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Posts Tagged ‘publication’

Forward Movement

As Amazon has finally posted the cover image for Warrior and Witch, and Doppelganger has been out for over a month, I took some time to update the sequel’s webpage with things like the back cover copy. SPOILER WARNING: do NOT go look at that page if you haven’t yet finished the first book.

The revisions I promised my agent got sent off yesterday, so you know what that means? Yes, little chickadees — it means it’s time for me to make good on my promise to Kit that I would pay attention to him soon. Stupid amounts of research for not a very long story, here I come. (Again.)

Mail Call

Today’s mail held not only my contributor’s copies and check for Fictitious Force #2 (with my story “Sing for Me”), but my contributor’s copy for Dark Wisdom #9 (with my story “The Wood, the Bridge, the House”). I don’t even recall proofing that latter, but whether I did or not, here it is. Neat!

Also in the mail a couple of days ago was a copy of the Romantic Times Book Club review of Doppelganger. It seems they cover a lot more than just romance — which, given that they apparently review something like two hundred and fifty books in every issue, ceases to be surprising. Anyway, much of the review is a plot synopsis, but at the end it says:

Kudos to Brennan for writing such a remarkable first novel and creating a distinctive fantasy world that poses a unique magical and ethical question. The twin heroines follow an electrifying knife-edged journey that takes readers to uncharted territory. An exceptional debut for what looks to be an intriguing series!

You can’t read the RTBC reviews online, but you can see what they rated things, and when Rachel alerted me that they’d reviewed Doppelganger, I went and took a look. They gave my book four and a half stars; I presume that’s out of five, but I can’t be positive, since nothing else in that issue got more than four and a half stars.


And, just to keep my ego in check, some rejection letters in the mail, too. But I’m used to those at this point.

The Book, One Month Later

My friend Kleenestar observed recently that “once you get to a certain critical mass of not-posting, the return to semi-regular posting is shockingly hard.” This is very, very true. And it goes double at the end of a semester.

So, my apologies for the silence. I’ll return to the world of the e-living by giving an update on Doppelganger.

More reviews in various places, mostly on blogs, a few on Amazon. Another negative review, too. This one, I will link to; it’s on the Green Man Review. (For the record, I didn’t link to the last one because it was someone’s journal, and I didn’t want to give the impression that I was asking anybody to go defend me in the comments thread. This one, on the other hand, is in a publication that habitually publishes reviews.)

It’s very odd, seeing the utterly contradictory nature of the positive and negative responses I’ve gotten. The GMR review doesn’t like the world or the characters all that much. Other people have spoken glowingly of that selfsame world, those selfsame characters. At least one person has found my prose terrible; others have raved in favor of it (though in the vein of “it’s nice and tight” rather than “wow, it’s really artistic”). Some of that is personal taste. Some of it, I imagine, is a matter of focus; you might pay attention to the aspects of the world that are original, while someone else is more attentive to those that aren’t. Some of it is probably perspective, since originality is partly a matter of what you’re accustomed to. Hell, thanks to my late introduction to The Lord of the Rings, I cruised happily through fantasy for many years without spotting who was ripping off Tolkien.

I’ve been getting fan-mail. Is that weird or what? <g> Over two dozen complete strangers have written to me since the book came out, telling me how much they liked it. For those of them who might be reading this journal: I am grateful to each and every one of you. No, really. As much as it boggles me to be getting such messages, this is, in a sense, why I wanted to write: not to get letters from readers, per se (especially since I feel like an idiot, trying to figure out how to respond with anything better than “um, wow, thanks!”), but to tell stories that other people care about. The letters are simply a way for me to know I’ve succeeded at that.

Sales-wise, I have no numbers yet. I won’t get anything official until the first royalty statement, I imagine, which will happen some time after June; they come to me twice a year. (I do get royalty statements, even if I’m not getting royalties yet. They let me know how far away I am from getting royalties yet.) I may get some less official numbers in the nearer future; in fact, I hope so. At the moment, I’m basically going off anecdotal evidence and sporadic checking of my Amazon sales rank against a handy webpage that translates the otherwise meaningless numbers into something like a sales rate. But that doesn’t tell me much, since my rank’s been fluctuating by as much as twenty thousand places. (I kind of wish Amazon would just abolish the bloody thing; it’s little more than a way to feed the fluctuations of my self-confidence.)

