They’re Still Letting Me Talk on the Internets

Last week of the blog tour, cats ‘n’ kittens! If you haven’t had your fill of me, here are the upcoming Q&As, interviews, and giveaways for this week:

3/10 – SciFi ChickQ&A/giveaway
3/11 – Bea’s Book NookQ&A
3/12 – Bookworm BluesReview/giveaway
3/13 – BibliosanctumReview
3/14 – Parajunkee – Review/giveaway

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. I’m still not super-used to being the center of attention, but last week was sales conference, which meant seeing many of my colleagues for the first time since pub day. So many people wished me well and congratulated me, and I received good advice about being, y’know, more assertive and less shy about asking for things from people who are happy to help me out. I signed more than a few copies. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the people I work with.

I also learned that Night Owls was #26 on Barnes & Nobles science fiction/fantasy bestseller list the week it released. Not too shabby for a debut author.

Onward into edits for book two!

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One Week On

Night Owls has been out for a week today. I’ve done the nervous new author things, including checking reviews (they’ve been good!) and wandering into a bookstore, looking at the book, and forgetting to offer to sign the stock. I’m off travelling for work this week, and my coworkers have been bringing me copies to sign, which is humbling and amazing.

More when I’m home and have a chance to catch my breath.

The blog tour continues! Surf on over to these sites for reviews, interviews, and giveaways this week:

3/3: Literal AddictionReview and Q&A
3/4: Yummy Men and Kickass ChicksReview
3/5: A Book ObsessionReview
3/6: On Starships & DragonwingsReview, giveaway
3/7: I Smell SheepReview

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Release Day!

Night Owls cover

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here!

Night Owls officially releases today.

One of my booksellers and I were discussing how weird publishing-time is. You see books months ahead of pub, so once they’re actually out on the shelves there’s this moment of hasn’t this been out forever? It hasn’t, of course, and now comes the part where other people get to read and enjoy and share your enthusiasm.

Today is a bit like that for me. This book has been in the works for me for a long time. I’ve gone through all the writing and rewriting, edits and copyedits. I’ve ticked off the milestones I’ve learned are part of the life of a book before it hits the shelves: cover reveal, appearance in the publisher’s catalog, the book feeding out to online bookstores, ARCs, early reviews.

So in a way, I feel like Night Owls has already been out forever.

Same time, it’s utterly surreal that this day is here. Wasn’t it just yesterday the offer came in? Didn’t I only finish writing it last week?

Like I said, time gets weird in publishing. I’m off to boggle at February 25th finally arriving, or having been here all along. If you see Night Owls out in the wild, post or tweet me a picture? And if you read it and dig it, spread the word?

<3

Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon

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JK Rowling Doesn’t Need My Advice

…but damn does this Huffington Post writer get it wrong.

Dear god, why do I fall for the clickbait.

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way: with my publisher hat on (complete with the Fascinator of Cold, Hard Logic), of course I want her to keep writing for adults, because her success helps my company, and keeps me in a job. Okay? Okay.

Next: bookseller hat.

The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo’s calling brought people into bookstores. How is this a bad thing? Oh, right, it’s not. With all the people out there writing eulogies* for bookstores, it’s books like these that help keep their doors open.

*(So many eulogies. Decades worth, akin to those placeholder celebrity death announcements CNN has queued up just-in-case. Except people keep hitting publish. Bookselling’s still not dead, though.)

Someone walks in looking for the new JK Rowling, they might browse through other sections and pick up other books, too. Because that’s how it works, book buying. That’s the reason Amazon and B&N have those sections beneath your purchases for other stuff you might like. “People who bought <this book you’re buying> also bought <other book>.”

Book sales drive more book sales.

Writer hat:

There are readers out there, for sure, who have very limited funds. If given a choice between JK Rowling’s book and a lesser-known writer, they might very well pick her book. Quite possibly because they read and enjoyed the Harry Potter series. Or because they know her name and figure she must be able to tell a good story. Or, yes, because they read a review. Thing is, their money was never anyone else’s to begin with.

That goes for readers who can afford more than one book at a go, too. Sales to JK Rowling are not sales stolen from your pocketses.

In fact, let’s say a person who doesn’t usually read mysteries picks up The Cuckoo’s Calling for the sole reason it was written by JK Rowling. Let’s say they like it. There’s a year between The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm. You know what that person who has learned they like mystery novels will quite possibly do?

