Saturday, July 12, 2008

Changes to the Paperback and news of the book tour

Some books come out first in paperback. Book enthusiasts and marketers call those titles "paperback originals." Other books come out in hardcover, and then a while later, a paperback version is released. That's how Look Me in the Eye came out. The hardcover was released last September, and the paperback comes out six weeks from now, this September 9th.

You can preorder your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Look-Me-Eye-Life-Aspergers/dp/0307396185/ref=ed_oe_p

It will be interesting to see how the paperback orders compare to hardcover orders. Personally, I try to buy hardcover books because I keep them in my library and I just like them better. But I know I'm in the minority. There's always that talk about cheaper prices, pocket sized, foldable, etc. I would have thought schools would buy hardcovers for ruggedness, but the academic marketing folks at Random House tell me almost all their sales are paperback. For my brother's books, the ratio of paperback to hardcover sales has been more than 20:1. Then there are other titles where the ratio is less than 1:1. I wonder what mine will turn out to be?

99% of the time, the paperback version of a book is identical to the hardcover. But I've always been a 1% kind of fellow, and I couldn't resist the chance to tinker with that book just one more time, so I made some changes. Quite a few changes, actually. I'll tell you about some of them here.

The first thing I did was to add a new chapter. I added a 2,700 word postscript describing what I've learned since Look Me in the Eye was written. Why did I do that? I'm glad you asked.

I wrote Look Me in the Eye essentially in isolation. I didn't refer to other books on autism or Asperger's, and I didn't talk to anyone outside my circle of friends. As a result, I didn't really know which thoughts, feelings, and behaviors described in the book were unique to me, and which were characteristic of people on the spectrum. Today, I still don't know for sure, but I've got a considerably better idea. I've described some of those insights in a bit more detail. I've drawn some comparisons with other works, and even hidden the Great and Profound secrets of the world in the subliminal text.

And that's not all . . .

When I wrote LMITE, I thought most readers would be like me. Freaks and misfits on the loose. To my surprise, that notion turned out to be wrong. Many, many readers turned out to be teachers, guards, or inmates serving time in our country's Educational System. I realized something had to be done for those people. Freaks on the loose just read books. Inmates in schools STUDY them. So I got together with the folks at Crown, and we devised a study guide, filled with the kind of questions I would ask. Armed with my study guide, next year's middle school students can debate the fine points of wife selection, rock'n'roll, and motorcycle riding.

I actually think the reading and study guide may find uses outside of school. We'll see.

But that's not all . . .

I made changes in dialogue, and in the Reading and Resources, and other secret places. The paperback is almost twenty pages longer, which makes it an even better value. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but you are going to be buying my very best quality of thought for just three point seven cents a page, at street prices. What do you say to that? There's a few hundred words on each of those pages . . . the price per word is just so low, it's almost nothing. A few of you might want to thank me for delivering all those words almost free, but you should also thank my publisher's parent company – Bertelsmann – and their Berryville Graphics printing subsidiary. It's their massive printing and distributing capacity that makes it all possible.

If I had to print those books myself, here at home, you can be sure I'd charge a lot more than three cents a page. You and I can't even buy paper and cartridges for our inkjets for that price!

I'll tell you about some more of the changes in coming posts.

Now I have some book tour news . . .

My Opening Day appearance is going to be at River Run books in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. http://www.riverrunbookstore.com/ I hope some of you New England readers are able to join me. Portsmouth is a very pretty town on the coast, and it's just a short drive from there to the historic US Navy shipyards. I love to visit ships and shipyards, and bookstores too.

A few of you have asked about Boulder . . . I'll be appearing at the Boulder Bookstore, and I'll have an exact date very soon.

I also have an answer for those of you who say, Why aren't you coming to my city?

The simple truth is, you did not get together and make it happen. But there's still time.

It may surprise you to read that the cities we select for book tours are driven by readers like you. You and your friends go into a local bookseller, and you say, "We love this book! Can you get the author here?" You get the bookseller motivated, and he calls the publisher and says, "I have a bunch of readers who love this book! Can you send the author here?" And that's what happens. This time, 187 readers in Boulder beat out 119 readers in Denver. It's truly an example of the triumph of motivated special interest groups. So you see, little cities with big readers can still win, and so can you. Go marshal your friends and fellow readers.

If we have enough demand, and if I have enough energy, we will do more bookstores in more cities. Since I like bookstores, there's a pretty good chance that will happen.

