Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Update: September, 2008

Since 2001 I haven't taken a many leisure-based trips. Generally I go somewhere to get some work done, then see a few sites if time permits. I don't mind that equation at all. After all, it's not as if my "work" is digging ditches.

However, it is certainly nice to invert the ratio once in a while. Last weekend's trip was more along these lines. I don't think I'd seen Howard and his wife since last spring in Europe—though we'd spoken often. So it was lovely to simply catch up and talk about the world of opera, recent films, old SNL stories, Shore's upcoming Fanfare for organ and brass… and of course a good deal about The Hobbit. (No, I'm not divulging!) And of course, every good weekend trip should involve a couple of improvised campfire songs strummed on a ukulele. (I'm not going to divulge about that either… wouldn't know where to begin!)

Interspersed here and there was a bit of work related to the book. Shore visited the publisher's offices a few days before I arrived, and of course had been going through the mock-up I sent him a few weeks earlier. He had a few solid suggestions related to one section of the book, which I'm now working on incorporating. But past the nuts and bolts, we also had a few large-scale decisions to make.

As I mentioned a little while back, some new opportunities have arisen related to the book. We now have the chance to tie it in to another major release. This has the potential to help us on all fronts: the legal side of things (licensing costs, to be specific), the marketing side… and (most importantly) the creative side. The downside was that we'd have to delay the book's targeted release date in order to allow this "other release" time to assemble.

I did some informal polling, both around here and elsewhere, and the vote was unanimous: delays stink… but delays that improve the final product are forgivable. Taking this to heart—as well as the improvements a delay would bring to the book—made the choice pretty clear. As of right now, we're no longer considering November, 2008 as a potential release date. We haven't pinned down a new release date because we're waiting to hear from the "other release." We should know soon.

However, what's very important for everyone to understand is that the book is not being shifted around in such a way that it will get lost in the mix. This is a step up with just a tinge of frustration—a tinge due to nothing but impatience. In other words, deluxe just deluxe-er… again… heck, even standard got deluxe-er this time! Once I've made the latest set of revisions (during which I'll probably try and track down a few more interviewees), Shore and I will plan out three or four upcoming four trips to his office. Each of those trips will be filled with a bit of research, a bit of planning, and a bit of filming. We may also do a little filming in Europe.

Oh, and if you're still not convinced, let it be noted that you're also likely to get significantly more unused music in your hands this way. Yes, I said "significantly."

I hope the above doesn't strike anyone as Pollyanna prose. I'm genuinely excited by these new possibilities… well, honestly the filming thing terrifies me ever so slightly, but I'll manage to screw my courage to the sticking place, I'm sure. I'm also ready to take a few knocks from people who have had their Christmas lists tossed into disarray by this announcement. It wasn't an easy choice to make. And I feel a bit of that frustration as well. I've been hammering away at this book since 2002. I used to gasp in amazement when I heard how long the Jacksons spent in Middle-earth in order to bring The Lord of the Rings to the screen. Now I grin in empathy. I'm about to push year six into year seven. And yes, I'll be hopping right on to The Hobbit. I'll easily spend over a decade in Middle-earth. But the point is: I want to show off what we've created! I'm impatient too! But I feel confident that this choice will make the Big Reveal even more momentous. I'm incredibly proud of this project, and it's only getting better!

Heck, if nothing else, I'll still get the obnoxious thrill of teasing you guys for a little longer. That's always a plus… ;)

Please, if you have any questions at all, post them here.

All best,

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