Sunday, February 10, 2008

“I didn’t grow up buying every book I read," says 47 year old author...

That was fun, the blog's seventh birthday. I enjoyed making the inspirational poster, and also enjoyed watching the webgoblin do all the hard work on making the survey. I also tried personally to answer all the FAQ line questions that came in yesterday -- I think I missed a couple, and two or three replies came back informing me that they'd been got by spam filters or people who didn't put in their email addresses correctly -- but I did reply to pretty much all of them.

Don't forget to vote (at I'm enjoying watching the results so far -- not actually what I would have predicted. But there's a week to go and a lot of votes still to come in.

There's an article about Harper Collins and putting Free Books up in the New York Times -- and it says:

Neil Gaiman, the fantasy novelist, short story and comics writer, is asking readers of his blog to vote on the title they would most like to give as a gift. An electronic scan of the winning title will be offered free on the HarperCollins site later this month. Mr. Gaiman said the online effort was not so different from what has been going on for generations.

“I didn’t grow up buying every book I read,” said the English born Mr. Gaiman, 47. “I read books at libraries, I read books at friend’s houses, I read books that I found on people’s window sills.” Eventually, he said, he bought his own books and he believes other readers will, too.

I think the point I was making wasn't so much that eventually you buy your own books, as that there's not and there has never been a simple one-to-one relationship between the books you read and way you find authors and the books you buy. It's more complicated than that, and more interesting. It's about the way that it's assumed that books have a pass-along rate, that a book will be read by more than one person. If the people who read the book like it, they might buy their own copy, or, more likely, just put the author in that place in their heads of Authors I Like. And that's a good place for an author to be.

And for those of you who are wandering in from linkage, or who read this on an RSS feed and haven't gone exploring, there's a fair amount of free stuff up there already, much of it at -- for example, has five short stories up, (one from M is for Magic, two from Fragile Things, and two that are only up online). And there's free audio stuff as well -- a downloadable version of A Study In Emerald from Fragile Things, and the first chapter of the Stardust audiobook.

Over at Locus magazine, at, you can take the Locus Poll and Survey. You're taking part in the biggest vote for SF and Fantasy there is. More people vote for Locus Awards than for the Hugos or the Nebulas... You can be one of them.


Hola Neil,Quick question about Absolute Sandman Vol. 3. Vertigo now has the info for it up at: I was wondering what the "Desire story from VERTIGO: WINTER'S EDGE #3" is (different from the Bolton Desire story in Vol. 2?) and if the 10-page "Fear of Falling" is missing from this volume?

Also, if that really is the cover art, it seems to be missing out on some great Mckean artwork. Both Vols 1 and 2 featured iconic cover images from the softcover of a major story arc contained in the volume. It seems a shame not to use the striking "Brief Lives" softcover image of the portrait made from all the photographs. Thought you might know what the final version looks like.

And the Dave McKean Shorts DVD has disappeared indefinitely with no further mention. Thought you or one of your readers might know what happened, for those of us who are anxiously awaiting it.

Thanks for your time - can't wait to experience "The Graveyard Book".

Actually, the Brief Lives image was the first suggestion from the DC Comics art department, and I vetoed it, mostly because that image, which we were so proud of at the time, has been repeated by so many people ever since. Even Dave McKean's been hired to do versions of it by art departments around the world, and I've spoken to artists who were handed that cover and told to reproduce it for movie posters or CD covers. Whereas I thought that Dave's painting of Morpheus from the cover of Sandman 50 might be really beautiful if taken out of context.

No, the Desire story is the Michael Zulli-illustrated "How They Met Themselves" story, with the Rosettis and Mr Swinburne going for a winter picnic. "Fear of Falling" is in there (and Danny Vozzo fixed some colouring errors on the hair).

The last time I checked with Dave McKean on what was happening with the DVD, he said:

We had several technical problems converting all this very differently
formatted films from PAL to NTSC, and framerate changes, and editorial changes
and other pernikity changes, and we decided since we will only be doing this
once, we'd take the time to get it right, rather than rush to our initial
release date. I've just taken delivery of what I hope is the final beta version,
which means it should start to reappear on websites/Amazon/distributors lists
etc. Don't fret, it will be out in a few months.

Dear Neil,You've most likely received many such requests, but I thought I'd throw mine into the pile as well: in light of your celebratory blogday vote, I'd like to know which of your own "hideous progeny" you would most like to see distributed gratis to your (not yet, but soon to be expanded) adoring public?Of course, I don't expect you to give us an answer before the voting has finished, but I'm a curious thing and hope you're willing to share this with us all.By the way, it's a beautiful day in Southern California today. It's a breezy 73 degrees outside, and the not-so-smoggy skies as smiling down at me as I write to you. Diamond dust snow sounds lovely, but you may want to consider getting some vit. D, courtesy of the sun, soon! I think your pen-ink will thank you for it as well. :)Best,

Truth to tell, if I had a clear choice, I wouldn't have come up with the online survey. I would have just put up a free book.

Hi Neil!Just to let Jodi know, if she really wants to talk to other people about the posts, the officialgaiman RSS feed of this blog on livejournal ( has a fairly active comments section. Of course, you have to have a livejournal to comment, and they'll eventually disappear, but it's still fun.

Consider it plugged.

I've mislaid the most recent request to list a bunch of music I like, but here's a link to where everything's that been played on iTunes in the last few days is up. (No, I'm not doing Friends or Journalling at Last Fm.) It may be too much information.

And here's the link to the radio station Last FM has put together based on what I've been playing recently...

(Edited because the embedded wossname didn't seem very happy.)

And finally, is a marvellous little sequence of, er, historical comics.

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