Archive for Out and About
As most of you know, I don’t come from a scifi or fantasy publishing world; my previous role was in publicity for Irish non-fiction titles as well as crime fiction, and that oft-controversial term, literary fiction. I wasn’t utterly new to the terms SF / F / WTF (maybe I was to WTF!) as through my own personal reading, I’ve read – and loved – Scott Lynch, Philip Pullman, and Eoin Colfer, and had the usual childhood favourites such as Narnia and Harry Potter. I love True Blood, Buffy, and Star Trek, amongst others but can’t quote you lines or tell you what happened in every episode. Ever. I joined the queues to see The Hunger Games, Snow White & the Huntsman, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Spiderman, Stardust, and a host of other movies, but because I really enjoyed them, not because they were genre specific.
But, since joining the Angry Robot team early this year, words like utopian, dystopian, steampunk, epic fantasy, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, xenobiology, are now the norm, and it has been an exciting, occasionally-overwhelming, world to discover. I’ve been flung in all sorts of reading directions, mainly by Strange Chemistry’s reading guru Amanda, and was addicted to George R.R. Martin within about 3 pages; fell in love with John Green’s phenomenal YA story The Fault In Our Stars; am currently reading Kushiel’s Dart, and have read – and had varying reactions to – dozens of our Angry Robot and Strange Chemistry titles. I’ve learned that fantasy is more my own personal thing than scifi, although Wesley Chu‘s The Lives of Tao (Vote for him at Goodreads Choice Awards here!) and Ramez Naam‘s Nexus became some of my all-time favourite books, and that Chuck Wendig‘s books suit my crime-fiction-grotesque-scenes-loving-self.
However, not any of the above made me feel fully qualified to attend last weekend’s World Fantasy Con in Brighton. I admit I had major preconceptions. I have met some terrific people over the course of the last six months, but also have discovered that genre world inhabitants can be, and I hasten to point out can be - not are, protective of their world. Sometimes, rightly so. One of the panels over the weekend discussed the issue of “The Mainstream and Us”, showing that the positioning of “genre fiction” is still an issue. I did fear that conversations would be way over my beginners-level head, and wondered that if many of the attendees knew each other from various cons, how open would they be to a newbie? I should never have worried. It was a great weekend, and I wanted to tell you a little about what it was like for a newbie:
Before heading to Brighton, I had been told that this was a very “bar-friendly” convention. I was unsure as to the actual meaning of this – were people going to be sitting, drinking, at 11am? If so, I should have been into this world a long time ago. She jests. Kinda. But that does actually sum up the convivial nature of this convention: from any time of the day, people would gather in the lobby bars and drink coffee – at least, in the early stages of the day – and meet those faces they knew, but also those they did not. Hats off to the organisers for the “newbie” area of the bar, where those who didn’t know too many could congregate and meet fellow newcomers.
A lot of the talk I heard was about the size of the crowd – approx 1400 attendees – and how this allowed for a more open, warm, atmosphere. When I asked Lee for some reference point on this, he said WorldCon is akin to the London Book Fair; I see now that I had a nice, gentle, first convention experience! The layout of the hotel and the event halls was easy to navigate and all close together. This made for easy access if one was running from one panel to the next, or wanted to get to the dealers’ room to stock up before meeting an author. Any time I wandered from one room to the next, I saw friendly faces, and the “red coats” were ever-present ensuring that people know where they were going and were OK. Huge congratulations to them!
I had a couple of aims for the weekend: to meet our attending authors – and some for the first time!, to meet as many people from my online world as possible, to try and not fangirl if I saw Scott Lynch, to attend panels, and to generally get a better sense of the fantasy world. What I didn’t expect was to have so much fun whilst doing all of it!
