From The Desk Of Steve Englehart III
I wasn't expecting to be in your in-box again quite so soon, but there's a been a big change to the release of The Long Man.
It will now be appearing alongside The Point Man in early 2010 - not on its own this July.
The reason is simple. Retailers around the country, most prominently Barnes & Noble and Borders, told Tor they wanted both books at the same time so that people who bought the new one could easily satisfy their curiosity about the old one, and people who bought the old one could easily make the leap to the new one. It remains true that you can read either one without needing the other, but the retailing consensus was, people will want both. And I have to say, I can't argue with that. I made sure you wouldn't need the other book, but I know what the collector's mind is like, and how much fun it is to have everything.
Now, if this were comics, you could just ship The Point Man earlier than scheduled, alongside the previously-scheduled Long Man. But this is books, and as I know I've mentioned, the book biz moves very slowly compared to the comics biz. The Point Man was being prepared on its original schedule of Jan/Feb 2010, and it's in Tor's catalogue for then, so that's when retailers expect it. Getting it prepared early would be almost impossible, and adding it to the summer orders after the retailers had completed their summer budgets would be extremely disruptive, so it remains where it is and The Long Man moves to join it. That's the one part of this that I don't like, but the overall logic of the move seems to me to be unarguable, and I'm excited about the fact that it's retailer-driven. That means they care.
(Side note: I was but a tiny child when John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series debuted with the first two books in tandem, but I remember how cool that was to get two adventures at one time. And I was a mere youth when we rolled out WEST COAST AVENGERS and VISION/WITCH side-by-side. So the collector in me adds that to the plus side of the ledger.)
Now, this also means that I will _not_ be going to San Diego this year. If you were planning on catching me there - because I told you I would be there, which is a pretty good reason - I can offer a few alternatives. One, if you wanted stuff signed, I'm always available to do that through snail mail. Two, if you had stuff you wanted to talk about, I'm always available through email. Three, I will be at the Baltimore Comic-Con on October 10-11. And four, the new rollout, for TPM and TLM in tandem, looks to be Wondercon in San Francisco.
I wouldn't expect to have much to say for a while now, so I'm just going to keep writing The Plain Man and let the book biz do its thing. But quite clearly, one never knows...