22 October 2020
No More Workhorses
I was happy to be asked a couple of questions by Killian Laher of the No More Workhorse blog out of London and Dublin about Waiting For Another War. I can't say I really understand what the blog's name means but I love it. I believe the interview will be posted in two parts but the first part is up now and can be found here.
Like most of us, I can prattle on endlessly about The Sisters, so if you have a blog or a magazine and want to talk, please feel free to email me.
When I printed the hardcovers I got a lot of inquiries about a second printing. Now I am getting some questions about a second volume. I think that's a good sign. Yes, I do plan to do a second volume covering the years 1986-1993. And then, I hope, a third volume covering 1993-the present. But exactly when I'll find the time to do that is an open question. Keep your eyes peeled on Facebook, and I'll alert the newsletter.
Did your book take an unexpected holiday to Jamaica?
I have been receiving reports that some packages are "stuck" in the USPS tracking system, with no movement for a week or two, so I thought I'd add a little response here. The workings of the USPS are a mystery to me. Some books arrive overseas in a couple days, while other books sent the same day will languish for weeks in the Jamaica, Queens International Mail Sorting Center. I can't explain it.
What I can say is that I had many reports of this happening when I sent out the hardcovers, too. In the most extreme case, a book I sent on 19 May arrived in Sweden at the end of July (over two months later). In the end not one single book was lost or returned to me during the height of the pandemic when I sent out the first printings.
The USPS is still suffering from some COVID delays. Furthermore, even in normal times, they will not do a trace on an international package until it has shown no sign of movement for 30 days. In June they increased this time to 60 days. This change was supposedly temporary but I don't think they've reverted yet. So, for the moment, I counsel patience. If you'd like, please also feel free to email me or contact me through Facebook.
Finally, rest assured that if your book is lost in the USPS system, I will replace it.
11 October 2020
Paperbacks Across The Globe
The paperbacks arrived at the end of September as scheduled, and every pre-order has been sent. Many are arriving around the world. Where the hardcover sometimes took weeks or, in the case of Sweden, months to arrive during the height of the pandemic, it seems that the post offices of the world are in better shape now. I think delivery times to most countries in Europe are about a week. Pretty good.
I am extremely pleased with the way to paperbacks look and feel. I think they've retained the quality of the hardcover, with the same heavy paper and matte finish cover. And the photos are in color too.
A big thank you to everyone who ordered a copy.
I continue to see some comments on social media about the high shipping costs outside of the USA. Some people just lament the costs, others complain, and some have accused me of overcharging for shipping. I get it that the shipping prices are high, but I'm not sure what anyone expects me to do about that. If you have a complaint about shipping charges, I've set up this page for you. That's about the best I can do.
Thanks to everyone on Facebook who's posted a photo of the book after arrival. Sisters people are the best people.
If anyone out there prefers to buy on eBay, or if this checkout doesn't work on your phone (as some have reported), I have listed some of the remaining copies here.
26 August 2020
I have approved the paperback proof of Waiting For Another War and now I am waiting for the books to be delivered. I expect them to arrive in approximately one month and ship shortly thereafter.
In the meantime I have some exciting news: while all photos were black and white in the hardcover, every photo that was originally taken in color will be printed in color in the paperback. That’s about half the photos. In addition to the color photos, I think the corrections (dozens of typos and a few minor factual errors) make the paperback a better book overall. It’s not numbered or signed, but it’s a better read and looks cooler. Also, I’ve used the same printers and the same high-quality paper stock. Some slight cover re-designs improve the overall look as well.
Pictured is the gently used proof copy of the second printing next to the first printing.
26 July 2020
Books are finally arriving in Sweden. I would not have guessed that Sweden, of all countries, would take two months to deliver the mail. But the good news is that they are arriving. There are a couple books from the first shipment stuck in customs in other countries around the world too.
The paperback is well underway and I have received the first proof. Looks good.
When I printed the hardcover book, I did not adequately proofread it, as the many typos show. Now that I am actually reading through the text very carefully, I see a thousand little things I want to change. But I am resisting the temptation except for typos and a few notes I’ve gotten from readers (thank you), like these from my brother:
p.33 chapter 2 title: By the end of this chapter we still don't know who "Lerch" is. It is eventually revealed on p. 52... but, by the end of chapter 2, it felt like a mistake to me that I didn't yet know who was referred to in the chapter title.
These are little oversights that happen when you break chapters totally differently than you did ten years earlier.
