Category Archives: the business of writing

The News: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

So here’s the news:

I have a book coming out around November-ish.

Slow Regard - Front

It’s not book three. It’s not a mammoth tome that you can use to threaten people and hold open doors.

It’s a short, sweet story about one of my favorite characters.

It’s a book about Auri.

That’s the news. The short version. If you’d like the long version, I’ll give that below….

*     *     *

I didn’t set out to write a book about Auri. I really didn’t.

What happened was this: a while back, I was invited to contribute something to George Martin’s Rogues anthology. I mentioned it a while back on the blog…

Wow. I just went looking for the blog post where I mentioned the Rogues anthology, only to discover that I kinda never wrote it.

Well. Okay. I guess y’all get a little side order of news with your news today:

rouges cover 2

I’m in this book too. It’s coming out in June.

What happened was this: a couple years back, George Martin and Gardner Dozois invited me to be in an anthology called Rogues. I said yes, because back in 2009, when I was working on The Wise Man’s Fear, they’d invited me to participate in a different anthology: Star Crossed Lovers.

But in 2009 I was behind deadline and freaked out about it. So I said “No” and went back to struggling with WMF. It broke my heart a little. Because it’s one of those anthologies you dream about being invited to. It was the anthology equivalent of getting invited to the cool-kid party back in high-school.

Anyway, when they asked me to contribute a story to Rogues back in 2012, I said yes for two reasons.

1. Because how fucking cool is it to be in this anthology? Look at my name up there, right next to Neil Gaiman’s. Seriously. Look at that. My name is almost touching Neil Gaiman’s name….

I know I should be cooler about this. I should pretend that I’m a professional and a grown-up and everything. But I’m really not. I’m still the same person who read Neverwhere back in the late 90′s and went, “What? Seriously? You can do that?”

And now I’m anthology-buddies with him. In fact, Gaiman’s story is “How the Marquis Got his Coat Back.” It’s about the Marquis De Carabas from Neverwhere.

The other reason I said yes was…

2. I’d had a story idea about Auri tickling around my head for a while. What’s more, I thought she would make a nice counterpoint to some of the other  classic rogue-type characters in the anthology. Sort of a trickster rogue, as opposed to a thief, swashbuckler, or a con man.

“Besides,” I thought to myself. “It’s just a short story. Three or four thousand words. Maybe 6 or 7 thousand if I run long. That’s about two week’s writing, tops.”

So I started writing about Auri. But as it unfolded, it went in directions I hadn’t expected. The story was… strange. I hit 3000 words and I was barely started. Writing about the Underthing was more complicated than I’d anticipated.

So the story got longer. I hit 7ooo words without even realizing it. I kept going, unearthing more secrets about Auri and the Underthing.

Eventually I hit about 15,000 words and forced myself to stop. It wasn’t going to work for the anthology, it was too long, and it wasn’t a trickster tale of the sort I initially expected it to be. Honestly didn’t know what the hell kind of story it was, but it wasn’t going to work for the anthology.

I e-mailed George and Gardner and begged for an extension on my deadline. They were very kind and understanding. I tried a few different things that failed miserably, then I realized who *really* belonged in an anthology about Rogues: Bast. Once I figured that out, I wrote “The Lightning Tree” for the anthology, and it worked out really well.

But I was stuck with half a story. Half a strange story. Half a strange, too-long story that wasn’t doing the things a story is supposed to do.

Reluctantly, I walked away from it and went back to working on book three. I love Auri, and the story had an odd sweetness to it. But I had work to do.

But the Auri story kept tickling at me. And let me tell you this, having a half-finished story stuck in your head is ten times worse than having a song stuck in there.

And there’s only one way to get it out. So when I came to a good stopping point in my revisions, I went back to the Auri story. It just wouldn’t leave me alone.

It ended up over 30,000 words long. An odd length for me. Much too long for a short story. Much shorter than my usual novels. (For a frame of reference, 30,000 words is about the same length as Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.)

What’s more, the story had unfurled into something full of secrets and mysteries. Something sweet and strange. Not a normal sort of story at all. I suppose it was silly of me to assume a story about Auri would be usual in any way.

The problem was, I had no idea what to do with it. I liked the story, but I like strange things. And I’m fond of Auri. And most importantly, I’m the author. Asking me if I like my story is like asking a mom if she likes her baby….

