The Original Paperback Question

I fought to have I Was Carlos Castaneda come out in hardback first. Like all the fights I had with my editor over the book, I lost this one.

So how's it working out?

Someone's just told me how she found out about the book by standing behind someone who was buying it at an airport. That's a bonus. Airports would not be buying this in hardback. Its shelf-life would be over already.

I seldom buy hardbacks myself - I read the reviews then wait a year.

That's the tricky part. As a paperback this book garnered just one review (the LA Times as one of Susan Salter Reynolds delightfully quirky selections). No Publisher's Weekly, No Amazon.com even, not even any of the New Age magazines. I asked Tom Christie, the arts and books editor of the L A Weekly, whether they ever review paperback books. "No," was the succinct reply.

My editor quit Random House months before publication. As a paperback the book had no promotional budget whatsoever, but publishers hardly lavish advertising dollars on most hardbacks either. With no editorial support I doubt the book would have made it through to paperback. Now at least it is in stores, shouldn't be remaindered and go out of print, has a chance to survive and grow on word of mouth.

"I Was Carlos Castaneda" is a curious book. aA I lost all my publishing fights I worked on the assumption that fate was in control, fate knows best.

So original paperback publication for THIS book. It's done the book a favor I think.

Next time, I'll fight for the hardback edition even harder!