The mass market paperback for The 7th Victim is now available. I’ve made a few minor corrections to the text and helped with tweaks to the interior layout design. Mostly, however, this is a process that’s handled by the publisher, particularly my project editor, who oversees the production and printing. The 7th Victim paperback is available in bookstores nationwide, at your favorite online retailer, and on Kindle. For those who don’t know, The 7th Victim was named to Library Journal’s “Best Books of the Year” list—a tremendous honor, considering it was chosen from amongst 7,000 entries.

In my continuing blog series of an author’s behind-the-scenes life (actually, it follows the process from the time a novel is readied for submission through publication and book tour) it’s only fitting we talk now about the next step that happens in a novel’s life: the paperback edition.

Sometime around the point I was handing in the final tweaks to the galleys for Crush, I had to submit changes I wanted made to the text for The 7th Victim.

If you’re fortunate to have a hardcover publishing deal, the hardcover is the first version to be released. The reasons are obvious from an economic perspective: these books cost more (around $25-29) and generate more profit for the publishers, the distributors, and the booksellers. They’re also preferred by many readers because the font is larger, the quality of the paper is better, and the “packaging” is superior to that of a paperback. They’re also much easier to read on a treadmill or elliptical.

Typically from ten to twelve months after the release of the hardcover, the “mass market” edition is released. [Some publishers also release a more expensive, larger “trade paperback” edition, (typical cost: $15)]. The mass market paperback sells for around $8 or $9 and is designed for mass production.

Since hardcovers are taken on consignment by the bookstores, any unsold copies after four to six weeks are typically shipped back to the warehouse. They then remain there until a different bookstore puts in an order for that novel. They’re then shipped to that bookstore. Clearly, this is a very expensive and wasteful model. With concern over energy efficiency and carbon emissions, this current model is inefficient, costly, and—what’s the opposite of green? (Let’s choose charcoal, for carbon.)

Paperbacks are an entirely different story (pun intended). They are not shipped back when they go unsold. The covers are torn off (“the book is destroyed,” in industry lingo) and the remaining cadaveric bound pile of paper is dumped.

So there you have it. Don’t let a fantastic read like The 7th Victim be “destroyed.” Buy it now. And enjoy a thrilling read.

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