UK news bulletin

Many people have asked, but I’ve been waiting (which is proper, really) for my UK publishers to finalize our timing and details, and that happened today.

HarperCollins UK will publish River of Stars on July 18. But – and this will please and interest some people here, I know – they will lead with the e-book edition on April 2 … the same date River comes out in Canada and the States. With the increasingly interconnected book buying world, it just make sense for a publisher to have their electronic edition out when others do.

The trade paperback edition for Australia (and other territories) will also be out in April, with the same cover the Americans and Canadians are using. This timing is dictated by Australian law now, as I have mentioned before. Australia became tired, many years ago, of being included in UK rights sales, but then not getting books till long after they were available everywhere else. They mandate now that actual physical books needed to be on sale there within (I think it is) six weeks of appearance anywhere else in English, or else Australia will be an ‘open territory’ and other publishers (from the US, normally) are free to sell their editions there.

The July timing in the UK is interesting, and I am onside with it. They are planning a new cover, and a shift of imprints, from my current Voyager to one where authors like Tracy Chevalier are published. Part of a strategy to position the book for literary/historical/mainstream readers, in addition to the core of fantasy readers.

I have always (my own stubbornness!) been challenging to slot or categorize. I know this. In fact I hated the tendency to force books into categories even before I was a writer! (Seriously, the first award-winning student paper I ever wrote was a near-rant on absurdities underlying The Classification of ‘Troilus and Cressida’ … a commercial bestseller theme if ever there was one!) But this category-issue has forced my publishers in different markets and different languages to work harder (and involving very different ideas, sometimes) to try to find the books access to readers who might well be excited by them — if they learned about the novels. (That’s a reason the covers are often so different, too.)

My own solution? Everyone hanging out here go off and tell people! Come back when you are done and we’ll play beach volleyball and toast marshmallows. (It is really cold here, I am fantasizing.)

And though that’s flippant (moi?) it is still, for me, the key, core, definitive way readers come to books: word of mouth. Whether it is a librarian or a trusted bookseller, a blogger, newspaper or online reviewer, a friend, a sibling or parent or child, or the person sitting across from you on the bus who looks up crying from a book and says, seeing you looking, ‘It’s great. You have to read him!’

That’s what’ll ultimately sell books. Though, I am currently conducting an experiment to see if puns on Twitter play a role.

But I am always grateful, when my publishers bring innovation and imagination to the process. I’ll get the new UK cover up as soon as we have it, of course, and will fill in other details as they emerge.

Oh. A Terrible Tease: should have something else fun to share on Monday, maybe Tuesday.



6 thoughts on “UK news bulletin

  1. Fantastic news about the UK e-book being released at the same time the North American hard copies! We normally have to wait for a Canadian copy to be couriered.

    The shift of imprints sounds wise to me too. I too often find people who should know of you, who don’t; hopefully this means people like that will be more likely to come across your books while browsing.

  2. A very wonderful development to see.

    The “Classification of ‘Troilus and Cressida’ ” I do think that might be an excellent addition to the scholarly section of the site or you could even put it out as a Amazon Single and make a buck or two from collectors of everything Kay.

    For the winter blues I know of a nice place with a comfortable guest room and a well stocked wine cellar.

  3. My first Kay purchase was like that… I had A Song for Arbonne in my hand along with a couple of other options and I was debating which to take. Another shopper, a stranger, saw it in my hand and told me that it was amazing, and that I should get it. So I did.

  4. I also admire the UK approach to mainstreaming your books, having thought that would be the benefit of the Canadian trade paperback of Under Heaven that included the reading guide. Unfortunately, that lovely edition was shelved only in the fantasy section of the chain book stores…..except in a couple of stores west of Toronto where there MAY have been (stealth) migrations into the fiction/literature section, or onto ‘book club’ promotional tables.

  5. I won’t waste time saying what I think about categorization. I think of your work as novels, not fantasy, even when there are elements that might technically be called such. I suspect that your work was slotted into fantasy in the beginning because of the Fionavar trilogy and your work on the Silmarillion. But it is SO much more!

    I can’t tell you how many people have heard from me that you are our best novelist, ever! And now there is a link on my blog ( stating that, too. I hope it helps, even a bit, with publication and sales. I’m not especially good at blogging, but I do have a few followers and views from all over, so one never knows . . .

    I love books that inspire and uplift me and yours certainly do that! We have another famous writer, who I will not name here, whose writing is excellent, but who leaves me depressed or worse at the end of that writer’s novels (and often during them, too). I read three or four and then had to stop, no matter that I like to support Canadians first.

    I do have to say that at the time of the Tapestry, I had pretty much stopped reading sci-fi by male authors. I don’t really care if one can prove the faster-than-light engine works; I want to know what they did and experienced, when they got there! I had picked up The Summer Tree and was putting it down again when I saw that you had worked on The Silmarillion and that sealed my fate! I have loved Tolkien forever and especially his level of English, so was delighted to find that your work met and even exceeded my expectations.

    Thanks so much for all your works, for the thought and research that so obviously go into each one, and most of all for always surprising me. I find your work both subtle and complex, which is why I enjoy it so much. ~ Linne

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