Promo

Durand Fantasy Expo and Book Giveaway

Announcement: I’ll be at the Durand Fantasy Expo this Saturday. From about 11 until noon I’ll be at the Durand Memorial Library doing a writing workshop/discussion which is open to everyone. For the rest of the time, I should be at the expo itself, hanging out and signing books and taking pics of the 501st in their awesome Star Wars costumes.

Book Giveaway: As some of you know, every time you click one of the [Amazon] links I put next to book titles, I get a few cents back from Amazon. When they send me a gift card, I try to give that right back to y’all in the form of free books.

Well, I got another one yesterday, so it’s time for a book giveaway! Two winners will receive their choice of one of the following books (autographed, of course).


To enter, all you need to do is post a comment about the best book you’ve read so far this year. I’ll pick two winners at random next week.

One entry per person, please. Anyone can enter — this is not a U.S.-only contest.

Happy Princess Day!!!

Today is the day! The official release of The Snow Queen’s Shadow, the fourth and final book in the princess series!

I started thinking about this series … back in 2004, I think. Meaning this has been a journey of at least seven years for me. I remember reading a chapter from Stepsister Scheme for the first time at the Fantasy Matters conference, and freaking out because I had no idea what people would think. (They liked it. Yay!)

I’ve changed as a writer since then … which I think is a good thing. Stagnation is creative death. So there are things I’d probably do differently if I had to write the whole series over again. But overall, I’m proud of the stories, and particularly happy with this last volume.

I’m hoping to have a discussion post in a week or so, once I’m back from vacation and people have had time to read the book. I said this in the author’s note at the back, but I’ll say it here as well: thank you so much to everyone who’s joined me for this journey.

With that, I guess there’s nothing left to do but post some purchase links!

For those who want print copies, you could try:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Chapters
Borders
Mysterious Galaxy
Schuler Books
Indiebound

E-books are available at:

Amazon
B&N
And probably some other places I couldn’t find links for…

So, yeah. Happy princess day, everybody! I really hope you enjoy the book, and if you’re so inclined, please feel free to spread the word 😉

Snow Queen Giveaway

I am down to my last advance review copy of The Snow Queen’s Shadow [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy].

I thought about finding another reviewer to send it to … or holding a giveaway on GoodReads … or keeping it for my very own … but in the end, I decided to give it away to one of my blog readers, because I love you the most.

If you’d like to win the ARC, all you have to do is leave a comment and let me know why I should give it to you. Be as serious or as silly as you’d like. For example:

-Give it to me because my brother-in-law owns Dreamworks and I’ll sneak into his room and read it while he’s sleeping, thus planting your work in his subconscious mind.

-I’ll review your book on my blog, which gets a zillion hits a day. Also, I named my first-born daughter Danielle Talia Snow Beatrice Jim-Hines-is-Awesome Smith!

-Your book is the perfect size to complete my epic and 97% zombie-proof book fort!

I’ll pick a winner next week. I might try to choose the best comment, but knowing how creative y’all are, I may wimp out and just pick one entry at random.

Anyone can enter. Make sure I have a way to contact you (i.e., if you’re anonymous and commenting on LJ, leave an e-mail address or web site). Most importantly, have fun!

Happy Goblin Day!

Today marks the official release of Goblin Tales, an electronic collection of five goblin-related short stories, available for $2.99 for Kindle and Nook.

Purchase links: Amazon, Amazon.uk, B&N
Coming soon: Kobo, iBooks, Lulu (print edition)

So why should you rush out RIGHT THIS INSTANT to plunk down your hard-earned lunch money for this book? Here are ten reasons in no particular order.

1. Goblins are stereotyped as one-dimensional villains, low-level obstacles to be slaughtered by so-called heroes on their way to the “real” quest. By buying this book, you help fight harmful anti-goblin rhetoric.

2. In keeping with traditional goblin humor, one of the stories features what can best be described as a “tactical diaper.”

3. Gay Fire Spider Fights to Save Science Fiction Convention! Yes, this is an actual story in the collection.

4. If this one sells well, I’ll be much more likely to do other e-releases.

5. Daniel Ernle’s wonderful cover art.

6. The fifth story was the seed for my current project, Libriomancer, meaning you get a taste of what’s to come in another year or two.