Now that the semester’s winding down, I’ll have a little time to do promotion. No concrete plans for that as yet, but watch this space for announcements.

That’s it for the nonce, I believe. Posting should resume as normal, since I’m out of classes now, and virtually done with grading. Ah, summer. How I’ve been looking forward to thee.

This Writing Life

The updates keep piling up, and I keep being too busy to post any of them. There was supposed to be a brief window to relax in right about now, but just as I reached it, the copy-edited manuscript for Warrior and Witch arrived on my doorstep. <sigh>

Anyway. Further reports of Doppelganger, all over the place; unless you’re in Hawaii (where my parents are right now), it ought to be in stock.

Or unless they’ve sold out. Which has happened in a few places.


I’ve gotten some extremely nice e-mails from readers, one of which told me to take the Amazon reviews with a grain of salt, since I’d probably end up with people declaring me the coolest thing since sliced Tolkien and others howling that I can’t write worth a rat’s ass. This prodded me to go check Amazon again (which I hadn’t done in a couple of days), where I found four reviews had been posted: the Harriet Klausner one from a while ago, Mike’s very flattering words, and two others that were entirely new to me. No Tolkien comparisons yet, but I’m entirely fine without those, and more to the point, no rat’s ass comparisons yet, either.

Having nothing whatsoever to measure this experience against, I can’t really evaluate it based on anything more than gut feeling, but so far, my gut is quite happy. Doppelganger is on the “New in Paperback” stand-alone racks in a number of Barnes & Noble stores, and an endcap display in at least one Borders, which is always good to hear; visibility can help sales along. I don’t know when I’ll first see sales numbers — whether those are quarterly, yearly, or what. I also don’t know when I’m likely to start seeing trade-publication reviews; we’ll see how those go.

Now, in writing news that has nothing whatsoever to do with Doppelganger, I just got pointed at a review of Summoned to Destiny, the anthology my first story “White Shadow” appeared in. It very nearly had me fainting out of my chair. A sample:

Brennan’s story achieves the elegance of a Bruce Holland Rogers fable, and is told in a voice as assured as Le Guin in her early Earthsea writings. The same sparse directness of scene; the same simple sentence structure, yielding prose passages of surpassing clarity and power.

I think I’m going to go hug that review and giggle until it’s time to head to class.

book updates

My mother reported discovering (and purchasing) copies of Doppelganger in Dallas today, though in her tour of the local bookstores (yes, she visited more than one; she’s my mother; what did you expect?) not all of them had it shelved. There will be a picture to post soon, she promises me. Also, it’s in Elk Grove, California, according to a woman named Heather who found it there, read it, and liked it.

Two more reviews here and here. I debated whether or not to link to them, since both of the reviewers in question are personal friends, but on the other hand, both of them have solid things to say about the book — more than just “the writer is a friend of mine squeeeee.” So I don’t feel too weird about linking to them. (Go go nepotism machine! Or something.)

Remember, let me know when and where you find the novel on the shelves!

return from ICFA; contest results

The only bad part about going to Florida for a weekend in March is coming back to Indiana’s winter weather advisories.

My fourth ICFA was delightful. My paper (on Meredith Ann Pierce’s The Darkangel) went well; Pythia’s paper went better, winning the grad student paper award. Go her! The Bloomington posse is beginning its domination. I also got very publicly promoted by Rick Wilbur of the fomerly-Asimov-now-Dell Award, who, in accepting a different award for his service, talked about the successes of the finalists, and made me stand up and display a copy of Doppelganger to the entire banquet room. I am so very very glad that my author’s copies arrived in time for me to take some south.

And speaking of the novel . . . .

Adam Zolkover wins the contest for spotting Doppelganger in the wild. There will be a character named after him in the urban fantasy sequel I’m working on. Even though the contest is done, though, go ahead and send pictures! Or, if you don’t have easy access to a digital camera, just tell me when and where you see the book appearing. I’d like to track its progress. The local Barnes & Noble has called the people who special-ordered it, so the process has begun.

