From Publisher’s Weekly

A Chilling Crossover; Hot Sales

Neil Gaiman likely doesn’t take offense at the fact that he gives lots of people the creeps. After all, he’s a bestselling author of several spine-tingling horror and fantasy novels for adults (Stardust; the Sandman comics series). Gaiman’s latest tale, Coraline (HarperCollins, July), possesses the dark, haunting appeal his fans have come to expect–except that Coraline is a book marketed to young readers.

In the novel, when Coraline makes her way through a mysterious door in her family’s apartment, she finds herself in a spooky, parallel “other” version of her life. Released earlier this month, Coraline is off to a flying start, receiving numerous starred reviews in industry journals and debuting at #10 on the New York Times children’s bestseller list the week of July 21. Of the 100,000-copy initial print run, hardcover sales have already reached nearly 75,000.

Though it’s often difficult to determine a customer breakdown, HarperCollins sales reps have been assuming that much of this initial sales push is coming from adults. “His fan base is so connected and so devoted and they were aware early on that the book was coming,” explained Rebecca Grose, senior manager of publicity at HarperCollins Children’s Books.

A recent Coraline launch event/reading at Cody’s Books in Berkeley (where Gaiman read his entire novel to the crowd) enticed more than 600 Gaiman fans, a few of whom drove cross-country, according to Grose. More exposure for the book is planned via floor displays and publisher promotions scheduled for Halloween and the holiday season. In addition, the unabridged audiobook, read by Gaiman and featuring music by the Gothic Archies (known for their funny/creepy songs on the Series of Unfortunate Events audiobooks) is moving very well with 10,000 copies in print after three trips back to press.

Coraline may be Gaiman’s first novel for young readers, but he has dipped into the children’s book pool before, with the critically acclaimed picture book The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illustrated by Dave McKean (a frequent Gaiman collaborator, who also did the jacket and interior illustrations for Coraline). Released by Clarkston, Ga.-based White Wolf Publishing in 1997, the book has sold nearly 20,000 copies in hardcover and close to 25,000 as a trade paperback.

According to Dean Burnham, White Wolf v-p of sales and marketing, sales of the paperback “have picked up for us” since the release of Coraline. “People have been seeing the new book and are interested in going back and finding our title,” he commented. Though White Wolf is primarily a game company, and mostly publishes books related to its products, Burnham says they hope to do more stand-alone projects like Gaiman’s. In addition, Burnham notes, “We’ll probably go back to press real soon” on The Day I Swapped My Dad.

Cite: Shannon Maughan; “Moving On Up”, Publishers Weekly; 7/29/2002