About two weeks ago, I received my author copies of the Science Fiction Book Club editions of Libriomancer and The Legend of Jig Dragonslayer.
This makes me happy for lots of reasons. Many of the books on my shelves came from the SFBC, back when I was younger and there was no way I could afford full-priced hardcovers. And then I found the SFBC. Five free books at sign-up? Reduced-price omnibus editions? Sweet! This is how I first discovered authors like Robert Asprin, Fred Saberhagan, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, even Asimov and his Foundation Trilogy.
So I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate this milestone, my first books to make it into the club, with a giveaway. And since the stress-o-meter has been running rather high lately, I’m gonna go with something happy and hopefully simple for this one.
All you have to do is leave a comment and tell me about one of the best things that happened to you in 2012.
I’ll pick one commenter at random next week and send them an autographed copy of the SFBC edition of either Libriomancer or The Legend of Jig Dragonslayer. Their choice.
This isn’t a U.S.-only contest, so anyone can enter.
I continue to be thrilled and grateful at how well Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] is doing. Reviews are still showing up on Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere, and while they’re not all five stars (and nobody would believe them if they were), the overall reaction has been both positive and encouraging.
Now, I knew when I wrote the book that there were at least two things some readers would be unhappy with, and that this would be reflected in the reviews.
I’m okay with that. I truly appreciate everyone who took the time to think and write about the book, even if you hated it. (But especially if you loved it!)
No book will work for everyone. While I’m sad to see negative reviews, and I am very sorry if you bought the book and were disappointed, I have no hard feelings about anyone posting a negative review. Nor do I have any intention of arguing with those reviewers. That way lies madness.
But I am going to rant about a specific aspect of certain reviews, not because I want to defend the book, but because I want to talk about the attitude behind this particular criticism.
Note: Edited to fix the link.
A while back, Literary Escapism invited me to participate in their School’s In feature, which has authors writing school-related snippets for their characters. I decided to put together a bit that showed the first time Isaac Vainio from Libriomancer met Smudge the fire-spider.
I might tweak a few details if I incorporate this into one of the Magic ex Libris books or a related short story, but the gist of that first meeting is at http://www.literaryescapism.com/30530/schools-in-jim-c-hines-isaac-vainio.
Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] has been out for two and a half weeks. My thanks to everyone who’s reviewed and talked about the book. My agent describes it as my best launch week ever, and says Libriomancer hit the top ten fantasy hardcovers list for Bookscan, which is pretty darn cool.
For those of you who’ve read it, I wanted to give you a place to talk about the story. What did you like? What didn’t work for you? What are you looking forward to in Codex Born? Any predictions?
There will be spoilers in the comments!
I’m happy to answer questions … some of them, at least But I’m also happy to stay out of the way and let folks talk.
One question that came up at several of my booksignings was how libriomancy works with ebooks. I said that was answered in the book, but I think I messed up. It looks like I touched on that in the second book. Short answer: it’s possible to perform libriomancy with ebooks, but Isaac can’t do it.
Let the Wild Booktalk Rumpus begin!
I think the lesson of this past week is that I’m not 21 anymore. Working a normal schedule at the day job and then doing four nights of booksignings throughout Michigan was, perhaps, not the smartest plan. Unless the goal was to transform me into a zombie by Saturday, in which case it was a flawless plan.
Autographed Books: If you couldn’t make it and wanted an autographed copy of Libriomancer, you can order one through the Schuler Books’ website while their supplies last. Make sure you specify that you want an autographed copy. (I signed a lot of stock, so they should have enough for a while.)
Amazon Freakout: Amazon rankings really aren’t that great for figuring out how your book is doing … but in that first week, they’re all you’ve got. So I spent a lot of time on the refresh button. The Kindle version hit #291 at Amazon, and the hardcover reached #622. These are the best numbers I’ve seen for any of my books, which blows me away. Thank you to everyone who picked up the book in its first week, or who spread some word-of-mouth. I’m a bit dumbfounded to see my first DAW hardcover doing so well.
Photos: Tuesday’s signing at Schulers saw a nice turnout, as you can see in my badly-spliced pic here. Whitney had prepped the audience with party supplies, which was fun.
She also brought balloons. But not just any balloons. We celebrated New Book Day with Justin Bieber!
My cover pose blog posts came up during the Q&A at most of the signings, which means I ended up explaining and demonstrating to those who hadn’t seen the pics. My friend Gabriel Cuellar was kind enough to capture this moment in Grand Rapids.
Dr. Phil posted some pics of the Grand Rapids event as well, including shots of local convention-master Dave Klecha and Hugo-nominated author Mary Robinette Kowal.
By the time I made it to Kazoo Books on Friday, I was pretty wiped. Fortunately, they had prepared … the Comfy Chair!
Thank you for indulging my new-book neuroses this past week. I’m rather proud of myself for making it through a whole week without telling everyone to RUN OUT AND REVIEW THE BOOK ON AMAZON AND GOODREADS AND FACEBOOK AND YOUR BLOGS RIGHT NOW! Because that could get pretty obnoxious. (But, you know, if you wanted to run out and post a review, I certainly wouldn’t object. I’m just saying…)
I’ll be doing a discussion post for the book soon, but otherwise, I’m done with the online promotion, and will be returning to normal blogging of cool LEGO stuff, the first season of Avatar, sexist dumbassery in the genre and out of it, and so on.
In all seriousness, thank you. As I was driving home from Kalamazoo on Friday, I kept thinking about how incredibly fortunate I’ve been. I love being a writer, being able to tell and share these stories. It’s the best job in the world, and it couldn’t happen without you all.
