What is monstrously good and coming in exactly 6 months? Spear!

Monstrously good…

Video description: a T-Rex stomping about (and roaring at the occasional overhead pterosaur) on top of a pile of advance reading copies of the novel Spear by Nicola Griffith.

But you can, of course, pre-order the hardcover, audio, and ebook editions right now from these fine retailers:

IndieBound | Amazon.com | Bookshop.org | Barnes & Noble | Amazon.co.uk

Or see this enormous list of independent booksellers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.

And it would be a good idea to pre-order now, especially if you want a hardcover copy. Why? Three reasons—two that almost always apply, and one that’s special to these pandemic times.

First, pre-ordering is good for you, the reader—once you’ve plunked down your cash you don’t have to worry about remembering anymore. When I know there’s a book I definitely am going to want, the best way to make sure I get it—because who can remember things like publication dates?—is to just buy it now and relax knowing it will magically arrive the first day it’s available.

Second, even in the best of times, it’s good for the author. Here’s what one publisher has to say about it1:

For an author, pre-orders can alert retailers and consumers that they should pay attention to your book. From the bookseller perspective, the pre-order quantity is a good early indicator of a book’s success, and can lead to retailers increasing their initial orders.

Additionally, pre-orders can have a ripple effect in the broader publishing industry, and a pre-publication buzz campaign in support of pre-orders can build anticipation for your book launch, allowing you to carry momentum through the weeks following your on-sale date.

Third, today—mid-pandemic—is most definitely not the best of times for publishing. You’ve probably heard that there are global supply chain disruptions affecting all sorts of industries. Publishing is one of them. One of Seattle’s booksellers, Robert Sindelar of Third Place Books, recently spoke to the New York Times about this. Shortages and shipping bottlenecks are occurring at several different points in the chain: not enough paper, not enough workers to print, bind, pack the books, not enough shipping containers to put them in, not enough ships to carry them, or workers to unload the shipping containers when they arrive, or trucks to transport the books to the warehouses, and from the warehouses to the stores, and so on. Print runs are usually ordered far in advance, so a publisher has to make an informed guess about numbers. In the best of times it doesn’t matter too much if they underestimate; it’ll only take a couple of weeks to print more. But, yeah—right now not the best of times. An author’s worst nightmare: readers queuing up to buy the delicious hardcover and there being no copies available anywhere and no idea when there might be.

So if you want to read Spear—and it’s monstrously good!—do you, me, and the publisher a favour and pre-order now. And keep the receipt so that closer to publication date you can enter to win a spiffy enamel pin.2

  1. Penguin Randomhouse
  2. The Spear pin is so great I actually wear in on my jacket lapel. I can’t remember the last time I liked something well enough to do that with—oh, well, okay, yes I do :)