People are still reading With Nine You Get Vanyr and enjoying it! Go us! gwynraven was kind enough to review Vanyr in her blog yesterday. I've enjoyed and appreciated all the reviews for Vanyr, including the not-so-great ones. gwynraven's was wonderful, but better than that, gwynraven is a fan. For Teri and me, Vanyr was one big love letter to fandom, and it's indescribably splendid to know the book gave at least one fan a really good time.
Aside from doing the happy dance about the review, I've been deep in the writing cave ever since Capclave. I had a good time at the con, but bad person that I am, I haven't formatted my photos yet. Another item for the pre-World Fantasy Con to do list, which is getting longer by the minute. But what else is new?
Well, the fact I may actually get to moderate a panel at World Fantasy. It looks like a really good one too. I'll post the details as soon as the schedule is confirmed.
Last but certainly not least, the spouse person reengineered his web site to work better on Word Press. You can see the new version of Hail Dubyus by clicking on the link. Go Greg!
Cheers and smiles,
All right, who's having the attack of hysterics in the nosebleed seats? Do you have any idea how hard it's going to be to get the medics up there? They'll have to carry their own oxygen.
Oh well. Ahem. As I was saying...
Like any good Virgo, I track my Amazon and B&N sales on Publishers Marketplace. It's not an absolute indicator of how well With Nine You Get Vanyr is doing, but it helps me gauge the effectiveness of individual online ads, the impact of con appearances, etc.
At the end of July, I noticed a bump in Amazon sales rankings extending from the 25th through August 2. I was pleased but stumped. I hadn't taken out any new ads. My name had fretted its hour on the DragonCon front page and been replaced by newer additions to the schedule. Could word of mouth have finally started a buzz?
Today while trolling for reviews for the first time since May, I came across a very entertaining notice in Raph Koster's Book Review-o-Rama. Raph was kind enough to review Vanyr, even though he hated it. He called it a Mary Sue "trainwreck" (sic). Bless his heart.
Seriously. This is a classic example of the old marketing axiom: There's not such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right. It also demonstrates the only thing nearly as powerful as a great review is a terrible one. People will drive ten miles out of their way to look at a train wreck.
The numbers line up. Raph posted the review on July 21. Allow a couple of days for people to get past the weekend and finish whatever they had been reading, and suddenly my Amazon rankings are almost as good as they were the month Vanyr was reviewed in Romantic Times BOOKreviews. The only bad part is Koster probably won't believe my thank you note is sincere.
Much better for the ego, if not for the pocketbook was the notice I found on the website of the New England Science Fiction Association. NESFA maintains a catalogue of "recursive science fiction". Don't know what that is? Neither did I until I read the helpful explanation. The short version is a work of fiction which refers to science fiction or fantasy fandom, or pointedly to another work of science fiction or fantasy literature, cinema, television or related media.
WooHoo! Vanyr belongs to a recognized sub-genre and is included in its catalogue--without any effort on my part. The book's in good company, too, amid works by people like Mercedes Lackey, Fritz Leiber, Sharyn McCrumb, Fred Saberhagen, James Tiptree and Roger Zelazny in a catalogue of over 950 works. I didn't notice acheronp's DragonCon story, though. Will have have to bring it to NESFA's attention by way of a thank you.
Speaking of DragonCon, I'm going (as if there was any doubt) and I'm going to be a very busy girl. So far, I know about six panels in two tracks (SF/Fantasy Literature and Matters of the Force/Star Wars), but apparently there will be more. (Big hugs and smoochies to vampry, Cathy and Nancy.) Will post the schedule as soon as I know what it looks like. Hope to see some of the usual suspects there.
Hugs and smiles,
Got back to Balticon to discover With Nine You Get Vanyr had been Giggled. I'm alternating between squees of delight and "Ouchouchouchouchouch!" Mrs. G's darts are sharp! LOL But her aim is true. She's also the first and only reviewer so far to catch the book's many Highlander homages. Not to mention her stellar pull quote about Deryk.
You can read the full text of the article here. Seriously, I'm thrilled and very grateful Mrs. Giggles took the time to review Vanyr. It's great exposure for the book. If you've got any doubts about the value of a review by Mrs. G, I humbly submit my Amazon numbers. Last week the book's ranking bounced between 400,000-600,000, dipping to a low of 700,000 over the holiday weekend. May 28, the day after her review appeared, we shot up to 104,392--not bad at all for a small press book three months past release.
'Course, it could've been my stellar performance at Balticon. .. Nah, not a chance. I was too busy having fun. I've got the pictures to prove it, too. I plan to post the better ones later this week. Until then, I'm open to bribes--er, gratuities and considerations.
A little cranky. I can't complain about life in general. Not when I'm wrestling with plot bunnies--or in this case, plot bonobos wearing baseball caps of invisibility--for My Big Fat Olympian Wedding From Hell. But all the ducks Denny Crain hasn't shot seem to be nibbling the parts not wrestling with over-sexed pygmy chimps.
