Status report

originally posted by Michelle-Louise

Janny

I think this got missed. Does the splitting of the book entail a shorter wait for the next one than we have had for this?

Let me answer that question when things are a little further along.

I had to "pause" to do the reissue covers for Britain, which entailed 9 extra images, which were justaposed to create one graphic cover. Then do the British art for Traitor's Knot. Then, I had a short story invitation - now written and accepted, and in line for a spring release. (Fantastic Companions, edited by Julie Czerneda). Then, (now) I am (today) completing the very complex US cover for Traitor's Knot - ahead: getting the corrections to the text compiled for the US edition (done for Britain, now must be entered into the text) Then sizing and finalizing the art files (interior black and whites) for the US edition.
Then page proofs for the US edition.

Once that production deadline is finished, I have the cover for the World Fantasy Convention's program to create.

THEN I can go back to work and draft the ending for Stormed Fortress.

I have been working, flat out, non stop, no time away – in short, I am taking 2 weeks OFF - to camp, or some sort of major getaway. Just to catch my breath.

Then I will assess what I have in draft and see about fixing an estimate of when I can have it complete. I have no production "target" at all - as at this moment, the title is not in submission or under contract.

Given: it will be the next book I write. I have it all planned out. A chunk of it is already complete.

It's a little early to guess when you'll have it in your hands with any degree of accuracy. I hate naming dates prematurely. Better to post them when I know, rather than speculate too far out, when there are too many unknown factors.

originally posted by KimberlyIsrael

Curious - why the different art for the British and U.S. versions? Is it required or just the way you like to do it? I have to admit I feel a bit sorry for the Brits in that they don't get the gorgeous portraits of Arithon, though of course the other cover art is beautiful too.

*sighs* I didn't realize that the world of getting published was quite this precarious halfway through a series. If the unthinkable ever happens as far as publisher support for the series goes, I will happily pay what would otherwise be insane book prices in order to still get the rest of the story. And if you need to, you can come live with my husband and me and we'll feed you and everything so you can write without having to worry about how you'll eat :slight_smile:

originally posted by Valeria D. White

Today is Sat. May 21, 2005. I pre-ordered Tradors Knot back in Feb. It has yet to come out. In reading all of these other messages I get the impression that it will finally be out soon. Please put me out of my misery and tell me when to expect it.

It will arrive in Meisha Merlin's warehouse from the printer on May 24, and be shipped promptly after that. Expect it, I should think, in a week or so following. They will be responding to orders the moment the book arrives.

There were some truly horrific delays in production - this should not be the norm in the future.

originally posted by RicTate

Janny darlin you know I love you. I'm not keen about Meisha Merlin but I do love your writing.
I just got a chance to read the excerpt of the new ( to us ) Traitor's knot. I found myself reading it slower then my wont to savor every single precious line.

I anxiously await like any craven junky, the day when Amazon sends my Feb 4 preorder and I can gorge myself on every single word. Heres my question and it was really a followup on the question KimberlyIsreal wrote.

The book has been out in England for a long time. So long in fact that the paper book is about to come out. Is there any reason why I shouldn't in the future order the book from amazon.co.uk rather then wait on Meisha Merlin?
And I would also be interested in knowing why there is a different publisher for Europe vs the US. I'm quessing it has something to do with publishing rights but not sure and would love to know.
Meanwhile, I'm sitting in a gaol with the spell binder and the baleful spite of a certain sheep herder and the sea water is rising and there are scores of flea infested rats skittering at me and using my fettered body as a life raft.
I hate rats and I only reluctantly temper that hate with the grudging knowlege that Luhaine is using their willing help to lay a subtle ward against the confounding Koriani Witch who I"m certain is no longer sane.

I confess I contemplate with a certain unmitigated glee the inevitableness of Koriani arrogance meeting the unveiled scrutiny of the Paravians. Oh what a merry knashing of teeth that will be… Ouch dammit. That rodent just bit me:frowning_face:

Ric - in the UK, I never "lost" my acquiring editor, so the books stay on schedule there, supported. They cannot distribute to the USA, so, it's necessary to have two outfits to fill in.

Massive MASSIVE changes occurred with HarperCollins USA since I signed the earlier books in the series with them…there's a new radio interview posted here - the gryphon just put in the links - if you listen to that, you will see alot of my decision making process, in choosing what I have for the series with Meisha Merlin.

