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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 10:19 pm:   

Ben Peek has given me a great idea by posting a contest on his blog guessing the pub date of his novel.

As many of you know, Black Thorn, White Rose edited by Terri and me is being reissued by Prime some time soon. It was originally scheduled for April 1st publication and is, I believe, in production now...IIRC Sean said it would be published August 1st...
So start projecting now! Closest date wins a copy of the book, signed by me.
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Mark Bukovec
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 10:34 pm:   

August 22
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ben peek
Posted on Thursday, June 07, 2007 - 10:40 pm:   

october 7th :-)
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 12:47 am:   

March 16th 2008
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 12:48 am:   

The above is not meant to be negative. I just know that my Prime book of short stories was supposed to be out ages ago - so I am trying to be a "realist".
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 07:58 am:   

Oh joy! Good luck Brendan...

They've got Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears on the burner too. And Twists of the Tale, my cat horror antho through Wildside.
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Daniel Ausema
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 08:06 am:   

August 2 (naively optimistic? or just hoping that everyone else guesses way over so I have a big span of days I'm closest to? :-) )
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Bruce Chrumka
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 09:18 am:   

September 15...
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 10:12 am:   

That's a lot of wai--I mean anthologies Ellen.

It is funny though, I wonder why it is that, 150 years ago, when they didn't have much technology a book would generally printed within a month or two of completion. Now it is years. What is that about anyhow?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 11:58 am:   

Brendan,
I don't know why reissues take so long (reserving printer time?) but original books are edited, copy edited, and proofread. Plus there's marketing to consider and it takes time to get galleys out to review venues. Did many books get reviewed 150 years ago? Did many sell?
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Vylar Kaftan
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 03:50 pm:   

September 1.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 10:56 pm:   

Ellen,

Yes, many sold. Actually, the number of authors who lived of writing was far greater per capita than today.

This has to do more with the change in media (TV, Film) than anything else. But I believe that the way fiction was printed has something to do with it also.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 12:25 am:   

Brendan,
Do you mean as magazine serials ala Dickens?
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 01:30 am:   

Ellen,

Yes, as magazine and newspaper serials as well as short stories published in newspapers. Also, a lot of the serials were simply published as weekly pamphlets.

Another factor is that length restrictions, depending on the country, were not necessarily as rigid. Nowadays an author has very little room to move as far as length is concerned. Very few publishers will look at anything under 60k, and very few magazines will look at anything over 10k. Of course many of the greatest books and stories ever written have been in the 10-60k range.

Further, even stories of 7 or 8k are difficult to sell, and many publishers still won't even consider a novel of 65 or 70k.

So, if you are writing, you might have to blow up your book from 50k to 80, or abort a short story at 4 or 5k, just so you can get it published.

In the end this of course means a lower quality of work, which in turn means less copies sold.

I think if publishers published more books of lets say 30 or 35k, and marketed them properly, the would sell very well, as this is, in my opinion, an ideal length for the modern world.
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 08:48 am:   

Sept. 27.
(My mon's birthday. Why not? ;))
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PM
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 09:37 am:   

Happy Birthday in advance, Mom Of Melissa!
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 10:52 am:   

Brendan,
I don't think novelettes are difficult to sell. Most stories I see these days ARE novelettes-between 7500-12,000 words.

And although the large houses don't publish 30,000 words works, the small press does.
I think part of the problem is that books are so expensive now, readers want a bigger bang for their buck and too many feel that a 40,000 word book at $21 is pricy.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 11:54 am:   

Yes, some small presses publish these small books - but there is little inclination to write them if the publishers can't generate money for the authors.

You are very right about the prices. I am curious why people don't do cheaper editions. In Italy (I live a few minutes from there) they always have editions of all sorts of books for cheap. They had a widely popular series that went for 1000 lira (50 cents us). The books were always around 30k. I have about fifty of them on my bookshelf.

Just curious about the novelettes: Do you buy them, or tend to shy away sometimes due to length? What would you do with a story that you loved but that was 20k?
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 12:03 pm:   

Regarding novelettes and longer. It completely depends on what I'm acquiring for. I rarely choose novellas for YBFH because I only have 125,000 words to play with. For most of my anthologies, I'm hapy to take a few novelettes but not too many. For SCIFICTION, I could take more. When editing Event Horizon, I could take some. For OMNI I couldn't.
Here's the rundown in word length for some of my recent anthologies (and Subterranean) to give you an idea:
Subterranean #7:
Old Mr. Boudreaux Lisa Tuttle 6300
City of Night Joel Lane and John Pelan 6100
Holiday M. Rickert 5000
Under the Bottom of the Lake by Jeffrey Ford 4600
The King of the Big Night Hours Richard Bowes 6500
The Jeweller of Second-Hand Roe Anna Tambour 2700
Pirates of the Somali Coast Terry Bisson 4200
Vacancy Lucius Shepard 24,600
60,000

I was able to make up the 60,000 words any way I chose to. I knew I wanted to buy one novella.

