Archive through February 16, 2011

Janny Wurts Chat Area: Arc 4: Sword of the Canon: Initiate's Trial: Initiate's Trial Status: Archive through February 16, 2011
   By Janny Wurts on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 06:27 pm: Edit Post

Thanks all for the finish party!
It really really makes me feel GOOD to know there are people wanting this book - I can't tell you how much.

To answer Zorana's direct question:

The author gets a percentage of the price the book sells for IF IT IS NEW. Markdowns - from the publisher - would result in a markdown in royalties too. If a vendor got the book from the publisher at a markdown, then the royalties shrink accordingly.

More, if you buy it 'bargain' as in bargain counter or 'overstock' - new or not - the author gets NADA, and the 'number' of copies sold - doesn't count.

The only numbers that matter are new sales from a proper vendor.

Used books don't pay either/or count.

This is not a criticism of how people get books, but just a listing of the FACTS. The way a book stays available and stays on the shelf, in print, is based on how many copies sell NOW. And for the most part, the last book out determines how the next one gets treated. If you go into a shop and cannot find a title - good indicator that title is not 'well enough known'. It takes a constant influx of new readers.

On that 3 for 2 offer, I don't know who was doing the 'special' - the retailer, to cut down stock, or the publisher - or what terms were in place between the two.

It would appear, based on what I can track, the books in the latter half of the series have a LOT of catching up to do - attrition is natural in series, in that, lots buy book 1 and don't continue. The longer a series goes on, the more attrition happens - if the quality stays high, one just hopes to keep the readers interested enough to stay involved.

I've always taken care for the quality - and kept available to readers for questions/shown status updates on a draft so there is no 'in the dark' - they know where I am in the sequel.

If you have any other suggestions as to how I could serve you all better, just yell.

I am up to the C's in the glossary - which is an 'extra' - the real deadline is turned in.

   By Annette on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 07:32 pm: Edit Post

Janny do you get any royalties from the book club editions, which seem drastically discounted even when they first come out? The digital versions are also very cheap, although the publisher would not have as many costs, do you get any royalties from those?

Is there any chance when HarperCollins do the HB they could do the map with the gap in the middle so we can see all of it rather than having some lost to the binding? Being a late starter on a limited budget I went for the new mass market PB's first (maps are that small it was hard to make out some details) and the HB's last. I notice some of the HB's have the map done better than others. I like how Peril's Gate (Eos imprint (USA)) had the British cover art on the inside of the cover and the map after the contents page, with gaps on the inside edge so we could see all of it, (and get a decent scan). Please do not not shoot me for copyright infringement, but I like a nice big scan of the map to play with on my PC, and most of the kindle versions of the books did not even bother to include a map (or a cover image).

I do not expect you to have any nice alternate cover art images ready in time, but perhaps for Initiate's Trial they could put a sketch on the inside cover, or an older piece of art you already have. The sketch always looks nice on the title page though, so I would not want to lose that one if you are planning on having one there. Some of my HB versions will be a while swimming out to Australia, especially the Stormed Fortress one so I have not seen yet how all of them were set out, but thought I would voice my preference for the map. Thanks Janny. :-) 62127


The long-awaited beginning of the fourth and final story arc - Sword of the Canon - in the epic fantasy series, the Wars of Light and Shadow.

Not the final story arc, shame on HarperCollins. :-(

   By Zorana Lewis on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 07:38 pm: Edit Post

Thanks Janny! I'll leave my preorder exactly where it is then!

And I didn't realise it was so complicated! I knew that secondhand didn't get you anything royalties wise, but I didn't realise the same for the bargain/overstock as well. I figured that, well, a book selling for £2 is going to return negligible royalties, but to not get anything at all....though that said, I don't think I've seen any of your books in the bargain book stores I frequent Janny........actually no, I tell a lie, the one and only time I saw them was when Borders went into administration and obviously they started flogging their stock because the bargain stores had the best range I've ever seen. lol. But to think that the authors don't get anything from those sales; it'll make me think twice about using them now.

As for the 3 for 2, it was Waterstones, and it wasn't just your books, it started out as any 3 for 2 in the SF&F range and then expanded to include the entire Fiction range in store, with a similar offer online. I was in the seventh heaven of delight - my bank account might not have been, but I certainly was!

As far as attrition goes, we were having a bit of a chat at my local book club recently, the actual conversation was about what put you off books, in the sense of pet peeves and things like that. But what came up, and actually spawned a whole new conversation was that what put one particular reader off, and I can certainly sympathise, is the fear that a series wouldn't be finished; that you will invest your time and money in starting a series that just poof! vanishes into thin air never to be seen again, and that until a series is finished, they just don't want to start it.

