Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Starred Review! + Fanart

I thought it kind of odd that Publisher's Weekly had never gotten around to doing a review of ALCATRAZ, since they'd done reviews of all of my other books.  I'd pretty much given up on seeing one, when suddenly we got one this week, out of the blue.  Whatever their reason for waiting, I'm not going to complain on some good publicity during the holiday season.  They gave it a starred review, my first since ELANTRIS.

Sanderson unexpectedly draws everything together in an extravagantly silly climax.  Readers whose sense of humor runs toward the subversive will be instantly captivated.  Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one (and then revved up on steroids), this nutty novel...[is] also sure to win passionate fans.

Huzzah!  That's some fun news to get.  Also, we've got some more fan art on my forums.  One for SCRIBBLER, which I haven't even published yet and only showed off a few sample chapters.  One for MISTBORN.  As I've said before, I love fan art, and am honored when people take the time to interpret my work in a visual medium, since I have no talent for drawing whatsoever. 

I'll post some new annotations by the end of the week.

Monday, November 26, 2007


All right, there has been way too much highbrow political mumbo jumbo being posted on this website recently.  It's time we get back to our roots.  And, what are those roots?  Stupid puns, of course!

Last week commemorated the passing of a certain political figure in American history, and so I just couldn't help myself. 

Amphigory Header copy

Grassy Gnoll

And if you get that one without any help, then I bow before your awesome geekyness.  For the rest of you, that's a type of monster from Dungeons and Dragons (and other fantasy lore.)   If you still can't figure it out, check the comments on my LJ.  Somebody'll have the answer posted there within a few minutes of me posting this.  (I really need to be more obscure with these things.  They're far to accessible.)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Black Friday Signing

Signing Details:  Friday, November 23d at the Provo Towne Centre Mall Waldenbooks from 3pm-5pm. 

One of my fondest memories from the my first year as a published author was the time I did a signing at the local Waldenbooks on Black Friday (a.k.a. the Friday after Thanksgiving here in the States.)

I hadn't been expecting very much from the signing.  I only had one book out, ELANTRIS, and it had been published way back in May.  I figured that a book six months old was hardly a big draw, and at that time, virtually nobody read my blog.

I hadn't counted on the super powerhouse magical powers of Bookstore Guy, Steve Diamond.  He was one of the employees at the store, and he publicized the event like crazy.  He liked my books, and had worked hard to bring me to the store for a signing.  I had a newspaper reporter call me before the event and do an interview (the first media attention I'd gotten) and as I recall, that was also Bookstore Guy's doing.

The event was a blast.  I sold some sixty books (as opposed to the six or seven I'd averaged at previous signings.)  One nice old lady bought twelve copies for her grandkids because she'd read about me in the paper. 

This also, coincidentally, was the week following my first date with Pemberly.  I'd told her about the event, and I spent most of the time there hoping that the cute girl I'd gone out with the week before would stop by the signing so that I could show off my authorial coolness to her.  (She never showed.  I later found out that her entire family had found out about me in the paper, and had wanted to come down as a group--which, of course, had embarrassed Pemberly to the point of not coming.)

Anyway, we're doing another event this Friday, a kind of nostalgic repeat of the one two years ago.  I think the store was expecting me from 5-7, but there was some confusion.  I am planning to be there 3-5, since that seems like a much better time for a high-traffic holiday like Black Friday.  By 7, everybody will be at home

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


For those of you waiting, I'm sorry that I've been slow on these lately.  I've simply had too much fun stuff to talk about.  Regardless, here are couple of new annotations for you to enjoy:  WELL OF ASCENSION Chapter Thirteen Part One and WELL OF ASCENSION Chapter Thirteen Part Two.

You may have noticed that I've begun to update the HERO OF AGES copyedit.  Now that I've got a rough draft on Alcatraz 2 done, I can get to the other pressing matter that I'm behind on.  After that, I can do the Warbreaker revision and I should be caught up.  (Whew.)  All of this caused by writing a book I shouldn't have.  That's what always gets me into trouble. 

Alcatraz had a wild ride on the Amazon bestseller lists last week, and now looks to be stabilizing in the 1,000-2,000 range.  I'll be perfectly happy if it holds there for a while.  More importantly, I'll be eager to see what the Nielsen Bookscan numbers say this Wednesday, as that is a far better measure of book sales.  The Amazon sales rank system is cool, but since Amazon only represents a small segment of the market, a really great sales rank doesn't necessarily mean that the book sold a lot of copies.  (Actually, on a side rant, I wonder if Amazon has considered standardizing what people can call an "Amazon Bestseller."  Anyone with a clever marketing campaign or a couple dozen friends can drive a book high on the lists for a very short time and become an Amazon Bestseller--which, of course, means that being an Amazon bestseller is nearly meaningless as a credit.)

Anyway, one final link: A fun comic for Tage and Garth. (And maybe for the rest of you too.) 

Friday, November 16, 2007

New EUOLogy

I've been seeing some buzz flying around about the new Pullman movie, and ended up writing an essay about censorship and the like.  This probably isn't an issue for many of you, but remember that I live in a very conservative part of the world, and the Pullman books can spark a lot of controversy.  I've seen far more outrage over these than the Dumbledore thing, about which I already sounded off.

