Archive for 5th Birthday

Tuesday 1 July marked 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books – Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights – and throughout this week we have celebrated with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways have popped up on various sites – and continue to  – so do keep an eye out for our #AngryRobot5 on Twitter for new posts.

On the blog this week we’ve had Senior Editor Lee Harris with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules; MD Marc Gascoigne with his 5 lessons learned; Publicity Manager Caroline Lambe with her 5 Favourite Angry Robot Characters; and Mike Underwood, US Sales & Marketing Manager, with his 5 Favourite Angry Robot Covers.

The final slot belongs to our very own Amanda Rutter who, on her last day at Angry Robot / Strange Chemistry, is giving away her 5 Favourite Angry Robot Books, and writing about her 5 Things Wot I Learned From Publishing.

It’s an emotional day for me: my last day working for Angry Robot and being the editor for Strange Chemistry. I wondered about what my blog post should be for a little while (you almost got Lee’s 5 Worst Puns – but I decided I just couldn’t inflict that level of pain on you all!) Finally, I decided to do a little farewell in the form of the 5 things that I have learnt while working in publishing.

1. Patience!

My God, you have to be patient! I came from an accounting background, where things were required yesterday, where the monthly accounts would be closed in five days, where emails were replied to instantly. Everything was snap, snap, snap. And then I walked into publishing… In my first month, everyone got sick of the refrain “When can we…?” When can we release this gorgeous cover art that we’ve received for a book, when can we announce an author, when can we put books up on Netgalley, when can we, when can we, when can we… It has taken me pretty much the whole of this two years and seven months with Strange Chemistry to settle down and realise that publishing moves at its own special pace. Authors, you think you can’t handle the wait times? Well, I haven’t been finding it easy either!

2. You just know.

People say that you always just know when you meet the person who you are going to marry. That women just know when they put on the wedding dress that is perfect for them. That you just know when you walk into the house that is going to become your home. The same is true for books you end up taking to acquisitions. Every single one of those books that went out through Strange Chemistry, I adored. I got shivers when I started reading the first few pages. I stayed up late to finish them. I could already see how I might advise the author to tighten this section, or maybe move that chapter. I was entirely invested in those books before they went to acquisitions. I just knew.

3. You can do everything right, but…

You can acquire the most brilliant book in the world, you can put a stunning cover on it, you can see positive reviews flooding it, but… it doesn’t sell. For whatever reason, it doesn’t appeal to readers. I have taken books to acquisition that I am so passionate about. I have watched the whole team get excited and think that this book, this could be the one that really sets the world alight. I have watched the reviews come in and been so joyful that people share my opinion of the book, and delighted that I have been able to put this story out into the world. But something just doesn’t click. Perhaps the timing of the release. Perhaps the marketplace. Perhaps there was a sporting event on and people weren’t reading as much that month. We’d all love to know how to bottle the success of certain books, but you just can’t anticipate how a novel will be received. Of course, it does make it all the more precious when a book fires the imagination of the reading public.

4. How many publishing people does it take to change a lightbulb?

 Probably just one, we’re quite capable in many ways! What I’m really talking about here is the sheer number of people involved in bringing a novel to a bookstore. I had this lovely naïve view of an editor reading a book and then putting a nice cover on it and ta da, it was done. Maybe not *that* naïve, but I had absolutely no idea of who is involved.

First you have the author, then the agent, then the acquisitions editor, then the publishing team who help agree the acquisitions, then the art director, then the cover artist, then the marketing person, then the publicity person, then the copy editor, then the proofreader, then the designer who lays out the book, then the production team who send the book to print, then the sales reps who get out there to sell in the book… There are so many different layers to publishing a novel that editors are, in fact, project managers. And I was doing this for, at one stage, two books a month, twenty two books a year (none in December, smartarse, before you start counting on your fingers!) It’s no wonder that your regular editor is often working til late in the office, then going home to read manuscripts in the evening, so that all of these tasks can be fulfilled!

