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御龙在天经典版新区: 《權力的游戲》劇集已結束,小說續集何時能面世?

御龙在天十大烧钱名人 www.xfivd.icu Dan Reilly 2019年05月26日

即便喬治·馬丁已經完成了其手稿,但要讀到這本大作,讀者仍需等待很長的時間。

《權力的游戲》最終季已經于上周日上映,但該劇集和書作的粉絲們依然在期盼,什么時候喬治·馬丁才能發布該系列的第六部作品——《凜冬之風》(The Winds of Winter)。答案是:即便這位眾所周知的拖沓作家已經完成了其手稿,但要讀到這本大作,讀者仍需等待很長的時間。

不幸的是,對于《冰與火之歌》(A Song of Ice and Fire)系列小說的忠實讀者來說,事實在于,書刊出版行業有自己的經營方式,并非是為了迎合突然發布的專輯或Netflix的碧昂絲紀錄片。即便馬丁的《魔龍的狂舞》(A Dance with Dragons)出版已有8年的時間,但其出版商沒有理由去催促他盡快出版自己的新作。

唯一真正著急的是書迷,他們擔心70歲高齡的馬丁是否能夠在生前完成這部小說(作者在2014年說:“真的,我發現這個問題很無禮,而人們開始懷疑我的死亡和健康,有這些想法的人,見你的鬼去吧?!保┑磯∫部幾芯醯窖沽?,他最近對《Entertainment Weekly》說:“我最好是能活得長一點,因為我還有很多未完成的工作?!?/p>

鑒于劇集的最終季已經上演。最近,馬丁發布了新頭像特寫,而且他的一位朋友說這位作家的日程出人意料的空閑,從這些小道消息來看,有人猜測他已經完成《凜冬之風》。(馬丁的出版商拒絕就這本書作或其大致的計劃對《財富》雜志發表評論。)但如果馬丁真的已經完成寫作,而且其手稿已經交給了出版商,那么粉絲們要等多久才能看到新書呢?

即便這本書進入了快速制作通道,答案是至少仍需等待數個月。以下是有關這個原因的具體分析。

書籍制作需要時間

2011年,蘭登書屋在1016頁的《魔龍的狂舞》首發中推出了65萬冊精裝版。馬丁向《衛報》透露,《凜冬之風》的篇幅可能會更長,這“不像是一本小說,而是十幾本小說,每一本都有不同的主人公”。不管篇幅有多長,印刷量有多大(鑒于這個系列的受歡迎程度,估計印刷量會更大),書籍制作沒有捷徑可走。就印刷而言,出版社也不是一成不變的,因此他們無法想當然地就開始印刷這本書,而這僅僅是其中的一部分原因。

出版行業資深人士、Idea Logical Company的創始人及首席執行官麥克·沙茨金表示:“根據以往的經驗,制作一本書需要約6個月的時間。首先,要排版設計,要制作封面。打版需要1到2個月的時間,然后需要4至8周的時間來印刷和裝訂。這個時間還是在手稿已經備好的情況下,如果書中有很多插圖,時間會更長?!?/p>

銷售與營銷日期已經(幾乎)確定

與好萊塢一樣,出版商會提前數個月開始對發行進行策劃。在線和實體零售店需要知道都有哪些新書,并據此來調整銷售策略,而出版商則需要時間來配送、營銷和宣傳。是的,即便是《權力的游戲》也需要更廣泛的媒體報道,內容大多涉及作者訪談、節選,以及向重要人士提供讀者預覽版。

沙茨金說:“手稿與出版之間的時間間隔不僅可以用來制作書刊,而且也為評論者評論,營銷報價以及送達零售商留出了時間。巴諾書店[以及其他店面正]試圖策劃新出版書架的內容。他們無法在下周就把你的書擺上架,因為這個位置已經有人訂了。你必須在很久之前與他們對接上架日程?!?/p>

預售階段對于銷售來說至關重要

如今,沒有書刊能夠僅靠店面銷售就可以雄霸《紐約時報》暢銷書榜單之首,預售發揮著異常重要的作用。除了客戶滿意度之外,預售能夠讓出版商和店面了解銷售的情況,以及他們是否需要及時增加庫存來滿足需求。

