I'm in a bit of a weird situation here, and I don't know what to do. So I'm posting this in the hopes that I'm not alone and that my fellow authors might be able to offer some wisdom on where to go from here...
A few years ago I sold my first two books to one of the Big Six (and then to a publisher in the UK) in a two-book contract. Both stories had a clear arc and resolution, so no cliffhangers, but there was also a definite story arc that I hoped would play out into a third book, and the second book ended on a note which definitely suggested there was more to come.
The first two books really took off in the UK and it wasn't long before my publisher there was asking for Book 3, so I went ahead and wrote it. It was well and thoroughly edited by my UK editor and was published there earlier this year (where it performed as well as the others had done, if not better).
However, in the US, the first two books never really found their footing, and my Big Six publisher decided it wasn't worth their while to continue the series. My agent and I shared my Book 3 with a couple of other US publishers, but nobody wanted to take on a book which was so clearly the last book in a trilogy -- not when the first two were still with a different publisher.
So then we offered Canadian rights to my UK publisher, thinking that if they took it on then at least Book 3 would be available somewhere in North America. But despite their general enthusiasm for the series they decided against it, because they didn't know how they would go about marketing the book all on its own.
Meanwhile, I have readers in the US and Canada begging to know when the third book in the series will be coming out, and I have no answer for them. The best I can do is suggest they order the book from the UK, but I realize most people are not going to want to go to the trouble.
Has anyone else ended up in this situation with a trilogy or series? If so, what did you do with the "orphaned" book? How did it turn out?