5. Publishing people are the best!

I have had the best two years and seven months, and that is without a doubt down to the people I have met through this job. My fabulous colleagues (who I am going to miss beyond words); my incredible authors (who I wish all the very best in the future); the agents (who have been professional, caring and somehow managed to balance author and editor with aplomb); the freelancers (who have done such a sterling job behind the scenes to make the books as tight as they can possibly be); and the book bloggers/reviewers (who have shown such passion for all the Strange Chemistry books). I salute you all. You have made my job easy. You have made my job fun. You have made me enjoy every single day that I walked into this office and sat down at my desk and realised that I was bringing stories to the world. Thank you!

photo (29)Amanda’s Giveaway

And now, before I go away and weep a little – it IS an emotional day, after all – I bring you my prize pack for this blog post. I am offering one person my five favourite Angry Robot books. These would be: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes, Sixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon, The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke, The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby and The Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle.

Entry Details

To win, just let me know, in the comments, your five favourite books of all time. The winner will be picked at random and entries close on Monday 7 July at 12.01pm BST.

Categories : 5th Birthday
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Tuesday 1 July marked 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books – Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights – and throughout this week we are celebrating with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways will be popping up on various sites so keep an eye out for our #AngryRobot5 on Twitter for new posts.

We’ve already had our Senior Editor, Lee Harris, with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules, MD Marc Gascoigne with 5 lessons learned, and Publicity Manager Caroline Lambe with her 5 Favourite Angry Robot Characters. Next up is Mike Underwood, US Sales & Marketing Manager and his choice of giveaway is Empire State by Adam Christopher. Details of this giveaway, and why Mike chose Empire State are at the end of this post.

Hi Robot Army, Mike here.

It may not seem like it, but I wasn’t always an Angry Robot. I first discovered AR back in 2010, when my dad (a Random House sales rep), gave me a first run set of Angry Robot books as the list was launching in the US. And what I noticed, from the very beginning, were the covers and packaging. I grew up in a publishing household, and have been a SF/F reader for nearly my entire life, so I pay attention to these things.

One cover in particular stood out to me:

Moxyland cover

Moxyland, by Lauren Beukes, cover by Joey HiFi. The cover had a Cyberpunk sensibility, and the subtle but very smart design of the broken image files for the faces of the characters. It grabbed me right off and sent me to the back cover copy to find out more.

A few years later, I’d followed Angry Robot here and there, read a few books, and then I came across Empire State, by Adam Christopher (cover by Will Stahle):

Empire State

Empire State was the novel I read on the plane out to interview for the job, and talked with Marc about the book, how it lent itself to the WorldBuilder program, and used that as a springboard to talk about possible future plans for Angry Robot.

Months later, when all of the surgical scars from my cybernetic sales & marketing implants were healed, we revealed this wild beauty of a cover for Chuck Wendig’s The Blue Blazes, by Joey HiFi:

The Blue Blazes cover

Like so much of Joey HiFi’s work, the cover for The Blue Blazes is nearly fractal in its detail. Scenes are piled on top of scenes, individual scenes building to a designed cohesive whole.

Also, meat cleaver.

Just last Autumn, we put out a Big Fat Fantasy by the name of:

Heartwood cover

Heartwood, which went on to win author Freya Robertson the Sir Julius Vogel award. The cover, by Alejandro Colucci, is a big, double-decker cheeseburger of FANTASY ART. You know what you’re getting here – knights, combat, and a grand sense of scale.

And last, but certainly not least, comes a cover that has already served me very well in my efforts to spread the word of Angry Robot across North America and beyond. It hung right above my head all through Book Expo America, allowing me to answer people’s question of “what do you have coming this fall” by pointing at this piece of amazing work by Richard Anderson for The Mirror Empire:

The Mirror Empire

 

*drool*

Five years into Angry Robot-ing, I’m so very happy that a look at the cover to Moxyland put me on the path to be here, working inside Angry Robot orbital headquarters, helping new authors, emerging stars, and genre veterans get their work out into the world.