This is an INDEPENDENT PUBLISHER - and growing. The future with them is very bright, for this series, and the commitment, past question. Last year we should have seen the two schedules line up - but a combination of (worthwhile!) growing pangs, and some stumbles in production at the printer (Traitor's Knot is the FIRST "large format" hardbound Meisha has EVER done, and the printer tripped over that set of changes, among others) such stumbles, and a few interface with software problems with the text spacing – that we only found at PRINTER's page proofs – have caused undue delay. I don't expect this to stay the case, as time goes on…the glitches ironed out this round will stay ironed…

Yes, you could have gone ahead and ordered from Britain – at any time, this is true, because Harpercollins USA often produced the books up to nine months later…my expectation remains, that Meisha Merlin will be able to go forward and close up the gap. Support from American readers will assist this process, as bookstores get accustomed to dealing with them, and the distributor hits stride. Takes time to build a new team - not every step is easy. One tends to forget this when dealing with a massive multinational corporation.

I have chosen for the BIG PICTURE - and that is coming into focus more with each day - far more going on that's not visible to you (waiting) - but the book is gonna be in your hands very soon.

Meantime, you can read the other two subchapters to that Chapter I snippet - I think I posted one of them, here, and I believe Meisha's website had the entire chapter set, intact.

Thank YOU for your patience.

originally posted by Mike Morency

I don't think MM was the best choice of publisher either. Traitor's Knot is still unreleased here in US bookstores, nor is it available on Barnes and Noble website. It is unavailable through amazon, which serves Borders and Waldenbooks.

MM seems only to be distributing the book through email orders, for which they add shipping costs equal to a new paperback (barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com will ship this book free of charge).

An author needs to get his/her books on the shelves to be successful, and MM isn't doing so, nor keeping the biggest bookstores in the United States (where more of your books will sell than the combined totals of the rest of the world)and their websites informed.

I've noticed I've Janny's books published by Ace, Eos, Roc, and Harper. Ms. Wurts is well enough known here to sell well, why not a tried and proven epic fantasy publisher like TOR?

originally posted by Wayne McCalla

Well considering MM (according to Janny's other post on another thread) was just receiving their copies from binder and others were sent out to the distributor at that time the stores should most likely get them later this week providing that the distributor gets them out.

And Meisha just started sending their copies ASAP. Give them a chance to get there.

And working from a bookstore perspective(at least when I worked for one) don't always go by what the computers tell you.

Wayne

Status: Meisha's orders were all filled last week. The signed book plates for these orders will follow in separate packaging.

Two thirds of the books going into national distribution through Diamond Books went out last wednesday and stores should start showing them this week. The rest of the primary shipment will go out on this Wednesday.

It is a continual frustration that bookstores, Amazon, etc do not always post accurate information, can be quite slow to update, and even, sometimes, post spurious information…getting them to change it can take Time. I just met the crew at Diamond Books, and if you know you are having a problem, IT CAN BE ADDRESSED> Let me know what the difficulty, what shop or venue, and I will take it through channels and see if it can't be rectified.

Anyone looking from the OUTSIDE at my choices may well not understand the fullness of the picture that created my choice - the new posted interview (radio) that the gryphon just provided you links for will answer a lot of the confusion over this.

The Future: you aren't gonna believe what it's going to hold - All Good Stuff. If you could have been a fly on the wall, when the future is discussed with this outfit - and they have mastered the growth pangs are ARE at the next level - so many companies fail when making the plunge into the big league - so many fail. It is a difficult course. My applause to Stephe for staying the distance.

Now, wait till you see the payoff…As I can unfold new information, I will, but it would be terribly short sighted to measure the past year as being The Way It Is – in case anybody didn't know, a very old and reputable name in the distribution business made a MAJOR mess for smaller accounts. They refused to pay their bills for Beyond the Pale - there was a detailed public article about this in Publisher's Weekly in January…since this firm also distributed Meisha to ALL THE MAJOR ACCOUNTS, effectively, the publisher was promsied checks, and not paid for their product for an inexcusable length of Time. Still outstanding, yet…

Switching distributors was a good move, but cost again, as books had to be re-sent to major accounts and the stream of payments justly earned to accrue.

Added to major production difficulties with Traitor's Knot at the printer - all ACTUAL.(I saw these in page proofs, and labored many hours with Meisha to get them corrected - which was not easy as we couldn't figure whose software interface wasn't working) With one distributor gearing up, and another dodging bills - it's small wonder there was confusion on the bookstore listing front, and the shelving front - some books were meant to be moved to the other account directly, and went through a return cycle instead…many bookstores that should have kept the book in stock didn't bother re-ordering after the distributor change – so yes, you didn't see the books on the shelf due to distribution vagaries - - I applaud Stephe for staying the course, with so many daunting obstacles in his path that were NONE of Meisha Merlin's making. It is to his credit, entirely, that what I saw in NY is a bright and beautiful future for this firm.

