The Bujold Nexus

September 2004

Subject: (news) new interview
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 2004

The results of an interview from Worldcon have surfaced. It was 5 pm Sunday afternoon, and I was pretty fried, which I think the photo reflects... The interviewer didn't have a tape recorder, and so was taking notes by hand, but she did a very good job of reconstructing the gist of the conversation, I think.

Ta, L.

Subject: (news) National Book Festival Oct. 9, 2004
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 2004

For those in the Washington DC area, I will be there:

The National Book Festival in Washington, DC, on Saturday Oct. 9th, 2004 sponsored by the Library of Congress.

For an added bonus, so will Pat Wrede, and much, much more; check out the authors stuff listed on the website. It's pretty amazing.

Ta, Lois.

Subject: (news) Necklace URL
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004

Herewith as promised:

The portrait shots, upcoming, may have better detail. The devil is definitely in the details, on this one. I'll put up a brief guide to the thing (14 items are incorporated), when those go up.

Ta, L.

Subject: (chat) musing
Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004

Y' know...

It is a subtly encouraging thing when one's copy editor writes things like "Wow!!!" in the margin at the close of a key scene, or "Bravo!!!" in big red letters at the end of the book. Circled, of course, so that they are not accidentally mistaken for insertions... :-)

Checking a copy edit is a tedious chore, so these little rewards do lighten the task. I'm not sure it will cause me to be much more merciful with the stet pencil over the on-going issue of whether such locutions as "Yes," he sighed. should all be changed to "Yes." He sighed. throughout. You can too sigh dialogue. People do it all the time. And the two are not interchangable, they are different deliveries with different breath spaces and emotional effects.

That and a peculiar allergy to "..., and then..." as a redundancy (sometimes yes, sometimes no) are the only on-going tics of note from this copy editor team. Otherwise it's mostly marking up the em-dashes, tho' they did figure out how to unscramble the syntax of at least two sentences, to their notable benefit. Caught a few missing words no other eye before had spotted, too, good. Much comma-swapping, none objectionable.

In another response to this, someone asked when to pre-order: February or so would do. Orders are taken from wholesalers starting 4 or so months before a book goes on sale, and those orders determine the print run. Such early pre-orders help bring a title to their attention at ordering time. The book's due out in June.

My Paladin Hugo arrived safely yesterday about 5:15, after joy-riding around the Twin Cities since 7 AM in a UPS truck. Much bubble wrap and many plastic peanuts assured it arrived in mint condition. It's on the central mantel-ette ledge at present, tho' I want to think of someplace else eventually.

I have obtained from Locus photographer Beth Gwinn permissions to use a couple of her recent (and very flattering) photos of me from Boston on the website, the decade-old one that's up there being sadly out of date. They show the Necklace, too, for an added bonus. So as soon as Mike can process the jpegs, which were awkwardly large and sideways, folks can see Elise Matthesen's design work in living color. I'd sent Mike the first one, am waiting to hear if it worked OK before sending the other.

A photo tip I leaned from the estimable Beth: if one shoots a subject at an angle from above, double chins can be made to magically disappear in the photo. Naturally, at the mass photographing after the Hugo ceremony, all the subjects were up on the stage, and all the photographers down below shooting upward, sigh....

Someone told me Elise has a shot of the Necklace up on her website now, too, but I don't have a URL.

It's a cool gray day here in Minneapolis, very good for curling up in a big soft chair with a manuscript, which I should go do some more of now.

Ta, L.

Subject: (chat) Hallowed Hunt
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004

Copy edited ms for The Hallowed Hunt just came. The UPS tracking site -- speaking of amazing futuristic things -- tells me my Paladin Hugo was loaded onto a truck in Eagan (another MPLS suburb) at 6:45 AM this morning, and is now presumably having a random -- perhaps I should say, Brownian, it being UPS -- tour around the cities before eventually being off-loaded here. It's a gorgeous day for a walk -- crisp high bright blue sky as only a Midwest polar-Canadian high pressure system can supply. I hope I fall early on the route and can get out soon...)

