August 3rd, 2006


Rage against the Machine

One of my favorite authors has just been screwed.

Caitlin R. Kiernan -- who I discovered through her friend and colleague Neil Gaiman -- learned last week (while on vacation) that, for reasons as yet unexplained to her, copies of her 2003 novel Low Red Moon and 2004's Murder of Angels were remaindered (read: destroyed) by her publisher all the way back in February. (Much Later Edit: If someone in the future reads this, the books weren't destroyed, but were schlepped off to deep-discount warehouses and such, for later sales for pennies on the dollar. They might as well have been destroyed, for the good they do Caitlin now.) End of Edit.

She, her agent and her editor were never told that the books were going away, which her publisher is required to do; thus, she had no opportunity (again, as required by her contract) to purchase copies of these books for her own use, and now these two very recent novels are out of print, nearly a year before what she thought was the scheduled ending of those runs. (Both books will appear as MMPs, or mass market paperbacks -- same format as the paperback of The DaVinci Code -- in 2007. Caitlin had been told the first-run editions would be available until very soon before that time.)

Terms like "fiasco" and "breach of contract" and, I'm sure, insults from Farscape and Deadwood have been flying from Caitlin's mouth and her fingers ever since, and she simply didn't post to her LJ for over a week while the full extent of what happened became clear to her. (And as she's normally a once-a-day poster on LJ, I was starting to worry about her. And I'm sure I wasn't the only one.)

Want to hear the story from Caitlin herself? It's here.

I'm going to heed this particular plea from her:
And if you are one of my readers, and if this horrifies you as much as it should — if you would like to help — I would ask that you please, please preorder as many copies of the Threshold mmp and Daughter of Hounds as you can reasonably afford to preorder. That's what you can do to help. There's also Sirenia Digest, for which I am presently very grateful. Either way, thanks ahead of time.
I'll be doing some ordering, after thinking of who I could give copies of Caitlin's books as gifts.

For those who don't know what those titles she mentioned are, Threshold is her second-published novel, released in 2001, and set for an MMP release in January. Daughter of Hounds (also arriving in January) is her next-to-be-published novel, which is part of the same story as each of the above-mentioned books. They can be read separately, but they form a continuing story that has stunned me on several occasions (the prehistoric dream in Threshold, the line "and gravity does the rest" in Murder of Angels). And Sirenia Digest is her monthly e-mailed collection of original, experimental erotica, and it's featured some of her personal favorite writing of the past year (i.e. the period since she finished Daughter of Hounds).

Simply put, I'm a fan of Caitlin's, and I'm mad on her behalf, and I'm going to do what I can to support her.
Whale fluke

MUCH better news for Caitlin

Repairs have begun in Le Fiasco Des Books De Caitlin:

As Ms. Kiernan reports tonight, she should see the release in mass market paperback of three of her novels, including the two that went bye-bye from the warehouse back last February, in 2007, what looks like an aggressive reprinting schedule for someone not named Stephen King or Dean Koontz. Now she and her agent -- both on vacations, you'll remember -- are working to confirm this with contracts and other written statements. The breach-of-contract issue is still in the air, because, after all, the publisher breached the contract, but this isn't a nefarious attempt to screw with Caitlin's career. Still, the frelling frell-up, it burns, it burns... (And for those of you who don't know the exact meaning of "frell," you should be able to figure it out from context. Or from reading Caitlin's journal for a bit.)

My own mea culpa-slash-oops is that I forgot that the very basic publishing term "remaindered" means "shipped off to discounted book sellers," not (as I'd assumed when I wrote my entry this morning) being pulped and recycled and otherwise made into Not-Books. Probably throughout the last six months these books have been showing up in the "60% off" or "four books for the cost of three" shelves of stores. They aren't likely to be hunted down and returned to Caitlin, unless her Fan Army starts collecting them and sending them to her as gifts or something, but there's still a chance they can be found by enterprising book searchers. Good: they're beautifully written, and handsomely designed, especially Murder of Angels.

Meanwhile, Caitlin and her partner Kathryn (a.k.a. Spooky, a.k.a. humglum, and a piece of work in her own right) are now spending some vacation time actually resting and relaxing, which THEY'VE EARNED, DAMN IT. And I'm pondering how many copies of Caitlin's upcoming books I'll get, and for who, besides me. She can still use the support.

Edited To Add: Yes, blubeagle, you have permission to repost this if you'd like to.
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