March 23rd, 1998

March, 1998

Posted at 6:21 PM by Jack Chalker

As many of you may have heard, things are notvery good in the publishing business right now, which means thingsaren’t good for your favorite writers, either. A concerted effortto collapse the paperback distribution system in the west by greedychain stores worked, driving a lot of distributors into bankruptcy.With far less competition, bookstores cut back on their orderssince they wouldn’t lose sales by being out of stock as they hadin the past. The result was that the remaining distributors clamoredonly for New York Times and Oprah bestsellers and media tie-inbooks (including books by media personalities). Some companiespaid off their authors and told them to go play somewhere elseif they could find a place. Others looked to see how they couldcut expenses and thus build up huge pots for their media and NYTbestseller types.
    This is not limited to SF and fantasy, thisis everybody.
    Some of you may be aware that I wasone of the writers targeted as somebody who could get them somemoney by canceling existing contracts. This was tried, and fora month I was left twisting in the wind. I am not, however, somebodywithout influence or reputation, and I’m happy to tell you that,at least as far as my books are concerned, there are going tobe EIGHT new Chalker novels out in the next 2-3 years minimum, two of whichare already in. Long-term, whether or not I continue to be a factorwill depend on you, the readers, buying my books, but for theshort term I’m a survivor, although the money is down. Thanksto all who sent in good wishes and support. Other writers youlike also need that from you.
    We will be able toannounce new projects by me soon; there is still some discussionas to just what will come out when, etc., and my editors (sortof) can’t seem to make up their mind, often making a firm decisionand then months later trying to change it! All I can say is, watchthis space. However, I can say that the next few projects(except for the new Well duo) are stand-alone novels, and willbe a variety of types and settings, and for those who are threatenedby the idea, I don’t think anybody in the three stand-alones changessex. Now put your buying money where your mouth is! The rest ofyou can enjoy them and the Well all stops out project, too!

March 18th, 1998

Breaking News

Posted at 6:20 PM by Jack Chalker

Elsewhere here I explained to folks who wonderedwhy I hadn’t “allowed” Hollywood to do any of my booksthat it’s not me but Hollywood who hadn’t called (that’s the wayit works) and that producers were encouraged to call me. Well,a couple of major producers looking for products who both hadread me way back when read this and actually called! It’s goingto be some time before anything comes of this, if anything does(projects can go into limbo as fast as production) and I can’tgive many details now, but it’s potentially very exciting and,yes, it involves the Well World. It appears technology finallycaught up to it…. More when I have more to tell you. Until then,back to the previous text:
          My health hasn’t been all that great of late, which hasn’t causedme serious problems but has seriously slowed down what I haveto do: finish the second (and last) of the new Well World projectwhich appears to be what Del Rey is waiting for. So far they havenot scheduled either the first of those, which they have had nowfor fourteen months (!) nor Priam’s Lens, a largeone volume stand-alone SF novel they have had since August.
          In themeantime, Baen Books has proceeded with the reissue in mass marketpaperback format of The Demons at Rainbow Bridge (and eventuallyall three of the Quintara books) originally published by Ace.The new one is scheduled for release in August, 1998 and has anew cover. Those of you who already have it in hardcover or otherformats should be aware that there is no revision or new texthere, but a straight reissue of the original.

          Unfortunately, we have been unable to convince some publishersto either reprint or revert titles of mine long out of print.Although it is possible on a contract basis to get back work that’sout of print (see the current Chalker books under Baen that wereoriginally Tor or Ace titles) but if a publisher wants to keepsomething for some reason then it has ways of keeping them. Ihave never understood why they would fight to keep whatthey won’t reissue, and it is particularly distressing to me tofind that many of my major works are out of print and unavailableand have been for, in a few cases, up to 10 years. I have no directcontrol over this. I can ask publishers to reprint all the time,but if they don’t want to, they won’t.
           The sicth Dancing Gods book is a different example of thesame thing. The publishers of the first five state that saleswere disappointing and that they therefore have no interest ina final book. Other publishers say they can do nothing with asixth book if they didn’t also have rights to the others. Untilsomebody changes their mind, I’m afraid the sixth DG willbe a legend.
          My international sales continue unabated; Bulgaria is the latestcountry to start publishing Chalker titles, joining Russia, Lithuania,Germany, Israel, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan, France, Italy,Poland, The Czech Republic, and many other nations.
          Health and other factors permitting, I hope to finish the secondWell in June and deliver it, then immediately write another stand-alone,the next one a near-future biotech thriller, I think.
           Please note that while the old still works,the CompuServe address no longer does. Also, mail from the page or to Delphi directly can not include attachmentsor encoded material; the Delphi email account I use there is plainvanilla. If you want to send me a graphic or whatever, pleasedrop a note first and I’ll give you a place to send it. –3/18/98

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