Over in the feedback thread for the serial run of The Human Division, there’s been a lot of comment and consternation about the fact that the hardcover/compiled edition of The Human Division will feature two extra stories, and what that means for the folks who have been reading along with the electronic release. I don’t want people to be in the dark about this, and more information is almost always better in these situations, so here’s the deal with that.
1. Yes, there is extra material in the hardcover/compiled eBook release. Specifically, the first print appearance of “After the Coup,” which has been available online since 2008 (it was in fact the first story ever run on Tor.com), and a new short story, called “Hafte Sorvalh Eats a Churro and Speaks to the Youth of Today.” The first of these is a prequel of sorts to The Human Division (it was the first appearance of Hart Schmidt and Ode Abumwe), while the second is a character piece featuring the alien Sorvalh, of whom I have grown fond. It’s a fun piece which doesn’t have a material effect on THD events in a general sense, i.e., if you don’t read it, you’re not missing out on a plot point.
Why put extra material in the hardcover release? One salient reason was to make the book appealing to print booksellers, who might have (quite understandably) been worried about how the electronic release would cut into their sales. That’s a fair concern, and as those of you who remember this breakdown of Redshirts sales might recall, print is a major part of my sales. Giving the print/compiled version that extra material seemed a good way to possibly alleviate bookseller concerns.
2. Yes, that extra material will be made available separately, electronically. Meaning that people who bought the individual episodes won’t have to buy the hardcover or compiled eBook edition to get it. Because making you guys do that would be a complete dick move. The hardcover/compiled release will have an exclusive window to those extras (see why above), but then it will be out in the world. More details on that will be forthcoming the closer we get to that particular release; don’t worry, I’ll keep you in the loop on that.
I do understand some of you will be annoyed by the wait. Sorry. The fact of the matter is that balancing the needs of both the online and print markets and audiences here in 2013 is a tricky and complicated beast, and this was one way of attempting it. If it makes you feel any better (and I know it won’t, but) the folks who preferred a print/compiled version have had to wait months while you were reading along ahead of them. I promise the wait you’ll have won’t be onerous.
3. We could have done a better job of making this stuff about the extras known. I noted in the comment thread mentioned earlier that Tor and I both noted that the hardcover would have some extra material in it, and that neither of us were being sneaky about it — we put it on the front pages of our respective sites, it’s on Amazon, etc. Despite that, people seemed surprised by the fact. Which means that we could have been better at communicating this fact earlier. Again, fair enough.
So: Sorry about that, folks. I’ll take responsibility for it, and promise to try to do better should something like this pop again, either with the next set of Human Division episodes, or any other projects of mine where that might be applicable. I don’t want you folks annoyed any more than you have to be. I apologize for causing you to be annoyed this time around.