Buy other mystery novels.

This is why you see (/plops bookseller hat back on, atop writer hat) displays in stores that say “If you liked Twilight, you’ll like…” or “If you like Stephen King, you’ll like…”

For most writers, books take time. Fans read other books in between, while they’re waiting. Epic fantasy readers did not spend the six years between A Feast for Crows and A Dance With Dragons twiddling their thumbs. They sought out other books that scratched that same itch. They discovered other writers in the meantime.

So no, Ms. Rowling writing more books in the Cormoran Strike series doesn’t hurt other writers. I don’t know enough about how the review process works (as in, how big professional publications decide which books will be featured). But I’m pretty sure she’s not sitting there cackling at having stolen the spotlight from a lesser-known writer. I would also put money on “that review space would have gone to another Big News Book” if she didn’t have something coming out that month. Just saying.

I don’t need to address snobbery of the slam on adult readers who read the Potter books for themselves, and not the children, do I? Good.

Point is, one author telling another “you’re too successful, get out of my yard,” is ridiculous.

As my friend Camille said, “The writers I know celebrate each other’s successes because readers win when another book is born.” Which is exactly right.

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Countdown to Owl-ageddon

One day! One day until release! Got a little hairy there last weekend, with Ragnarok scheduled for Saturday, but the wolf didn’t eat the sun, so we’re good.

These lovely blogs are hosting yours truly throughout the week. Check out the reviews and guest posts and giveaways:

2/24 – Tynga’s Reviews – Review/giveaway
2/25 – Bitten By Books – Release party and Rafflecopter giveaway: a Rafflecopter giveaway
2/26 – Manga Maniac CafeReview, Q&A/giveaway
2/27 – My Bookish WaysQ&A/giveaway, review
2/27 – TerriblemindsFive Things I Learend While Writing Night Owls
2/27 – Fresh FictionFresh Pick and review



February 27, 2014

2/28 – Urban Fantasy InvestigationsGuest post/giveaway

 

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Burninating the Internets

(See? Because “blog tour” rhymes with “Trogdor.”)

Yes, I’m off on a blog tour! I picture myself ordering virtual room service and drinking all the expensive virtual booze out of the mini-fridge before I jet off in virtual first class seats (more booze! fancy airplane food!) to the next tour stop.

So, here’s where you’ll find me in the coming weeks. I’ll update links as the posts go up. Lots of the blogs that are kind enough to be hosting me or putting up a review are also doing giveaways for Night Owls. Hie thee forth and enter!

I’ll be doing weekly roundups of these so I’m not overwhelming you with links. Here goes:

2/17 – All Things Urban Fantasy, review

2/18 – My Shelf Confessions, Q&A/giveaway and a review

2/19 – Fade Into Fantasy, Q&A

2/20 – That’s What I’m Talking About, review, guest post and giveaway

2/21 – Candace’s Book Blog, review/giveaway

Bonus! Check out this write-up over at Badass Book Reviews – I consider the Buffy reference the highest compliment.  My nerd heart went squee when the reviewer compared the Night Owls crew to the Scooby Gang.

Also hooooooooly gee, you guys I have a book coming out in a week!
/flail

 

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State of the Things, February 2014

The first Thing, I suppose, is whoa, holy crap, we are now in the same 30-day period in which Night Owls gets published!

My mind still reels at that. Someday soon, finished copies will arrive, and then… and then… /wibbles

If you’re attending Boskone this month, I’ll be participating in The Book Launch Party on Saturday the 15th from 7:30-9:00 in the Galleria Con Suite. Come say hello! I plan to have a few copies of Night Owls to give away.

Also, Publishers Weekly gave it a pretty solid review. Huzzah!

On the new writing front:

  • Hill and I have started something horror-flavored. I’ll get a wordcount link over on the sidebar when it has a name. Which it currently doesn’t. Titles are hard, kids.
  • I’m writing some shiny freelance stuff for games I really dig. Stay tuned!
  • Getting back to work on Adrift, including reading the two books that were recommended to me several times, by several instructors, at Viable Paradise: Nine Princes in Amber by Roger Zelazny, and Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian. Totally disparate works, but each with elements I can learn from for my own.

Short stories! It feels strange to have some time to really think about these, since they’ve been showing up in my updates for uh, a long time now, but the ideas are still with me, and now and then I’ve looked longingly at them in my ideas folder and whispered not yet. Thinking it’s time to dedicate one night of writing a week to them, see how they shake out.

