Because they lacked corporate backing, Fledgling and Saltation were originally published as serialized web postings. WTLF paid ahead of time for each chapter to go up. Lee & Miller called it "busker style," where we threw money in the virtual hat so that they would keep "playing" (writing). In exchange for this transaction, if-and-when the books were ever picked up by a publishing house, anyone in the WTLF group who put in $25 or more would gain an autographed copy of the books.
This was a cool idea, and a neat bet. I knew they would succeed, and $25 was pretty much cover price for a hardback anyway. Unfortunately, my expectations ran away with me, and I started thinking that it would be a first-run, first edition hardback, because heck, what else would the hardback be? And so it was... for Fledgling.
Then people started reading it. And loving it. And eagerly anticipating the Saltation sequel. According to Sharon Lee's post, the latest Liaden novel to hit the shelves has actually sold out in hardcopy. This is amazing news, and a major milestone of success for two hard-working authors who have been incredibly loyal to their fan base. So I toast their success, because it is also WTLF's success too.
But... ::whine:: I want my first-run first edition! ... so I ordered it online. It won't be signed, but I'll have it anyway.