The prompting for this was a mass email I got urging a boycott of The Golden Compass Movie.  And so, I decided to write an open letter as a response to this email.  It's enough of an issue nationwide that Snopes has an article on it, affirming some of the email's allegations.

I find myself in a curious position.  On one hand, I'm not terribly fond of the way Mr. Pullman is dealing with some of this.  He seems to enjoy stirring the pot, so to speak, and prodding people to get up in arms. 

More disappointing to me is the fact that, from some of what I've read, he falls into the 'Self-hating fantasy camp' with Rowling and Goodkind--that being fantasy authors who don't like the fantasy genre, and wish that they weren't associated in everyone's minds with what they consider to be crap.  (Pullman said at one point something to the effect of (not a direct quote) "Why does everyone compare me to Tolkien?  Why not compare me to authors who are actually good, like writes of classic literature?"

And yet, I do think his books are exceptional--particularly the first--and well worth reading.  I hope his movie does very well, as the source material deserves an excellent adaptation.  I don't agree with his philosophies--and think he goes a little too far in the way he attacks religion to get his point across.  However, I disagree more strongly with those who think the best way to deal with the issue is to suppress or oppress those who think differently from themselves.

And so, here's my take on it--in the form of an open letter responding to the email I got. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Alcatraz 3 Done! And...NaNo lost! (Probably)

Well, yesterday I polished off the last few pages of ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE KNIGHTS OF CRYSTALLIA, book three of the Alcatraz Smedry series.  That's the first one off my list of "Goals I need to complete really soon."  Others can be seen in the percentages on the main page of my website.  Mistborn 3 copyedit is next.  Huzzah!

Also, for those of you on the east coast, I'll probably be heading to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati this December, so keep your eyes open! 

The big problem with finishing Alcatraz 3 is that it was the only book I was allowed to write before doing the copyedits/edits I have due.  And that, unfortunately, means that I don't have much more time to devote to NaNoWriMo.  I got to about 44k in 14 days...but now have to stop.  So, those of you trying to beat me have a good shot at catching up!  We'll see if I find a day or two to squeeze in 6k more.  But, if I do, it won't be until right at the end of the month.

Remember to come see me in Salt Lake tomorrow!

Also, read this funny comic!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

104! + BYU + More Art

A short note today to say, huzzah!  We hit number 104 on the Amazon bestseller list, thanks to NPR's coverage of Alcatraz.

This is way higher (er, lower) than any of my other books have gotten.  I'm sure it won't last, but it was very fun to see.  Here's a screenshot:


Also, remember to come see me at the BYU Bookstore today from 5:30-7:30.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Two Signings + Holy Cow! NPR!

Fist off, for those of you in the Utah area, note that I'll be doing TWO signings this week.  If you haven't gotten your books signed, or want to grab a signed copy of one for a Christmas present, drop by and see me! 

I'll be at BYU on Tuesday the 13th (tomorrow) from 5:30-7:30. 

I'll be at the Murray Borders on Thursday the 15th from 7:00-8:30.
132 E. Winchester
Murray, UT 84107
Phone: 801.313.1020

Secondly, I've got some very fun news.  Scholastic informed me that super-librarian Nancy Pearl enjoyed my book ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS.  Well, today I got like fifty gazillion emails from people letting me know that she gave a glowing review of Alcatraz on NPR this morning.

NPR is a big deal.  It's one of the best media outlets for book promotion, and Nancy Pearl is awesome.  (My wife and I own some of her books.)  So, this is very exciting, and a very nice bit of news.  (In case you're wondering, Alcatraz immediately shot from 200k on Amazon up to #120, which puts it at #16 on their children's bestseller list.  Of course, Amazon Bestseller lists are notoriously fickle, so that won't actually mean much unless I stay there for a few days.  However, it's still very cool to see.)

Read on NPR's website right here.  Also, a hearty congrats to Patrick Rothfuss, who also got a mention for THE NAME OF THE WIND.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Alcatraz 3 Almost Done

NaNoWriMo is going really well this year, and I'm within spitting distance of finishing Alcatraz Versus the Knights of Crystallia.  I'm right under 40k for NaNo, while the book is right under 60k.  (I had about 20k already when November started.) 

I was hoping to wait to start this book until November, but I realized I had to get moving on it, since I'm rather far behind on things right now and I just needed to get it done.  Unfortunately for me--but fortunately for those of you racing me--once I finish the last chapter of Alcatraz 3 (which I'll probably do tomorrow) I have to do the Mistborn 3 copyedit, which I'm also behind on.  Then the Warbreaker revision.  Which I'm also behind on.

Then, maybe, I can write something new.  Chances are good I won't be able to hit 50k this November, but I'll try. 

If you didn't sound off on the Warbreaker concept sketch, find that post right here!

