New Release Date For Starter Villain: September 19, 2023

Why the change? Because we can get into more trouble that way. Put it on your calendars, folks.

— JS

24 Comments on “New Release Date For Starter Villain: September 19, 2023”

  1. I’m gonna ask the question on everybody’s minds

    Why does it take 9-10 months from the author finishing a book, to it going public?

    I mean, yeah, an editor needs to edit it. The cover needs to be commissioned. The printing press needs to order paper and ink.

    Seems the cover could be arranged a few months ahead, whilst (ha! a word only an author would use!) the editing and ordering of paper and ink would happen at the same time.

    Naive me would think 2-3 months, and have to wonder Why Not?

  2. You have me curious, just what exactly IS a ‘Starter Villian’.

    I know, I know – wait for the book.

    Or speculate.
    Is it a Student Studying PolySci?
    A Burgeoning Billionaire?
    Or (even better!) a Kaiju in a Threep?

  3. jim: Why does it take 9-10 months from the author finishing a book, to it going public?

    You’ll probably get more industry-specific and detailed responses from other people, but off the top of my head: one reason is that publishers, like other businesses, have schedules. They don’t release a book just because it’s written; they release it when the believe it will sell best and when it fills the most appropriate slot on their publishing schedule. It might be possible to have Starter Villain ready for publication in, oh, May (though I’m not sure about that “possible”–physically producing a book requires a LOT of co-ordination), but maybe TOR’s May schedule is already full. Maybe the printers won’t be able to print it or bind it until August, because of other books in the pipeline–all sorts of possible reasons for selecting a pub date for any individual book, and not all of them are related to the author’s completion date.

    By my observation of the industry, nine months from completion to books-on-store-shelves is actually pretty fast, for everyone except self-publishers–and even for some of them.

  4. Jim… Time to get the word out, so people might hear about it through multiple sources, and not just by chance through somewhere.
    Time for pre-orders, so they have a bare minimum of knowing how many to print, plus gauge additional copies to print based on those pre-orders.
    Requires also time to actually print and bind the books, and make sure they stay bound. Time to ship the books to their various destinations, which nowadays takes even longer to get there.

  5. Might be that they can do a more full book tour in September instead of August (plus not conflict with WorldCon in China if John ends up going since KPS might just be on the best novel ballot). I’m sure John will enlighten more as things progress.

  6. Well, crap, I may not live that long. Gonna have to cut back on the bacon-double-cheese-burgers. Crap.

    Pass the granola.

  7. When is the schedule appearance for the next Old Man’s War series book?

    Soon, Sooner, or after 2030?

  8. Out of curiosity, I’m wondering if you delved into the world of comic books at all for inspiration during your research? Classics of course like The Dark Knight or Killing Joke from the DC Batman/Joker universe but also more modern content like Millarworld’s more raw and grounded Kick-Ass or Nemesis comic series? If not, well worth a look – comic books are no longer necessarily two-dimensional character sketches ;)

  9. YARRRRH! It be a fair wind what blows this fine scrivin’ into our holds. Do yer villains be bloodthirsty, ruthless, and doubloon-hungry? Do they keep their sails close-hauled and their enemies keelhauled? Of course they do, or yer name ain’t Burrito Beard.

    The nineteenth of September. Be it remembered as All Lands’ Day of Talkin’ Like me Swabbies Do.

  10. jim – there are books that get published two-three months after being written. All those biographies that come out a few months after a celebrity’s death, especially if the death was especially juicy? Those are written, edited and printed up eight-ten weeks after The Tragic Event, and they read like the writing was done during a Mad Libs marathon.

    Also, category Men’s Adventure and Mainstream Women’s Romance have tight turnaround times because the publishers are cranking out anywhere from three-twelve books a week, every week, to feed the demands of their readership. If you used to read them (I’ve read both at various times in my life), then you know that the copy editing and proofreading is…hit and miss.

  11. An extra month to wait is bad news, but I want to say that the cartoon cat with the knife (and the bird? Is that a middle paw?) is what I needed to see today.

  12. Do you realize that September 19 is National Talk Like a Pirate Day?? This could be awesome.
    I only know this because it’s also my husband’s and my wedding anniversary.

  13. Jim—

    Book production specialist here! The reason for 9-to-10-month schedules are multiple interlocking factors. Buckle up for some inside baseball!

    Authors. They are the one thing we have zero control over. We have authors who range from “terrified of being late, turns their stuff around on time even if their eyeballs are bleeding” to folks who’ve had a terrible accident or illness. We need to leave “air” in schedules to account for this sort of thing, mostly because…
    None of us is working on just one book. We have to manage upwards of 100 books running at a time (at various phases of the schedule). When I worked in one smallish division of a Big Five, I had 350 books per year cycling through, which meant around 200 titles in active process at any given moment. Different books have different schedules. Longer manuscripts take longer to edit. If an author goes bananas and practically rewrites the book in first pass, it will take longer to get through all the correction rounds. Sometimes a bunch of things come in at once and they each have to wait their turn.
    We do start the covers early! Often the cover is designed before the author turns in the final manuscript.
    List balance. This is one of those esoteric publishing things. A large publisher wants to keep their list balanced—X many Romance, Y many SFF, Z many Mystery. P, Q, R numbers of BIG BESTSELLER TENTPOLES (regardless of genre), or Mainstream Literary, or whatever. They have a whole strategy about it. They don’t just publish books on a first-in-first-out approach. The list is planned out roughly 2 years ahead, based on anticipated manuscripts being turned in on time.
    Marketing. Even a midlist book has to appear in a catalog and on a sales sheet, and has to deliver when the publisher says it will. And for a big book with lots of marketing expected, this is even more crucial. Book review outlets such as the NYT or Publisher’s Weekly require advance copies at least 4 months before the publication date, and preferably more.
    Supply chains are still a bit unsteady. Sometimes my printer gives me an 8-week turnaround from files to warehouse. Sometimes it’s 10 or 12 weeks. I really never know what it’s going to be. This is still an improvement over the 15 weeks we were getting last year, but a far cry from the 5-6 weeks we regularly got pre-covid.
    Warehouse distribution and logistics take time. Some publishers have their own warehouses, and others work with third parties. But either way, the books have to go from a publisher’s warehouse to booksellers. And if one of those booksellers is a HUGE RIVER that needs to take delivery and then re-divide the shipment to get copies into all of their warehouses—well, time is a very real consideration. Because of the demands of the Huge River, my warehouse requires that books arrive a dead minimum of 6 weeks before the publication date. If they don’t have the books when they require, Big River will cancel the backorders and >boom< the book has just lost most of its sales.

    So, the tl;dr: If a book isn’t out when a publisher says it will be, they lose marketing opportunities and sales. So we include space in the schedules to manage unforeseen circumstances.

  14. Argh, I had numbering on all of those paragraphs, which for some reason WordPress stripped off. Apologies for the Wall O’ Text!