Category Archives: book covers

New Publication: Clash of the Geeks.

When The Name of the Wind came out back in 2007, something strange started to happen. Occasionally someone invited me to write something, usually a story for an anthology.

It was a new experience for me. But despite the fact that I was flattered, I turned all the invitations down saying, “I don’t really write many short stories. Besides, I really have to work on getting my second book out.”

I didn’t meet that first deadline for book two for various reasons. But still, I felt like turning down those offers was the responsible thing to do. I was trying to behave like a grown-up, you see.

In 2008 the paperback came out and I hit the New York Times Bestseller list. Because of that I got even more attention. Offers to write comic books, video games,  and more invitations to anthologies.

Again, I turned them down, saying, “I don’t have much experience writing short stories. Besides, I really need to focus on book two.”

A lot of these offers were for really cool anthologies, mind you. It was hard to turn down the chance to be published alongside some other big-name authors. Still, I felt morally obliged to refuse and focus on book two. I was trying hard to be a professional.

I continued along these lines until early this year when Suvudu held their cage match. They paired up various fantasy characters in head-to-head fights. I was flattered that Kvothe was included, but looking at the brackets, I saw that if Kvothe made it to the second round, he’d have to go up against Aslan.

That’s not an easy fight to win, and I kept thinking about how the scene would play out. How exactly, I wondered, would Kvothe win that fight?

Then the folks at Suvudu asked if I’d like to write up my version of the scene. So I did.

And you know what? It was fun. It was amazingly, delightfully fun. I’d actually forgotten how nice it was to write something just for pure shits and giggles. It didn’t eat up my precious writing time as I’d been fearing. Instead, it reminded me how much fun writing could be.

I thought to myself, “Fuck being a grown-up. I started writing to have fun. Now that I’m published, I should be doing fun things…”

And you know what? As soon as I gave up trying to be all professional and responsible (things that don’t come naturally to me, as a rule) my writing immediately improved. I wrote faster, and better, and I had more fun doing it.

Fast forward to earlier this year. I get an e-mail from John Scalzi. He sends me an e-mail that says (This is a paraphrase, mind you.)

Question: Would you have space on your schedule for a short (about 2K) story? It would be for a short (silly) story collection designed to raise money for the Lupus foundation. Deadline end of July-ish. Story doesn’t necessarily have to be “good” in a classic sense; in fact, it might be better if it’s not.

I think to myself. This sounds fun. It’s for charity. It’s short (I can do 2000 words standing on my head.) And he’s pretty much said it’s okay if my story ends up sucking. He’s practically encouraging me to suck.

So I e-mailed Scalzi back, and our e-mail exchange went roughly like this.

ME: Okay, I’m interested. What are the details?

HIM: Write a story about the events leading up to, and culminating in, the attached picture (which is a rough sketch; final picture to come).

(Click to embiggen)


HIM: For the sake of clarity, the person at the top is Wil Wheaton; the person at the bottom is me.

ME: Merciful Buddha…. Can you give me any context? Some framework I can use to cage this madness?

HIM: No. No context. Just write something. No slash. Otherwise, knock yourself out.

So there I am, utterly confusticated and bebothered. This is the first piece of short fiction I’ve agreed to write, and all I can think is, “What the fuck can I possibly write about this?”

This question spins around in my head for a couple days. I think, “Can I write a story about Scalzi and Wheaton playing D&D? Is that too geeky?  A holodeck adventure? Too cheap? Do I dare write the absolutely forbidden, ‘It was all just a dream’ story?”

Then it occurs to me that I’m approaching this from the wrong direction. I shouldn’t be trying to turn this picture into a joke. I shouldn’t try to be cute or gimmicky.

No. The events taking place in this picture are obviously epic. My story needs to be epic. And since it can’t be epic in length, it has to be epic in form….

So that’s how I ended up writing a poetic edda. For those of you who aren’t complete geeks, an edda is an old alliterative poem. Like Beowulf. Or the old Norse legends Tolkien ripped off when he was writing the Lord of the Rings.

