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One Week Left (and Another Book Giveaway)

Only one week until the official launch of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], though the book is already showing up in a fair number of bookstores.  I’ve been counting down to the release by giving away a free book each week.

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Katherine O’Kelly.

I’ve seen a few reports pop up from readers who have picked up a copy of Red Hood.  Early reactions seem to be pretty positive, and so far I haven’t had the anxiety dream where Darth Vader shows up, waving a copy of the book at me and saying in that raspy voice, “I find your lack of plot disturbing.”

Anyway, for the eighth and final book giveaway–

No, wait.  I just had a better idea.  I’m far too amused by the idea of Darth Vader as a reviewer or critiquer.  So for this giveaway, leave a comment with another Vader-style critique of my book.  (You may also use other Star Wars characters if you like … except for Jar-Jar!)

Post your answer, and I’ll pick one winner at random next week.  (Please note that I’ll be up north next week, and Internet access will be spotty, so I don’t know exactly when I’ll be able to choose and announce the winner.)  The winner receives her/his choice of one of the following:

Have fun!

ETA: Heh … everyone’s being so nice!  My ego appreciates this, but it’s certainly not required.  “What a piece of junk!” is an equally acceptable critique 🙂

8 Books in 8 Weeks: Week Seven

Looking back, it was exactly two weeks before the official release of The Mermaid’s Madness that I started to see copies trickling into the bookstores.

It is now exactly two weeks until the release of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  I’m just sayin’…

(If you do decide to rush out and search for the book, I strongly suggest calling the bookstore beforehand.  The official release date isn’t until July 6, so most stores probably won’t have it in stock yet.)

Anyway, I’m counting down to July 6 by giving away another book every week.  Congratulations to Marla Rudas, who won last week’s giveaway with her entry, “The Stepsister Scheme: Kills bugs dead!”

For this week’s giveaway, I want to know where you learn about new books.  Friends and family?  The library?  Online reviews?  Little book gnomes?  Conventions?  If there’s a specific resource you’d like to share, please do!  (If it’s one I’m unfamiliar with, maybe I’ll try to send a review copy.)

I’ll pick one commenter at random to win their choice of the following:

14 days and counting…

8 Books in 8 Weeks: Week Six

My next book, Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out on July 6.  Only three weeks until we get to meet Little Red Riding Hood, deadly assassin, and learn some of the secrets of Sleeping Beauty’s fairy curse.  I’m counting down the days by giving away a book each week.

This morning I was told that Red Hood would be included in a DAW/Penguin dark fantasy floor display at Barnes & Noble.  Sweet!  Also, Sci-fi Fan Letter called it the strongest princess book to date.  Insert contented smile here.

Anyway, time to give away another book!  This week, let’s forget that whole truth in advertising thing.  What are the lesser-known benefits of reading the princess series?  Be as creative or ridiculous as you’d like.  For example…

The Mermaid’s Madness increases your pets’ IQ scores by 20 points or more!

The Stepsister Scheme: Gets out even the toughest stains!

Leave your suggestion in the comments, and I’ll pick a winner at random to receive an autographed copy of one of the following books (your choice):

Please keep it PG-13 or better, and have fun!  (And please feel free to spread the word, if you’d like.)

8 Books in 8 Weeks: Week Five

Hm … I think I have ginmar to thank for the influx of new LJ friends.  Welcome all, and please feel free to say hello!  Or not, if you prefer.  It’s all good.

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My next book, Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out on July 6, and I’m counting down the days by giving away a book each week.  Congratulations to @bkwrrm_tx who won the Twitter giveaway.

Today’s contest is a little different.  My friend Lisa Shearin (author of the Raine Benares series) has an excerpt and giveaway for The Stepsister Scheme over on her blog.  To be entered to win an autographed copy of Stepsister, just head over and comment on the blog post.

Lisa will be drawing a winner tonight, so if you want to enter this one, you’ll have to be quick.

And tune in tomorrow for … actually, I haven’t decided yet.  Maybe another diabetes post.  Maybe a follow-up to the whole “friending/defriending” phenomenon on social networks.  Or maybe I’ll just talk about the crazy involved in trying to wrap up the second draft of this book…

8 Books in 8 Weeks: Week Four

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out on July 6, and I’m counting down the days by giving away a book each week.  Congratulations to Jenn Johnson, who won the third giveaway.

This week, I think I’m going to go with something simple and straightforward.  Next Tuesday I’ll randomly select one of my Twitter followers to receive an autographed copy of one of the following books (your choice):

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Like many authors, I don’t get much info on how things are doing behind the scenes.  It’s one of the reasons many of us obsess over Amazon rankings.  Those rankings might not mean much in the big picture, but they’re the only indication I get about preorders.

I use TitleZ to track my books on Amazon.  It’s a dangerous tool, allowing authors to completely obsess, but I like it.  Among other things, I can pull up a graph of sales rankings over time:

Every one of those dips represents at least one person who was excited enough to order Red Hood’s Revenge.  I have no way of knowing exactly how many orders this represents, but it’s significantly better than the preorders for Mermaid’s Madness.

So thank you.  At the risk of getting all sappy, I very much appreciate your trust.  I know this series isn’t for everyone, but it’s an incredible feeling to realize so many people are excited about the story and the characters.  And it makes me want to work even harder on Snow Queen, to do everything I can to live up to that trust.

