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"Who killed Mr. Moonlight?"

Still trying to shake off the dreamsickness. There was a lot. Of the dream, I mean. Too much to put down here. Towards the end, I was trying to mount a Triceratops skeleton (minds out of gutters NOW), and a lot of the bones were aready on the welded armature. But then I realized that all the vertebrae were missing (even though the ribs were mounted), and I couldn't remember where in the Dream Museum they'd been stored. All I had was one badly weathered vertebra. Normal people dream about showing up for class naked, or going on stage and forgetting the lines. Me, I get Triceratops anxiety.

Anyway, there's a nice (short) review of The Red Tree up at LibraryJournal.com. And I quote: "With its intelligent blend of folklore, horror, and dark fantasy, Kiernan's latest appeals well beyond urban fantasy fans; readers who enjoy Neil Gaiman, Poppy Z. Brite, and Keith Donohue may want to check it out. Lost fans mourning the lack of new episodes will appreciate the similar themes and intricate puzzles here." Booya! Thank you, LibraryJournal.com. I'll even forgive the comparison with Donohue. Mostly, I love the "well beyond urban fantasy" and "intricate puzzles" parts.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,357 words and finished "Vicaria Draconis." Go me. I rather like how it turned out, though it's yet another "not very me" story. I want to write a "very me" vignette next. Anyway, it's been sent away to Vince to be illustrated, and will appear in Sirenia Digest #44 later this month.

Let's see. Other news. My whole life seems to have been swallowed by promotional stuff for The Red Tree. For various reasons, I've made the executive decision not to release the "book trailer" until August 14th, ten days after the book's street date. This email (behind a cut, but you should read it), part of an exchange between readingthedark and me, will help to explain the decision (it's rather long, but enlightening):


My opinion: "Trailer" is deceptive. It's a commercial, at best a short film to market a completely different work in a different medium. The financial situation (millions of dollars) and limited delivery of films (a flop gets one weekend) means that the drumbeat needs to start way in advance. The name of a film has to be on peoples' lips so they go to the theatre on opening weekend.

Effectiveness (the American heresy) for "book trailers" can only be measured by number of books sold. The only two variables that are relevant are number of views and percentage of viewers who purchase the book, both of which are determined by quality -- not by repeated branding months before the book comes out. Considering that the most views will almost certainly happen when the "trailer" hits the net, it's best to have that moment occur when the book is actually on store shelves (which is often a few days after the release date, in part because books sit in the back for a few days and shipping is not always taken into account with release dates).

Some stores only stock new displays on Tuesdays (which is almost certainly how the 4th was chosen as a date) but paperbacks that are not expected to fly off the shelves can sometimes sit around until the next Tuesday, unless the publisher is playing the buy nice display space game, which still doesn't always work. The most common situation is that new paperback titles appear on shelves in dribs and drabs over a week to ten day period. In the same way it's silly to promote a new product before it's available, it's probably less valuable to tout the work until it can be purchased. [Who wants to know about a toothpaste that's coming out in six weeks?]

Yes, publishers measure the first six weeks of sales as if they're everything that matters (especially in terms of spending any further energy marketing or doing a second printing) and buyers at the chains decide what to stock and reorder based on pre-orders — but now's the time for actual people buying the actual book and that's more a matter of reminding them on the way to the store or sending them to a link where they can buy it easily.

What can really help is a strong work that goes viral. If all friends and followers retweet and re-post it, then you'll reach the largest audience you can with the video, which is clearly more important than any particular date, as long as it's in the magic six weeks. Bluntly, "Coming Soon" is worse marketing (when on a finite budget) than "In Stores Now."

I do believe it will come together smashingly and I'm certain you can make it happen. The key is to make something better than the 90% of book trailers that are worthless. Brad Meltzer's
Book of Lies trailer was considered better than most and only has 10,000 hits on Youtube. He's a crappy thriller writer who had the Little League team he coaches and his grandmother read all the bad reviews his incredibly successful book got. While forwarding simplistic humor is most of what Middle America uses the interwebs for, the fact that it was considered a good book trailer shows how bad the entire form is...


So, better to do it right, than to do it fast. Which has always been my motto. Well, one of my mottoes. I have a lot. Like "Never drive a car when you're dead," which I stole from Tom Waits.

