Tuesday, October 6, 2009
A New Addition to the Family: Portugal

The Name of the Wind just came out in Portugal. They tell me that at the beginning of the month it was actually #7 on the bestseller lists over there. Which, I will admit, gives me a little bit of a tingle....

I haven't actually held one in my hands yet, but the cover looks pretty cool:





I always like seeing new covers for the book. Especially when the art has obviously been commissioned especially for the book.

Though I've only recently become a father, I've compared writing a book to having a baby for years. My mom used to refer to it as "her grandbook." And one of my friends used to ask about it in those terms. We wouldn't see each other for months, and when we got together and caught up on the news, she'd eventually ask, "And how's the baby doing...?"

Now that I've been a dad for a couple of weeks, I realize that the baby analogy is better than I thought. Before I was mostly referring to the emotional connection you feel to your own book. But now, having dealt with a newborn, I realize that writing a book is not entirely dissimilar to actually raising a child.

You feed it. Change it. Cuddle it. Dress it. Undress it. Change it. Feed it. Change it. Change it. Get it to take a nap. Change it.

And then, at the end of the day, you look at it and realize that it's pretty useless.

Don't get me wrong, you love it. You love it like nobody's business. But unless you're an idiot, you realize this thing really isn't good for anything yet. You're going to have months and months of thankless, repetitive work before it's capable of going out into the world on its own.

Later, when your book is published, it's very cool and very scary. That's when your baby has grown up enough to leave the nest. It's out there, meeting people all on its own. If you've raised it properly, it hopefully makes a good impression. Hopefully it makes friends.

But the foreign editions of the book are... different. It's still my baby, but it's not *really* my baby. It's like someone has cloned my baby and dressed it up in lederhosen and made it smoke a pipe for marketing reasons.

Yeah. The analogy really starts to fall apart after a while, I guess.

What was my point? No point. I don't always have to have a point, you know....

Wait! I guess I do have a point. It's that sometimes they make your baby smoke a pipe and you have to shrug it off. You don't know what sells books in Bangladesh, or Berlin, or Brigadoon. For the most part, you have to trust that the publisher knows what they're doing. For all you know, those Doonies are loonies for pipes...

But it's nice when you see the marketing and it appeals to your aesthetic. Like the trailer I posted before. Or this picture that I stumbled onto when I was googling up an image of the cover for this blog.




(Click to Embiggen)


I'm guessing this is a promotional poster. If it is, I wish I had a copy. I like the tagline across the top. "Kvothe: Magician, Musician, Thief, Assassin and... Hero."

Hell, if I'd have been able to come up with promo copy like that on my own, it wouldn't have taken me five years to sell the thing.

Later, you hoopy froods....

pat

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Introducing - the Slovak and Polish versions of the book.

Well it seems like most folks would like to see more Survival Guides. So we'll do that. I'll post up a few more of the old ones before too long, and send out a call for letters when I'm ready to start answering new one. So start stockpiling your problems now.

And, for those of you who give a care, here are the newest editions to The Name of the Wind family.




This cover should look familiar to most of you, as it's pretty much the same as the UK cover.




(Click to Embiggen)

Soon, my thumb will be so famous from all these appearances that it will become a celebrity in its own right. I predict it will leave for Hollywood, have a whirlwind affair with Kate Moss, develop a drinking problem, and then eventually come crawling back to Wisconsin. Which is a good thing because I need it to hit the space bar.

Anyway, the Polish version of the book has lovely paper, and a new cover which clearly depicts the scene where Kvothe, um... goes forth. Into... some manner of... um cloudy desert.

I kid. I kid. I know that not ever book gets its own tailor-made cover. By now, when a version of my book comes out with a cover that's obviously a piece of stock-art, I feel like it's one of my kids coming up to me and saying. "Guess what happened today? I went out and fought a dragon, and met a guy with a nipple ring, and I rode an elephant, and it was really cool!" I know it's not the truth, but it's still my kid, and I can't be too upset. I'm just glad he's out there, meeting new people.

The other thing I do is make up little stories that go along with the cover. For this one the story would be:

Kvothe strode through the dread portal, leaning heavily on his staff. A lesser man might have been concerned by the skulls, or been anxious about the unnatural weather that loomed on the near horizon.

But Kvothe was made of sterner stuff than this, and his thoughts dwelled on ponderous matters: "My hat," he thought to himself. "is certainly pointy. But is it pointy enough to impress the Archduke Isigniglidir?"

This morning he had been so sure, but now, looking at the Archduke's tower, Kvothe worried. This was obviously a man who was not fond of half-measures where pointy was concerned. Kvothe also wondered if it might also explain why the Archduke's new wife seemed so dissatisfied in her letter. "The tower." She had written. "Should have been my first clue."

Go on, take a stab at it yourself in the comments section. It's tons of fun.

pat

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Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The German Edition.
The German version of The Name of the Wind is coming out soon. Check out the cover.