Continued on the next rock...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 12:05 pm:   

Coyote Road:
One Odd Shoe Pat Murphy 6000
Coyote Woman (poem) Carolyn Dunn 300
Wagers of Gold Mountain Steve Berman 7500
The Listeners Nina Kiriki Hoffman 7000
Realer than You Christopher Barzak 6600
The Fiddler of Bayou Teche Delia Sherman 8000
A Tale for the Short Days Richard Bowes 6000
Friday Night at St. Cecilia's Ellen Klages 6000
The Fortune Teller Patricia A. McKillip 2700
How Raven Made His Bride (poem) Theodora Goss 400
Crow Roads Charles de Lint 6900
The Chamber Music of Animals Katherine Vaz 5700
Uncle Bobs Visits Caroline Stevermer 2800
Uncle Tompa Midori Snyder (poem) 50
Cat of the World Michael Cadnum 2600
Honored Guest Ellen Kushner 6400
Always the Same Story Elizabeth E. Wein 4700
The Señorita and the Cactus Thorn Kim Antieau 3000
Black Rock Blues Will Shetterly 6200
The Constable of Abal Kelly Link 12,700
A Reversal of Fortune Holly Black 5000
God Clown Carol Emshwiller 3300
The Other Labyrinth Jedediah Berry 3700
The Dreaming Wind Jeffrey Ford 5800
Kawaku Anansi Walks the World’s Web Jane Yolen (poem) 50
The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change Kij Johnson 8600

128,000


So five novelettes, only one longer than 10,000 words.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 12:07 pm:   

Riding Bitch K.W. Jeter 9600
Misadventure Stephen Gallagher 6000
The Forest Laird Barron 12,000
The Monsters of Heaven Nathan Ballingrud 6900
The Uninvited Christopher Fowler 5700
Lives John Grant 4500
An Apiary of White Bees Lee Thomas 8000
The Keeper P. D. Cacek 5200
Bethany’s Wood Paul Finch 12,700
Ghorla Mark Samuels 7700
Hushabye Simon Bestwick 4100
13 O’clock Mike O’Driscoll 8900
Inelastic Collisions Elizabeth Bear 3300
The Janus Tree Glen Hirshberg 14,300
Face Joyce Carol Oates 2100
Perhaps the Last Conrad Williams 6300
Stilled Life Pat Cadigan 11,300
The Ease With Which We Freed The Beast Lucius Shepard 7000
The Bedroom Light Jeffrey Ford 4300
The Suits at Auderlene Terry Dowling 10,600

149,100


Nine novelettes, five over 10,000 words.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 12:10 pm:   

With an anthology, you want to get as much a variety of stories as you can in. The more space you have to fill, the more likely you can use some longer stories.

Don't forget too, that the definition of novelette varies.
Some award groups only separate anything shorter than a novel into long and short fiction. Some only have novella vs short story (and anything over 10,000 words is considered a novella).
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 02:27 pm:   

Ellen thanks,

I think your collections might have more longer stories than the norm though - but maybe it is because you are given a higher word count. Clearly you have demonstrated that there is, at least with you, a market for the 10k word story. But only Lucius got away with 20k :-)

As a reader though, rather than an editor, if you had your choice of any length to read, what would it be?

For me it is 30-40k, since it allows me to get into the story, while still haveing time to finish it in a short period of time.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 02:41 pm:   

I commissioned the novella for Subterranean. Kim Newman was supposed to write it but ahem, forgot the deadline. Lucius came up with his novella in the requisite couple of weeks he had.

For me, it totally depends on the story. If it needs to be a novella, I'm happy to spend that much time with it. If not, I get impatient and start skimming.
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PM
Posted on Saturday, June 09, 2007 - 05:18 pm:   

Lucius is Mr. Novella.
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Jason D. Wittman
Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 06:46 am:   

September 22, if we're still placing bets on the publishing date.

I have several novellas in the 15-17k range. Very difficult to find markets for.

Jason
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Melissa Mead
Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 06:52 am:   

"Happy Birthday in advance, Mom Of Melissa!"

Thanks in advance, in loco parentis. ;)
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 08:45 am:   

Hi Jason,
Those are novelettes, by the standards of the sf markets, Nebula, and Hugo awards...but yes, that length does get more difficult to place.
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 08:39 pm:   

for what it's worth (and it's not much ;)) i've always done well with novelettes and novellas (selling wise and reception wise). the few times i've thought i'd have a bit of time selling it, well, turns out it sold real quick. in fact, i find they're easier to sell them a five thousand word short story.

go figure, huh?
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 10:23 pm:   

Well, what about the short novel? I have finished two within the last 4 months or so, and haven't been able to find publishers for them so far. One is 42k, the other 52k. I am sure if they were 80 or 90k each it would be easier.

