Sunday, March 2, 2008

Q&A #1

First, let me apologize for not posting last week. I was really sick for most of the week with a stomach virus and then I had two writer events which I was speaking at. I promise to make up for it by posting every day this week.

Today I thought I’d answer a couple of questions. Please if you have any others, post them and I’ll put them on the blog. And a special thanks to some of my new younger readers who have started dropping by regularly. You are great.

Q: Lauren asked, “So, Mr. Savage, did you get to choose any artist you wanted for an illustrator (who agreed to do it, of course), or did you have a group of artists working for your publishing company you had to choose from? I've always wondered how the illustrator thing works.”

A: Good question, Lauren, but really, you can just call me Scott. I’ll tell you what I know. My publisher, Shadow Mountain, is constantly on the lookout for good artists. But there are a lot of issues involved. How much does the artist charge for their work? How quickly can they work? How much experience do they have? And most importantly, how good are they?

A lot of times, artists will bring their portfolio to publishers to try and get future work with them. In my case, I talked to the person managing my book and told him how much I admired Brandon Dorman’s work. I really liked that he could do what I call hard fantasy—illustrations that didn’t look cartoonish. I wanted a cover that would make people see it and go, “Wow! That is cool.”

Honestly, I didn’t expect to get Brandon, because he is very busy with a lot of other projects. I just wanted Chris to know what I was looking for. So when he came back and told me that Brandon had agreed to do my book, I was literally floored.

The week before last, Lisa, my editor, asked me for a list of illustration suggestions. Basically she wanted me to go through each of the four parts of my books (about 25k words per part) and suggest 4-6 possible inside illustrations. That was both fun and hard. I really try to fill my books with lots of action and adventure scenes. So I was going, “Would it be better to have the part where the dark wizard turns into a snake or where the army of undead attacks?” To tell you the truth, I will be excited as heck just to see any scenes from my book made into pictures.

It looks like the cover will be a scene from City Under the Water, since the first book is actually Called "Farworld—Water." I think the actually cover itself will also look like it is made of water. Should be fun.

The next question, asked by several people is when my book will actually come out.

A: I don’t have a firm drop date yet. But one thing I have learned recently is that until your book gains enough clout, the date your book goes on sale is not as firm a you might think. A Stephen King book or something like Harry Potter, can not be sold until the drop or release date. But books that don’t have as much clout may be sold by stores whenever the get them, even though the publisher wants you hard sell date.

The reason a publisher pushes for that hard date is that sales numbers are reported weekly. So you really want to launch your series with good sell through numbers the first week. But it takes more work for a bookstore to hold books until a certain date, so they only really stick to it if the book is big enough that they could get some backlash from the publisher or other stores.

As soon as I have a more firm date, I will let you know. I am also going to do something fun for people who have blogs, that will give you a chance to get a review copy early. And I’ll even run a little contest for people without blogs to win an Advanced Reader Copy. I expect that to be sometime in mid to late April.


Anna said...

As long as you are answering questions, I have one that I have been dying to know, especially the last couple of days. That sounds weird, I know, but here it is.

How do you get a contract with a publishing company? It isn't as if most fifteen year olds have agents, so do you send some sample chapters in as a book proposal, or do you write the whole book and then send it? And how do you do that? I haven't finished a book yet. Once in my head, I think...but I'm working hard on plot lines and stuff right now, so I'm really curious if I'm supposed to write the book first or get a contract first. Both sound really scary, but it'll have to come to that eventually....right? I'm really enjoying your blog by the way. :)

Lauren said...

lol...I'll call you Scott if you want!

Hey, Anna, my mom was trying to publish a book, and she found a number of manuals in the bookstore. She didn't actually get published, but...they were very helpful and the people actually read her manuscript. So, I don't know. I'm not an expert.

Anonymous said...

Great Scott,

So, when you say that you were "literally floored", how long did you stay on the floor?

The Spellbinder

Anna said...

Haha. Lauren would you mind terribly asking your mom which manuals helped the most so I could check some of them out? The thing is, if you are supposed to send in sample chapters, then that would mean SOON. That's why I've gotten curious. Plus it's been staring me in the face with big tempting eyes.

Brian said...

Hi Scott-
First- I hope your feeing better. Stomach viruses are a nightmare. Second- Anna, that would be really cool if you could get a book published. I would read it for sure. Third-I can't wait for you to hold contests to win advanced reader copies. That would be so cool if I actually won one. I would read it right away. I just hope that you can get the contests in before June. In June of every year, I go away to sleep away camp for a month. I would really hate to miss the chance. Hope you feel better.

Anna said...

Thank you Brian! But don't get too excited about a book from me yet. It'll be another year or two before I'm ready to publish anything. I tell you what though. I'll have a gazillion posts on my blog about it and I'll comment here too. And on your blog. Thanks for being interested!!!! I post about it sometimes on my blog.

J Scott Savage said...

Well good news, Brian. ARCs come out in May! Then you could tell all the kids at camp, "Ha! Ha! I have a book you can't buy for months!"

Brian said...

Thanks Scott, I was a little worried that I'd miss this great chance. I've never gotten an advance reader copy before, so I'm going to try as hard as possible to get one. Still, I'll miss being able to see your posts on here for a month. No computers allowed at camp.

Queen of Chaos said...

I love reading fantasy with mu 10 and 8 year old boys. We are in the middle of Dashner's 13th Reality {Tristi's ARC she lent me} and we are loving it.

Your series sounds very intriguing and we look forward to gettig our hands on it to read! I know my sons will like it. Keep up your hard work!

-Autumn Ables