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Friday, July 29, 2011

Stupid Water

Two weeks ago, we had a torentual rain. It was like our house had been on fire, and to save us, Superman had taken the top from a water tower and dumped it on our house. But then we got water in our basement. So thanks, but no thanks, Superman, you douche. Batman would've just put out the fire with his fists.

We didn't get a ton of water in our house. Maybe an inch, and only in really in the parts of our basement that don't have carpet. So it's not too bad. But my office in the basement, and my office has carpet.

 Pretty much immediately after we got water in the basement, I had a party, and I had friends staying with us, and then we left for Comic-con. So we did not get a chance to properly dry the carpet.

So now my office smells like musty stinky death. Eric claims it doesn't stink, but I'm starting to not trust his nose.

At any rate - I'm totally neurotic about writing. Like hardcore. Everything has to be just so and just right, and I'm having a hell of time not working in my office. But I don't want to work in my smelly office either.

We picked out new flooring today, and it's a fake wood laminate, which will actually work better for rolling the chairs around. But it probably won't get installed for awhile.

Which means that either I have to learn to deal with writing in the musty office or learn to write somewhere else. And I have to learn to deal with it fast, because I have a ton of work to do. Like a totally completely impossibly obscene amount of work.

So I'll have to deal with it. But not right now. I did some editing, and that's work. That's something. And now I'm watching Project Runway. Later I'll read Rules of Attraction because I heart Paul Denton.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A Bit More on My Decision...

When a reader is deciding whether or not to read one of my books, they weigh a few things. Whether the book sounds interesting, what they've heard about it, if they've enjoyed my previous books, the price, things they've heard about me, etc.

When I have to decide what's in the best interest for my readers, my books, my career, and myself, the decision becomes a lot more complicated. Especially when considering what's good for one reader might be not-so-good for another.


When I decided to sell the rights for the Trylle Trilogy to St. Martin's, it wasn't something that I came to lightly. It was something I discussed with people, struggled with, and weighed the pros against the cons. I knew there would be cons - and one of those cons would be backlash from people who didn't understand or agree with my decision.


But in the end I came to the decision based primarily on this one fact: With St. Martin's, I would be able to produce a better quality product that would be more accessible to readers, and I would have the support of a house behind me to help take of some of the strain I've been under so I can focus on writing more books.


Are there downsides? Absolutely. But I believe the the pros outweighed the cons for the readers, the books, and myself.


The biggest complaint is going to be that I'm a sell out. This seems silly to me because I will be making less money per book sold than I am right now. Also, I haven't changed my opinion on publishing at all since I started this. But I digress.


The term "sell out" is going derive more from the fact that the price of the ebooks will go up with St. Martin's. I will reiterate, however, that I am making much, much less on higher priced ebooks than I am right now. People will argue that unlike paper books, ebooks cost next to nothing to make, so why should they really cost anything?

The fact is that St. Martin's is a huge corporation, which is why I signed with them. The money they make off the ebook goes into feeding said corporation, which includes their staff - of which I have frequent contact with my editor, two publicists, web design people, artists, marketing, etc. They're working on major cover launches, spreads in ads that book buyers - like Walmart and Target - read. There's a major ad campaign going underway that frankly, I couldn't afford or negotiate on my own. I simply do not have the expertise in it.

I'm not going to go into a total break down of where St. Martin's is spending their money, because honestly, I don't think it really matters to most readers. The point is that I know where it's going, and I think they earned their share of the royalties. I think that what they do justifies a higher increase in price.

With that said, both St. Martin's and I are working to keep the prices as low as possible, because we do value my readers. I wouldn't have gotten this far without you, and I know it. So out of respect and consideration for the readers, I don't want to unnecessarily raise prices.

In the end, I know some people won't agree with me. Some people will still think either I'm an idiot or a greedy asshole. Nothing I can say will ever change that opinion, so I just have to accept as part of the decision I made. I knew I would lose some readers in the transition, but I went ahead with it because I truly believe that this will benefit the readers who stayed around.

I guess all I'm really trying to say is that whether you agree with the decision or not, I want the readers to know that they factor heavily into all my decision making. In fact, they're probably the biggest factor, because without them, my books and I are nothing.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Good News, Everyone!

I'm home!

I had a great time at Comic-con, and everyone on the panel was super nice. But I'll go in to that in more detail in another blog, because I have more announcements to make. (Other than to say that I saw Charlie Hunnam and totally squeed).

