Category Archives: Fanmail Q + A

Fanmail FAQ: Size Matters or Breaking Up is Hard to Do…

Several months ago, I got a bunch of e-mails concerning the German translation of Wise Man’s Fear. They all had a similar theme: specifically, people were upset that the book was going to be broken into two volumes.

Whenever a bunch of people contact me asking the same question, I try to respond on the blog. This is doubly true if people are unhappy about something, and triply true if they’re unhappy for the simple reason that they don’t have all the facts at their disposal.

So I started writing my response blog. I e-mailed the publisher, did some research, talked to some German fans, did some more research….

Then I got the news about my dad and decided I didn’t give a shit about writing blogs for a while.

But now I’m back, and since I know some people out there are disgruntled, I feel I should do my best to gruntle them. Failing that, I can at least make sure folks have all the facts about why the German translation of The Wise Man’s Fear is getting broken up into two parts.

So here we go….

First, here’s a fairly good example of what the e-mails were like.

Pat,

Many of your German readers are very disappointed that “The wise man’s fear” appears here in two parts. There is the long waiting period part 1 and part 2. Worse, we have to pay twice for expensive book. The publisher says, “Patrick Rothfuss agrees with this plan.” But this seems wrong to me. I read your blog, and you do not seem like a person who would make this sort of brazen rip-off.

I am sorry my English is not good. Please forgive my mistakes.

J.

Actually, that’s a very polite example of the e-mails I received. This one is not, for example, accusing me and/or the publisher of maliciously fucking you, the loyal, loving reader out of your hard-earned money.

Let me reassure you.  This isn’t just the publisher trying to chisel money out of you. I wouldn’t stand for that.

The problem is that my books are long. Really, really long.

Take my first book for example. It was over 250,000 words. That’s more than double the length of most fantasy novels.

To put things in perspective, The Name of the Wind is almost as long as the first three Harry Potter novels put together.

It’s for this reason that many publishers (Swedish, Danish, Slovakian…) broke it up into two volumes.

Other countries, namely Japan and Korea, broke it into *three* volumes.

They didn’t do that in Germany. My German publisher printed it as one great, gorgeous, high-quality book.

What’s my point? My point is that The Name of the Wind was 250,000 words long, which makes it a really big book.

Okay? Okay.

The Wise Man’s Fear was even bigger than that.  A lot bigger. The Wise Man’s Fear was nearly 400,000 words long. Almost 60% longer than my first (really massive) book.

How long is that? Well… to put it in perspective, The Wise Man’s Fear is more than twice as long as the final Harry Potter book. It’s longer than all three books of the entire Hunger Games trilogy (Which is barely 300,000 words all stacked together.)

Or how about this: the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, including the appendices, is about 450,000 words long.

Yeah. My second book by itself is almost longer than the Lord of the Rings. I was a little shocked when I found that out.

Anyway, earlier this year, my German editor contacted me and asked if it was going to be okay if they broke the book into two parts. Their main reason was the fact that when you translate something from English to German, it tends to get about 30-40% longer. For example, the US hardcover of The Name of the Wind was 662 pages. The German hardcover was 864 pages.

This meant that since the US version of The Wise Man’s Fear was almost 1000 pages, the German version was going to be upwards to 1400 pages.

I agreed that 1400 pages was a pretty crazy length for a book, and that breaking it up seemed like a reasonable solution. This wasn’t a startling development for me, because, as I’ve said, several other countries had already broken up The Name of the Wind.

That’s why they’re broke it up. 1400 pages is a really insane length for a book. Physically, it’s hard to bind durably so it doesn’t fall apart. It’s harder to ship. It’s harder for bookstores to fit it on shelves. It’s heavier to carry around.

This does mean, unfortunately, that folks in Germany will have to buy two books. And in some ways that sucks. It’s more expensive.

But you have to consider a few things:

1. You’re getting more story.

Take a look at The Name of the Wind and Volume 1 of The Wise Man’s Fear side-by-side.

You’ll note that they’re the same size. That’s because they’re almost exactly the same length. (861 pages vs. 859) You can’t really claim you’re being ripped off. It’s not like we’re cutting a ham sandwich in half and selling it to you twice. This is a full sandwich full of book. Or something. You know what I mean.

I mentioned before that The Wise Man’s Fear is 60% longer than The Name of the Wind.  That extra 60% is, effectively, what’s getting printed in the second volume. Yes, you’re having to buy a second book, but that second book contains… well… an entire second book’s worth of story.

2. Breaking the book into two parts means you get to read the book sooner. Since they’re treating it as two books, the publisher didn’t have to wait for the entire translation. That’s why the the first, larger part of the story came out a week or so ago. If they printed it all at once, you’d probably have to wait until February of next year to get hold of it.

3. The publisher asked my opinion as to where they thought the best place would be to break the story. We agreed that we didn’t want to leave people with a cliffhanger, and chose a natural resting place. When we had a slight difference of opinion, they let me have my way. Which you have to admit is pretty cool of them.

