Book Six is going well, I’m sure you’ll be happy to know. I have another week before I send it in for my editor and agent to read- and of course it has to get the seal of approval from Laura too.
But today we are not talking about Book Six. Instead, we are talking about the new paperbacks.
I never assume that you all know the difference between a hardback and a paperback (er, apart from the fact that one has a hard back, and the other has a softer back) because I find myself explaining the intricacies of publishing to my family again and again on a worryingly regular basis. So, to start, a short lesson.
The first time a book is published, it will usually be published in hardback. This is when the book is brand new, so it will be bigger, it will have hard covers, and it’ll be more expensive. At the same time as the hardback is out, a trade paperback is released. These are NOT the same as a regular paperback, because they’re the same size as the hardback, it’s just that the covers are softer. You’ll usually find trade paperbacks in airports, because travellers don’t like carrying around hardbacks, which are heavier and more awkward. In Ireland, we actually get relatively few hardbacks, for some reason, and most of the brand new books on sale are trade paperbacks.
With me so far? Excellent.
In much the same way as films are released in the cinema, and then a few months later they’re released again on DVD, books go through a change. Approximately six months from the launch of the hardback, the paperback is released. Paperbacks are smaller and cheaper, and easier to carry around.
Paperbacks are also re-issued every once in a while with new covers, in order to attract new readers. And that’s what’s happening with Skulduggery.
In April, we’re going to get all the paperbacks released with new covers. You’ve already seen the front covers, but our dear friend Tom Percival has been hard at work on the BACK covers as well- which you will soon be able to see over on the Facebook page (hi guys!). These new paperbacks will fit in alongside the Dark Days paperback in terms of style- and from now on, we’ll be getting one cover for the hardback, and a totally different one for the paperback. Which is SWEET.
As I said, the main reason for redesigning the paperbacks is to entice new readers to pick them up, but the thing that struck us is that some of you lot will probably buy these paperbacks just BECAUSE of the new covers, even if you already own the original books. Because, you know, you’re all nuts, like. And I started to feel pretty guilty about that. I didn’t want you spending your money on multiple versions of my books when all you’d be getting is the same (admittedly brilliant) book with (admittedly brilliant) new covers. So, my UK and Ireland Minions, these new paperbacks, which will be out in April, will have new short stories attached for your reading pleasure. More Skulduggery goodness!
Each short story takes place a few months after the book it appears in.
Skulduggery Pleasant will have “The Lost Art Of World Domination”- a story that, I think, has only been available in Australia and New Zealand up until now.
Playing With Fire will have “Gold, Babies And The Brothers Muldoon”, in which Skulduggery and Valkyrie go up against a trio of goblins.
The Faceless Ones will have “The Slightly Ignominious End To The Legend Of Black Annis”, which is a Tanith Low solo story for all of you who miss her...!
Dark Days doesn’t get a short story yet- we have to wait until we sell all the ones that are out there already and reprint it, and then we’ll include one.
Mortal Coil gets “The Wonderful Adventures of Geoffrey Scrutinous”, which focuses on Charlie Smith’s fantastic creation, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie’s efforts to help him out of a spot of bother.
I had an absolute blast writing these stories, and I hope they ease the pain of forking over your money for any of you who are going to buy them.
Oh, almost forgot. Another nice thing about reprints and new editions is that I get to go over the books again and get rid of mistakes. You may remember me asking you for any mistakes you’ve noticed. Well, I made a note of all of these, and all those corrections are now done.
Er, well, MOST of them. There’s still one mistake in Playing With Fire that hasn’t been corrected. On page 14 of the PWF paperback, it reads:
“The owners of the Waxworks Museum had closed it down after the events of the previous year, and set up a new and improved version in another part of the city. So now the new building stood quietly beside its neighbours, humble and drab, its front doors closed and locked and sealed.”
When it SHOULD be:
“The owners of the Waxworks Museum had closed it down after the events of the previous year, and set up a new and improved version in another part of the city. So now the old building stood quietly beside its neighbours, humble and drab, its front doors closed and locked and sealed.”
Alas, this mistake was missed yet again, so we’ll have to wait until the NEXT reprint before correcting it.
But the biggest change to the paperbacks is to do with Valkyrie’s AGE, and this is a relatively big one.
Somewhere around the third book, I stopped concentrating on what time of year each book was set at, and what age Valkyrie was in each one. Basically, I made it so that, by the time Mortal Coil came around, there was no WAY she could have been sixteen. It just didn’t make sense.
So, I’ve gone back over the books, and adjusted them slightly. This is something I should have been doing all the way through, but I messed up. Entirely my fault.
Er, but if you’re looking for silver lining, we now know what month Valkyrie has her birthday! It’s August! Yay!
So, a quick rundown on our corrected timeline.
Skulduggery Pleasant: takes place in June, when Val was 12.
Playing With Fire: takes place 11 months later, in May, when Val was 13.
The Faceless Ones: takes place 6 months after that, in October, when she was 14.
Dark Days: takes place 11 months later, in September, when Val is 15.
Mortal Coil: takes place 3 months after Dark Days, in December- when Val is STILL 15.
Basically, the biggest change to the books is that in Mortal Coil Valkyrie is a little younger than she at first appeared.