My announcement is this: I'm taking down Switched today, which means that in approximately 24-72 hours, it will no longer be for sale, (EDIT: Switched is no longer for sale as an ebook) and I'll be taking down Torn and Ascend by Friday, August 5, 2011.

You may be saying, "Wait a second. I thought this was good news!"

But it is! Because first of all, you still have plenty of time to buy any of the books in their current state at their current price. And if you don't get a chance to get them or decide not to get them now, they will be available again in a few months.

In an earlier blog, I mentioned I would be taking down the books in August and September to get ready for the St. Martin's release of the Trilogy. After talking with the publishers, we've decided to move the dates up to July and August because there is a big cover reveal for the new books happening in August, and we thought it would be wonky if the old books were still up.

Basically, St. Martin's is going to start their big launch for the Trilogy, and it would be confusing and messy if my older versions were still available. So I'm unpublishing them.

Here's why this is good news for you, the reader:
  • The big cover reveal is going to happen in early August. (I'll let you know the exact date as soon I find out).  It's fun to see new covers. (Especially if you're Alex, who's been dying since I won't let him see him them yet.).
  • I'm also going to announce something new and fun with the Trilogy. I'm not going to tell you what that is yet, but I will at the same time as the cover reveal.
  • And remember, even if you don't get the books now at their current prices and forms, they will be available in a few months with less errors at only slightly higher prices. In fact, you can pre-order all three books in the Trylle Trilogy in paperback already, with the pre-ordering for ebooks coming soon. (The paperbacks are actually cheaper with St. Martin's).

Pre-order Switched: here
Pre-odrer Torn: here.
Pre-order Ascend: here.

For people who didn't know that the Trilogy was going to be published with St. Martin's, here's the blog where I discuss it from back in May: blog.

And now I am going to go spend some time with my dog and cats, who I missed terribly while I was away.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Comic-con!

It's been a long time since I've last blogged, but for good reason. My life has been incredibly busy the past week and a half, but good busy.

I turned 27 last Tuesday, so now I'm officially the same age as Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Brian Jones were when they died. But I'll live, because I'm not a musician, and I don't mix sleeping pills with wine or heroin.

Because of my birthday, I had friends staying with me for a few days, and that was loads of fun. Plus I got to have a party where I saw people, which is neat, because I like people. At least the one I'm friends with, anyway.

And check out my super rad birthday cake:



My friends from out of town left this week, and on Wednesday, Eric and I headed out to the fine city of San Diego, where we are now.

And let me tell you, the city is beautiful. The weather is divine. When we left Minnesota, it was 98 degrees with like 90% humidity. Here it's a cool 72 and breezy. Plus, there's an ocean.

The view of the ocean from my hotel room.
Admittedly, I haven't seen that much of this lovely city, and I probably won't. I'm here for Comic-con. So far, it's been fun, with a whole lot of lines. Lots and lots of lines. Also, two Deloreans, and tons of Batman stuff.

If you are also at Comic-con and want to say hey, feel free. I will be wandering around the next few days. I'm also going to be on a panel on Sunday called "What's Hot in Young Adult Fiction." The other more famous, more talented authors on the panel are:

Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy and the upcoming Supernaturally
Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade and the upcoming Wolfsbane
Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss and the upcoming Lola and the Boy Next Door
Laini Taylor, author of Lips Touch: Three Times and the upcoming Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Tahereh Mafi, author of the upcoming Shatter Me

It will be moderated by Nathan Bransford, former literary agent/current author of Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Kapow.

The panel starts at 10:00 am on Sunday and is in ballroom 23 ABC.

There's an autograph session afterwards that everyone else is doing, but not me. Here's why I'm not doing it: Because 99.98% of my readers buy my books electronically, my books aren't currently sold in bookstores, and I don't have headshots. So there's nothing for me to sign.

But if you want to me to sign something, I definitely will. I just didn't want to sit there acting like a fool without anything to sign.

Anyway... the moral of this blog is: Sorry I've been MIA lately, and I hope to see y'all at Comic-Con. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Won't Eric Goldman Watch Top Gun?

This is the question on everyone's minds. Or it should be. Because I have been trying, without success, for several years to get Eric to watch it. I think it's important that he see it so can really appreciate what it means when I ask him to be my wingman.

The thing that frustrates me the most is I only suggest movies for Eric to watch that I think he'll enjoy. And he watches them, then enjoys them. (Remember, Beaches, Eric? Or how about Hello Dolly? And Princess Bride?! Or Clue? Flash Gordon? Heathers? Huh?! I know you better than you know yourself!) But for some reason, he's been refusing to watch the following movies: Top Gun and Moon.

