Some books come out first in paperback. Book enthusiasts and marketers call those titles "paperback originals." Other books come out in hardcover, and then a while later, a paperback version is released. That's how Look Me in the Eye came out. The hardcover was released last September, and the paperback comes out six weeks from now, this September 9th.
You can preorder your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Look-Me-Eye-Life-Aspergers/dp/0307396185/ref=ed_oe_p
It will be interesting to see how the paperback orders compare to hardcover orders. Personally, I try to buy hardcover books because I keep them in my library and I just like them better. But I know I'm in the minority. There's always that talk about cheaper prices, pocket sized, foldable, etc. I would have thought schools would buy hardcovers for ruggedness, but the academic marketing folks at Random House tell me almost all their sales are paperback. For my brother's books, the ratio of paperback to hardcover sales has been more than 20:1. Then there are other titles where the ratio is less than 1:1. I wonder what mine will turn out to be?
99% of the time, the paperback version of a book is identical to the hardcover. But I've always been a 1% kind of fellow, and I couldn't resist the chance to tinker with that book just one more time, so I made some changes. Quite a few changes, actually. I'll tell you about some of them here.
The first thing I did was to add a new chapter. I added a 2,700 word postscript describing what I've learned since Look Me in the Eye was written. Why did I do that? I'm glad you asked.
I wrote Look Me in the Eye essentially in isolation. I didn't refer to other books on autism or Asperger's, and I didn't talk to anyone outside my circle of friends. As a result, I didn't really know which thoughts, feelings, and behaviors described in the book were unique to me, and which were characteristic of people on the spectrum. Today, I still don't know for sure, but I've got a considerably better idea. I've described some of those insights in a bit more detail. I've drawn some comparisons with other works, and even hidden the Great and Profound secrets of the world in the subliminal text.
And that's not all . . .
When I wrote LMITE, I thought most readers would be like me. Freaks and misfits on the loose. To my surprise, that notion turned out to be wrong. Many, many readers turned out to be teachers, guards, or inmates serving time in our country's Educational System. I realized something had to be done for those people. Freaks on the loose just read books. Inmates in schools STUDY them. So I got together with the folks at Crown, and we devised a study guide, filled with the kind of questions I would ask. Armed with my study guide, next year's middle school students can debate the fine points of wife selection, rock'n'roll, and motorcycle riding.
I actually think the reading and study guide may find uses outside of school. We'll see.
But that's still not all . . .
I made changes in dialogue, and in the Reading and Resources, and other secret places. The paperback is almost twenty pages longer, which makes it an even better value. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but you are going to be buying my very best quality of thought for just three point seven cents a page, at street prices. What do you say to that? There's a few hundred words on each of those pages . . . the price per word is just so low, it's almost nothing. A few of you might want to thank me for delivering all those words almost free, but you should also thank my publisher's parent company – Bertelsmann – and their Berryville Graphics printing subsidiary. It's their massive printing and distributing capacity that makes it all possible.
If I had to print those books myself, here at home, you can be sure I'd charge a lot more than three cents a page. You and I can't even buy paper and cartridges for our inkjets for that price!
I'll tell you about some more of the changes in coming posts.
Now I have some book tour news . . .
My Opening Day appearance is going to be at River Run books in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. http://www.riverrunbookstore.com/ I hope some of you New England readers are able to join me. Portsmouth is a very pretty town on the coast, and it's just a short drive from there to the historic US Navy shipyards. I love to visit ships and shipyards, and bookstores too.
A few of you have asked about Boulder . . . I'll be appearing at the Boulder Bookstore, and I'll have an exact date very soon.
I also have an answer for those of you who say, Why aren't you coming to my city?
The simple truth is, you did not get together and make it happen. But there's still time.
It may surprise you to read that the cities we select for book tours are driven by readers like you. You and your friends go into a local bookseller, and you say, "We love this book! Can you get the author here?" You get the bookseller motivated, and he calls the publisher and says, "I have a bunch of readers who love this book! Can you send the author here?" And that's what happens. This time, 187 readers in Boulder beat out 119 readers in Denver. It's truly an example of the triumph of motivated special interest groups. So you see, little cities with big readers can still win, and so can you. Go marshal your friends and fellow readers.
If we have enough demand, and if I have enough energy, we will do more bookstores in more cities. Since I like bookstores, there's a pretty good chance that will happen.
And there's more . . .
I also have some open dates on my fall/winter lecture tour. If you would like me to come speak at your school, or to your school board, or to your autism society, or wherever . . . contact Lauren Verge at the Lavin Agency and they'll make it happen. There's a link to Lavin on the right sidebar.
Causes John Robison Supports
I support Asperger and autism advocacy groups. I also support the University of Massachusetts