Saturday, April 17, 2010

sun & sand & skarp hedin

A reader in the Netherlands has a friend with a bookstore who might be willing to stock The Last Samurai if an overseas number can be found for Harper Collins.

A reader in Australia has asked whether the 800 number works for Australia. My guess is Australia needs the overseas number. There was a separate printing in Australia, but I have never had any direct dealings with Random House Oz.

The Last Samurai is already out of print in the UK, but I think the UK publishers might be touchy about infringement of their territorial rights (i.e. sale of UK edition on British soil). Could be wrong.

A commenter points out that people could simply walk into their local library and urge them to buy a copy. Good point.

A commenter points out that one could simply urge friends to buy a copy. Yes, I just feel bad about telling people to lean on their friends.

A reader has offered The Last Samurai to his class (with blog/marketing frills) as an extra-credit project.

There have been other helpful suggestions; many thanks to everyone, and, of course, sorry to impose.

[Update: My understanding is that Patricia Kemp at HarperCollins Special Markets, 212 207-7104, can take care of a credit card order. Sorry this is not an 800 number.]


lestin said...

This is a bit off-topic, but I've been wondering for a while now what your thoughts are on various alternative means of getting your work out there -- I noticed that Your Name Here was sold as a .pdf (but isn't anymore? I couldn't find it) -- and you're probably familiar with webcomics creators' experiments in making an income off of free content.

Personally, I would love to see an oktokaihexekontapus t-shirt at topatoco, but I can understand how you might not be so excited by such a thing . . .

(Apologies if I missed a discussion of this in the archive.)

Helen DeWitt said...

YNH is going to be published by Noemi Press, so I took the link to the PDF sale page off the site (though I think people sometimes find it through Google). I haven't been very effective at alternative methods, though I think some people are. The problem with selling things online is: if you publish a story online, it means you can never sell it to a magazine. If you publish a book online it makes it harder, though not impossible, to get into print; to publishers, it looks as though it couldn't get published, in the sense that you sent it out and no one wanted it, rather than that it couldn't get published without devoting months to lobbying agents, sending out submissions and so on. In other words, it doesn't look as though you're giving keen readers a chance to see it because you're trying to write another book, and also giving publishers a chance to look at it even though you want to write rather than lobby agents. You can, of course, SAY that you're selling it online for the benefit of keen readers, because the hassle of seeking publication would interfere with your new book, but this (I suspect) looks unprofessional. So if you get work to readers that way you probably need another source of income.

I did see that some webcomics got an income through t-shirts. I tried to think of things I could put on a t-shirt, and the only thing that came to mind was 'A good samurai will parry the blow,' which is a quotation from a film so under copyright. I like the idea of an oktokaihexekontapus t-shirt. A lot. Maybe on the front one could have oktopus, dekapus, dodekapus (with illustrations) and the oktokaihexekontapus on the back. Is topatoco complicated to use?

Jenny Davidson said...

I hereby avow that sometime in the next couple years I will teach a class that has The Last Samurai on its official syllabus...

Helen DeWitt said...

JD: Thanks - that's terribly kind.

Anonymous said...

Very glad to hear that YHN will be published—I can't wait! Also, I would love an oktokaihexekontapus t-shirt. Or any Last Samurai t-shirt—and I believe short quotations from Seven Samurai would count as fair use, at least here in the States.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that's search has hiccups with The Last Samurai. "Helen Dewitt Samurai" doesn't turn up even one in-print edition of the book! (There's always the possibility that I'm doing something wrong.)

It helps to use this URL which I got from, changing .de for .com: (Hardcover)

The paperback edition isn't available at the moment:

I don't know whether Amazon sales will be useful for Helen's immediate goals but I guess the above information isn't completely useless either. It can't be good if Amazon's search engine "ignores" your book!

Best regards

The Steve said...

I quite often tell people that TLS is my favorite contemporary book when people ask. As an English Ph.D. student, I find it extremely tedious to even be asked what my "favorite" book is or "what I'm reading now" but at least I have an answer, though it sometimes feels weird not to say Faulkner or what have you. I have even purchased copies to give people rather than lending them mind (which I consider sacrosanct and hope to get signed by you some day some way). Incidentally, the first time I encountered the book was in Australia in 2000. I kept noticing the bright yellow cover whenever I went in a book store. Mesmerized, I finally gave in and checked it out, though I tend to skip things on display in the front of book stores. So perhaps you should go around with some yellow paint and jazz up the covers of the other editions. Surely there's some science behind this.