Tuesday, September 23, 2008

waking up

I'm getting over jet-lag and clock-lag but it's slower than normal. Woken up this morning by my assistant Lorraine. "I've put a cup of tea by your bed. The tree people are here. Do you want to get up and see them?" I think I must have conveyed somehow that I didn't, because the next thing I remember was perhaps five seconds passing and her saying, "The tree by the gazebo we cut down had white pine blister rust, but it doesn't seem to have spread. I've told them to go and look at the fungus on the apple tree." I tried to explain to her (without waking up, opening my eyes or anything) that it wasn't fungus, just some kind of fuzzy white insect-stuff, and she might have heard this, because five seconds later she said, "You were right, it was insects and we have to soap them off. Your agent's on the phone, and I'm bringing you a new cup of tea because that one must be cold by now." And the day had started.

The phones have begun ringing. The world knows I'm home. Tomorrow at midday Eastern Time I'm doing a Washington Post chat -- details at

Tomorrow, before the tour begins, in between interviews, we harvest honey. There may even be photos (And I have an NPR interviewer showing up at the house to interview me. Who may find himself putting on a bee-suit and helping. You never know.) . I suspect the pine rust comes from the gooseberries and red-currants that grow around the gazebo.

More later. But probably not about pine rust.

And The Graveyard Book will be published in the US in exactly a week. If you're wondering whether to buy a copy now or later, please buy it now. It actually will make a difference -- the first week's sales matter, especially in the most crowded publication week of the year (which is this week).

Hi Neil,

Not a question, just a belated 'welcome back'. Life in the midwest has been disappointingly normal and boring without you around, but now that you're posting about nearly-naked roller skaters and cats and the true cause for execution of small trees, all is satisfyingly weird again.

I'm a little disappointed that I won't be able to make any of the tour stops for the Graveyard Book, as all of the ones in my general vicinity are in the middle of the week. I've battled and fought and wriggled and attempted to reschedule things like sleeping, eating, and breathing, but the dates and times defeat me. I'm sure there are excellent reasons for having these things not on a Friday or Saturday, but, um... what are those reasons? I'm just curious. Thanks!

It's that thing about publication week. While it would be lovely for me to do a month-long author tour, going out on Fridays and home on Sundays, the publisher wants to squeeze their events into the first week or so. That's when reporters want to write about new books, that's when it gets the most attention. That's also when the publisher hopes to sell a lot of books, because if they move books in the first week it shows up on the bestseller lists, and then more places stock it and, it's whatever the opposite of a vicious circle is. A cuddly circle?

Publication day is this Tuesday, which is why I'm signing in New York on Tuesday evening, and, because I'm on the East Coast then, I do Philadelphia next. Then I drift westward, and Seattle and Palo Alto get the Friday and Saturday spot because that's how it worked out. Los Angeles is Monday night.

And for those of you who've written in worried, no, I don't know why lists the paperback of The Graveyard Book as coming out Jan 1st 2020, but it's possible that their dates may not be entirely accurate, and that Harpers might publish it in paperback within the next twelve years. (Also, I know they list the Subterranean Press edition and have it with a terrific discount as their hardcover, which is a bit odd [Edit to add, ...and which you won't get if you order it. Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press says, "Amazon lists everything that has an ISBN, without regard to whether they'll receive it. I've posted to our site, and in our newsletter, and to that we don't expect to fill any copies for Amazon or wholesalers. I've also let Amazon know this. I'll email them again."]
This is the actual link to the Amazon hardback. And if I'm putting that up I should mention that it's even cheaper at Barnes and Noble online. But if you can, you should buy it somewhere local and nice, because it is A Good Thing to so do. Check out to find shops near you (and poking around on their site I found which made me happy).

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