Hey, check out these e-books that just came out in the UK and its territories!

The Stepsister Scheme - UK Cover The Mermaid's Madness - UK Cover
Red Hood's Revenge - UK Cover
The Snow Queen's Shadow - UK Cover

All four books are still available in print and e-book from DAW in the United States, but there’s never been a UK edition. Until now!

::Dramatic music plays::

Book one, The Stepsister Scheme, is £2.80, and the rest are £3.50. (That includes VAT.)

I’ll be updating with additional sales links as the books go live at various vendors.

  • The Stepsister Scheme: Amazon
  • The Mermaid’s Madness: Amazon
  • Red Hood’s Revenge: Amazon
  • The Snow Queen’s Shadow: Amazon

Here’s the all-new cover copy for book one:

The epic, action-packed story of what happened after the fairy tales.

Once upon a time, a girl named Danielle (better known as Cinderella) escaped her evil stepmother, married a prince, and according to the stories, lived happily ever after.

The stories lie.

Danielle Whiteshore has no sooner moved into the palace when her stepsisters show up to kidnap her prince and steal him away to the realm of fairies. To save Prince Armand, Danielle needs more than the enchanted glass sword her mother left her. She needs the Queen’s secret protectors: the deadly warrior and assassin Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and the fun-loving, flirtatious witch known as Snow White.

Plunged into a world of adventure and intrigue, Danielle must forge the trio into a team if they’re to rescue her prince and survive the machinations of a foe far deadlier than her stepsisters.

I love that these books are finally available to a wider audience. (Even if it meant going back and adding all those extra U’s to the words.)

And as always, I really hope people enjoy them!




Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Thanks to everyone who came out to Schulers last night!  I hope you all enjoyed yourself.  Thanks also to the staff at the store, particularly Emily, who did the planning and prep work.

I’m told they ordered 50 copies of Red Hood’s Revenge.  By the end of the night, I believe there were two left.  Booksignings can be hit or miss, but I’m counting this one as a solid win.  As always, it was a bit of a blur, but here are some of the things I remember:

1. Jim C. Hines, demonstrating his professional writing skills, attempts to spell Linda’s name with a “Th”.  Sigh.

2. Seeing my parents pick up the book for the first time, and their reactions when they discovered I had dedicated it to them.  (Followed by Emily’s comment, “And you’re making them buy their own copy???”)

3. The following exchange:

“Can you sign these for charity?”
Jim: “Sure!  So you just want an autograph, then?  No dedication?”
“Um … I was kind of hoping you could sign them to me, Charity.”
Jim: “D’oh!”

4. My son coming up to sit on my lap at the end of the night and announcing “I want to sign a book!”

5. Seeing everyone — friends, coworkers, family, and strangers — who came out to hear me read and get a book signed.  (Or maybe just to eat pizza.)

Someday I’ll learn how to balance wanting to talk to everyone with the need to keep the line moving.  Still working on that…

The downside to the evening was coming home and banning someone from my LiveJournal.  Much as I enjoyed the booksigning, I’m still an introvert.  I can be “on” for an event, but leaves me drained afterward, and I just didn’t have the sporks to deal with this person.

I suppose I should be grateful that the False Reporting post was ban-free for the first 200 comments, but I still hate doing it.

But enough of that.  The signing was a blast, and we sold the heck out of my books, so I’m gonna hold on to that feeling.  Dr. Phil, who braved thunderstorms to drive out from Kalamazoo, posted a few pictures of the event.  I like the “reading faces” one :-)

And because I haven’t done one in a little while, here’s a LEGO pic for the Futurama fans.  Behold the World of Tomorrow, by Pepa Quin.  Click here or on the photo for the full collection.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Many of you are probably familiar with the Bechdel Test, named after Alison Bechdel, and originally posited by Liz Wallace.  The test simply asks whether a movie meets the following criteria:

(1) It has at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other, about (3) something besides a man.

The rule works with written fiction too, and can be applied to more than just gender.  For example, The Stepsister Scheme passes the test with flying colors, but if you ask whether there are at least two nonwhite characters who talk to each other … well, no.  Likewise, it fails if you apply it to visibly lesbian/gay characters.

Red Hood’s Revenge, on the other hand, passes all three of those permutations of the test.  Yay, I win at Bechdel, right?

Now let’s time how long it takes someone to point out that the series fails the test miserably when applied to men.  There are more than two male characters, but I don’t know that they ever talk to one another, and if so, I doubt it’s about anything except our heroines.


