greygirlbeast (greygirlbeast) wrote,

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Silk (1998-2004)

Late yesterday, I got the news that the trade paperback 2nd edition of Silk is being remaindered. That is, whoever makes decisions at Penguin about which books are selling well enough to deserve warehouse space decided that SIlk wasn't earning its keep, and the last 1,000 or so copies of the tpb will be remaindered in December. So, Silk will soon be out of print. And my first reaction, last night, was to freak out about this, to let it drag me down someplace black. But then I forced myself to put it in perspective. Silk appeared in May 1998 as a mass-market paperback original (that is, first published as a paperback instead of the paperback following a hardback edition). These days, the average lifespan of a paperback original novel is about a year. Yet Silk, which was never an easy novel, has survived the vicissitudes of the marketplace for more than six years. It sold about 40,000 copies in its original print run, had a 1999 hardback edition (with art by Clive Barker, no less) that entirely sold out, and was reissued by Penguin as a trade paperback in 2002.

For a first novel, that's not so bad at all. It's really pretty good. I contemplated some other novelists' first novels. Peter Straub, whom I consider one of the finest novelists alive today — his first novel, Marriages (1973), is long out of print, even though he is, in fact, a bestselling author. It's what often happens. It's what usually happens. I am immensely proud of SIlk, which had a damn fine run and has been such a big part of my life since I began writing the novel in October 1993. I'm proud of the awards it won. That novel gave me my career, and though I might now look back on it and see a few things I'd do differently, I'm grateful that it was received as well as it was. And it's not like Silk will be unavailable. Amazon will have used copies, as will other online booksellers. I'm buying a hundred of the remaindered copies myself, which I'll be offering via eBay. And it will most likely be in print again, at some future date. Bill Schafer at subpress has talked about a tenth anniversary edition (that would be 2008), for example. Yeah, sure, I wish like hell that my books sold more, because then this probably wouldn't be happening, but it is happening, and all I can do is move forward and write new books and tell new stories. Silk was not a failure, but it also wasn't a book that was destined to stay in print forever. I can live with that.

Meanwhile, Penguin plans to release Threshold, Low Red Moon, and Murder of Angels as mass-market paperbacks.

And tomorrow I fly to Minneapolis. I just got my schedule for Fiddler's Green this morning. It is as follows:


Sandman: Behind the Comic (as yet unscheduled)

(Collaborative works always encompass artistic and interpretive disagreements, compromises, and ideas that Just Didn't Make It. We'll get the making of Sandman stories from our Guests of Honor…)

12-1 p.m. : Karen Berger spotlight

(Interviewed by Caitlin R. Kiernan about Vertigo, working with Brits, how Sandman evolved, and moving from comics outsider to insider.)

Saturday 2-3 p.m. : Plotting A Sandman Story

Karen Berger, Neil Gaiman, Caitlin R. Kiernan (Neil, Karen, and Caitlin plot and write a 1-2 page Sandman universe story before your eyes.)

Saturday 4-5:30 p.m. : Caitlin R. Kiernan Reading


Sunday 12-1 p.m. : Caitlin R. Kiernan Spotlight

Interviewed by Karen Berger. From editor to writer, with a focus on what it was like to write The Dreaming.

Sunday 1-4:30 p.m. : Grand Finale

Neil Gaiman, Karen Berger, Jill Thompson, Charles Vess, Todd Klein, Caitlin R. Kiernan. (Our Guests of Honor wrap up 15 years of Sandman: memories, its impact, and future.)

If I'm notified of any changes in the schedule between now and the time we leave Atlanta tomorrow, I'll try to post them here.

Yesterday, my ruthless winnowing focus shifted away from comics and onto cassette tapes and actual book-type-books. I managed to part with a veritable mountain of the latter, books I know I'll never open again and so refuse to cart to the new place. We're taking them to used bookstores to trade for credit. The cassette tape thing was more annoying. Piles of the frelling things. I kept a handful, mostly Death's Little Sister rehearsal tapes, tapes of our shows, scratch tapes from songwriting sessions, etc.. I also kept recordings of some radio shows I did. But not much else. Oh, and I began getting rid of VHS tapes, as well. But now all that stops until after the con.

Oh, here's a link, sent to me by a thoughtful reader named Erin, regarding the discovery of a new Carboniferous-age amphibian, a find that would definitely have excited Chance.

I finished BloodRayne 2 last night before dinner. A truly delightful game that I blazed through. Immediately, I wanted more. I was very pleased that the ending didn't make everything right as rain again (sorry). Sure, Rayne slays Kagan, but the world remains a smoldering ruin at the mercy of other monsters, mankind an endangered species hunted by all sorts of, I mean vampiric beasts. Did I actually say Republicans? For shame.

Did I mention the Bookslut interview? Ah, well, now I have.


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