I showed it to a few people, and they seemed to like it pretty well. But they were friends, you can only trust them to be so honest with you.

I revised it a couple times, then showed it to a few authors. They liked it, but they agreed, it was an odd story.

Then I took a big risk and showed it to Vi Hart. As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog where she put some of my lyrics to music, we are now Best Friends.

So I knew her, and respected her opinion, but since we haven’t known each other very long, I trusted her to tell me the truth.

She read it, and we talked about the story. She pointed out some things she thought were problematic. I agreed. She pointed out some things she liked, and I was flattered.

We were in a bar in San Fransisco at this point. The Casanova. We’d spent a lovely evening together, and I was drinking a little bit, which is unusual for me. And it might be because of that that I started to lament the fact that the story was kind of a hot mess. Good stories are supposed to contain certain elements, I explained, and my story didn’t have those things.

Vi said she liked it.

I told her I liked it too, but that didn’t change the fact that people expect certain things from a story. If people read this story looking for those things, they wouldn’t get them, they’d be dissatisfied. Disappointed.

And Vi said something I hope she’ll forgive me for paraphrasing here without asking her first. She said, “Fuck those people. Those people get all the other stories in the world. Everyone writes stories for them. This story is for people like me. We deserve stories too.”

That shut me up. Because she’s right. It might not be for everyone. But not every story has to be for everyone. Maybe this was just a story for people like me and Vi. People who are curious about Auri and the life she leads. People who are, perhaps, not entirely normal.

Vi said a few other things that gave me enough confidence to send the story to my agent. He liked it, and said we should show it to Betsy, my editor at DAW. Betsy liked it. Really liked it. The people in her office liked it.

That made me think that maybe it *was* a story for everyone. Or maybe there are more people like me and Vi in the world than either of us expected.

Anyway, the end result is this:

Slow Regard - Front

I’ll have more details about it later. Exact dates. If and when I’m touring. Those things are still up in the air a bit right now.

But today’s the day we’re officially announcing the cover, showing it off to people at C2E2 and letting it out onto the internet. I’ve been holding off on this post so y’all could be some of the very first people to see it.

I think a lot of you are going to like it.

Fondly,

pat

Also posted in book covers, cool news, geeking out, Neil Gaiman, Stories about stories. | By Pat148 Responses

Professional Critiques for Aspiring Authors

This is a Worldbuilders Blog.

At its heart, Worldbuilders is a charity for people that love books.

Given that so many of Worldbuilder’s supporters are readers, it’s not terribly surprising that a lot of them are aspiring writers as well.

Every year we run a few auctions where authors and editors offer to give folks critical feedback on their unpublished manuscripts. Generally speaking, every year, they’re some of our most successful auctions.

Since people seem to like them so much, this year we’re delighted to offer more critiques than ever before. We have an even dozen read-and-critiques being offered by skilled industry professionals: authors, agents, and editors.

First, I really want to thank everyone who is donating their time and talent to these auctions. You are all shining examples of humanity.

Second, I’d advise you to read the details of each auction carefully. Each of the critiques below is different, some are for the first 15,000 words of a manuscript, others are for anything up to 100,000 words. The different professionals have different skill sets and are offering different things.

Third, some of the folks below have laid out some guidelines in terms of when and how quickly they can offer their critiques. I’m going to add a general caveat on top of that, asking that you respect the fact that all the professionals below are busy people. That means if you win a critique with them, you’re going to have to work with them to schedule a time that works for both of you.

So, please be understanding. Besides, you rush a miracle man, you get lousy miracles.

If you win my critique, for example, it can’t happen until mid-February at the very earliest. I’m busy with revisions, and I simply won’t have time before that.

Fourth, when the auctions below mention that they’ll read “X pages” of a manuscript, assume they’re talking standard manuscript format. That means, generally speaking, double-spaced, 12 point courier font, one inch margins.

Finally, if you’re an aspiring author, but you don’t have the cash to win one of these auctions, don’t despair. I’m going to be throwing a *second* read-and-critique of my own into the lottery. That means if you donate at least $10 to Heifer International over on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you have a chance to win my critique, as well as over a thousand cool books and other goodies…. (more details below)

Also, need I mention that a professional critique would be an excellent gift for that hard-to-shop-for aspiring author in your life? It would. It seriously would.

Okay, on to the show:

  • A critique of the first 20,000 words of your manuscript by literary Agent Matt Bialer.