So does this mean I should add a pair of male sidekicks?  Maybe goblin males, who can chat about the finer points of barbequeued knight?  The armor holds in the juices … okay, actually that sounds like fun.  But I’m gonna say no.

The point isn’t that a “good” story must be like Noah’s ark, having at least two of every character variant.  To me, the test is a way to illustrate how few stories actually have multiple female characters, and if so, they’re often present simply as “accessories” to our male heroes.

I don’t worry that my books fail the test when applied to men, mostly because I can’t remember the last book I read that didn’t pass the “Male Bechdel Test” … but I could give you a long list of books that fail when applied to women, to LGBT characters, to nonwhite characters…

It’s an awareness thing.  It’s something I think we need to be more conscious of, both as readers and as writers.  Stepsister Scheme has only a single non-white human character.  Was that a deliberate choice, or did I simply use white as the (lazy) default?

Or take the zombie story I just sold, for example — those characters were white because I had a week to write the story, and I didn’t bother to think about it.  I just defaulted to white.  (Okay, more of a grayish tinge actually, but still.)

Was I wrong to make them white?  Should I have made them black or Native American or Inuit or something else?  Not necessarily … there might be valid reasons why most of the zombies in that situation and location would be white.  But as the writer, that should have been a conscious decision on my part, not a default.

Discussion is welcome, as always.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

This is your official discussion post for Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  It probably goes without saying that there will be spoilers in the comments.

I figure this is your discussion space, so while I’m happy to answer questions, I’m also more than happy to stay out of it and let people chat.  Hm … to clarify, I’m happy to answer questions about anything except what happens in book four :-)

Have fun!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Jul. 12th, 2010 09:30 am)

For anyone who’s had the chance to read Red Hood yet, if you felt like posting a review at Amazon and helping to knock that Harriet Klausner review off the front page, I’d be much obliged.  “Little Lady of the Red Hood” indeed…


I’m back!  Had a lovely vacation up north.  Kids spent most of the week swimming and working on their sunburns.  Everyone stayed up way too late, and most days I got to sleep in until 9 or even 10 in the morning.

Stopped by the local bookstore, which didn’t have Red Hood, but did have Crosscurrent [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] by my friend Paul Kemp.  It took me a few chapters to really get into it, mostly because I haven’t been reading the expanded universe Star Wars stuff, so I didn’t know the characters or recent events.  But it was a fun story (Star Wars + time travel!), albeit a bit dark at times, and an excellent vacation read.  Finished the book in about a day.

Ah, vacation…

I also hopped online a few times to check e-mail, Amazon ranking, Bookscan numbers, and so on.  Vacation or no, my book was coming out, and I had to be there!  I had to be doing something.  I had to … well … I don’t know.  It’s kind of strange, actually.  Turns out my book was released just fine without me.

Could it be that I didn’t need to be online 24/7 when the book came out?  Crazy talk, I know.  I mean, I did have some blog posts prewritten and scheduled, and I had warned my wife that we’d need to drive into town so I could post a Twitter update or two on release day … but we didn’t get into town until later that afternoon, and as far as I could tell, books continued to sell even when I wasn’t watching.  Heck, it’s too early to say for certain, but this one might even be selling better than the previous books.


None of this comes as a real surprise.  Intellectually, I know my control and influence over the book is pretty much done the day I turn in the final manuscript.  Emotionally though, I still like to pretend I’m involved, and to cling to the illusion that I continue to have more control over the fate of the book.

Time to let go, I suppose.  Fly, little book.  Be free.  Enjoy your time on the New Releases shelf.  August will be here all too soon, and then far too many of you will be stripped and returned.  But until then, get out there and make your author proud.

Tomorrow I’ll probably be putting up a discussion post for the book.  And apropos of nothing, here’s a shot from when I was playing with the panorama setting on our digital camera last week.  Click for full size.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Jul. 9th, 2010 09:30 am)

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Fun fact: Monday’s blog post was written three days in the past.  But this one was written seven days in the past!  That’s right, Jim is moving backward in time!!!  He promises to bring you back a dinosaur.


So Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] has been out for most of a week now.  It’s a bit strange to think back to … I think it was 2004 or 2005, when I started playing around with the idea of turning these fairy tale princesses into action heroines.  I remember the excitement as I realized Sleeping Beauty’s fairy gifts made her the ideal ninja, or that Snow White could be a master of mirror magic.

