More than a year without a vlog? For shame.
But behold, the elusive V in her native habitat.
You guys, the time has finally arrived.
A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC–my 8th novel, and the first in a brand new fantasy series with Tor–hits shelves this week.
I vividly remember pacing my front yard in the snow more than two years ago, telling my beta reader about this idea I had. It wasn’t even an idea. It was just a moment, a collision between two characters in an alley. That moment would go on to spawn four Londons, a system of magic, and a cast of strange, powerful, and ambitious deviants, and is Part V, Chapter V in the finished book.
I remember several months later, driving through Texas with Carrie Ryan and Beth Revis, telling them about this crazy idea I was working on, my first ever crack at full-on fantasy.
I remember sitting in a car in the middle of nowhere, telling my agent the project was broken, and that I didn’t know if I could fix it, let alone turn it in to my editor.
I remember my agent convincing me that it wasn’t broken, that the pitch alone still gave her chills, and that she would pry it from my fingers if she had to. I remember her telling my editor was brilliant, and that together we would make it everything it needed to be. And she was right.
I remember late-night emails with my intrepid editor, talking through everything from world-building to weapons, coats to invented languages. Last minute tweaks and changes, cover ideas and final art, and picking the knives at the top of each chapter. I remember reading the book for the final time and realizing that I was reading it as a reader, not the writer, and knowing that it was ready to go to print. I remember that shift from uncertainty to excitement.
So far, each of these moments has belonged to me, but now the book, and its future, belongs to you.
This book, as the dedication says, is for the one who dream of stranger worlds.
And I hope you enjoy it.
* * * * * * * *
If you’re looking for ways to support a book as it makes its way into the world, there are several things you can do.
–Obviously, if you’re able, you can buy it. This is the surest way to support a book, and an AUTHOR.
–Once you’ve read it, please consider leaving a review online, at B+N, Amazon, GR, etc. This is one of the easiest ways to make an impact, and it really does matter.
–Make sure your local store and library has it in! You can always ask, and you can request it.
–Talk it up to your friends, your family, your school, your workplace. Basically run through the streets shouting its name like a lost pet.
–If you love the book, check out the author’s backlist. If ADSOM if your first read of mine, check out VICIOUS, which just came out in paperback.
–If you love a book, spread the word online. Twitter. Tumblr. Instagram. Youtube. Interest and passion are contagious.
–A fun fact: there’s this theory called the 5 Touch Rule, which basically suggests that as consumers we interact with a product 5 times before purchasing it. I’m a firm believer in this when it comes to books. If you can be one of those touches, please do.
You know the drill, lovelies.
Comment to win!
Two very, very cool things have happened for VICIOUS in the last week, aiding my little supervillain book in its climb to world domina–I mean success.
First, last week, Publishers Weekly named VICIOUS one of the Best Books of 2013!!!!
I was shocked and humbled, to say the least, and really, really excited.
I woke up this morning to learn that VICIOUS had made the official ballot in the Goodreads Choice Awards. I was completely speechless.
I just can’t even. You can’t see it in the screenshot, but I’m in that category with Neil Gaiman and Brandon Sanderson.
If you want to go vote, you can click HERE.
I know I’ve said it before, but I have to say it again. I’m not lying when I say that every step counts. Every review. Every purchase. Every tweet. Every spread word, and shouted word, and whispered-in-a-library word. It all counts. Some books come into the game with hundreds or thousands of voices already behind them, but most come with only a few, and if they’re lucky, those few are loud.
I have felt so very lucky, because even when VICIOUS did not have many voices, those voices were loud. They continue to be loud. And people seem to be listening.
So thank you.
Thank you to everyone who takes the time to be a voice, because I hear them, and others hear them, too, and it really does matter.
Agh, I’ve been such a bad blogger! So sorry, lovelies. But it’s obviously time for a life update!
Two weeks ago I found myself at New York Comic Con, and had the surreal opportunity to promote VICIOUS and THE ARCHIVED at the same time. Between the back-to-back signings, and the panel alongside epic authors like Lev Grossman and Kami Garcia, I was equal parts exhausted and exhilarated.
(Photo credit: Viking Books…I’m the one with horns)
I was also ON DEADLINE.
A week and a half ago, I finished the draft of my 7th book (9th if you count the two that will never be published). The book still has no title, and it recently got pushed back (only 3-4 months) to make sure I have the time to make it the strongest book possible. But having a first draft feels like a major accomplishment right now, especially in the midst of so much travel and strange and awesome and distraction.