7. Pat Rothfuss has talked about buying the rights to Firefly and putting it back on the air. Well, if I make enough money off of Goblin Tales, I’ll buy the rights to The Muppet Show and bring that back!

8. If both Pat and I succeed? Muppet/Firefly Crossover, baby!

9. Lots of nice people have said lots of nice things about my goblin stuff.

10. The book is DRM-free, and I turned off regional and lending restrictions when I posted it for sale.

If any goblin fans would care to spread the word, I’d be much obliged. Cover art is available in small and large.

I’ll be posting announcements and maybe a contest or two on Twitter and Facebook as well, and will probably be talking more about the book, the process, and the numbers later this week.

Apostrophe Ninja

Normally, I’d run a First Book Friday post here.  Alas, I didn’t have one ready.  I’ve got several invitations out, but since I’m not paying for these posts, I don’t feel right setting deadlines or pressuring people who are already taking the time to write something for us.

So then I was going to do a First Book Friday roundup with links back to all the posts.  (The clip show of blogging.)

But then I had another idea.  Since the Writing Reality Check comic was the most popular post I’ve done in months, why not do another comic?  And I knew just the message I wanted to get across.

(Yeah, I don’t think Randall Munroe has anything to fear from me.)

First Book Friday: Erik Scott de Bie

Welcome to First Book Friday, with today’s special guest star, Erik Scott de Bie.

Normally I write the introductions here, but I loved what Erik had on his site, so I’m stealing it!  (Either that or I’m too busy prepping for Confusion to come up with something.  You be the judge…)

“In his free time, Erik stalks the streets of London clad in black, storms the ancient castles of Scotland, and faces French fire-dancers on warm midnights along the Seine.  He has stared Death in her pretty face, vanquished his greatest nemesis in the name of true love, and earned some rather spectacular saber scars.  (You should’ve seen the other guy.)”

Also, he writes books.

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My first novel, Ghostwalker [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy], is a product of several fortunate coincidences and a lot of hard work, but it stands on a foundation of one simple character flaw: I am a geek.

I got into D&D around age 10, and I almost immediately started writing all sorts of adventures, character backgrounds, and even stories. My first long fiction — the background of my character Whisper, an elf rogue in the Forgotten Realms setting (coincidentally) — I wrote at 13. It was supposed to be 10 pages and ended up being 45. I knew at that point that writing was what I wanted to do.[1. Jim’s note: My first few stories came about in a very similar way, actually.]

This led into my favorite pastime, which was writing. When lots of kids my age were trying anything to avoid writing, I was shut up in my room typing away on my computer. I took inspiration from all sorts of novels, TV, and films — I would always ask myself how I would have done that ending differently. My work was awful, of course (my wife managed to get a hold of a disk of some of it, which she keeps as blackmail), but I kept at it, building and practicing and honing. I wrote about one novel a year between the time I was 14 and, well, now.

I never even thought about submitting any of it for publication, though–for me, this was just a fun pastime, which I would occasionally share with my friends and family. Then in college, I went through a serious health crisis, and it gave me the little kick-in-the-butt of urgency I needed to give it a shot. I sent a 10-page sample to Wizards of the Coast, and got a very nice rejection letter from Phil Athans and Peter Archer (with handwritten notes), who encouraged me to submit more in the future. This was big for me.

Less than a year later came the Maiden of Pain open-call, for a novel in a Forgotten Realms series about priests of various deities. My submission was not really a “priestly” novel, but more of a “fighter-y” tale. They didn’t buy that one, but they kept me in mind for another limited call that they were going to do later, for one novel in the Fighters series, and one in the Wizards series. I remember they mailed it to my parents, rather than to me (as I was in college, I listed my permanent address as theirs), and my dad immediately called me to read me the entirety of the letter: I could submit for one book or the other, and it would be a story based on either a Fighters prestige class or a Wizards signature spell. I listened to the story options, and I couldn’t get past the third entry on the Fighters list: Ghostwalker. Everything clicked for me, and I knew that was the one I had to do.

