Trudi Canavan

bestselling author of The Black Magician Trilogy

Trudi's Blog

In the Mailbox: La Guaritrice Dei Maghi

In the last month only two parcels have arrived for me. The smaller contained this:

That’s the Italian version of The Rogue.

The second parcel was much larger and contained the small paperback version of The Rogue, which means it must be available now, or close to it. The books, when unpacked, were dubbed ‘the Tower of Rogues’:

Which sounds like a fantasy book title.

Another Ebook Availability Check

It’s been a couple of months since I checked the availability of my books as ebooks in Australia. I was hoping to find that missing books had finally been ‘fixed’ but didn’t really expect to see any changes. Well, it turned out there were changes, but almost none for the better.

Amazon – All books except Voice of the Gods
iBookstore – All books except The Black Magician Trilogy, Priestess of the White and Voice of the Gods
Kobo – All books except Voice of the Gods (but look under “Canavan” not “Trudi Canavan”)
Angus&Robertson – All books except Voice of the Gods
Borders – All books except Voice of the Gods
Dymocks – No books available
eBooks.com I have no idea what’s going on here. There are multiple listings of the same books, some in US dollars, some with ‘not available’. There doesn’t appear to be a way to tell it you’re an Australian customer.

In summary, Priestess of the White is now available on the Amazon US site, but that’s the only good news. The only book of mine published by HarperCollins Australia that’s still available in iBookstore is Last of the Wilds. All six books by HarperCollins have disappeared from Kobo. The eBooks.com site is so confusing that if there’s no improvement by the next time I do one of these checks, I’m going to remove it from the list to save customers a headache and disappointment. I’ve taken Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble Nook off the list because the sites won’t let you buy books from Australia. Which goes to prove that the ‘if it appears on the site it’s available’ advice is wrong.

Why has the situation has got worse, not better? Well, it could be any one of the reasons I dug up when researching this post.) Books ‘fall off the system’. Publishers are too busy to monitor every one of the thousands of titles they publish, especially when the book can be there one moment, and be gone the next. Ebook retailers are handling millions of titles as bulk stock and won’t notice (or care) if a couple slip off their site. Authors are too busy writing the next book to be monitoring their ebook titles and don’t want to take up too much of their publishers time – especially when they seem to be constantly under siege these days.

So if you’re in Australia or New Zealand and have been trying to get hold of my books as ebooks, I sympathise with your frustration. Be assured that the digital rights of all of my books in all english territories were sold years ago. All we can do is wait until someone sorts out whatever technical glitch is making them fall off the system.

Oh, and buy more books, so the publishers have the money to pay someone to chase these things up!

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Once again, I must add that I am not interested in a debate on pricing. That’s a topic for another place and time. To keep any feedback to this post on subject I won’t be approving whiny complaints about the cost of ebooks. The purpose of this post is to keep Australian readers informed on where they can buy my books as ebooks.

April Calendar – Regin

Another month over and here in Australia it’s my favourite season of the year: autumn. A few days ago I sent my corrections to proofs of The Traitor Queen back to the publisher. That’s the last I’ll see of it until my author copies arrive, probably a month before the release in July. From here on I’ll be focusing on writing the first book of Millennium’s Rule, so it’s like saying farewell to not just The Traitor Queen, but the sequel trilogy and to Kyralia and the characters that live there. Well, except for these character sketch calendars.

I’ve not shown a villain yet, so here’s Regin as a young novice:

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Click on the image to get to a full size version. As before, if you don’t know how to download and set images to be your computer screen wallpaper, seek the help of your usual source of computer advice.

It’s Aussie SF Awards Time Again

Well, that year went fast! It doesn’t seem that long since I wrote my last Aussie awards post. It also doesn’t seem all that long since I sat, on the other side of the planet, refreshing Twitter over and over as each winner of the 2010 Aurealis Awards was announced. Awards season is a good time to find out what other Aussie sf writers have been doing (always lots), look back on what I’ve contributed (seems like very little in comparison – just one book: The Rogue).

The Aurealis Awards
The shortlist for the peer judged Aurealis Awards was released last week. Lots of very talented, hard working and dedicated people on that list. Back when I was a much faster reader I used to use the shortlist as a must-read guide to Aussie fantasy. (Now I give a wistful sigh and go back to my To-Read Bookcase.)

Here’s the media release with details and the list of finalists.

The Ditmars
The other national Australian SF awards, the Ditmars, is now open for nominations. Like the Hugos, they are a popular vote style awards system linked to a convention. You must be “natural persons active in fandom, or from full or supporting members of Continuum 8, the 2012 Australian National SF Convention” to nominate. Supporting memberships are usually much cheaper than the full rate, allowing people who can’t make it to the con and aren’t involved in fandom to nominate, and the definition of being active in fandom isn’t overly strict.

You can find more information about the convention and the awards, including the link to the nomination form, here.

In the Mailbox: Spanish Edition of The Magician’s Apprentice

The above book arrived in the post the other day, so I know spanish readers are reading about Kyralia centuries before the Black Magician Trilogy. Spanish readers can also find out more about me and my books over at El Legado del Mago Negro and the Spanish Facebook page.

I also received a US edition copy of the mass market paperback of The Rogue. Which has the same cover as the hardback just, well, smaller.

I’m going to give a new idea for this blog a try: an ‘In the Mailbox’ series of posts. I’m already posting covers of books as they come in, but more than just books arrive on my doorstep. Sometimes I get cover samples and interesting marketing material. I could also mention if I’ve signed a contract for editions in a new foreign language, or new books in a language I already have books published in.

