Bitterwood

Bitterwood
"For the sake of humanity, join in Bitterwood's revolt." - Kirkus Reviews

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Dragons are Here!

So, I mentioned in an earlier post last week over at whateverville that I had gotten 4 copies of Bitterwood. On Friday, I got an additonal 40. They now stand in my living room, an impressive little wall of books that leaves me feeling a little numb, to be honest. I only got a handful of contributors copies of Nobody Gets the Girl. I've never been in the presence of 40 copies of anything with my name on it. I know it's silly, but I look at a stack of 40 books and wonder... are there that many people out there who want to read this? 400? 4,000? Even 40,000? More?

The thing that is most frightening about being an author is the fact that your fate depends so much on the actions of strangers. I go to a lot of conventions and talk to a lot of audiences, but, realisticly, even if I did this every weekend, I probably wouldn't meet 4000 people. Even if I could magically persuade every person I meet over the course of a year to go buy my book, it would probably only sell 1/10 the number of books I need to sell for this thing to be considered a success. In the end, the book is going to rise and fall on the actions of people I don't meet, readers who are going to walk into bookstores without knowing who I am, spot my book, pick it up, and decide to buy it based on the cover art and the text on the jacket.


Luckily, my book has a truly eyecatching cover by the insanely talented Micheal Komarck, and the hardworking crew at Solaris has put the whole thing together into a wonderful looking package. The teaser text on the back accurately captures the conflict of the book without giving anything away, and the front cover has a special printing varnish that gives the eye of the dragon a glossy finish. They eye actually looks wet, enhancing the effect that you are seeing Bitterwood's reflection. I think a lot of people are going to pick up this book once they see the cover.


Fortunately, I already have some evidence of this. When I got my books, they were shipped directly from Simon and Schuster, and the boxes are labled, "Do not display before June 27." But, I was at the Borders in Winston Salem yesterday, and, as I often do, I walked to the spot in the bookstore where my Bitterwood would be if it was released yet. And... they had it. Two copies. But, the way the books were sitting, it was obvious that a third copy had been sitting between the two earlier, as there was a Bitterwood-sized gap in between the two. I met my friend Greg there and he bought a copy. I checked with the information desk to see if they knew how many copies they had. As I suspected, they had started the day with three, but said they wouldn't be able to tell if any had sold until the next day.


That night, Greg took me back to Borders to pick up my car, and I couldn't resist going back inside. For one thing, my book had been sitting spine out, and I figured I'd turn the last copy cover out so that the eye-catching cover could do its magic. That turned out not to be neccessary... the book was gone. Apparently, all three had sold in a single day... at least two to complete strangers.

I swung by the Borders in Greensboro and the book wasn't out yet. The computer said it was "arriving soon."

So, I'd like to ask anyone reading this to do me a favor. Go to your local bookstores this week and let me know if you find a copy in stock. If it's sitting spine out and there's room on the shelf, I'd appreciate it if you could turn it cover out. (Don't be rude about this though... I wouldn't want you to hide someone else's book doing this.) If your local bookstore has a copy, I'd appreciate it if you'd drop me a line, or just post that information here, saying that the book is available at Bookstore X in City Y. Thank you in advance for your hard work and dedication.
There's going to be a lot of news coming up over the next few weeks as Bitterwood rolls out. I hope to have some signings lined up soon. I'll be at Readercon after the 4th of July, and hope to be doing a reading there, though I haven't got my final schedule. I'll also soon be announcing a contest. A very important element of my fantasy novel has somehow made it into print without ever being named. So, once there's been time for a decent pool of people to have read the book, I'll describe that nameless thing and explained why it remained unnamed, and hold a contest to name it. Sorry to be so vague... watch this space.

15 comments:

Norton G said...

I went to the Borders here in Gainesville, Fl. They had two copies. I bought one, so now they have one. I end up at this store about once a week. I will try to remember to face out Bitterwood every time I see it. Looking forward to reading this.

SQT said...

