Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Updates + More T-Shirts

The newest ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation covers chapter two and talks about how The Simpsons already did everything.

In this week's Writing Excuses podcast episode, Dan, Howard, Mary, and I cover these questions from Twitter in a rapid-fire fashion:

  • What do you do if you don't like your characters?
  • How do you keep your plot on track?
  • Is it better to use real locations in an Urban Fantasy?
  • What do you do about plot holes?
  • How do you know if you should abandon a story and move on to something else?
  • How do you ensure the answers to mysteries are satisfying?
  • What are some language-level mistakes that mark writing as amateurish?
  • What should a scene consist of?
  • What kind of bacon is best?
  • Why is Schlock, who looks like a pile of poo, lovable instead of disgusting?

InkWing announced the results of their Bridge Four T-shirt contest that I talked about last week. Designs #1 and #3B had the most votes, so both of those are now available for preorder.

There's also some Wheel of Time T-shirt news. Ta'veren Tees has a new Aiel by Jeremy shirt available for preorder:

The Aiel illustration was created by WoT comic book artist Jeremy Saliba. Anyone who preorders this shirt is entered to win one of three signed pieces of art by Jeremy (see here for details):

Also, March marks Ta'veren Tees' one-year anniversary, so they're having a customer-appreciation month. There's a monthlong clearance sale on several of their older tees, as well as a chance for people to win free shirts. Each Friday in March they'll make a Free Shirt Friday post on their Facebook page; "like" them on Facebook and comment on that post to be entered to win.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Updates + Bridge Four Shirts

Just a very quick update today. If you didn't read my post about the A MEMORY OF LIGHT release date, it's here.

This week's Writing Excuses podcast features Mary and Dan speaking with Sarah Pinborough in an episode entitled The City as a Character.

The most recent annotation for ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS covers chapter one.

InkWing is having a contest to decide what Bridge Four T-shirt to make. Head over to their blog to vote. Three random commenters on their blog post will get a free shirt.




#3B (different back/same front!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Tor and Harriet have set the release date for A MEMORY OF LIGHT. Again. While I've been working on the book, this has happened a half dozen times, with varying levels of publicity surrounding the date.

This time we're saying January 8th. How likely is this one? Well, honestly, I don't know. Seems like it's the most firm of the lot. However, you've got to understand a couple of things.

First off, I don't set release dates, particularly not on these books. I pick my deadlines, then work to meet them. Tor and Harriet decide when the book is going to come out, judging by editing requirements, market factors, and the workings of the publishing machine. I didn't find out this one had been set as this day until long after the fact. So please, complaining to me . . . well, it's just not going to do anything but distract me from working on the book.

Secondly, Harriet is very, VERY worried about getting this book right. It's the last book in the series. There are no chances to change things after this, and revising a book like this takes time. Harriet would probably prefer even more space than this publication date gives us. She also isn't capable of pulling the long hours she might once have pulled. (And she shouldn't be expected to.)

It's not all on Harriet, though, not by a mile. I turned in a 360,000-word book. That's 20% longer than what they wanted, and that means each step of editing and production will require 20% more time than they had set aside. In addition, while I've set my own deadlines, I've come right up against them and (in a few cases) tiptoed across. For example, instead of sending a revised book at the end of December, I only had a first draft. That's the length pushing me back and making me revise expectations.

I realize that all you care about is getting your book, and this sounds like a lot of excuses. But here's the thing. You'll get the book when Harriet is ready to give it to you. Not before. If this were just me, I could work a big pile of 16-hour days and get it to you in the fall. But it's not just me, and beyond that, the last time I did that (on TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT, which went through eleven drafts) we ended up with a pile of typos and wore Harriet out so much she said she didn't recover for well over six months.

I sincerely thought that we'd be releasing the book this fall. January 8th was a surprise to me when they told me. However, Harriet picked the last possible week the book could reasonably come out, because she wants as much time as possible to edit it.

I still think it's very possible that all will go smoothly and Harriet will push the book up. It happened with TGS, I believe, though that was only pushed up by a week. However, for now, we just have to assume January 8th is when it's coming out.



Monday, February 13, 2012

Alternate ALCATRAZ Chapters + Updates

The most recent ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation talks about why I shifted the book from third person to first person. My assistant has also uploaded the third person versions of the first two chapters, which you can compare with the published versions.

I've spent all day recording new episodes of the Writing Excuses podcast with Howard, Mary, and Dan. You'll be hearing them in upcoming months. For now, this week's episode covers historical fantasy. Check it out.

There's also a new Twitter posts archive covering the last couple of weeks.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

My LTUE Schedule

Life, the Universe & Everything, the local SF convention/symposium, starts tomorrow at Utah Valley University. I'll be attending on Friday and Saturday, and my schedule is below.

Venue: Sorensen Student Center
Utah Valley University
800 W University Pkwy
Orem, UT 84058


1:00–3:00 p.m., Center Stage
Writing Excuses Podcast (2 hours)
Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, James A. Owen (1–1:30), James Dashner (1:30–2:00), Larry Correia (2–2:30), Michael R. Collings & Michaelbrent Collings (2:30–3:00)

4:25–4:55 p.m., SC213A
Brandon Sanderson

8:00–10:00 p.m., Center Stage
Mass Signing
(UVU Bookstore closes at 6:00. There will be NO books for sale during the signing. There is also no guarantee that the bookstore will have the books available, so check early.)
See here for the list of every author signing at this time.


11:00 a.m.–12:00 noon, Center Stage
Writers on Writing: Four bestselling authors talk about writing.
Dave Wolverton (M), Brandon Sanderson, Tracy Hickman, L. E. Modesitt, Jr.

2:00–3:00 p.m., SC206 ABC
Plots, Subplots, and Foreshadowing
Bree DeSpain (M), J. Scott Savage, Brandon Sanderson, James A. Owen, Stacy Whitman

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Taiwan Trip Haul

Hey, all! I had a wonderful time in Taiwan, and I thought I'd post some of the things I came home with. I always mean to do this following a tour, and hopefully I'll make a habit of it from here out.

First up, I wanted to show a few of the letters I got. We got a lot of these, and I can't show them all, but the thing I loved was how many of them were illustrated in some way. (Note, that's Kaladin and Wit in the first one.) Some of the letters are blurred, since I can't verify they don't say anything personal.

This was, I believe, a New Years blessing I'm supposed to hang by my door. :)

This note, etched into metal, was particularly awesome.

The reverse side (above) includes a shot of some of the book covers in Taiwan. We've got some more of them below, specifically THE WAY OF KINGS (which launched last week.) With THE ALLOY OF LAW, the publisher gave out little certificates anticipating my visit, each with a signature line. The large numbers of people in each crowd, mixed with the time of interpretation between languages, meant that each person could only get one thing signed.

The publisher gave out the cards, if people wanted to get those signed as a keepsake instead of choosing one of the books. These certificates dubbed one a "Knight" of Brandon Sanderson. (And the publisher actually chose me five people to knight, with a sword and everything.) I'm not sure what it all means, or if I should really be going about knighting people, but the whole experience was very cool.

Emily was sent some chocolate also. These are only two of the treats people sent her. (She ate some of it before we could get a picture.)

My parents and sisters love jewelery, so we stopped by the local jade market. (Which happens under a bridge, and is filled with hundreds of little tables full of people selling various pieces of jade.) Picked up a few nice ones as gifts, though the pictures don't really do them justice.

One of the knights gave me several awesome gifts, including a (signed!) CD by her favorite musicians and a stamp book full of stamps from Taiwan.

A fantasy novel written by a local author who stopped by one of my signings. I don't know how soon I'll be reading it (as it's in Chinese) but maybe someday...

THE WAY OF KINGS was published in two parts, but packaged together in these gift bags. Included was a little notebook thing which was just plain awesome—so awesome, in fact, that I talked the publisher into giving me a box of them to bring home with me. I'm going to give them away on the website and at cons this year, so stay tuned to find how you can win one.

THE ALLOY OF LAW came with a pin for the 10th anniversary of the publisher, Fantasy Foundation. The certificate of knighthood was packaged with this, in the back.

And one last bit of chocolate.

There's more, but I'll post those in another post. We'll also try to get up some pictures of me doing odd things while in the country, like eating an egg that my publisher claimed was 1000 years old.

Until then, thanks for reading and happy Chinese New Year!