Then here we are, half a decade later.  The third book is out, and readers everywhere are rushing to read it.  (At least, that’s the vision I’m choosing to hold on to!)

So today’s blog question is:

Hey Jim, why should I join the dozens millions billions of people reading Red Hood’s Revenge?

Good question, made-up reader!  Here are my completely objective and unbiased answers, many of which are actually true.

1. Talia’s fairy curse.  I’m not going to spoil this, but the writers out there know the feeling you get when you come up with a twist that just feels right, something that blows you away.  The “truth” behind Sleeping Beauty’s curse did that for me, and I’m hopeful readers will feel the same way.

2. There will be smooching!  (No, it’s not a kissing book.  It has plenty of fencing and fighting, too.)

3. Hey, what ever happened to _______?  I answer this question, for a certain value of ______.

4. All of the cool kids are reading it.

5. If you rearrange the words in the right order, you get a secret message from the president of Zenbox VII.

6. Two words: sewer goblins.

7. Certain elements in this book are guaranteed to offend twice as many people as previous books.

8. The pages are pine scented, so you can use the book as an air freshener for your car after you finish reading.

9. Gazebo.

10. Because kick-ass princesses are awesome, that’s why!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Please feel free to comment and let him know whether you people of the future are zipping around in flying cars and personal jet packs yet!

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] came out yesterday.  One question that comes up a lot with book releases is how readers can help to promote the writer.  Either the writer wants to get the readers to help spread the word, or else the readers actively ask what they can do to support the writer’s new book.  So here are Jim’s thoughts on:

What readers can do to support their favorite books!

It’s simple enough, really.

Step 1: Get yourself hired as the head buyer for a major bookstore chain.
Step 2: Stock up on the works of Jim C. Hines.
Step 3: Profit!

For those of us not in a position to take over as a buyer, I refer you to the blog post I did asking where you learn about new books.  (On LJ here.)  Reading through the answers confirmed a lot of what I already suspected: word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful factors in getting people to pick up a book.

I’ve seen and tried a lot of different things to publicize books.  I’ve done author interviews.  I’ve provided HTML code people could copy and repaste with the book’s cover and info.  But … and perhaps this is a “Duh!” moment … what seems to work best is simply people talking about the books they love, and why.

So if you want to help support the princess books, or any books for that matter, just talk about them.  Write a blog post describing what you love about the stories or the characters or the world.  It doesn’t have to be a formal review or anything like that (though reviews are always appreciated).  Your excitement about a book you loved will sell that book far more effectively than the author ever could.

And if you’re really not comfortable with that, there’s always cosplaying your favorite character ;-)

Other suggestions and ideas on what to do (and also what not to do) are more than welcome!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Jim is on vacation this week, and is blogging from the past!  He has very little Internet access, but will read and catch up on comments eventually.  Please feel free to comment and tell him what the future looks like.


Happy book day to me!!!  Today marks the official release of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], the third book in my princess series.  Pass it on!

Preview the first two chapters
Learn about the series

Normally I try not to go overboard with my own book promotion here.  From reading other people’s blogs, I know a little goes a long way, and it’s easy to get carried away.  But when a new book comes out, I give myself permission to celebrate and promote for a few days.

This week, I’m going to try to answer a few questions that come up with each new book release, starting with this one:

Where and when should people buy my books?

Different authors will give you different answers to this question.  Mine is pretty straightforward: if you want to buy my books, do so wherever it’s convenient for you.

I get the same royalty whether you buy from Amazon, B&N, or your local independent bookstore.  Technically speaking, for things like making the Locus Bestseller list, there are certain stores where sales are weighted more heavily than others … but you know what?  That’s not your problem.  I’d love to make the list again, but I’m not going to try to force it by sending everyone out to a specific list of stores.

I do have a soft spot for independent bookstores, since many of them have been very supportive of my career from day one.  But if you don’t have a good independent store, or you’re just not up for one more errand, I have no problem at all with people hopping onto Amazon to order there.  (Plus then I get to watch my Amazon rank drop!)

As to when people should buy?  Again, I’m going to say you should buy it whenever you like.  Early sales are important, don’t get me wrong.  The more the books sell in these first weeks, the more likely the stores are to restock.  Not to mention it makes my publisher, my agent, and me happy to see those big early sales numbers.