  • “Wolves”
  • “The Desert in Fimbulwinter”
  • “The Reunion Tour of Billy James and the Flamethrowers, or How Billy Got the Band Back Together”

You might notice Ghost Town, the sequel to Night Owls, is complete over there on the sidebar. First draft is done, done, done, and my editor did not send it back to me on fire fueled by a gallon of red ink. So, edits for that are also on the docket.

/googles “Is pen ink flammable”
/wastes five minutes in research spiral
/answer is: “probably not, but some dudes lit a pen on fire and posted it to youtube.”

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Shut Up and Take My Money

Because this blog has been a lot of me me me lately, here’s some stuff that’s not!

Kickstarter has introduced me to so many new and shiny creative projects. These are a few that tickle my fancy, and I hope might tickle yours. If you dig the sound of any but can’t contribute, how about a signal boost?

Gaming

First off, we have Will Hindmarch’s Project DarkAre you a fan of Thief? Do you play a rogue in any game that offers it as a class? Do you secretly wish you were one of Scott Lynch’s Gentlemen Bastards? Then this game is for you.

Iron Edda: War of Metal and Bonean inclusive Norse fantasy RPG using the Fate Core setting? Yes please!

Anthologies

Women Destroy Science Fictionif they reach their stretch goals, we’ll get to destroy horror and fantasy, too! Huzzah!

Dark Trails: An Anthology of Weird Western StoriesJust look at that table of contents. /makes grabby hands

Streets of Shadows: A Noir Urban Fantasy Fiction Anthology – Again with the TOC.

Unidentified Funny Objects 3Editor Alex Shvartsman is one of my Viable Paradise classmates, and he’s bringing us a third collection of humorous SF stories. Have I mentioned the contributors? Because /glee

Are there any projects on your radar that I’ve missed? Drop a link in the comments! (No need to limit it to Kickstarter, by the by. Projects hosted on Indiegogo, GoFundMe, Patreon, etc are all welcome.)

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“Ex Astris” in Fireside Magazine

My flash story “Ex Astris” is up in the January issue of Fireside Magazine today!

This is my first professional short story sale, and I am geeked for it to be in the company of Lilith Saintcrow and Chuck Wendig.

You can purchase the individual issue, but full-year subscriptions are also available, which nets you scads of excellent fiction and art, and lets you get caught up on Chuck’s serial story “The Forever Endeavor.”

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On Eligibility Reminders

There’s been debate (as there seems to be every year at this time) over whether writers should post lists of the work they’ve published in the previous year to jog readers’ memories as they mull over their nominations for 2014 awards.

Starter reading: Amal El-Mohtar and John Scalzi pretty much say the things I’m thinking as a writer. (Especially as one who will be preparing her own eligibility post this time next year.)

I would like to toss out my two cents as a reader, with the understanding and acknowledgement that I am both things at once: pro and fan, writer and reader, the two are not mutually exclusive.

However.

/dons reader hat, sits atop pile of books

Let’s talk about some of the concern I’ve seen expressed about eligibility posts’ affects on readers:

“If you really loved a story, you’d remember it without prompting.”

I read a whole lot of stories in a year. Mostly books, but short stories and novellas as well.

My day job, as a sales rep for a publisher, means a good chunk of what I’m reading is six to nine months ahead of what’s in stores. I recognize that this isn’t going to be the case for the majority of people, but I want you to have a sense of how unstuck in time I can occasionally feel, seeing a book out in hardcover in meatspace and thinking “Yes, but hasn’t that been out for years?” when in fact it only pubbed the month before.

With that out of the way, like many other fans, I read a whole lot of stories in a year.

Twelve months is a long damned time. While I’m sure there are people out there organized enough to keep lists of what they read and when they read it, I am not one of those people. So when the following January rolls around, it is entirely possible — even likely! — that the books I read in November/December will be fresher in my mind than what I read the previous February. Even if I loved that February book. Even if I pressed it into all my friends’ hands and said you must read this.

Can I give an example? I’m going to give you an example. A big one.

I did not remember that the final book in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series was published in January 2013 until I saw this post by Leigh Butler on Tor.com.

Shall I repeat that? Put it in bold?

