There has long raged a debate about the quality of UK vs. US cover art and the different ideals behind design aesthetics in the two regions. In general, fans seem to consider the UK to be the stronger market, and for a long time they were, but it’s my feeling that in the past couple of years, thanks to publishers like Tor, Night Shade Books, Pyr Books and Orbit Books, that the US has eclipsed the UK and is generating much more interesting cover art in general. Hurley herself said, “I am told the UK market is way more stuck-up about their covers. I adore my Conan covers, but $1 says the more mainstreamy-cover sells more books.”
If this is a ‘mainstreamy’ cover, I’m not sure I like where Del Rey UK is taking the series. Still, It’s nice to see Hurley seeing a release from a major publisher. What some people might not know is that Del Rey was originally meant to publish Hurley in the US, first picking up her novel, God’s War, before, for a variety of reasons that I’m not clear on, deciding to let Hurley and the series go. It, and its edits, were then picked up by Night Shade Books. Continue reading
You like free things, right? And you like good, critically-lauded novels? Of course you do.
Thanks to Night Shade Books, you can pick up eBook versions of the first two novels by Kameron Hurley (remember her? She wrote this awesome blog post), God’s War and Infidel. How do you get ‘em? It’s easy, just send an email to the following address:
It’s that easy. And, you know, you’re just not going to find a better deal than that this week. So, hop on it. Conveniently, this promotion comes just in time for the release of Rapture, the third and final volume in the Bel Dame Apocrypha
If you’re curious about why you should be excited by Hurley’s series, check out Justin Landon’s recent review of God’s War, and keep an eye on A Dribble of Ink for upcoming reviews of both Infidel and Rapture.
Release Date: 20110118
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Beginning with Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl three years ago, Night Shade Books has made a concerted effort to produce meaningful debut novels. 2011 was a bold year in that regard. God’s War by Kameron Hurley, subsequently nominated for a Nebula Award, was the mother ship of that movement. It’s the kind of novel that plants a flag, making a statement about the deficiencies of genre fiction and challenging societal perceptions as a matter of course.
Nyxnissa is a bounty hunter. She’s rather good at her job, mostly because she manages to chop off the heads of anyone dumb enough to get in her way. She’s got an unlucky team around her, headlined by the not so talented magician, Rhys, whose good looks and steady hands make up for his deficiencies. Once a government sponsored bel dame (assassin), Nyx has been down her luck for a while when she’s called before the Nasheen Queen to hunt down an alien who might have access to genetic technology that could end the never ending war between Chenja and Nasheen. Of course, her team isn’t the only one looking. Conflict ensues.
What makes God’s War such an accomplishment has little to do with plot. It is, in fact, somewhat of a failure as a narrative. The novel is littered with disjointed blanks that demand filling and the first fifty pages are more of a novella than the opening to a novel. Other details, like why Nyx’s team is so loyal to her and the relationships between Nyx and the various arms of the government, lack an equal amount of lucidity. What rescues the novel is Hurley’s unremitting authentic voice, the sheer audacity of her ideas, and brilliantly conceived and executed characters. Continue reading
Every time Nyx thought she’d gotten out of the business of killing boys, she shot another one.
I’ve not read Hurley’s work (yet), but she’s got a lot of fans around these parts, including Justin Landon, who was kind enough to host the first chapter of Hurley’s next novel, Rapture, on his blog, along with a great guest post from Hurley about writing her second novel and a giveaway (located below the Rapture excerpt). Not bad, huh? Continue reading
In 2011, after much angst and delay, my first novel, God’s War, came out from Night Shade Books. It went on to win the Kitschy Award for Best Debut Novel and was nominated for a Nebula Award as well as a Locus Award for Best First Novel. I earned out my advance in about six months and sealed the deal for the third book in the series not long after that. I’ve also just sold UK and audio rights for all three novels in the series.
Looks like a smashing good success all around when you string it all together like that, doesn’t it? In fact, it looks almost miraculously easy, as if I must have written some kind of exceptional book or something. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my books. But I also read a lot of other books in 2011 that I thought were a lot better, some of which didn’t make any awards list and many of which are still earning out their (probably substantially larger) advances.
So how did this happen? How does a little book that was rejected at nearly every other publisher as being “unmarketable” and had its first contract cancelled for similar concerns get so much… well – as people kept putting it online – “buzz”?
The real answer is, nobody really knows exactly why some books get talked about and some books don’t. A lot of people will tell you that who you know is what gets you published. And until I went through this process, I’d be the first to tell you that that’s bunk.
What I didn’t realize was that I was about to become one of those “silly punks” myself.
But turns out that once you can actually write a good book, that it does actually matter a good deal who you know and who’s heard of you. Recently, in this post over at Staffer’s Musings regarding the relationship of book bloggers and publishers, God’s War and its marketing came up again in conversation, with an assertion that, hey, you know, it must have been because it was such a good book that it made all these lists.
But there were a LOT of good books that didn’t make these lists. What helped God’s War get noticed? There’s a lot of mysterious stuff that happens among readers with particular books, and I can’t pretend to get that, but what I can do is tell you how I went about trying to get this book noticed, and how a small but passionate bunch of book bloggers, colleagues, and friends helped get this book’s name out in 2011. Is this approach applicable to other books? Sure. If you’re willing to play the game. And accept the fact that what you’re about to launch yourself into is a casino, not a meritocracy. Continue reading