Progress on various fronts (and the lack thereof)

The good:

1. The biggest news is no surprise to anyone following my personal writing blog () or Facebook: I've accepted a faculty position at the Hong Kong campus of Savannah College of Art and Design.  This is quite cool, to say the least.  I start Monday.  This will be a great fit, allowing me to combine the teaching I've been doing with the writing and editing experience I have.  I'm looking forward to it.  So far I'm enjoying getting to know my new colleagues, and the campus is gorgeous.  There's one caveat, of course: I will be busier in the coming months.  I'd say something about things not happening as quickly as usual, but that would sound silly, given how long it took us to get the BookCyclone site up and running.

2. It is up and running, by the way, and we're even selling books there.  There's still some work to do, though.

3. Dispatches from the Peninsula is selling, even though we're two weeks away from the pub date.  The e-book has been selling, and I think people are even getting physical copies.

4. Xu Xi is quite happy with the typesetting for Access, I'm pleased to say.  We (or rather, our book designers) did our first three Signal 8 Press titles in Garamond, which looked striking.  Xu Xi had always wanted a book set up in Caslon.  We were happy to oblige.  I mean, why wouldn't we?  So in addition to a really spectacular cover (to be revealed as soon as Justin Kowalczuk finishes the page file), we're rocking a terrific classic-cool font.  Caslon's great, kind of like the dapper/dowdy hipster who wears granny glasses but gives great head.  We're doing pretty well on time with this one: the pub date's in late November, but it'll be ready to go well before then.  There will be HK events at City U, the Asia Society, and the Tongzhi Literary Group (the latter will be a joint event with me, to coincide with the release of The Infernal Republic).  Xu Xi will also be presenting at the Makassar Literary Festival in Indonesia.  (I'll probably go as well.  How many other occasions will I have to go to Makassar?)

5. I've sent The Infernal Republic to the book designers, too.  One word: Palatino.  Still no cover treatment yet, which is beginning to worry me a little.

6. I'm deep in edits on our summer 2012 release, Justin Nicholes's River Dragon Sky.  I'd be getting more done if there were more hours in the day.

7. We've just gone to contract with the prominent Australian author Brian Castro to release his backlist via BookCyclone.  Among the titles will be Shanghai Dancing, which I think sold quite well in a number of places.  This is great, because I think it'll make all of his books more easily available outside of Australia and New Zealand for the first time.  Look for these in another three or four weeks.

The neutral:

8. We're going to start paying royalties and reporting sales twice a year, not quarterly.  Given how complex the royalty rates are by some of the e-retailers we work with (Amazon in particular), it's a more time-consuming process than we'd counted on.  We have a total of about 50 books between our imprints, so we're just not big enough to stick with a more ambitious schedule than this.  Once Jerome finishes the current round of reports and payments, we'll be sending out an announcement to our writer and publisher partners, and will modify the language in our contracts accordingly.

And the things that make us roll our eyes:

9. Kobo is backlogged.  I've done some research into WTF is the problem with them.  Now I know what's going on.  It's not just us: apparently they're months behind schedule and over capacity, and this has been going on since at least spring (which means it's probably been longer, but it didn't become semi-public knowledge until recently).  We already knew that their uploading system is buggy.  This might explain it.  It may be that it simply cannot accommodate the volume of e-books being piped into that site.  In any event, we do have an account with them.  Once we have ascertained that Kobo has sorted itself out and set up a more reliable, user-friendly means of uploading books, we'll resume distributing to them.  In the meantime, the moratorium will continue.

10. Books on Board.  We've got everything but an FTP account with them.  Why we don't have that, I have no idea.  They're not big on replying to e-mail.  One of these days, honest, we will get this one going

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