(Click to Embiggen.)


Though it happened a while back, this German deal was kind of a big deal. The publisher that's handling it in Germany doesn't do much fantasy, just a very few authors like Tolkien and Tad Williams. So the fact that they bought my book gave me some much-needed respectability that helped us make some other foreign sales. It also was nice knowing that they take their stuff very seriously, and would do a good job with the translation and publication of the book.

German is the only language other than English that I know anything about. But honestly, I can't claim to be anything other than illiterate in my second language. I can remember a few phrases, like, "Gleich um die Ecce," "Wennigsten functionieren die wasserliedung!" and "Ich habe zu vielen affen spielen im meinem obenboden."

Other than that, I have a bunch of nouns and verbs rattling around in my head, but my ability to string them together grammatically is really non-existent. Combined with my horrible spelling, I'm guessing that what I've written up above is barely German at all. And more like that language twins use to speak to each other.

My German non-literacy was really driven home to me when I read the title and thought, "Des. Des.... does that indicate the nominative case?" Then I realized I couldn't even remember what the nominative case was. In fact, I'm pretty iffy as to what a case is at all, nominative or otherwise. This pretty much shatters any hope I had of ever reading my own book in another language.

It was a nice thought while it lasted.

Later all,

pat

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Thursday, June 26, 2008
Japanese Covers


So just a couple days ago, guess what came out?







(Click to Embiggen)


That's right - It's the Japanese version of the book.

I really like this interpretation of Kvothe. He's young. He's got some attitude going on. His hair is more manga than I typically picture it, but it's totally appropriate for the Japanese market. Plus, Kvothe himself says, "When left to its own devices it tends to make me look as if I've been set afire." So there you go.

This translation of the book was different in a lot of ways. For one thing, bringing the book into Japanese is much more difficult than, say, Dutch, or German. Not that every language doesn't pose its own problems. But there's just a lot of different cultural things going on, and the languages aren't really similar at all.

I'm guessing it's partly because of this that instead of one, I had a team of three Japanese translators working on the book. They were really great. They asked a lot of good questions, and included me in the decision making process. I like it when the translators ask questions or press me for clarification.

You see, when I wrote the book, I made a point not to over-describe everything. I also tried to make the book very full... of stuff.

Yeah. That's great. My book is full of stuff. They should put that on the cover: "The Name of the Wind - It's full of stuff."

What I mean is that I didn't want to club the reader over the head with everything. My strategy was to make sure that every page had enough cool things in it than if you missed half of them, you'd still have a good time. That means there's stuff for you to enjoy the second time around. That means you can like the book in a different way than your friend. And it means if you're a careful reader, you'll get more out of the book.

So I'm fine if the average reader doesn't get everything I put into the book. I expect that. I planned on it.

But if a translator doesn't notice something that I've put into the book very subtly, that's different. If they don't catch it, it can't be brought into the new version. And that's a problem, obviously. But these translators were really on the ball, and I'm guessing that not a lot slipped through the cracks with them.

There's another big difference in the Japanese edition. Apparently big, thick books aren't really the norm over there. So they broke this first book into three separate volumes. That means three separate covers for the first book....





Nice hands. Can you tell what scene this is?






And number three. Check out the dracus in the background. I would not want to fuck around with that thing.

I've been reading the comments and suggestions for future contests, and my gears are slowly turning. But more on that later. For now, I'm off to write.

pat


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Saturday, June 14, 2008
Photo Contest Part IX - Covers and Cosplay.

Well folks, we're almost at the end of the photos. I hope you've had as much fun as I have.

Our final category is: "Best Cosplay." But before we get to that, there was a small subcategory of photos that I haven't included yet: photos commenting about the covers of the book itself.






This is the real hot-button question, of course. How much naked man chest do you prefer?






A lot of people weighed in on the subject.





Even to the point of dressing up as their preferred cover.






And here you see my clever segue into the "Best Cosplay" category. Look like anyone you know?






Maybe this will help. When I started this contest up on Facebook, someone else took young Kvothe's posed picture and photoshopped him onto the cover. I think both the model and the photoshopper deserve an honorable mention prize.






Some of the pictures people took told a story.





Here, for example, we have an epic battle taking place for the love of a beautiful woman....






Or not.

Interesting side note: this is the look that women have been consistently giving me for the last 15 years. Admittedly, they usually have a pretty good reason....






I was especially tickled by the people who staged scenes from the book. This one is subtle, and the reference is easier to catch in the following version:










Here's the strapping young man we saw at the beginning of Part VIII, putting those abs to good use. Extra points for rescuing the lady and the book.






Anyone who's read The Name of the Wind should be able to identify this scene. But what really impressed me was the hard, white Dalonir cheese that they went to the trouble of including in the picture. That's the level of detail that gets you a pair of lovely runner-up prizes: one for Kvothe and one for Auri.





