Hey everyone, it just occured to me that perhaps we should take a little action to help encourage US publishing houses that they would have a real phenomenon on their hands, should they chose to work with Janny to publish Stormed Fortress and beyond.
A few weeks ago, my best friend's husband put out an e mail, asking for any of us who knew him well to please write a letter of recommendation/ character reference for him, so that he could get a job he was applying for. I was more than happy to help in that case, because I have known this fellow for a number of years, and he is a good man who deserves the job he is applying for.
I thought, then, last night, in a spark of brilliance (or something like that) that perhaps Janny could use a letter or two from fans, which might convince a publisher that she is worthy of publication, because of recommendations from us. What think the rest of you? The following is my own attempt at a letter of recommendation. It probably does not make a great deal of sense, but by golly, it's from the heart!
Dear Potential Publisher,
My name is Lynda-Marie, and I have been a Janny Wurts fan for the better part of the last twelve years.
It all started with a trip to my local grocery store after work. I was shopping for something quick in the frozen foods aisle for dinner, which had a rack of books right across from the freezers. I grabbed dinner, and decided to look over the books, to see if anything caught my eye. Usually, in a grocery store setting, nothing does.
This time, however, was different. I saw the mass market paperback with the title of Curse of the Mistwraith. I prefer fantasy and science fiction, but this book was a REAL eye catcher. The cover featured two men, one blonde and the other black haired, and the black haired man was definitely to my taste. I read the back cover "hook", and figured at $5.99, I could not go very far wrong. If it did not live up to the hook, I could always give it to a friend, or donate it to the library.
I am writing to you now to let you know that I have been hooked, ever since, on that book and its characters. Unlike a lot of fantasy novels I read in the past, Ms. Wurts did NOT talk down to the readers, nor did she spoon feed everything to nose lead readers on the journey through this world and its conflicts. Instead, the story was very intelligently set up, and some things were deliberately left ambiguous to let the reader make up his or her own mind what had truly happened, and what the consequences could be. The language used, what can I say? It was like reading someone ‘painting with words’ if that makes any sense.
The protagonist, the black haired man of the cover I found so handsome, is named Arithon, and the blonde man, his half brother Lysaer, is the antagonist. I hesitate to use “hero” and “villain” because despite the vicious conflict that rages between them, both have their strengths and weaknesses, and neither is wholly in the role of hero or villain.
I was surprised to find that the cover fit the descriptions of both brothers so well and further surprised to find that Ms. Wurts is also an award winning artist, and had painted the cover herself. Usually, the cover artist is given a general description of the story, and though there are many very talented cover artists, such as Boris Vallejo, Rowena Morrill and Michael Whelan, much of the time there is only a VERY basic resemblance to the story or its characters.
I have to admit, I was so impressed that I actually wrote my first fan letter to Ms. Wurts, which was forwarded to her through the offices of her publisher at that time, Roc Books. Ms. Wurts was gracious enough to send a reply, and to let me know that the sequel to Curse of the Mistwraith was on the shelves NOW, should I want more.
It has been that way ever since. I hear of a release of the latest volume of this series, the Wars of Light and Shadow, and I am usually the first one to the bookstore to snap up a copy. I was so intrigued that I also looked up other titles she had written to purchase and read them, as well as her ongoing saga with Arithon and Lysaer.
When I finally bought my own computer and went online four years later, one of the first things I did was see if she had her own website, and she certainly did. She also has a forum on the site, where I can easily chat with other fans of the series. It’s a lively place to go, because there are always differing interpretations of what happened in such and such a point in the books.
At this moment in time, Ms. Wurts is without a US publisher for the latest chapter in the ongoing Wars of Light and Shadow, Stormed Fortress. I find this sad, because this book has had a LOT of build up to it, and most of us are left wondering - what is going to happen next?
Perhaps you, the publisher, are wondering why I and perhaps other fans are writing this to you.
Mostly, it is to let you know that taking on a Janny Wurts book, that you will definitely have OUR support for it. We are spread out all over the US, but we are also in Canada, the UK, Australia, and there are even German, Swedish, and I believe some Russian fans, as well.
So you will not only have a ready market here in the US, you will also have a fan base overseas as well. While I believe there are overseas publishers, many of the fans outside of the US will buy the US edition of the book because of the different covers, to make their collections complete.
In addition, you will be gaining an intelligent, award winning author/artist for your publishing house who works hard to write thought provoking, highly entertaining works of literature that has a devoted following. I believe this would be a win-win situation for any publishing house, to boast Janny Wurts as one of the authors they publish.
Hi Blue - an excellent idea and persuasive - I will follow suit.
shall we post them here for Janny to collate? - or is there a better way?
(Huge blush) Blue.
Thanks for your concerted effort.
Once I get finished with the last bits of production on Stormed Fortress, I will be looking to strategize, and find a new approach to filling the void left by Meisha.
Won't be easy. Their books were topnotch.
Dear Potential publisher,
I write to you as an avid Janny Wurts fan. I was introduced to her work only last year by The Most Wonderful Man on Earth (otherwise known as my husband). He had been reading her books for some time and urged me to read "The curse of the Mistwraiths".
I was stunned by the style of writing, use of language and the powerful story line. I was over the moon when I discovered that there was a whole series of the Wars of Light and Shadow already written and spent the whole of last summer reading. This year I am pacing my rereading to be ready for the next installment "Stormed Fortress" - due to be published in the UK in November 2007. This is great news for those of us in the UK. However, Janny has a terrific website and through this I am aware that she has a massive, dedicated fan base across many countries who are desperate to know what will happen next. To date,she does not have US publisher lined up for the next book.
This is your opportunity to sign up the worlds greatest author. Please don't waste it.
Janny, you have YET to detriorate into hack cliches or even make the LEAST character predictable.
This being the case, don't blush - you have EARNED the accolades, woman!
That's NOT to say there isn't a little self serving purpose here, such as, oh, I don't know, a peek at at least ONE of your new file cards...
Ahoy, mates, it's actually bribery???
Y'know, if I do this, you will actually scream and want to grab me by the throat to shake out more....like reaching into the box of goodies for one taste, and having the lid slammed shut on your knuckles, or your fist getting stuck in the jar because you can't take any more with ya....
You are probably right about that... then you would not only have to get out that blunderbuss, but arm Don too, so I wouldn't be tempted to take him hostage and trade him for your card box.
Seriously, though, if word from the fans can help, by all means, use the above! Of course, with most publishing houses, dollars from the fans are what get their attention, probably moreso than words.
P.S. Speaking of character files, I'm trying something out with the story I am working on... since I am making much of it up as I go, including characters who jump out of the aether and say "boo!" I am using an Excel spreadsheet to keep everyone and everything straight.
Spreadsheets - essential. I couldn't manage without them, and the botch ups if I tried would be hilarious.
Words - use them to entice other readers. Demand = demand that the publishers will listen to. The discussions on LibraryThing are all geared to sharing books with other readers - it's a nice spot to discuss books of all sorts. There are two main fantasy forums - I am slowly perusing the one called Green Dragon, those late afternoons when I can get done my pages early.