Saturday, March 08, 2008

I am sick of winter and would like some sunshine now please

Lots of really good suggestions for ways to outwit Heisenberg's Uncertain Rice Pudding Principle, and I will try them and report back, although it may have to wait until the snow melts and Spring is sprung and the farm shop around the corner start milking their cows again.

And the webgoblin says that the deceptively ordinary-looking image URL should, if pasted into things, allow you to have your own Graveyard Book countdown badge.

The webgoblin adds: For example,
<img src="" width="144" height="164" />
posted to a webpage or in a blog, will give you:

Never mind the bloody USA.

When can I get it in East Finchley?

About three weeks after it comes out in the US, at an educated guess. It says November 2008 on the Bloomsbury site (and 3 Nov 2008 in the Bloomsbury catalogue), but I would imagine that they actually would want it in the shops before Hallowe'en...


Normally I just smile and shake my head when people start worrying about security issues when it comes to books. They're books. It's only friends of mine who have never published anything who send me copies of their manuscripts all locked and encoded, with the password to open it in a separate email. The bestselling and award-winning authors I know just send me books as email attachments months before they come out.

But I got a call from my movie agent, Jon Levin at CAA, who mentioned that movie book scouts in New York had somehow got hold of The Graveyard Book as a computer file and had been slipping it to producers and studios, who had been calling him about it, and then I got an oddly-written anonymous grumpy message on the FAQ line from someone who had obviously read an early draft and found a bit in it confusing, and I'm now fascinated by the idea that there are people out there with my book, before it's even properly, absolutely finished, who I didn't give it to.

I really don't think I mind, but I had to stop and think about it for a while first. And I guess that the reason I don't mind is because the alternative is that people don't care. It's a problem of success, and for the most part the problems of success are good problems to have.

I'm unlikely to be more circumspect next time I write a book -- I'll still email the book to friends to get a sense of what works and what needs fixing, and I assume that the book scouts will still have their mysterious agents pervading the New York book world.

Ah well. In the meantime I'll keep writing the book and keep playing with it until the last sheet of the last galley proof is pried from my cold numb fingers.

Hi, Neil.

Regarding the Absolute Sandman, can you explain to a broke graduate student who has all of the Sandman graphic novels and a good number of the individual comics why the Absolute Sandman is still a must-purchase-or-possibly-suffer-lifelong-regret-and-trauma thing?

Thank you,


Dear Brandi

you should use your local library as a resource. Sometimes your library will have a copy, sometimes it's only available on inter-library loan and will have to be ordered. And then you can read them without paying money and decide what you think.

(Libraries are your friend. It's one of the refrains of this blog, I think.)

I'm not entirely sure that the Absolute Sandman replaces the trade paperbacks, any more than the trade paperbacks replaced the comics (because the covers and the ads and the letter column and all that stuff gives you an experience you don't get from a trade paperback) and I don't want to start turning into Elvis Costello, who has now sold me all of his music at least four times in ever-more-upgraded formats with extra bells and whistles.

But if you want a permanent copy for your bookshelf, the Absolute Sandmans are as good as it gets. I don't think they're going to vanish from the book and comic shops immediately -- DC have overprinted healthy amounts, certainly good for a few years to come -- but they are probably too expensive per unit to go back to press in Hong Kong for smallish reprints.

Dear Neil,

For the person new to 'Sandman' and not sure they'd love it enough to justify the price for the Absolutes - I had never read 'Sandman' (hangs head in shame) and bought the first one on a whim. They are definitely worth it - I have the second as well and have already pre-ordered the third. I was wondering if 'Dream Hunters' and 'Endless Nights' would be included in the 'Absolute Sandman' collection, or should I go ahead and buy them?



No, they won't be coming out in Absolute format.

Hi Neil,

Is it true you will be in Australia in May, 2008?



It is, it is. I'm out in early May for a conference on children's literature in Melbourne, and I'll do a couple of signings while I'm there. Details to come very soon.


Maddy wants me to let everyone know that the two of us are going out to Laika together in a week to see the Coraline film set, and that she plans to be Special Guest Blogger during that time. So I have.

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