This is hot. The best part? Kvothe's drawn-on abs.






Winner. Such a sweet picture. I'm guessing most of you can identify this scene too.

We have a good degree of accuracy here too. Denna is all, "You're so dreamy." And Kvothe is thinking, "I wish Denna liked me.... Hey, are those cumulus or cirrus clouds.?"

Congrats. Both Kvothe and Denna can have a fabulous prize of their choosing.






This is so not cannon. Still, it's nice to see poor Kvothe get a little love...

Remember, if you've won, you need to follow the guidelines I laid down at the beginning of the contest in order to claim your swag. Now that all the winners are finally posted, I'm going to go through and start packaging and mailing things out.

Well.... I shouldn't say that ALL the winners are posted. There was one entry so amazing that I had to give it a post all its own. We'll see that next week, so stay tuned.

pat

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Thursday, March 6, 2008
Ask the Author #5: Where can I buy the new version of the book?


Since I posted up the new cover for The Name of the Wind, folks have been asking me where they can buy a copy.







Doubtless some of you want a copy of this book because it is clearly A Novel. I also know a lot of folks want this cover because the style will more closely match the hardcover for The Wise Man's Fear:





I understand your desire, and I feel your pain. I wanted this new cover too, and even though I'm the author, I still had a bitch of a time locating it. I had to hunt around for weeks before I managed to get my hands on one.

The truth is, I don't know where these new copies will be showing up. These are the books that currently live in the warehouse. If a store orders a book from the warehouse, this cover will probably get delivered to them. But if the bookstore orders from a distributor, the distributor might not have this fifth printing in stock. They might still have first printings, or third printings. It's a crap shoot.

However, since so many people were asking about it, I worked something out with a guy I met out in Seattle last year. His name is Shawn Speakman, and he runs a business that sells signed books over the magical interweb.

So, when I head out to Seattle at the end of the month for Norwescon, I'm going to swing by his place and sign a bunch of books for him. If you want one you can go order a copy at his store.

Please note that I'd be more than happy to personalize your book for you, free of charge. Just make sure you enter what you'd like me to write when you your order your book.

Now, the more astute of you that have doubtless already clicked on the link and noticed that Shawn is charging 29.95 for the books. Five bucks more than the cover price. This isn't because he's a greedy son of a bitch. No. Shawn is a high-class gentleman. I know this because Shawn is giving me that five bucks to help offset the cost of my plane ticket out there. If not for that, I wouldn't have been able to justify making the trip out to the coast.

Lastly, as an added bonus for those of you who have been dying to get hold of a copy of the Illustrated, Annotated, College Survival Guide, Shawn will be selling some of those too.

Those will be signed by me, and each will have a cool doodle and a signature by my longtime friend, illustrator, and co-conspirator, Brett Hiorns.


Later all,

pat

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Monday, March 3, 2008
Italian Style - Part Two.

Okay, before we do anything else, I feel like I should mention that I've updated the TOUR SCHEDULE part of the page. Over there you'll find a list of some conventions/readings/signings/etc that I'll be doing this year.

Of particular note are my two appearances in St. Paul this weekend. I'll be appearing at two separate libraries, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday. It's free for anyone to attend. I'll sign books if you bring them, and there will be books there to buy...

More events will be posted in the weeks to come. Seattle folk - I'll be out near y'all over Easter weekend. I'll be posting those details soon.

Okay. On to business.

Response to the Italian cover was every bit as varied as I expected. But there was rather more of it than I'd thought there would be. Since there were a lot of good comments and questions, I decided that I'd do a follow-up post to clarify a few things.





Points of interest and/or clarification.

  • The art is done by a guy named Brom.
I didn't know about him before someone made reference to the cover as Brom-art in the comments of the last blog, but I have seen his stuff before. Mostly on D&D books back in the day....

Side note: I am currently working on a theory that once you reach a certain degree of fame, you get bumped up to a new quantum energy state wherein you only need one name.

This is easier to achieve for artists (Donato, Brom) and musicians (Sting, Madonna).

It's much rarer for authors. I suspect they need way more energy, like electrons in different valence shells. So for writers, only the SUPER elite have enough juice to make the jump (Cervantes, Tolkien, Shakespeare, Chaucer).
  • Brom's website is OVER HERE if you're interested.

  • The art wasn't drawn for the book specifically. The Italian publisher bought the rights to a pre-existing piece of art to use as the cover for the book.
That means:
  • It's not Kvothe or one of the Chandrian. Don't sprain anything trying to make that fit in your head. (Though I would like to see Brom's take on the Chandrian.)
  • You didn't miss the part of the book where someone has an eye in his hand. Neither is the eye-hand a mistranslation issue or some strange cultural signifier.