4. You also have to give Klett-Cotta (my German publisher) credit for not dragging their heels with the release date of the second half of the book. Conventional publishing wisdom says that they should wait at least six months between volume 1 and volume 2. But they aren’t doing that. The second half is coming out as fast as it possibly can, in January of 2012.

So there you go. That’s why the German translation comes in two volumes. There’s also a German article about it over here if you’re interested and can verstehen die Deutsch.

More soon,

pat

Also posted in foreign happenings, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat96 Responses

Fanmail FAQ: Looking for Good Books….

So in the last week I’ve had three e-mails along these lines:

Pat,

School is over for the semester, and I have a long, glorious summer stretching out in front of me. What’s more, I’ve got a summer job that involves very little actual work. (I’m a late-night gas station attendant.)

This leaves me all the time I could possibly want for reading.

Here’s my problem. I’m having trouble finding good stuff to read. Any advice for me? What’s your summer reading list?

Love your stuff,

Ben

I get a fair number of these sorts of letters. And generally speaking, they’re pretty easy to answer, as I can just point people at all the blogs I’ve written over the last four years where I recommend books.

Barring that, I point people at my Goodreads profile. Where I sometimes list the books I’m reading, and occasionally post up a review if I really feel strongly about a book.

In addition to letters like the one above, I’ve also had many, many people forward me the link to the current Poll NPR is holding, asking people to nominate books for their upcoming top 100 SF and Fantasy novels of all time.

For those of you too lazy to click a link, the gist is this: On NPR’s page, they’re asking people to post a comment listing their top five favorite SF/F novels or series.

I have opinions on this matter. So, of course, I posted my vote. It was pretty easy, because I’ve been obsessed with the Dresden Files lately. That’s one. Then there’s The Last Unicorn and Something Wicked This Way Comes – Three. Then Stranger in a Strange Land. Four.

I was going to vote for Lord of the Rings, too. But then I erased it and voted for my own series instead. I’m not entirely proud of that, but I’m not going to lie about it either. I figure Tolkien has enough votes. Besides, I happen to like my books a hell of a lot.

Only after I voted did I start to look at other people’s comments, and the titles of some of the books they mentioned hit me like bombs. Dune. Of course. I should have listed Dune. Discworld. Of course I should have listed Pratchett. Amber. Of course.

Luckily I’d already voted, so I couldn’t spend any time agonizing over which ones should really fit into my top five.

Then, later that same day, I got this letter:

Pat,

I’ve only recently started reading Fantasy and Sci-Fi about a year ago. You were one of my first. ;)

I know you’ve read it your whole life. I need to play some serious catch-up. If you were going to list the most important books you’ve ever read. Like a bibliography of the best, most influential fantasy books you ever came in contact with, what would be on that list?

Specifically, I’d like to become well-read in fantasy and science fiction. But it seems like half of what I pick up is… don’t be offended. But it’s kinda shit. I know that one man’s trash it another man’s treasure. But I’ll trust a list of books from you more than some generic list I found online. I’ve enjoyed most all the books you’ve recommended so far….

Thanks so much,

Pennie

“What the hell?” I thought. Never let it be said that I ignored a serendipitous confluence of events. Or that I missed a chance to answer several e-mails in a single blog….

So I did some research. By which I mean I went downstairs and looked at my shelves:

For some perspective. Here’s one part of one wall of the downstairs library. Note that this does not give any impression of books on the other walls. Or on the upstairs shelves. Or in boxes in the hallway. Or the boxes in the basement. Or over at the office. Or in storage in the office. Or on my shelves in my childhood bedroom in Madison. Or in the boxes in my childhood bedroom in Madison.

I kinda have a lot of books.

It is my dream to someday have all my books in one place, all on shelves, all organized in a system that pleases me.

It is a beautiful dream.

Anyway, here’s my list of SF and Fantasy recommendations. If you read nothing but these books, I think you could consider yourself to be reasonably well-read and somewhat well-rounded in the genre.

The rules I set for myself:

1. Only stuff I’ve actually read.

2. No more than 40 items, or I’d be doing this forever.

3. No more than one book or series per author.

So here we go:

  1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  2. The Last Unicorn By Peter S. Beagle
  3. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  4. Stranger In a Strange Land Robert Heinlein
  5. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
  7. Dragonriders Of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
  8. Dune by Frank Herbert
  9. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
  10. The Discworld books by Terry Pratchett
  11. The Chronicles of Amber–Roger Zelazny
  12. Brave New World–Aldous Huxley
  13. Wizard of Earthsea By Le Guin
  14. Sandman  – Neil Gaiman
  15. The Fisher King Trilogy by Tim Powers
  16. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy by Douglas Adams
  17. The Riddlemaster of Hed series by Patricia McKillip
  18. Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P Lovecraft
  19. Neuromancer by William Gibson
  20. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  21. 1984 – by George Orwell
  22. Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon by Spider Robinson
  23. Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare
  24. The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox, by Barry Hughart
  25. The Princess Bride – William Goldman
  26. The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter
  27. Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem
  28. The Odyssey by Homer
  29. The Last Herald-Mage trilogy – Mercedes Lackey
  30. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  31. River World Series – Phillip Jose Farmer
  32. One Thousand and One Nights
  33. Riftwar Saga by Feist
  34. The Dark Tower series – Stephen King
  35. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn by Tad Williams
  36. Belgariad series by David Eddings
  37. Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson
  38. Michael Ende – The Neverending Story
  39. The Dragonlance Chronicles by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
  40. The Shannara Trilogy – Terry Brooks

Now before everyone starts to squawk that I left out their favorite babies, keep in mind that I’m throwing this list together on the fly. So I’ve doubtless forgotten a few I would otherwise have included.

But yeah. It was really hard to even keep it to 40. Here’s the ones I had to cull from the above list. Consider them the runners-up.

  1. The Farseer Trilogy – Robin Hobb
  2. Gargantua and Pantagruel by Francois Rabelais
  3. Only Forward by Michael Marshal Smith
  4. A Canticle for Leibowitz- Walter M Miller
  5. Pretty much Anything by Christopher Moore
  6. Time Enough for Love – Robert Heinlein
  7. Stardust – Neil Gaiman
  8. His Dark Materials – Phillip Pullman
  9. Black Company Series – Glen Cook
  10. Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
  11. Lud in Mist – Hope Mirrlees
  12. The Red Magician – Lisa Goldstein
  13. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  14. A Wrinke In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  15. Death is a Lonely Business by Ray Bradbury
  16. Declare- Tim Powers
  17. Legend- David Gemmel
  18. Icewind Dale Trilogy – R.A. Salvatore
  19. Harry Potter by Rowling (Mostly the first four)
  20. Beowulf

Gech. I have to stop. I’m done. Seriously done.

What’s that you say? Your absolutely favoritest of favorites still isn’t on the list?

Well… suck it. It’s my list, not yours.

No. Wait. What I mean to say is that I picked these books for the list because they:

  1. Influenced me because I loved them so very much.
  2. Influenced the genre because of when/where/how they were written.
  3. Influenced the SF/F readership because so many people have read them.

Every book on this list has done two of these three things. Many have done all three.

While I was doing my brief spatter of research and trolling through the comments on the NPR poll, I kept spotting books and thinking, “Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to read that….”

So, lastly, to partially answer Ben’s question about my summer reading list. Here are the books that would probably be fighting for positions on the above lists if I’d read them. They’re books I’m meaning to read, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  1. The Doomsday Book – Connie Willis
  2. Fafhrd & Gray Mouser books – Fritz Leiber
  3. Watership Down – Richard Adams
  4. The Gormenghast series – Mervyn Peake
  5. Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham
  6. The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
  7. A Song of Ice and Fire – Martin (Yeah Yeah. I know. I’ve been busy…)
  8. The Forever War – by Joe Haldeman
  9. House of Leaves – Mark Z Danielewski
  10. The Mote in God’s Eye – Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle
  11. Nova – Samuel R. Delaney
  12. Dhalgren – Samuel R. Delany
  13. The Uplift Trilogy – David Brin (I’ve only read one so far…)
  14. The Hollows series – Kim Harrison
  15. The Fionavar Tapestry – Guy Gavriel Kay
  16. The Vorkosigan Saga – Lois McMaster Bujold
  17. The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin
  18. Conan stories – Robert E. Howard
  19. Little, Big – John Crowley
  20. Lensman Series – E.E. “Doc” Smith
  21. Malazan Books of the Fallen – Steven Erikson
  22. Wheel of Time – Jordan and Sanderson (I’ve only read the first two)
  23. Tripod Trilogy – Samuel Youd
  24. Flatland – Edwin A. Abbott
  25. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Okay. I’m done. Not only should you have plenty to read now, but those of you who were suffering from a paralyzing lack of numbered lists should be satisfied as well.

Share and enjoy….

pat

Also posted in FAQ, recommendations | By Pat392 Responses

First editions, a conversation, and another interview…

Heya everybody.

I’ve been on tour for a week now, and this is one of the few times when I’ve had enough time to get online.

I’ve got a bunch of stories from the first week of the tour, and a few pictures too. Hopefully I’ll be able to post them up in a blog in a day or two.

How would I briefly describe the tour so far?

Madness. Absolute madness.

I’ll go into more detail later.

One question people keep asking is this: “How can I tell if my copy of The Wise Man’s Fear is a first edition?”

I answered this question before on the blog a long time ago. So if you’re looking for a detailed answer, you should look over there.

The short answer is that you can tell if you have a first edition/first printing by looking at the number line of the book that’s located on the copyright page.

