Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hero of Ages Paperback is Out!

As of today, you should be able to find Mistborn: The Hero of Ages in paperback in bookstores around the country. 

Some people are wondering why the paperback is out so early.  Usually it's a year between hardcover and paperback release.  Well, this all has to do with the HERO hardcover delay.  You see, HERO was originally going to come out in June of last year.  But Tor decided to push it back for a couple of reasons.  First, they wanted time to do a special promotional version of Mistborn One, to tie into the Wheel of Time announcement.  Second, there were vibes that HERO would be one of their biggest books of the year, so they wanted to put it in the holiday season. 

They shifted it back by four or five months--but Warbreaker and the Hero paperback both remained on the lists where they had been.  So, we got the HERO hardcover late, but WARBREAKER is still scheduled for June 2009 and the HERO paperback for this month.  Just a quirk of scheduling. 

Anyway, perhaps it's also time to give WARBREAKER another mention.  As many of you know, I'm (perhaps irrationally) paranoid about how this book will do.  People were beating down the doors for HERO, since it was the third and final of a trilogy.  I've long wanted to be someone who consistently writes stand-alone novels in new worlds, as I feel that's something the fantasy genre needs more of.  It gives me a chance to try new things.  But since it's not part of a series, I'm worried that people won't be as excited about it.  Also, since I released it early on-line, I'm worried nobody will want to buy it. 

Like I said, those are probably irrational fears.  But I can't help feeling them.  Tor has gotten behind Warbreaker in a big way, and the bookstores have ordered a lot of copies.  And I'm sitting here, worried that none of them will move. 

If you're on the fence about the book, perhaps this Publisher's Weekly review will help.  It came in last week, to much celebration at Tor:

"Epic fantasy heavyweight Sanderson (the Mistborn series) pens a powerful stand-alone tale of unpredictable loyalties, dark intrigue and dangerous magic … Sanderson melds complex, believable characters, a marvelous world and thoughtful, ironic humor into an extraordinary and highly entertaining story.”--Starred Review, Publisher's Weekly. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Revised Omaha Signing Details

There was some confusion about my signing in Omaha, which we've cleared up.  The bookstore thought I was just doing a drop-by stock signing, while we thought I was going to do a full blown signing.

We've figured it all out and gotten it straight.  I will be doing a full signing, but they will have limited stock on hand.  We aren't sure how many people to expect, but it's very possible they'll run out of books at the signing.  If that happens, I'll sign bookplates you can stick in books later.  I think we'll be okay, but there's no telling.

We've changed the time to 6:30-8:00 (still on Wednesday.)  But I will be there!  So please feel free to stop by and get your books signed.  Also, remember my other events in Nebraska.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Signing Today

As a reminder, I'm off to my signing at the Barnes and Noble in Orem, Utah today.  7-8, though I'll probably be hanging around a little later too.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Q&A Email

Got this email a while back, and haven't done a reader mail entry in a while, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

Hi Brandon:

I've read all the WOT books - very anxiously anticipating the final book. - looking forward to it.

The reason for my message is on a different topic, however. I am curious about your profession. - as I am contemplating delving into it myself. Here are a couple of my questions:

1) How long does it take to write a book? (Just guestimate...)

Well, it honestly depends on the book.  It's not just a matter of length, it's also a matter of complexity.  The more viewpoints I'm trying to balance, and the deeper the setting, the longer the book will take.  Also, it depends on what you call 'writing' a book--do you include all drafts, or just the rough?  What about the planning? Here are a few estimates based on some of my books, drafting and planning time included.

Alcatraz Vs. The Evil Librarians (50k words, one viewpoint.)  2-3 months.
Elantris (200k words, three main viewpoints.)  6-8 months.
Mistborn: The Hero of Ages (250k words, 5 main viewpoints.)  8-10 months.
The Wheel of Time: The Gathering Storm (300k words.  21 viewpoints.  Chunks outlined and written by Mr. Jordan already.)  16 months, pulling extra hours.

So...imagine if I HADN'T had outlines and materials left by Mr. Jordan.  It would probably have taken around 2 years to write a book that length.  (Which, actually, was about how long it took Mr. Jordan to write a lot of his books.)

Every author is different, however.  Some write in bursts, some write slow and steady, a little each day.  It's hard to judge exactly how long it will take you to write a book.  There's no 'right' way to do it. 

2) How do you support yourself? - i.e. pay your bills - do you have other jobs to support yourself/family?

I'm fortunate enough to be able to do this full time, and have been able to since around 2005, when Elantris first came out in stores.

3) Where do you work? - Like... do you have a studio? Office? Library? Do you use a laptop? Do you go out into a cave on a hill and "convene with nature"? How long do you work each day?