As I said, I see their point of view, as aside from waiting over 4 years for a book that shall remain nameless, I've started another series where the author very sadly died before finishing it - not their fault, I know! - and I started another series, albeit an older one, only to get to the last book the author wrote, eager for the next one, only to discover there wasn't a next one because he too had sadly died - when I was the ripe old age of 9 - and rather understandably would not be writing any more. Or the other author whose quality of work has declined so much I'm beginning to wish that they had made the choice to stop writing because I don't know what is worse, a series that just stops, or one that dithers on in such a sad fashion.

With the quality of your work not in question in any way, shape or form, I wonder if, part of why people may buy book 1 and not invest further is that fear. All of us at that club had been hit by the unfinished or uber-delayed series in one genre or another and is it a case of once burnt, twice shy? I do my best though, and indeed have 12 copies of CoTM packed and ready for when April rolls round and it's my choice of book. XD I'm the only SF&F nerd at the club, but I'm hoping I may push a few into giving your books a go, and will assure that no you are not about to drop off the radar. XD

   By Janny Wurts on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 09:28 pm: Edit Post

Annette - lord. Sigh. That is ghastly, on that link. I will contact them and try to have it corrected. The text needs fixed, too.

Zoranna - overstock has its place - it is where the publisher gets rid of 'overstock' at 'cost' the author gets nothing. It's likely a good place to 'try something out' you wouldn't have bought new...but to get a book by an author you treasure - you did get the picture. :-) I have signed so many hardback 'sets' where the last 4 books in the series were overstocks (you can tell. They have a mark on the pages.)...I was overall HAPPY those folks had the books, don't get me wrong...but we'd have had no problem with a hardback release at Stormed Fortress if those 'numbers' had counted. It was that close!!!!

The future is the future and the story can change.

As to fancy end papers or extra images inside the cover - all of these things do incur cost. And that affects the balance sheet. Honestly, I do not know what the inside track picture looks like, I've been too busy working to get the book in. I have been doing everything possible with discussions/publicity/interviews, etc. Reader word of mouth is the BEST and I thank you for working with your book club. If there is any thing I can do to help your club's experience, shout. I can mail you signed book plates, at least, if you like. Or allow your people to ask questions on the forum here. A thread could be made for them in the Mistwraith topic.

As for people grouching about series not getting done - that is THEIR STUFF....if they are going to blacken all the rest of us for the few who die, or who are slow finishing - let me say two things: Tolkein took 17 years to finish LOTR. And, there are MORE FINISHED SERIES not talked about than unfinished ones with authors who die or watch football or whatever.

I have had a pretty steady output, all these years. It's been 'slowed' twice due to arc starts (Fugitive Prince and this book). They take more care; and slowed a touch due to artwork load (I do paint the covers). But mostly these stories take about 2 years, and I only have 2 more to go. Further: I don't do cliffhangers!!!! So the 'wait' between is not leaving awful stuff dangling; and each 'arc ending' is a resounding finish - so much so, SOME people reviewing have thought the series ended (at Warhost and Stormed Fortress) - so I don't know WHAT else I can do to make this part painless.

More: some series sag or sprawl. I have arc starts, they gear back a bit, but the word OUGHT to be going round that this series hasn't sprawled or sagged; and definitively the arc start of Initiate's Trial is fast-paced - you have no idea but you will see....grin.

The book came out VERY SOLID and it has no slow spots. No sag and bag.

It sets the stage for Destiny's Conflict with a rip roaring climactic finish - and Destiny's Conflict is totally EXPLOSIVE. You have, and truly, NO idea.

The last book's all denouement...when the whole series is done, one hopes, the picture will be very clear indeed - it's getting the series steadily supported all the way through until then.

I hated every day of the ten MONTHS it took to finalize the draft of this book - but it took that long, I worked every day, and it reads like butter...cannot imagine how I could have done it faster, and the only interruption was, really, the publicity (necessary) for the audio of the Cycle of Fire.

I appreciate you guys asking all these questions because I think it is not common knowledge how this industry works - and that more than ever since computer tracking, each copy matters.

So thanks to you all for being here!

I forget if any announcement was made (formally) but the teaser excerpts that are available on this website have been revamped (a bow to the gryphon!) for e readers - so there is always the chance for anyone to 'test run' the excerpts to see if they like the writing.

   By Annette on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 12:40 am: Edit Post

Actually unlike some series I was happy with the ending of each book. I knew there would be others, but even if not each was a great read and I would not have missed any of them. I practically read the cover of Curse of the Mistwraith, even when it was the only book I had in the series. I think if people give the first book a look, if they are going to like the style of writing they will be hooked. Seems a pity to miss out on all those years of being able to re-read the books just because they want the series complete before they start it. Also it takes a lot of re-reading to see some things in this series. You just rush through the complete series once it will not be as enjoyable being presented with all the answers in the final books, without all those years of rampant speculation and wild guesses. At least for me it took time and lots of re-reads to appreciate the complexity of the books, and still I can re-read them and see something I missed in one of the earlier books.