Once I knew how to handle the story, I ended up having a ton of fun with it. I even brought in a certain celebrity in a cameo role…

Of course poetic edda aren’t supposed to be written in modern English, so I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to get the meter right. But you know my motto: if it’s worth writing, it’s worth obsessively revising.

And now, months later, I’m finally able to present you with the finished project:

(Beware, lest the awesome blind you…)

Check it out. I get third billing. How cool is that shit?

You can download the anthology for free, but I’d like to politely ask y’all to keep in mind that we’re trying to raise money for the Lupus foundation. For all intents and purposes, these stories are brought to you by the Lupus Foundation.

That means if you can afford it, donating to the cause would be a terribly kind thing to do. I know you have it in you. Make me proud.

You can download the anthology and revel in its majesty over here.

Share and enjoy,


Also posted in being awesome, calling on the legions, cool news, side projects, Wil Wheaton | By Pat80 Responses

A New Addition to the Family – Russia

Every once in a while, I get a package from my agent. And honestly, it’s always a little like Christmas.

I spent so long trying to get an agent, you see. Now, not only do I have an agent, but he’s a really good agent. And the people he works with at the agency are really good too. We get along really well, and they help me sell my book all over the world.

So when they send me something, it’s cool by default. They could mail me a gum wrapper and I’d be happy. Why? Because getting a gum wrapper from your awesome agent is roughly a billion times cooler than getting form-letter rejection from yet another agent rejecting your book.

It doesn’t hurt that I’m new enough to this whole professional writer thing that everything is still fresh and new.  Foreign contracts are still interesting to me. I get an envelope in the mail and think, “Yay! I get to read an 8 page contract detailing the sale of the Brazilian rights of my book!”  Even the cryptically opaque royalty statements are fun.

But my favorite things to get in the mail are new foreign editions of the book.

I’ve talked about some of them in previous posts. The German version. The Portuguese version. Japanese, French, Danish

I love them all. Even the ones I’ve gently mocked.

But just a couple days ago I had a new experience. A book showed up and I couldn’t figure out what country it was from.

(Click to Embiggen.)

Usually if I don’t know which country a book is from, it’s not that hard for me to figure out. If worse comes to worst,  I just google the publisher’s name. For example, if I search on “Argo” and “Rothfuss” I find out that “Jméno Větru” is the Czech version of my book.

But this book had nothing on it that I could use. The foreign character set completely flummoxed me. Normally when I get a book, I can at least read my name on the cover. Not so with this one.

I was pretty sure it was Russian. I needed to be *really* sure. If I was wrong I’d look like a real idiot. It would be like introducing your own child using the wrong name.

Eventually I took an educated guess and decided that Патрик Ротфусс was a transliterated version of “Patrick Rothfuss.” But even then, it took me a long time to figure out how to type “Патрик Ротфусс” into google.

So, after a little bit of research, let me introduce the Russian Version of the Name of the Wind: Имя ветра.

It’s a pretty book. Good paper and a nice binding. It doesn’t have a book-jacket either, the art is printed directly on the cover of the book. I kinda like that.

Also, join me in enjoying the cover art. It isn’t to-the-letter accurate, but it’s not that bad, either.

I’ve become philosophical about cover art over the years. I know that its main job is to catch the reader’s eye. If the picture isn’t entirely true to the story Kvothe tells, if it over-dramatizes a bit… I can live with that. I comfort myself with the knowledge that if the cover doesn’t fit Kvothe’s story perfectly, it’s probably pretty close to the version Old Cob would tell….

Later folks,


Also posted in foreign happenings, translation | By Pat70 Responses

A New Addition to the Family: Portugal

The Name of the Wind just came out in Portugal. They tell me that at the beginning of the month it was actually #7 on the bestseller lists over there. Which, I will admit, gives me a little bit of a tingle….

I haven’t actually held one in my hands yet, but the cover looks pretty cool:

I always like seeing new covers for the book. Especially when the art has obviously been commissioned especially for the book.

Though I’ve only recently become a father, I’ve compared writing a book to having a baby for years. My mom used to refer to it as “her grandbook.” And one of my friends used to ask about it in those terms. We wouldn’t see each other for months, and when we got together and caught up on the news, she’d eventually ask, “And how’s the baby doing…?”

