Friday, October 13, 2006

A Funny Discovery

(This is cross-posted from my live-journal blog, but I thought it might be of some interest here.)

I was at my local, independent, science fiction bookstore (Uncle Hugo’s) yesterday because Don needed more copies of my first novel Archangel Protocols, which is now out-of-print. I’d forgotten to sign them at home, so I sat down on the floor and started scrawling my name on the cover page. I’m chatting and signing, and my fingers fumble and I find myself looking down on the copyright page.

Archangel Protocol went into a second printing.

How do I know this? Well, I learned from my friend and fellow Wyrdsmith, Bill Henry, what all those numbers that seem kind of random on the copyright page mean. They look like this:

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

You can tell what printing you have in your hand by the last number. In the case above, you’re holding a first printing. I was staring down at:

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

This is not the same as getting a second “edition.” All this really means is that the publisher sent out (not necessarily sold, they may still be waiting on returns from bookstores) all of their initial print run of your book and had to go back to the printer to make more to meet demand. Still... this is often the kind of news an editor shares with their author because it’s considered _good_ news. People want your book. Yay.

No one told me.

I have no idea even when it happened.

So now I’m in a very weird place of being really happy about having gone into a second printing on a book that’s out-of-print. Yay! Boo. Is this the sort of moment one says, “Uh, congratulations on the success of your failed book?”


jpj said...

Or "condolences on the failure of your successful book."

Kind of like those compliments I sometimes get, "You don't sweat nearly as much as other fat people I know."

I kid about the last, of course. I sweat a lot.

Reader Kurt said...

Glad to see there was a second run. Sorry they failed to keep you in the loop. How does this affect the worth of my signed first printing?