The Prosekiller Chronicles: Rise of the Spider Goddess (An Annotated Novel) is out today in print and electronic format! This is a little different from my other books, but the urge to Kermit-flail and run around telling everyone to BUY MY BOOK while simultaneously clicking to refresh my Amazon ranking every seven seconds is unchanged. I’m starting to think authors should simply be tied up like Odysseus when our books come out…

Rise of the Spider GoddessSummary:

In 2006, DAW Books published Jim C. Hines’ debut novel Goblin Quest. But before Jig the goblin, before fairy tale princesses and magic librarians and spunky fire-spiders, there was Nakor the Purple, an elf who wanted nothing more than to stand around watching lovingly overdescribed sunrises with his pet owl Flame, who might actually be a falcon, depending on which chapter you’re reading.

This is Nakor’s story, written in 1995 and never before shared with the world. (For reasons that will soon be painfully clear.) Together with an angsty vampire, a pair of pixies, and a feisty young thief, Nakor must find a way to stop an Ancient Evil before she destroys the world. (Though, considering the relatively shallow worldbuilding, it’s not like there’s much to destroy…)

With more than 5000 words of bonus annotation and smart-ass commentary, this is a book that proves every author had to start somewhere, and most of the time, that place wasn’t very pretty.

A Few Advance Reviews:

“Every new writer has a Rise of the Spider Goddess inside them. Now it’s been published, there’s no need to write it. Chock-full of essential advice, self-mockery, and compassion for the beginner, it’s a hilarious reminder that we all start somewhere.”

-Sean Williams, author of The Slug in the Sky (age 15) and the #1 NYT Bestselling Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (age 39)

“We can often learn more from the mistakes of others than from their successes. Hines has been kind enough to put his own errors on display as an object lesson for the student writer: everything from cliches of prose to morally dubious characterization, from paper-thin worldbuilding to continuity errors big enough to fly a dragon through. If you want to know what not to do, read this book.”

-Marie Brennan, author of World of the Elementals (age 10) and Voyage of the Basilisk (Tor Books, age 33)

“Jim deserves a Darwin Award for releasing this masterpiece of Words! In! Order! into the wild. I admire him greatly. If the Bulwer-Lytton contest gave prizes for whole books, this one would win by a mile. Eye of Argon look out! The Spider Goddess is about to steal your crown.”

-Diana Pharaoh Francis, author of City of Terrible Night (age 16), and Trace of Magic (age 47)

Guest Posts and Other Links (to be updated throughout the week):

Buy the Book (please):

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Rise of the Spider Goddess [Amazon | Kobo | Smashwords] goes on sale tomorrow. This is the annotated edition of the very first book I ever wrote, back in 1995. The cover art accurately captures the experience of reading the book. Details are here if you’d like to know more.

Cover2I’ve self-published a handful of books, including several e-chapbooks of short fiction, and Invisible earlier this year. But this is the first time I’ve done a complete novel. This was also only the second time I’ve done a print edition as well as an ebook. So I figured I’d step back and take a look at the process and the things I figured out this time.

1. Print has gotten easier. Please note that I didn’t say “easy.” But when I did the print edition of Goblin Tales through Lulu back in early 2011 … well, let’s just say I came out of that experience determined to just do e-books from then on, both to avoid the hassle of print, and because the self-pubbed print edition simply didn’t sell.

This time around, I went through CreateSpace at Amazon, and the process was significantly more straightforward. I was able to download a template for both the interior and for the cover. I still spent a lot of time on the files, but that was because I wanted to customize the interior, add some additional sections that weren’t in the template, change the header and page number layout, add drop caps, insert a graphic at the start of each chapter, and so on.

It’s not perfect, and I’m once again left with a lot of respect for the people who do layout for a living, but I’m pleased with the end results. The pricing also seems to have gotten better since 2011. I’m able to sell a 200+ page trade paperback for $10.99, which Amazon has discounted to less than $10.

2. Cover art costs. I tend to be a bit conservative with my personal finances. (My daughter would have another word for it.) When I started searching for cover artists and emailing for quotes, I was hoping to keep costs low. $200 would have been nice. $500 was my upper limit.

Yeah, that didn’t last. I got quotes that ranged from $200 to $2500. I looked around a bit to see if there was any preexisting art I could license, but the book is quirky enough that nothing really fit. And after chatting with people online, I decided to try to do something in the old Dungeons & Dragons style. So I looked for artists who had done D&D illustration work in the past, and eventually went with Patrick McEvoy. Patrick seemed to get what I was looking for, and was friendly and easy to work with.

Was it worth what I ended up paying? Ask me in six months when I know how many books have sold, but I’m happy with the cover, and the feedback has been very positive so far.

3. Preorder headaches. Did you know that Barnes & Noble still doesn’t seem to have a way for authors to put their self-published title up for pre-order? There will be a Nook edition of Spider Goddess, but it won’t show up until tomorrow. They seem to be the lone hold-out. I was able to post the book at Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, and Google Play without any trouble, though Amazon has a cutoff date for uploading the final files, and says if you don’t do so by that date, they won’t let you post things for pre-order in the future.