Mike’s Giveaway

For my giveaway, I’m picking Empire State (x 5 copies), which continues to be, in my mind, one of the most Angry Robot-y Angry Robot books we’ve done.

Entry Details

Comment below and tell us your favorite Angry Robot cover to enter. Winners will be picked at random. Entries will close tomorrow, Friday, at 12.01pm BST, when we will have Amanda’s post with another giveaway!

For brownie points, join in our #AngryRobot5 conversation on Twitter and tell us about your favourite Angry Robot book, or if you haven’t read one yet, which you would like to pick first! Don’t forget to include us: @angryrobotbooks

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Yesterday, Tuesday 1 July, marked 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books – Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights – and throughout this week we are celebrating with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways will be popping up on various sites so keep an eye out on Twitter’s #AngryRobot5 for new posts.

If you’ve missed the earlier posts, here’s links to Lee Harris with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules and Marc Gascoigne with 5 lessons learned. Next up is Caroline Lambe, Publicity Manager, as always hating writing about herself in the third person. Caroline’s choice of giveaway is a special bumper pack; details are at the end of this post.

To pick 5 favourite characters from a range of books like Angry Robot’s is very hard; I was tempted to write a whistleblowing post on the 5 characters that are my colleagues, but I’m sure the Robot Overlords would send me to the scrapheap if I tried. However, I’ve tried to narrow it down so allow me share with you my Top 5 Characters from our books.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is one of my favourite Angry Robot books, and is responsible for one of my Top 5 Characters: Finn. In Finn, Cassandra Rose Clarke created a character that, although is an android, shows more emotion than most of the human characters. The book explores humanity, consciousness, and love, of which Finn is the embodiment. When I first started this book, I treated Finn warily – he was the outsider who appeared like a ghost to Cat and scared her. But their relationship, of which I was so sceptical, blossoms tenderly, unexpectedly and believably, and all because of Finn. He is a character of impressive emotional range, and is so much more than a tangle of wires and circuits.

“There is nothing else like me in the entire world, said Finn. “That’s what you wrote. I’m the only one. I can’t tell you what it means to be the only one of my kind,” he said. “I can’t…There is a lack in myself. But your thesis almost filled it in. It was…a start.” Finn

The Lives of Tao by Wesley ChuWesley Chu’s debut novel, The Lives of Tao, has received rave reviews and awards, and for me – like many others – Roen is a huge part of the reason. He doesn’t want to be a hero; why can’t he sit at home every evening after work, eating pizza, and being miserable? Roen is that person we fear we will be: stuck in a job we hate, in a rut with our life, and unable to do anything about it. Whilst Tao comes along for Roen and forces a change, The Lives of Tao shows us that we don’t need our own Tao to live inside our heads – and I’m certainly OK without being chased by the Genjix – but we can all change and become the people we want to be.

Plus, Roen has some of the best lines and action scenes: when he confronts the mugger and the bottles don’t break and then asks the mugger for his money? I love Roen!

“I can’t quit. I have rent, and a cat to support.” Roen

 

Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman, March 2013Between Two Thorns presents a harder choice: Catherine Rhoeas-Papaver or Gargoyle? The gargoyle is hilarious and a great sidekick but plays a far more important role as he articulates Max’s feelings. Cathy is resourceful, brave, and strong but also stubborn, and rebellious with a wicked temper, and pips the gargoyle to the post as my favourite Split Worlds character. 

Cathy is against everything her family believes, the restrictive life of the society in which she was raised, and her struggles against this world feel authentic. She doesn’t lose sight of what she wants, It’s tricky to say too much about Cathy without giving away the events across the trilogy, but if you have yet to visit The Split Worlds, I highly recommend you do.

Plus, if ever you’re in Bath, I dare you to try not look for access to the Nether!