Matt Bialer (literary agent) will read and evaluate the opening chapters of one manuscript (up to 20,000 words) within three months of submission, not including the last few weeks of December. He will read and critique, and help the author think about the issues that could be raised by editors at publishing houses.

He will write a general evaluation of the book, both strengths and weaknesses, but line editing is NOT included. If the book is fantastic or has the potential to be fantastic then offering representation is not out of the question — but representation is not a guarantee.

Pat’s Note: Matt is my agent, and I really can’t say enough good things about him. He worked with my The Name of the Wind before we sold it to a publisher, and his advice was invaluable. He knows the genre inside and out, and he gives great editorial feedback.

To bid on Matt’s read and critique, head over to the auction.

  • A critique of a sci-fi/fantasy short story up to 30,000 words by award-winning author Brenda Cooper.

Award-winning Pacific Northwest writer Brenda Cooper will read and critique a science fiction or fantasy short story up to 30,000 words.   Her novel-length work is primarily science fiction written for nine to ninety year old readers, and her short stories range across genres and age-groups.

Brenda Cooper writes science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. Her most recent novel is THE CREATIVE FIRE, which came out in November, 2012 from Pyr. Brenda is also a technology professional and a futurist.

In addition to the critique, Brenda will provide a copy of her latest novel, The Creative Fire.

To bid on Brenda’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

  • A critique of the first 100 pages or 3 chapters of your novel by author Scott Lynch.
Scott will review one piece of writing, preferably a section of a novel-length work, up to 100 pages or three chapters. This work should be double-spaced in a common electronic format such as Word or TXT/RTF. Scott will provide a detailed overall response to the piece and cover specific topics such as plot, character, dialogue, theme, and other aspects of narrative craft. Line and copy editing will be strictly at his option. This critique cannot begin before January, 2013 and will probably require six weeks from receipt of manuscript.

 

To bid on Scott’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

 

  • A critique of the first 100 pages of your novel by author Joshua Palmatier (aka Benjamin Tate).

Joshua Palmatier (DAW Books author of the “Throne of Amenkor” trilogy and the “Well of Sorrows” trilogy written as Benjamin Tate) will read and evaluate the first 100 pages of your novel within 3 months of submission.  The manuscript must be in standard manuscript format (typed, double-spaced, 12 pt font, etc).  He will write a general evaluation of the novel’s opening and mark up the manuscript using comments and track changes in the document itself, although this will NOT be a formal line or copy edit, simply commentary at specific points of the manuscript.

Joshua Palmatier has five dark, epic fantasy novels published by DAW, four short stories in various anthologies, and has co-edited two anthologies with Patricia Bray.  His experience is mostly with all forms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  His intent will be to offer editorial advice on how to improve your novel and to use his experience as both author and editor to make it the best it can be.

In addition to the manuscript review, Joshua will provide the winner with two signed, personalized editions of his books:  WELL OF SORROWS and AFTER HOURS:  TALES FROM THE UR-BAR.

To bid on Joshua’s critique, head to the auction over here.

(This is Patricia, not Joshua, obviously.)

Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray (co-editors of the DAW Books anthologies AFTER HOURS:  TALES FROM THE UR-BAR and THE MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY) will each read and evaluate your short story (up to 7500 words in standard manuscript format) within six weeks of submission.  Each author will write a general evaluation of the story and mark up the manuscript using comments and track changes in the document itself, although this will NOT be a formal line or copy edit, simply commentary at specific points in the short story.  Patricia Bray is the author of six fantasy novels from Bantam Spectra and has published numerous novellas and short stories in various anthologies.

Joshua Palmatier has five dark, epic fantasy novels published by DAW and four short stories in various anthologies.  Their experience is mostly with all forms of fantasy, science fiction, and horror.  Their intent will be to offer editorial advice on how to improve your story and to use their experience as both authors and editors to make it the best it can be.

In addition to the manuscript review, they will provide the winner with two signed, personalized editions of the books:  THE FIRST BETRAYAL by Patricia Bray, WELL OF SORROWS by Benjamin Tate (pseudonym of Joshua Palmatier), and AFTER HOURS:  TALES FROM THE UR-BAR.

To bid on Joshua and Patricia’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is pleased to offer one story or chapter critique of up to 7,500 words. Brad will draft a formal review that will cover such things as how well the story opens, complicates, and closes, how well the characterization works, dialogue, tone, pacing, tension, and a host of other issues. Essentially, he’ll provide a formal review on the positives and negatives found in the story.

