Yes, there are paperback editions

It suddenly occurs to me that not everybody who follows Things Of Interest also follows me on Twitter, or even follows my dedicated book announcements account. That being the case, you may not be aware that there are now paperback editions of my books!

Click through to each book's dedicated page for purchase links:

These paperback editions are provided using Amazon's print-on-demand service. This is my first foray into paper editions for any of my books so producing actual printable manuscripts, and then carefully examining proofs, was an interesting new experience for me. The source for all four books was originally HTML, which took significant effort to convert to something which Amazon would consume (Microsoft Word or PDF). I had to develop some desktop publishing chops, and much of the special formatting in these books had to be redone from scratch. I also had to return to each of my cover artists and ask them to extend their original artwork to the left a bit to make the existing front cover wrap around the spine and back cover too. This was a new challenge in each case.

These four books all have the same dimensions (height and width at least), cover, paper, typefaces and general overall formatting, so they work well together as a quartet and sit well alongside one another on a bookshelf. The dimensions are those of a standard UK small paperback, which, for some unearthly reason, Amazon considers totally nonstandard. I think they turned out pretty well, all things considered.

all four books in a stack

all four books on my shelf

I consider these a reasonable first attempt at self-publishing. Some things I'm considering for the future:

  • Investigating non-Amazon print-on-demand routes, such as IngramSpark, which might have more flexible printing and cost options
  • Using something more powerful than Microsoft Word for text formatting
  • Altering the author byline on There Is No Antimemetics Division to say the same as my other books, to benefit from cross-pollination
  • Having all four books professionally edited in some capacity
  • Developing a fifth book, a collection of my short stories (working title: Valuable Humans In Transit but I'll consider suggestions)

If you have questions about the process, comments on the quality of the paperbacks, or suggestions for the future of this site and my fiction in general, comment away.

Update 2021-04-14

In fact I altered the author byline on the other three books. They are now all credited to qntm.

Discussion (17)

2021-04-04 22:32:14 by Nolan:

This is so cool. I've mostly moved my reading to ereaders, but I have wanted a physical copy of your work for so long, I will probably get Fine Structure or your short story collection :) Thank you for doing this, and thank you for writing such fun works.

2021-04-05 11:17:59 by Jonas:

I've been enjoying your work for a long time! I'm so happy to finally be able to buy physical copies and give you some money for the joy you've brought me. Your brand of hard sci-fi is so fun and wonderfully non-stuffy in a way that I haven't quite seen anywhere else. With every new story/chapter, it is always such a joy to see what's the next fantastically plausible thing you've come up with.

2021-04-05 12:44:34 by P:

I got Fine Structure and really enjoyed re-reading it on paper. It seems well made for the price and the font/layout was good. I felt a couple of the recaps were unnecessary in the book format but then I read it in two sittings so everything was fresh in my mind. I enjoyed putting everything together and the fast pace that the ideas are presented. I don't know how much of an edit it would need - personally I wouldn't change the sequencing as I enjoyed building up the plot from the different perspectives and times. I can't believe how chunky RA looks next to it, it didn't feel that much longer when read in installments. Might treat myself to that one next. Well done on making these, I think it was a great decision.

2021-04-05 17:23:41 by Elmshire:

I strongly recommend you quickly merge your "Sam Huges" and "qntm" author pages for the reason you suggested. I saw the There Is No Antimemetics Division Amazon posting, clicked on your author page, and saw nothing else there. It is only because of a coincidence that I went the extra kilometer here and saw this. Also, j absolutely is sqrt(-1). I resent your filter's anti-engineering bias.

2021-04-05 18:03:31 by oge:

I'm looking forward to a hard-copy edition of Ra. Since it has so many pages, opening it up in the middle makes me fear that the spine will soon break.

2021-04-06 23:30:59 by Soon:

I have an editing suggestion for RA: pick 3-5 minor characters at random and make them female. I make this suggestion because about halfway through the story it became outright distracting that the only women were the main characters, and physical printing is a good threshold to make substantive edits like that.

2021-04-06 23:39:15 by qntm:

There is a lot I would change in Ra if I had the time and motivation for a proper end-to-end edit, as is well-documented. For this release I decided to stay hands-off. That said, for the world Laura and Natalie (and Rachel) inhabit to be somewhat male-dominated is to a certain extent intentional.

2021-04-07 08:37:26 by hellas:

I've found LaTeX and LyX very useful for stuff like this. Quite fun, too.

2021-04-16 15:24:49 by Boter:

A note on the size, from a former bookseller - the "small paperback" size is commonly referred to as "mass market"; the US used to have a slightly smaller standard for mass market, but in the past twenty years more and more have been releasing in the size that you have, probably to make international standards conform a bit more. Anyhow - as mass market also defines the paper and ink stock, (cheaper for both), it's considered a separate binding by most in the book industry. I too was a bit surprised that Amazon didn't offer self-publishing in mass market size, but ultimately embraced their regular paperback sizes.

2021-04-17 21:09:11 by qc:

Now I'm wondering, how is the formatting done for Ra? Since the "Other realm" parts (semi-spoiler) have noticeably different formatting. Also, agree with hellas. LaTeX is one of the best ways to actually format text in any way other than Plain. There's a reason that in universities it's so commonly used. Simply because you can actually tell the compiler exactly how you want it to look, and have it obey.

2021-04-17 21:36:58 by qntm:

In Ra all of the other world stuff is fully justified, like the main part of the book.

2021-04-18 13:19:13 by qc:

Hey, I'm not complaining. I just wondered how exactly it looks in the actual book. Can't really go for different color. And from what I've seen a different indentation wouldn't be as obvious.

2021-04-18 17:00:15 by AGM:

Hard copies? What took so long?

2021-05-21 21:59:08 by Alice:

Nice and congrats~

2021-05-21 21:59:55 by Alice:

Weren't you previously very reluctant to publish?

2021-05-28 06:58:33 by Pwnie:

I did not know this and I am a huge fan! I wanted my husband to read Fine Structure so badly one year that as a Christmas gift I printed it out and hand bound it myself to give to him as a hard copy. I have often wished I could support your work monetarily - it is so worth it! Will be ordering the complete set and more for gifts! And thank you for giving all of us the gift of your writing!

2021-06-22 06:50:21 by spiritkid:

Snap bought the entire collection the moment I learnt about it.

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