Now that I’ve been a dad for a couple of weeks, I realize that the baby analogy is better than I thought. Before I was mostly referring to the emotional connection you feel to your own book. But now, having dealt with a newborn, I realize that writing a book is not entirely dissimilar to actually raising a child.

You feed it. Change it. Cuddle it. Dress it. Undress it. Change it. Feed it. Change it. Change it. Get it to take a nap. Change it.

And then, at the end of the day, you look at it and realize that it’s pretty useless.

Don’t get me wrong, you love it. You love it like nobody’s business. But unless you’re an idiot, you realize this thing really isn’t good for anything yet. You’re going to have months and months of thankless, repetitive work before it’s capable of going out into the world on its own.

Later, when your book is published, it’s very cool and very scary. That’s when your baby has grown up enough to leave the nest. It’s out there, meeting people all on its own. If you’ve raised it properly, it hopefully makes a good impression. Hopefully it makes friends.

But the foreign editions of the book are… different. It’s still my baby, but it’s not *really* my baby. It’s like someone has cloned my baby and dressed it up in lederhosen and made it smoke a pipe for marketing reasons.

Yeah. The analogy really starts to fall apart after a while, I guess.

What was my point? No point. I don’t always have to have a point, you know….

Wait! I guess I do have a point. It’s that sometimes they make your baby smoke a pipe and you have to shrug it off. You don’t know what sells books in Bangladesh, or Berlin, or Brigadoon. For the most part, you have to trust that the publisher knows what they’re doing. For all you know, those Doonies are loonies for pipes…

But it’s nice when you see the marketing and it appeals to your aesthetic. Like the trailer I posted before. Or this picture that I stumbled onto when I was googling up an image of the cover for this blog.

(Click to Embiggen)

I’m guessing this is a promotional poster. If it is, I wish I had a copy. I like the tagline across the top. “Kvothe: Magician, Musician, Thief, Assassin and… Hero.”

Hell, if I’d have been able to come up with promo copy like that on my own, it wouldn’t have taken me five years to sell the thing.

Later, you hoopy froods….


Also posted in babies, cool things, foreign happenings, translation | By Pat55 Responses

French Edition of the book.

Happy Birthday French book!

(Click to Embiggin)

Okay. Fine. It came out two days ago. Happy belated birthday. I’m a bad parent.

Personally, I dig the cover.


Also posted in cool news, foreign happenings | By Pat70 Responses

Introducing – the Slovak and Polish versions of the book.

Well it seems like most folks would like to see more Survival Guides. So we’ll do that. I’ll post up a few more of the old ones before too long, and send out a call for letters when I’m ready to start answering new one. So start stockpiling your problems now.

And, for those of you who give a care, here are the newest editions to The Name of the Wind family.

This cover should look familiar to most of you, as it’s pretty much the same as the UK cover.

(Click to Embiggen)

Soon, my thumb will be so famous from all these appearances that it will become a celebrity in its own right. I predict it will leave for Hollywood, have a whirlwind affair with Kate Moss, develop a drinking problem, and then eventually come crawling back to Wisconsin. Which is a good thing because I need it to hit the space bar.

Anyway, the Polish version of the book has lovely paper, and a new cover which clearly depicts the scene where Kvothe, um… goes forth. Into… some manner of… um cloudy desert.

I kid. I kid. I know that not ever book gets its own tailor-made cover. By now, when a version of my book comes out with a cover that’s obviously a piece of stock-art, I feel like it’s one of my kids coming up to me and saying. “Guess what happened today? I went out and fought a dragon, and met a guy with a nipple ring, and I rode an elephant, and it was really cool!” I know it’s not the truth, but it’s still my kid, and I can’t be too upset. I’m just glad he’s out there, meeting new people.

The other thing I do is make up little stories that go along with the cover. For this one the story would be:

Kvothe strode through the dread portal, leaning heavily on his staff. A lesser man might have been concerned by the skulls, or been anxious about the unnatural weather that loomed on the near horizon.

But Kvothe was made of sterner stuff than this, and his thoughts dwelled on ponderous matters: “My hat,” he thought to himself. “is certainly pointy. But is it pointy enough to impress the Archduke Isigniglidir?”