Bradley P. Beaulieu is the author of The Winds of Khalakovo and The Straits of Galahesh, the first two books in The Lays of Anuskaya trilogy. The concluding book in the trilogy, The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, will be released April of 2013. In addition to being an L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Award winner, Brad’s stories have appeared in various other publications, including Realms of Fantasy Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future 20, and several anthologies from DAW Books. His story, “In the Eyes of the Empress’s Cat,” was voted a Notable Story of 2006 in the Million Writers Award.Mailing details and contact with Bradley will be set up following the auction.

To bid on Brad’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

Laura Anne Gilman, the former executive editor for Penguin/NAL/Roc Books, and author of over twenty novels, will read and evaluate your submission packet (cover letter, synopsis, and first three chapters up to 15,000 words).  She will read and critique, with an eye toward catching – and keeping- an editor or agent’s attention, and help you create hooks that will encourage the reader to ask for “more, please!”  She cannot promise to provide any introductions to agents or editors…but she won’t rule it out, either, if you knock her socks off.

Laura Anne Gilman spent fifteen years on the editorial side of the desk, including 6 years running the Roc SF imprint, before becoming a full-time writer in 2003.  She also runs d.y.m.k. productions, an editorial services company.

Pat’s Note: This is something really cool folks. I would have given a kidney for something like this during the two years I spent trying (and failin) to get an agent to look at The Name Of the Wind.

To bid on Laura’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

D. B. Jackson, who also writes as David B. Coe, is the award-winning author of more than a dozen novels and the occasional short story.  His most recent novel, THIEFTAKER, written under the D.B. Jackson pen name, is the first volume of the Thieftaker Chronicles, a series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston that combines elements of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction.  The second volume, THIEVES’ QUARRY, is currently in production and will be published in 2013.

Writing as David B. Coe, he has published the LonTobyn Chronicle, a trilogy that received the Crawford Fantasy Award as the best work by a new author in fantasy, as well as the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy. He has also written the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, Robin Hood, starring Russell Crowe.  David’s books have been translated into a dozen languages.D.B./David co-founded and regularly contributes to the Magical Words group blog (http://magicalwords.net), a site devoted to discussions of the craft and business of writing fantasy, and is co-author of How To Write Magical Words:  A Writer’s Companion.

To bid on Brad’s critique of up to 25,000 words of your manuscript, head to the auction over here.

  • A critique of the first 100 pages of your manuscript by editor David Pomerico.

David Pomerico is an Acquisition Editor at 47North, where he works in all the wonderful sub-genres that make up science fiction, fantasy, and horror.  Still, his passions definitely lie in the realms of traditional fantasy, space opera, military sci-fi, and dystopian novels. Before joining 47North, he was an Associate Editor at Del Rey Spectra.  Some of the great authors he’s been lucky enough to work with include Ari Marmell, Peter F. Hamilton, Sarah Zettel, Chris Wooding, Felix Gilman, Jeff Grubb (and many more that he’d love to list), and future projects by Dana Cameron, Jason Sheehan, Mark Barnes, Jeff Wheeler, SD Perry, and Aaron Pogue (again, among many, many others!).

He’s offering a detailed critique and commentary (but not a line edit) for the first 100 pages or so of your manuscript (double-spaced, please—and no margin shenanigans!), which he will get back to you within three months of receiving the manuscript. While he could possibly be blown away and want to make an offer on your book, this isn’t guaranteed (otherwise this might be a really pricey auction!).

To bid on David’s read and critique, head over to the auction over here.

  • A critique of a novel up to 100,000 words by author and editor John Helfers.

John Helfers is an author and editor currently living in Green Bay, Wisconsin. During his sixteen years working at Tekno Books (the largest commercial book packager in the nation), he co-edited more than twenty short story anthologies, as well as overseeing many others for publishers in all genres. He has worked with many well-known authors and co-editors, including Lawrence Block, Larry Bond, Elizabeth George, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts, Nelson DeMille, Charlaine Harris, John Jakes, Anne Perry, Jeffery Deaver, Michael Connelly, Walter J. Boyne, Harold W. Coyle, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis, Kevin J. Anderson, Ice-T, Richard Belzer, and Max Allan Collins.