Blackbirds, by Chuck WendigMiriam Black has her first outing in Chuck Wendig’s
Blackbirds, and I unashamedly love her. She might gross and creep me out sometimes, but wouldn’t you be deranged if death following your every move? By simply having skin on skin contact – a fingertip graze, a bump – Miriam can tell where, when, and how you will die. Does she thus try to prevent deaths? HELL, NO. Miriam uses this power to track people about to die, robs their still-warm bodies, and spends the money on her favourite things: alcohol and cigarettes. Blackbirds is morbid and terrifying, and brilliant. It’s utterly refreshing to read a character like Miriam: a foul-mouthed, vile anti-heroine who is laugh-out-loud sarcastic. Beware: if you’re used to reading lighter books, or aren’t OK with some super-gross descriptions, gore, etc, Miriam may not be for you!

“A lady should be respectful,” is all he manages through gritted teeth. He pitches the towel in the corner.
Miriam snorts. “That’s me. My fair fuckin’ lady.” Miriam

The Bullet Catcher's Daughter by Rod DuncanExcuse me, but I think I’m going to cheat a little with my fifth choice! So far, I’ve brought you characters you may have already read and liked – or loathed – but for my final character, I’m picking an upcoming: Elizabeth Barnabus from The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter, publishing Sept, 2014. Rod Duncan is an award-winning crime novelist and it shows as he creates a clever story, in a novel exploring many boundaries. Elizabeth is a courageous cross-dressing private detective, who takes on the persona of her imagined twin brother, Edwin, to solve the mystery of a missing aristocrat and a hoard of arcane machines. She is cunning, an accomplished liar, and an adept reader of people.

She is driven, intriguing, and her dialogue is snappy and brings her to life. I can’t wait for you all to meet Elizabeth Barnabas!

“I’m no more than a shadow, and can have only such friendships and feelings as a shadow might.” Elizabeth

So, what do you think? Did I leave out your favourite character or do you totally agree / disagree with who I’ve picked? Who would your Top 5 Angry Robot characters be? Tweet us @angryrobotbooks to join the conversation and don’t forget to use our #AngryRobot5.

Caroline’s Giveaway

For my giveaway, instead of 5 copies of 1 book, I’m going to go with a bumper prize pack of these 5 books! If it’s my choice, I might as well give you 5 of my favourite books to enjoy. So, one winner will receive The Mad Scientist’s Daughter, The Lives of Tao, Between Two ThornsBlackbirds, and The Bullet Catcher’s Daughter.

Entry Details

To enter, comment below and tell us your most memorable book character. It doesn’t have to be from Angry Robot, but any character you loved – or indeed love to hate – in a book. Winner will be picked at random, no geographical restrictions. Entries will close tomorrow, Thursday, at 12.01pm BST, when we will have Mike’s post with another giveaway!

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Head over to Tor.com for your chance to win 1 of 5 prize packs, containing our first 5 published books! Here’s the link to Tor.com’s sweepstakes and be sure to join in the #AngryRobot5 conversation on Twitter to share your favourite Angry Robot moments, books, and of course, authors! Don’t forget to check our Marc’s blog post on the last 5 years at Angry Robot, and for your chance to win a copy of Matt Forbeck‘s Carpathia.

Categories : 5th Birthday
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Jun
30

Angry Robot 5: Lee’s Top 5

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Tuesday 1 July marks 5 years from Angry Robot’s first books – Lauren Beukes‘ Moxyland and Kaaron Warren‘s Slights – and we are celebrating this anniversary, over the next 5 days, with daily staff blog posts and giveaways! Author guest posts and other cool giveaways will be popping up on various sites so keep an eye out for our #AngryRobot5 on Twitter for new posts.

First up is our Senior Editor, Lee Harris, with his Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules, and his choice of giveaway is The Knights of Breton Court (omnibus edition x 5) by Maurice Broaddus. Details of this giveaway, and why Lee chose The Knights of Breton Court are at the end of this post.