Anyone knowledgeable of the particulars of starting a new business…anyone familiar with the failure rate of small successful companies that can't cross the divide and grow the the next level will have a more balanced perspective.

Few stay this distance. Stephe and Meisha Merlin are that committed, they are daring the leap. I do hope, in view of the FACTS about this marketplace - that we have seen some 20 markets shrink to a "major" four-six in two decades…I for one want to see a new face. It says worlds about having individual taste and variety available to readers.

I have sympathy for the frustration of readers who just want the book - but it is not ME ALONE that does this labor - it takes many hands. It's not that simple to "just do this" or "that" - I care very much about the team I work with. Ethics matter.

Enjoy the book that is now OUT. Thank you all for your patience in supporting it. If you have problems, I will try to help solve them. We all are on your side, in wanting you to get this book. Bring the problem as something you are asking help to resolve…I'll respond and see the difficulty reaches the correct person to get it handled.

With any luck, however, you won't have such difficulties…it takes time for a new distributor to understand and grasp a new line. Looks very much like Diamond is on track. I had great feelings for the folks there I was given the priviledge to meet this weekend.

This is the moment to correct your local bookshop's mistaken listing. I'd request - please use it wisely and help if you feel you want to. I will be here and do my utmost to assist - and you never know what other readers you may be helping to find a book they want - not just my title but others.

originally posted by Wayne McCalla

Called local B&N here in town they still show the original order of their copies. Mentioned to the sale associate that there was a delay from Nov to Feb to now and that their copies should be there soon.
She was glad to know that info.

As to the interview: Janny mentioned alot on her panel that she was on at StellarCon but she goes in much greater depth with Jana Oliver during the interview.

And working at a chain bookstore during that time I know what she was talking about and agreeing with her 100%.

Wayne…waiting for my copy to arrive on Monday(I hope). And who has seen to original painting at two cons. I know you'll enjoy the artwork. Seeing on comp doesn't do it justice. :smiley:

originally posted by skeoke

Thank you, Janny.

originally posted by lynnw

I ordered back in March from Amazon and have been checking almost daily at Borders, Barnes and Noble and Books a Million. None of them have receieved Traitors Knot. I was hoping I would get by June 10th since I am spending the weekend waiting for my son to get his open water scuba certification. I just have to wait around for 2 days. Now you know why I have been hoping that the book would come in so I can have it for the weekend

originally posted by AlexM

So, just a quick question? Is the fastest way to get the book to simply wait until BN/Amazon have it or would it be faster to order it from Meisha Merlin?

originally posted by Lyssabits

Personally, I'll be surprised if my book shows up at all. Janny says that Meisha Merlin has processed and sent out all of the pre-orders, but I only have her word on it, as I haven't receieved any kind of notice from them saying they've shipped the books, nor is there anything I can find on their website. It definately hasn't come yet, and I am not holding my breath.

*gloom*sigh* I feel like Eyeore.

originally posted by Trys

Lyssabits,

Would you prefer that God himself come visit you and hand you the copy?!

Oh ye people of little faith and no patience. :frowning_face:

Trys <-- whose tired of the whining and complaining.

originally posted by Lyssabits

As I've said before, it's not the delay that bugs me, it's the lack of information.

It's great that Janny has told us the books have shipped, but getting information second or third hand isn't overly reliable.

I don't want God to hand me my copy. I guess I've just been spoiled by the fact that most online retailers will send e-mail to confirm your order, and then another e-mail when the order ships, with form letters in between times when the order has failed to ship by the projected time. "Your order hasn't shipped yet, blah blah blah, unforseen delays, we're working on getting your order to you" just so you know your order wasn't lost into the ether. It's hard, not having any information, for something you've paid for already. I'm terribly worried that because I ordered so long ago, I'll never see the book, it's not out of the realm of possibility that orders get lost in the hustle and the shuffle. And while paying for the book twice isn't a financial hardship for most people, it's definately not fun.

I'm not a fan of the people complaining because there was a delay. These things happen, I don't blame Meisha Merlin for all the formatting/printing/etc problems they've experienced. But I'm definately tired of being told that I shouldn't be annoyed that the only way I'm able to get status updates on my order is by bothering the AUTHOR of the book, who shouldn't have to deal with the minutia of the retail side of the process, because the publisher who's handling the online order isn't supplying the information to their clients directly. I'm sorry, but I don't think my complaints are unreasonable. And since Meisha Merlin doesn't respond to e-mails, you're all forced to listen to my venting here. =P But I suppose I shouldn't say a thing. I'll just sit quietly in the corner, lest I provoke the Gryphon into another rage.

originally posted by Chad Jenkins

I agree completely with Lyssabits' point of view. Janny has been exceptional (and patient!) at getting us information and putting up with the constant questions, but it should not be her job to do that. With the exception of one or two update posts, Meisha Merlin has been completely uncommunicative about the book, the dates, orders, etc, even on their message board and through direct emails. Add to that the fact that they took payment off credit cards at the time of preorders, and you have a worrisome situation.