  • My favorite comments on the cover:
  • Kip: "It's obviously a picture of Kvothe LARPing his favorite Vampire: The Requiem Character."
  • "They must have wanted to picture someone with good eye-hand coordination."
  • "NOTW? WTF?"
  • Sarah: "Kvothe has some sort of pointy pain stick. He should be careful or it will poke him in the hand-eye."

A few responses to questions and comments:
"Oh man Pat. As a graphic designer can I just say that that is a bad choice. There is no connection to the book that I can come up with at all. The thing on his hand is so prominent that people are going to wonder why its not in the book. It will be confusing. Then the really bad drop shadow, or black glow around the text is just bad design. The whole composition just was not meant to have text covering it."

I think you're right about the composition of the piece. It obviously wasn't meant to be obscured. I got the permission to show the original artwork from Brom: So here it is...





I'm pretty sure that they used that black shadow and my name to cover up Gothy McHotBod's nipple ring.

And yes, for those of you who are wondering, my chest looks exactly like that when I take my shirt off. By which I mean that I am pale as a bleached ghost on a moonlit night.

Christian asked: "Pat, I am very curious as to who that person is on the cover of the Italian version of your book. I'm pretty sure you would have a big say into what visually depicts your book to first time ( and in my case, long-time) readers."

Typically, authors get little-to-no say as to the covers of their books. Part of this is because the cover is, ultimately, a marketing choice, rather than an artistic one. And truthfully, publishers know more about marketing than authors do. Also, authors are word-smart, not necessarily picture smart.

That said, in my opinion it is a shame that authors aren't included in that process more frequently.

I did get to participate in the discussion about my US covers. But that is the exception to the rule, as my publisher, DAW, is very considerate. And my editor, Betsy, respects my opinion on these things. Still, they didn't say, "what do you think we should do." they said, "Here's what we're planning, what do you think?"

Still, it's nice to be asked.

My French publisher asked for my thoughts in the planning stage, and my Japanese editor asked early on if I had any suggestions as to who I would like as an artist. But none of the other foreign editors have included me so far. The first time I saw the Italian cover was about a week ago...

In a few of my more recent foreign contracts, I have approval of the final covers. But that doesn't mean that I get to design them. If the books continue to sell well, I'll probably get even more say in the future. I'm guessing.

"Why do they keep changing the cover? What's wrong with original Shirtless Kvothe and Green man?"
Those covers belong to the US publisher. The foreign publishers would have to buy the rights to them if they wanted to use them. They probably don't want to do that because they're marketing the book to an entirely different culture.


That's all for now, folks. I'm back to work on book two...

pat

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Friday, February 29, 2008
Name of the Wind - Italian style.

So today is the day that the Italian version of The Name of the Wind hits the shelves. While we've sold the foreign translation rights in a lot of countries so far, this is only the second version to actually make it into print, so I'm still experiencing some of that giddy, newbie author joy over the whole things.

I don't know if it's significant that the book is coming out on leap day. Except I think it means this book will age more slowly than the other versions of my book, only getting one year older for every seven normal years.

Wait. Seven? No. Four. I was thinking of dog years....

...

Man. Now I'm wondering what would happen if a dog is born on leap day.

Okay. I can figure this out. I used to be good a story problems, and that was before I studied symbolic logic. Let's see...

Given - one dog year is equal to seven human years.
Given - those born on leap day only age one year for every four calendar years.

If a dog was born on a leap day, after twenty-one calendar years, he would be:

A) 504 years old.
B) 36 years old
C) 42 years old.
D) Still bound by his duty.
E) Other

Anyway, back to the Italian translation. I haven't actually seen the book yet. Not in a real-world sense. I got the editor to send me a nice picture of the cover, but it's really not the same as holding a real book in your hands. It's roughly the same difference as seeing baby pictures and holding a baby.

Anyway, here's the cover. I think you'll all agree that it's a whole lot different than the US, UK, and Dutch covers that we've seen so far...




(As always, you can click the picture to embiggen it.)



I'm curious what y'all think of this cover, so feel free to drop a comment into the discussion below....

That's all I've got for now. More news is on the horizon, so stay tuned.

pat

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Thursday, August 23, 2007
A sneak peek of Book Two...


Well.... just the cover really....



Apparently, it's a novel....


pat

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Monday, July 9, 2007
The UK cover of the book....

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, here's the UK cover of the book.




Look at me. I'm all viney.

The book won't be released until September over there, but apparently the rumormil is already working overtime. I'm excited to see how well people will like it over there....

pat

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Monday, June 18, 2007
How cool is this?


Okay. I'll admit it. I was googling around about my book, and look what I found:





It's the cover for the Dutch version of the Name of the Wind. Personally, I think it looks cool as hell.

I don't read Dutch, but I can almost piece together what they're saying on the publisher's website. If you're curious, the page is over here....

Later,

pat

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