Last night, we finished Max Brooks' World War Z, and Spooky and I thought it was really brilliant. I don't read much of what could be called "genre horror," despite how I may be perceived as an author. When I do read a "horror" novel, I'm looking for a visceral, but very intelligent reading experience. And that's what WWZ delivers. Intelligent, horrific, awful (original meaning), poignant, gut-wrenching (literally), deeply moving, truly apocalyptic. One I wish to fuck I'd written. I have been told the audio book is very good, and Spooky and I are now tracking down a copy of it. Most of the rest of the world likely read this book two years ago, but if you haven't, I strongly recommend it. I tend to find zombie films dull and predictable and dumb. There are notable exceptions: Romero's original Night of the Living Dead, Zack Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake, and Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later. And that's the sort of punch Brooks delivers.

Okay. There's a bunch of stuff to do. I don't even have a list....but, there are the ongoing eBay auctions, and please, please visit the website today, and spread the URL. Feed the Tree!

Comments

( 19 comments — Have your say! )
alvyarin
Jul. 20th, 2009 05:53 pm (UTC)
I will be honest - my mind did go straight to the gutter with the triceratops mounting.
tobyspit
Jul. 20th, 2009 06:02 pm (UTC)
I just read Michael Swanwick's Triceratops Summer last night, and also dreamed of Triceratops.

Odd coincidence.
gargirl
Jul. 20th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
I read World War Z only a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it. Day by Day Armageddon by J.L. Bourne was also quite good, if you haven't already read it and like zombie stories.

Can hardly wait for The Red Tree. I am about halfway through Daughter of Hounds and enjoying it very much. If I manage to finish it before I get my copy of The Red Tree I am moving on to Alabaster. ^_^

Thank you for letting me read your journal, I really enjoy hearing about how your writng is going and seeing all the wonderful pictures you and spooky take.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 20th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)

if you haven't already read it and like zombie stories.

Thing is, I usually don't. Which is why I waited so long to read WWZ, and why I was so pleased I liked it.

ardiril
Jul. 20th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)

"I am moving on to Alabaster."

Since you are enjoying Daughter of Hounds, you will love Alabaster, and do read it the first time as is, cover to cover, for maximum impact. Save a chronological reading for later as that also has its own rewards.
gargirl
Jul. 20th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
Cool, thanks for the advice. ^_^
ardiril
Jul. 20th, 2009 07:20 pm (UTC)

"I'll even forgive the comparison with Donohue."

That is far better than being compared to Dean Koontz.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 20th, 2009 07:23 pm (UTC)

That is far better than being compared to Dean Koontz.

Probably, though I have also endured that trail.
ardiril
Jul. 20th, 2009 07:40 pm (UTC)
] shudders [
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 20th, 2009 08:33 pm (UTC)
Re: well beyond urban fantasy

That just sings to me.

Sure made me smile.
sovay
Jul. 20th, 2009 11:29 pm (UTC)
Me, I get Triceratops anxiety.

And that is one of the reasons we love you.

Kiernan's latest appeals well beyond urban fantasy fans

Exccellent!

I rather like how it turned out, though it's yet another "not very me" story.

Who is it like?
greygirlbeast
Jul. 20th, 2009 11:52 pm (UTC)

Who is it like?

I honestly do not know. Qausi-Mayan (or Incan) bride/daughter/son of a dragon story. Eclipses. Sun in love with Earth, and a jealous moon. It just...came over me.
sovay
Jul. 21st, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
Qausi-Mayan (or Incan) bride/daughter/son of a dragon story. Eclipses. Sun in love with Earth, and a jealous moon.

. . . Sounds lovely to me!
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 21st, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)

I loled out loud

So...you laughed out loud, but you did it...out loud. Or am I being too literal?
(Deleted comment)
greygirlbeast
Jul. 21st, 2009 12:41 am (UTC)


I just use lol for funny things. Rarely do I ever REALLY laugh out loud. This wa sone of those rare cases...


Yeah...

This is how the world ends, not with a bang, but with a "lol.
(Deleted comment)
tsarina
Jul. 21st, 2009 08:15 pm (UTC)
World War Z just floored me - it found myself alternating between shock and tears and a dozen other emotions. I wish I had written that book. I've heard they are making a movie, which fills me with both anticipation and anxiety.
( 19 comments — Have your say! )