And there's more . . .

I also have some open dates on my fall/winter lecture tour. If you would like me to come speak at your school, or to your school board, or to your autism society, or wherever . . . contact Lauren Verge at the Lavin Agency and they'll make it happen. There's a link to Lavin on the right sidebar.

14 comments:

Angela said...

Just got finished reading your hardback, now I'll have to check out the extra info in the paperback! I am one of the 'extra' people who read, by the way...not a freak or misfit per se, just a mom of a child who was originally diagnosed with Asperger's and then it changed to Autism, rather than Asperger's. My goal is to work with these kiddos (kids on the spectrum) one day in a professional capacity so your book helped me gain insight from an adult perspective.

danielle said...

I too just finished reading your hardcover version and you've enticed me to pick up a copy of the paperback version. I grew up in the Portsmouth area (and am currently just an hour north in Maine) and I am THRILLED you will be coming to the area. Portsmouth is one of my favorite places. I actually have an uncle who works at the shipyard. Anyhow, my little Apergerian son and I will be at River Run books - wouldn't miss it!

ChrisEldin said...

I hope your PB sales do very well--especially with the additions you made!

Thanks for telling us how to get authors to come visit. I thought/assumed that was decided by the publicist. But what you said makes sense. Thanks!

:-)

Stimey said...

So I'm about halfway through your book. (And really enjoying it, by the way.) And then I lost it. I'm sure it's here somewhere, but if I don't find it by September, I promise to buy the paperback version.

Found your blog on autism alltop. (I'm there too.)

Stacy said...

Now I want a paperback copy too!

I prefer paperbacks in general. Holding a hardcover feels awkward because they are bulkier.

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks for telling us what's new in the paperback. When you mentioned there were changes my curiosity got the best of me and I've been imagining all sorts of things. I love that you have a chance to reflect on everything that's happened since the hardcover came out last year.

Good luck with the PB sales!

Kelly in Big D said...

As a mother of a cute boy w/ ASD, I'm dying for an update on the TMS treatments for you and your son?? More info please!! Thanks!

By the way - read "Look Me in the Eye" and I think you're hilarious and brilliant! :) I loved your dry sense of humor.

Michelle O'Neil said...

I loved LMITE and I never knew it was such a bargain! Thanks for pointing that out.

I'll have to rally the troops and see if we can get you to come to Cleveland!

ORION said...

Aloha John!
These are interesting points that I think few readers realize- The paperbacks often are different or have more material - I know mine includes the reader's guide in the back.
And.
The book tours are driven by the readers and book stores not the author. I never knew that until my book came out...

Samwick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Girl from the Ghetto said...

Oh, I'm going to have to buy the paperback version. I need that extra chapter. I myself prefer trade paperbacks, as they are more affordable (I'm a girl who LOVES to buy books) and they fit nicely on my bookshelves. And they are packable in luggage. Last summer when I went to England and France and had brought four books and bought six, well, I can't image what hardcovers would have cost me in extra baggage fees!

Why aren't you touring in Detroit? We need you to, I alone have 5 girlfriends whose sons have Asperger's & I have two in my family alone.

thegirlfromtheghetto.wordpress.com

Kathy said...

Aw man, if only I'd known that the paperback would have so much additional material! I bought LMTE when it first came out in hardcover (something I don't usually do--those hardcovers are 'spensive) because I have a son who has autism and I enjoy your brother's books. I loved it, loaned it to my mom, her husband, our nanny...I know those folks aren't going to re-read the book in paperback, and because I spent the bucks on the hardcover, I'm sad to say I don't think I can justify buying the PB too. Maybe I'll just check it out at the library. I hope you can give us hardcover buyers more details on your blog about the neato paperback extras. Please oh please?

Thank you so much for writing the book. I really enjoyed it and it helped me to understand better what my own son might have going on in his head. Best wishes!

Jess said...

Hmmm...perhaps I'll go to your keynote speech. It'll be interesting to see you again. Do you remember me?

AspergianArtist said...

Mr. Robison, I just want to say I greatly enjoyed your book. Thank you for doing your part to dispel myths. I was touched, inspired and was delighted by your sense of humor, especially the shaving of the counter top! In my community, we are trying to get together a group to help kids with AS and their parents. Here's a link to an article in our local paper with a mention of your wonderful book. Again, thank you! http://www.herald-dispatch.com/news/x1103457370/Aspergians-can-be-great-employees