He has also edited more than forty novels by such authors as Doug Allyn, Brendan DuBois, James Patrick Hunt, and Jean Rabe.  He has also published more than forty short stories in anthologies such as If I Were An Evil Overlord, Time Twisters, and Places to Be, People to Kill. His fiction has appeared in anthologies, game books, and novels for the Dragonlance®, Transformers®, BattleTech® and Shadowrun® universes. He has written both fiction and nonfiction, including the third novel in the first authorized trilogy based on The Twilight Zone™ television series, the YA novel Tom Clancy’s Net Force Explorers: Cloak and Dagger, and a history of the United States Navy.

Again, this is for a complete edit of a novel (up to 100,000 words, including line-edit and editorial comments.) This will be done within six months of receipt of the manuscript after the auction is completed.  The manuscript must be supplied in electronic format (MS Word preferred).

 

Pat’s Note: You see that thing up there that I made red? That’s big. Nobody else here is offering you line edits.

 

To bid on David’s read and critique, head over to the auction over here.

 

  • A critique of the first 75 pages of your novel by author Jamie Lee Moyer.

Jaime Lee Moyer is offering a read and critique of the first 75 pages of your finished novel. While she won’t line edit for grammar, she will comment on plot, pacing, character arc, voice, how well the “hook” or opening works, how well the story sustains her interest, and give overall, general impressions of the story. Critique will be done in MSWord via track changes, but please use a readable font and double-space your work. The critique will be returned to you within three months, edit letters and deadlines allowing.

Jaime Lee Moyer is a speculative fiction writer, poet and recovering editor. Jaime is the author of Delia’s Shadow, the first in a three book series coming from TOR beginning in September 2013. Delia’s Shadow won the 2009 Columbus Literary Award for Fiction, administered by Thurber House and funded by the Columbus Art Council. She doesn’t take herself nearly as seriously as that credit implies. Jaime’s short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Lone Star Stories, and two of the well-respected Triangulations anthologies. She was the editor of the 2010 Rhysling Anthology for the Science Fiction Poetry Association, a poetry and short fiction editor for a semi-pro zine for five years. For a short period of time she read slush for a literary agent, and has critiqued more novels and short stories than she wants to count.

To bid on Jamie’s read and critique, head to the auction over here.

Patrick Rothfuss (international bestselling author, lover of women, and hirsute iconoclast) will read your manuscript and give you critical feedback. (Up to, say, 250,000 words.) We’ll schedule this based on when your manuscript will be ready and my own schedular constraints.

I’ll read through your manuscript, scrawling notes and dirty words in the margins, then I’ll call you on the phone and we can discuss it. I won’t write you up a detailed critique because that’s not how I roll. But we’ll probably chat on the phone for a couple of hours discussing the various strengths and weaknesses of the book, your writing craft, and I’ll offer any suggestions I might have.

If I think your book is super-awesome, I might be willing to pass it along to someone. But be very aware that what you’re buying here is a critique, not a blurb or an introduction to the publishing world. A critique.

Mailing details and contact with Patrick will be set up following the auction.

To bid on Pat’s critique, head to the auction over here.

  • Lottery Item: A critique of your entire manuscript by Pat Rothfuss.

(That’s right, ladies. All of this, and brains too…)

Here’s the deal. I’m well aware of the fact that a lot of authors are starving-artist types. I spent more than a decade below the poverty line working on my books before I was published.

I know those people can’t afford to blow a bunch of money on an auction for a critique, and I feel bad about that.

So this year, I’m throwing a critique into the lottery.

Here’s how it’s going to work. For every $10 you donate to Heifer International over on the Worldbuilders Team Page, you have a chance to win my critique, as well as over a thousand cool books and other goodies we have listed on our main page.

Unlike the books though, who go to pretty much anyone that wins. This prize will be selective. I’m going to call whoever wins it, and if they’re not an aspiring author who wants help with a manuscript, we’ll draw another name. We’ll do this again and again until it ends up in the hands of someone that can use it.

So if the auctions are out of your reach, pitch in on our team page. The more you donate, the more you’re likely to win.

*     *     *

If you’d like to see all the auctions Worldbuilders is currently running, you can find them over here.

If you want to see the other items that have been donated to Worldbuilders, or learn more about the fundraiser itself, you can head over to the main page here.

