March 4th, 2011

The 411 on Endless Summer

First of all, more lovely news: Going Too Far has gone back for a 9th printing, and a 10th printing is planned for April in preparation for summer sales. If you're in the market for Going Too Far or Forget You and you've had trouble finding them in Barnes & Noble, now you will find a flood of copies. (In Birmingham I just signed copies at Patton Creek.) I really appreciate your support of these books.

In other happy news, it's spring here in Alabama! The trees are blooming beautifully, the birds are chirping, and thunderstorms are on the way. And the warm weather puts me in the mood for my summertime duo The Boys Next Door and Endless Summer. A lot of you have had questions about the publication of these books, so I thought I'd clarify a few things.

Though let me say this first. A lot of your questions are phrased like, "Why did you publish the book this way?" or "Why did you choose this cover?" Please understand that authors published by large New York publishers generally have very little say in sales, marketing, or publicity decisions, and that includes titles, covers, the format of the book, and where you can find it for sale. Also, when publishers make these decisions, they will probably tell the authors eventually, but their priority is selling books, not keeping the authors informed. And that's why I don't always have good answers to your questions.

Why can't I buy Endless Summer by itself?

Here is what happened. The publisher, Simon Pulse, used to produce a series called the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies. The books came out roughly one every two months, and they had cartoon covers featuring the characters. These cartoon covers look too young for a teen audience now, but they were very stylish and hip when the series debuted in 2004, back when chick lit was big and everything, even adult books, had cartoon covers. My novels Major Crush (2006), The Boys Next Door (2007), and The Ex Games (2009) were part of this series.

Simon Pulse agreed to publish my sequel to The Boys Next Door, called Endless Summer, in 2010. It was going to be published in the same way as the rest, and they created a cartoon cover for it. However, they had already decided they were not going to publish any more of these books, and they were going to start re-publishing the old books in collections with a bigger format and photographic covers, which would look more stylish to current readers. So instead of making Endless Summer one of the last books with a cartoon cover, they decided to make it the very first book with a photographic cover. And since the rest of the books with photographic covers are collections, they made it a collection by re-printing The Boys Next Door in the same volume.

But I'd already bought a copy of The Boys Next Door, and now I have to buy it again to get Endless Summer.

I know and I'm sorry. I anticipated this and I complained on your behalf. See my comment above about how authors don't have much say. But in defense of the publisher, this book came out at the lowest point of the recession, and I'm sure they were just trying to figure out what most readers would want so the book would sell well. The cartoon covers were no longer doing justice to these books, but if this book had been published by itself with a new photographic cover, people wouldn't have understood that it was a sequel to a book that looked totally different and came out 3 years earlier.

On the bright side, the entire big honking volume of The Boys Next Door and Endless Summer together is only $10. That is a great price if you are going by weight. If Endless Summer had been published by itself with a photographic cover, it probably would have cost $9 or $10, judging from the current market.

Why can't I buy Endless Summer as an e-book?

Apparently there was a rule at this publisher that collections couldn't be e-books. That rule has changed, and I have been told that Endless Summer will be available in an e-version on April 19. I am assuming that means it will still be published along with The Boys Next Door in the same volume.

Until recently I did not understand what the big deal was about not having an e-version of this book available. I was wondering why you didn't just go buy a print copy. But now that I have figured out how to use my Kindle, I get it! I totally do. Plus the Kindle doesn't weigh 15 pounds. So we have that to look forward to.