The problem is this: due to a printing error, some copies of The Wise Man’s Fear don’t have a number line. The copyright pages of those books look like this:

(That’s not my thumb, obviously.)

However, that printing error only occurred on the first printing of the book. That means if you see a book with no number line, it’s a first printing.

Surprisingly, The Wise Man’s Fear has been selling well enough that it’s already in its fourth printing even though it’s only been out for a week.  Personally, I’m going to be picking up a few extra firsts this time around. It’s something I didn’t think to do with The Name of the Wind, and now they’re being sold for truly stupid amounts of money. If I had a few boxes of those in the basement, I could use them to pay off my mortgage….

In other news, I did an online conversation with Brandon Sanderson for Amazon about a week ago. It’s a beast, more than 6000 words long. But what else would you expect when you get two authors like us together and ask us to talk about books?

Here’s a link to our conversation.

Lastly, here’s a link to an interview I did with the Portland Mercury.

Unlike most of my interviews, I didn’t type this one up. It’s more of a transcript of a phone conversation I had with with Erik Henriksen. He was a cool guy to talk to and our conversation was far-ranging to say the least.

More later folks. I’ll be seeing some of you in Madison later tonight.

Be good.

pat

Also posted in Interviews | By Pat225 Responses

FAQ: The Wise Man’s Fear Signing Tour

Ever since I posted up the schedule for my upcoming signing tour, people have been asking a lot of questions.


View Patrick Rothfuss, Wise Man’s Fear, Book Tour in a larger map

This has been a good thing. Your questions made me think about the tour in ways I wouldn’t have considered otherwise. I’ve spent weeks figuring things out, and now I have all sorts of answers for you. Plus a few other cool things that will probably be of interest even if you’re not planning on coming to one of the signings.

Also, for those of you who RSVP’d to the San Francisco event and couldn’t get a seat, we’ve managed to arrange a second event in San Francisco. Details are below in Question #2.

Ready? Here we go.

1. This is going to be my first booksigning and I don’t know the etiquette. Do I need to buy my book at the bookstore, or can I bring a book from home?

Honestly? The polite thing to do is to buy your book at the bookstore hosting the event.

You see, the bookstores hosting me put a lot of time, energy, and money into events like these. They order a BUNCH of books. They bring in extra staff to manage the crowds, set up chairs, and sometimes reorganize parts of the store. If the signing goes late, they have to keep the store open after hours.

Also, you have to remember that while the bookstore loves you, they are also, you know, a store. A store that sells books. They need to sell books to stay in business.

But there are other reasons too. Let’s say I do a signing and the bookstore sells 500 books. That bookstore is happy. That bookstore likes me. That bookstore wants to have me back for future events. Also, my publisher is happy, and they feel like spending the money to fly me out to events like this are a worthwhile investment.

But if I do a signing and sell, say, 20 books, odds are the bookstore won’t be inviting me back in the future.

Ultimately, buying a book at the hosting store is just good manners. They’re putting a lot of work into the event, and buying a book is the best way to show that you appreciate that.

*** There is one exception to this rule. There will be no books for sale at the Library of Congress reading. I’m happy to sign your book. But you’ll have to bring them with you.

Now does that mean you MUST buy a book to attend? Well, not exactly, read on…

1b. Pat, I called the bookstore and they said if I didn’t buy a book there, I couldn’t get anything signed. But I’m planning on buying your book March 1st, then driving three hours to get to your signing on the 10th. I’m a poor college student. I really can’t afford to buy a second book…

When I got the first message like this, I was surprised.

Needless to say, this isn’t the sort of policy I feel good about. The main reason I do these readings is so I can meet up with fans. I don’t want anyone getting turned away because they can’t afford to buy a book. (Or a second book, as with the example above.)

So I called my lovely PR team. They, in turn, called all the stores.

As a result, I’ve been reassured that nobody will be turned away from any of the events simply because they aren’t buying a book at the store.

That said, you can probably expect the hosting bookstores to give some preferential treatment to the people who buy at least one copy of the book in store. For example, they’ll probably get to go through the signing lines first. If we get huge turnouts, people who buy books in store will probably get first dibs on seating. Stuff like that.

1c. Can I get more than one book signed?

Yes.

The number of books you can get signed varies from store to store. Some stores will let you take three items through the line, some stores will let you bring five. If you want more books than that signed, you’ll have to get back in line.

For specifics, I’d suggest calling the store and asking them.

What if you’re picking up books for eight of your best friends? Well, odds are you’ll still be able to get them signed. The main reason I’m doing this tour is to sign books. My intention at each event is to sign books until there are no more books to sign.

I will only stop if I need to catch a plane, if the store needs to close, or if I collapse from exhaustion. That’s my plan.

2. I just found out that your reading in San Fransisco has limited seating! I e-mailed them 6 hours after you announced it, but all the seats were already taken! I was going to drive there with my girlfriend as her birthday present! Is there anything I can do to get us in? Anything?

