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 Post subject: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 03:16 
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I was just looking at the chalet school Wikipedia page. It lists prequels, fill-ins and sequels. There are 30 altogether. This includes Joey and Patricia:A reunion in Guernsey, The Chalet School Christmas Story Book and Chalet School World. 20 out of the 30 have been published by GGBP. There are three fill-ins due to be published about Guernsey, 2 by GGBP and Pat Willimot's which is unlikely to be GGBP so this will keep the ratio of fill-ins at 2 out of every 3 being published by GGBP. Are people surprised that so many prequels, fill-ins, sequels have been published? Did you think that more or less of them were by GGBP or that more or less of them were by other publishers?


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 14:27 
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My personal experience is that the GGBP ones are better books.

There's a great effort to make them "fit" with EBD They are definitely based in the EBD-verse and they don't produce contradictions in the timeline. They are properly edited.

Whilst some of the books published by other people have good ideas, there can be a contradiction between the ideas of the author and those of EBD. For example, alternative medicine is clearly an interest of Helen McClelland.
Many of the books suffer from poor editing which I find is a real problem.
At least two I would categorised as plain "dull" to read because of the way they are written.
There's a difference between fan-fiction and what reads well in a book. Fan fiction is often a vignette of a moment and there's no need to develop character or to worry about continuity but you can't disregard these things in something book-length.


Having said that, I think there is starting to be too many fills-in. I quite liked it when they were filling-in the "missing terms" but now we are getting "alternative views" of terms already covered elsewhere and I don't think those fit quite as well. Off-hand remarks in the real books start being explained away and I think that's a mistake. It's a common problem in fandoms but when you explain everything there's no longer anywhere for the reader to expand. Also the books start to feel "ingenious" rather than natural and it is too easy to see the differences between EBD and the fill-in writer.


I stopped buying the fills-in after The Bettanys on the Home Front. Whilst I'd liked The Bettanys at Taverton High, which fitted cleverly with what we knew about the Bettanys immediately before School At. unfortunately, there's virtually no EBD material to be used for an earlier book and the book itself feels more like a fill-in of a fill-in. It's a perfectly good children's adventure story written in the style of the age but CS? I think not. Worst of all, it has a canon breach which, although minor, irritates me immensely!

Realistically, although I've read the CS books many, many times that's not true of the new material. Most I've read once and at least one I've never quite got round to reading...It's telling that, when there are discussions of the CS books, lots of people join in whilst there's far less interest in discussing the new books. I feel that's likely to be because they are generally less well-known and less frequently read (and the more new books we get, the truer that's going to be!)


The reason for the fills-in are going to be primarily money. It's very common for popular series to be sucked dry. The CS series itself ran out of steam and that happens to most long series but people tend to go on buying them well after the point they have ceased to be any good because of the series factor. The fills-in are playing on that. Obviously it's up to individuals as to whether they buy a particular fill-in but there's no real way of tell whether a book is going to be worth it or not. You can't borrow a couple from the library and see if you like them before you buy, and they aren't going to be widely reviewed. (There's also a difficulty in that most of the authors are themselves part of this Board or the Facebook groups or the NCC or FOC so people are reluctant to say negative things about the books. That means what you tend to see about the books is positive and, unless you know the person posting, not necessarily helpful)


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 16:37 
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As with most things, once there's an established market for them, they'll keep going. I don't read Jane Austen spin-offs/sequels, but there are zillions of them around now.

I think that the fill-ins work better than the prequels or sequels, because they work on "canon". Sequels are just one person's idea about what might have happened, which might be a very good idea but will probably contradict everyone else's personal ideas, and, as Victoria said, the prequels didn't really use EBD's own material.

GGBP's are good quality in terms of editing and proof-reading, which some of the others haven't been, but I understand that they're very strict about what they think is and isn't EBD-like, which might not always fit with the author's natural style of writing. Most of the missing terms have been "filled" now, although there are still some gaps in the war years.

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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 19:51 
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I started off refusing to have anything to do with the fill-ins. Now I'm a total convert, thanks to how good the GGBP fill-ins are. I also like the non GGBP fill-ins. I don't think any of the fill-in authors have done it for the money. I think it's such a niche market that they must earn very little. I think they do it from love of the series. It's interesting to see how many fill-ins each author has written - Helen Barber has done five, Katherine Bruce has done four, Caroline German has done three, Jackie Roberts has done three, Adrianne Fitzpatrick has done two, Helen McClelland did two, and the rest have done one. I'm in awe of the authors who have done three, four and five books, especially GGBP ones as they have strict requirements and a very long editing process.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 26 Sep 2019, 22:32 
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Thanks, Chloe.

