I know, I know. Believe me, I’ve been trying to quit. But you know what Solomon said, in what strikes me as the most heartfelt passage in Scripture: “Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” Or, as the Duke of Gloucester put it to the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, “Another damned thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr. Gibbon?”
Well, it’s a weariness of the flesh, all right, but in the present case I’ve been spared much of the scribbling, in that most of the ink’s been dry for years.
And I’ve had this new book in mind for several of those years. (Having a book in mind is easy enough. There’s no need to do anything. You just think of it from time to time, and sigh, and think of something else.) I’ve written a fair amount of nonfiction, and while most of what I’ve written about writing has been gathered up into books, most of the rest has not. In the course of thinking about it (and sighing, let us not forget) I’ve divided this material into two virtual stacks.
One consists of miscellaneous pieces I’ve written, many about my travels, many about New York City. That stack will have a while to wait. But the other is composed of writing I’ve done relating to the crime fiction field. There’s an American Heritage article,”My Life in Crime,” with an overview of American crime fiction and an annotated list of 16 favorite writers. There are my Mystery Scene columns, “The Murders in Memory Lane,” essentially remembrances of writers I’ve known, some well, some fleetingly. There are introductions and forewords I’ve written for other writers’ books, articles on Hammett and Chandler commissioned by GQ and the Japanese edition of Playboy, and…well, there’s a lot of stuff, over 70,000 words worth.
And that’s the one you’ll be able to read in a matter of months.
I’m not sure what got me past the sigh-and-think-of-something-
So I did. (And, in the section on Mr. Westlake, I made sure to include my foreword for The Getaway Car.)
A couple of days was all it took. They were long hard days, I must say, but at their end I had a file to send to Colorado Springs, where it will get fixed and formatted and fiddled with to a fare-thee-well. I’ve been referring to on Facebook as ICCUWATY, but that’s not a title, it’s an acronym.
While you puzzle it out, I’ll run down my plans for the new book. I want to publish ICCUWATY myself, not least of all because, having taken this long to turn it into something publishable, I don’t want to wait another fifteen months to see it in print. By doing it myself, I can make it available as an ebook and trade paperback—and almost certainly a hardcover as well—in a matter of months.
I’m thinking Valentine’s Day. That’s what, three months from tomorrow? Yeah, that’ll work.
What about the other book? The travel pieces and New York stuff?
Is it okay with you if we take this one book at a time? Which is not to say that the question hasn’t crossed my mind. My guess is it ought to be good to go in early 2016. But right now I’ve got other things to talk about.
I’ll start with some happy news for fans of Evan Tanner, that global adventurer with a gift for languages and a permanent case of insomnia. All eight Tanner novels, starting with The Thief Who Couldn’t Sleep, are now eVailable on all Amazon platforms throughout the world. (And that now include the Netherlands, with amazon.nl, which just launched yesterday. Sooner or later I’ll log my first amazon.nl sale. Are you in the Netherlands, Gentle Reader? Would you care to be first?)
But I digress. The Tanner books have been outfitted with sprightly new covers and sport the LB logo in the upper left corner. Each is numbered, on the cover and in the product listing, so that it’s easy to read them in order. They’re not available in the US or Canada, where HarperCollins still holds the rights, but everywhere else they’re bargain-priced: £1.99 in the UK, €2.99 in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and, yes, the Netherlands, AUD3.99 in Australia, INR199 in India, 399 Yen in Japan, and R$7,28 in Brazil. (And if you live outside the US but can access amazon.com, the price is $2.99.)
Is that all?
No, of course not. There’s still John Warren Wells to talk about, and audio.
Sometime last month I cut the Kindle prices on all of my John Warren Wells books on sexual behavior from $4.99 to $2.99. (Most of JWW’s books are exclusive to Kindle, but a few are also on B&N, and the price cut spurred Kindle sales enough to make it worth extending across the board. Note that the new price may take a day or two to show up at B&N.)
I’ve enjoyed self-publishing audio books through Audible’s ACX division. Mike Dennis’s rendition of Borderline is our top seller, with Don Sobczak’s Defender of the Innocent moving up strongly. I began to wonder if there might be an audience for JWW in the world of audio, and realized Don would be a perfect choice to voice the books. I picked the title with the most sales in October (file that under Extensive Market Research) and pitched Wide Open: New Modes in Marriage to Don on a shared-royalties basis, and we decided to roll the dice. He’ll be finished any day now, so the audiobook should go live by the end of the month, and what I’ve heard so far sounds very fine indeed. If enough of y’all download it, there’ll be more.
I think that does it. Yes? Did you have a question?
Back to ICCUWATY. Did you say you were considering publishing a hardcover edition?
It’s a good possibility. We’ll see how the numbers look. If we do, it won’t be super-fancy, like our signed-and-numbered collector’s edition of The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons. But if we can offer you a high-quality hardcover trade edition at a reasonable price, I’d be inclined to do so.
Um, about that acronym…
I Can’t Come Up With A Title Yet. And I can’t, not one I’m willing to share. But as soon as I do, y’all will be the first to know.
And that does it. You can expect a newsletter sometime next week from David, who’ll have a full report on what’s new in the bookstore. Meanwhile, if it’s still warm where you are, enjoy it. If not, bundle up and read something!
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