The Turtle Boy: To Reprint or Not to Reprint?


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.

This was, of course, great from both Don (Koish, publisher at NEP) and me. But as a result, interest in TTB was heightened, with no copies available to meet the sudden demand. 

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.




30 thoughts on “The Turtle Boy: To Reprint or Not to Reprint?

  1. I say go for it, Kealan. I have a copy of the original and I wouldn’t be insulted if you offered a new edition. It’s crazy not to make it available to all of your fans. That’s part of the business. And in my opinion, as you and your books become more famous, those early editions can only become more valuable. Right?

    Feed the masses, my friend!

    Hugs from CT,

  2. Kealan: To thine own self be true, as they say.

    I saw a copy of my collection being offered for around 500 dollars not too long ago. Good for the collector if he or she cashes in. However, books are meant to read, not collected and wrapped in plastic.

    I would never endorse compromising a limited edition, but putting forth a paperback reprint should be a no brainer. Your legacy trumps collector speculation.

    My two pennies.

  3. I do own a copy of the original hardcover, and I know that I wouldn’t feel cheated. How can someone who loves books and loves to read say they feel cheated because a great story is being made available to more readers? The demand is there, and feeding that demand is how authors like you are able to keep writing the great stories that we all like to read. And for those that are book collectors, they will still own that signed first edition, which is much different than a trade paperback – they should be happy with that. I say – go for it! 🙂

  4. Yes, go for it – I’m also one of those folk who buy the cheaper alternatives (apart from FantasyCon, when all common sense goes out of the window as I hit the dealers room!).

  5. Thanks everyone! I’m surprised by the lack–so far anyway–of negative responses to the idea. I thought surely someone would feel as if I was planning to trounce on their toes, and that’s not at all my intention. As many of you mentioned, it’s about getting the book in people’s hands and not asking them to fork over insane amounts of money for it.

    Thanks again!

  6. I own both the limited, lettered, and German language paperback of The “Turtle Boy”. Not only do I think it would be great for more people to be able to read the story, if it had a great cover I would probably buy a copy.
    In my opinion, releasing a trade edition (especially after the book has been out for a while) is fine.

  7. I purchased the S/L the day THE TURTLE BOY was announced and I say a trade paperback will actually make the value of my S/L only go up as more people have a chance to read this fantastic story. I would be even more pleased to see the entire series available as a mmpb.

  8. “Where the f*** is NEMESIS!??!?” ah, I mean . . .

    Go for the TPB or PB – everyone should get addicted to Tim’s adventures like I am.

    Keep Smiling, Jan

  9. Same here. Owning the limited, I would still really dig seeing this reprinted in a more affordable copy. Along with everything else you’ve published. More people need to read Kealan’s stories.

    Also, I think most collectors these days don’t really mind seeing a paperback come out along with a limited edition format of books. Seems to becoming par for the course which I think is good. Collectors get there pretty signed hardback and people who just want to read the damn thing can now get a copy.

  10. I think all collectors editions should be released as MMPB or similar as well. Those who buy for collections I’d bet would like to have a copy to read and beat up so they can keep that collector edition pristine.

  11. Anyone that is a collector shouldn’t mind one bit and may even be excited to have another edition published, it’s one more to collect!
    If they are investors they should be equally excited for a mass market edition since typically the value of the S/L goes up due to the greater exposure of the authors work.

    Unless you promised a one time only exclusive printing of of something youi wrote IMHO anyone that is upset by you reprinting your work is a complete and utter moron and should be shunned and ignored.

  12. Oh please, please, please do this for your poor fans! LOL

    As one with a moderate means of income but an extreme adoration for your writing, I would be thrilled to be able to finally read this! I buy horror by the boatload, but can’t really afford the cost of limited editions.

  13. Kealan..I only paid 75.00 for mine. I deem it worth every penny. But, yes, I think that would be very nice..if I’d had that option..well..but, I’m glad I was able to get it..I met you late and then came to respect you and love your writing…hence, I realized some of your work was rare, difficult to find…I say go for it~

  14. I definitely think a reprint would be an excellent idea. I own a copy of the limited edition but the selling price doesn’t mean a thing to me. I love books and all books are meant to be read. There is nothing worse than not being able to read a book because the book is unavailable. Does anyone remember when Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” was only available through the limited hardcover? Also, please consider a reprint of “Ravenous Ghosts”. I love the short story and have been wanting to read the collection for years but I can’t because that is another limited book with no availability.