Ta, L.

Subject: (chat) Hugo economics
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004

Alexandra Haropulos asked some interesting questions:

ah: This sounds like I was asking Lois to spill her economic guts, which are no one's business but her own.

lmb: Actually, I find this sort of publishing-economics entrail-gazing fascinating myself. Not that one has any control over anything about it... Not, in fact, that anyone has control over it.

ah: What I really wanted to know was, will this Hugo do Herself any concrete good?

lmb: Certainly, but not directly. Ferex, we just received two foreign rights offers on the book, one from Bulgaria and one from Japan; those sales might have drifted in eventually anyway, in a year or three, but this definitely sped them up. Granted, Bulgarian translation rights are barely more than pizza money, but I like collecting languages; we're up to, I believe, 19 at present. Over time, a Hugo win also helps (but does not guarantee) a book to stay in print or be re-printed or re-sold. So it's a benefit, but a slow one.

There is also the matter of diminishing returns. A first Hugo for best novel changes one's status dramatically. A fourth, well...

ah: First, warmest congratulations to Lois on her win.

lmb: Thanks!

ah: Secondly, does anyone have any information on what this means to the lifecycle of PoS? Will another hardback edition be printed?

lmb: It will only be reprinted if they get a big rush of re-orders exceeding whatever number of copies they have in the warehouse. (AFAIK, it is not out of stock.) The re-order numbers have to cross a cost-benefit/speed-of-accumulation threshhold to trigger a reprint, which will vary by publisher; 500 units is probably not enough, a couple thousand might do it, barely (in hardcover. Move decimal point over one for paperbacks.).

ah: Will they rush it to paperback?

lmb: Nope. The paperback release has been set for May 2005, just before The Hallowed Hunt comes out and in coordination with it.

ah: Will this, her first fantasy win, improve her fantasy sales and/or contract values?

lmb: Well, my editor, who was sitting beside me at the Hugos, seemed very happy...

But contract value, after the first-book wager on hope and air, is a result of sales records or hopes of improved sales. It is also a result of having, like, a book or book proposal to offer, which I do not have just at present. As I noticed with my very first award (the Nebula for Falling Free) having the award up on the mantel does not result in pages of pay copy magically appearing under it each morning for pick-up. (To my disappointment, I assure you.) Awards don't let you write any faster (speed of production, by the way, is one of the few things that does appear to grant a consistent economic edge.) Quite the reverse, actually, as awards result in more interruptions of various kinds.

Honors are nice, but the numbers have to be there. The struggles my books have had in Britain being a case in point. Meanwhile, HarperCollins US (and you guys) put the book on the NYTimes extended hc bestseller list, back when it came out here. And my most recent backlist (all backlist, mind you) royalty check from Baen was, well, very nice indeed. Go figure.

ah: Anyone have any data, as opposed to surmises?

lmb: Jim Baen once said to me that a Hugo is worth about 6000 extra domestic paperback sales, no more.

In general, awards come along too late to affect the sales success of any book. It has to make its numbers and hit whatever bestseller lists it can within the first month, or two months at the outside. After that, the title is shoved aside in favor of the next month's releases.

And people wonder why writers all seem a little crazed...

Meanwhile, on the subject of actually writing books, the copy-edit of The Hallowed Hunt is due to arrive here tomorrow for authorial checking... another milestone on the way to publication. So my entertainment for the next week is assured. Also, my Hugo may arrive, shipped from Boston earlier this week -- I didn't want to try to take it through airport security, so I left it in the hands of the trusted and estimable Suford Lewis and UPS. One of my nephews flys those big brown jets for UPS; they ought to be good.

Ta, L.

Subject: (chat) FF intro
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004

Which reminds me...

Has anyone out there read my brother Jim's introduction to the new NESFA Press edition of Falling Free? Any reactions? I thought it had some interesting reminiscences, and an, ah, alternate viewpoint on some things... :-)

I asked this question on the Baen board, but got no takers.

Ta, L.

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