First, gaze, if you will, on my recent acquisition: Twisp and Catsby, the beloved surrealist characters from Penny Arcade. The PA guys made 500 of these cels, which sold at $80 a pop; they sold out in less than 12 hours. Let’s all have a hearty chuckle at the folks who are still wondering whether cartoonists can manage to support themselves online. Someone is already selling one on eBay; he’s set the minimum at $220. I imagine he’ll get it. I have no intention of selling mine, so, you know, don’t ask. I don’t buy art as an investment, I buy it because I like it.
Given my muchly enjoyment of Penny Arcade, you can yet only begin to imagine the sheer, unalloyed pleasure it gives me to note that Gabe (the artist half of the PA duo — trio if you count Robert the Business Guy, and why wouldn’t you) will be doing the artwork for the Agent to the Stars hardcover dust jacket. We tempted Gabe with promises of jewels and spices and the dusky secrets of the universe — and also kicked in cash and the promise that for his participation, 10% of the retail price of the book would be donated to Child’s Play, PA’s very wonderful charity which provides games and toys to kids in children’s hospitals all over the country. I am of course particularly pleased about being able to have my book kick in for that cause, and to have it help prime the pump when PA kicks off Child’s Play ’05 later in the year.
I was happy before that Agent was going to get a life outside this Web site; with a Gabe cover, however, this thing really is going to be something worth having. In addition to this being the first novel I wrote, I’m pretty sure it’ll be the first book cover art Gabe has done (aside from collections of PA’s own work and their comic book cover art). It’s as if Gutenberg himself has descended from on high, dispensing dark chocolate bon-bons with a filling of pure joy.
No, you can’t pre-order yet. Please to recall I am still in the first flush of excitement over Old Man’s War, and would like to focus on that for a while longer; I think everyone at Tor would like me to do the same. And as much as I would love to think that you all would rush out and buy two hardcover books from me in the same month, in the real world that would be taxing your good will, and your wallet. Also, there are various setting-up exercises we have to do before we can start taking pre-orders. So, patience. We’ll be cleared for pre-orders for Agent most likely in about six weeks.
I will note that this will indeed be a limited edition; we’re still looking at a 1,000-unit print run but if we get enough pre-orders, we’ll push the print run higher to accommodate the demand. Having said that, we’re looking at a hard cap of 2,000 copies, max (have some sympathy, please — I do have to sign all the copies). So if you really want your own copy, please do consider pre-ordering a few weeks from now.
To encourage pre-ordering when the time comes, I’ll put this out there now for y’all to mull over: If pre-orders push up the print run to 2,000 copies and we sell out the run before the end of 2005, I’ll kick in $500 of my own money from the book to Child’s Play, above and beyond the 10% from the retail price that we’re already kicking in. So go ahead and donate my money, too. I’ll be happy to cough it up.
Don’t worry, I’ll remind you all of this again when pre-orders open up. I just wanted to plant the seed for now.
No matter what, I’m wholly pleased that Gabe’s doing the art for Agent. The exuberance, in this case, is not insubstantial.