You Owe Me Nothing

I think a lot of authors, myself definitely included, are control freaks.  It’s understandable.  We have far less control over our careers than most people.  Just off the top of my head, we generally have little to no say over:

  • Cover art
  • Publisher’s marketing plan
  • Orders from the big chains
  • Release schedule
  • Reviews
  • Award recognition
  • Any of a thousand random glitches, from misspellings on the cover to database errors to distribution troubles (one of my books didn’t make it into Canada until more than a month after the release date)

So it makes sense that we’d focus on things we feel we can influence or control.  Since most of us aren’t in a position to make demands of our publisher, this can come out at the readers.  Usually it’s a request.  Sometimes it’s an outright command, telling you when and where and to post reviews, buy books, and so on.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with telling readers “This is how you can help my book succeed.”  Posting reviews, whether on your blog, at Amazon, or wherever, is helpful.  Buying a book the first week it’s out helps more than buying that same book two months later.  Buying from a brick and mortar store can be more helpful than buying from Amazon.

But it bothers me when we cross the line into pressuring our readers, or guilting them into not doing more.  If you want to post a review, great!  If you rush out to buy my stuff as soon as it’s out, thank you for helping with those early and important sales numbers.  But do it because you want to, not because I badgered you into it.

So, since I have a book coming out in five weeks and four days, I want to be very clear: you don’t owe me anything.  If you’re not comfortable writing reviews, or you just don’t want to, that’s fine.  If ordering from Amazon is more convenient, or if you just want to wait and check the book out from the library, then that’s what you should do.  (Heck, if you have no interest in reading my books at all, that’s okay too.  I’ll be very sad, but it’s still okay 😉 

An author can’t succeed without readers, but I don’t think authors can or should hold the readers responsible for our success (or lack thereof).  It’s my responsibility as the author to write a good book that people want to read.  And if any of my promotional posts ever start to cross the line into pressuring/guilting my readers, I hope you’ll all feel free to call me on that.

8 Books in 8 Weeks: Week Three

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out in six weeks.  SciFiChick has posted an early review, and says:

“More dramatic than previous installments, this latest story revolves mainly around Talia and Roudette, bringing to light more of their dark and horrible pasts … There’s plenty of the suspense and action that make this fantasy series great. Hines’ princess heroines from fairy tale lore are truly unique and completely enjoyable from start to finish.”

Congratulations to mskiara, who won the second giveaway!  For the rest of you, don’t worry — I’ve got six more chances for people to win.

For the past two weeks, I’ve had a blast reading your creative and entertaining entries, so let’s keep going with the fun.  To enter this week’s contest, imagine a princess video game.  Danielle, Snow, and Talia vs. all manner of nastiness.

Who would be the ultimate boss at the end of the game, and how do the princesses defeat said boss?[1. You can’t say Batman, ’cause we’ve already covered that one at http://www.sff.net/people/jchines/Pics/Talia-Batman.jpg]

Leave your answer in the comments, and I’ll select one person to win an autographed copy of one of the following books (your choice):

As in previous weeks, the winner will be chosen at random, so there’s no pressure.  Just have fun.

8 Books in 8 Weeks: Week Two

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out in eight seven more weeks.  (I’ve even seen my first early review, over at Green Man Review!)  I’m giving away a book each week to hopefully build a little buzz and excitement.

Congratulations to Jessica Tudor, who won the first giveaway.  And my thanks to everyone who entered.  I asked you to post something that made you smile, and it made for a great contest.  I really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments.

For this week, let’s keep with the fun.  Give me a hypothetical product warning about Red Hood.  Something like:

Warning: Red Hood’s Revenge is meant for external use only.

Keep it PG-13 or better.  I’ll be drawing a winner at random next Monday, so no pressure to be the funniest.  Winner receives an autographed copy of one of my books.

Have fun.

8 Books in 8 Weeks

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out in exactly eight weeks.  As the excitement builds and we all eagerly count down the days — you are eagerly counting down the days, aren’t you? — I wanted to try something a little different.

So every week from now until Red Hood comes out, I’ll be giving away an autographed copy of one of my books.  The rules will change from week to week, depending on what I’m in the mood for.  One week I might give a book to a random Twitter follower.  The next I might ask you to complete the following poem:

Roses are red,
Goblins are blue,
Authors are ________
__________________.

One way or another, I’m hoping it will be fun, and I get to give away free books.  For this first week, I figured we’d start off simple: all you have to do to enter is comment about something that makes you smile.  (Anonymous commenters, please make sure I have a way to reach you.)

I’ll pick a winner next week to receive his/her choice of one of my published fantasy novels.  Anyone can enter, though if I get a few overseas winners early on, I may have to start limiting it to U.S. entries due to shipping costs.

    

Have fun!  (And if you felt inclined to spread the word, I certainly wouldn’t object.)

Hey — Free Books!

As people may or may not know, every time someone clicks on one of my Amazon links to buy a book (or anything else from Amazon), I get a small percentage back as Amazon gift credit.  This is why I usually list book titles like so: The Mermaid’s Madness [Amazon | Mysterious Galaxy].

For a while now, I’ve used that credit to buy and give away books.  Thanks to everyone who’s clicked on those links over the past month or two, it’s time to hand out some more.

This time, I’m going to offer three signed copies of either Goblin Quest and The Stepsister Scheme.  If you’ve been thinking about trying one of my series but haven’t felt like shelling out $8, here’s your chance.  Or, if you already own the books but want an autographed copy, that’s okay too!  (But if you win a book you already own, I’d ask that you give your old copy to someone else who might appreciate it.)

To enter, just comment on this entry stating which of the two books you’d prefer and why.  Are you Team Goblin or Team Princess?  One entry per person, and anonymous commenters, please make sure I have some way to reach you.

I’ll pick three winners either over the weekend or early next week.

Jim C. Hines