I write in my house, usually on the couch in the basement or in a comfy chair in the bedroom.  Depends on the day.  I use a laptop, and it's a MUST for me.  I like to lean back when I type.  My work day varies depending on the project, the deadline, and the things going on in my life.  Like most self-employed people, I probably put in more hours on average than someone working for someone else--but, then, it's hard to complain about that because I'm the one who sets my hours.

4) Do you do your own drawings, sketches and pictures?

Yes, though depending on the book, I may have an artist redraw them in order to give a certain stylistic feel to the visuals.  In Elantris, I did the symbols myself, but in Mistborn the talented Isaac Stewart did them for me.  I always have someone redraw the maps for me. 

5) Who do you contact to PUBLISH a book?

I don't know if I can really cover that one in this particular response.  It's a big topic.  The short answer, however, is to follow these steps.  1)  Write the book.  2) Research publishers based on those who publish books in that genre.  Look for publishers who publish books with similar themes and tropes as your own.  Then, research those publishers, find out their submission guidelines, and submit to them.  Also, you may want to consider researching agents and submitting to them.  Be careful; there are a lot of disreputable agents out there.  Be looking for agents (and publishers) who do not charge a reading fee, and who represent authors you've heard of.  A quick rule of thumb is that if an agent (or their umbrella agency) has not sold a book by a newer author to a major publisher in the last year or two, they probably aren't worth your time.  If you want to learn more, head over to my podcast at WritingExcuses.com and listen to the several podcasts we've done with editors.

6) How does an author eventually get paid for his work? Is it based upon a royalty fee? (Like... 50 cents/book sold?) Or is it a one-time payment,... just curious.

Usually, it's via an advance against royalties.  In other words, you get a chunk of money up front, then earn a percentage off of each book sold.  You don't see any of the royalty money until you've earned back the advance money.  That can be a long time or a short time, depending on the advance size and the books sold. Once the money you earn off of each book sold adds up to the advance money, you start earning further royalties. 

7) If you were advising a budding writer about the career path... how would you tell them to start out?

Write and read.  A lot.  Don't worry about publishing at first--spend a few years just writing.  Discover if this is something you enjoy spending long periods of time doing, and see if you have the ability to make good habits and write consistently. 

Writers have to be self-motivated, and you can't be in it for the money.  If you want to make piles of cash, go into programming or web design.  Writers should write because they absolutely love it, and are willing to work long hours for potentially no pay just for the experience of writing.  That isn't to say you can't make money at this; but in most cases, the money will be slow coming, and you will spend years writing before you are able to make a living at it. 

Every person's experience is different, but I wrote 13 novels across nearly ten years before I sold one.  The best thing you can do starting off, in my opinion, is give yourself two or three years to just WRITE and practice.  Read good books on writing (Stephen King's is quite good) and read widely, looking for examples of good fiction that you admire within your genre, but also looking outside the genre to see what other writers are doing well.  Try to incorporate that into your own writing, learning the craft and adapting what you learn to your own style.  But mostly just write.  A lot. 

8) How do you know if it is the write career path? (I'm nervous.)

If you spend two or three years writing, and at the end of it have produced a novel or two, that's a good clue.  If you can't see yourself doing anything else, if you know you'd keep writing books no matter what happens--even if you never sell a single one--then you know this is the career for you. 

Thanks very much for your feedback,


Hope that helps!  I'm off to JordanCon tomorrow, so updates will be infrequent until I get back. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

JordanCon and Releases

This weekend I'll be in Atlanta for JordanCon.  I'm expecting to be so busy with the convention that I didn't set up any kind of external signing.  I'm still thinking of heading to Atlanta for DragonCon this year, though, and if I do, I'll try to do an off-site signing for those who are interested.  However, if you really want something signed--or want to hear about AMOL (including, I believe, an advance reading from THE GATHERING STORM) come by JordanCon.  I think it's going to be very fun.

GATHERING STORM goes very well; I'm still working through last-stage revisions from Harriet, Alan, and Maria.  I finished Alan's today and sent them off to him for commentary.  Harriet's are almost all inputted, and I'm about 3/4 the way through Maria's.  I should have this all wrapped up by the time JordanCon rolls around. 

And, in all the fervor, I forgot to mention that MISTBORN: THE HERO OF AGES is coming out in paperback at the end of this month.  I thought the date was May, but it looks like Amazon has it for April 28th.  They've been known to be wrong before--rather frequently, actually--but I have no reason to doubt this number.  So look for it in stores then.

