Why Stephenie Meyer Didn’t Publish Midnight Sun
I’ve talked about the Midnight Sun drama before, mainly because it is a great example of why pirating books can suck and ultimately harms the industry — and (even though it’s hella nerdy) that’s a topic I’m passionate about.
But, this book has been getting a lot of attention recently, so I figured I would sum everything up here for people who aren’t yet up to speed on what happened.
We all know the Twilight saga, yes? Stephenie Meyer, sparkly vampires, that whole thing? I don’t want to start on are they/aren’t they good and all of the debate that surrounds them, but for the purposed of this post, know that they were both extremely popular and profitable.
After the Twilight saga ended, rumors of a “fifth” book stirred — Meyer had long hinted at releasing a book set from Edward’s point of view, and Robert Pattinson (who portrayed Edward in the film) reportedly got to read a partial draft in preparation for filming. Then, in 2008, the book leaked.
It was just the first few chapters and not an entire manuscript, but understandably, Meyer felt that it would be pointless to continue writing Midnight Sun when seemingly everyone had already read part and had an opinion on what should happen next. So she paused writing and uploaded the already-leaked chapters onto her site for everyone to read.
So fans waited, for literally twelve years. Everyone had basically forgotten about the book — I know I had. But in 2020, Meyer finally brought the topic back up, and Midnight Sun was released several months later.
Maggie Stiefvater, Pirated Ebooks, and the Publishing Industry
Midnight Sun could have easily not been published at all. In fact, it happens all the time that book releases and deals are affected by leaked or pirated manuscripts. Maggie Stiefvater proved this to be the case when she conducted a small experiment when the fourth book (The Raven King) in her bestselling Raven Cycle series was released. The highly-anticipated book was released with only part of its intended print after being slashed by half due to the third book (Blue Lily, Lily Blue)’s low ebook performance. The decrease in sales, however, wasn’t due to lack of enthusiasm by fans — rather, readers were downloading pirated pdfs readily available online instead of purchasing the ebook.
To prove her suspicions, Stiefvater released a fake pdf of The Raven King that consisted of the first four chapters repeated over and over again. This copy was circulated so widely that it was nearly impossible to find a full version online, and (you guessed it), fans resorted to purchasing the ebook legally.
Publishers rely on sales to determine the success of a book, which then plays a part in deciding the fate of any future sequels or series. It isn’t a harmless crime, especially when you want the author to write more books.
There’s a lot more to be said about book pirating and why you shouldn’t do it if you truly love books and respect what authors do. But, for now, I’ll leave you with these two examples of how stealing isn’t without its consequences.