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A public conversation about our worlds.

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Petrogypsies Reloaded

January 3rd, 2010 by Rory Harper

Huh. I doubt if this post counts as being substantive, but what the hell.

I just thought I’d mention that Dark Star Books has re-issued my first (okay — so far my only) novel in trade paperback format.

You have no idea how delighted I am and how grateful I am to Tom Knowles for shepherding this project though a lengthy and difficult gestation and birth. Tom’s an old friend who has partnered with a guy who just happens to own a multi-million dollar printing installation. They’re aggressively entering the market with small-run books that can then immediately ramp to print-on-demand and near-instant shipping when the sales call for it. This is likely to be the most survivable business model for small-to-medium publishers in an age when the old business model is dying an agonizing, prolonged death.

Because they’ve almost completely cut out the middle man and aren’t engaging in that monstrous practice where books are destroyed and stripped covers get returned for credit, they can sell at a highly-competitive cover price. And they make extremely high-quality product with great exterior and interior art, printed on acid-free paper, with thick covers and library-quality binding. They’ve got a good line-up of titles already in place, including Robert Asprin’s last novel, ‘No Quarter’. Later this year, we should see John Steakley’s ‘Werewolve$’.

Also, Tom did something almost unheard-of in the publishing biz — He got me and Brad Foster to exchange emails before Brad did the art, to make sure the final cover pleased us both. Brad came up with some neat ideas, including some fun in-jokes with the patches on the jumpsuits that Henry Lee and Star are wearing.

Brad basically nailed it in first draft, except that we had a little back and forth about what Sprocket’s drilling toungue should look like. We decided to step back from showing that, since, well, certain dirty-minded people might think the tip looks like a gigantic penis…

Also, I mentioned that I’d like to see lots of cleavage on the cover. Brad’s one of the Secret Masters of Cleavage, so that worked out okay.I think it’s a perfect cover, especially considering that the book’s being aimed at the YA market.

Tom got me over to watch the print run, which was another wonderful experience. I phone-vidded some of the visit, which I’ll likely post here, once I’ve gotten it edited.

The book is just now coming into stock at Amazon, Borders, and Barnes & Noble. It’ll be available unpredictably in stores in small amounts. You can also order any of their titles directly from Dark Star, of course.

I hope this adventure works out for Tom and Dark Star, because he wants to see the sequel, ‘Sprocket Goes International’, in time to print for this next holiday season, and then, hopefully, ‘Sprocket Goes Interstellar’ the year after.

Now all I gotta do is write them.

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Posted in Daily Life | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. persky Says:

    Cool! Do you know if “unpredictably in stores” will include Dark Carnival or The Other Change of Hobbit in Berkeley, or should I just go ahead and order on-line?

  2. Bradley Denton Says:

    Hooray Tom, Brad F., and Rory!

    I’m delighted to be able to buy this new incarnation of PETROGYPSIES . . . because now I can finally eBay my signed copy of the Baen first edition and retire to Acapulco. Or Corpus, at least.

    Seriously: Congratulations! This is very cool news. And in case anyone out there is wondering — it happens to be a damn fine novel, too.

  3. Steven Gould Says:

    I hope to pick up a copy of this edition at AggieCon in a month!

  4. Galane Says:

    Still waiting for the sequels… also waiting on Roger MacBride Allen to finish the Hunted Earth trilogy and for Larry Niven to decide to join up with another author and finish The Ghost Ships… and various other authors to finish or even start books they’ve said they’re working on.

    There’s help available for writer’s block. Usually known as money. 😉

    Some authors have had success with Kickstarter, raising the $ to live on while they write and for getting the book printed.

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