But it’s up to you.  I know not everyone who reads my blog buys my books, and that’s fine.  And I’m not going to insist you all run out today to pick up your copy.

On the other hand, I’m planning to do a discussion post for Red Hood’s Revenge next week.  So if you do buy and read the book this week, you’ll be able to get in on all of the spoilery conversation and speculation ;-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Jul. 2nd, 2010 09:30 am)

So tomorrow my family heads north for vacation.  We’ll be gone for a week … the same week that Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out.  This is going to be interesting.

Since I won’t be around on Tuesday, I went ahead and drew a winner for the 8th and final book giveaway.  Congratulations to lavvyan, who wrote the following:

Han Solo: Good book? You’ve never heard of Red Hood’s Revenge?

Obi-Wan: Should I have?

Han Solo: It’s the book that made the Barnes & Noble Top 10 in less than twelve parsecs. It’s outclassed Imperial bestsellers. Not the lauded self-help junk, mind you, I’m talking about the big NY Times hits now. It’s good enough for you, old man.

I hope people enjoyed these giveaways.  I had a great time reading all of your entries.

It’s strange to think I’ll be away, with little Internet access, on my release day.  How will I obsess over my Amazon ranking?  How will I scour the net for reviews?  (Okay, so I’ll probably make my family drive into town on Tuesday so I can get online at least once via the wireless at Subway, but still.)  It’s going to be hard.

On the other hand, here’s a “self portrait” I took last year when we went up north.  So you know what?  I think I’ll manage :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Only one week until the official launch of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon], though the book is already showing up in a fair number of bookstores.  I’ve been counting down to the release by giving away a free book each week.

Congratulations to last week’s winner, Katherine O’Kelly.

I’ve seen a few reports pop up from readers who have picked up a copy of Red Hood.  Early reactions seem to be pretty positive, and so far I haven’t had the anxiety dream where Darth Vader shows up, waving a copy of the book at me and saying in that raspy voice, “I find your lack of plot disturbing.”

Anyway, for the eighth and final book giveaway–

No, wait.  I just had a better idea.  I’m far too amused by the idea of Darth Vader as a reviewer or critiquer.  So for this giveaway, leave a comment with another Vader-style critique of my book.  (You may also use other Star Wars characters if you like … except for Jar-Jar!)

Post your answer, and I’ll pick one winner at random next week.  (Please note that I’ll be up north next week, and Internet access will be spotty, so I don’t know exactly when I’ll be able to choose and announce the winner.)  The winner receives her/his choice of one of the following:

Have fun!

ETA: Heh … everyone’s being so nice!  My ego appreciates this, but it’s certainly not required.  “What a piece of junk!” is an equally acceptable critique :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

I mentioned on Monday that I had received my author copies of Red Hood’s Revenge, which means review copies should also be available.  If you’re a reviewer and would like DAW to send you a copy of Red Hood (or any of my DAW titles), please let me know and I’ll see what we can do.


Earlier this week I stumbled into a conversation about the practice of reviewers turning around and selling review copies on eBay.  This includes both advanced review copies (ARCs) and copies of the finished books.

I admit I get a little annoyed when I see one of my ARCs up for sale before the book comes out.  Come on, people.  The ARC says “Not for resale” for a reason.  It just feels rude.

It’s also not something I’m going to waste a lot of time worrying about.  For something like Harry Potter, I understand why it’s important to keep spoilers locked down until the release date.  For the rest of us — for me — why is this a big deal?  Why should I care if a handful of review copies leak out ahead of time?  Uncool, yes.  But on the list of things worth my time and stress, this isn’t even a footnote.

It turns out some people are quite passionate about reviewers selling their books.  In one comment, I learned that not worrying about ARCs on eBay meant I was supporting all of The Evil Book Pirates.  I was also told I should get a job at BP telling people their oil spill “isn’t worth stressing about” either.  (The BP bit did include the rhetorical “Ha ha, I’m just kidding” trick at the end.  As it turns out, adding “Just kidding” does not alter the fact that you’re saying something asinine.)

So I’m curious what other people think.  Should reviewers be prohibited from selling review copies?  Does it make a difference if it’s an ARC or a finished book?  What about solicited vs. unsolicited books?  I.e., if I beg Tor for a review copy of Tobias Buckell’s latest, are my reselling obligations different than if a a publicist sends me a book I didn’t ask for?

