In 2004, Necessary Evil Press published my first novella, a coming-of-age story called THE TURTLE BOY. The book sold moderately well and snagged some great reviews, but it wasn’t until it won the Bram Stoker Award that the remaining copies flew out the door.
Cut to the present. One of the questions I’m asked most frequently (second only to “Where the f*** is NEMESIS!??!?”) is: “Where can I find a copy of THE TURTLE BOY?”
Now, the majority of readers who ask this question are not hardcore book collectors. By that I mean that they are (ironically enough, like me) more likely to buy a $7.99 paperback or a $22.00 hardcover at Barnes & Noble than a $50.00 signed limited hardcover from a small press publisher. So when I find myself answering this query with: “There’s a copy on eBay right now for $90.00,” or “Have you checked ABEbooks for a copy?” ($100.00+), I know without a shadow of a doubt that it’s not the reply the reader wanted. I also know that there’s no way in hell they’re going to part with that much money for a novella, no matter how much they’d like to read it, and I don’t blame them one bit.
Sometimes I’ll suggest that they try to find a copy in their local library. Occasionally, they’re successful. More often, they’re not. There was even an interesting case where two copies of the book showed up in the catalog of one reader’s local library. When he couldn’t find them on the shelf, he asked at the desk and was informed by the librarian that they’d been stolen. I wasn’t sure whether to be flattered or annoyed. I settled for flattered because the thief obviously had discerning taste;-).
All of which leads us to the question du jour:
As a reader, would you purchase a copy of THE TURTLE BOY if it were made available in a cheaper edition (say, a $15.00 unsigned trade paperback)?
If you already own the hardcover signed limited edition, would you feel cheated if a less expensive edition were made available?
Personally I would love to get THE TURTLE BOY back out there, if only so the people who want to read it (and from the correspondence I’ve collected since 2004, there are quite a few of you) can get an affordable copy. But there are, of course, things to consider.
Just to clarify, this is a thought that’s been bouncing around my brain. I have not discussed it with any publishers. I’m just thinking out loud and curious to see what the reaction among readers/collectors might be.
Your two cents is, as always, appreciated.