沙茨金表示:“首周銷售有著巨大的影響力。你不會希望將《權力的游戲》書籍放在無法獲得預售激增的地方銷售。你可能會在三個月內推出這本書,同時不會輕易放過市場上的任何機會,但超過這個速度可能會很困難。此舉并不會給小說帶來它本應具有的良好開端?!?/p>

得益于電視劇,出版商無需著急

蘭登書屋于2011年3月宣布了《魔龍的狂舞》的發行日期是7月,恰逢電視劇第一季的完結。在出版界,此舉被稱之為“空降”,意味著快速在書店上架,而且以上面提到的銷售和營銷舉措為代價。

《凜冬之風》與《魔龍的狂舞》之間的區別在于,后一部小說是在HBO續訂該劇集之前就已經宣布發售。沙茨金表示:“他們可能希望趁熱打鐵,因為他們并不知道8年后該劇集是否依然會像現在這樣受歡迎?!薄賭Я目裎琛肥茲障扛呔影袷?,其中包括17萬冊精裝版的預售,11萬電子書和1.8萬有聲讀物。如果劇集遭砍,這個數字則會低得多。

盡管第一季十分受歡迎,但在斯塔克被斬首后繼續觀看續集的觀眾僅有300萬,不過,《權力的游戲》在2017年回歸時斬獲了1650萬觀眾。第八季必然會超過這一數字,因為如今人們只能通過DVD、網絡視頻以及HBO Now密碼共享和私下觀看來補劇。即便是在最后一集播出之后,這批粉絲仍然不會消失,劇集結束后留下的空白會刺激人們對《權力的游戲》內容的需求。

如今,在六周的時間內,數千萬粉絲們將知道維斯特洛斯和所有主要角色在熒幕上的命運。馬丁小說與劇集的背離仍將在今后數月內成為人們的熱議話題??贍芩嵋圓煌姆絞絞寡┡蹈椿?,或者以更快地速度讓人們喜愛的角色陣亡,因此,沒有人會因為等待一個合理、具體的發布日程而感到難受。

沙茨金表示:“小說的發布都有一個自然的節奏,一般會耗費數個月的時間,因為目前有數以萬計的書作正在排隊。蘭登書屋一年發行1萬本,也就是每周200本,一天40本??悸塹秸飧齬ぷ髁?,把一本書從正常的隊列中拿出來然后單獨排期是一件很痛苦的事情。當然,出版商會說:‘我們希望盡快完成,因為大家都在翹首期待?!豢悸欽邇榭齠斕胤⒉疾⒚揮惺裁春么?。該書作也不會因為趕工而受益?!?/p>

因此,《權力的游戲》的粉絲們還請耐心等待。如果幸運的話,估計馬丁最終宣布《凜冬之風》完成之日起90天之后,或更加實際一點,半年之后,粉絲們就將讀到這本大作。好消息在于,你有充足的時間來重溫一遍劇集,并重看之前的五部小說,更不用說馬丁介紹的所有其他相關中篇小說和書作指南,反正,你肯定不會鬧書荒。(財富中文網)

譯者:馮豐

審校:夏林

The final season of Game of Thrones premiered last Sunday, but fans of the show and novels are still wondering when George R.R. Martin will finally release the series’ sixth book, The Winds of Winter. The answer? Even if the notoriously slow-paced scribe is already done with his manuscript, it will still be quite some time before readers can get their hands on it.

Unfortunately for devoted readers of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, the reality is that the book publishing world isn’t built to accommodate the equivalent of a surprise album drop or Netflix documentary about Beyoncé. And even though it’s been eight years since Martin released A Dance with Dragons, there’s no real reason for his publisher to hurry up.

The only real urgency lies with the fans. Book purists fret about the 70-year-old Martin dying before finishing his story (“I find that question pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating about my death and my health, so fuck you to those people,” the author said in 2014.) But Martin has also started feeling the pressure, recently telling Entertainment Weekly, “I better live a long time because I have a lot of work left to do.”

With the final episodes came, there’s new speculation that he’s finished Winds, based on small hints like his unveiling of a new headshot and a friend saying the writer’s schedule has surprisingly cleared. (Martin’s publishers would not comment about the book or their general plans to Fortune.) But if Martin really is done and the manuscript is turned in to his publisher, how quickly would fans be able to get it?

The answer is still months, at least, even if the book is fast-tracked. Here’s a breakdown of why that’s the case.

