Challenge,  publishing

Some Copyright Value…

Neil and Terry Hit It Again…

Back in the late 1980s, Neil Gaiman was working on Sandman and Terry Pratchett was doing Discworld books and for some reason they decided to collaborate on a horror comedy novel called Good Omens.

It was first published in 1990 in Great Britain and did really well. Both writers did their own things, many things, along the way after that and then Terry tragically died way too early in 2015.

The book is co-owned by Neil and Terry’s estate.

And then Amazon decided to green light Good Omens in 2019 and Neil went to work on the show writing it.

This last week, through the publishing arm of the Terry Pratchett estate (think indie press), the estate is doing a graphic novel Kickstarter for Good Omens.

And after a few days it has gone past 1.5 million. For a 1990 stand alone novel.

I just wanted to point this out for those of you who still to this day don’t believe your work will last or has any value. On a really goofy book published 33 years ago, there is a television series based on it and now a multi-million dollar kickstarter for a graphic novel from the book.

No matter how silly your work is, no matter how much you just ignore that stand-alone novel you wrote a while back, you just never know when or how your work and that novel will earn for you.

Go ahead, go back in a time machine and ask either Terry or Neil in 1990 if that book would still be making them millions and millions in 2023 by being on a Kickstarter and a Streaming Service. They would laugh and have no idea what a Kickstarter or Streaming Service even was.

And that’s my point. Believe in your own work. Keep it in print and selling. None of us has any idea what is coming down this crazy publishing road.


  • Adam Scott

    Well said. Also, as a huge fan of Sir Terry Pratchett, it makes me really happy that Good Omens has started switching the rest of the world onto the genius of the Discworld books. It never seemed to travel much outside the UK, which was always a tragedy.

    I had the pleasure of meeting him once at a book signing and he was every bit as lovely as you’d want him to be.

  • Phillip Quinn Morris

    I published a couple of Southern literary novels with Random House in 1989 and 1990. The shelf life in chain bookstores, literally two weeks to one month. “Didn’t sell well” so no third contract offered on what I considered better novels. Seven or so years ago, a translator in France read my first novel, loved it, threw it on the desk of her publisher, said to publish it. They ended up translating and publishing both. I made more money in France and gained more readers and got more exposure (including a full page French Rolling Stone article) than in U.S.
    My point here is that heed these true words of DWS. A novel does not expire, rot, go bad, or become irrelevant. Don’t fall for it.

  • Nathan Haines

    I don’t think I ever ended up calling it out as an example in the workshops, but I’d have to say that Good Omens probably has the most perfect automatic depth opening I’ve ever seen. The prologue is gorgeously descriptive and uproarously funny, in turn. Not only do you know precisely when and where you are by the time you get to the third sentence, but the two perspective characters are so suddenly and vividly realized in just a couple sentences that you can immediately identify them and know (a third of!) what you’re in for for the rest of the book, which lives up to expectations as well.

    Oh, and “dark and stormy night” makes a perfect appearance as well, and how often can you say that?

    It’s one of my favorite books, and it has to vie with all of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books for that honor.