Or this one:
p.42 …and one other earlier page: You compare SOM spectacle to German expressionism but this is not explained. I would have liked at least a sentence explaining the similarities.
There is is one more change in the paperback: the English translation of the German verse in Marian. Back when I first wrote that chapter, I simply copied a translation from somewhere online. This was unconscionable laziness on my part, since I read German well enough to do my own. Re-reading that section, I was struck by how stilted that translation feels. So I’ve done another one that I hope captures the meaning and style of the original verse a bit better.
I am shooting for a mid-September availability. If you would like a chance to pre-order the book, please add your name to the newsletter here. I still don’t know why the email link is broken there for some people (it seems to work best on phones) but I have added instructions to just email me in case it doesn't work for you.
One collector of proofs emailed me and expressed interest in owning a hardcover proof copy. I am going to keep these, but it did get me thinking about collecting. I love the passion of collectors. What a fascinating thing to collect: proof copies of books.
Here are my proof copies (first on the left). Apart from some changes in the text and layout, and even a couple photo swaps, one of my main concerns was to make sure that Ulf Berglund’s terrific cover photo was rendered with the correct contrast and exposure.
You can also see a slight change in the position of the title from the first copy to the second.
26 June 2020
Sweden and Belgium
I am getting reports that the first copies of the book are arriving in Belgium. That’s about a month shipping time. Sweden? Most still not there. Even one of my most important contributors whose book I sent over five weeks ago has yet to receive it. So if you’re in Sweden or Belgium, there are apparently major delays.
It’s happening and it will be a better book because most of the million typos will have been corrected. Will be available later this summer. To add yourself to the newsletter please click here.
It’s happening, too. I got your emails. When I have some actual news about the second printing I will send out the first edition. Stay tuned.
I have decided to start a Facebook page just for the book. Please like or follow here.
These are linked to on the first page but why not put them here? I am very happy to have received reviews from Nikolas Vitus Lagartija on his blog, I Was A Teenage Sisters Of Mercy Fan (here), Alex Smith on his blog, Flaming Pablum (here), and a very nice entry from Jan Piatkowski at Never-Land (here). My brother also gave me a shout out (here) -- get ready for a deep dive into art, psychology, politics and machines.
This is not how I imagined it
Here’s what I thought would happen: I’d print up 200 copies of this book. I’d have some friends scatter flyers around 2020 Sisters gigs printed with the website address (which is really just a random, semi-hidden subpage of my business website). Then orders would trickle in over the summer, and every weekend I’d package up 5-10 books or so and send them. I thought it would be a somewhat meditative way to spend a few hours on a Saturday, enjoying my apartment, my family, and having a nice stroll to the post office. At the end of the summer I’d ship the leftover books to Amazon to sell. I even went so far as to buy an ISBN barcode so Amazon could sell them. That was an expense I could have spared myself.
Here’s what actually did happen: I sent the PDF files to the printer in the beginning of March. At the same time, I printed the flyers and sent them off to friends I knew were going to one 2020 gig or another.
Then New York City became the epicenter of a global health pandemic. My office closed, the entire building shuttered. Deaths skyrocketed and there was a general feeling in the air that approximated panic. My pregnant wife, my two year-old son and I fled to semi-rural Connecticut “for about two weeks.” Then my second son was born in an unfamiliar hospital, his birth attended by doctors and nurses in full hazmat suits, his mother in full protective gear including a mask.
Soon afterwards the printer was ready with the books so, on a whim, I decided to have them sent to Connecticut instead of my New York home because I wasn’t sure when I’d be home again. The books arrived, news was leaking out, and I put up a quick post on Facebook to announce it. Every copy sold the same day. I found myself sheltering in place in a different state with a newborn, a two year-old, no childcare, no office to go to, and 200 books that needed autographs, numbers and dust jackets. Then I had to order mailers and labels, package each book, and ship them all across the world.
Slightly nuts, but it’s been extremely rewarding to see this project through to completion and I've loved hearing from everyone who got their book. Thank you all.
9 June 2020
You reap what you sew
One day while waiting for the subway I stumbled across a website that informed me the lyrics to ‘Colours’ contained the line, “you reap what you sew.” It is a testament to the opacity of Eldritch’s lyrics that I spent my entire commute underground on the J train wondering what this reference to dressmaking could mean. I came up with multiple possible interpretations before I got to my office and confirmed that it was, in fact, a typo on the website. So please be kind with my lyric analyses; it's a challenge for us all.