Better Than I Ever Thought It Would Be
From the minute I arrived at the Hilton hotel and bumped into Lizzie and Claire from the Big Green Bookshop reading and writing groups, the weekend was one big friendly affair. I met old and new faces, chatted to strangers and made new friends; sat in on interesting panels that were open and encouraging; mingled at the mass signing; enjoyed the parties of Tor and Voyager; had long lunches with our authors – inventing futures for Mike Shevdon’s family members!; was made cry by Mike with a synopsis of the most haunting story he’s writing; laughed with Jonathan L. Howard over a pizza dinner; queued at the wrong hall with Wesley Chu before his own ninja reading; and of course, hung out with my colleagues outside the office.
As for me and conventions? Sign me right up. My advice: leave any preconceptions at the door, and throw yourself into this wonderful – and wacky – world. I’m not sure any other genre of writing could be so open and welcoming. To all the lovely bloggers and online friends that I met: Mieneke, Ellie, Vicky, Charlie Jane, Annalee; to our authors: James, Adam, Kim, Anne, Mike, Jonathan, Laura, Wes, Joseph, Emma, and all those that I didn’t get to meet; to Darren & Jo; to Lizzie & Claire; to the new friends, agents, and readers alike, that I met, thank you all so much for a fantastic first con, and I look forward to seeing you all again!
Now to get myself to the shop and buy up all the books I discovered, or else knew about and am now urged to buy their books because of their brilliant panels: Holly Black, Patrick Rothfuss, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tanith Lee, Hal Duncan, Adrian Stone, Tad Williams, and many, many more, await!
PS: I completely fangirled when I met Scott Lynch. Oh well!
PPS: Sorry if there’s anyone I forgot to mention…
Forbidden Planet, that is…
In the next stage of our quest for World Domination (bwahahahahahaaaaa), Angry Robot are taking over Forbidden Planet’s London Megastore on Thursday October 31st.
From 6.00pm until 7.00pm you’ll have the opportunity to meet and greet the following authors – some of whom will be on a very rare visit to the UK.
Note: The Deaths of Tao and The Prince of Lies are officially published the following week, but will be available early, exclusively for the Forbidden Planet signing.
Note: There are still a few limited edition hardbacks of all three of Adam’s novels, which are available exclusively through Forbidden Planet.
Today is my one-year anniversary of joining the Angry Robot team as the North American Sales & Marketing Manager. I came to Angry Robot from a job as a field sales representative, and while the surgical scars from the upgrades have faded, the amazing feeling of being directly in the action, championing authors, and supporting our incredible Random House sales team is fresh every day.
Some highlights from the year:
- Attending my first WorldCon in Chicago all of three weeks into the job, learning the list on my feet, meeting fans and smart readers, editors Lee Harris and Amanda Rutter, as well as a huge swath of our authors. There was pizza, bowling, and much fun with book-wrangling.
With Senior Editor Lee Harris, practicing my Blue Steel.
- My first trip to the United Kingdom, meeting the rest of the Angry Robot and Osprey team, learning the joys of British rail (US trains cannot hold a candle to the Midlands line), and wandering around in a Waterstones getting a crash course in UK cover culture from Managing Director Marc Gascoigne.
- Slinging charcuterie at the launch event for Chuck Wendig’s The Blue Blazes at Singularity & Company.
Charcuterie, in honor of Mookie Pearl, star of The Blue Blazes, while the Man, The Myth, The Beard, Chuck Wendig chats with a reader.
- Rolling a critical hit in title presentation, applying my experience in order to present Angry Robot titles to sales reps the way I’d want to hear about them as a rep.
- Seeing incredible sales numbers roll in for several authors, working closely with the Random House reps to move quickly to maximize the success of breakout books like Ramez Naam’s Nexus, Cassandra Rose Clarke”s The Assassin’s Curse, Wesley Chu’s The Lives of Tao, and Sean Lynch’s Wounded Prey. As a writer myself, helping fellow authors succeed is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.
Huge thanks to the whole team for welcoming me with open arms, being generous with their knowledge and their passion, especially to Marc Gascoigne, the best Robot Overlord a guy could ask for.
It’s been a marvelous year, and this next year promises to be even bigger. I’m about to unleash a Massive Scheme on the North American marketplace, one that’s been in the works the whole first year. And after that, who knows?