 

Also posted in Revision, the craft of writing, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat29 Responses

Worldbuilders: Sounding the Advance

We’re about a month and a half away from the start of this year’s Worldbuilders, and I have to say, things are going pretty well so far.

Actually, we’re doing way better than that. Things are going amazingly well.

I wish I could take credit for it. But the truth is, it’s the newly assembled Worldbuilders team who deserves the praise.

You see, last year’s fundraiser was our biggest yet. We raised over 450,000 dollars for Heifer International.

The downside was that it swallowed three months of my life.

And I’m not saying it wasn’t worth it. Because it was. $450,000 is a lot of goats. It’s a lot of well-fed kids and a lot of families that are happier and healthier than they were before.

But it made me realize that I needed *way* more help to run things effectively. We’ve come a long way since 2008 when Sarah and I ran this whole thing out of our living room.

As a result, this year I’ve got a bunch of lovely, capable, and above all *organized* people helping out. They say things to me like, “You know, maybe you should start asking authors for donations before the fundraiser actually starts…”

Its because of them that things are moving along smoothly and according to schedule. Hell, they’re the only reason there is a schedule.

So, with no further ado, a few updates:

  • Alchemystic Pre-Order

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog explaining my mortal enemy Anton Strout’s generous offer to donate $1 to worldbuilders for every copy of his upcoming book that people pre-order. I also mentioned that his publisher, Penguin, generously offered to match that donation up to the first 1500 books.

However, after I posted the blog, I realized that while I had gone into some detail about how much I wished to destroy Anton, I hadn’t done a good job of explaining how generous he was actually being with his offer.

(I will admit, this was not my best threat ever.)

You see, authors make their money by earning a royalty off each book they sell. For paperback books, that royalty tends to be between 6% and 8% of the cover price.

Alchemystic has a cover price of 7.99. Let’s call it eight bucks even just to keep the math easy.

This means every copy of Anton’s book that’s pre-ordered, will earn him between 48 and 64 cents.

That means for every copy of his book that’s pre-ordered, Anton is potentially giving away twice as much money as he’s making on the sale.

Now I’m not asking that you rush out and pre-order his book in an attempt to bankrupt this man. My nemesis. My sworn enemy.

No. That would be petty.

What I’m asking you to do is this:

1. Realize that if you order Alchemystic before Sunday the 23rd, it will count as a pre-order.

2. Consider that if you pre-order the book, two dollars will be donated to Worldbuilders, and, by extension, Heifer International.

3. Look at this adorable picture of a little girl hugging a goat.

4. Do whatever comes naturally.

  • The 2013 Literary Pin-Up Calendar.

So far the calendar pre-order has been going very well.

For example, these are the pre-orders we received just on the first day.

As we promised, calendars will go out in the same order that they came in. So these will be the very first calendars we ship out when they come back from the printer.

If you’re interested in seeing one of the recently revealed pin-ups, you can head over to the pre-order page on the Tinker’s Packs and check it out there. (Hint: It’s Peter S. Beagle’s.)

You can read the blog Lee Moyer wrote about it over here.

Rest assured that we’ll be posting more images as they become available.

  • New Facebook Pages. 

We have recently created a Facebook page for our online store, The Tinker’s Packs.

And another page for Worldbuilders itself.

If you want to keep a close eye on the fundraiser and the store, following those pages might be a good idea. You’re less likely to miss updates that way. And some of the items we’ll be offering on the store, or putting up for auction in the fundraiser are going to be limited in number.

For example, last year someone donated 30 Jayne hats to the fundraiser and they sold out in less than a day. The same thing happened with the ceramic steins someone made for us.

If you tune in to the Facebook pages, odds are you’ll have a better chance of catching these sorts of things before they sell out.

That’s all for now, folks. More soon….

pat

[Edit: Added 1:00 PM]

  • Contact E-mails for Worldbuilders.

If you’d like to make a donation, you can drop us a line at donations (squiggly-at-thinger) worldbuilders.org

If you have a general question about the fundraiser, you can contact us at: Questions (squiggly-at-thinger) worldbuilders.org.

 

 

Also posted in calling on the legions, cool things, Things I didn't know about publishing, Worldbuilders 2012 | By Pat29 Responses

The Dirty Streets of Heaven

One of the coolest things about being a published author is that I occasionally get sneak peaks of books before they’re officially released.