Of course their are places that would publish them, but those aren't the sort of publishers I care to give my work to.
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ben peek
Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 10:40 pm:   

26lies, which is 40k, was published by wheatland press late last year. it's about the only book of that size i've written.

the difficulty is, as you say, finding publishers that are worth going too. there's a lot of places that'll take that, and which are rubbish. it's a real shame that indie publishing for books doesn't include self publishing--the vanity publishing tag pretty much sets up the view of it, for quite good reasons, most of the time.

but i can't help but look round at indie labels and see how many new bands start by self releasing their own EP on their own indie label. an EP is much like a short novel, i reckon, and if i had a short novel i believed a lot in, and i had the money, i'd hire myself an editor, designer, cover artist, and do the book myself.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Sunday, June 10, 2007 - 11:52 pm:   

Ben - Funny you mention that, I had the same thought this morning in the shower.

The problem as you say is the stigma that goes with self publishing.

I actually had an idea of having a book published in India - since they can publish super-cheap editions for like 10 cents a copy - the sort of paperbacks that fall apart as you read them. But it would be sort of funny, since you could sell a novel to the publish for like 3 bucks.
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 02:16 am:   

you can avoid the stigma, but it's a balancing act. reputation alone can carry you, i believe, but most authors with the rep that will do that don't have a interest/need in it.

though there are examples of it being done. if i remember right, kelly link's first collection was done through small beer press (the second as well, i believe).
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 06:32 am:   

Yeah, but I don't think Kelly Link had a huge reputation before doing it. I could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Maybe it can be done if the work is strong, and you know how to promote it in a classy way.
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PM
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 07:06 am:   

Getting it reviewed and then getting favorable reviews.

---

I speculate that Ellen and Ben's books will be released on the same date.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 07:49 am:   

Kelly's Small Beer first collection is an anomalie. She and Gavin spent a year or two driving around the country promoting the book and doing readings and they had Gavin's experience working at Booksense and both their experience having worked in a book store to help them.

Major NY publishers were interested in Kelly's second collection but she and Gavin decided to go with Small Beer because they had sold enough copies of her first collection to realize they didn't need a middleman to cut into sales they were already getting.
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ben peek
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 08:42 pm:   

yeah, brendan, she didn't. that was just me misapplying. but like ellen said, it's an anomalie, and by all accounts, they worked hard to promote it as well.

which makes a dif, especially when you do it yourself, i think. it's not just enough to print it, you've got to sell it. (which can be said of all books, regardless of publishers.)
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 11:11 pm:   

yes, the sell part is the problem :-)
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PM
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 11:22 pm:   

Amazon will sell it for you if you pay POD publishers a fee to have it listed.

But what happens if you sell a few hundred or a thousand? I wouldn't want to have to package and ship 'em. Or pay someone else to do it.

The nice thing about eBooks is that you can circumvent that...
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Monday, June 11, 2007 - 11:47 pm:   

PM - Yeah, but no one reads e-books. At least I only know one person who does.

And will Amazon sell it? They will have it listed, yes, but that is about all. I have a couple of books listed on Amazon, but am pretty damned sure that hardly any copies have sold through there.

The problem, as Ben was saying, is not to have the book FOR sale, but to actually sell it. Something that is much more difficult. And something that many small presses seem to be incapable of.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 03:57 am:   

i tend to think that, these days, a lot of the responsibility for selling your book falls on the author. a publisher should take some responsibility, and should want to promote/sell, but we've all be round long enough to know how shoulda-woulda-coulda don't mean shit. so to me, being an author is (at least in my mind) part time artist, part time small business owner. put them together for a full time job with shit wages, no benefits, and no xmas parties :-)

there are sometimes limits you can do in this role, tho. i'm limited by what i can afford to put into promoting my books, but with the shoestring budget i do have, i try. being in another country to where my stuff gets published is another downside, but i try and navigate it, as well. which is not to say i'm selling thousands of copies of books, cause i'm not, but you gotta start somewhere, and build it like a business.

least, there's my take on selling, and i've met people who agree and disagree. everyone's got different mileage.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 05:02 am:   

Positive reviews would help.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 06:50 am:   

You are right Ben.

PM - Yes, positive reviews help, but I have also had positive reviews without being able to see any very percievable change in sales. I have a feeling it is more the number of reviews, and where they are, that sell the books.

But as Ben seemed to be pointing out, it is more about gaining some sort of following.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 08:15 am:   

Ben, I think the biggest obstacle right now for Black Sheep is availability.

Gaining a readership is obviously critical.

Certainly all reviewers do not carry equal weight.

It's all networking in one form or another. Blogging, posting online, meeting folk at conventions, reviews, etc.