I think writers don’t write for the money, or the fame, or the glory, or anything like that. I think when it comes down to it, writers write because they need to write. There’s something in them that begs, wheedles, and demands to get out, and woe to the writer who doesn’t listen.

I had the entire story formed in the next two days, the proposal sent off within the week or so, and I just started writing the novel. In a sense, I knew that I would get the contract, but to an extent, I didn’t care if I didn’t. Which is not to say it wouldn’t have sucked if I didn’t get it (because it would have), but it was just the story I needed to tell, and so I did.  Writing that novel took into account so many things that I’d gone through in my life and was going through at the time: movies, books, philosophy, music, my health, romance, and just . . . life. How could I not write it?

I was overjoyed to get the contract officially signed (and I was very angsty about getting it signed and executed and all the paperwork taken care of), which I expressed for all of an hour, before I got back to writing chapter nine.

I’m very happy with how the novel turned out, and I stand by it today as one of the best things I’ve written. There are some things I could do better, of course, and my style has evolved a great deal over the many books (some of them published!) that I’ve written since then, but I think it stands as a great introduction to my style. If you like this one, there’s a good chance you’ll like what I’ve come out with since.

P.S. For Ghostwalker’s five-year anniversary of being in print (which is pretty cool!), I actually did a retrospective on the novel over at my website. Readers can get in touch with me there, at my blog, find me on Facebook or Twitter, or drop me an email at erikscottdebie AT yahoo DOT com.

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Friend Promo

I’m very fortunate. I’ve got a lot of very nifty friends and acquaintances, both the real-world and the online variety, and sometimes I’ve just got to show them off.

To that end, I’m declaring this an open “Promote Your Friends” thread.  Please feel free to post whatever cool projects or accomplishments your own friends have been up to lately.  (If you’re on my jimchines.com blog and your comment doesn’t show up, let me know and I’ll rescue it from moderation.)

Let the promo begin!

  • My daughter Clara was promoted from purple belt to third brown in Sanchin-Ryu on Monday.
  • Seanan McGuireis currently in Australia at Worldcon, where she’s a finalist for the Campbell Award for best new writer.  Between her Toby Daye books and the success of her zombie thriller Feed, I think she’s got a good shot at bringing home the tiara.
  • Lynne Thomas, editor of Chicks Dig Time Lords (and my archivist!), has a new project: Whedonistas: A celebration of the worlds of Joss Whedon by the women who love them.
  • My friend Steven Saus has a story online called The Burning Servant, part of a chain story project founded by Mike Stackpole.  (Stackpole sounds like he’s doing a lot of interesting stuff … I need to check that out!)
  • Elizabeth Moon is a well-known SF writer, but she’s also a very good blogger.  She wrote a great post about gender bias in publishing last week.
  • John Kovalic provides a very nice, pointed comment on race and gaming in this Dork Tower strip.  (Check out the follow-up strip, too.)[1. I’ve never met Kovalic or talked to him much online, but we swapped a few e-mails and he provided a great blurb for Goblin Quest, and I figure that’s good enough to include him here!]

Finally, my author friends have some new books out.

Your turn.  What nifty things have your friends been doing?

Why Read Red Hood?

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Fun fact: Monday’s blog post was written three days in the past.  But this one was written seven days in the past!  That’s right, Jim is moving backward in time!!!  He promises to bring you back a dinosaur.

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So Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] has been out for most of a week now.  It’s a bit strange to think back to … I think it was 2004 or 2005, when I started playing around with the idea of turning these fairy tale princesses into action heroines.  I remember the excitement as I realized Sleeping Beauty’s fairy gifts made her the ideal ninja, or that Snow White could be a master of mirror magic.

Then here we are, half a decade later.  The third book is out, and readers everywhere are rushing to read it.  (At least, that’s the vision I’m choosing to hold on to!)

So today’s blog question is:

Hey Jim, why should I join the dozens millions billions of people reading Red Hood’s Revenge?

Good question, made-up reader!  Here are my completely objective and unbiased answers, many of which are actually true.