Discussion and disagreement are welcome, as always.  However, if you try to equate the Review Copy Gray Market with BP spilling millions of barrels of oil into our oceans, please understand that you will be mocked and sporkstabbed.

Even if you’re “just kidding.”

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Looking back, it was exactly two weeks before the official release of The Mermaid’s Madness that I started to see copies trickling into the bookstores.

It is now exactly two weeks until the release of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  I’m just sayin’…

(If you do decide to rush out and search for the book, I strongly suggest calling the bookstore beforehand.  The official release date isn’t until July 6, so most stores probably won’t have it in stock yet.)

Anyway, I’m counting down to July 6 by giving away another book every week.  Congratulations to Marla Rudas, who won last week’s giveaway with her entry, “The Stepsister Scheme: Kills bugs dead!”

For this week’s giveaway, I want to know where you learn about new books.  Friends and family?  The library?  Online reviews?  Little book gnomes?  Conventions?  If there’s a specific resource you’d like to share, please do!  (If it’s one I’m unfamiliar with, maybe I’ll try to send a review copy.)

I’ll pick one commenter at random to win their choice of the following:

14 days and counting…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Jun. 21st, 2010 09:30 am)

I think I’ve mentioned the Ego Shelf once or twice before.  We joke about authors and their egos, and there is some truth to the jabs.  Authors do tend toward the egotistical.  After all, we think our words are good enough that you should pay money just to read them.

But the ego shelf isn’t about feeding the ego.  (Not just about that, at least.)  It’s not “Look upon this shelf and bask in my awesomeness!”  It’s not about whose shelf is longer.  It’s about … let’s call it positive reinforcement.

That shelf holds a copy of almost1 every magazine, anthology, and novel (both English and translated) I’ve ever done, along with my Writers of the Future trophy there on the left.  And you know what?  I’m damn proud of that shelf.

I’ve been told pride is a sin, and I realize pride can get you into trouble.  But I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with taking a moment to feel good about what I’ve accomplished over the past fifteen years.  It’s a good reminder, something to get me through the slumps.  I’ve spent ten months working on The Snow Queen’s Shadow, and it helps to look up and remember that in a year or so I’ll be adding another book to the shelf, and people all over the world will (I hope) be reading and enjoying it.

I’d love to someday have an entire Ego Bookcase.  And it would be fun to add a few more trophies.  But no matter where you are in your career, I think it’s important to recognize and honor the work you’ve done, to feel good about that.  Even when I only had a few semi-pro magazines on display … heck, back before I sold anything, I taped my rejection letters up because I was proud of them too.  Because they meant I was writing and submitting and working, dammit!

Writing is hard.  It’s okay to be proud of your work.  Not only okay, I think it’s important.

Oh — and those of you with keen eyes or good monitors might have spotted something there on the right.  Let me give you a close-up.

Oh, yes.  Author copies of Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] have arrived at the Hines household, and there was much rejoicing.  Don’t they look pretty all lined up together like that?

To celebrate, I’ve updated my web site with the teaser for The Snow Queen’s Shadow.  This is the same text that appears in the back of Red Hood.  If you want to see what’s coming next summer, feel free to take a peek.

  1. I never received my author copy of the French edition of Goblin Hero, and I haven’t quite convinced myself to shell out the $30 to order a copy.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

My next book, Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out on July 6.  Only three weeks until we get to meet Little Red Riding Hood, deadly assassin, and learn some of the secrets of Sleeping Beauty’s fairy curse.  I’m counting down the days by giving away a book each week.

This morning I was told that Red Hood would be included in a DAW/Penguin dark fantasy floor display at Barnes & Noble.  Sweet!  Also, Sci-fi Fan Letter called it the strongest princess book to date.  Insert contented smile here.

Anyway, time to give away another book!  This week, let’s forget that whole truth in advertising thing.  What are the lesser-known benefits of reading the princess series?  Be as creative or ridiculous as you’d like.  For example…

The Mermaid’s Madness increases your pets’ IQ scores by 20 points or more!

The Stepsister Scheme: Gets out even the toughest stains!

Leave your suggestion in the comments, and I’ll pick a winner at random to receive an autographed copy of one of the following books (your choice):

Please keep it PG-13 or better, and have fun!  (And please feel free to spread the word, if you’d like.)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Hm … I think I have ginmar to thank for the influx of new LJ friends.  Welcome all, and please feel free to say hello!  Or not, if you prefer.  It’s all good.