Of course, there can be a long gap between signing a contract and a book being released, and I won’t be able to tell you release dates as I don’t usually know. But it could be of interest to readers to know what’s coming. And it’ll help me keep track too!

Who Am I Writing For?

Years ago, at a charity auction, I bid for and won a t-shirt because it had a bunch of writing quotes on it, including this one:

Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money – Moliere*

Of course, there are more things to write for than that. You might start making up stories to entertain a child, or write more for respect and recognition than money or the simple enjoyment of it, but I suspect that when a writer starts being paid for writing – when it becomes a source of income – they (and others) have to wonder how that influences them. After all, saying you don’t do it for the money but for the love of it sounds so noble, but a writer still needs to eat and pay the bills. And there’s no better proof that someone likes your work than when they spend their own hard-earned cash on it.

But I’m less interested in “what do you write for?” as I am in the “who do you write for?”. By that I mean who a writer is trying to please while they’re doing the actual writing.

Me? When high on the thrill of inspiration, when the words flow and the story is rocking along, I’m having so much fun that it’s hard to believe I’m writing to please anyone but myself. When I’m struggling, forcing myself to write when not in the mood in order to meet a deadline, I wonder why I’m doing something that is so much hard work and I’m convinced I’m doing it for everyone but me: my agent, my publisher, and the readers.

But even when I’m having fun, the enjoyment isn’t entirely self-centred. I can think of two examples:

1) When I’m holding back information, or revealing it, I get a real kick out of imagining what the reader will be thinking at that point. I might know what’s going to happen, but they don’t. I’ve always had a few ‘three chapters at a time’ test readers, so I can pester them with ‘what do you think is going to happen next?’ questions as a book progresses. It lets me know if I’m being too obvious, or confusing them. I know I’m getting it right when they have no idea, but can’t wait to find out.

2) If the writing is dragging I think to myself: “Well, this is no good. If I’m bored, then the reader will be too. Time to make this more interesting”. It’s the fastest way to get out of the doldrums.

And yet, it’s not all about pleasing the reader. Which brings me to another favourite quote:

I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everyone – Bill Cosby^

I’ve seen newly published writers get all tied in knots after encountering reviews of their first book and/or hanging about on forums. A couple of readers don’t like prologues, or first person, or that creatures that were similar to cows were called something else, and the author panics. It’s as though every reader was their editor, and it leaves them thinking if they doing something wrong and should change the way they write.

After my first book was published I encountered the same feedback. Sometimes what readers hated in books – say, that it was written in first person – was something I liked as a reader. Sometimes what they thought was wonderful was something that I disliked intensely. One reader loved what another hated. It was perplexing until I realised that readers aren’t editors, they’re more like test readers. When my test readers disagree with each other about something, it usually comes down to a matter of personal taste.

It’s more obvious that personal taste is the problem when, for instance, I get the very occasional reader who objects to me putting gay characters in my stories. It’s not a flaw in the book; it’s just not to this particular reader’s taste. And that takes me back to the question of who I’m writing for. Obviously NOT a reader who objects to gay characters. They can always read something else. It’s not like there’s a dearth of books without gay characters in them.

The truth is, when I’m writing for readers, I’m not writing for all readers. Tastes in books vary so much, that it would be impossible to please everyone. So I’m writing for ‘my’ readers. But I’m also writing for myself, because while I gain a great deal of satisfaction and entertainment out of writing, a large part of that comes from thinking about the enjoyment my readers will have reading them.

*While this quote is usually attributed to Moliere, it turns out that may not be exactly true.

^Bill Cosby may be an odd person for a writer to quote, but it goes to show that some audience-creator issues are universal.

March Calendar – Dorrien & Rothen

I can’t believe it’s already time to post the computer wallpaper calendar for March. This time you get two characters for the price of one:

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Click on the image to get to a full size version. As before, if you don’t know how to download and set images to be your computer screen wallpaper, seek the help of your usual source of computer advice.

El Legado del Mago Negro

My lovely Spanish edition publisher has set up a website for my books called El Legado del Mago Negro (Legacy of the Black Magician) and a Facebook page to coincide with the release of La Maga (The Magician’s Apprentice) last week.

So head over there to find information about me and my books, including release dates for the Traitor Spy Trilogy. More content will be appearing on the sites, including competitions (there’s one on the Facebook page right now) and the opportunity to ask me a question.

Bulgarian Edition of TMG

Another foreign edition turned up the other day – the Bulgarian edition of The Magicians’ Guild. I already have a Bulgarian edition of Priestess of the White, but it appears to be by a different publisher. I don’t know if any other of my books have been published in Bulgarian yet – I usually don’t find out until a book turns up in the mail.

Which leads me to remind readers that authors usually don’t know what’s going on with foreign edition titles. To find out which of my books are available:

1) first check the Books menu above. Under each title I’ve put covers of the books I’ve received
2) check online bookstores, or ask your local bricks & mortar bookstore to look it up
3) ask the publisher (who can tell you if they’re planning to buy the rights to books they haven’t published yet)

February Calendar

Here’s the computer wallpaper calendar for February:

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It was pointed out to me that the four screen resolution sizes I’d provided were really just two ratios. So long as you choose the right ratio, the computer should scale down the image to fit the screen. If it doesn’t, let me know and I’ll add a scaled down version.

Click on the image to get to a full size version. As before, if you don’t know how to download and set images to be your computer screen wallpaper, seek the help of your usual source of computer advice.