Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Matadors: Good News, Bad News

For my nine fans who worry about such things, some news on the Matador front.

First, the bad news: Ace isn't interested in continuing the series. So while I might be doing some business with them on other projects–I'll keep you posted on that, it's too early to go there–the new books upon which I have been desultorily-working will not live in the home where their older brothers and sisters grew up.

I suspected as much after all the months of not getting an answer, and that's how it is. Nothing personal, just business, and in the paperback F&SF market now, business is lousy.

The good news: Ace is willing to revert the rights to the series, which means I can, in some form, offer them to the public again. There is paperwork to be filed and fiddled with, and it won't happen right away, it can take months, but at least we can start that ball rolling. 

For people who have worn out, or who lent copies of these and never gotten them back, and who want to read them again, they will be available in some form. Probably electronically, maybe POD, we'll have to see.

This will also mean that new titles, such as Churl and Siblings of the Shroud will be marketed the same way. It would be my goal to make the entire backlist available, and any frontlist that I generate right next to it. 

This wasn't the way I would have chosen, but the times, they are a'changin', and as the song has it, Better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone.

There's action! Adventure! And mystery ... !

Tune in again next week for more of the amazing adventures of Writer Man ...


Anonymous said...

Why do you have to do this? It never ends! Don't you realize the moment the new books become available I have to buy them, cancel appointments, call in sick to work and spend all damn day reading them? We've been going on like this for 20+ years Steve, with no end in sight.

One of the Nine Fans ( book to bring them all, and in the darkness...)


Brad said...

I am disappointed that Ace isn't interested, but glad we live in an age where self publishing is so easy. I have double copies of all the Matador books and can't wait to add the new stories. Perhaps you'll put them up on Lulu so those who want (like me) can get a treeware copy?

Stan said...

Steve, my biggest regret is that you probably won't receive the heftier paycheck from Ace.

Although, having permanent "e-access" to all the Matadors is something I can get excited about!

"Dressed to the Nines;" "The whole nine yards;" "A stitch in time saves nine;" "The nine lives of a cat"... Perhaps good things come in "nines?"


Travis said...

I'd call reverting the rights to the whole series a win. Digital is the wave of the future after all (and check out Barry Eisler and JA Konrath's discussion on how this shakes out for author's if you haven't already).

So, thus far we have accounted for 4 of 9 in the comments;)

Anonymous said...


OTOH, glad you can get the rights back. An advantage of digital copies is that they handle re-reads better than paper. I'm a little too embarassed to mention how many times I've re-read "Musashi Flex" but never more than once in a week...usually.

I've managed to collect the whole series once, and almost have a partial second set. Finding out which friends have got them out on "loan" is another task altogether. Grumble.

Kris said...

I agree with Travis, and am glad that you're getting the rights back. This series is timeless, and will have still more days in the sun (find me another series, anywhere, that can tell such a satisfying and complete story in such few pages). I am one of those who kept lending them out, and not getting them back, which is why I now have, on average, four copies of everything.

Dan Moran said...

I do think you'll make more money, long term, from 70-88% of sales via epub, than from 10 or 12 or whatever from paper. (In the long term we're all dead, as the economists say... but this one I think is a 1-2 year window, not 20.)

Anonymous said...

Possibly you have the interactive multimedia rights, and could, if necessary, use them as negotiations leverage.
Here's what J.A.Konrath recently wrote on those: "Did you hear that, Hyperion and Grand Central? Pay me more money for my Jack Daniels books and for AFRAID. Let's redo the ebook clauses on my old deals so they're fair in this brave, new ebook world. Because if you don't, I'm going to exploit my interactive multimedia rights, release my backlist as enhanced ebooks, and UNDERCUT YOU ON THE PRICE.

You think people will buy your bare-bones version of WHISKEY SOUR for $4.79 when they can get my enhanced version for $2.99? Would some iPad of Nook Color owner rather have a black and white text version of AFRAID for $6.99, or one with games, artwork, author audio commentary, and annotated clickable links for $2.99?" ( )

steve-vh said...