  15. You folks are wonderful. Thanks for posting your thoughts on this. I have a lot of thinking to do, but if anything is clear, it’s that it won’t be considered a violation of anybody’s good faith if I do take the trade paperback route. And that really was a great concern.

    And John, I’d definitely consider pursuing a similar deal for RG, which if anything got even less exposure than THE TURTLE BOY despite being published twice!

  16. yes please!! I’ve been tryng to get my hot little hands on one of your books but, alas, I am a cheap skate lol. 🙂 In all seriousness though, I would definately purchase the book if it were re-printed.

  17. As someone that wasn’t fortunate enough to pick up a copy of TTB when it was first released (and has heard countless times how good it is in the years since), I would whole heartedly say go for it.

  18. I would love to purchase a copy. I would prefer the limited edition ” of course” but would be happy to have the opportunity to just read the book. Having that said; bring on the paperback!

  19. I’ll add a barbaric YAWP! to the responses… er, I mean YUP!!!

    I’d pick one up minute-one, Kealan.

  20. To your question….
    If you already own the hardcover signed limited edition, would you feel cheated if a less expensive edition were made available?

    I reply…
    Not in the least. You… and we as collectors of your S/L work, need to get your stories into as many hands as possible. More readership eventually leads to more collectors which leads to more value to those of us that were wise (or lucky) enough to get while the getting was good. Frankly, even if that wasn’t the case your stories deserve a wider audience than the limited edition allows.

  21. Kealan,

    The Turtle boy was my first introduction to your work -and I have been a fan ever since! I even received your adventure with Master of the Moors and was very impressed with your daring. I am eager for Nemesis, as well. I would LOVE for you to reprint The turtle Boy in a more affordable ($15.00 trade paperback or whatever) and I would likely purchase it again. I’ve kinda been hoping that somewhere down the line you might reprint the entire epic in some kind of omnibus edition once you’ve concluded the tale…



  22. Samael:

    Thanks very much for the kind words, and I’m delighted you’ve enjoyed the books so far. I did actually discuss an omnibus edition with a publisher at one stage, and may do so again. It definitely sounds like a good idea.


  23. Kealan,

    Go for it. I bought a copy of the original because I wanted the book in my collection. I am not a book collector or a speculator. I bought it for me and my collection knowing that there was a chance it could come out in a cheaper format later but just as cognizant that this could be my only chance.

    I still think I made the right decision and I’ll probably get a copy of the new edition too. I would certainly pick it up for the libraries where I work.

    Keep writing,

  24. I was just talking to Brian at Cemetery Dance about this today, because they are releasing the related “The Turtle Boy: Peregrine’s Tale.”

    MOST of the really popular books that small publishers release are also released in paperback. Richard Laymon’s “new” book, the extended version of “Woods Are Dark” is being released as a paperback next month, and Cemetery Dance is working on a limited hardcover too (the paperback may even beat it onto the shelves. Their limited release of “The Baby” by Al Sarrantonio was re-worked into his paperback novel Halloweenland, and the original novella was included at the end of the paperback. Douglas Clegg
    re-released “The Necromancer” as a part of his two story paperback collection “The Attratction.” Dorchester/Leisure books does a lot of these reprints. Norman Partridge’s “Dark Harvest” was reprinted by Tor Books in a really nice oversized paperback style that would suit “Turtle Boy”. Some of the small press companies will release a trade (paperback and hardcover) version of their books a few months or years after their limited edition hardcovers… sometimes the trade version is limited to (like 3000-5000 instead of 250-750).

    The truth is, I get these books to read. It REALLY sucks when they sell out and you don’t get a copy of one of your favorite author’s books. Then you have to pray for a re-release, or fork out the big bucks. Some books you just KNOW are not going to be reprinted like LOOKING GLASS (Dang it!). Novellas tend to get reprinted in novella collections… sometimes also as limited editions. Like Rick Hautala 20003 “Cold River” (limited 750) was reprtinted in 2006 “Four Octobers” (also limited 750) with three other novellas. So, like a “Hides” “Turtle Boy” “Vessels” “Midlisters” set would work if the publishers could all agree to it…. LOL.

    Most people buy these limited books because they either:
    A) Want a “first edition” for their collection (and really don’t care if there is a reprint)
    B) Want to read (or be the first to read) what the story is or the author’s work (and also really don’t care if there is a reprint).

    In other words, GO FOR IT! I want to read it too!

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