Like me, Eric is a big fan of Sam Rockwell. Also like me, Eric is a big fan of things that are well done. Since Moon is both of these things, I can't imagine why he wouldn't like it. I've also recently learned the director of Moon is David Bowie's son. That means that he come from the loins that we've seen in Labyrinth. It is assuredly awesome.

Is Top Gun the greatest movie to come out of the 80s? No. It's not. But I never said it was. But it is good. Plus, Val Kilmer & Tom Cruise hate each other in real life, and they're hatred for each other is palpable on screen. That's fun to watch. Also, I recently learned that Kelly McGillis is a lesbian, and Eric tends to enjoy lesbians, so that should work in his favor. And the song "Take My Breath Away" by Berlin is played no less than 10,000 times through out the film.

If there's one thing you should know about my step-mom it's that she really likes Tom Cruise. And she really liked Top Gun. I think I watched it with her like 4 times. And I liked it every time. I also watched Far and Away, and I liked that. Something I never watched with her: Interview with the Vampire. She's afraid of vampires. So that's something else you should know about her.

Anyway. The point is that all my pestering is for naught. Eric refuses to watch Top Gun or Moon.

So I'm sending it out to you. Fans of either Top Gun or Moon, convince Eric why he should watch those films. If there's one thing you should know about Eric Goldman, it's that he's a sucker for peer pressure.

Here are some places that you can harrass him at:

This is Eric's blog: http://myposian.blogspot.com/
This is Eric's twitter: http://twitter.com/myposian
This is Eric's facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1271250033&sk=info

Also, the placeholder covers for my books are up at St. Martin's Press website. These are not the actual covers. Just the placeholder ones that show hints of the actual ones. And they are pretty. You can check them out: here.

And as per some minor, misplaced outrage at something I said in my last post. I said this: "One time, a month ago or so, I had dinner with my publisher and editor, and it went really well. But my publisher had talked with their website design guy, and he said that I post blogs at the worst possible times ever because it's like three in the morning, and that's bad blogging posting time."

This reason this was said wasn't so much because I post blogs at 3 am. It's because I post blogs at 3 am, then go to bed and wake up and check late in the afternoon/early evening, and there's already a slew of comments. It makes it harder for me to dialogue in the comments, which is why I so rarely do. It's not that I don't read the comments or appreciate them - it's that I find it hard to comment back on specific things because there's so many by the time I check it.

But either way - St. Martin's isn't making me post at different times. They aren't even suggesting it. They were just pointing out that it would probably be more effective if I posted them later, and if there's one thing I like, it's being effective.

But don't worry, yo. St. Martin's has gots my back. They haven't "made" me do anything. I've had input on everything that we've done, and I've agreed to it - not out of pressure or fear, but because I think it's the right thing to do.

Also, tomorrow is my birthday. Be prepared for a lengthy blog where I detail all my thoughts on my entire life. Just kidding (maybe).

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vices and Virtues

One time, a month ago or so, I had dinner with my publisher and editor, and it went really well. But my publisher had talked with their website design guy, and he said that I post blogs at the worst possible times ever because it's like three in the morning, and that's bad blogging posting time.

I know he's right. Because he is. And I suppose eventually I'll have to correct it by posting blogs at real times, but for now, I'm writing and posting this blog right now because I want to and I can.

I actually have quite a few things to share with you guys, and almost all of it's awesome.

So in no particular order: Here's something new I'm doing. It's called Formspring. I don't really know what it is or why it exists, but you can ask me questions there and I'll answer them. Not all of them all the time, but I'll check it sometimes and answer some questions. So if you want to ask me a question, you can check it out here:  http://formspring.me/AmandaHocking

I like the format, because I can pick which question to answer specifically, and it shows all my previous answers. My profile there can become a living breathing FAQ.

Also, a few days ago I got pictures of the placeholder cover for the Trylle Trilogy books for St. Martin's Press. Here's what I understand a placeholder cover to be: A cover that holds the place until the real cover is revealed, like on sites like Amazon where you can already pre-order St. Martin's version of Switched.

I am pretty sure I can show you guys the placeholder covers (which are really pretty and hint at what the real covers will look like), but I'm not 100% sure, so I'm going to wait and double check on Monday before I show you guys. Just to be sure.

I know they're planning a real big cover reveal deal. I'm not sure what all it entails, but I got a voicemail and an email about it today, so I'll find out on Monday more about that. But it sounds fun, and everybody likes fun things.