These books are called ARC’s. (Advanced Reading Copies) And publishers send them out to booksellers, reviewers, and authors with the hope of getting promotional blurbs.

This leads to one of the oddest things about being a reasonably popular author: getting asked to blurb books.

As I’ve talked about before on the blog, giving blurbs is something that doesn’t come easily to me. Talking about books is easy. But giving a short, snazzy statement that’s marketable while also being honest…. Well, I often make a mess of it. It’s only recently that I feel as if I have it even halfway figured out.

But in this last year or so, I’ve had to deal with another mind-bending permutation of it all. Getting asked to blurb books by authors I’ve admired my whole life.

For example:

Do you know how weird it is to have a promotional blurb on the front of your favorite book?

You know what my original blurb was for this book? The blurb that I had to get out of my system before I could write the civilized one up there?

It went something like this:

Are you fucking kidding me? You want *me* to tell you why this book is good? I’ve been published for, like, five years. This book has been shining like a pure white diamond of divine fire since 1968. It’s one of the cornerstones of modern fantasy. What is wrong with you? Do you need a blurb on a candy bar telling you it’s sugary and delicious? Jesus, Krishna, and Siddhartha, how can you even consider yourself a fantasy reader if you haven’t read The Last Unicorn? Seriously. Read it. Read it or I will kill you….

Yeah. Like I said. I’m not that good at writing promotional stuff.

And things have only gotten weirder. Earlier this year I burbled a reprint of a Terry Brooks novel. Terry Brooks. His books were some of the first serious fantasy I read back in high school.

Then now we come to this….

For those of you that don’t know, Tad Williams’ newest book just hit the shelves about a week ago. Two words: Angel Noir.

And on the back?

(Click to Embiggen.)

I’m up at the top there. Glibly blurbing away. As if I could somehow sum up how I feel about Tad Williams turning his hand to urban fantasy in 30-40 words.

Part of me wonders where this madness will end. Because honestly, this sort of escalation can only go on for so long….

Okay. Back to the point here. Tad’s book.

Here’s the short version: I really enjoyed it. It might be my favorite book of his to date, and that’s saying something.

Here’s the moderate-length version:

Back around Juneish, I went on a bit of a family vacation. I needed it, and I owed it to my family to get away from work for a while.

So went up north with Sarah and Oot to hang out with my dad. I left my work at home, but I did bring the ARC of Tad’s book. Because for it to really be a vacation for me, I have to have something to read.

I start to read it on the drive up into the north woods, and I got pulled into the story. So pulled in that I would rather read the book than sleep. So pulled in that I end up reading the book late, late into the night. So pulled in that I ended up sitting in a stairwell for hours and hours, until 4 AM, effectively hiding from my family, because I didn’t want to wake anyone up by having a light on. And also because I didn’t want my dad to wake up, see that I was still reading, and give me that look that says, “You know, we’ve got stuff to do tomorrow. You should really get to sleep.”

Yeah. So it was pretty much like high school all over again.

If you still need more encouragement than that, you can read the review I wrote over on Goodreads.

Later folks,

pat

Also posted in recommendations, the art of blurbing, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat50 Responses

Showtime

Okay folks. It took some doing, but I’ve finally got everything lined up for the first episode of my show on Geek and Sundry.

What’s that? You want to know what the name of the show is? The name we picked from thousands of suggestions?

After a lot of deliberation, we settled on The Story Board.

We’ve got a logo and everything.

It’s got Latin in it, so you know we’re all kinds of posh.

Our first show is going to be about Urban Fantasy and our guests are Emma Bull, Jim Butcher, and Diana Rowland.

Jim will be joining us from the deep woods, where he is tucked away, LARPing. He’s said he’s not responsible if a sudden zombie invasion erupts while he’s online. I said that sounds perfectly reasonable….

If you want to watch the show live, it’s tonight, August 7th, at 8:00 PM Pacific Time.

I’ll be putting up a link on my Google+ account when we launch.

And yes. I know that time is different than what I said on the blog before. That’s because I was wrong on the blog before. This is the right time. 8:00 Pacific.

If you can’t catch it live, rest assured we’ll be posting up the footage on youtube before too long.

You know what the weirdest thing about all of this is? I can’t get the opening theme from the Muppet Show out of my head….

It’s going to take an extreme effort for me *not* to sing that when we start the show tonight…

pat

Also posted in Geek and Sundry, the craft of writing, The Story Board | By Pat64 Responses

Beta Readers: Part II

First, a few excerpts from the many, many messages I’ve received recently.