I got a lot of messages like this. A lot.

The truth is, we were caught off-guard at how many people responded to the event. We weren’t expecting such a big turnout.

As soon as we realized the problem, we started trying to figure out some way to get more people in. The fabulous folks who run SF in SF tried to find a bigger venue, but there wasn’t anything available. We couldn’t do an afternoon event because I’m not even going to be in San Francisco until 3:30 that day.

Still, I felt really bad that so many people were going to be disappointed. So I worked with my PR team and the folks at Borderlands Books to create an overflow event. Something to give the rest of the people chance to come see me and get their books signed.

So. We are holding a second event in San Fransisco. It will be DIRECTLY AFTER the evening event on March 3rd.

It will, in fact, be my first-ever midnight signing.

The second event will be held at:

Borderlands Cafe
870  Valencia St. (between 19th and 20th),
San Francisco 94110.
  • Books will be on sale at Borderlands Books, right next door.
  • First come, first seated.  There will also be standing room and, once the cafe is at capacity, there will be overflow space at the bookstore. We can’t guarantee that there will be enough space to accommodate everyone.

Edit: * The Cafe will be closed between 9:00 and 10:00. But at 10:00 they’ll be back up and running, so you can show up, grab your seat, and grab some coffee in preparation for the event.

  • If you don’t have a seat at the event at SF in SF, YOU SHOULD COME TO THE MIDNIGHT EVENT INSTEAD. Only people with tickets to the SF in SF event are guaranteed to get their books signed there.
  • Each person will be able to get two books signed. People wishing additional signatures will have to go to the end of the line and may or may not be able to get additional books signed, depending on how late the event continues. (I do have to catch a plane in the morning, you realize.)
  • There is no need to RSVP for this event and no seats will be reserved.

It’s entirely possible that I will be wearing my footie pajamas for this event, as I’ll be giving up a couple hours sleep to make it happen. It’s also fair to say that I’ll probably look a little wild around the eyes. But that’s half the fun of a midnight signing, isn’t it?

My sincerest thanks go out to the folks at Borderlands for helping us pull this together at the last moment.

Thanks so much, guys.

3. Can I get my picture taken with you at the signing?

Normally, my answer would be an unqualified yes. Anyone who’s glanced at my facebook page, has seen ample proof of the fact that I’m not camera shy.

(Yes. I’m wearing a kilt.)

However, there are certain logistical problems with me taking pictures with everyone at these bigger signings. Simply said, photos make a long signing even longer. But what usually happens is that you hand your phone over to someone else to take the shot, then we pose, then the person can’t figure out how to use your camera. Then you explain to them that it’s the button on the side….

You know what I’m talking about, right? We’ve all been there.

But let’s do some simple math. Assume that 200 people show up to my signing, and I take *just one minute* with each of them to shake hands, exchange a few words, then sign a book. 200 people at a minute each means that the signing is already more than three hours long.

That’s not even counting if people have more than one book. Or if people ask me for personalizations. If we add another 50 people taking pictures on top of that, the signing will suddenly be five hours long.

So my answer to this is… Maybe. We can probably snap a quick picture. But don’t be offended if we have to skip it if the line is really long.

4. Will you sign copies of The Name of the Wind?

Hell yes. Just because I have a new baby doesn’t mean I don’t love my first baby.

5. Will there be hardcover copies of The Name of the Wind available to purchase at your signings?

Almost certainly. But if you want to make sure you get one, the smart thing to do would be to call the bookstore and reserve a copy.

6. Will there be copies of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle available at your signings?

Maybe. Very maybe. Most bookstores only know about me because of The Name of the Wind. If you want to buy a Princess book, I’d suggest you call the store and try to reserve one. If they don’t have one in stock, I’m sure they’d be happy to order one in for you. Bookstores love selling books, you know.

6b. Will I get a special promotional sticker if I buy a copy of the Princess book at the store?

Good idea. I’ll throw some of those in my luggage. So yes. You can have a sticker.

7. Can I bring you cookies or some other sort of treat?

Let’s be clear here. I’m not posting this question as a desperate attempt to cage cookies off of everyone. I’m posting this question because at least five or six different people e-mailed me on the subject. So I figure it’s a legitimate FAQ.

The short answer is that yes. You can bring me cookies. That’s very sweet of you.

The long answer is that if you do bring me cookies. Please don’t be offended if I give some of them away. This tour is going to be kinda rough on my system, so I’m going to try and eat healthy. If I eat a dozen cookies at each signing, it’s going to ruin me.

7b. Do you have a cookie preference?

Chocolate-chip cookies are the favored kind of cookie. Raisin cookies are for people who secretly hate themselves. A real cookie shouldn’t have fruit in it. A real cookie is bad for you. It is like a delicious nail driven directly into your heart.

8. Do you hug?

I have been known to hug.