Also, to keep the wolves off my back, here's an Annotation! 
Mistborn: The Well of Ascension Chapter Twelve

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dave's Writing Tips + Warbreaker Concept Art

Two fun things to talk about today.  The first is that my friend Dave Wolverton (aka David Farland of the Runelords) has started up a program where he's going to be giving a daily writing tip through his website to those who are interested.  Here's the original email from Dave:

I've started my daily blog, called "Dave's Daily Kick in the Pants,"
which offers daily tips on writing (usually a short article of 1 to 2
pages), along with an occasional inspirational message.  These tips
are put on a mailing list and then sent out daily via email.
If you know any writers who might find this helpful, or if you would
like to post this on your personal web site or mention it in in your
own blog, folks may contact me by writing to dwolvert@xmission.  Just
say, "Put me on the list."

Dave knows a whole lot about writing and the fantasy business.  I owe a lot to him for helping me learn what it took to get published, and even still, it seems like every time I chat with him I learn something about writing or the market.  So, I highly recommend this service to anyone who wants to be a professional fantasy or sf writer!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

NaNoWriMo 2007

For those of you who don't know, there's this nifty website which has dubbed November to be "National Novel Writing Month."  Essentially, this place tries to get aspiring authors to finally finish that project they've been kicking around for years.  The goal is for participants to write 50,000 words (which is a short novel, but a novel--the Alcatraz books are around 50k) during the month of November.

I first heard about this project when I was unpublished, but after I'd already completed a number of books.  I didn't really need the 'kick in the pants' the program offered, but I could immediately see the value.  The first thing that I think holds back a lot of aspiring authors is their internal editor.  They aren't willing to be bad at writing long enough to get good at writing.  They never finish anything because they work so long on the first few chapters of a book that they give up on it.

Revision is important, and can be a difficult skill to learn.  However, the only way to learn to plot a novel over tens of thousands of words and hundreds of pages is to WRITE a novel that long and see first-hand what it takes.  So, I support the idea of writing a book as quickly as possible as an exercise.  Doing so will teach you a lot about plotting and about writing consistently. 

Anyway, I tend to post my wordcounts each year for readers of mine who might be participating in NaNoWriMo.  You can play 'beat the pro' if you feel like it.  This year, you have a solid chance of being able to defeat me, since I've got to do the Mistborn 3 copyedit this month, and that will suck away one of my four weeks of writing time. 

Right now, I've written 19,251 words since November first, with a forecast of slowing down later in the month.  Can you beat me?  (Also, here's my profile if you want to buddy me.  I don't know what happened to my old profile--I guess it got deleted or something, which is sad, since I'd had it since before I was published.)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Way of Kings on Amazon (??)

There are couple of interesting Amazon things to note.  First off, I just noticed that Mistborn: The Well of Ascension just went up on Amazon for pre-order in paperback!  It's always fun to see a new listing for one of your books, even if you ARE hopping that people will buy the hardcover instead of waiting all the way until June to get the paperback. ;) 

In other odd Amazon news, they have a copy of one of my books for sale that was never printed, published, or even finished.  What the heck?  Check this link, but I have a screenshot below.  Assuming I get this right, you should be able to click on the picture and see a larger version.

The Way of Kings

The Way of Kings is the book I was writing when I sold ELANTRIS and got a book deal.  The initial contract was a two-book deal, including Elantris and The Way of Kings.  I eventually decided to hold off on Kings, instead wanting to publish a book I had an Idea for called Mistborn: The Final Empire.  I figured that it was a better showcase of my skill as a writer, and would be a better follow-up to Elantris.  The Way of Kings was too long to publish (350k words) and needed substancial editing to either make two books out of it, or trim it down to one.

It's very amusing to see an amazon listing for it.  I'm sure this is a typo of some sort--they probably have Well of Ascension for sale.  After all, even if the seller had found a loose leaf copy of The Way of Kings that I'd given to a friend or something, it wouldn't have been published by Tor or in Mass Market Paperback form.  It certainly wouldn't have 2006 as a date!  But, what could this be?  A Mass Market of Elantris (which came out in 2006?)  Or, a mass market of Mistborn: The Final Empire, perhaps?  Very curious. 

Either way, I'm amused to see a copy of a book I never published selling on Amazon.  I'm not sure to be impressed or disturbed by the fact that it actually has a higher sales rank than several fantasy books I know of, including the just-included Mistborn 2 paperback....

Friday, November 02, 2007

Annotations + Baby Stuff

Well, being a dad is kind of tough--but not as tough as being a mom!  Pemberly has been completely worn out by this little guy.  Who knew figuring out how to eat would be so tough?  (I keep making role playing jokes such as "You just gained skill points in breastfeeding!  Soon, you'll be a level 2 mommy!")  I don't think she thinks they're as funny as I do...

New annotations!
Mistborn 2 Chapter 11
Mistborn 2 Part One Wrap Up

I'm still sneaking in writing time when I can, and Alcatraz 3 is progressing nicely.  I really need to get to work on that Mistborn 3 copy edit, but since it looks like the book might be delayed (so we can release a new version of Mistborn 1--more later) my copyedit can probably be delayed too.

Or, that's what I keep telling myself.  Why can I never work on what I'm supposed to?  Maybe Joshua needs to chastise me more.