The Tonk need a rescue

Talyn in PaperbackTalyn debuts in paperback today. With luck, you’ll find it in local indie bookstores, where real people order books, and where support for my work has been strong. If you don’t have an indie store, then you may find it in your local chain bookstore, but computers order the books for chains, and they order to the net, a process that kills most writing careers in three books.

I’m not in danger of having my career killed at the moment, but Hawkspar could easily be the last Tonk/ Korre book. The sale of a third book in the series depends on the paperback success of Talyn. The Talyn hardcover had a small print run, and sellthrough was meager. If the hardcover showed up in your bookstore, it probably did so with one spined-out copy, and if that sold, no more were reordered. That was the story with most of the chains, including mine. With no sales reports in front of me, I have to guess that the majority of sales came from the indies.

There’s a very narrow time window (about a month) in which the book has a chance to succeed or fail. The clock starts today. If it succeeds, it will get another month. If it fails, though, it will disappear from most of the chains at this time in December, and that will be the kiss of death to Redbird, the third book.

If you have been waiting for whatever reason to buy Talyn, now is the time when buying it will make a difference.

If you enjoyed Talyn or the world of Korre, please recommend (read “beat over the head with”) the book to anyone you think might enjoy it. If you can’t find it in your local bookstore, please ask your local bookseller to order it in. Perhaps in quantity.

And if it isn’t available where you are, then you can buy it here from these online indies:

Or the chains online, of course:Amazon is one of the online sales venues of last resort, along with Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble.

Talyn is one of the two best books I’ve written (I consider Hawkspar its equal) and though I know the odds are against me, I want this world to succeed. If you can help out in any way, my deepest thanks.

And if you do a review or something else that might encourage people to buy, please post a link here. I’ll put a link to this post and links to some of the reviews on the front page.

All articles in this series, in order:



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31 responses to “The Tonk need a rescue”

  1. pres Avatar

    In my opinion, you’ve presented the topic in a quite thorough yet concise manner, that is genuinely useful when someone wants to get the facts without spending too a lot time searching the Internet and sifting out the noise to discover the answers to their questions.

  2. learn chinese Avatar

    Certainly with that 100%! Action can make things happen. Nobody ever learned just to walk if you don’t take step one.

  3. Holly Avatar

    TJ, that’s so cool of you. Thank you very much.

  4. TJ Avatar

    Hey Holly. Just wanted to let you know that I purchased a paperback copy of Talyn. Since I already own the hard cover, I’m donating it to the Absolute Write auctions, if they’ll have it.

  5. Holly Avatar

    Taymalin—Thank you so much for letting me know. I’m delighted that you liked it. And maybe… maybe there will be more. The first one, in paperback anyway, seems to be selling.

  6. Taymalin Avatar

    Just had to drop in and say that I absolutely loved this book. I don’t think there was anything about it that I didn’t love. It was supposed to be a “read only on the plane book”, but I ended up having to buy a second book for my return flight, because once I picked up Talyn, I couldn’t stop reading it.

    Thank-you so much for writing it, and for keeping it a stand-alone. There are too few good books that aren’t part of a series in fantasy, and Talyn was one of the best reads I’ve had in a long time.

    I hope all goes well and you can continue to write about the Tonk. They’re fascinating.


  7. Holly Avatar

    For me, the chains are the only places that sell books within more than a hundred miles. Online is my other option. I use both. I’m not discrediting chains—simply their computerized ordering process, which is killing midlist writers’ careers.

  8. Marseille Avatar

    I will encourage my friends to buy the novel. Though, I just wanted to say, that I think its a bit unfair to discredit some chains like Barnes and Noble. I always find the most interesting books there.

    In fact, that’s where I found the hardback (Facing out and on a display -though full price) at the end of Last Year. And the paperback was also facing out and on display today when I visited my local bn.

    Borders on the other hand doesn’t keep the choices, fresh, but I think BN is just as good if not better than an indie for finding good books.

    Anyway, I loved Talyn and hope any parts cut from Hawkspur will be available on your site. (Will make sure to buy copies for my friends for their b-days . . etc.)


  9. Taymalin Avatar

    Got my copy today–at a chain bookstore, which had 3 copies, cover out.

    Now if I can just keep my hot little hands off of it until my flight on Sunday.


  10. Holly Avatar

    Paul—pretty much what PolarBear said. Self-publishing lacks means of distribution. You can do it for a hobby, or as a sideline, but you can’t live on it.

    I’m looking at the Lulu model of ISBN, Books-In-Print marketing for my backlist, but by doing this I’d be paying Lulu money to make my backlist books available for chains to order, and I can’t get the chains to keep my damned frontlist in stock. Backlist? Please.

    The whole issue is beyond frustrating.

  11. PolarBear Avatar


    One of the “problems” with self-publishing is there’s virtually no practical way to get into the chains, and indies have trouble stocking you, too. The distribution system isn’t there.

    You may know that Holly has been doing some of her own publishing for her non-fiction work through the HollyShop as well as print publications through Lulu for at least one out-of-print novel. Lulu prices are much higher than mass market paperback and tend to discourage sales unless someone is dedicated to purchasing that author’s books. If you don’t know an author, are you going to spend $6.99 and pick a book up in your local store or mail order a book for $11.95 (using Hunting the Corrigan’s Blood as an example). Most readers are going for the less expensive book for an unknown author — making it difficult for an author to pick up new readers via the self-publishing method.

    While you’re driving around trying to sell books out of the trunk of your car, you’re not in a position to write new books or to spend time with your family. In Holly’s case (and I hope I’m not speaking out of turn), both of those things are of primary importance to her.

    Self-publishing is a way, but rarely the best way for most authors — especially one who needs to make a living at writing. It is, however, a business decision, and I’m sure Holly has considered it. So far, traditional print is a better option, and one I hope she can continue to pursue.