But I didn't think this was so much about gaining a following as it was about trying to get books in print.

There's a linkage but I'd separate that from wanting to publish say three novels a year for years. That's the situation where you've written more than publishers are going to be willing to publish.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 08:19 am:   

Reviews are indeed important-- and who sees them. Terri and I have had only one of our books reviewed in the NY Times Book Review: Snow White, Blood Red. It was a very mixed review. She's convinced (I'm not)that that review (half a page) is what has kept that book in print longer than any other of our collaborations. It's a thought, though.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 09:58 am:   

Yeah, I am not sure about the NY Times Book Review. I know of another case where they reviewed an author's book and he didn't get many sales. So, of course, there is no simple recipe as to why one book does better than another. Quality of course is a good starting point.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 10:08 am:   

I don't think that quality has anything to do with it in the sense that there will always be an ongoing debate as to what is and isn't "quality" reading.

The question is whether there are readers with money who are willing to buy the book.

The book has to be available and potential buyers have to know that the book is available. And they have to have money. And time.
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Brendan Connell
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 10:21 am:   

PM - No disrespect, but I think that oversimplifies things. A very large percentage of books sold are not bought by individuals, but by institutions and book chains. Then the individuals buy from the chains. It is not simply that someone has to have 20 bucks in there pocket and know that book X exists.

If the book is at a chain, there is a certain amount of impulse buying, but if it is an on-line order, it is because the person feels they MUST have that book.

Books that sell well generally have marketing forces behing them. That might boil down to even a few individuals, but whatever the case is it is not about simply making the thing available and sending off ten review copies.

In fact, I think that is why many small press publishers don't succeed. They think that is all that is necessary is to publish something and people will come and buy it.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 12:22 pm:   

None taken. In order to keep the posts short it requires simplification/generalization.

When I say potential buyers have to be aware of the existence of the book that's intended to encompass all forms of awareness. Not just limited to reviews. Marketing is a means of bringing awareness.

I think you'll find that libraries use publications that bring awareness to assist with their purchases.

Retailers have book buyers and publishers will ensure that those buyers are aware inasmuch as they can of new books.

Of course it's more than just a one way communication. Buyers/retailers will also seek out books.

I doubt that there's any significant disagreement between us. I think my word choice is throwing you off a bit.

It's a lot cheaper to market online. If small publishers would create web pages for their books and maintain them then it would only become a matter of folk discovering the web page.

The big problem is that so many books aren't carried in the chain bookstores which means that the reader will not know they exist.

The small publishers do not have the money or volunteers to create significantly greater awareness.
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ben peek
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 06:33 pm:   

PM--

i'm not really talking about BLACK SHEEP here. when it's released, i'll deal with my side of promotional things when it comes out. at this point, there's really not much i can do until the book materialises. sometimes you can do pre-release stuff, but given the way the release date keeps getting pushed back, it's a stupid thing to do right now. so i'm just talking in a general way--thinking of some of the things i did for 26lies, and collections i've been in, and what i've observed in other authors and presses. take it all with a grain of salt--there're people who know more than me, smarter and wiser and richer, one and all :-)

that said, i do tend to think reviews are useful, if for nothing more than contributing to word of mouth. maybe one review by itself doesn't do much (or maybe it does) by a lot of talk about a book in a positive way isn't something to overlook.

as for people finding the webpages of publishers... well, haven't they got to be looking for the book, first? which brings use back to other issues of selling the book to people round.

in part, the biggest problem (at least, this is true in australia, and i'm not sure about the states) for independent publishers to get their books out there is distribution. for a lot, simply getting it is a problem. therefor it's not a question of not wanting to get into a lot of stores--it's simply that the door to that is shut.
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PM
Posted on Tuesday, June 12, 2007 - 07:14 pm:   

Yeah I'm mentioning Black Sheep to indicate that there's at least one person who's been waiting... :-( That's not directed at you of course.

And I agree that it's folly to try and drum up support for it at this time.

One of the neat aspects of this board is discovering the existence of writers. But one has to find the way here first. Same for publisher websites, author websites, blogs, etc. Once you know it's there then you're set.

Getting into stores can be difficult. If you can get in then great. But the stores have limited shelf space.

I'd target college students. Imagine J. K. Potter posters on dorm walls. Put NightShade books and the website on the poster. Each Fall incoming students will come to campus and will usually want to put something on their walls. This of course is where time and money kicks in...
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 - 09:28 am:   

Ok. Black Thorn, White Rose has been published and has been available on amazon for a few days now. So say mid-November. Ben Peek was closest at October 7th...once I get my stash I'll send you a signed copy of you like! Do you know my email address?
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PM
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 10:01 am:   

Congrads Ben.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Thursday, November 22, 2007 - 09:33 pm:   

If he doesn't claim it by the time I get my copies...he may not get it --I'll let him know...

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