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Monday, September 27, 2004

Gordon Sheppard's HA! A Self-Murder Mystery released in US

The publishing industry in Canada is a risky business at best. When McGill-Queen's University Press decided to take on and publish Gordon Sheppard's mammoth literary work, a documentary novel on the life and death of Hubert Aquin, they gambled. Publishing HA! A Self-Murder Mystery, technically a work of fiction, was a first of its kind for the academic press, and the first print run was remarkably small--just 2100 copies. Sales of the book have been good since its publication last year and the reviews have been laudatory. The most recent review, by Geeta Nadkarni was in the Globe and Mail Book insert, The New Canadian Magazine.

The book will meet its next hurdle tomorrow when it officially gets released into the US market. The Barnes and Noble web site will be accepting online orders for the book starting September 28, 2004. However, it would be prudent to get a copy soon as only a tiny fraction of the first Canadian print run will be available to the US. This begs the question, what happens if/when the book takes off in the huge US market? Potentially, the press could have egg on their face should there be a run on the book with no second printing immediately planned. Sheppard is hopeful that any remaining copies will be briskly sold pending a combination of forthcoming appearances at local book fairs, conferences, and TV appearances, notably on Global TV's Mystery Ink in November.


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