No disrespect meant to Trys, but I think that everyones' gripes are legitimate and not mean-spirited at all (It seems like we have more disappointment than any other emotion going around!)

Regards,
Chad

Eyore - be surprised.

This isn't third hand info, this time.

I was at Stephe's right hand when Lynn phoned from the Georgia warehouse saying the orders were shipped OUT, and in fact, it caused consternation, because in her rush to get your books off to you, she forgot to enclose the signed bookplates, which Stephe plans to package and send separately this week, when he's back in the office.

I HAVE AN AUTHOR'S COPY.

This volume is off press, and on its way to you.

I have not minded answering questions here, as staff at Meisha Merlin is very small, and on the road working, much of the time - as information was given to me, you got it - if anything too quickly, since the projections involved many links in a chain - not just Meisha Merlin, but their suppliers, who are also firms composed of human beings and subject to fallibilty and delays.

I very Much mind the inference that I am not straight with you, or that I would FOR ONE SECOND project trust in a firm that is not deserving of MY trust.

This said - enjoy the book, and thank you for your patience in staying the course in support. Let's do that, and let growing pangs be growth pangs, past tense.

originally posted by Lyssabits

Janny, I'm sorry if you felt I was inferring that you're not straight with us, or that you are projecting a false sense of trust to your audience. I think that you're playing completely straight with us, and that you're attempting to faithfully relay any information you may have to us, and I think you have very sound reasons for making the choice in publisher that you have made.

However, there's always break downs in communication, and the reasoning behind decisions made, no matter how well explained, often aren't fully understood by the people not making the decision. This is in no way is your fault, or your problem. As you said, sometimes they give you information too quickly, because there are links in their chain that they have no direct control over. My statement about second and third hand information wasn't suggesting that you are receving third hand information, but that Meisha Merlin gets information from somewhere (first hand), they give it to you, (second hand) and you give it to us (third hand). It's like a giant game of telephone, and there are probably any number of things that aren't being wholly communicated or aren't being communicated verbatim at various links in the chain, and there's nothing one can do about that. Which is why I think it's kind of a problem that we have to hear things from you, instead of from Meisha Merlin directly, above and beyond the issue of it being dissapointing customer service.

I think it's hard to hear people criticize a company that you feel strongly positive about, and that you've put a lot of thought into choosing. I've found though that even explaining, in detail, why something is done a particular way, there will always be people who don't understand. Because they didn't live through the problems or through the research and thinking that led to the decision. One of my hobbies is helping to maintain a silly text-based game, and the one thing I can count on is for at least half of the playerbase complaining when we change something. Even when we explain why we decided to implement the change we did, the problems it is fixing, or the design choices we made, half the players will still complain and think its a poor idea. They don't get to see the backend process, they don't realize just how much of a hassle the old way of doing things was, and how any problems or downgrades the new way creates are completely worth the benefits we as the administrators reap. All they see is how it effects their lives, and usually, they only pay attention to the negative effects. I try to remember that when I'm on the verge of strangling them all for complaining, and I try to remember that when I'm on the receiving end as well. It just always seemed to me that Meisha Merlin would be doing themselves a HUGE favor by posting information themselves rather than passing it onto you to post. It may take some time away from processing orders or doing whatever else they're doing, but I think it would cut out a huge volume of the complaints they no doubt receive, and I think it would improve the confidence their customers have in them, and make them far more likely to continue to buy their goods.

I'm a big fan of the small corporation trying to make a name for themselves, and the level of service they have been willing to provide you, the author, has been by all accounts extraordinary. Its just a little disheartening that the service they provide the people buying their books isn't as stellar. I honestly didn't mind the delays, patience is something you have to learn when you read as many multi-volume series as I'm sure all of your readers do. Another 6 months on top of the two years is small in comparison. I understand that problems and delays are usually unavoidable. I didn't mind those at all. I only get irritated when the panic strikes that I have no idea if the book is arriving, and that after several weeks of wondering and trying to contact people, I may never see it, and never know why. And it won't be the end of the world, I'll go buy it at a bookstore and be done with it, but I'll still have that bitter taste in my mouth of feeling screwed… and I'm as sad about not having the book as I am by the idea that this will drive people to buy your next book from the UK publisher instead, and a company that seems to care much more about producing a quality product may end up not suceeding.