Here’s a few visual hints about the project:
I cannot wait to say more ;)
Anyway, the day after I finished my draft, a film crew flew out on behalf of Scholastic to shoot footage of me for the official Book Clubs and Fairs DVD, yet another first, and another surreal experience in a season dedicated to the new and humbling. They were absolutely lovely, and I am still processing the fact that EVERYDAY ANGEL’s trailer, complete with my commentary, will be in every single classroom pre-fair. Because of my inclusion in the promo materials, it also means that EVERYDAY ANGEL itself will be guaranteed in every. single. fair. Which is just…wow.
Two days after the Scholastic shoot, I drove up to St. Louis to see two of my best friends, toast to finished drafts, and do a signing at a bookstore (Subterranean) where I worked for a semester during my time at WashU. It was a much-needed sanity break.
And then, the day after I drove back to Nashville, I set out for Los Angeles.
I’m not allowed to talk about WHY I went to LA yet (hopefully soon) but suffice it to say, it was a surreal and humbling experience. And in addition to all the secret-y work meetings, I was invited to the Bad Robot offices. *dies* Yes, Bad Robot, as in JJ ABRAMS’ PRODUCTION COMPANY. I snagged this photo from the waiting room:
The offices are as strange and cool and secretive as the man at their helm, and I am still geeking out about the experience. I also totally stole a button from that jar.
(T’s are being crossed and i’s dotted in other parts of LA, and I’m hopeful I’ll be able to share the AMAZING NEWS soon. In the meantime, apologies for being a tease.)
And now, at last, I’m home. For the rest of the fall, in fact, aside from a jaunt to Charleston for YALLFest in a couple weeks (I hope to see some of you there! In addition to paneling, I’ll be signing all three books, THE NEAR WITCH, THE ARCHIVED, and VICIOUS).
In other news, my glorious writing chair came. Behold:
It is a 1920’s style Georgian Wingback, and it cost a fair portion of my soul, but I’m convinced it will be my red violin, and follow me through time. One day I’ll live in a little Scottish apartment and the chair will be my only piece of furniture and it will still feel like home.
And finally, THE UNBOUND.
You guys, THE UNBOUND comes out in 3 MONTHS. I cannot even handle that. I’ve been so caught up in VICIOUS things, the release has snuck up on me! One of the reasons it’s been so stealth on the approach is because we are not doing ARCs.
Before you start BOOing, or making rude gestures, or pouting, here’s what I have to say: there are only 3 months till release, and you probably wouldn’t have time to read the ARC anyway :p But seriously, it was a decision made by the entire Disney team, as well as myself, and I stand by it.
I hope you’ll stand by me.
The success of THE UNBOUND is more important than ever, and I need you with me.
Also, you will have a chance to read the book early, if you want to. We’ll be giving away a very select number of access buttons to a full digital copy, mostly through giveaways and twitter contests, so if you snag one of those, you’ll be able to download a full e-arc.
In only a matter of days (on November 8th), the first 100 pages of THE UNBOUND will go up on Netgalley. It will be auto-approved, so all you have to do is click the download button. As with book 1, no pressure, if you’d rather read it all at once, but if you DO want the sneak peek, it’s yours.
And the only thing I’ll say about those pages is that there is a lot of Wesley in them. There is a lot of Wesley Ayers in the whole book, for that matter. I teasingly said on Twitter the other day:
Annnnnd I think that’s everything right now. I’ve officially caught you up.
November promises to be a daunting month.
I’m revising the second book in the EVERYDAY ANGEL series, and will soon be revising an adult project as well. Additionally, I’m hoping to log between 25,000 and 30,000 new words, though I haven’t decided yet where they’ll go. I have two projects I’m currently enamored with, both in the bony stages, and would love to put some meat on each. One I’ve been planning for more than TWO YEARS, and feel like it’s finally time to start.
Regardless, I will try to be a better blogger in the month ahead! And hopefully the next time I blog it will be with NEWS.
I’m so excited because I finally get to share the cover art and jacket copy for my upcoming Scholastic series!
For those who haven’t heard me talk about these books yet, they are a lower middle grade trilogy about a very peculiar guardian angel (a bit Doctor Who, a bit Peter Pan) and the three different girls she helps, and the first books is called NEW BEGINNINGS (the next one is called SECOND CHANCES).
Without further ado, the cover (the final one won’t have the pink bar)!