In some ways, yesterday reminds me of my wedding. There was a lot of preparation and work, and it seemed like time was simultaneously slowing to a crawl and rushing past as the day approached. And then it was here in a blur of noise and excitement, surrounded by friends and loved ones. Lots of happiness and celebration (and yes, maybe even some dancing). Then you blink and it’s all over.
Here are just some of the things that happened yesterday…
I am delighted and excited and energized and utterly drained. So I’m going to close by posting something utterly unrelated to libriomancy. Even though Isaac Vainio would totally get a kick out of it.
This is a working LEGO model of the Curiosity Rover, which touched down safely on Mars earlier this week. It was built by Doug Moran and Will Gorman. (Thanks to The Mary Sue for the link.)
If the video isn’t showing up, you can view it on YouTube.
Today is the official release of Libriomancer. Which means it’s the day for me to both celebrate and FREAK OUT as my eighth fantasy novel–my first hardcover with DAW–makes its way into the world.
I try not to go overboard with self-promotion, but today I’ve decided it’s okay to make an exception
Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and create things from their pages. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.
With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic…
Win Free Books!
Bitten by Books is hosting an interview/Q&A with me this afternoon, and we’re giving away two free anthologies as well as two autographed copies of The Legend of Jig Dragonslayer.
ETA: The interview/contest is now live at http://www.bittenbybooks.com/56041/author-jim-c-hines-interview-and-book-giveaway-live-here/
“This funny and fast-paced series opener, Hines’s first hardcover for DAW, will be sure to surprise and entertain urban fantasy fans.” -Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Libriomancer … communicates a passion for genre fiction that I felt can only be captured with one word–Joy.” -Staffer’s Book Review
“I picked up the book meaning to read a few pages. My first thought was, ‘This is a cool concept.’ The second thing I thought was, ‘This is really, really clever.’ The third thing I thought was, ‘I should have gone to sleep three hours ago.’” -Patrick Rothfuss
“This may be Jim Hines’s best work. Libriomancer is smart, silly, and deadly serious, all at the same time.” -Seanan McGuire
“I really enjoyed Libriomancer, but the cat has been insufferable now that he’s found out he has a cameo.” -My Mom
More reviews here.
August 7, 7:00 p.m. Schuler Books – Eastwood Location. Lansing, Michigan.
This book feels like it’s been a long time coming, and I want to thank everyone who helped me to get to this point. My editor and everyone else at DAW, Team Agent at JABberwocky, all of my beta readers who offered feedback and suggestions, the experts who answered weird, random questions about fingerprint powder or the material used to build skyscraper ceilings. The reviewers and the authors who kindly offered advance praise for the book.
But I also want to thank the readers and the fans, the people who listened to me read excerpts or babble on about the book, both in person and online. The people who got excited about the ideas, who joined me in that “Ooh, wouldn’t it be cool if…?” space. Who generally just geeked out about it with me. Your enthusiasm and excitement helped me to stay motivated, and made me work harder to make this book as good as I possibly could.
Thank you so much for your support and your faith. It means more than I can say.
First off, a few more things from yesterday…
The Libriomancer sequel has a title! Book two of the Magic ex Libris series will be Codex Born.
My Parents’ Cat is on SF Signal! – I wrote a guest post for SF Signal, talking about some of the behind-the-scenes stuff from Libriomancer. Including the true identity of the bookstore cat from the book.
Interview at The Editing Essentials – An interview I did with my friend Brittiany Koren, who edited several anthologies that included short fiction from me.
On to the critique. Alex Cranz wrote a piece in FEMPOP about the treatment of women characters. Warning: While Cranz avoids specifics, this will probably spoil the ending of Snow Queen’s Shadow for you.
I know why I made the choices I did in that book. That doesn’t in any way change the fact that Cranz raises very good, valid points. Whether or not I had valid reasons for those choices doesn’t change the fact that those choices do fall into a larger pattern.
While I’m sad that my book bummed Cranz out right before a wedding, I’m glad she cared about the books enough for them to have that impact, and I’m even more pleased that she chose to write this essay and start up a conversation about these tropes.
I recommend checking out her piece. Not to defend my book. (Please don’t.) But because it’s thoughtful and important and a conversation we should be having.
Also, according to her bio, Cranz trained her dog to do fistbumps, which is just awesome.
Months ago, I thought about how August 1 marked the end of the Hugo voting period, which meant I could go on my blog and post something like, “Now that voting is over, I can stop worrying about pissing off the entire internet and tell y’all what I really think!” Or words to that effect.
And then I pissed off half of Reddit five days early, and COMPLETELY RUINED THE TIMING FOR MY SMARTASS JOKE!
Anyway, Libriomancer [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] comes out in six days. Yes, I’m excited. Yes, I’m freaking out. Here are some of the book-related things taking up my mental real estate right now…
“Libriomancer … communicates a passion for genre fiction that I felt can only be captured with one word–Joy. Jim C. Hines’ novel is an ode to genre and all the joy it’s brought him. A joy that he brought me as I read it … It’s a fantasy novel written by a fan, for fans. I would strongly recommend anyone who’s characterized themselves as such to read Libriomancer as soon as possible.”
And now for the giveaway! I’m gonna keep this simple. If you were given the power of libriomancy, the ability to create anything described on the pages of any published book, what would it be? Per the rules of libriomancy, you can’t create an intelligent being, and whatever you create has to fit through the pages. No TARDIS-making, sorry!
Leave your entry in the comments. I’ll pick one random winner this weekend and send them a personally inscribed copy of the book.
As you might have gathered from Wednesday’s post, most of my energy is going into book-related stuff right now, including…