Earlier this month we asked you to tell us about your favourite indie bookstore (go read this post for details – it’s ok, we’ll wait).
Brandon Stenger wrote to tell us about Robots & Rogues in Lafayette, IN (and what a great store name!)
In Brandon’s own words:
The owners, Tricia and Kevin, have been selling books for years. They’re always friendly and welcoming, and love to talk books. They will give recommendations, especially if you ask, but I’ve never felt like they’re pushing me to buy anything. They just love to read and want to clue people in to great reading experiences.
They don’t just sell books though, they’ve made incredible efforts to become part of the community since they opened the shop two years ago.
They have SFF & drama book clubs that each meet once a month and they’ve made their store a hub for local gamers. There are several role-playing campaigns that meet there regularly and Munchkin & boardgame days usually monthly.
They’ve also opened their store to local and regional writers, hosting signings and selling their books, as well as playing host to the local writer’s group meetings every Friday evening.
It is a rare week that I’m not in the shop at least once, if not more. Tricia and Kevin have created a shining example of what an independent bookshop can be.
Brandon has been sent some Angry Robot goodies for taking the time to share the wonders of his local store with us. You can do the same. And next time you’re in Lafayette, why not call into Robots & Rogues? It looks like a fabulous store!
We love chain bookstores, online bookstores, secondhand bookstores, bookstores that double up as coffee stores, bookstores with stationery in them, bookstores with DVDs in them, and bookstores with just books in them. Anywhere that sells books is a place we like to be.
As well as supporting the major High Street and online stores we have an ongoing love affair with the independents, and we know that many of you do, too.
So, to that end, we’d like to hear about your favourite independent store.
What to do
Write to us (details below) about your favourite indie bookstore. Tell us where it is (anywhere in the world), when they open, and if they have a website. Tell us what it is about this store that you love. Send us a photograph of the front of the store so others can recognise it. If you get permission, send us a photograph of the inside of the store, too. Ideally, we’d like 200-400 words on why this store is great! Feel free to ask the owner or staff for a quote. Or feel free to just gush from the heart.
What you get out of it
If we publish your recommendation on our blog we’ll send you some books to say thank you.
What the store gets out of it
Word of mouth and recommendations are the lifeblood of any local business. We’d like to help promote some deserving local stores.
What we get out of it
A warm, fuzzy feeling in our tums. We had that once before, and it turned out we’d eaten something out of date, but we’d really like to get a similar sensation for doing something nice.
Where to send your missives
Drop us an email at independents AT angryrobotbooks.com – don’t forget to include a photo or two, and try to give plenty of detail as to why your favourite store deserves some time in the limelight.
We’d like to get your recommendations as soon as possible. Shall we say: no later than the end of May?
Yes. Apparently, we shall.
As previously announced, Adam Christopher will be launching The Age Atomic at Forbidden Planet in London, this coming Thursday (4th April) at 6pm. Pick up a copy of the paperback, or treat yourself to the highly-collectible limited edition hardback (100 copies, only) of Empire State or The Age Atomic!
We hope to see you there!
Joseph had his first signing at Blackwells, Edinburgh, this last weekend, and it was standing room only! Be sure, then, to get to Big Green in plenty of time (and sample their other wares – they’re a fabulous indie book shop).
SFX says of Black Feathers:
It’s an involving, well-told tale… at the heart is a black, thin-feathered phantom with a legitimately frightening name: the Crowman.
If you can’t make the signing (and you should – Joseph’s a great reader, and excellent with a pen!) you can pre-order signed copies here.
Signed copies of Adam’s books can also be pre-ordered.
This link for The Age Atomic paperback, this for the limited edition hardback, and this for the Empire State limited edition hardback (ignore the incorrect date on the Empire State page).
And some other fine folk have said some great things about Black Feathers, too:
“Sometimes… a book captures your imagination in a way that it takes residence in your brain, and the more you think about it, the more special it becomes. That’s Black Feathers.”
