by Ed Greenwood

  1. Buy Hasbro.
  2. As the new CEO of Hasbro, order Wizards of the Coast to restore the Forgotten Realms novel line.
  3. Appoint yourself CEO of Wizards of the Coast AND Head of Book Publishing.
  4. Hire the best editors you can find.
  5. Hand them your novel to publish, and give them the time and budget they need.

See? Easy, isn’t it?

I outline this clear, simple, and foolproof path, because person after person wants me to help them get their Forgotten Realms® novel published.

I’m very sorry, but I can’t help. I am no longer the copyright holder for the Realms; I haven’t been since 1986. I do not have the power to get your Forgotten Realms fiction, be it a novel, haiku, short story, screenplay, or naughty limerick, published.

Don’t get me wrong; I would love to get more Realms fiction published (including, ahem, my own). I am the creator of the Realms, but also its Number 1 Fan; there’s no one who loves the Realms more than me. I ACHE to read new Realms fiction, more Realms fiction, an endless stream of Realms fiction. I pine for the days when there was a new Realms novel every month, or so it seemed, and a print version of DRAGON® Magazine to host occasional Realms short stories.

Perhaps those days will come again. But I would not hold my breath awaiting them, and neither should you. Life is all too short for most of us.

If you’ve written a Realms novel, and you can take a step back from it and look at it as dispassionately as possible and convince yourself that it’s good, it’s a compelling and original story, and it’s a complete book, telling a tale that comes to a convincing ending . . . then get it published.

But not as a Realms novel. If it’s that good a fantasy story, don’t make any fantasy reader wait longer for it. Your career, and my reading shelf, want your book now. And to get your story published now, when no Realms novels are being published and there are no fiction editors sitting at their desks at Wizards of the Coast waiting for any novels to arrive, it can’t get published as a Realms novel. Please respect copyright and save yourself a world of troubles, and don’t try to sneak out an illicit Realms novel.

Instead, make your Realms novel YOUR OWN novel. Take a good hard look at the heart of your tale, at what makes it compelling. And take a look at its bones, at every last name and place and D&D concept and Realms detail that make it a Realms book…and take them out. ALL of them. (Ask yourself: “If Ed Greenwood read this book, could he recognize the Realms anywhere in it? Even between the lines?” Keep taking the Realms out until I couldn’t.) Replace the Realms bits you take out with new names and places and concepts that aren’t part of D&D, and aren’t the Realms.

And if you do that job right, it not only won’t be a Realms book, it’ll be YOUR book, and probably BETTER than its incarnation as a Realms book, because it can’t depend on a reader knowing anything about what is now your own new fantasy setting, or how magic works, or the details of monsters. You’ll have to SHOW the reader, in the revised text of the novel, why they should care about this character or love that kingdom, and what YOUR dragons (and ugly-wugs, and other monsters NOT found in any Monster Manual) can do.

And being your own book, set in its own world of your creation, it will be wholly yours and eminently publishable, right away, and you can send it to publishers who ARE publishing fantasy novels, and get it published. You will be in command of the setting and the characters, and able to fashion things free of the confines of established Realms canon.

If you still love the Realms novel you wrote, the beauty of computer files is that you can still have that Realms version for your private pleasure, so long as you show it to no one. It can always secretly be your Realms novel.

You can go back to savor it in between your own doorstop, bestselling fantasy novels that thousands of fantasy readers, including me, enjoy and re-read and eagerly await sequels to. Because you CAN publish them, and we can all enjoy them, and you won’t be vainly crashing into the unyielding castle walls of circumstance trying to publish a Realms novel you can’t get published.

Instead, you’ll be writing your own fantasy novels, and loving doing it, and I’ll love to read them!