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Monday, 31 October 2011

Something eerie on the airwaves

I've been reading the Binscombe Tales and I’m trying to decide if Mr Disvan should be played by Ian McShane or Derek Jacobi. Yes, they’re very different actors. But Disvan is a complex character – serious and politely formal, sure, but also sometimes mischievous. Ruthless but sometimes compassionate. Anciently wise but sometimes childlike. It’s as if Odin took up residence in a Surrey village and drove a fast car with fluffy dice under the mirror. Except that Disvan has both his eyes, so whatever the answer may be to his mystery, that’s not it.

I’m talking about radio, of course, not television. I haven’t gone completely potty. The Binscombe Tales are far too original and idiosyncratic for British TV. Even on the radio, I can’t see us getting either of those great thesps. (Unless they’re fans of the books – well, you never know.)

Why am I thinking at all along such far-fetched lines? Because, to mark the publication of the Binscombe Tales books today (in print and ebook editions) by Spark Furnace Books, Jamie and I are going into the recording studio with Jamie’s brother Peter (an actor who starred in Jamie’s Heart of Harkun BBC serial) and producer Paul Weir to start the ball rolling on a Binscombe Tales audiobook. We’ll do a couple of stories to start, and when people catch on that the Binscombe Tales really are a work of dark brilliance – pardon the oxymoron – then it's time to see if Sir Derek will take our call.


  1. Not related to your post but I can't find a better place to post my question. Any news on FL5 and 6 yet (dead tree versions)?

  2. Funnily enough, that same question was asked when I posted about Dirk Lloyd being Sunday Times children's book of the week (17 October). See comments there for detailed discussion.

  3. Missed that, sorry for posting again.

    Hm, sounds like I'll have to give up smoking so I can live long enough for the printed versions to be published :-)

    Keep up the good work.

  4. Having just had a cigar myself, Anon, I hope you don't have to give up smoking :-) Believe me, there's not a week goes by that Jamie and I don't discuss different plans to get FL 5 and 6 published. And our main shareholder, Frank Johnson, is a firm believer in getting all the rest of the series out as well.

    Our preference is to find a traditional publisher to partner with, as that would enable us to bring the books to a wider audience than just the fans who know about them already. But if we can't find another publisher to team with, our plan then is to publish them ourselves. It may take a little longer than we hoped, but we'll get there.

  5. Would using the same publisher that published Destiny Quest be an option? That seems to have gone pretty well, and now it's picked up by a "regular" publisher.

    I noticed that you requested Abandonia to take down the scans of Blood Sword. Hopefully that means you're planning a (dead tree) reprint of that series as well. This time please start with book 5 because that's the only one I still miss :-)

    Since "your" gamebook series are the best by any standard it's quite annoying that they're so hard to come by, and if you do find them they're outrageously expensive.

    So fingers crossed for good sales!

  6. AuthorHouse aren't a publisher, Anon. They provide publishing services - ie they print, distribute and advertise on the author's behalf. That's all quite expensive. You can spend £10,000 to sell books worth £3000. It's something an individual author can choose to do, but Fabled Lands LLP is a company with responsibility to shareholders.

    "Ah," you may say, "but it paid off for Destiny Quest as there's now a Gollancz deal." The sales figures won't have been the deciding factor there (the new FL books already sold twice as many as Gollancz's quoted figures) but what will have interested Gollancz is Michael Ward's willingness to do loads of publicity work. This is what publishers want from authors. Again, it wouldn't work for a company, which must show a profit.

    We are therefore looking for a publisher to take on our entire back catalogue: Way of the Tiger, Fabled Lands, Blood Sword, Falcon, VR and Golden Dragon. Publishers being what they are, however, I expect they'll want to see how Destiny Quest sells first. I can't promise Blood Sword 5 first :-) but we are trying to get all those books back in both digital and print form.

  7. Backcatalog. Hm, the thought occurred to me that reprints will not generate sales from your huge and loyal fanbase, but merely incremental sales from new readers. So for example FL7, which does appeal to your fanbase, should seriously outsell say FL6.

    But now you're thinking: surely the real fans bought the reprints too. Well, if that were true wouldn't you expect to see more used FL books to show up on eBay? That doesn't seem to happen.

    Perhaps FL7, with reprint of FL5 and 6 of course, could singlehandedly generate the sales you need to convince a publisher to take on the whole lot...

  8. @ anon; I don't think that long time fans would buy the reprints and then sell them on, that would defeat the purpose of buying them in order to support the likelyhood of the last 6 books being printed.

    If people who already had the books and bought the new ones immediately sold them then new people would buy the cheaper 'as new' books on ebay and fabled lands would not benefit from these ebay sales at all.

    I am a long time fan, I got all the books first time round and I got all the reprints as well, and I kept them. I would hope people like me would do the same.

    I hope that made sense.

  9. Fingers crossed on the publishing deal, Dave! Instant pre-orders as far as I'm concerned.

  10. I'm kind of hoping there are lots of people out there who liked one of our books, maybe even bought an entire series like Blood Sword, but who maybe missed out on others and often say to themselves, "I'd really like to have all the other books that Dave and Jamie have written..."