I have no idea what GGBP make from the fill ins, if anything, and print runs have varied tremendously over then years, from tiny, up to quite large, and back down to very modest, but honestly folks, we don’t write them for the money. It’s for the love... :D


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2019, 02:14 
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That's interesting that print runs increased hugely and then decreased significantly. I think the decrease is probably due to a combination of CS fans passing away in recent years(after all a lot of CS fans are unsurprisingly elderly given the period the books were first published) and fans loosing interest in buying GGBP books(partly due to GGBP taking so long to finish publishing the original series in its entirety in my opinion). I am not against reprints of books GGBP have done already by any means as I was not aware of GGBP when they first started issuing CS books and also if GGBP did not reprint books they had already issued people who had not got every CS book from GGBP from the very beginning would have very little hope of ever having a complete GGBP set and many would not bother buying GGBP CS books which would damage GGBP from a business point of view. It's just that it's taking so long for them to complete reprinting the original series. I think they started in 2002 and at the rate they are issuing CS books now they will finish about 2025. That's about 23 years so you can understand fans loosing interest. Also I wonder how the size of print runs for the original series books compares to the size of print runs for fill-ins. I would imagine that the print runs for the original books would be larger as many people don't read the fill-ins, but then many people have copies of the original books before GGBP reprint them, whereas people don't have copies of the fill-ins already unless it's a fill-in GGBP are reprinting. Does anybody on here know anything about how the size of GGBP print runs compare?


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2019, 04:17 
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In Clarissa's introduction in the CS GGBP books she observes that the paperback CS books were published in an extraordinary order and she's right. However I've often thought that the GGBP CS books have been published in a similarly extraordinary order. I know that they take into account which books are most requested when deciding which ones to publish next, also they might take into account how rare or easy to buy a book is before deciding which one to publish next(I'm not sure about this). Also I think that on a couple of occasions when they have been publishing a fill-in they have published a book from the original series that takes place at the same time as the fill-in or immediately before or after it. I still think GGBP have lacked any pattern when publishing the CS books. They did not for example start from the first book and work their way through in numerical order, or they did not do the holiday books first or last(even Armada left all the holiday books until last I think). If you look at the GGBP publishing order of the CS books it seems to be completely random, possibly even more random than Collins/Armada. Despite all this I am deeply grateful to GGBP for republishing the CS books and also EBDs other books as it means that we get the full stories and also GGBP produce such beautiful copies and also include extras.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2019, 07:38 
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I keep wondering if they might do a second Christmas story book, but there don't seem to be any plans for it. I really like that one - and there's scope for including all eras and lots of different characters in it.

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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2019, 09:13 
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GGB have announced that Amy Fletcher's Guernsey fill-in will be A Refuge for the Chalet School. This was the overwhelming choice after they asked readers of their weekly newsletter to comment on a short list last week.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2019, 18:14 
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GGBP announced in their newsletter that they will be issuing two new CS titles and one CS reprint next year. They are asking people to leave them know which ones they want and I guess they will do the ones the most people ask for(they didn't specifically say this). This looks like they will be doing two new CS titles a year(again they didn't specifically say this). However be the end of this year they will have published two new CS titles - Exploits and Theodora and they have said they will be doing two new CS titles next year so if they carry on at this rate they will publish the last new CS titles in 2022 - twenty years after they started republishing the CS, that would be fitting. They also included some interesting statistics in the newsletter - the newsletter went out to 784 people last week and 80% opened it and it went out to 799 people this week. It is interesting to see how many people are still interested in our kind of books.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2019, 18:52 
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Forgot to say GGBP said they will be publishing one early CS title and one later CS title next year. Just so people can take this into account when letting GGBP know which titles they would like them to do.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 27 Sep 2019, 22:37 
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Re. print runs, my first book, Robin, had around 700 copies on the original run, whereas Juliet had (I think) well over 2000 copies. There is a finite market for CS books, whether fill in or EBD, so while Juliet did sell out, it took quite some time. That’s money tied up in stock for GGBP.

Since then (early-mid 2000s), I would imagine printing has become a lot easier and potentially cheaper, with the rise of self-publishing, and GGPB have become much more experienced, so they prefer to obtain a goodly number of pre orders and print fewer copies, knowing that it relatively easy to reprint in another few years.

Much better to sell out a modest print run and then reprint at a later date than risk being stuck with a lot of stock that might not sell. Far too risky!

I can’t imagine that the number of people buying has massively changed or that people have particularly lost interest. It’s always been a niche market. And I would have the largest age group in this fandom is the 40-65s, who were “the right age” to read the paperbacks in the years they were being published (mid 1960s to mid 1990s). So, not exactly dying off yet...


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 12:08 
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Caroline wrote:

I can’t imagine that the number of people buying has massively changed or that people have particularly lost interest. It’s always been a niche market. And I would have the largest age group in this fandom is the 40-65s, who were “the right age” to read the paperbacks in the years they were being published (mid 1960s to mid 1990s). So, not exactly dying off yet...




