Subterranean Press to release special edition of Happiest Days of Our Lives

Shortly after I published The Happiest Days of Our Lives , Bill Schafer, who is the publisher and owner of Subterranean Press, contacted me about doing a special limited edition. I discovered Subterranean Press when they published John Scalzi’s Questions for a Soldier, and I fell in love with their special editions when I got Charlie Stross’ Missile Gap and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. The idea of having my little book treated the same as books by John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, Ray Bradbury, and Neal Stephenson was awesome, but I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea – I didn’t want to put out yet another edition of a book people already owned, and I really didn’t want to do something that would devalue the 300.

I talked it over with Anne, sought advice from my friend and editor Andrew, and I asked some friends who have worked with Bill what they thought (it turns out that everyone who works with him adores him, which ended up being very important to me). After a few weeks of consideration, I realized that this was a unique opportunity, and I would be a fool to pass it up.

I got in touch with Bill and accepted his offer. We decided that instead of just doing a different printing of a book people already had, I’d look through the material that just missed the final cut, and put together a special expanded edition. I would also take all those pictures that are on the cover, and create a special photo insert section. (I’m really excited about this; my idea is to create something that looks and feels like a family photo album, complete with handwritten captions.)

I’ll be taking the Monolith Press edition (which has almost sold through its second printing!) offline in a couple of weeks, so Bill and I aren’t competing with each other. If you’ve been waiting to get a Monolith Press edition of The Happiest Days of Our Lives, or you wanted a copy of the book in time for the holidays, you should place your order soon. Like a set of car keys dropped into molten lava, it’s gone, man.

The Special Edition of The Happiest Days of Our Lives from Subterranean Press is now available for order, and it will ship in Spring of 2009. There are 2000 in the limited hardback edition, and 26 in the leatherbound lettered edition, which will come in a custom traycase.

Andrew and I have been working like crazy on this project for a couple of months, and over the weekend I finally felt like we’d put together something worthy of being called a special edition. I just love it, and I can’t wait for everyone to see it.

Edited to add: you may want to check out this awesome news that is awesome, about an audio accompaniment to the special edition.

45 thoughts on “Subterranean Press to release special edition of Happiest Days of Our Lives”

  1. I hesitated on “The 300″ last year and missed out. I’m not going to hesitate this time. Glad you’ve made a similar, yet slightly different offer this year.

  2. The leatherbound edition sounds extremely cool. I can’t afford that, but I just may have to pony up for one of the Special Edition regular signed ones…

  3. Ordered. Can’t wait to receive it!
    From what I could see on the order page, shipping to Canada costs $10, and it’s being made available internationally as well. Kudos :)

  4. This sounds like such a fantastic opportunity and as a huge fan of your writing and as a off-and-on writer who is inspired by your journey from geek-actor to successful writer (even though I never had half of the first part of your journey), I’m so happy for you and inspired again and as proud as you can be of someone you’ve never met. The fact that you even considered not doing it out of obligation to your reading public shows true character — but damn near too much. Again, as a wannabe writer and fan who cares about your happiness as much as you can for someone you’ve never met, if I’d ever found out you’d turned this opportunity down (not sure how this would have happened if you actuaqlly did, but bear with me…) I would have thought really highly of you — as I fought the urge to hand you your ass for being too damn nice.
    This is great news, and any true fan will be happier for you than they’d be annoyed — and anyway, geek completists are totally annoying and not worth bowing to their pressure. (I’m a geek completist who can look in the mirror so I know from what I speak. However, due to tight finances, I’ve yet to buy Happiness so I’m glad to have waited and get this new edition.

  5. When I got the email from Subterranean Press I was really happy to see you working with them. Very excited for you! I don’t think it devalues the 300 at all. That was something cool and special which is entirely different than this cool and special thing. Also, I’m glad to see that you’ve added more to it. It sounds like it’s going to end up being very cool and the added content is what made me buy one this morning. I guess that makes me a geek completist but I prefer to refer to my new collection of THDOOL books as a trifecta of geeky nostalgia. Paperback, 300 hardcover, and SubPress hardcover FTW. Hey, I just like putting food on people’s families. Sorry I couldn’t pick up a lettered version, I had to settle for the limited version.
    Great news and it’s good to know what you’ve been working on for the past few months! Cheers!

