Perfectly Invisible: Why The Missing Deluxe Edition Is Missing
In the comments section of Chapter One of Perfectly Invisible, Russell Davis asked where the deluxe edition of Perfectly Invisible was. A year ago I released In Hero Years… I’m Dead in both a basic and deluxe edition. The deluxe edition included the full text of the novel and a long essay talking about how the book came to be written. It was pretty much the commentary track on a DVD option, costing $1 more. The deluxe edition has been wildly popular, outselling the basic edition seven to one.
Russell’s question is a good one. I enjoyed writing the essay for IHYd. I enjoy teaching writing classes, and the essay about the novel was a way to share a lot of the process of writing a novel. It was also fun looking back it at after three years, recalling the decisions, consulting my notes and getting a better handle on exactly how I did some things which I’d done by gut instinct alone. It was as much a learning exercise in writing for me as it was for anyone reading it.
So, why no deluxe edition for Perfectly Invisible?
I have three main reasons for not having done one. First, I did an essay talking about the book and the world for my blog. It doesn’t delve as deeply into decisions about what to write as the IHYd essay does, but it does cover world-building and philosophical points. Any longer essay about the HSS universe would certainly find its roots in that essay.
Second was the economic question. Perfectly Invisible sells for $3.99—just about $1 per hour of reading entertainment for the average reader. I do a lot of flying and it would get me through a cross-country flight, which pretty much does the job as far as I’m concerned. I don’t commute to work (unless you consider taking the stairs a commute), but I think it should get someone through a week’s worth of commutes. One of the reasons the Kindle edition does allow for text-to-speech is for those who want to listen while driving.
All that being said, adding $1 to the cost of the book for an essay about how it was written seemed a little steep. I’m as aware as the next guy that money is tight right now for a lot of folks. While I like making a living, and the extra dollar would net me 70 cents, which does add up, I really didn’t want anyone thinking I was out to gouge them on prices. There are others in the publishing world who will do that, so I don’t have to.
Third, and most important, is that I’m not ready to write such an essay. The reason for that is that this book is the first in a series that will evolve as more stories get written. Anyone who, as I did as a kid, read the Doc Savage novels in chronological order, got to see the stories change as the author got a better handle on the characters, world and audience. I found it a fascinating process and I find myself in the middle of that as I begin to work on new stories in this world. That process, and the changes made by and through it will form the core of any deluxe essay.
For example, just yesterday I did the prep work on what will be the second novel in the series. A number of folks have described Perfectly Invisible as reading an episode of CSI or Law and Order. I consider that a high compliment. Both are police procedurals, and I love watching puzzles getting put together. CSI uses all sorts of cool tech, and Law and Order is great dealing with characters. I could probably settle into writing mystery after mystery in exactly that vein and have a really successful series.
The fact is, because of the setting I’ve created, I can and want to do more. When I was working on the Star Wars® X-wing comics for Dark Horse Comics, my editors and I agreed that we had several types of stories we could tell. Military SF was clearly one of them. Because it was Star Wars®, doing stories that touched on the mystical aspects of the Force had to be done. We also did stories that came up through issues in Wedge’s past; or to set up things that would take place in the novels. We got to introduce Corran and Iella and Mirax in the comics. Through those pages Baron Fel was born, and that gave us the chance to tell a long saga from the Imperial point of view.
I have a whole list of story types I want to play with. I designed the Homeland Security Services teams so they could do anything. We need a Sherlock Holmes puzzle, great, got that covered. Hunt for a missing child; I can do that. Undercover operation infiltrating a biker gang, not a problem. Full-blown military-style assault with guns blazing; we can do that, too. (The story I worked out yesterday is even more odd, and will be a hell of a lot of fun.)
My thinking on deluxe editions is this: every so often I’ll gather up a couple of books, maybe some of the short stories, and toss in an essay talking about that set of things, and wrap it up in a package. I’ll also make the things available as stand-alones so folks have the ala cart option open to them. As always I’ll keep the prices low and affordable. If you keep buying, I’ll keep writing.
For those of you who haven’t tried Perfectly Invisible yet, now is your chance. I’ve provided three sample chapters here on my website, or you can click on any of the online retailers below and download a free preview of the novel. It’s the first of a series in which I’ll provide both novels and shorter works. (The novel is 50,000 words long, or a five hour read for the average reader.)
The full novel is available for purchase right now from my webstore. Just click on the cover image to the left, or on that link. The novel runs $3.99, and the package in my store has both the Kindle and epub versions of the books, so you’ll have a copy that works with any of your readers. As always, the books are presented without DRM (digital rights management) and I have a note with instructions for getting the book onto ereaders and smartphones. Please remember, by purchasing stories direct from authors, not only do you pay less, but you become a patron of the arts. You vote with your dollars, and that tells us what you’d like to see us continuing to write.
For the Kindle edition, just hit this link.
To purchase it through iTunes for your iPad/iPhone/iPod, just hit this link.
To purchase it through Barnes & Noble for your Nook, please use this link.