Not sure when the cover reveal will happen, but I'm thinking sometime early this fall. My understanding (which could be wrong) is that St. Martin's wants it coincide with when I take the Trylle Trilogy off sale.

Which brings me to the next point. As of August 1, 2011 I'm going to be unpublishing Switched. The release date for the St. Martin's edition of Switched is set for January 2012, and we (both me and the publisher) want that to have the most success it can, so we want to give Switched some time off the market.

I'm leaving both Torn and Ascend for sale until September 1, 2011 when I'll be unpublishing them both. I'm leaving for sale longer, so people who buy Switched now have a full month to purchase the other two books in their current state at their current price.

But even if you don't buy them in that thirty days, it's only a few months until St. Martin's releases their versions. So it's not that long of a wait.

Both St. Martin's and I are trying really hard to make this transition as smooth and as easy on the readers as possible.

I've just gone over the copy-edits on Switched, and it's looking really good. There haven't been major changes to the story - readers who've already read it will be happy to see find the things they loved about the book haven't changed. But the story is really polished up, grammar cleaned up and ideas streamlined a bit better. I've always believed it was a good book, but now I think it's actually pretty great.

Onto something less pleasant that I feel I need to bring up. It's more a writer's beware for authors out there. I'm mentioning it because it's a cover artist I once used and once recommended, and as a result, I feel his bad behavior falls back on me. If people choose to use him because of something I once said, I want them to understand that I recant any recommendation, and here's why: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,74897.75.html

That's a link over to the Kindleboards, which I don't frequent as much as I used to, but it's still overall a great bunch of people and the best place to learn anything about self-publishing. I don't know why I stopped hanging out there as much. Because they are neat and helpful.

Okay, so onto a happier note. I know I pre-ordered Panic! at the Disco's album Vices and Virtues, but I just today realized that I never got it. So I bought it on iTunes, and I'm listening to it now, and it's very good. I think I like it more than their prior two albums. If you like music that is a delight to your ears, you should buy it.

Also, I've made another vision board, since my last one worked out astonishingly well. When I started making it though, Eric told me that it didn't count because I'd just put wants on there and not dreams. We ended up in a debate about whether or not the Secret worked on wants, too, since it supposedly worked for a boy wanted a bike. But that's not the point.


What constitutes the difference between a want and a dream? I have so many plans for my life, so many things I hope to do and accomplish. Aren't some of them dreams?

Here's what's on my vision board (or what I'm trying to convince the universe I want with it): the Trylle Trilogy being a movie (with Michael Wincott), getting to go to The Dark Knight Rises premiere next year,  a Delorean, and Pete Wentz.

Okay, yes, I get that the Delorean could fall under a "want" since it's a car, but it's a magic car that I've wanted for years, so I think it should fall under a "dream." And then obviously, having my books turned into movies would be a dream come true. And I really, really want Michael Wincott to be in it, and I think I want it enough to be a dream.

Alright. Pete Wentz probably isn't a dream, and I'm also not really expecting the vision board to follow through with it. But it's the only thing that my last vision board didn't deliver on, and even if this one doesn't, I can still look at him. And I can't imagine that it really hurts to let the universe know that I'm interested in dating foxy rock stars. You know, just case in the universe was wondering.

Something you might not know: When I was in high school, I got really sad about the idea of being a writer. I mean, I wanted to be a writer, but everything I knew about writers made them seem boring and stodgy, or they were older men and alcoholics and depressed. I didn't want to be any of those things. I wanted to have fun and be silly, like a rock star.

But now that I'm older, I realize I can be whatever writer I want to be. That's an important truth. Or at least is to me. You live your life on your terms. Don't let anybody else's definitions rule you. Define yourself.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Something You Should Go Out and Buy Right Now

I have been alive along time (nearly 27 years), and in that time, I have seen many things. Some things made me laugh. In fact, lots of things make me laugh, quite a lot. But I have never once laughed as hard as I did back in that fateful night of November 2009.

That is the night I saw RiffTrax Live - a live telecast performance of RiffTrax riffing on Plan 9 From Outerspace in theaters across the country. RiffTrax are three of the fellas from Mystery Science Theater 3000 (namely Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett (Crow T. Robot), and Kevin Murphy (Tom Servo)), and RiffTrax is essentially the exact same thing as MST3K but without the puppets.

When I'm explaining it to you, it sounds stupid. Because basically, it's just three guys talking over a movie. But the fact is, it's really frickin funny.

Anyway - to continue with this story. I've seen many funny things. I have both entire serieses of Monty Python and Kids in the Hall on DVD, as well as having a lot of episodes of Family Guy, Archer, Futurama, and Perfect Strangers on DVD. And I've seen most of the episodes of MST3K.