Top 5 Reasons Angry Robot Rules

5. A Home for New Talent

In the 5 years since Angry Robot first started publishing, we’ve published the debut novels of TWENTY-ONE authors:

Lauren Beukes – Moxyland
Kaaron Warren – Slights
Mike Shevdon – Sixty-One Nails
Aliette de Bodard – Servant of the Underworld
Lavie Tidhar – The Bookman
Ian Whates – City of Dreams and Nightmare
Maurice Broaddus – King Maker
Guy Haley – Reality 36
Jo Anderton – Debris
Adam Christopher – Empire State
David Tallerman – Giant Thief
Chris F Holm – Dead Harvest
Anne Lyle – The Alchemist of Souls
Madeline Ashby – vN
Lee Battersby – The Corpse-Rat King
Lee Collins – The Dead of Winter
Ramez Naam – Nexus
Emma Newman – Between Two Thorns
Wesley Chu – The Lives of Tao
Jay Posey – Three
Craig Cormick – The Shadow Master

With plenty more to come, including:

Carrie Patel – The Buried Life
Susan Murray – The Waterborne Blade
Ferrett Steinmetz – Flex
Ishbelle Bee – The Singula and Extraordinary Tale of Mirror and Goliath
Alyc Helms – The Dragons of Heaven

4. Marc Gascoigne Wins the 2011 World Fantasy Award

Angry Robot founder and head honcho Marc Gascoigne won the World Fantasy Special Award (Professional) for his work in setting up and running Angry Robot. And bloody well deserved it was, too!

3. DRM-free ebooks

We’re big fans of the ebook format, and we know that many of you are, too. We’re also big fans of not crippling the format with unnecessary and impractical restrictions. This is why we’ve always been DRM-free, and always will be.

2.  Clonefiles – Ebook /Paperback Bundling

We believe if you’ve paid for a paperback you should get the ebook included. In 2012 we ran a limited pilot in the UK to offer this service through independent bookshops. In 2013 we announced we would be opening this pilot up to indie stores in the US, and this has started to happen. It was such a great idea that Amazon announced their version of the programme shortly after us (though many of the ebooks in their Matchbook scheme have to be paid for, albeit at discount).

1. Those Covers!

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. I say bollocks. But whatever your thoughts on the matter, you certainly can judge a publisher on its covers. And look at some of the gorgeousness we’ve brought you over the last five years, under Marc Gascoigne’s Art Directorshipness. Take your time. Appreciate the different styles, and the love that has gone into each and every one.

Empire State by Adam ChristopherThe Marching Dead by Lee Battersby, April 2013

Zoo City by Lauren BeukesThe Lives of Tao by Wesley ChuThe Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke - Feb 2013Dead Harvest, by Chris F. HolmThe Damned Busters by Matthew HughesThe Alchemist of Souls by Anne LyleThree, by Jay Posey, artwork by Stephen Mayer-RassowHeartwood by Freya RobertsonSixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon, new cover artThe Great Game by Lavie Tidhar - you know you want itNightTerrors-300dpiSlights - in UK stores 1 July 09Blackbirds, by Chuck Wendig

 

Lee’s Giveaway

CThe Knights of Breton Court cover (Joey HiFI) - October 2012aroline has asked me to choose a book for today’s giveaway.

Maurice Broaddus’s King Maker (first of the Knights of Breton Court trilogy) was the first book I actively championed when I joined Angry Robot. It’s a fantastic retelling of the Arthurian myth, set on the mean streets of Indianapolis. So, my giveaway is going to be the entire trilogy: The Knights of Breton Court x 5!

Entry Details

To enter, simply comment on this post with your Top 5 TV shows. Winner will be picked at random. Entries will close tomorrow, Tuesday at 12.01pm BST, when we will have Marc’s post with another giveaway!

For brownie points, join in our #AngryRobot5 conversation on Twitter and tell us about your favourite Angry Robot book, or if you haven’t read one yet, which you would like to pick first! Don’t forget to include us: @angryrobotbooks