That said, you might want to refer to the logistical issues I mention up in question #3. It might have to be a short hug.

And watch those hands.

9. I want to buy a Kingkiller t-shirt to wear to your signing, but I can’t find the link to your store, the Tinker’s Sack. What’s the URL?

Here’s the link for you.

And by the way, it’s called The Tinker’s Pack. Pack. With a “P”.

The Tinker’s Sack would be a whole different sort of website. I don’t know what they’d sell there, but I don’t think you’d want to buy any….

10. What are your signings like?

First say howdy to everyone and explain some of the ground rules of the event.

Then comes the reading. I read a little something, answer some questions from the audience, then read another little something, then more questions. I do this for about an hour.

Last comes the signing. I pretty much sign books until they make me leave the store.

11. When are you coming to Canada/Spain/Ireland/Estonia?

Rest assured than when I make plans to travel to another country, I’ll post those signings up on the blog as well.

12. I live in Mexico/Germany/Korea/Bulgaria. How can I get a copy of the English version of your book? I want to read the original language.

If none of your local bookstores carry English books, I know that some of the stores that are carrying signed versions of my book are also willing to do international shipping. You could order from them….

13. I won’t have had time to read the whole book before I attend the your event in Portland. I’m looking forward to hearing you read, but I hate spoilers. Do I need to be afraid?

I hate spoilers, too. So you don’t need to worry about me giving away big secrets like the fact that Kvothe is really Kaiser Soze.

14.You’re coming to my town, but I’m going to have to miss your signing by just a couple hours because of attend class/go to work/catch a plane/etc.  Can I meet up with you a little earlier and have you sign my book?

I’m sorry. But my schedule is way too tight to do anything like that. A lot of times, I won’t even be flying into town until a couple hours before the signing.

But if it’s your hometown, you can just call the bookstore and reserve a copy. Whenever I do a signing, the bookstore has me sign a bunch of books for people that couldn’t make it to the event.

15. Will you personalize my book to me? To my dad? To my girlfriend?

Yes. Yes. And yes.

However, I probably won’t have time to write anything really lengthy in the books. (See the Answer to #3 for the reason why.)

That means personalizations will probably have to be limited to a name and just a few words. No really long quotes.

16. Will you Sign my Nook/Kindle/E-reader?

Yes. This is something that I’ve done before.

That said, you might want to check out the answer to question #1 up there. Showing up with your kindle is just the same as bringing a book from home.

17. I have an important question. About how tall are you?

I am one thousand feet tall.

18. Is it really surreal that people are taking days off of work to come see you?

Yes.  It is weird as hell.

19.Will your baby be with you at any of your signings?

My accountant has informed me that if I’m going to keep writing him off as a promotional expense, I need to take him to at least one signing.

That means it’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll see Oot in Madison. You might also get to see him in DC, New York, or Boston.

(He’s the one on the right.)

Who’s daddy’s cute little deduction?

20. Mr. Rothfuss, is it better for you if I buy your book at any particular store? Or in any particular way? (Nook? Hardcover?) I love your books, and so I want to support you as much as I can.

Over the last month, I’ve had more than a dozen messages like this. It just goes to prove something I already knew, that my readers are delightfully considerate human beings.

The truth is. I make more money off the hardcover of the book. Also, the more hardcover books I sell, the better chance I have of making it onto the New York Times Bestseller list. That’s kind of a big deal.

For the most part, it doesn’t matter where you buy the book, though I do usually encourage people to shop locally. Because supporting your local economy is a good thing.

If you *really* want to help, you could make a point of buying the book close to the release date. If enough people buy the book in that first week, I might get onto the New York Times Bestseller list. That would be really good for my career.

There you are folks. All of the big questions answered.

And for those of you who actually took the time to read all the way to the end. Here’s a little something extra. Over on the Gollancz facebook page, they have a video of me reading a scene from the Wise Man’s fear. I taped it with them more than a year ago when I was in England, so it’s a little different from the finished version. But if you’re looking for a little taste of what’s coming. You can head over there.

And don’t worry, it’s only a small piece in from the second chapter. No big spoilers. It isn’t until the third chapter that we learn that Kvothe’s dad isn’t really dead, he was merely horribly wounded and now serves as the strong right hand of the empire, Darth Vader.

Share and enjoy,

pat

Also posted in appearances, FAQ, signing books, the longest fucking blog ever | By Pat137 Responses

A question, a picture, a taunt, and a signing.

So when I posted the upcoming tour dates, people asked a bunch of really good questions in the comments of the blog.

Some of the questions were easy to answer. Like this one:

  • “Will you sign my Kindle?”

Yes.

There. See how easy that was? Good question. Quick answer. Everyone wins.

On the other hand, some questions were harder to answer. Such as:

  • “Will you sign my nook?”

Um. That kinda depends. If you mean the e-reader. Then yeah. Sure.

If you mean something else…. Well. Then I’m not sure.