  6. Nifty!
    You might even go so far as to say… coolbeans!?!?!? But let’s not get crazy….
    Sooo… ummmm… wassa custom traycase????? Does that mean I can’t actually READ said book after I sell off my grandmother to afford said purchase?

  7. One more thing…
    Wassa lettered version?
    Sorry about all the dumb questions, but I really don’t know the difference beyond the fact that one in in a nicely bound dead animal skin (:P), and the other is wrapped in stout dead plant material.

  8. As one of the 300, I can say that I wouldn’t feel devalued at all. In fact, I think that this Special Edition would give more people the chance to feel what WE felt when we ordered our copies. That sort of feeling is one that needs to be shared with others.

  9. As the risk of being wildly unpopular, I’m kinda disgruntled by this news. I’ve got my Monolith copy of Happiest Days, and love it (once I pried it out of my wife’s hands). If it had come out in fancier bindings from Subterranean, I wouldn’t mind. I love their stuff too, although I can’t always afford it.
    What gets me, in fact, is the addition of new content. It’s like when movies come out on DVD these days…first there’s the regular edition, with outtakes and deleted scenes. Then the special edition with Director’s Commentary. Then the special SPECIAL edition 2-disk set with all that, plus actor’s commentary, making of documentaries, and the HBO special. Then there’s the ultra-violet special SPECIAL…
    I understand how things came about, the chronology above it logical and all. It’s just, it’s a pity we never knew there would be other options down the road. I’d have probably gone for the lettered Subterranean edition.
    In spite of my grumpiness, Wil, I am happy for this opportunity and hope you get more books published through Subterranean. Don’t let me rain on your parade.

  10. @InkBlot: I was afraid that a lot of people would feel that way, and where DVDs are concerned I agree with you completely.
    However, I think you’re comparing apples to oranges. Those studios know that they can get us nerds to buy seven different versions of Lord of the Rings, so they deliberately release different editions that really aren’t worth the price we have to pay for them. They deliberately withhold cool stuff so we’ll have to buy more stuff later, and that’s not what I’m doing here.
    When I released Happiest Days, I never planned to force customers to buy more than one edition of the book; as a consumer, I hate that almost as much as I hate DRM, and I’m very conscious of how that alienates people.
    As I explained in this post, Bill came to me and wanted to work together. I didn’t want to simply repurpose something that was already out there, so we came up with something that would be different and special.
    You didn’t know there would be other options down the road because I didn’t know there would be other options down the road, not because I was trying to squeeze another dollar out of you.

  11. First, congrats, Wil! :) Second, I understand where Inkblot is coming from. If, after you release this new version, you release *another* version with *only* the new content, that would give those of us who already own it once the opportunity to buy only the new content. I wish they would do *that* with DVDs… I already own LoTR 3 times, & if they come out with another set w/different extras, I’ll have to get that too! And I’m not made of money… One more thing- Wil, considering that you say you’re vegetarian, I’m unpleasantly surprised that you would approve of a leatherbound edition. There is a difference between being a vegetarian & just eating a plant based diet.
    -Alicia
    [email protected]
    http://www.thewagband.com

  12. I am one of the 300 also (#63, 150% cooler than #42—or at least that’s what I keep telling myself) but that didn’t stop me from ordering one of the lettered editions as soon as I saw your tweet.
    I don’t feel devalued at all, and will be a proud owner of both editions. I will just be less likely to keep the leather-bound one in the bathroom for reading material. ;)
    There were a lot of server errors during the ordering process though. It was similar to the adrenalin rush trying to get the Bag of Crap during a Woot-off, with the exception that I still haven’t gotten a BoC.

  13. Hey Wil, I haven’t posted a comment here in a while.
    I am one of the ‘300’ and own the paperback version as well.
    I just ordered both of the new versions of your book.
    Collecting your books is always a pleasure.
    Kevin.