This morning he had been so sure, but now, looking at the Archduke’s tower, Kvothe worried. This was obviously a man who was not fond of half-measures where pointy was concerned. Kvothe also wondered if it might also explain why the Archduke’s new wife seemed so dissatisfied in her letter. “The tower.” She had written. “Should have been my first clue.”

Go on, take a stab at it yourself in the comments section. It’s tons of fun.


Also posted in foreign happenings | By Pat63 Responses

The German Edition.

The German version of The Name of the Wind is coming out soon. Check out the cover.

(Click to Embiggen.)

Though it happened a while back, this German deal was kind of a big deal. The publisher that’s handling it in Germany doesn’t do much fantasy, just a very few authors like Tolkien and Tad Williams. So the fact that they bought my book gave me some much-needed respectability that helped us make some other foreign sales. It also was nice knowing that they take their stuff very seriously, and would do a good job with the translation and publication of the book.

German is the only language other than English that I know anything about. But honestly, I can’t claim to be anything other than illiterate in my second language. I can remember a few phrases, like, “Gleich um die Ecce,” “Wennigsten functionieren die wasserliedung!” and “Ich habe zu vielen affen spielen im meinem obenboden.”

Other than that, I have a bunch of nouns and verbs rattling around in my head, but my ability to string them together grammatically is really non-existent. Combined with my horrible spelling, I’m guessing that what I’ve written up above is barely German at all. And more like that language twins use to speak to each other.

My German non-literacy was really driven home to me when I read the title and thought, “Des. Des…. does that indicate the nominative case?” Then I realized I couldn’t even remember what the nominative case was. In fact, I’m pretty iffy as to what a case is at all, nominative or otherwise. This pretty much shatters any hope I had of ever reading my own book in another language.

It was a nice thought while it lasted.

Later all,


Also posted in foreign happenings | By Pat36 Responses

Japanese Covers

So just a couple days ago, guess what came out?

(Click to Embiggen)

That’s right – It’s the Japanese version of the book.

I really like this interpretation of Kvothe. He’s young. He’s got some attitude going on. His hair is more manga than I typically picture it, but it’s totally appropriate for the Japanese market. Plus, Kvothe himself says, “When left to its own devices it tends to make me look as if I’ve been set afire.” So there you go.

This translation of the book was different in a lot of ways. For one thing, bringing the book into Japanese is much more difficult than, say, Dutch, or German. Not that every language doesn’t pose its own problems. But there’s just a lot of different cultural things going on, and the languages aren’t really similar at all.

I’m guessing it’s partly because of this that instead of one, I had a team of three Japanese translators working on the book. They were really great. They asked a lot of good questions, and included me in the decision making process. I like it when the translators ask questions or press me for clarification.

You see, when I wrote the book, I made a point not to over-describe everything. I also tried to make the book very full… of stuff.

Yeah. That’s great. My book is full of stuff. They should put that on the cover: “The Name of the Wind – It’s full of stuff.”

What I mean is that I didn’t want to club the reader over the head with everything. My strategy was to make sure that every page had enough cool things in it than if you missed half of them, you’d still have a good time. That means there’s stuff for you to enjoy the second time around. That means you can like the book in a different way than your friend. And it means if you’re a careful reader, you’ll get more out of the book.

So I’m fine if the average reader doesn’t get everything I put into the book. I expect that. I planned on it.

But if a translator doesn’t notice something that I’ve put into the book very subtly, that’s different. If they don’t catch it, it can’t be brought into the new version. And that’s a problem, obviously. But these translators were really on the ball, and I’m guessing that not a lot slipped through the cracks with them.

There’s another big difference in the Japanese edition. Apparently big, thick books aren’t really the norm over there. So they broke this first book into three separate volumes. That means three separate covers for the first book….

Nice hands. Can you tell what scene this is?

And number three. Check out the draccus in the background. I would not want to fuck around with that thing.

I’ve been reading the comments and suggestions for future contests, and my gears are slowly turning. But more on that later. For now, I’m off to write.


Also posted in cool things, foreign happenings, the craft of writing | By Pat52 Responses
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