I do, however, welcome factual corrections now that people are beginning to receive and read their copies of Waiting For Another War. If you see something incorrect in the text — a date, a name, a demonstrably false statement of any kind — please do email me as soon as possible and I will correct the error for the second printing. I’ve already received a handful of these notes (Jon not John Langford, wrong date here, and so on) from friends; thank you.
Waitlist and Reprint news
I have contacted everyone on the waitlist for whom I actually have a copy of the hardcover. Most of the books have been sent, too. If you haven’t heard from me yet, don’t worry. If you emailed me, you’re on the newsletter and you will have an opportunity to get a copy of the book, hopefully later this summer. If you want to add your name to the newsletter for advance notification of the second printing, please click here.
Sometime soon I also have to figure out how to send a newsletter.
Thank you all.
27 May 2020
Why only 200 copies?
In 1987 I took stacks of my Sisters ‘zines to New York City on our family’s annual summer trip to the city. My bag weighed a ton but who cares? I loved the idea of making them available in the cool record shops I’d discovered on previous visits. I sold about 20 copies each to Venus Records, Bleecker Bob’s, Second Coming and See/Hear. I got $3 per copy and they got about $7 or $8 (Bleecker Bob’s, of course, charged $10). The next summer when I returned there were a few copies still available in some of those places. In a whole year there weren’t even 80 Sisters fans with $15 to spare in New York City. Still today I see Sisters bootlegs lathed in limited editions of 100, 50, even 20. I’ve always thought of The Sisters fanbase as “dedicated, but small,” which is why I printed 200 copies of my book. I wasn’t even sure I’d sell them all.
I’ve had a couple people speculate that this book was a secret, or that the sudden announcement was some kind of “conspiracy,” or that I intentionally hid the news from Heartland/The Sisters Of Mercy Facebook page/Instagram/whatever. I wish the truth were so exciting. I’ve spoken about this project to my friends for twenty years. A few of them are tired of hearing about it. When I finally printed it, I was going to have friends scatter flyers on the ground of The Sisters 2020 gigs to announce it. When that plan was upended by events, I settled on a coordinated announcement on Heartland, Facebook, Instagram, and here. Maybe even Twitter for my sins.
A few days in advance of the planned roll out, I sent an email to my long-suffering contributors alerting them to the book’s completion. But I neglected to mention that I hadn’t yet announced it publicly. The next morning I awoke to find that a few of these friends had posted about it on their personal social media accounts. Why not? I’d have done the same if I contributed such great photos or stories to a book that was finally seeing the light of day. So, with the news already coming out, I whipped up a quick post for the 1980-1985 Facebook group at the crack of dawn here on the East Coast. By the time I gave my boys breakfast, ran them around the yard, put them down for a nap and got back from the fishmonger, the book was mostly sold out and there was nothing left to announce anywhere else.
I love Heartland and I will start a new thread there (with proper capitalization in the title and without the gratuitous insults of the current thread) to keep the community apprised of news and updates.
With the exception of a handful of folks who wanted me to delay shipment, I have now sent all the books. Sixty-one books went to the UK, Europe, Asia and Canada on Saturday 23 May, and the rest went today. I would be grateful for some tagged comments on Facebook, or even an email, from some of you when you receive your book, so I can have an idea of how long the post is taking to various countries. Previous experience suggests about three weeks to the Continent, maybe a bit less to the UK.
I’ve had some requests for a second hardcover printing, and some interest in a paperback printing. For the past few weeks my priority has been completing orders for those who already bought a book. With that now done, I will turn my attention to the next steps. Per my contracts with some photographers I can print only a limited number, but that number should be enough for everyone on the waitlist/newsletter to have one. So the second printing, whether it be hardcover or paperback, will have all the photos in it. Please watch this space or click here to add your name to the newsletter. Thank you.
20 May 2020
European and world shipments
All US orders have been sent, and many received. Yesterday I sent the first small batch of books to Europe. If you gave me a photo, or spoke with me for this book — whether fifteen years ago or more recently — your book is (finally) on the way. Books went to England, Belgium and Sweden. When I got home from the post office, the mailers for the rest of the overseas orders had arrived. So this weekend I begin the big job of packing and addressing over 100 books.
I have received more emails than I’ve had a chance to read. If you’ve asked me a specific question and not received an answer, it’s because I haven’t read it yet. I will work my way through them and answer as I can, but I can guarantee that everyone who asked to be added to the waitlist/newsletter is on it.
