Monday, December 19, 2011
the Cassandra Sydrome
The Last Samurai is, for the time being, well and truly out of print. Not because sales of a paltry few hundred a year had caused its publisher to lose heart. No. How to gesture at the situation without aggravating?
Faithful readers of pp may remember that I did not want to publish the book as a first novel, because a debut novelist is in a weak position; I thought permissions would be a nightmare, copy-editing would be a nightmare, typesetting would be a nightmare, and in short I felt I could do a better job of defending the book if I were in the position of, say, Salman Rushdie. Jonathan Burnham (editor), Steve Hutensky (friend who showed the book to Jonathan) and Larry Shire (lawyer recommended by Steve) pooh-poohed these fears to a man. Suffice it to say that it was the fate of Cassandra never to be believed.
It's at times like this that the old Secondhand Sales Donation comes into its own. New copies, as new copies, very good and good copies are available on Amazon Marketplace. A very good copy, for example, is available from Bacobooks for just $2.50 plus $3.99 p&p. Easiest thing in the world to buy this very good copy for a friend, send the author a $1 royalty-equivalent, and make TWO people happy. (Acceptable copies start at $0.24, but these are probably not gift-standard editions.)
Even when the book was in print, readers who generously sent a donation after buying the book secondhand were doing as much to pay the author's rent, and so give time to finish new books, as those who equally generously stumped up for a new copy. So thank you, thank you all. New readers can try out the PayPal button in the sidebar if so inclined.