Many people have asked, but I’ve been waiting (which is proper, really) for my UK publishers to finalize our timing and details, and that happened today.
HarperCollins UK will publish River of Stars on July 18. But – and this will please and interest some people here, I know – they will lead with the e-book edition on April 2 … the same date River comes out in Canada and the States. With the increasingly interconnected book buying world, it just make sense for a publisher to have their electronic edition out when others do.
The trade paperback edition for Australia (and other territories) will also be out in April, with the same cover the Americans and Canadians are using. This timing is dictated by Australian law now, as I have mentioned before. Australia became tired, many years ago, of being included in UK rights sales, but then not getting books till long after they were available everywhere else. They mandate now that actual physical books needed to be on sale there within (I think it is) six weeks of appearance anywhere else in English, or else Australia will be an ‘open territory’ and other publishers (from the US, normally) are free to sell their editions there.
The July timing in the UK is interesting, and I am onside with it. They are planning a new cover, and a shift of imprints, from my current Voyager to one where authors like Tracy Chevalier are published. Part of a strategy to position the book for literary/historical/mainstream readers, in addition to the core of fantasy readers.
I have always (my own stubbornness!) been challenging to slot or categorize. I know this. In fact I hated the tendency to force books into categories even before I was a writer! (Seriously, the first award-winning student paper I ever wrote was a near-rant on absurdities underlying The Classification of ‘Troilus and Cressida’ … a commercial bestseller theme if ever there was one!) But this category-issue has forced my publishers in different markets and different languages to work harder (and involving very different ideas, sometimes) to try to find the books access to readers who might well be excited by them — if they learned about the novels. (That’s a reason the covers are often so different, too.)
My own solution? Everyone hanging out here go off and tell people! Come back when you are done and we’ll play beach volleyball and toast marshmallows. (It is really cold here, I am fantasizing.)
And though that’s flippant (moi?) it is still, for me, the key, core, definitive way readers come to books: word of mouth. Whether it is a librarian or a trusted bookseller, a blogger, newspaper or online reviewer, a friend, a sibling or parent or child, or the person sitting across from you on the bus who looks up crying from a book and says, seeing you looking, ‘It’s great. You have to read him!’
That’s what’ll ultimately sell books. Though, I am currently conducting an experiment to see if puns on Twitter play a role.
But I am always grateful, when my publishers bring innovation and imagination to the process. I’ll get the new UK cover up as soon as we have it, of course, and will fill in other details as they emerge.
Oh. A Terrible Tease: should have something else fun to share on Monday, maybe Tuesday.