I think I’ll have to check with my PR people. And Sarah. And OSHA.

Seriously though. There were a *lot* of good questions. Some of them brought up issues I hadn’t even thought of yet.

So I need to do some research before I give you any answers. I don’t want to say one thing then change my answer later.

While I’m compiling the list of official answers, here’s a few things that might amuse you.

First, a picture I just re-discovered from the little mini-tour I took last March. I can’t remember if I ever got around to posting it before.

If you’re wondering what my events are like, this might give you a clue.

(Click to Embiggen)

At this particular signing, a lot of people wanted their pictures taken with me, but that was making the line move really slowly. I asked everyone if it wouldn’t be simpler to do a group photo instead, and it turned out there was a cool photographer with a great camera in among my readers.

About two thirds of the folks there wanted to be in the photo. This one was my favorite. We did a standard smiling one too. But that was boring, so we did a few more. The one where everyone made crazy eyes was my second favorite.

In other news, Brandon Sanderson seems to have taken umbrage at the tangible proof of my writing prowess. I wasn’t going to bring it up, but since he already twittered about it, there doesn’t seem to be any point in hiding the fact that the ARC for The Wise Man’s Fear is longer than the ARC for The Way of Kings.

Mind you, these are both the unedited advance copies of our respective works. What’s more, layout counts for a lot in these situations. So I wouldn’t dare imply that my book is, in fact, bigger than his. More majestic, perhaps. But bigger? No. I’d never claim that. That would be gauche.

Lastly, a quick reminder that I will be doing a reading/signing northern Michigan this upcoming Thursday (the 20th). Details here.

pat

Also posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, appearances, talking shit | By Pat62 Responses

Book Two and a Reading in Duluth

Okay. In keeping with my tradition of slapdash scheduling. I’m going to be doing a reading/signing/Q&A session next week up in Duluth. It’s at the local Barnes and Noble on Tuesday the 12th at 7:00.

More details are over on the tour page. I also created a facebook event, if you want to use that to invite your friends without having to go to all the unpleasant work of actually talking to them.

If y’all would help spread the word a bit, I’d appreciate it. I hate doing these things on such short notice, but I only found out last week that I’d be up in the Duluth area.

And now, a piece of fanmail:

Dear Mr. Rothfuss,

As you are no doubt aware, in your April 28th blog post, you mentioned that the manuscript would be done by September.

I’m guessing you are furiously trying to put the finishing touches on the manuscript, but us fans would love an update about how the work is going. I really enjoyed your August 16th post about what revision work actually entails, and always enjoy getting a view of what your day to day work is like.

Thanks for updating the blog so frequently, it makes the waiting a lot easier, and we love hearing from you.

-Asa

Asa,

I did actually get the manuscript to my editor on schedule. She’s probably reading it even as we speak. Um. Type. Or rather, as you read what I have typed. In the past.

You know what I mean.

That means I get a little bit of a vacation while I’m waiting to hear back from her. Or rather, it means that I would get a bit of a vacation if I wasn’t still obsessively tinkering with the book.

Yesterday, for example, I re-read 87 pages of book two.

(Note that these pages aren’t the length of a paperback page or a manuscript page. They’re my own page layout that I use for editing.)

Anyway, I spend yesterday re-reading these 87 pages of the book. As I read, I try to winnow out the extra verbiage, making the book quicker and easier to read. My philosophy is that if I take out everything that is merely meh, all that’s left will be the parts that are really super-wow. That means that the book will be, in the parlance of our time, good.

Sometimes while I was reading I would get an idea for a different part of the book, and I’d skip off to another part of the book to make the change.  Sometimes I would make a change that necessitated making a few other changes throughout the book to maintain consistency.

But mostly I was just word-winnowing.

So yesterday I re-read 87 pages of the book. Pages that I’ve already read at least 100 times. It took 8 hours during the time that is, theoretically, my vacation.

At the end of those 8 hours, the book was 600 words shorter. I hadn’t trimmed a scene. I’m long past that stage. All the chaff scenes were gone months and months ago. These days if I want to tighten up the book, I have to hunt out little bits and phrases. Lines of dialogue that don’t sparkle. Non-essential snippets of description. Single superfluous words.

As I was going home, I wrestled with a familiar thought. Specifically, I wondered if I was insane.

Again, I’d spent an entire day making changes to the book that nobody would ever really notice. And I have to ask myself, is it really worth it?

Then I did the math.

A paperback page holds about 340 words, less if you use a lot of dialogue. (Which I do.) So by trimming 600 words, I’d effectively made my book about two pages shorter.

I’m guessing a quarter million people will read book two. In the US anyway. Last I heard, that’s about how many copies of NOTW have been sold.

That means, taken all together, I’ve spared my readers 500,000 pages of *meh* text.

Let’s assume it takes about a minute for a person to read a page. Roughly.

500,000 minutes = 8333 hours = 347 days.