  • “Do you need another Beta Reader? I’d be happy to help….”
  • “I read on one of your latest blogs something about beta readers. I had no clue there was such a thing, but now I know about it I want to be one.”
  • “I think beta-reading sounds like the best job in the world–next to testing the softness of puppy-tummy-fur with one’s face all day.”

People have given many credentials and uttered many a plaintive plea. There have even been blatant attempts at bribery. People have offered me cash, computers, and promises of their undying love. About the only thing people didn’t offer is livestock and sexually explicit pictures of themselves.

I should have seen it coming, but honestly, I didn’t.

I know a lot of people would love to help me out by giving a beta read…

Wait, that’s not entirely true, is it?

What I meant to say is that a lot of people would love to read an early copy of the book, and, largely by coincidence, help me out with a beta read.

But I just can’t feel good about it. ** [See edit below.]

  • “I’d like to volunteer.  I know there is probably some precautions you have to take to make sure it’s not leaked, but I’ll do whatever you need, sign a contract, send in a testicle, mail in a kid for collateral, whatever… seriously though I can keep my mouth shut.”

Ultimately, this strikes at the heart of the issue.

Back when I was working on The Name of the Wind, I would give a copy of the book to anyone who even hinted they wanted to read it.

Getting other people’s feedback on the book is a key element of my revision process. You see, I’ve read this book so many times in so many versions, that I need an external view of it. A triangulation point, if you will…

But these days, I can’t just hand it out all higgledy piggledy. Things are more complicated. These days I have to worry about people leaking early, crappy versions of the book onto the net months before the pub date.

I know, deep in my heart of hearts, that most people would never dream of doing such a thing. But all it takes is one jackass….

And yeah, I have a non-disclosure form. Everyone signs it before they get the book. Even Sarah signed it.

It’s a vicious fucking thing that goes something like this:

You, by signing below, agree that you’ll do everything in your power to protect this manuscript and keep its contents secret. If you fail in this, and are a big chatty Cathy about it, I, Patrick Rothfuss, will fuck you up.

I will do this on all possible levels: financially, socially, physically, and spiritually.

If you lend it to your girlfriend who leaves it on the bus and then some jackhole finds it and it ends up on the internet, I will de-corn your cob. Seriously. Your entire cob. Every single kernel of corn. I am not even fucking kidding….

It goes on like that for some time. It is so terrifying that one of my friends said he didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house with his copy of the book.

But really, the non-disclosure form isn’t going to help. If the book gets leaked, I’ll be pissed forever, and suing some daft bastard into the ground won’t fix that.

  • “Do i have to invade a small nation? Do I have to sing show tunes in Times Square? Or is it just one of those “inner sanctum of friends” kind of thing?”

Ultimately, yeah. At this point it is. I have to know you personally, so I can trust you. It’s also important for me to know you because that helps me put your comments in context.

The other problem is that for me to really get the most out of a beta reader, I like to be able to sit down with them over coffee and chat about the book. I like to be able to leaf through the manuscript, ask them questions about their comments, and pick their brains about certain key issues. And seeing how most of you don’t live here in Stevens Point, that’s kinda hard.

So this blog is to say thanks to everyone who offered to help. I’d love to be able to take you up on your offers, but I’m afraid I’ll have to pass.

More soon,

pat

** Edit – May 18th

When I looked at the comments today, I was surprised to see people offering hugs of consolation, and giving me support, and telling me not to let the messages get me down.

This was kind of a surprise to me, as the messages I got from people asking to be beta readers were, by and large, lovely, considerate, flattering things.

So I re-read the blog and found the problem. It’s the following line:

“But I just can’t feel good about it.”

What we have here is a classic case of unspecific pronoun. It seems like I’m saying that I can’t feel good about all the people asking to read book two. But that’s not the case. I’m cool with that. As I’ve said, it’s really rather flattering, and I wish I could take people up on their offers. Because, as I’ve said, I love feedback.

That sentence should read, “But I just can’t feel good about handing out copies of book two to strangers.”

This, my friends, is why I do a lot of revisions. One misused pronoun and the entire emphasis of a piece of writing gets fucked up.

Just wanted to clarify.

Love,

pat

Also posted in book two, the craft of writing | By Pat115 Responses
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