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Milkweed Crosses the Pond

November 23, 2011 at 8:52 am

Okay, I'm doing it again.  After letting the blog lie fallow for a couple of weeks (I was traveling for my day job last week; let's blame that) I'm popping in with more news about the Milkweed books.  But I have a really good excuse this time:

Orbit UK has acquired the Milkweed Triptych for publication in the UK and British Commonwealth! 

That's right—Raybould Marsh and Will Beauclerk are going to be published in their home country.  I cannot begin to describe how delighted I am... but let me try.

The full story of how this deal came about is a long and convoluted one, which I won't detail here.  Suffice it to say I've been extremely fortunate to have so many incredibly kind and dedicated people working on my behalf, including most especially my fabulous domestic agent Kay McCauley and my representative for UK/Commonwealth/translation markets, John Berlyne of the Zeno Agency.

We've been working with John behind the scenes for a while, but we waited until this new deal with Orbit UK became official before simultaneously announcing our new partnership with Zeno.  In addition to Orbit's announcement of the deal, linked above, Zeno issued its own announcement this morning.  I think it's safe to say that we're all pretty jazzed about this!

Or, as John said to me at the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego a few weeks ago: "I love it when a plan comes together."

The UK/British Commonwealth rights to the Milkweed books inhabited a Heisenbergian limbo for several years.  So until relatively recently a separate deal like this wasn't even theoretically possible. During that time, I met John at the Worldcon in Melbourne and again at the WFC in Columbus, both in 2010.  We get along quite well and he expressed a lot of enthusiasm for Bitter Seeds.  Many months later, thanks to Kay's incredible negotiating skill, we found ourselves in charge of the UK/BC rights again, and John very kindly took up the torch and championed the books in the UK.  And here we are.

Orbit does terrific work and I'm just plain thrilled beyond words that the Milkweed books have found such a fantastic home across the pond.  (I'm also grateful to them for graciously overlooking the sheer audacity of a young and relatively unknown American author writing about British citizens living in London during the Blitz.)

The UK edition of Bitter Seeds will hit shelves in December, 2012, with UK editions of The Coldest War and Necessary Evil following in quick succession, so that the UK and US releases of Necessary Evil will be more or less simultaneous!

This, then, is the full release schedule as far as we know it right now:

December 20, 2011 (next month!) January 17, 2012:  Audio edition of The Coldest War (

The audio "text" of this edition will differ very very slightly from the print edition, because I made some alterations to the wording in the galley pages, after the copyedited manuscript went to Audible.  The changes have nothing to do with plot or story or the characters.  Mostly it's corrections to a few infelicities that slipped through the CEM because I didn't read carefully enough at that stage.

May, 2012:  US mass market paperback edition of Bitter Seeds (Tor)

This will contain two bonuses!  In addition to a teaser excerpt from The Coldest War, the mmpb edition of Bitter Seeds will also contain the novelette "What Doctor Gottlieb Saw."  Dr. Gottlieb takes place between the prologue and first chapter of Bitter Seeds, and covers an event mentioned only in passing in the novels.

July, 2012:  US hardcover/ebook edition of The Coldest War (Tor)

December, 2012:  UK edition of Bitter Seeds (Orbit UK) ; Mayan Calendar Apocalypse

[Nov 26, ETA: This edition of Bitter Seeds will also contain extra material.  I'll be doing an interview with Orbit soon, and that conversation will be included in the end matter of the book.]

February, 2013:  UK edition of The Coldest War (Orbit UK)

April, 2013:  US hardcover/ebook editions (Tor) and UK edition (Orbit UK) of Necessary Evil.

There will be an release for Necessary Evil somewhere in there, too, but we don't have it scheduled that far in advance yet. 

Speaking of the galleys for The Coldest War, those are finished and back on their way to Tor.   So that's another hurdle crossed.  And, for those who might be interested, TCW is looking very snazzy in Tor's new catalog for Spring/Summer 2012.

I have to say this is a pretty swell way to usher in the Thanksgiving holiday.  I'm definitely thankful to Kay and John and all the great folks at Orbit UK for being such enthusiastic champions of my books.