That means, taken all together, I’ve saved my readers a full year of meh reading. That’s not counting foreign translations, book club versions, and people who read the book multiple times.

When I think of it that way, I guess it doesn’t seem so crazy. Which is good, because I don’t think I could stop being obsessive like this even if I wanted to.

Later all,

pat

Also posted in appearances, book two, Revision | By Pat108 Responses

Fanmail Z&A: (Zombie Apocalypse)

So just a couple minutes ago, I was reading through my fanmail and I got to the following letter.

Mr. Rothfuss,

I don’t know how to go about this, so I will just explain: I write a fictional blog set in the zombie apocalypse, and today in my post I referenced you… Since this is a work of fiction I have tried to get permission from any person I mention by name, and I wanted to make sure that this is alright with you. If you would like to read the entry, here’s the link.

If you would like me to edit you out, please let me know, and I will do so immediately.

I am a HUGE fan, by the way. I have purchased no fewer than four hardback copies of The Name of the Wind, and two paperbacks. People love them as gifts.

Looking forward to Wise Man’s Fear.

Joshua

My first thought was that Joshua was terribly polite. So I hopped over and checked out the link to make sure he didn’t have me dancing around in a leopard-print unitard or anything like that. Then, when I saw that I wasn’t, I dropped him an e-mail telling him it’s all cool.

My second thought was that while he didn’t ask me a question, there’s definitely one implied in his post.

Specifically: If there was a zombie apocalypse, and society collapsed, would I still keep working on my books?

It’s a good question. And after thinking about it, I’m a little surprised to say yes. I would.

The reason this is surprising to me is that I’m at the end of a long, LONG, jag of revisions.

How can I put this in perspective for you…?

How about this: I’m assuming most of you have written papers for school. And, because I assume most of you are kinda like me, I’m guessing you put off writing those papers until the night before they were due. (Or, in the case of more involved college research papers, you put them off until the weekend before they were due.)

So let’s go back and remember those long, desperate nights of paper-writing together: It’s late at night. You’re exhausted. You are absolutely fucking sick of the paper because you’ve been banging away on it for hours and hours.

Then you finally finish it. Relief. You are free. You can rest.

But then you think to yourself, “I should really read through it one more time to catch any last minute mistakes.” Because while you might be a procrastinator, that doesn’t mean you’re an idiot.

So you start to read even though you’re weary. Even though you hate your paper so much that re-reading it is like chewing sand. You read it one last time even though the topic you’re writing about fills you with such loathing that you could just shit yourself with rage.

And, as you read it one last time, you find a handful of mistakes that would have made you look like an absolute fuckwit. So you’re glad you put in the effort. But still, it was pretty excruciating.

Are we unified in our shared experience? Do you remember what that last read-through is like?

I did that read-through of the book six months ago.

And I am still working on the book.

Now in the interest of complete honesty, I should mention that I took a bit of a break after that sick-to-fucking-death read-through.

And I don’t mean to imply that every minute is excruciating. Sometimes I read a bit I’d forgotten about, and I think, “Wow, that’s really good.” Sometimes when I finally fix a long-standing problem (like how to plausibly arrange events so Bast, Ambrose, and Elodin can have a threeway) it feels great.

But the fact is that working on revisions is just that: work. What’s more, it’s work I’ve been doing it every day for months and months. I haven’t seen a movie since I caught Sherlock Holmes in the theater.

No. Wait. That’s not true. In a fit of madness I rented Transformers II about five months ago. While I was watching it, I remember thinking, “Huh? This makes no sense. Has it been so long since I watched a movie that I can’t understand them anymore?”

But no. It was just a horrendous pile of shit. Someone deserves to be punched in the neck for that movie.

Wait. What was I talking about again? Oh yeah. Revisions.

My point is that I’ve been doing revisions when I’ve really wanted to be doing other things. Like play with my baby, or re-watch Firefly, or go outside on the rare, jewel-like days when the weather here in Wisconsin isn’t like living in the crack of Satan’s ass.

Simply said, as I’ve mentioned before, everybody hates their job sometimes.

That’s why I was surprised when I asked myself that question. It only took me a few seconds to realize the answer: Yes.

Yes. If society collapsed, I would keep working on the books. I’d do it even if I knew they’d never be published.

And you know what? I’d still be every bit as obsessive about my revision as I am now. The only difference would be that my timetable would be more relaxed, and I’d probably have to work a little harder to find beta readers….

This was actually a rather nice revelation for me. It’s easy to focus on the fact that I *have* to work on the book. That line of thinking can get overwhelming for me sometimes. There’s a lot of pressure. A lot of stress.

It’s nice to remember that I also *want* to work on the book. It’s nice to remember that I love telling this story and that I’m lucky to have the freedom to revise obsessively, as is my nature.

But for all that, I have to say, I’m going to be really glad when it’s finished and I can move on….

pat

Also posted in musings, Revision | By Pat86 Responses
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