  14. Just bought my limited edition, and while I understand the angst on your part (and the DVD analogy), you’re no Lucas in this.
    My thoughts are best mirrored by Mike McNamara above. I attempt to write, too (just finished my NaNo!), and you’ve got to take the opportunity when it comes.
    I’m happy for you.

  15. I’ve been on the verge of ordering The Happiest Days of Our Lives for a while now, so this is an exciting development for me. Although plunking down $35 on a limited edition of a book I have never read is something I would normally never do, I feel pretty confident that this will be worth every penny.

  16. Wow, that is an excellent opportunity for you, Wil! I’ve just ordered the Limited, and happily they ship to ‘Canukistan’ (hehe vinelander, cute) for only $10 extra. Still $45 for a hardcover is pretty decent. Now the only question is… is it mine or hubby’s?
    @jackwabbit – Congrats on your NaNo!

  17. To echo what Wil said earlier, there was never any intent to hold back good material. He and I are both very proud of Happiest Days as it stands. The material we cut out was either not quite as good as what we retained, or thematically was too close to other work that was in the book. What we’ve added to this new edition (and don’t you expect a “limited edition” to include some bonus material?) has been chosen, not without some arguments, to complement what’s already in the book, both in theme and in quality of writing. Our goal was to make the new Happiester Days worthwhile even for people who already have Happiest Days. I think we’ve done that, and I hope those of you who do decide to purchase it will agree. It’s not just collector bait by any means.

  18. Just to add one thing to what Andrew said, and to preemptively clarify any misunderstanding, I want to point out that we had a lot of material that was rated on the 1-10 scale. I only kept stuff that scored 10, and cut a lot of material that scored 9 or better. I was *relentless* when we were finalizing the content for Happiest Days.
    The additional material that we’re putting into the new edition is all stuff that scored 9 or better, a few things that are completely new, and a couple of pieces that scored 10, but were too similar to something else that scored 10.
    And I’ll just echo that it’s *not* collector bait. I’m working on a column about how the gaming industry has itself to blame for financial struggles by making everything about CCGs, buying expansions blind, and generally expecting us all to should be collectors and completists.

  19. @DameSaf: Thanks!
    @Andrew: Happiester! Ha! Lovely! I’m all over that for a working title for this little beast! I can’t wait to get my copy!
    @Wil: Never dreamed it of you. I’m a new poster here, but I’ve read here for a long time (and even e-mailed you once under the name ‘jedivet’ before I figured out how to comment), and you making ‘collector bait’ never crossed my mind. Enjoy your work and have fun with this. You deserve it.
    P.S.-I asked for Happiest Days for Christmas, since I’d been holding off on getting a copy for various reasons. Not taking it off the ole list. Why? Because it’s like certain comics-one for reading, one for keeping.
    All is well.

  20. I love you man – and am happy to support you, but now I have to buy most of the same thing again to get the parts I don’t have.
    I’m thrilled for your opportunity, but I kinda wish it was an opportunity on your next book – not your last book.
    Perhaps you could make a PDF of the additional material available to the 300…?
    Let me state again I’m very happy for you – but a little sad for me.

  21. I am very happy to buy the fancy edition from Subterranean. I have been holding out for the audiobook but I had planned to buy the dead-tree version as well. This will go well together and make a nifty Christmas present for myself.