Manufacturing Books Takes Time

In 2011, Random House produced 650,000 hardcover copies of the 1,016-page A Dance with Dragons for its first run. The Winds of Winter will likely be longer as Martin told The Guardian, it’s “not so much a novel as a dozen novels, each with a different protagonist.” Regardless of the length and size of the print run, which will be much larger given how popular the series is, there are no corners to cut in production. In terms of printing, the presses are never dormant, so they can’t just start making copies of Winds at the drop of a hat. And that’s only part of it.

“Historically, it takes about six months to make a book,” says Mike Shatzkin, a publishing industry veteran and founder/CEO of the Idea Logical Company. “First, a book has to be designed, a cover has to be made. It takes one to two months to get the type set, then you have four to eight weeks of printing and binding. That’s from when the manuscript is ready, and it’s longer if it’s heavily illustrated.”

The Sales and Marketing Calendars Are Already Set (Mostly)

Like Hollywood, the book world plans releases at least several months in advance. Online and physical retailers need to know what’s coming and adjust their sales strategies accordingly, while publishers need time for distribution, marketing, and publicity. Yes, even Thrones needs more media coverage, mostly in author interviews, excerpts, and getting advance reader copies to important people.

“The time between manuscripts and publication not just getting the book made but also having reviewers in place, getting quotes for marketing and reaching retailers,” Shatzkin says. “Barnes and Noble [and other stores are] trying to plan what’s going to be on its new-release table. They can’t put your book in there for next week—it’s already committed. You have to fit their schedule substantially in advance.”

The Preorder Period Is Huge for Sales

These days, no book tops the New York Times Best Sellers list solely by in-store sales—preorders play a massive role. In addition to customer satisfaction, preorders let both the publisher and stores know how well sales are going and whether they need to increase inventory to meet demand in a timely fashion.

“The first-week sale is massively influential. You don’t want to put your Game of Thrones book out where you won’t get a preorder bump,” Shatzkin says. “You could probably put it out in three months without any serious compromise to opportunities in the marketplace, but [faster] than that might be difficult. It wouldn’t give the book the start it’s entitled to.”

Thanks to the Show, There’s No Reason to Rush

Random House announced A Dance with Dragons in March 2011 with a release date in July, just after the show’s first season concluded. It’s what’s known in publishing as a “drop-in,” meaning it was fast-tracked to stores at the expense of the aforementioned sales and marketing efforts.

The difference between Winds and Dance is that the announcement of the latter was made before HBO renewed the show. “They probably wanted to strike while the iron was hot because they didn’t know it was going to look just as good eight years later,” Shatzkin says. The list-topping first-day sales, including preorders, tallied 170,000 hardcovers, 110,000 ebooks and 18,000 audiobooks, a number that would have been far lower if the show got canceled.

And while that season was popular, with just over 3 million people watching its post-Ned-Stark-beheading conclusion, Game of Thrones drew over 16.5 million viewers in its most recent turn back in 2017. Season eight is guaranteed to eclipse that, now that people have had to catch up through DVDs, streaming, password-sharing of HBO Now and piracy. Even after the grand finale, that legion of fans won’t disappear—if anything, the post-show void could lead to greater demand for more Thrones content.

Now, in six weeks, those millions of people will know the onscreen fate of Westeros and all the main characters. Martin’s deviation from the show will still be of interest in a few months—maybe he’ll resurrect Jon Snow in a different way or kill off a beloved character much sooner—so nobody will suffer by waiting for a proper, fleshed-out release schedule.

“There’s a natural rhythm of things that comfortably takes months because there are thousands and thousands of books. Random House is doing 10,000 a year, so that’s 200 a week, 40 a day,” Shatzkin says. “It’s a real pain in the ass to pull a book out of the normal queue and treat it separately when you’re dealing with that many. Sure, the publisher is going to say, ‘We want to do it faster because everybody’s waiting for it,’ but there’s no real upside in putting it too soon and not covering all your bases. It will not benefit from being rushed.”

So, be patient Thrones fans. If you’re lucky, it’ll be 90 days from whenever Martin finally announces The Winds of Winter or, more realistically, half a year. On the bright side, that’ll give you ample time to rewatch the show and reread the other five books—not to mention all the other related novellas and companion guides Martin’s put out—giving you plenty of content to feast upon.

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