ever remember to once the follow-up book(s) are out, so cliffhangers are notorious for being a double-edged sword in terms of buzz and sales. And that's why I didn't intentionally set about trying to incorpoarate because it doesn't exactly work out for an author when a handful of people are talking about the book, but no one's buying it and/or reading it, you know? Plus, I know what I did to you all and although I'm not exactly sorry for doing it, I do empathize.
The fact of the matter is though, I ended it that way because I HAD to. It wasn't fun for me; I feel everything you all feel when you read, except as the author of these particular stories, I experience them on a different level in order for me to write them and write them even moderately well. The heads and lives of the characters in these stories aren't always the easiest or happiest of places to be mentally or emotionally, and yeah, some of my fictional children have royally fucked shit up, so I get it, but that's life and we all have to deal with unpleasantness in life. That's also why I was okay with slamming everyone the way I did by ending of The Other Fish in the Sea like that. I know what's coming and the ending was all because of Shark Out of Water and maintaing that book's integrity, not to mention the integrity of future books in the GYP series.
I understand that's probably not much of a consolation to those of you with freshly bleeding hearts and nauseous tummies upon finishing TOFitS, but hopefully it'll help more to know that everyone I've spoken to who has read SOoW has universally agreed that if TOFitS hadn't ended the way it did, SOoW wouldn't be the book that it is, which in my mind really is pretty flippin' epic. I mean I can't promise that it's perfect and everyone will love it like I do, or that everyone's questions will be answered in this book, but just so you all know, I had about six beta readers for SOoW, and I even brought on one at the last minute because aside from ONE beta reader almost a year ago who I agreed with about ONE small scene, not a single other beta reader could find anything in book 3 that they felt could've been written better. That's not me being self-righteous either, in fact that consensus makes me exceedingly twitchy, but honestly, the beta feedback was little to none aside from those folks telling me it's perfect in their opinion and/or that they didn't take notes because they couldn't find anything.
So, do yourselves and me a favor, just hang tight a little while longer, pay attention, but don't read reviews until you've read the book, and hopefully you'll agree that on July 30, I delivered what I now laughingly refer to as a masterpiece...