No, sadly not for me. But whoever said that traditional publishing is dead had better think again. I’ve said myself that traditional publishing is dying. The whole nature of publishing is changing, and changing rapidly. But here’s proof that the old models aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

I’ve picked up this news via S F Signal and Locus and the main story is being reported in The Guardian in the UK. Science fiction author Alistair Reynolds has landed a deal with Orion imprint Gollancz for ten books over ten years worth £1,000,000.

Alistair Reynolds (Photograph: Josette Sanchez)

Reynolds, said he was “amazed and thrilled” to commit himself to the same publisher for the next decade. Who wouldn’t be on a million quid contract? He also said, “It gives me a huge amount of security for the next ten years and writers don’t have a lot of security. Even at the best of times you’re worrying about the next deadline, the next contract. To have that in place is fantastic for me.” There he really does have a point. And there also is proof that trad publishing doesn’t hear its own death knell, so we can rest assured that books are still going to reach us the old fashioned way for a while yet.

According to the Guardian article:

Born in south Wales in 1966, Reynolds began publishing short stories in science fiction magazines during the 16 years he spent working as an astronomer at the European Space Agency in the Netherlands. He switched to writing full time in 2004, and returned to live in Wales last year. Meanwhile he has been steadily building a reputation as one of the most skilful practitioners of the flamboyant science fiction sub-genre of space opera. His second novel, Chasm City, won the British Science Fiction Award in 2001, and his latest, House of Suns, was shortlisted for this year’s Arthur C Clarke prize.

In describing the reasoning behind their decision, Jo Fletcher of Gollancz said:

“We don’t sling that sort of money around lightly. Al’s got big ideas for the future and we wanted to make that happen, but it’s also a signal to the publishing industry that we’re taking him seriously, and that they need to. He is very good at characterisation, he is very good at complex plots and he’s very good at making you feel the vastness out there. He’s got the whole package.”

I must admit that the concept of a ten book deal over ten years, while incredible, would also be very daunting. Writing a book a year, every year, for a decade is really quite an ask. Still, I’d give it a stab if the opportunity came along. Reynolds isn’t bothered by it and thinks he’s proved his abilities in previous years.

Well, good on him. It makes me very happy to see this kind of faith in publishing, especially in genre fiction. Maybe there is some hope left for the world.