I did not remember that one of the most-anticipated books in one of the best-selling fantasy series of all time was published last year, and is therefore eligible for a Hugo in 2014, until someone reminded me.

Even if my favorites do spring immediately to mind, Hugo voters are able to nominate up to five titles per category. I might know my top three books of 2013, but seeing those eligibility posts can jog an oh hey, I really liked that, too. It might not be my #1 book of the year, but I’m allowed to put multiple books on my ballot. My runners-up might be someone else’s favorite, and I’ll be happy to see that title get the recognition.

I do not read new fiction exclusively. Let’s say I wander into a bookstore and head straight for their sf/f section, bypassing the wall o’ new fiction. The books will be a mix of frontlist (new titles) and backlist (older titles). If a store has enough copies, a new book will be shelved both with new releases and in its eventual home category. So it’s entirely possible the book I’m scooping up is hot off the presses, and I have no idea.

It’s a rare occasion for me to check the copyright date — when a book came out is never a factor in whether or not it comes home with me from the store. I read the back cover. I read the employee shelf-talkers. I read the first page or two. If it’s part of a series, I might return the next week and buy the rest. Maybe the last book in there is only two months old. I do not know unless I look, and chances are, it’s not at the front of my brain to do so.

One more before we move on:

Sometimes I missed it when it was first published. This happens all the damned time. My to-read pile is taller than I am, by a lot. Your book might be sitting in it, waiting for me to finish work reading, or held for when I am free of deadlines, or when I have a weekend to myself to really savor it. Or I intended to buy it when it came out, and I forgot.

Saying “these are my eligible works” lets me bump anything I missed to the top of that stack, so I know to get it read by the time nominations close on March 31st. It doesn’t guarantee I’ll vote for it, but it’d be awfully sad if April 1st rolled around and I fell in love with your book too late to get it on my ballot.

“Posting your eligibility results in legions of fans stuffing the ballot boxes.”

Oh come the hell on, with this one.

That’s an insult to me as a reader, suggesting that because an author I like says “this work of mine is eligible,” I will rush to vote for them. To what end? To curry favor? A pat on the head?

Forgive me for breaking into anecdata again, but: let’s look at last year’s Best Novel nominees, shall we:

Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold
2312, Kim Stanley Robinson
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed
Blackout, Mira Grant

Out of those five, I am a big fan of Saladin Ahmed, John Scalzi, and Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire. I dig their writing, I pay attention their tweets and their blog posts, and have immense respect for them all.

If Kim Stanley Robinson has a social media presence I’m not aware of it. My #1 spot on my Hugo ballot for Best Novel went to 2312. Because I loved that book. Loved, loved, loved it.

In 2012, my #1 vote for Best Related Work went to Seanan McGuire for Wicked Girls. Not because I wanted to earn her adoration, but because I played that CD over and over and over. Because I loved it, and felt it deserved recognition.

Fans are capable of making decisions about what they liked, and to suggest we vote only out of sycophantic loyalty is insulting.

Also, shall we talk about how you get to vote in the Hugos in the first place?

Participating in the Hugo nominating and voting costs money.

The 2014 guidelines are here.

To nominate for the Hugos, you have to be at minimum a supporting member of one of three Worldcons, 2013, 2014, or 2015. To vote for the final ballot, you must be a member of this year’s Worldcon. That requires at least a $40 commitment.

I dunno, I admit I haven’t taken a poll of past years’ voters, but this is me casting a dubious glance at the suggestion fans will buy supporting memberships so their favorites will win an award.

“Categories like Best Editor are too much work for readers to research / Readers don’t care about “industry” awards.”

I’ve seen it kicked out that readers don’t know who edited the books they like, and it’s too much hard work for them to find out.

Bullshit.

You know how to find out who edited your favorite eligible work, if you think they deserve recognition for their job?

Open a book you liked.

Find the acknowledgements page. It’s a pretty safe bet the writer thanked their editor.

Or, if the author’s up on twitter/tumblr/blogspace, ask them.

If you read a lot of short stories, is there a particular venue you get them from? As in, do you have a subscription to Lightspeed because you enjoy the quality of the work there? Hint: you can find the list of editors on that publication’s website.

This stuff isn’t tough, in the age of Google.

So yes, please, tell me what you’ve put out this past year. I want to know. I want to hear, and be reminded.

Not so I can rig an election, but so I can make an informed choice when I vote.

 

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