The Case of the Mysterious Vanishing Books – The Tardy Update, Part 2

by Brian on April 24, 2021

in Fiction, Life & Stuff

Three years ago today was publication day for my new novel, The Immaculate Void. But it was on my mind only for the first couple minutes out of bed around 5:30, at which point I learned my mom had unexpectedly died about an hour before.

VoidCover265Get up, get out, get moving — that’s my routine. I go for a trail run, or jump rope in the park we live by. This time of year it’s wise to check the weather app to see how many layers to dress in. Instead, I found that my phone had been blowing up with voicemails. All from the same number in my hometown 1000 miles away.

Even before I dug into them, I knew. I just knew.

This was 23 days after my dad’s equally unexpected death.

So the novel came out, and wasn’t really on my radar. It felt sort of cursed. Unfortunately, irrespective of how proud I was of it, it was never much on my radar. I was soon to learn that, with parents who had died faster than the speed of paperwork, and who’d named me in their wills as executor of their estate, the next year was already spoken for, effective immediately.

Ten months after Void, came my fifth full-length collection, Skidding Into Oblivion. I considered them companion volumes, since they began as a single project that got split in two. Thus, the same publisher.

SkiddingCover265And here’s where the trouble began. Roughly nine months later, the publisher’s carefully curated longtime image was swamped under a tidal wave of credible accusations: financial malfeasance, grotesque human resources violations, let’s call them, and so on.

Did I mention cursed?

I spent the next several weeks laboring to get back my rights to both books. For starters, it was the right thing to do. These allegations never actually seemed to be publicly refuted. As well, it wouldn’t have been surprising to see a publisher, under the circumstances, declare bankruptcy. The last thing you want is for your beloved intellectual property to become frozen assets in a bankruptcy case.

As well, on the not-cursed side of the ledger, both books had drawn legit film and TV interest, and I very much wanted to protect those deals.

Things worked out. As of late January last year, my rights were mine again and the media deals were shielded. On the downside, both books went off the market immediately, except for audio versions I only learned about several months later.

I mentioned malfeasance, right?

So if you can’t find print or ebook editions anywhere … that’s why.

For now, I’m happy to deal with readers directly, by email. That’s been working fine, until the books can go back on the market … and I’m in no hurry there. The Immaculate Void is currently being developed as a limited TV series, and if it goes the distance, that could lend more leverage for a new edition.

But as vanishing books go … these were not the first.

More soon.

Mr T Lotta Mo

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