The age group comment sounds about right. Although I buy fill-ins, I very rarely buy reprints - as well as hb EBDs I have complete collections of nearly all the other authors they reprint. I think this is probably true of many older collectors who were collecting when most books were in hb, and in spite of Armadas starting, second-hand copies of hbs were relatively cheap so we went for them rather than Armadas, while younger girls at that time would go for Armadas, and only later if they carried on collecting would try to get hbs which were getting more and more expensive - and still are, hence demand for unabridged GGBP copies.

The thing I sometimes feel I miss out on are all the extras GGBP include, but I wouldn't buy a reprint just for these when I have an original hardback.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 12:24 
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I agree. I’m late 40s, so was buying paperbacks in the early 80s (from jumble sales, mostly, and very definitely secondhand) and then in the late 80s / 90s when there was another round of paperbacks published, including the holiday books, which I also bought.

I had no idea as a child / teen that the hardbacks existed, or that the paperbacks I was reading were abridged, and it was only when the internet came along, and I discovered the GO mailing list and FOCS that I did realise this, and started looking for hardbacks.

I’m lucky in that I could afford hardbacks, and now have a full set, but I would imagine that CS fans in my age bracket - too “young” to have been aware of the hardbacks when they were more readily available - would be prime GGPB purchasers. Plus, those who would rather replace their paperback with a £12 pristine full text with all the illustrations and maybe a bonus story, compared to a potentially much, much more expensive hardback or a cheaper hardback with no dustwrapper and no pictures (if they can find one).

I buy the fill ins I’m interested in owning, by authors I like, but not so much the EBD books themselves (although, I do have a few).


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 28 Sep 2019, 20:08 
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I have a mixed collection, some hardbacks, some GGBP and à few Armadas of the uncut / minimal cuts type. I am gradually replacing the heavily cut paperbacks with reprints. I do wonder, though, if there is any consideration to issuing an anthology of the short stories and articles that are included in the reprints. I generally enjoy them, but I’m not likely to buy a reprint of one that I already own just for the short story.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 29 Sep 2019, 13:32 
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Nyota wrote:
I do wonder, though, if there is any consideration to issuing an anthology of the short stories and articles that are included in the reprints. I generally enjoy them, but I’m not likely to buy a reprint of one that I already own just for the short story.


This has been raised on a number of occasions. I am told that there's a practical problem in that the contracts for the extra material in the earlier reprints did not envisage such a possibility. Presumably cutting new contracts would mean extra work and cost that makes such a collection unlikely to be viable.

There's another problem in whether there's really a market for such a book. The obvious market will be people who buy fills-in (in that if you don't buy the fills-in, you aren't going to be interested in a collection of fill-in short stories) but, if you own many of the GGBP reprints, you aren't going to buy a book which contains material you already own.
I used to think I'd like a book of the additional material (when I owned a lot of hardbacks but few GGBP.) As my collection of GGBP expanded, I realised that I wasn't going to pay for a book to get one story that I hadn't got even if I might have been prepared to pay for a book with one story that I had and several that I hadn't. As a rough rule of thumb, anyone who owns half or more of the GGBP reprints isn't likely to buy such a book.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 30 Sep 2019, 09:04 
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Victoria wrote:
As my collection of GGBP expanded, I realised that I wasn't going to pay for a book to get one story that I hadn't got even if I might have been prepared to pay for a book with one story that I had and several that I hadn't. As a rough rule of thumb, anyone who owns half or more of the GGBP reprints isn't likely to buy such a book.
Point taken, but equally that excludes all those of us who have a complete collection of CS hardbacks, since most of us are not going to buy the GGBP editions as well, just to get the extras. But yes, the contracts would likely be a headache, one way and another, and the extra material is a unique selling point that GGBP would be likely to want to protect.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 30 Sep 2019, 15:28 
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Really the market for a book of the additional material would be the overlap between people who buy fills-in and who don't buy GGBP CS. Given the market overall is pretty small, I can't imagine that overlap representing enough people to make the book viable.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 30 Sep 2019, 20:36 
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I would think that if GGBP were to publish a book with all the short stories and extras included in the CS books they have issued that they would have to wait until they had finished issuing CS books(both new issues for them and reprints of ones they had already done) as when they reprint ones they have already done they often include new material as when they started issuing CS books first they didn't include any extras apart from Clarissa's introduction to the CS series and EBD and a publishing history for each book. This means that if they were to publish such a book now for example it would be short future extras they include in their new CS books and reprints of CS books they have already done.


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 Post subject: Re: GGBP News 3
PostPosted: 01 Oct 2019, 17:13 
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There's too much material for it to be "a" book.


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