  22. I won’t echo anyone, otherwise we’ll all go deaf. I’ll just clarify my original comments: I don’t BLAME Wil for anything he’s done, or think he’s planned this in any way. In fact, I’m happy for the news he’s being published by Subterranean. They’re a nice outfit for collectors, and it’s yet another sign Wil’s a damn good writer.
    I was just expressing my frustration as a buyer, that on my end it’s not unlike the DVD special editions. And while sometimes (OK, many times) it’s attempts to milk us out of more cash, other times it’s a genuine revival of interest in an older movie. I wouldn’t have multiple copies of Stargate if the TV series hadn’t help keep it popular.
    The frustration I was expressing is merely that once I got my first copy, a better one came out that I WANT but can’t justify to myself buying for a bit. I liked Alicia’s comments (uh-oh, I’m echoing), maybe a chap book of the bonus content after the Subterranean run sells out.
    Anyhoo, I’m bitter at the situation, and NOT Wil. Wil has done great, and I didn’t mean to detract from that. I apologize if I did so. I won’t echo anyone, otherwise we’ll all go deaf. I’ll just clarify my original comments: I don’t BLAME Wil for anything he’s done, or think he’s planned this in any way. In fact, I’m happy for the news he’s being published by Subterranean. They’re a nice outfit for collectors, and it’s yet another sign Wil’s a damn good writer.
    I was just expressing my frustration as a buyer, that on my end it’s not unlike the DVD special editions. And while sometimes (OK, many times) it’s attempts to milk us out of more cash, other times it’s a genuine revival of interest in an older movie. I wouldn’t have multiple copies of Stargate if the TV series hadn’t help keep it popular.
    The frustration I was expressing is merely that once I got my first copy, a better one came out that I WANT but can’t justify to myself buying for a bit. I liked Alicia’s comments (uh-oh, I’m echoing), maybe a chap book of the bonus content after the Subterranean run sells out.
    Anyhoo, I’m bitter at the situation, and NOT Wil. Wil has done great, and I didn’t mean to detract from that. I apologize if I did so.

  23. I won’t echo anyone, otherwise we’ll all go deaf. I’ll just clarify my original comments: I don’t BLAME Wil for anything he’s done, or think he’s planned this in any way. In fact, I’m happy for the news he’s being published by Subterranean. They’re a nice outfit for collectors, and it’s yet another sign Wil’s a damn good writer.
    I was just expressing my frustration as a buyer, that on my end it’s not unlike the DVD special editions. And while sometimes (OK, many times) it’s attempts to milk us out of more cash, other times it’s a genuine revival of interest in an older movie. I wouldn’t have multiple copies of Stargate if the TV series hadn’t help keep it popular.
    The frustration I was expressing is merely that once I got my first copy, a better one came out that I WANT but can’t justify to myself buying for a bit. I liked Alicia’s comments (uh-oh, I’m echoing), maybe a chap book of the bonus content after the Subterranean run sells out.
    Anyhoo, I’m bitter at the situation, and NOT Wil. Wil has done great, and I didn’t mean to detract from that. I apologize if I did so.

  24. Here’s the thing for all of us who ordered the original copy rather than the Subterranean Press: ours were, I believe, hand packaged and delivered by Mr. Wheaton, author.
    Since I don’t have a huge budget (most of our money is spent on diapers) I am content to have my original (though I am not a three hundred, more like a 1200.)
    I think this is a great opportunity for people who want more of a keep sake. There is something beautiful about a nice book, and I have no doubt this will be the same.

  25. Well, look, all I can do is apologize to anyone who is upset or disappointed by this. I’m personally really excited for the opportunity to work with a publisher I love, and get my work in front of an entirely new audience who may have never heard about it before.
    I also have to think about the various ways I can put food on my family.
    I have no plans to stop writing any time soon, though, so there will be new and hopefully cool stuff in the future.

  26. Inkblot saith:
    I liked Alicia’s comments (uh-oh, I’m echoing), maybe a chap book of the bonus content after the Subterranean run sells out.
    ~Exactly- I don’t blame Wil- am very happy for him, in fact- but just can’t spend the money to buy what I already have (LoTR notwithstanding.) After this version sells out, sell *just* the new material, & I’ll buy that in a second! (BTW, inkblot, you actually echoed quite a bit.. bit… bit…)
    One more thing- Wil, since you don’t follow me on Twitter I don’t think you’ll see my tweet, so I’m telling you this here: Smart Bacon by LightLife is awesome!! Hubby & I have it every weekend. Put it in the skillet with a bit of olive oil, & a few minutes later, yummy breakfast!!
    -Alicia
    [email protected]
    http://www.thewagband.com

  27. Speaking ONLY for myself here, as I haven’t discussed this with Wil: I don’t see how a “new stuff only” chapbook could be cost-effective. You’re talking about a very small market and probably one not willing to pay a lot just for the extras, which means either Wil takes a loss on every chapbook to hold the price down or he doesn’t sell many of them.
    Now echoing Wil: We do have some very cool plans for 2009. I’m looking forward to working with Wil on some new stuff, including [REDACTED], [CLASSIFIED], and most especially the long-awaited [NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR CLEARANCE, CITIZEN].