My next book, Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out on July 6, and I’m counting down the days by giving away a book each week.  Congratulations to @bkwrrm_tx who won the Twitter giveaway.

Today’s contest is a little different.  My friend Lisa Shearin (author of the Raine Benares series) has an excerpt and giveaway for The Stepsister Scheme over on her blog.  To be entered to win an autographed copy of Stepsister, just head over and comment on the blog post.

Lisa will be drawing a winner tonight, so if you want to enter this one, you’ll have to be quick.

And tune in tomorrow for … actually, I haven’t decided yet.  Maybe another diabetes post.  Maybe a follow-up to the whole “friending/defriending” phenomenon on social networks.  Or maybe I’ll just talk about the crazy involved in trying to wrap up the second draft of this book…

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2010 09:30 am)

A discussion came up on one of my author e-mail groups about reading reviews of your work.  The point was made that positive reviews can lead to a swollen ego.  Negative reviews bring you down.  Neither of these are good things.

It’s a valid point.  When I saw the (ahem) starred Publishers Weekly review for Red Hood’s Revenge, it certainly pumped my ego up a notch.  “Transcends its predecessors”?  “Worth visiting again and again”?  Oh, heck yes!  On the other hand, Harriet Klausner called the plot thin and only gave me four stars at B&N.com.  (Klausner almost always gives five stars.)

I don’t consider Klausner as serious or influential a reviewer as Publishers Weekly, but the review still stung.  (Which is okay — it’s the reviewer’s job to review the book, not to coddle my feelings.  The reviewer’s obligation is to their readers, not to me.)

I’ve always read my reviews, both from major reviewers and casual bloggers.  (Thank you, Google Alerts.)  I plan to continue doing so.

Partly it’s ego and insecurity.  I want to know whether people are talking about my books.  Positive or negative, as long as people are reading and discussing, that’s still better thing than radio silence.

I also realized I could learn from reviews, though it’s a little tricky.  The problem is, everyone reacts differently.  One reviewer says a book is the best thing I’ve ever done.  Another throws it across the room after only one chapter.  Who’s right?  Both.  Neither.  Heck if I know.

But occasionally I read a review that just clicks.  Someone will point something out that makes me go, “Oh, wow.  They’re right, and how the heck did I miss that?”  I commented yesterday about the way I wrote Talia’s character in Stepsister.  It was a comment at a review that first got me thinking about that issue.

In addition, as I read more reviews, I start to see patterns.  I’m not the brightest guy in the world, but eventually it clicks that a lot of people were bored by this part, or a certain scene didn’t work for them, or everyone keeps complaining that I overuse this piece of description…  It reminds me of workshop critiques: if one person says there’s a problem, I can take it or leave it.  If many people point out the same issue, then it’s something I need to look at.

Some authors point out that in the case of reviews, it’s too late to change the book, so why bother?  They’re right of course.  But I can apply those lessons to the next books.

It’s not always kind to my ego, especially when people jump in and start agreeing with a negative review in the comments.  I also have to fight the occasional urge to argue with reviewers.1  Overall though, I’ve learned a fair amount from reviews, and I very much appreciate everyone who takes the time to write them.

  1. If you call my character “Little Lady of the Red Hood,” I won’t argue with you, but I will roll my eyes like … um … like a crazy eye-rolling thing.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out on July 6, and I’m counting down the days by giving away a book each week.  Congratulations to Jenn Johnson, who won the third giveaway.

This week, I think I’m going to go with something simple and straightforward.  Next Tuesday I’ll randomly select one of my Twitter followers to receive an autographed copy of one of the following books (your choice):


Like many authors, I don’t get much info on how things are doing behind the scenes.  It’s one of the reasons many of us obsess over Amazon rankings.  Those rankings might not mean much in the big picture, but they’re the only indication I get about preorders.

I use TitleZ to track my books on Amazon.  It’s a dangerous tool, allowing authors to completely obsess, but I like it.  Among other things, I can pull up a graph of sales rankings over time:

Every one of those dips represents at least one person who was excited enough to order Red Hood’s Revenge.  I have no way of knowing exactly how many orders this represents, but it’s significantly better than the preorders for Mermaid’s Madness.