Time to hide under the bed, I guess.

Unfortunately, I do have an excuse for being hermit-like. Two papers and a grant proposal to write in the next week and a half. Urk. Guess I’d better get to work.


Ladies and gentlemen, my author copies have arrived.

I had pretty much given up on them coming in time for me to take any to ICFA, but here they are. And yes, I am indeed giggling and clutching one to my chest. I had to convince myself to put it down long enough to type.

Remember: first person to send me a picture of copies on the shelves of a bookstore gets a psychic government employee named after them in my next book.

The Production Process

In my busy-ness on Friday, I neglected to make any mention of the fact that I’d posted the next installment of my series of “My First Novel” essays, discussing the production process a book goes through. I’m up to five essays now; I figure there will probably be seven when I’m done (with the last two covering promotion and reviews), and possibly an “epilogue” essay about my second novel.

On a completely frivolous and unrelated note, I like this quiz result:

Your Theme Song:

“The Sound of Silence”, Simon & Garfunkel

‘What is your theme song?’ at

It’s been one of my favorite songs since childhood.

the countdown begins

The release date for Doppelganger is April 1st. Unless you’re a Big Name Author like J.K. Rowling, though, and people will line up around the block to get your book, release dates tend (I am told) to be flexible. What this means is that Doppelganger will likely start appearing on shelves some time this month, and ought to be out everywhere by April.

I hereby vow not to go looking for it more than once a week. Because otherwise, I’m going to be a wreck.

But you have a chance to feed my twitchiness! If you come across a copy of Doppelganger on the loose in a bookstore, let me know! Bonus points if you take a picture of it. In fact, the first person to send me a picture of my novel in the wild wins the right to be Tuckerized: I’ll name a character after you in the urban fantasy I’m working on right now. (You’ll probably be a psychic working for the government.) So keep your eyes peeled, folks, and in the meantime I’ll be making my nest under the bed, to hide in when the time comes.

Okay, I promise I’ll stop posting soon.

Want to read Doppelganger right now?

You can buy it on eBay.

Seriously, it’s just a little bit surreal to find an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) of your very first novel floating around the internet. And then disappointing to realize nobody’s bid on it yet. <g> I mean, I knew there was a secondhand market for these books — they get sent out to generate advance buzz and get reviews circulating — so I knew that yes, someday, there would be ARCs of my own work out there. Somehow, though, I just wasn’t expecting it so soon.

(Yes, I was Googling myself. Don’t ask me why Doppelganger got mentioned on a romance forum, but the person there said it was excellent. Woot!)

So I think I’ve entered two new realms of writer-hood today. This review business is one of them. The other, I was reflecting on this morning, as the reports start to come in of the lineups for Year’s Best anthologies.

In 2004, I published precisely one story: “White Shadow”. Other than a brief, wistful bit of dreaming when I heard there was going to be a Year’s Best YA Fantasy anthology, I didn’t give it much thought.

In 2005, I had five stories hit print: “The Princess and the . . .,” “Silence, Before the Horn,” “Shadows’ Bride,” “The Twa Corbies,” and “For the Fairest.” Now, mind you, of those all, only “The Twa Corbies” is more than five hundred words long — I published a lot of flash this year. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have hopes, though; I have a writer’s ego, which is to say volatile and capable of great delusions of grandeur along with pits of blackest despair. We’ll see if it comes to anything; I know Ellen Datlow was eyeing some stories from Jabberwocky, though I don’t know which ones. (I love all my creative children, of course, but some have special places in my heart, and “Silence, Before the Horn” is one of them.)

But the point is that I’m moving into a realm I’ve never been in before, namely, one where Year’s Best anthologies mean something to me as something other than just a reader. I might end up in one. I’m following their construction for the first time in my life, paying attention to who edits what, when they make their decisions, when they get published. I’ve
got seven more stories in the publication pipeline; they may not all make it out next year, but I might also sell more. I’m playing a new game now, and it’s kind of fascinating.

But that’s enough writerly procrastination for the night. I need to take the IRB test, which means getting into anthropologist-head.