Steve, this development is one of the main reasons I took the jump 5 months ago and bought an ereader, to get new stuff you'd written. But perhaps for a full length new book, I might still go with a Lulu copy.

Jason said...

Whoops, looks like there is more than 9 of us. ;)

I own several of each and if they are available via ebook I'll buy all of them again and be glad to re-buy something in a new format.

Unlike the times the record industry forced me from vinyl to tapes to CD; I find that the new development of me being able to buy the things directly from the artist makes me happy to buy new versions.

I am with Dan and the others who say the reversion of rights is a win and I expect it will be better for you in the long term.

Even more delightful to me is the development that I can buy them from FS& and support two authors I like at once!

Steve Perry said...

Thanks, all, for the kind and encouraging words, I do appreciate 'em.

I have formally requested reversion of all rights on the series, but I am given to understand that the wheels at Ace/Berkely/Penguin/Putnam grind fine but exceedingly slow, and before I can more forward with the series, I have to wait for them to get done.

What I see eventually is the full backlist up as ebooks, with any subsequent titles, of which I have two in progress, as the front list. POD is an option, since these books are relatively short, and probably can be priced in the range of what a mass market paperback would run. There is even the possibility of audiobooks, as MP3s and not CDs, if there looks as if there will be a demand there.

Could even be graphic novels ...

I will keep you apprised of the situation as it unfolds.

Shawn R. said...

OO, OO, OOOOO!!!! Electronic Matadors - all the familiar ones and new ones. I am SO THERE as soon as they come out!!!! My Kindle is already going NOM NOM NOM.

Sorry. I get excited easily.

Brett said...

You can add another fan of the series to the list. Disappointing that Ace isn't interested but good to hear that you'll be getting the rights back.
Am I understanding correctly that you'll have to wait for the right to revert before you e-publish the new material?
I have yet to get into the e-reader market but the new SOTS may be my tipping point. I like the idea that you'll be getting more profit from the sale as well.

steve-vh said...

put me down for an audio version too!

Brad said...

I love the idea of a graphic novel. But who would you choose to illustrate?

Mantisking said...

I guess I'm lucky number thirteen -- if my math is right. Looks like my incentive to get an e-reader just got greater if you'll be releasing new e-versions of the Matador series. And count me in for POD versions of the new Matador books too.

Steve Perry said...

Dan is right about long-term paycheck. eBooks aren't fully arrived, and no advance, but they never go out of print and there's no warehouse or delivery costs. You can sell far fewer to make the same royalty: Five thousand eBooks retailing at six bucks each gives you as much as in your pocket as *twenty thousand* paperbacks at eight dollars apiece.

The idea of a graphic novel has been kicking around for a long time. Early on, I figured I'd write the script and the comic book company would find the illustrator. We talked about it and a deal got started, but fell through.

Then there were a couple folks who wanted to option those rights and play with them. They did, and it didn't get off the ground.

Kilbane has a movie script, and has talked to some artists about maybe a graphic novel to help pre-sell the movie, but nothing has been nailed down.

My nephew, the computer whiz, who has been diddling with doing a game version also talked to somebody who thought a graphic novel would be a good tie-in to the game.

I know a couple graphic novel artists. I thought about calling them up, offering them a deal on spec -- I'll write a script, you illustrate it, if we can sell it, we split it. But that market is pretty tight, and maybe an artist might not want to risk his time -- and I'd have to write the script on spec, too.

Travis said...

Graphic novel would be fun.

Dan Gambiera said...

Comic book of The Barton-Upon-Humber Horror would be even more fun

Christian Berntsen said...

You fall behind on your blog reading and you're late to the party. Sorry to hear Ace didn't pick up the new books. I emailed my friend in the copywriting dept at Penguin and asked him to yell at the Ace editors for their folly (tongue-in-cheek, of course).

Glad the ebook option is open to you, and that your backlist will indeed be yours. I look forward to the new adventures...