So for those who know my usual fare–blood and death and things that go bump–this might seem a bit of a departure, but I’m really excited, and honored to be part of the Scholastic team (you guys, I’m going to be in Scholastic Book Fairs, they are going to fly out and film me for the official DVD materials, I can’t even, my childhood, it weeps for joy).
And while my usual taste–like my usual fare–skews darker, and usually comes with an appropriately angsty or sinister or morbid cover, this cover is a perfect fit for this series.
Here’s the pitch:
There’s more to Aria than meets the eye. She’s a guardian angel. And to earn her wings, she’ll have to help three different girls.
Aria’s first mission is Gabby Torres. Gabby’s brother is sick, and Gabby’s been so worried about him for so long, she’s forgotten who she is. When a new school offers her a fresh start, Gabby learns it’s hard to make friends while keeping half her life a secret.
Then Aria shows up. Aria, who knows exactly what to say and do to make Gabby feel better. Can Aria help Gabby find herself again? And will Gabby still trust Aria when she discovers what her new friend really is?
I know this series won’t appeal to everyone in my current fanbase, but I’m really proud of it, and hoping it will appeal to your children, or to the child in you. And luckily for my darker-minded crowd, I’ve got many things in the works for you ;) 2014 promises to be an exciting year in this little corner of the universe.
So. PSA time.
Every single day I get messages–tweets, fbs, emails, etc–from people letting me know their store doesn’t have my books. Or at least, not all of them.
Sometimes it’s because my book isn’t being published in their country, and then I can apologize (not in my control) and direct them to an awesome site like Book Depository (which ships to dozens of countries for free).
But often it’s that their US store–be it their chain store or their indie–doesn’t carry my books. Or doesn’t carry whichever one of my books they were looking for. Chain stores especially have a time frame during which they carry a new title. It depends on a variety of factors, but one of the biggest is shelf space. YA has a huge turnover, a vast number of new books coming out, and that means they have to make room. Sometimes a new hardcover gets a year on the shelf, sometimes 6 months, sometimes 2-3.
I feel like I’ve been lucky. Each of my books has gotten better bookstore placement. When THE NEAR WITCH first came out, Barnes and Noble only took an average of 2 copies. When THE ARCHIVED came out, it averaged 5-6. When VICIOUS hit shelves a week and a half ago, it had absolutely awesome placement.
But store size is also a huge factor. Even VICIOUS, which has New Arrival placement in big Barnes and Nobles, and New Science Fiction and Fantasy placement in medium stores, is not being shelved in EVERY Barnes and Noble. THE ARCHIVED has lasted 9 months, but is fading from shelves at a rapid rate as the stores make sure to clear their stock before the paperback hits shelves in January.
And indie bookstores are a whole different beast. Since indies place their orders independently–where chain store stock decisions are made in blankets–there’s just no way to guarantee that an author of book gets onto the radar of every indie bookstore. Trust me, if there were a way, I would have found it (so would everyone else in the industry).
Every time I get one of these notes, telling me a store didn’t stock my book(s), it’s like a little punch in the chest. Not just because I WISH that every store had all my books, but because many times people say they bought something else instead, or simply left, instead of requesting it.
Here’s the PSA part:
Authors have NO control over which stores do–or don’t–carry their books.
But YOU, as a reader and a book-buyer, DO have control.
You can ask the store to order it.
If enough people do, a store will often start carrying a couple in stock.
Same goes for libraries. If enough requests and holds get put on a book, they will usually order more copies.
YOU are the way to ensure that the books you want by the authors you want get shelved in stores.
So please, when you want a book from a store, ask the store to order it. They will be happy to. And you’ll put a few years back on my life because every time I get that note, it strips a few days off.
It’s a surreal thing, the day when a book ceases to belong to YOU, and instead belongs to EVERYONE.
It’s a happy, sad, strange, wonderful, surreal thing.
And today, I experienced that mix of emotions for the third time, when VICIOUS officially hit shelves.
I’m supposed to let go now, to give my morbid little book up to the world and step away, and tug my skin–everything I pulled away to write and rewrite–back together, nice and tight around me.
I have never been so ready, and so not ready at the same time.
I am ready to share, of course. But not to let go. And I don’t think I ever will be, not with this book.
I miss my characters. I miss my world. And I’m so excited that other people can now discover it, and in a way I will be able rediscover it through them. Rediscover what it feels like, meeting Victor and Eli, Syd and Serena. The rush, the thrill, the shock, the surprise.