Monday, February 06, 2012

Newsletter + Updates

This is just a quick update as I recover from my Taiwan trip and get back into the swing of the second draft of A MEMORY OF LIGHT. First off, this week's ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS annotation talks about the dedication page.

The most recent Writing Excuses episode draws back the curtain and talks about how Writing Excuses got started. It's horribly indulgent, but you may enjoy it anyway.

My assistant Peter sent out a newsletter late last week, mostly covering my 2012 convention appearances (including Australia in April), and you can see it here. If you want to be on the mailing list, or want reminders when I'm going to be appearing near you, sign up here and tell me your city and state.

Friday, February 03, 2012

New novella "Legion" up for preorder at Subterranean Press

"Legion" is a novella I wrote on the flight home from France last summer. It came from an idea I'd been kicking around in my head for a few months, and the time seemed right to explore it on paper.

As it turned out very well, I sent it out to my agent—and we had a Hollywood option by the end of the year. Immediately, readers started to ask when they would see it. The thing is, it wasn't long enough for me to do as a full Tor release, and I didn't have time (while working on A MEMORY OF LIGHT) to expand it to something longer.

The solution was to do a Subterranean Press edition. They do fantastic collector's editions of books and novellas, and I had been wanting to work with them for a while. (Peter Brett, for example, spoke in high praise of what they did with on of his novellas.)

This story is a modern-day thriller/mystery with some science fiction undertones. It's about 17,000 words, and I will do an ebook release of it (priced at a couple of bucks) around the same time as the Subterranean version.

Anyway, hope you enjoy it! It's due out sometime in the summer or fall this year.



Thursday, February 02, 2012

Superstars Writing Seminar Prize Drawing

The upcoming Superstars Writing Seminar in Las Vegas that I'll be an instructor for at the end of April/beginning of May is having a drawing. For details, I'll just quote their press release below. The first time I taught at this seminar, I was blown away by how awesome an experience it was. It was an all-around incredible mixing of creativity, information, and fun. I think it was not only worthwhile, but a bargain. Dave, Kevin, Rebecca, and Eric know a ton about this business. And having only broken in a few years ago, I was able to add a bit of unique information. I think this will be an extremely helpful event for anyone aspiring to break into publishing.

The Superstars Writing Seminars has just announced a free drawing for prizes in conjunction with the upcoming seminar in Las Vegas, NV, April 30-May 2, 2012. The drawing is open to all interested writers, with no entry fee. First prize: free tuition for the next seminar ($1499 value); second prize: complete set of MP3 audios of both the 2011 and 2010 sessions ($300 value); third prize: complete set of DVDs of the 2010 seminar ($200 value). Sign up to enter at this link.

The Superstars Writing Seminar is unlike most other writing workshops. The sessions are devoted to the intricate nuts-and-bolts of the writing and publishing business, with the focus on teaching serious authors, both aspiring and professionals, how to manage a career.

Superstars is taught by five phenomenally successful writers, all international bestsellers—Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Brandon Sanderson, Eric Flint, and David Farland. About Superstars, Farland says, "Writing isn't just about art, it's also a business. Some people excel at art but don't understand the business at all. At the Superstars Writing Seminars, the business aspects of writing are taught by those who have proven how to handle their careers."

The three-day curriculum is packed with detailed, practical insider information on the economics of commercial publishing, dealing with editors, pitching to Hollywood, developing your work into an intellectual property, understanding eBook publishing, networking and self-promotion, advances, copyright, productivity, agents, book contracts, and other topics that all serious authors need to know.

Previous guest instructors have included bestselling authors Sherrilyn Kenyon and Tracy Hickman, graphic novelist Howard Tayler, and TV producers Steven L. Sears and Marc Scott Zicree. This year's guest instructors include well-known authors, editors, and commentators, Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith.

Kevin J. Anderson, one of the lead instructors, says, "I can't tell you how much I wish something like Superstars existed when I was just starting out. We had to learn all this crucial information by ourselves. Now, we present seminar attendees with days packed with all the professional advice we can give. It's like drinking from a firehose!"

The third Superstars Writing Seminar will be held at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas from April 30-May 2. Previous seminars have been held in Pasadena and Salt Lake City. The contest is currently open and runs through Feb 9. Winners will be announced on Feb 10. Curriculum, testimonials, and sample videos are available on the Superstars website.