The book cover is very cool. I hope it does well. I'll be sure to check it out. Sci-fi Chick did a review of the book at her blog and it sounds really good.

James Maxey said...

Thanks, Norton, SQT, and all the rest of you dragon-hunters out there. I've got reports from Tom Pendergrass in Alabama of finding the book and from Abigail Ferrance-Wu of finding the copies already cover out at the Barnes and Noble at the Southpoint Mall in Durham, NC. I've got an email from a friend currently in California saying she's going hunting for the book today, and another report of dragon hunting activity in the DC area. Stay tuned.

Joy Marchand said...

California dragonhunter here: I found one book at the Borders in Stockton, CA. It looks like there may have been one or more others on the shelf before I got there. Dragonhunter Jr. and I turned the book face-out and have enlisted others to continue the search in CA after we've returned to MA.

Joy Marchand said...

Also, it seems CA Barnes & Nobles are not shelving Bitterwood for another 2 days. The B&N in Tracy, CA has 3 books on order, which are arriving tomorrow or Thursday. It's also worth mentioning, I think, that Bitterwood is being shelved either right next to, or seriously close to, the Anne McCaffrey books. I hope people coming to get Pern books will see the Solaris cover and BANG. Piggyback SAAALE!

James Maxey said...

Joy, thanks for the update. Over on the Codex boards, Eric James Stone reports finding copies at the B&N in Manchester, NH and Tony Frazier reports picking up a copy at the B&N in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Curiously, Amazon still doesn't seem to be shipping copies yet. I wonder what the hold up is?

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Just popping in to say that I loved the book! It looks like SQT already let you know that.. thanks ;)
And I know of quite a few people who are going out to try to find Bitterwood right away!

James Maxey said...

Thanks Angela! Anyone interested in reading the review can find it at Amazon or on her excellent blog at http://scifichick.com/?p=281#more-281

Mr. Cavin said...

Washington DC checking in: District Borders have the book out already, the location I checked (at 18 and L Street in Farragut) had six copies, three cover-out. There did not seem to be any gaps. What I liked about the shelves in this branch was that the "MAXEY" section fell about neck level, whereas the "McCAFFREY" section was right along the floor beneath. Before I left the store, one copy of Bitterwood had already sold. Over the weekend, I'll try to check the local Barnes and Noble, since they seem to brand least likely to have shelved the book prematurely in other locations.

cheryl said...

Went to Southpoint (durham) B&N today and found 3 copies. Amazon is also now shipping copies.

Mr. Cavin said...

Yeah. Friday afternoon there were four copies in the Barnes & Noble at 12th Street and P in the Metro Center area of downtown Washington, DC. There was also a Bitterwood-shaped hole right on the shelf beside your books (there were three turned out and one spine-out). Of course, the stupid book right beside Bitterwood was just exactly the same size, making it a little ambiguous as to which one had initially filled that hole. I nudged things around so everyone could tell it was your book that had sold a copy.

James Maxey said...

Guy Stewart reports picking up a copy in Minneapolis, Helena Bell says she got one in Illinois. And, as Cheryl mentioned a few comments back, Amazon is now shipping. At this point, I feel it's safe to say, if you want a copy (and who wouldn't?) you can get your hands on a copy with very little effort. Thanks, dragon hunters! I appreciate your hard work and dedication!

ASSASSIN3 said...

Just bought a copy of BITTERWOOD, The cover (front and back did the trick for me. Ever since my hero David Gemmell died i have searched all fantasy fiction to find a new hero. Are you that hero James Maxey ?. Any way just to say i can't put the book down. Thank you

James Maxey said...

Assassin3, David Gemmell is, alas, irreplacible. Still, I'll do everything in my power to keep books like Bitterwood coming your way. Thanks for your support.

Abbie said...

James - I saw your latest novel on amazon. Congrats! I just thought I would let you know there was a grammar mistake in the "about the novel section" so you could get the right person to fix it. It says "After the death ok King Albekizan..." I am pretty sure it should say "of King Albekizan..."
Congrats again!
-Abbie