So thank you.  At the risk of getting all sappy, I very much appreciate your trust.  I know this series isn’t for everyone, but it’s an incredible feeling to realize so many people are excited about the story and the characters.  And it makes me want to work even harder on Snow Queen, to do everything I can to live up to that trust.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( May. 27th, 2010 09:30 am)

In addition to well over 100 comments on yesterday’s MZB Fanfiction write-up, I’ve received a number of e-mails on the subject.  Some thanking me for the research, others telling me I’m wrong about one or more details.  That’s very possible.  Heck, it’s probable.  First-hand accounts are often slanted, and (as was brought up in the comments) there may be settlement terms keeping some information quiet.  My write-up is the best I’ve been able to research, but please keep in mind that we don’t know everything, and probably never will.


I discovered today, via a Twitter update from my agent, that Goblin Quest [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] is in its 5th printing.  Not bad for a little goblin runt and his pet fire-spider!


Penguin just sent me 4000 bookmarks for Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon].  Please contact me if:

  1. You’ll be going to a convention in the next few months, and would be willing to leave bookmarks on the freebies table.
  2. You work at/run a bookstore, and would like bookmarks for your store.
  3. Neither of the above, but you live in the U.S. and just want a Red Hood bookmark.  (In this case, I’ll probably send a handful or so and ask that you hand a few out to anyone you think might like the books.)

I’m also happy to autograph one for you, if you’re interested.

Thus endeth the promotional part of today’s blog post.


Finally, over on YouTube, we get a sneak peek at the new line of LEGO toys.  (I don’t generally embed video in the blog, so I apologize in advance if I mess it up.)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Red Hood’s Revenge [B&N | Mysterious Galaxy | Amazon] comes out in six weeks.  SciFiChick has posted an early review, and says:

“More dramatic than previous installments, this latest story revolves mainly around Talia and Roudette, bringing to light more of their dark and horrible pasts … There’s plenty of the suspense and action that make this fantasy series great. Hines’ princess heroines from fairy tale lore are truly unique and completely enjoyable from start to finish.”

Congratulations to mskiara, who won the second giveaway!  For the rest of you, don’t worry — I’ve got six more chances for people to win.

For the past two weeks, I’ve had a blast reading your creative and entertaining entries, so let’s keep going with the fun.  To enter this week’s contest, imagine a princess video game.  Danielle, Snow, and Talia vs. all manner of nastiness.

Who would be the ultimate boss at the end of the game, and how do the princesses defeat said boss?1

Leave your answer in the comments, and I’ll select one person to win an autographed copy of one of the following books (your choice):

As in previous weeks, the winner will be chosen at random, so there’s no pressure.  Just have fun.

  1. You can’t say Batman, ’cause we’ve already covered that one at http://www.sff.net/people/jchines/Pics/Talia-Batman.jpg

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

jimhines: (Default)
( May. 19th, 2010 09:30 am)

I love you people.  We’re already at 70 or so warnings about Red Hood’s Revenge.  A few of my favorites:

From Christine: Surgeon General’s Warning: Red Hood’s Revenge may cause heroine addiction.

From bodlon: Warning: Red Hood’s Revenge contains princesses under pressure. Do not shake. Talia may explode and cause serious injury.

From several commenters: Do not taunt Red Hood’s Revenge.

If you’re looking for a laugh this morning, read through some of the entries.  (And if you want to win a free book, there’s still plenty of time to contribute your own!)


Yesterday I stumbled across the German cover art for The Mermaid’s Madness.  Or if Google Translator is to be trusted, The Nasty Mermaid.  (I’m told the actual translation is closer to “The Mean Mermaid.”)  Click the thumbnail for the full version.  I like this one — good color, lots of action, and we get to see the mermaid!


Publishing can be a slow business, especially when you’re a writer waiting to hear back from an agent or editor.  My personal record is two and a half years from submitting a manuscript to receiving an offer.  But it’s not always this way.  In fact, there are weeks that make you wish things would slow down a little…

  • May 10-11: Started drafting short story.
  • May 12-13: Decided short story sucked, and started over.  Finished 4000-word draft.
  • May 14-15: Rewrote and submitted story to editor.
  • May 18: Received e-mail accepting my zombie cop story “In the Line of Duty” for the DAW anthology Zombiesque.

Less than a week to write and submit the story, and three days to hear back on the sale.  Not bad, eh?  It’s a twisted little story.  Working titles were Z-men and ZSI, but both of those were a bit too silly.

There’s also been some further activity re: the secret project, but nothing I can talk about yet.  Soon, I suspect … one way or another.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



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