Incidentally, one of the nicest things about having realized this project at long last is hearing from old Sisters contacts and friends from the 1980s. I’ve had emails from traders, collectors and fellow fans I haven’t heard from in over 30 years. If you wrote me, thank you. I still have your letters and trade lists from 1985, I’m sure. It’s great to hear from you again.
This book is a fanzine
On Facebook a few people have mentioned that the book is well made. Thank you.
My intention for this book was to give a life to a project that I’d worked on for over a decade but then abandoned. Originally I intended to do a single massive volume taking the band’s story all the way up to the present (the live band). Quite ambitious, but The Sisters have always inspired passion in us. Because I never found the time to finish it, I just let the manuscript sit. When I heard Mark Andrews was writing his book, naturally I was psyched. Mark and I got to chatting and he encouraged me to print up copies of mine. More than anyone else it was Mark who gave me the idea to put out what I had, and finish the rest later. I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’ve subscribed to Mark’s book. But just in case you haven’t, please do it here.
With Wayne Hussey’s book just out, and Mark’s book well advanced, I did imagine I would have a hard time finding homes for all 200 copies of mine. My idea for the book was a limited edition hardcover, numbered and signed, printed beautifully with some unseen or rare photos. Partly this was because I wanted to find a space for it between Wayne’s book and Mark’s book. But there was another reason. I very clearly remember being in London in October 1986. I went to a gig by All About Eve. I didn’t even know them very well, but I wanted to see The Electric Ballroom and Camden High Street and catch just a little bit of the scene I was in love with. On the same trip I bought Live In The Troyan Horse (in Kensington Market), Obscure In Darkness, and Through The Years (both in Germany). The Sisters were still very much alive in record shops at that time, with a new bootleg every few months. I remember the palpable thrill I felt at finding these treasures — the beautifully made box set with a photo I’d never seen, the colored vinyl inside. I remember bringing them back to my hostel, fondling the box and the sleeves, examining the discs, anxious to get back home to my record player. I wanted my book to recreate a little bit of the excitement of that experience, and dozens of others I had finding and collecting — the new single, the Palazzograssi releases, the Kiss The Blade ‘zines. I wanted to create an object that fans would want to keep in a culture that encourages disposability, a tangible artifact in a digital world.
16 May 2020
Thank you for your interest and patience. The books are all signed and numbered.
A few things.
Some US shipments (and all US contributor shipments) were sent today (16 May) by priority mail, which is usually very fast but COVID is causing delays of up to a week.
If you are expecting a book outside the US, please read this part. I’ll start shipments to the rest of the world next weekend and finish them in the first weekend of June. There have been serious delays in international shipping, with some countries not accepting foreign packages at all. Three weeks ago I sent two books to Europe and only one of them has arrived (UK). The other has not (Continent). So it’s all a bit uncertain. I am happy to delay your shipment. If I send it now and it is lost, I will not be able to replace the book for you. I don’t have enough copies. So if you prefer to have me hold your shipment until after the apocalypse, write me an email.
I have not been able to honor any requests for books with specific numbers except to contributors (photographers, interviewees).
I have contracts with some photographers who graciously licensed their photos to me that limit the number of copies I can print. So while I will print a paperback edition, it will be a limited run and this book, in this exact form, will probably not be printed again. Stay tuned here for news on the paperback printing or add your name to the newsletter below.
If you emailed me to add your name to the waitlist, I got it. You are on the waitlist in the order in which you emailed me. I won’t have enough hardcovers for everyone but I may have some. However, I will turn the waitlist into a newsletter for the paperback edition. If you want to add your name to the newsletter, please click here. Your name and email address will never be visible to other subscribers.
Thank you all.
9 May 2020
I have been pleasantly surprised by the response to WFAW. I had thought the hardcover run would take months to sell. Lesson: never underestimate interest in The Sisters. To everyone who ordered a copy, thank you.
Here are answers to some questions.
If you completed the checkout successfully (if PayPal confirmed your payment) your book is reserved. All of them have to be wrapped with dust jackets, numbered in two places, signed, packaged (with a customs form in many cases) and sent. Hence the June ship date.
I have had a few requests for a second printing. The hardcover will not be reprinted but I will do a small paperback run. Look for an announcement soon in this space.
I have added a waitlist. If you are interested in a limited edition hardcover please email me (UPDATE 9 June: the waitlist is closed but please add your name to the newsletter by clicking here.) Do not change the subject line, or message me on Facebook please. If any copies become available, I will send you an email. No obligations.
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