  12. paulv Avatar


    Have you explored self-publishing? Would it be worth it to sell as many copies that you can to your loyal readers? It sounds like a step back but I know I would rather see an author self-publish and keep a series alive that would be satifying to the author to write and the readers to read.

    I myself hate it when an author starts a series, gets one or two books in, and then nothing ๐Ÿ™ I would be willing to buy directly from an author, than a chain. Say off the authors’ website.

    Holly I have read most of your books, the ones I can get my hands on that is. Another pet peeve of mine is sometimes by the time book 2 or 3 of a series come out, book 1 is OOP ๐Ÿ™

    Oh and as for Talyn, I got my PB copy Yesterday from Barnes and Nobles, and they had a very nice display, in the new release/hot sellers display area, at least 30 books all facing outwards. with 2 or 3 layers of the titles behind the front copies. So that is hopeful, and while I was standing there a B&N employee started looking in eanest for a book, I pointed her to Talyn and said is that is? She smiled and said yes it is. Then she asked if it was book one of the series :S

    I hope sales are brisk for Talyn, I’d love to see the series develop rathar than die out from apathy!

  13. robson Avatar

    I posted something yesterday, but it never showed up. I was newly registered. Maybe that was part of it.

    In any case, I have written about the publishing situation on my blog, and have mentioned Talyn and added a cover. I expect to revisit the topic after I get to read the book!

    Would do this as a TinyURL, but the utility’s not in place on the machine I’m using. Apologies for the length of the link.

    Robson’s Link

  14. NoelFigart Avatar

    Were you trying to imply that Tayln hasn’t hit the chains? I saw two copies in Borders.

    Bought one.

  15. Jaye Patrick Avatar

    The paperback isn’t due out here in Australia until January 2007, according to four different bookstore sites – sorry about that; but I am getting a book token for Christmas, so I guess I’ll be getting Talyn and A Plague of Memories… Hah!

  16. Jenne Avatar

    By the way, my school does a series of podcasts about readers and reading… a professor interviews readers, authors, and librarians. Would you be interested in recording an interview with him (by phone) in late January? It would be posted in January or February. If yes, we can get together via email to make the arrangements.

  17. Jenne Avatar

    I loved Talyn… I pre-ordered it in hardback. I think I will get at least one paperback for a friend who I think will like it. I’m also putting together an auction fundraiser for my student organization and will add another copy of that book into one of the items I’m auctioning off.

    After all my papers are due (next Thursday!) I’ll reread it and post a review on two of my sites (Accidental Nomad and Redhaired Librarian.) I’ll give you a trackback when I post it.

    I hope, hope, hope it sells HUGE in paperback. I agree that it’s one of your best and it deserves more attention.

  18. heather Avatar

    Awesome! I just placed my order from one of the indie shops you linked. Can’t wait to read it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. writewize Avatar

    Jim left me a comment and I am grateful. However, I cannot link to his page or email. Please write to me at so I can visit your site. You don’t have to post it here.

    Also, my site comes up wrong here due to a glitch I had with Blogger.
    I am at

    (notice the addition of the “ly”

    ****Hope Holly doesn’t think I am abusing her board. I just wanted Jim to get this message. If anyone else knows who he is, please help out.

  20. michele_lang Avatar

    Done Holly…I got Talyn awhile ago in hardcover and loved it. I’ll be giving the paperback away as a gift. There were about five copies of Talyn in p/b on the shelf at my local Borders where I bought it, and at least one was faced out by the time I left ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wishing you stellar sales for a fantastic book. Talyn rocks!


  21. Holly Avatar

    Authors receive MUCH less for deeply-discounted books than for full-price books, but they still count as sales in our numbers. Remainders, OTOH, do not.

    Thank you for asking, Rose.

  22. The English Rose Avatar
    The English Rose

    I have a question for you about sales. If you need to sell 8000 books, random number, to make your publisher happy, and you sell 8000 books, but a percentage were purchased at a discount, like when B&N offers all new hardcovers 30% off or something… does it still count or not? Who takes the “loss” on a discounted book? Does it make a lick of difference?

    I ask because I work at a bookstore and will be purchasing my copy next weekend during our employee shopping days.

  23. miladyinsanity Avatar

    I reserved a copy at my favorite bookstore at least a month ago. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. wolverine Avatar

    I know one friend who’ll like this, so I’ll buy it (if I can — I don’t know if it’ll be available at all here) for her for Christmas.

    Good luck with it. I’ll tell my library and see if they can get a copy in as well.


  25. shay Avatar

    just had a thought that i might get the paperback copy as well as i could be going traveling and it might be better than carrying a hardback round Australia with me.

  26. Alastair Bridgewater Avatar

    Bought it this morning. I’ve been too busy to actually read much of it yet, but that will change soon enough. I’m sure it’ll be worth the month-or-more long wait. The bookstore only had two copies, though, so I hope the other one doesn’t end up spined and sitting forlorn on the shelf (for that matter, I hope it’s not there by this weekend and they order more).

  27. PolarBear Avatar

    I’ll be putting together another BookPack giveaway over at my place later this week, and Talyn will definitely be part of the pack.

  28. Jim Avatar

    I’m definitely putting it on the Christmas Gift List. Good Luck.

  29. valerie Avatar

    Thanks for the heads up!

  30. JaCop Avatar

    Like this? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Can’t let this series go out! I’m still ticked of about your Worldgate novels! ๐Ÿ™‚

    It really is an amazing book! I’ll be picking up a few copies to give as Christmas gifts.


  31. shay Avatar

    i loved talyn and was impressed with the hardback copy. I’ve had a review for the book up for a while at – along with some other reviews for books you’ve written ๐Ÿ™‚

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