1. Talia’s fairy curse.  I’m not going to spoil this, but the writers out there know the feeling you get when you come up with a twist that just feels right, something that blows you away.  The “truth” behind Sleeping Beauty’s curse did that for me, and I’m hopeful readers will feel the same way.

2. There will be smooching!  (No, it’s not a kissing book.  It has plenty of fencing and fighting, too.)

3. Hey, what ever happened to _______?  I answer this question, for a certain value of ______.

4. All of the cool kids are reading it.

5. If you rearrange the words in the right order, you get a secret message from the president of Zenbox VII.

6. Two words: sewer goblins.

7. Certain elements in this book are guaranteed to offend twice as many people as previous books.

8. The pages are pine scented, so you can use the book as an air freshener for your car after you finish reading.

9. Gazebo.

10. Because kick-ass princesses are awesome, that’s why!

Readers Promoting Writers

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Please feel free to comment and let him know whether you people of the future are zipping around in flying cars and personal jet packs yet!

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] came out yesterday.  One question that comes up a lot with book releases is how readers can help to promote the writer.  Either the writer wants to get the readers to help spread the word, or else the readers actively ask what they can do to support the writer’s new book.  So here are Jim’s thoughts on:

What readers can do to support their favorite books!

It’s simple enough, really.

Step 1: Get yourself hired as the head buyer for a major bookstore chain.
Step 2: Stock up on the works of Jim C. Hines.
Step 3: Profit!

For those of us not in a position to take over as a buyer, I refer you to the blog post I did asking where you learn about new books.  (On LJ here.)  Reading through the answers confirmed a lot of what I already suspected: word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful factors in getting people to pick up a book.

I’ve seen and tried a lot of different things to publicize books.  I’ve done author interviews.  I’ve provided HTML code people could copy and repaste with the book’s cover and info.  But … and perhaps this is a “Duh!” moment … what seems to work best is simply people talking about the books they love, and why.

So if you want to help support the princess books, or any books for that matter, just talk about them.  Write a blog post describing what you love about the stories or the characters or the world.  It doesn’t have to be a formal review or anything like that (though reviews are always appreciated).  Your excitement about a book you loved will sell that book far more effectively than the author ever could.

And if you’re really not comfortable with that, there’s always cosplaying your favorite character 😉

Other suggestions and ideas on what to do (and also what not to do) are more than welcome!

Red Hood’s Revenge: Out Today!!!

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Please feel free to comment and tell him what the future looks like.

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Happy book day to me!!!  Today marks the official release of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], the third book in my princess series.  Pass it on!

Preview the first two chapters
Learn about the series

Normally I try not to go overboard with my own book promotion here.  From reading other people’s blogs, I know a little goes a long way, and it’s easy to get carried away.  But when a new book comes out, I give myself permission to celebrate and promote for a few days.

This week, I’m going to try to answer a few questions that come up with each new book release, starting with this one:

Where and when should people buy my books?

Different authors will give you different answers to this question.  Mine is pretty straightforward: if you want to buy my books, do so wherever it’s convenient for you.

I get the same royalty whether you buy from Amazon, B&N, or your local independent bookstore.  Technically speaking, for things like making the Locus Bestseller list, there are certain stores where sales are weighted more heavily than others … but you know what?  That’s not your problem.  I’d love to make the list again, but I’m not going to try to force it by sending everyone out to a specific list of stores.

I do have a soft spot for independent bookstores, since many of them have been very supportive of my career from day one.  But if you don’t have a good independent store, or you’re just not up for one more errand, I have no problem at all with people hopping onto Amazon to order there.  (Plus then I get to watch my Amazon rank drop!)

As to when people should buy?  Again, I’m going to say you should buy it whenever you like.  Early sales are important, don’t get me wrong.  The more the books sell in these first weeks, the more likely the stores are to restock.  Not to mention it makes my publisher, my agent, and me happy to see those big early sales numbers.

But it’s up to you.  I know not everyone who reads my blog buys my books, and that’s fine.  And I’m not going to insist you all run out today to pick up your copy.

On the other hand, I’m planning to do a discussion post for Red Hood’s Revenge next week.  So if you do buy and read the book this week, you’ll be able to get in on all of the spoilery conversation and speculation 😉

Jim C. Hines