Some of you may remember that a few weeks back I promised you a surprise after the first of the year. Well, the time has come, and this blog is an announcement of what that surprise is.
Shawn Speakman, my Web Druid and publisher of Grim Oak Press, and I are going to release new, special editions of the four books that make up The Heritage of Shannara cycle starting with The Scions of Shannara, which we plan to ship out in August, with the other three books each being Kickstarted and releasing in six month intervals afterwards.
Our difficulty in undertaking this project was in deciding how to do so to reach out to and satisfy the maximum number of readers and collectors, giving everyone a chance at something that would appeal to their wants and needs and bankbook. We settled on using a Kickstarter platform. It allows us to offer each Heritage book in various Kickstarter tiers from a basic cloth-bound edition to a leatherbound edition—all with certain book-related additions such as coins, art prints, and other tangible collectibles that we hope will satisfy everyone’s cravings.
We will launch The Scions of Shannara Special Anniversary Edition Kickstarter on February 1, 2021, and it will run for about 4 weeks. During that time, you can purchase whatever seems right for you and know it will arrive close to the 1st of August. We will do this with each succeeding book – if reader interest warrants it – until all four are out there and we are probably exhausted. We will also be offering stretch goal incentives to persuade you commit to a choice that will bring us to our fiscal goal and warrant additional upgrades to all the books. For example, after a certain monetary goal is reached, the more elaborate editions will change their interior illustrations from black & white to color. You probably know how this works already, but when it debuts, the Kickstarter will explain all this in more detail and you can study it to you hearts content.
And not only that, but we will be offering with this first Kickstarter a new edition of the Shannara novella Indomitable as well. The only other time it published as a stand alone hardcover was with Subterranean Press a decade ago. Those have been long sold out. I am excited to offer this as I understand it is difficult finding a copy of it even on the secondary market.
Why are we doing a Kickstarter now? After all, we have published leather-bound editions before of Sword, Elfstones, Wishsong and First King. For one thing, a commitment to four books at once requires that we divaricate more on our format – or formats, in this case – so we can satisfy better the very substantial demand that is out there for this new publication. Until now, one basic and one special format has been the order of the day. But we decided that treating this differently was warranted. Collectors want as many add-ons as they can get rather than just a new book. Hardcore collectors want something they can lock away in a vault that only a handful of people will ever have. In between these two extremes is a whole raft of other reader demands. Color or black & white illustrations, bookmarks, coins, prints, an additional piece of writing like Indomitable that is hard to come by – you name it.
Kickstarter is a platform that allows for easy organization to assure fulfilling these requests will not drive us up the wall, so that’s why we’re going with them for this effort. Be assured, we are going to do all this as a first-class effort. Both Shawn and myself will oversee the books and the Marc Simonetti illustrations and whatever other collectible items we choose to throw in. We will use the same illustrator throughout – assuming he doesn’t get sick and tired of us. Uniformity of the look, product quality and choice will be maintained. No corners will be cut.
As most of you know, I am pretty much finished with the Shannara series. With the publication of The Last Druid in October, I closed up shop and moved on. Five of the stories contained in my short story collection, Small Magic, which will publish through Del Rey Books in March 2021, will be Shannara tales. But that will be it in the Shannara world for the foreseeable future. Will I come back to it one day? Maybe. But at least if there is sufficient interest in these new printings of some of the classics we can continue to do these special editions of the sets that are already out there from earlier days.
So off we will go, the 1st of February. Shawn and I will be doing a ZOOM event the same day the Kickstarter launches to talk about the entire project and to take questions from readers. Look for a further announcement on this in the near future. In the meantime, let’s all stay safe and healthy and hope for good times and good reading ahead.
With magic, Terry & Shawn