I've also seen lots of movies. Perhaps as many as 85% of the movies that have come out of America in the past 50 years. I would say that number is close to accurate.

Despite all that, I have never seen anything as funny as RiffTrax LIVE doing Plan 9 From Outerspace. So it was much to my splendid, glorious surprise when Amazon recommended that I buy said performance on DVD. The very show I saw. Available on DVD.

I have just ordered the DVD, so I have not received it yet, and I'm not sure how the live performance looks on DVD. What I do know is that I laughed so much by the end of the night I was literally in pain in my belly. Nothing has ever or will ever be funnier.

So it is what that in mind I strongly urge to rush out and buy yourself a copy. I can't imagine a scenario in which you'd regret it. Buy it: here.

P.S. Johnathan Coulton also performed live that night. So... that's an added bonus. And there's a really funny shorty about being a stewardess. So, it's totally worth it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Here I Am!

I went ten whole days without Tweeting or blogging or Facebooking. TEN DAYS. (Although I did retweet things Mark Hoppus and Neil Patrick Harris said last week, because I wanted to).

Side note: Did you see the most awesome thing in the universe?
(In case you're wondering the significance of said tweet, it's that my heroes are John Hughes, Jim Henson, Mark Hoppus, and Batman. Out of those four, Mark Hoppus is the only that's still alive and not fictional. So... that's awesome.)

Anyway, back to the story. You may ask, why did you go ten days without using those things? Were you trapped in a cold dark cave without any internet?

So I'll recap for you what my life was like for the past ten days:

Last Tuesday, I left to go on a houseboat with Eric and my dog Elroy. The plan was to get away, relax, enjoy nature, and finish my book. I'm going to make a long story short but what ended up actually happening was that we got on the boat, parked to take a nap, and woke up to find ourselves stranded with a dead engine, no radio, no cell phone service. We were completely stranded, and our only means of escape would be swimming several miles to Canada.

After several days of this, we were rescued by some nice people who saw us waving from our boat. After that, we decided to cut our trip short and return home.

On the boat, while suffering fear of my imminent demise (and frequently muttering, "This sorta thing would never happen to J.K. Rowling"), I got no writing done. And I still had much to do.

So when we got home, I decided to keep the internet ban that had been imposed on me on the boat so I could work without distractions. I would pretend I was still on the boat, but I could call 911 if I fell down and cracked open my skull. Well, I probably couldn't call 911 if I cracked open my skull, but Eric could. And that's what counts.

At any rate, that's what I've been doing. I've been finishing Wake, the first book in the series that St. Martin's purchased. I've gone through it twice, for edits and revisions, and Eric's gone through it once. He just finished reading it twenty minutes ago, so I'll be going over that with him and seeing where he thinks I can improve stuff.

Then next week, I'll send out to the book to my lovely editor Rose and find out what she thinks of it. (Fingers crossed she doesn't hate it).

I'll be honest - this book took me an awfully long time to write. I'd been about half-way through with it for months. I started it back in February and was working on it really well into my life started blowing up publicly. Then I really slowed down and didn't work on it much until recently.

Don't get me wrong - I love the story. I'm really excited about the premise and the characters, and I think it has a lot of potential to be a really awesome series. It was just that whole "butt in the chair" thing.

Every time I'd get my butt in the chair to write, I'd start surfing around on the internet, and I would start thinking about how I needed to write a really good book. The good people at St. Martin's Press have been ridiculously supportive of me, but there is a sense of pressure on me that I didn't have before. Not from them and not even really from my readers. Just from me.

I feel like I really had to prove myself with this book, and it's hard to focus on the story and get any perspective when you're thinking, "This has to be the best book I've ever written."

When I finally got out of my head and forced myself to sit there and write, then it all just came together. I write because I enjoy writing, and sometimes that's easy to forget when writing becomes your job. But once I started, I was on a roll of awesomeness.

For those of you who want to know more about Wake, I don't want to really say a lot at this time. Also, since I have St. Martin's with me on this, I don't have write blurbs for it anymore (true story - writing blurbs is harder than writing books). So when they come up with a blurb, I'll share that.

All I can really say is that it's a young adult paranormal romance and things happen in it.

I did make this fancy soundtrack to go with it, though. And you can listen to that. (My soundtracks consist of the 15 or so songs that I listen to while writing the book that fit the best with the book itself. I think.)



Anyway - I'm glad to be back. Believe me when I say I missed you more than you missed me.