And Then I Read a Book
“A bold beginning to a new duology from the brilliant D’Lacey. Two children embark on a search for meaning that is riddled with ambiguity about the nature of the saviour they seek and which, ultimately, provides a siren call to live in harmony with the land.”
Alison Littlewood, author of A Cold Season
“Black Feathers is poetic and compelling. It’s a gripping story crafted around a deep core of eloquent anger. And it’s scary – it’s the scariest kind of fiction – the kind of fiction that rings true. D’Lacey has written a great book of and for our troubled times.”
- Tom Fletcher, author of The Leaping
“Dreadfully visionary. Appallingly inspired. One could wear out a thesaurus trying to articulate the singular fusion of qualities that has come to define Joseph D’Lacey’s work. Alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) horrifying, mesmerizing, shocking, unsettling, and beautiful, and always deeply intelligent, it’s utterly unlike anything else I’m aware of. It’s also utterly wonderful.”
- Matt Cardin, author of To Rouse Leviathan and Dark Awakenings
“Spectacular is the word I’d use to describe [Black Feathers]. Nothing else can capture the reading experience.”
- Shadowhawk at The Founding Fields
“I really did love this book, as it had everything I was looking for and more, and really redefined the genres of fantasy and dystopian fiction. I know the two genres have been merged before, but this book just had that special un-put-down-able spark I couldn’t resist.”
- Rebecca at Book Chick City
“Read it. If, like me, you feel like you’ve read every post-apocalyptic book out there, you haven’t. Black Feathers is something different, with a new take on the end of the world.”
- Leanna at Leeanna.me
This year we’re publishing the first 3 books in Emma Newman’s Split Worlds series, beginning with Between Two Thorns (next week in the US and the following week in the UK). The author describes the book as “Downton Abbey, but with mad sorcerers and evil faeries”.
Anyone who pre-orders a copy of the paperback or eBook of Between Two Thorns will be entered into a draw, the winner of which will have a character named after them in Book 3 - All Is Fair – to be published in October.
If you’re outside the UK
You can pre-order the book online from your favourite bookstore before Tuesday 26th February. Forward a copy of your pre-order confirmation email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you pre-order from the Robot Trading Company you don’t need to forward your confirmation email, as we’ll already have your details.
If you’re in the UK
You can pre-order the book online from your favourite bookstore before Thursday 8th March. Forward a copy of your pre-order confirmation email to email@example.com. If you pre-order from the Robot Trading Company you don’t need to forward your confirmation email, as we’ll already have your details. Kindle owners in the UK won’t be able to pre-order the ebook, so we’ll extend the deadline until midnight on Thursday 8th March (publication date) for you.
Current Angry Robot Ebook Subscribers
We will automatically place you in the draw. You’re the ultimate pre-orderers!
Anyone buying a copy of the book at the SciFi Weekender in early March will also be entered into the draw.
Buying from Forbidden Planet
If you pre-order from Forbidden Planet you’ll be automatically entered, and won’t need to email confirmation of your order. Your book will also be signed by the author! Win!
Forbidden Planet Launch – Extra Gift
For those of you who are able to attend the launch of the book at Forbidden Planet Bristol, or Forbidden Planet London (see below for details), you’ll get a draw entry, and there also is an extra-special gift for you.
Everyone who attends the launch will be given an envelope containing a signed, numbered, limited edition short story card. This card contains a new short story by Emma - Debt - set in the Split Worlds. It’s a deliciously wicked little tale, and you won’t be able to read this story anywhere else in print, or online. That’s right – the only place to get this story is at one of the two launches. This is sure to become a collectors’ item!
Additionally, one lucky attendee at each launch will find a Golden Ticket* in their envelope, winning them a copy of Book 2 - Any Other Name – weeks before it is published in June.
If you are intending to come to one of the launches, it would be very useful if you could indicate that on the relevant Facebook page, or in the comments, below.
*Colour might vary from that described.