Not an April Fool: Dummy Copies of Kano Shipped

Wish it were an April Fool

Look what I got in the mail last week!

Boy, wasn’t I surprised, since I’m still working with the editors on the final draft! I mean, it would have been great if it had actually been the final text, but the inside looked like this:

Lorem ipsumanyone?

As it happens, before I received mine, I’d already heard from a number of readers who’d had the paperback and hardcover copies they’d pre-ordered show up well over a month early.


So what happened?

POD Blues

Those copies were what is known in publishing as dummies. Essentially, they’re prototypes, used to test the design concepts for the book.

They’re also required in order to create a pre-order for a print book in advance of publication.

In this case, Stillpoint Digital Press wanted to make the book available for pre-order through all of retail outlets where our readers like to buy their books (aside from our websites, of course).

We use an excellent print-on-demand (POD) service called Lightning Source to create the paperback and hardcover books we sell. Lightning Source requires actual PDF copies of the book and cover files in order to list a title for distribution. Now, obviously, the book isn’t ready a year or more ahead of time, so the designer creates a dummy — a PDF that uses the approximate layout and page count of the final book. We upload that, and voilà! The book shows up as available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes and Noble,, your local independent store — wherever folks want to order.

So what happened this time?


I have had a series of unfortunate (non-YA-lit related) events that made it impossible for me to meet the original March 1 publication date.

And so we moved the release back to its current deadline: April 30, 2024.

We updated the databases everywhere we had entered the earlier March 1 date — including LSI and Amazon (where we’d set up the Kindle ebook pre-order).

We changed the pre-reveal cover to state very clearly that the new release date was now April 30.

However, deep in the bowels of the computers at the various retailers — especially Amazon — the algorithms apparently still remembered the original date.

At some point in early March, they sent out requests to LSI saying, Hey! We have pre-orders for this title, and it’s hit its release date! Ship ’em, now!

And Lightning Source, for reasons that are still obscure, printed and drop-shipped hundreds of copies.

Dummies. That read Coming April 30, 2024! in big, bright red letters on the cover. That were full of gibberish pseudo-Latin.

Even though — to be clear — Lightning Source’s own database had a release and ship date of 4/30.

We’ve been on the line with Amazon and Lightning Source for the past few weeks trying to work out what happened and — most importantly — how to make sure that no more copies were printed or shipped.

Which, knock wood, they won’t.

If you received a copy… well, we’re terribly sorry. You should be able to return it for a full refund.

I’m working hard (when not talking to recalcitrant POD providers and online booksellers) to get the real copies into stores on April 30. You can reorder with confidence — or, if you want to be absolutely sure you get an actual, non-gibberish copy of Kano, may I suggest you order it directly from me on I’ll even sign it for you! You’ll get a nice bookmark and everything. 🙂

And if you’re still holding on to your time-traveling Lorem ipsum edition… that’s quite the collector’s item. I’d love to sign that for you as well when next we meet.

In any case, I would love to do something for all of you who were disappointed to find that the copies of the book you’d been waiting for… weren’t. Not sure what. Any suggestions?

Kunoichi Companion Tales covers


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2 thoughts on “Not an April Fool: Dummy Copies of Kano Shipped”

  1. So since I have payed for the book in advance and got the dummy,WILL I STILL GET THE BOOK WHEN IT COMES OUT?

    1. I’m so sorry to hear that, David! I will make sure that you get a copy, one way or another.

      Did you return the dummy copy? What store did you buy it from?

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