VICIOUS is the only book I re-visit, not as an author, but as a reader. Like saying hello to friends. For nearly three years, they were my friends. Still are, somewhere in my head.
Confession: on bad days, I write new scenes. Ones that take place after VICIOUS, little fragments of a story I hope one day I get to share. For now, it’s mine. But then again, so was VICIOUS ;)
Anyway, VICIOUS is out there now. I hope you’ll go and find it. Give a read. Say hello to my old friends. Maybe they’ll become yours, too.
All my love.
Lovelies. Lovelies. I can’t even…
*breathes deeply, composes self*
VICIOUS comes out in 5 DAYS. As in, in 5 days, it will be everywhere. On shelves. On doorsteps. The whole nine yards.
In 5 days I will write a post with a lot of feelings (if you’ve not watched this vlog yet, it should serve as a good intro to the feels that will spill across this blog on Tuesday: ). But it’s not Tuesday yet, so we shall hold off on those feelings.
In the meantime, a few orders of business!
I’m getting ready to head to New Orleans (for the very first time) to participate in the SIBA (Southern Independent Booksellers Association) trade show! I can’t wait to look at graveyards and talk to awesome indies and read to them from VICIOUS (!) and eat beignets. I’m really, really ex
1. Author copies!
One day I will have enough author copies to build a throne.
2. NEW YORK COMIC CON!
I will be going to NYCC this year for both VICIOUS and THE ARCHIVED!
On Saturday, I’ll be on a pretty epic panel called ODE TO NERDS, but I will also have TWO in-booth signings, one for THE ARCHIVED and one for VICIOUS.
Yes, that’s right, on Friday I will sign THE ARCHIVED in Disney’s booth (10:30-11:30) and then VICIOUS in Tor’s booth (12-1) and you can come and get FREE COPIES OF BOTH and get them signed by me and such and it will be a blast. More details (such as time of day) to come on that front.
3. A new blurb!!!
I am so humbled to announce that VICIOUS picked up a NINTH blurb this week, from an absolute force:
“V.E. Schwab’s Vicious is the superhero novel I’ve been waiting for: fresh, merciless, and yes, vicious.”
—Mira Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Blackout
4. So VICIOUS is about to hit shelves. What does that mean? What can I do? How can I help?
This is something I will try and address more next week, but I wanted to say briefly now that a book release is 75% OMG AWESOME and 25% TERRIFYING and I might have actually gotten those statistics reversed.
So much work goes into a book–so much work went into THIS book–and the moment when you have to let go, when it ceases to be yours and becomes everyone’s, is utterly terrifying. All you can hope as an author is that people love it, and that they love it en talk about it, because we live in a word-of-mouth era. Talking about books sells books. One voice in one ear can multiply more than anything.
All I would ask as we head into next week is that, if you’re so inclined, you spread the word. Tell one person about VICIOUS. Hell, tell two! I wish I could explain how much power you have now.
Even when it seems like a book doesn’t need your help, like it has the voice and the steam it needs, I cannot stress enough that a book is like a coal-driven train, in that it needs constant fuel.
I’ve felt incredibly blessed by the voice given to VICIOUS so far, both by PW, and by my amazing blurbers, and by you. But it’s still incredibly scary, and you live in this place of “blow on the coals! Blow on the coals!” So if you have even a single breath of air to spare, it would mean the world if you could use it to tell someone about VICIOUS :)
Until next week, lovelies!
I recently got to share the artwork (by Victo Ngai, *swoon*) for my upcoming short story, “Warm Up.”
I couldn’t say much about it at the time, aside from the fact that it would go up on Tor.com BEFORE Vicious hits shelves, but now that it’s up for pre-order on Amazon, I can finally share what it’s about!
We wanted to give readers a taste of the world without spoiling ANYTHING in Vicious, so “Warm Up” is set during a decade-long period when Victor is in prison, and Eli is out executing ExtraOrdinary people (read: superpowered). It follows an ExtraOrdinary man named David Lane.
Here’s the pitch:
It’s been 297 days since David died–and came back.
He may have survived the avalanche, but the aftermath has been far worse. His wife moved out, taking his son with her, and a devastated David hasn’t left his house since, terrified of the mysterious new power that followed him home from the ill-fated expedition.
After months in seclusion, David’s ready for a fresh start, and ventures out, determined to keep his power in check. But David’s power isn’t the one he needs to worry about.
“Warm Up” will go up on Tor.com on AUGUST 20TH!!
You can also pre-order it on Amazon for only $0.99 and it will just *poof* arrive on your kindle that day.