First, I don't know whether to be worried about Duzell the Wonder Cat. In the way cats do, he's just missed the litter box twice in three days--almost like a guy who overshoots the rim. Since the litter box is downstairs, and he's still burying his solids, I'm hoping he's merely decided to get finicky about the litter. Even so, it's a nuisance, and I've called the vet, just in case. Duzie never ate any of the contaminated pet foods, so the problem should be, um, general pissy-ness on his part. But I'm a Virgo. Worrying is part of the job description.
Second, I'm really disappointed in the Compton Crook Award. I'd hoped to submit With Nine You Get Vanyr for consideration in the 2008 awards. I thought it met the qualifications. It was a first novel for both qnotku and me. It should be just the ticket.
Just received word they don't accept collaborations. Wha? I can understand that if the collaboration is between an experienced author and a newbie. You wouldn't want to judge a book written with Anne McCaffrey or John Ringo as a first effort. But when the book was written by two newbies who planned to write as a unit indefinitely? That's just not fair.
I know, I probably should rejoice. My first solo novel will be infinitely better than my first effort. I know so much more than I did when qnotku and I wrote Vanyr--not only about writing but also about the peculiar prejudices of contest judges. (Yes, I include myself in the peculiar part of that number.) There is an art to contest submission, and the longer I work it, the better I'll design my books to win.
But the ban against all collaborations is flat-out unfair. It's unfair to qnotku who will never have a book to call entirely her own. With Nine You Get Vanyr and Highway from Hell were both written in collaboration. Even if hundakleptisis finishes They Shoot Fairy Godmothers Don't They for her, it will still be a collaboration, which won't qualify. Under this scenario, qnotku's freaking genius for comedy and dialogue will never, ever get the recognition it deserves.
It's also unfair to the other submitting writers. It's like the bad old days before the better micro presses were recognized by Romance Writers of America. For many years it was impossible for even the good small electronic and electronic-to-print publishers to meet RWA's sales requirements. That meant writers working for good small presses with professional editing were eligible to compete in the Golden Heart (RWA's big unpublished writers contest) against people just starting out.
With Nine You Get Vanyr has all the joy and love inherent in first novels, but I sincerely hope it's not the best novel I ever write. qnotku and I never planned it to be. It was merely the best book we could write at the time. It should be allowed to rise or fall against others of its tribe, not dismissed on a quirk which sets up a less than level playing field for future competition.
*insert grim laughter here* You know, the whole thing seems so very Red State--give the goods to them that has. And I'm just ornery enough to object to something that gives me a leg up...to someone else's detriment.
Writers are soooo easy to please. This raises the verified count of stores carrying Vanyr to four: Cover to Cover (you are carrying it, aren't you quietselkie, user asks nervously), the Landmark Waldenbooks, Turn the Page Bookstore Cafe and the Pentagon Centre Borders. My uncle in Florida is doing his bit, dutifully visiting local stores and requesting it (all on his own too--I never thought to ask) but so far no luck.
It's been a good day for commerce overall. My Inner Designer Junkie was unexpectedly sated by a visit to TJ Maxx. Found a Just Cavalli jacket in my size at a deep discount. I was so entranced by the print, I didn't notice the buttons were missing until I got it into the fitting room. Can you say "deeper discount"? *bg* Better still, I had the perfect buttons waiting for it at home. My spring/summer wardrobe is saved!
And I'm almost healthy too. One more visit to the doctor should do it. Then it's back to con reportage. Jana Oliver has placed in the honors section of so many awards since RavenCon, I positively need to blackmail her. Gotta figure out how she did it...besides writing a great book that is. ;-)
No more contests 'til next month. But don't forget, you can still get copies of the lovely With Nine You Get Vanyr bookmark and cute Hail Dubyus global warming bookmark by sending me your name and address through WardSmith.com's contact page.
Good luck on tax day, everybody!
Sending a big thank you with smoochies to Store Manager Tracy McPeck, her colleagues Stephen and Susan, and all the staff of the Landmark Mall Waldenbooks in Alexandria, VA. The Landmark Waldens' is my neighborhood bookstore. Literally. It's only a mile walk from the house, and I usually make the trek at least once or twice a week. I suspect this was why Tracy kindly extended the invitation to hold my first signing for With Nine You Get Vanyr at the store March 31. Either that or my famous puppy eyes routine finally got to her. :-)
Fortunately, it turned out better than anyone could have imagined. Friends and family attended in force, prompted by my nagging--er, informative emails and the items I sent to local newspaper events calendars. One friend read about the signing in The Alexandria Gazette. She said the item featured a picture of the book too. (I so need to see a copy of that paper!)
In short, we sold out. And the store promised to order more. Well, they have to. Mother wants three to send to the former chief engineer in her apartment building, her friend the cop and her priest. And what Reyah wants--er, what Mother wants, Mother gets or there will be consequences.
And the best part--when it was all over, Tracy told me I was her favorite author. Ever! It simply doesn't get any better than that.
Hugs and grins,
The good folks at my neighborhood bookstore have been kind enough to host a booksigning for me this Saturday, March 31. The details are:
Who - Jean Marie Ward
What - Signing With Nine You Get Vanyr and Illumina: The Art of J.P. Targete with chocolate, goodies and the chance to win a facsimile Wishstone like the one which plays such a large role in With Nine You Get Vanyr.