  28. @wil @andrew I guess the way I approached it when I saw the email was, “Well, I already have this book twice over but I’d like to read the extra material and I’ll pretend I have the $35 to spare.” I guess I made a decision to buy another copy of THDOOL because where it’s kind of like New Line releasing 20 versions of LOTR it’s also not. I feel justified in being grumpy at New Line for getting me to buy 20 versions of the same movie because they’re a large corporation who stands to make a lot of money from 20 versions of the same movie. It never really occurred to be cranky at the news of the SubPress version of THDOOL because Wil, Andrew, and Bill (from SubPress) aren’t a large corporation. I like the work all three of them produce and so I’m happy to, in my small way, try to put food on them and their families. Again. Of course, InkBlot (and Alicia) explained that he’s not grumpy at Wil, just the situation, which I totally understand.
    I guess the way I look at the situation is that if you’ve got the $35 to spare you’ll spend it. If not, that’s cool because I’m sure other cool stuff is coming down the line.
    All I know is that I desperately want to know what [redacted], [classified] and [not available at your clearance] are. *Shakes a fist in mock annoyance at Andrew*
    In terms of a chapbook of the material for the 300, well, we can’t have everything. I think that if those of us in the 300 want to read the extra material we’re just sore out of luck unless we pony up for a new version. I don’t think .pdf is needed. Hey, I’ll admit that I’m jonesing to read what I missed from the 2006 and 2007 chapbooks that I never got to buy but I kind of accept that I don’t have access to all the materials you’ve ever written. I respect that you want to make some things special and not just available to all. It doesn’t make me think I am special for having access to certain things (like Sunken Treasure or being a part of the 300) but I get the exclusivity angle.
    Also, one more point, it’s been almost a year since the 300 came out and it’s been longer that the paperback’s been out. In my mind that’s enough time for me to spend some more money on “the writings of Wil”. Plus SubPress is awesome so, *shrugs* I’m not complaining.
    Basically, good on you for releasing new material through SubPress. Cheers!

  29. Wil said:
    “I also have to think about the various ways I can put food on my family.” Thanksgiving Freudian slip?
    I’ve decided that I’m buying the new edition, only because it will look great next to the original.
    I also own two different copies of the White Album, and I love them both for different reasons. (It’s a packaging thing.)
    For such is being a fan of good art. Extra content, extra artistic value are good enough reasons for me to shell out the ducats in support of an author.

  30. Wil, this is your art, and I KNOW you wouldn’t put something like this out without thinking (and overthinking, I’m sure) about whether this would provide your fans with something new and special. I trust you, and when you say it’ll be worth it, I know it will be. Even though I’ve got the paperback and one of the 300 (w00t! #21 in da house! — sorry I never took the opportunity to w00t about my 300 status), I will proudly add the new edition to my collection. Reading the new stuff will be the icing on the cake, but really I do this because I want to support one of my favorite artists.
    And Andrew, see if you can talk Wil into calling it “Happiester Days of Our Lives.” That would be kinda awesome, especially if it was done so that the title has a hand-written “er” added to the end of “Happiest.” In crayon, of course.

  31. I am a proud member of the 300. #57 to be precise. I wish I could afford the Lettered edition, but I cannot. I will, however, happily purchase THDOOL SE x2. One for me, one as a gift for someone who means more than the world to me.

  32. I am very happy and excited for you Wil.
    As one of the 300 I do not feel less special but am proud of this latest achievement. Unfortunately I won’t be buying the new version as money is tight this year. Husband had his hours cut back so I might have to wait until next year if things improve.

  33. Congrats, dude. I’ll buy a copy, wish I could afford the lettered edition. Oh, and regarding your “Its only Rock & Roll” post today – How often do you they allow you to put food on your family? LOL

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