Actually, we look like we're finally getting the support in B&N for my books.  Their orders on Warbreaker are very large...intimidatingly so.  As I've mentioned before, I'm paranoid about this book.  Stand alone novels, no matter how good, have a larger chance of getting orphaned in the fantasy genre.  Beyond that, we have yet to see what kind of impact giving the book away for free will have on the sales numbers.  Anyway, it's coming early June.  I'll be doing a release party and numbered copies, like on HoA.  In fact, I think I've got the process far more streamlined, so there will be far less waiting in line this year.  We're also hoping Sam Weller's will be able to do the mail-order numbered copies like they did before. 

I'll have more news on this in the coming weeks, once I have a chance to take a few deep breaths after getting AMOL One turned in for good.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Two New Annotations

I have finally finished posting the Mistborn: The Well of Ascension chapter annotations:

Chapter Fifty-Nine

These are shorter, but I think they're both solid, particularly the second one.  I'll start Mistborn Three annotations here shortly. 

As a reminder, The Wheel of Time Fundraiser auction ends tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Last Week for the WoT Fundraiser

This is your last week for a chance at appearing in the final book of the Wheel of Time.  The auctions end on the 10th of April, and it stands at $10,000 right now.  If you were eying this chance, now's the time to make your bid. 

Also, if you want to donate a smaller amount to get a shot at appearing in the last book, you have to donate by the 10th as well.  We'll be drawing names at JordanCon next week.  I'll need more than just the couple of names promised, and I'll be going to this list of donators when I need inspiration for names in the book.  It's for a worthy cause.  Please consider throwing twenty bucks or so at Heifer to help feed those who need it.  (And note, for those who are vegetarian and don't feel comfortable donating to Heifer, contact Melissa at TarValon.net.  I'll bet you could work something out, and I'll authorize donations to an alternate charity for those special cases.  I respect your view, and while I don't subscribe to it, don't want to place you in a position of being excluded.)  We've raised over $20k so far, mostly in small donations here and there.  Frankly, I'm astounded at how well this has gone. 

For those who don't like the idea of this fundraiser, remember that I promise not to post names of winners directly here on the blog.  I'll always link to specifics so you can ignore it all if you like.  I promise that it won't spoil to book.  You'll have to know what to look for to even notice it.

Unless other arrangements are made, the appearances will all happen in book three of the three book split

In an unrelated note, yes, I'm on Twitter now.  (As some have noticed.)  The tweets are mirrored to my Facebook status, however, so you can watch them either place.  Find me on Twitter @BrandonSandrson.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Three Random Updates


First off, a very talented a reader and graphic designer just whipped up an awesome Mistborn wallpaper for any who are interested. 


Now, how about some Reader Mail:

I read your post about splitting AMOL and thought your reasoning was very sound. It seems obvious that you care very much about putting out something of quality. I'm concerned though, that you won't end up changing what you write based on reader's reactions to the first book. How do you make sure the book/volumes you end up writing at 800k a year or so from now isn't different from the book you would have written if you had just done the whole thing in one big chunk?

Excellent question.  The answer is simple, yet may not be very satisfying.  Honestly, I don't know if the book will turn out differently. 

It's rarely fruitful to second-guess decisions based on what might happen in the future.  Every novel I read, every review that comes out, every day spent pondering...these things all influence my writing.  Each day we make hundreds of decisions that nudge us in this direction or that.  Scenes are influenced directly by events that occur in my life. 

Would Mistborn Three have been a different book if I hadn't stopped and written something else between it and Mistborn Two?  Probably.  Would it have been better or worse?  I don't know.  Will AMoL Three be different because AMOL One will be released before it comes out?  Perhaps.  Will it be better or worse?  I don't know. 

I can say this.  The second chunk should be done before the first comes out.  And the third chunk saw a lot of work by Mr. Jordan before he passed away.  So the structure isn't going to change, regardless.  An author also has to learn not to let reviews or reader reactions influence him/her TOO much.  Writing is a very solitary art, and the writer learns to trust their instincts.  One of the early lessons to learn in writing is that feedback is good, but must be held at arm's length.

If anything, knowing that there is one part out for readers to enjoy will take some of the pressure off of me and, hopefully, allow me to work more smoothly on the next two sections.  Thanks for the question!

Finally, to end this all off, I visited a school a couple weeks back and did a presentation.  During the signing after the presentation, I noticed one of the girls getting a book signed had a book full of manga sketches.  I complimented her on the art, and her response was to offer me some fanart. 

So, of course, I asked her to draw me in a rock band with Naruto, Vampire Hunter D, and some pokemon.  (Isn't that what you would have done?)  The glorious result is below.  Thanks Arielle!  You made my day, and not just because you drew me with the slim bod of a rock star.  ;)