When - Saturday, March 31, 1-5 p.m.
Where - Waldenbooks, Landmark Mall
5801 Duke Street, Space G304
(Second Floor near Lord & Taylor)
Alexandria, VA 22304
Tel. - (703)370-6869
Contact - Tracy L. McPeck, Store Manager
Come on by. I'd love to meet you...and sell you a book. ;-)
Well, actually, it's Teri's and mine--for this year, at any rate. With Nine You Get Vanyr scored an Honorable Mention (#2) in the sf/fantasy book category of Love Romances Ebook Cafe's 2006 reader's poll. I've been grinning ever since I heard.
Samhain did well too. The Cafe's readers rated it as the year's best publisher, and Samhain author Bianca D'Arc scored two top prizes: Best ShapeShifter Book and Best Paranormal Author of 2006. WTG, Bianca!
I will now return you to your regularly scheduled Saturday programming. I need to go pet my precious. While I'm at it, I should probably pet my Preditor and Editor button before it starts feeling neglected. With Nine You Get Vanyr placed second in the sf/fantasy category there too. I guess the novel has become the Avis of 2006.
Well, I do plan on trying harder. ;-)
"I hate to say it, but she's got a point. We let the ebook authors promo their books with excerpts and stuff on their release date, why not the print authors?"
"Yeah, but that means turning Jean Marie loose again. Remember what she did the last time."
"C'mon, she can't pull something like that out of her ass every time. We'll give her a date a little back in the schedule. Lead off with folks who know the drill. They'll post excerpts and flog their contests. She'll be stuck."
I think they forgot I've got 165,000 words to choose excerpts from, not just the 120K that made it to the book. Mwahahahahaha!
So if you decide to follow the Promo Brick Road to today's Samhain blog you'll find some of the scenes that wound up on the cutting room floor. There's a little bit of Michael Ryan (the actor who plays Deryk and one of the biggest spears on the Vanyr wall), more on the inspiration for Jagger (Ruth Thompson has a lot to answer for, LOL) and even more of the madness that is Dragon*Con. And it closes with my favorite never-before seen morning-after scene.
This has been a heck of a day--in the best possible way.
- The print edition of With Nine You Get Vanyr went on sale.
- Preditors & Editors posted the results of their 2006 SF/fantasy Poll--and VANYR made #2. (Thank you! Thank you! to everyone who voted.)
- My bookmarks arrived (and they're gorgeous!)
- My local Walden's asked when I'd like a signing.
Whew! qnotku would've been so proud. To celebrate, I'm...
The first features Anne Cain's luscious cover art for With Nine You Get Vanyr. The second--distributed by the Scott County, MN, Office of Environmental Health--sports an uber cute global warming cartoon drawn by my very own dh, the dangerous mind behind Hail Dubyus, the most dangerous political cartoons on the Internet.
And did I mention they're free? All you need to do is send me your snail mail address via the WardSmith.com Contact Page. Yes, I will mail out of country. Not only that, both bookmarks are user-friendly across the entire political spectrum--which is more than you can say for Greg and me. LOL
In other news, tomorrow With Nine You Get Vanyr will be released in print. On Fat Tuesday, no less. Can't get much more appropriate than that. *g* In honor of the occasion, I'll be launching a contest with questions and real prizes and everything. Meanwhile, you can consider the bookmarks my version of a Mardi Gras parade favor. (IOW, I couldn't figure out how to get the beads to lie flat in the envelopes.)
Cheers and revels to all!
Enough to nominate With Nine You Get Vanyr for the 2006 Preditors and Editors Readers Poll. If you've read the book and like it enough, please, vote for it. I'll make it easy with a link to the polling site. :-) But even if you choose not to vote for our book, please, vote for a deserving title in any of the categories. This is truly an awards program where everybody wins.
Of course, I'm hoping Samhain and my fellow Samhellions do really well. (Ann Vremont's Reluctant Muse is listed among the Romance titles too.) But it's all good.
Except for the difficulty in identifying just one title to vote for. Fortunately for my inner reader (if not for the polling process) this year I could happily nominate and vote for three or four titles in every category. I'm such a magpie! LOL
Now to figure out how to make it into an icon...
In other good news, our editor sent us her edits today, and Teri and I sent the edited copy back tonight. :D We expect to hear the sound of her fainting all the way from Minnesota. Hey, the edits were straightforward; what's not to love? Of course, now I'm worried the pages will run red from the final line edit. Can't please a Virgo, can you? LOL
I had such fun with this story. With Nine You Get Vanyr is an original romp sure to appeal to fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon and Lynn Kurland.
First Carole www.carolenelsondouglas.com, now Patty www.hurog.com--two of my very favorite writers--like the novel Teri and I wrote. How cool is that? Thank you, ladies!
Not only that, but it appears the very talented Anne Cain will be doing our cover. Anne was the cover artist for Ann Vremont's The Reluctant Muse <http://samhainpublishing.com/
Cheers and happy dances,