Kevin Hearne, Del Rey/Ballantine and a Positive Post about Traditional Publishing

Please don’t take away my indie author badge just because I have a hybrid career, y’all. It’s no secret to people that follow me on Twitter or Facebook that I’m a fan of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles. Not just because I think the few men writing urban fantasy have to stick together (me, Hearne, Butcher, Tuck and now D.B. Jackson are the ones that leap to mind) but because the books are funny as hell, well-crafted and feature an awesome dog as a main character.

Not THE main character, unless you ask the dog. But I digress.

But here’s the interesting thing about Hearne’s series. He sold his series to Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine, one of the Big 6 publishers. These are not people typically considered to be welcoming of change, or open to new ways of doing things. But when they bought Kevin’s series, he already had the first three books finished. They went through what I’m sure was an extensive process of editing, revising, cover stuff, etc. But they did this on all three books at essentially the same time, and then they released them.

One each month. All last summer. So instead of readers having to wait a year for the next book in the series, they got three books all last summer, kept their appetites honed for the characters, fell in love with the characters and the series, and then, when they had to wait seven or eight months for Book 4, they were chomping at the bit. Book 4 released earlier this year, and Book 5 will release this fall. This breaks the traditional “one book a year” pattern that traditional publishers had used in the past to manage their release dates and was very effective in Kevin’s case. He came from out of nowhere to become a very popular upper-midlist fantasy author in a very short period of time. This kind of market awareness and adaptability deserves a little shout out for the people at Del Rey, because it shows that they were paying attention. They understood that fun books like Kevin’s are great summertime fare, and people are going to want a lot of them. So good for them. I hope more publishers pay attention, because the idea of only putting out one book a year is anathema to fast writers like me.

The pic is from Kevin’s signing at Park Road Books in Charlotte last week. Yes, that is my book beside him. I gave him a copy of Hard Day’s Knight since I rode the coattails of his also-boughts to great sales numbers last summer. The pic below is how I spent my Friday night, finishing Book 4 of the Iron Druid Chronicles. It was my favorite of the series since Book 1. Really recommend it if you haven’t already gotten hooked on that series.

This is a good Friday night, right here.
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2 thoughts on “Kevin Hearne, Del Rey/Ballantine and a Positive Post about Traditional Publishing

  1. You infer that some of the “Big 6” are getting it.

    Hounded: The Iron Druid Chronicles, Book One
    Amazon Price New from Used from
    Kindle Edition — $7.99 —
    Mass Market Paperback $7.99 $4.21 $3.99

    When you factor in the 4 for 3 promos you can kill a tree and save $2.50 and change and that’s obscene. Of course you can elect to buy in used and cut out author and publisher. So, what’s the fuss about the possibility that e-books get passed around? My friends and I passed books around long before forms of reading were criminalized.

    I’ve been an avid reader my entire life– at least since 1947 when I found Heinlein at 7 or 8. I am afraid to guess at the amount spent. And, I have for a year and more been fed up with the lack of respect readers receive and have subsequently taken response measures into my own hands. I am guessing there are a lot like me.

    You get it John but don’t defend those who don’t. Publishers are whores.

  2. Multiple books a year are becoming more common. It’s what the audience wants to see, and in the modern market it seems like the publishers are quickly learning that they need to fulfill reader’s desires occasionally.

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