DMS November 23, 2011 at 10:14 am
That is all excellent news. Congratulations!
Daniel November 23, 2011 at 10:19 am
That's freaking great! The Orbit team is brilliant. They'll do a terrific job with Milkweed.
Steve Halter November 23, 2011 at 10:19 am
Well, that's just all kinds of goodness! Congrat's Ian. And also: December, 2012: UK edition of Bitter Seeds (Orbit UK) ; Mayan Calendar Apocalypse Ah Ha! It all starts to fit together.
David Tanner November 23, 2011 at 10:21 am
Thats great news. (Just been covered in "The Bookseller" here eBook rights to? One thought are you going to anglicize the UK edition of Bitter Seeds? Cause the only criticism I had of that book was that the realistic portrayal of WW2 Britain was spoilt by some "Americanisms" eg sidewalk for pavement, bills for notes (money) etc
Ian November 23, 2011 at 10:26 am
Thanks, Dan! They really do great work at Orbit. I'm one lucky author working with both Tor and Orbit. Steve, I'm glad to know I'm not the only person thinking that we're unlikely to care about publication schedules once Ragnarok hits! Between Ragnarok, the Omega Wave, and the Blood Pulse, we won't have much time for pleasure reading in 12/2012.
Ian November 23, 2011 at 10:31 am
Thanks, David! Good question about the anglicization of the Milkweed books. That's up to Orbit, and I leave it in their extremely capable hands. To be honest, I've wondered about this, too, because there is definitely room to make the word choices more consistently British. The American/British English distinction has been an enormous headache since the very inception of this project (and one of the reasons I was so delighted and surprised when Orbit UK took on the books). Honestly, I'd say that this was the hardest thing to research, because it's the one area where it's virtually impossible to know when you don't know something. If that makes sense? So the only recourse is to try to absorb as much as possible via osmosis from items written by British writers during that era. And sometimes the Americanizations slip right past British beta readers-- an artifact of cross-pollination in the modern era? I'm not certain. So there are definitely inconsistencies, and believe me when I say they drive me barmy, too ;-) The sidewalk/pavement thing, for instance, gets ironed out (more or less) in the later books, but that's just from my own efforts to improve the flavor. And now, thanks to your advice, I can try to slip the bills/notes correction into the galleys for The Coldest War (they're going back in the mail this afternoon, so that might be tricky, but I'll do my best) and into the editorial revisions of Necessary Evil. Having said all that, as far as I'm aware right now, I think Orbit UK are planning to work directly from the final pages as set for the Tor (US) releases. But it's definitely worth inquiring.
Courtney Schafer November 23, 2011 at 10:33 am
Ian! That is so awesome - congrats to you!
Susan Loyal November 23, 2011 at 10:41 am
Congratulations! I, too, liked the way you slipped the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse in there. (Gretel is involved in that, isn't she?)
Ian November 23, 2011 at 10:43 am
Thanks very much, Dawn! I'm planning to add an entire scene about friction stir welding to Necessary Evil. I hear that kind of thing goes over BIG in the UK. Thank you, Courtney! And congratulations to you, too-- I see The Whitefire Crossing is burning up the review blogs!
Ian November 23, 2011 at 10:57 am
Thanks very much, Susan! Interesting question about Gretel and the apocalypse... Let's just say I think she would laugh at the Mayans.
Mehdi November 23, 2011 at 11:13 am
Congratulations ! It's been announced on a french website too, I saw it this morning : Looks like I'm not the only french who cares about the Milkweed books after all. I'm still looking forward the audio edition, maybe I will read Bitter Seeds once again, the month would pass a bit faster this way. Anyways, congratulations!
EEGiorgi November 23, 2011 at 11:31 am
That's awesome news, mega-congratulations, Ian! You certainly deserve all the success! :)
EEGiorgi November 23, 2011 at 11:34 am
Oh, and great picture on the Zeno website! :)
Ian November 23, 2011 at 12:06 pm
Hi Mehdi, and thanks for the link! I'm so grateful to have readers like you from outside the States :) And I really hope you enjoy the audio edition. I'm looking forward to giving it a listen myself. Thanks, Elena :) It took a lot of scrounging to find a photo that wasn't horrendous. JB said it was "better than I usually look" which unfortunately is quite true.
EEGiorgi November 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm
That's called Brit humor, Ian, I thought you'd recognize it by now... ;-) Seriously, great author pic. Lots to celebrate this Thanksgiving!
Ian November 23, 2011 at 1:44 pm
I was raised on a steady diet of British sitcoms as a child, which might explain why I find JB so funny in person.
Jo Anderton November 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm
Oh VERY exciting! You'll have to do a book tour of the commonwealth (and that means US!) :) *hugs* well done you!
Ian November 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm
Thanks, Jo! I would LOVE to return to Australia, and hope I can someday soon. Although I think it will be a while (if ever!) before I'm worth an international book tour :-) I'd happily return to Oz on my own dime, though.
Kenny Jackson November 23, 2011 at 9:51 pm
I am so very happy for you Mr. Tregillis. I feel horrible that the publishers screwed you over. You are so very talented and deserve to be treated with respect. I also love that The Coldest War is coming out on Audible so early before the actual release of the book. I will be buying both the physical book and the Audible version. I listen to audiobooks all the time since I don't have much time to read except during my drive. Thanks for providing us with amazing stories.
Ian November 24, 2011 at 12:51 pm
Why thank you, Mr. Jackson :) And thanks for reading my attempts to provide entertaining stories. Although the publication of the trilogy did get off to a pretty rocky start, it never came out of malice or ill will. More of a perfect storm of unfortunate circumstances. And I do like to point out that the situation on the Milkweed books has dramatically improved since this spring. I'm not kidding when I say I'm quite pleased with how things are going. I'm excited about the Audible edition, too! I truly hope you enjoy the next book, in whichever form you choose to explore it.
Charlie Greenberry November 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm
Great news!
Brook November 24, 2011 at 3:20 pm
Although the print version will probably be out before I manage to finish it. If you make it down under I'm going to have to insist on at least a small signing. I still haven't forgiven myself for my inability to make it to worldcon. Great news about the orbit books, will they be using the existing covers or something new?
Ian November 24, 2011 at 11:11 pm
Thank you! Brook, it is my fondest wish to return to Australia. That truly was the best vacation of my life. I'm not certain what Orbit intends to do, but I expect they'll be doing their own cover art. I'm excited to see what they decide upon.
Mari November 25, 2011 at 9:01 am
Excellent news indeed :) Well, except for the Mayan Calendar Apocalypse part.
Ian November 25, 2011 at 5:42 pm
Thanks, Mari! It is kind of a bummer that we'll all be crushed to death by the Blood Wave during the Mayan Apocalypse, but them's the breaks, I guess.
Kurt Whitner November 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm
Thanks for this update. This is really great news. When can I get a copy of that Bitter Seeds book?
Ian November 26, 2011 at 4:50 am
Hi Kurt, and thanks for the enthusiasm :) Very much appreciated-- I hope the book lives up to it. As far as I know at the moment, the schedule posted here is the most up to date (barring shipments from overseas), but I'll keep posting updates as I receive them.
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