And while Amazon will let you put up your e-book for pre-order, they won’t do the same for the print. As I understand it, there is a rather convoluted way of getting a self-published print title up for pre-order by sighing up for a separate Amazon program. But in my case, I ended up accidentally putting the print edition on sale a few weeks early. Ah well. It gave me time to get the Kindle and print edition linked on Amazon before the official release, and most of my print books start showing up on bookstore shelves early anyway.

4. Publicity. One of the many reasons I love DAW is that they do a lot of the behind-the-scenes work for me. They send out review copies, get the book listed online and in their catalogs, put out some advertisements, and so on. With Spider Goddess, it was all on me. I created print and electronic ARCs and sent those out. (I got some fun advance blurbs, too!) I’ve set up some guest blog posts on various sites. But I definitely didn’t accomplish as much as I had hoped. There was simply too much to do, and not enough time to do everything.

Trying to figure out effective book publicity is like wrestling a greased watermelon golem. But I’m hoping that I’ve done enough to generate a little interest and curiosity, and that the book itself will build on that to generate some word of mouth. We’ll see what happens.

5. A book day is a book day. I always get anxious when a new book ventures forth into the world. As I sit here counting down to December 2, peeking around to see if any more reviews have cropped up or if anyone’s talking about the book, and worrying about whether or not folks will like it, I think it’s safe to say that self-published or commercially-published makes no difference. Book day is book day, and I’ll be obsessing over this one all week.


I’m happy to chat about the process, if anyone has questions. Thanks for bearing with me, and I hope you like the book!

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

I signed off on the final art for Rise of the Spider Goddess earlier this morning. All that’s left now is to finalize the text layout.

Patrick McEvoy delivered exactly what I was hoping for with the artwork. Given that this was a novel written — very badly — in 1995, based on the aftermath of a D&D adventure, I wanted a cover that blended D&D and WTF. I went for the same D&D-style feel with the font.

I’m quite pleased! What do you think?

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Look what came in Friday’s mail:

Spider Goddess ARC

I only have a few print ARCs for Rise of the Spider Goddess, but I’ve managed to set up a Goodreads giveaway for one of them. Click here to enter.

This one is U.S. only, but I plan on doing something else soon for a worldwide giveaway.

In the meantime, I spent some time Friday afternoon chatting with the cover artist about ideas, and he’s planning to have a few sketches for me by the end of this week. I also went through the book to note and correct any problems. There weren’t too many — a handful of typesetting and kerning glitches, and I needed a better dagger graphic. I also had a typo with the release date on the back cover. But so far, I think we’re well on track for that December 2 release date.

I guess I’ll have a novel out this year after all :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

I tend to get a bit obsessed with new projects sometimes. On the bright side, I’ve decided to go ahead and do a print edition of Rise of the Spider Goddess, to go along with the ebook. Yay! I’ve also been looking into cover art options, finishing up the annotations, and thinking about the best way to publish and promote this sucker.

This is what I think the text of the print version will look like:

Sample Page

I’ve also been messing around with cover font possibilities:

Font Ideas

None of this is final yet. (And that particular color combination is giving me a weird Law & Order vibe…) But I’m having a great deal of fun.

It will probably be at least December before this is available, but I’ll keep y’all updated :-)

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

A few weeks ago, I got an idea. I got a wonderful, terrible idea…

Almost twenty years ago, when I was a sophomore in college, I started writing the adventures of my D&D character after the end of a campaign. It was bad. Really bad. But it was this 50K novel that made me seriously consider the possibility of becoming an author.

I read an excerpt of this story as part of a fundraiser in January of last year, and people told me it made them laugh — both the story itself, and my editorial asides. A few people even said they were interested in hearing what happened next…

…you’re probably starting to see where this is going.

I’m thinking about publishing an annotated version of that 20-year-old book. The prose itself would be unedited. That’s right, every paragraph of purple prose, every time a character takes a drawn-out infodump, every adjective and adverb stacked up like a linguistic Jenga tower, it would all be there for your amusement.

My thinking on this is threefold.

  1. Giving my own bad fiction the MST3000 treatment could be entertaining.
  2. For writers, this could be a helpful tool, both to show that even “successful” authors had to start somewhere, and by highlighting my various mistakes so others will learn what not to do.
  3. Truly completist fans might get a kick out of having my very first book. Plus you’ll see a few ideas that showed up in later, published books.

It would probably be a $3.99 ebook. I’m dubious about a print edition, but we’ll see. I’d probably do the formatting like so:

“Time, as we understand it, is an illusion. It is not a line, but an intricate web in which all events are interlaced. Creation and destruction—they are one and the same.”

—Taken from the Journal of Averlon Lan’thar

Every book should open with a pseudo-deep and utterly
meaningless quote from a character we know nothing about.
Also, gratuitous apostrophe abuse should be punishable
by Taser.

I haven’t come up with an official title yet. A few ideas:

  • Rise of the Spider Goddess
  • Curse of a Fallen Goddess Drunken Muse
  • Godslayer and Prosekiller

What do you think? Does it sound like the kind of thing you’d be interested in checking out?

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.



RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Powered by Dreamwidth Studios

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags