With the end of the year approaching, it seems like a good time to thank my editor and publicist at my new publisher, Tarcher. After more than a decade with St. Martin’s, my expectations for publishers were ground into the dirt. My editor at SMP was a loyal friend, but the machinery there conspired against us at every turn. When the Great Big Book came out a few years ago, a lot of you helped out by pre-ordering it, driving up to #12 on Amazon’s bestseller list for awhile — and SMP still pretty much just let the book die. I am not privy to the exact details, but I believe when this was brought to the attention of the muckety-mucks, their response was something like, “Prithee, good sir, pray explain the meaning of this odd term ‘webbe-syte’.” After which they picked up their crow quill pens and resumed scratching away at the parchament ledger books. They didn’t get it, and they didn’t get me. To SMP, I was always going to be the weird alternative cartoonist kid from California, even after six books and two RFK awards. And a brief turn on the top of the Amazon list.

So it’s quite remarkable to be in the early stages of planning a real book tour, with genuine support from the publisher. It’ll be a limited tour, but that’s my decision, not theirs (these things play havoc with my deadline schedule, and there’s only so much time I can afford to take off). It’s also quite remarkable to be dealing with a publicist who understands there’s more to the job than leaving a stack of books out on Fifth Ave and hoping someone who works at a magazine might happen to stumble across them.

The book won’t be in stores until March 23. The pre-sell info should be up at Amazon within the next few weeks, and believe me, I’ll start pimping it then. (I’m holding off on releasing the cover art until then as well.) The book is full color throughout, on heavy paper stock — I haven’t seen it yet, but my editor called yesterday to tell me the advance copy looks stunning.

So that’s all good.

While I’m at it, I also owe thanks to my new webmaster. The transition to a new server has not been without a few hiccups, but things seem to be running smoothly now, and thanks to his help, I’ve cut my expenses dramatically.

And speaking of people I have worked with this year, my one regret is that these guys won’t be showing up under any Christmas trees this season. I have one set, and they are truly works of art, which must be seen to be appreciated. Unfortunately, the company producing them apparently collapsed under the weight of the demand. I was supposed to get a few more sets in lieu of the royalties they owe me, but they’ve vanished and no longer answer email, so it’s anybody’s guess at this point if that’ll happen. (Dawson, if you’re reading this–it’s okay, bubba, there are no hard feelings here. But I really would like to get those sets.) In the meantime, I’m still open to trying again if there are any interested manufacturers out there. (Anybody from Dark Horse reading this?)

…hey, one more: big, big thanks to the co-bloggers. They’ve added a lot to this site.