Going Clubbing

One of the nicest things about having your book get published is all the interest and encouragement that your friends give you. People will go out of their way to tell you how much they enjoyed it (presumably those who hate it manage to keep it to themselves, much like the way friends won’t tell you that your baby is actually quite ugly, or that your voice grates upon their ears like someone is slaughtering a giraffe.) Friends will send you reviews from the other side of the world, or let you know that they have foisted a copy on someone else, and that the someone else has said they’ve enjoyed it. It’s really encouraging.

In the past few weeks, however, I’ve had the pleasure of a completely new form of support. Various friends have put The Rook forward for their book clubs to read and then invited me to come and talk about it. I’ve taken this as license to come and talk about myself, and eat whatever cake is available.

It’s actually very cool, whilst simultaneously terrifying. So far, the book clubs that I’ve been invited to have consisted of sophisticated and elegant older ladies (older than me, anyway). These ladies have all, withouth fail, been extremely kind. However, it has been clear that supernatural thrillers set in the public service are not their usual selection for bookclub. A phrase that I’ve heard frequently is ‘Normally, I would never read this kind of book…’, which is the kind of phrase that can either introduce lavish praise, or withering condemnation.

Of course, they were all too polite to unleash really withering condemnation, but it’s evident that for a few readers, The Rook was agony. Others, however, were bewildered to discover themselves enjoying it, which is very cool. In one of the clubs, they went around the room, and said if they liked it, or not, and why, or why not.

While I sat there, eating cake.

The process led to some very interesting and unexpected questions, but having someone flatly state that they couldn’t get into your book, and couldn’t get through more than a couple of chapters is always a little bit crushing. I expect it’s like being on one of those reality shows where you stand up in front of judges, and they candidly discuss your strengths and flaws while you smile weakly, and can’t throw your cake at them.

Anyway, we talked about the book, and where I got my ideas from, and the process whereby a book in my head becomes a book on your shelf. One thing that everybody was quite interested in was how the money works, so I thought I’d explain it to those blog-readers who aren’t familiar with the process.

So, I wrote the book. And then, after a few adventures, I got an agent (the incomparable Mollie Glick of The Foundry Literary + Media). And, after a substantial amount of work, Mollie decided that it was time to put it out on the market, and see if some extremely clever publisher with excellent taste would like to purchase it. Fortunately for me, one did. Little, Brown & Co (yesssss!) purchased the English rights to The Rook. This means that they have the exclusive right to print it in the English language throughout the world.

Now, a few people have asked after the royalty cheques that I get. This is the thing that people know about authors – they get royalty cheques. For every book that’s sold, the authors gets a bit of the money. True, enough. But, the book can take a while to sell, and so sometimes an author will receive an advance against those royalties. It’s some money that I get right at the very beginning, to keep me in comic books and bowler hats. Before I get any more monies, enough copies of the book have to sell and enough author-royalties have to build up to pay off the advance. Until then, I get no royalty cheques (I’m not complaining, let me hasten to assure you. This system works just fine for me.)

“But hold on,” I can hear my Australian readers say. “I purchased a copy of The Rook here in lovely scenic Australia, and it’s got HarperCollins on the spine. There’s no mention of Little, Brown & Co. What the hell are you trying to pull here? I should come around to your house, and steal your doormat.” And they make a good point.

Now, Little, Brown & Co. holds the worldwide rights for English. But, it may be that they don’t wish to publish it here in Australia, for whatever reason. They can then choose to distribute the book, or to partner with an Australian publisher to publish the title there. By doing this, they not only get an advance (which would go in part towards paying out my advance with Little, Brown), but they also give the book a chance to be ‘published.’ By which I mean that the book is not merely carried by the shops, but that an Australian publisher can use its local know-how and contacts to market and publicise the book, which gives it more visibility, which hopefully will lead to more sales.

So, Little, Brown & Co. sold the Australian English rights for The Rook to HarperCollins Australia, giving them the right to publish it here. Any advance, and the subsequent royalties from Australian sales, goes towards paying off my advance from Little, Brown & Co, bringing me closer to the point where I will see future little royalty cheques. Meanwhile, Head of Zeus in England has acquired the rights for that country. I don’t see that money in my sweaty little palm, but it’s doing me good. Like vitamins. Or democracy.

And, of course, there are all those other great languages out there in the world, each of which can be acquired by different publishers. For that, there is the glorious Stéphanie Abou, my foreign rights agent at the Foundry, who oversees foreign language sales. So far  (and I am very excited about all of these), the following publishers have brought The Rook into their family:

Leya in Brazil

Beijing Pengfeiyili Book Co. in China

Baronet in the Czech Republic

Super 8 in France

Piemme in Italy

Azoth Books in Taiwan

and April Publishing in Turkey

With attendant advances, and future royalties (he says hopefully.)

And that’s how the money works. Pretty much. Of course, there’s also taxes and agent commission, both of which are entirely worth it, the former because your taxes (and mine) pay my day job salary (and buy us all some civilisation), and the latter because without the agent, The Rook would still be sitting on my hard drive, and not in your hands.

 

In other news, a friend of mine surprised me with a formal heraldic description of the crest from The Rook cover:

Arms of The Rook

Lozenge rond en soleil gris, quarterly sable and argent; first pot du thé argent, second tower sable, third cephalopod sable with six arms guardant, fourth lapin argent sejant; supported by lions gris rampant and surmounted by Spanish crown argent.

I rather like idea of being a cephalopod sable.

 

And in even more other news, there’s some new reviews of The Rook floating out there. But so that you don’t have to trawl through the internet, I have the links for them right here.

 

Talk Supe gives it four cauldrons (it’s not clear out of how many, but the official verdict is ‘loved it’, so I am going to assume that it is out of three cauldrons.) http://www.talkingsupe.com/2012/05/rook.html

 

Hit the Road Jacq gives it a short, sharp, whip-crack of a review. Very bracing. http://www.hittheroadjacq.com/Review.php?Title=The+Rook&Author=Daniel+O%27Malley&Publisher=Harper+Collins+Publishers+Australia&ID=399

 

The Goatfairy Review Blog gives The Rook 10 out of 10 cheesewands, an accolade that I have added to my professional curriculum vitae, and the draft epitaph for my tombstone. http://goatfairyreviews.tumblr.com/post/21444489723/the-rook-by-daniel-omalley

 

Crimespree Blog dissects the book at http://crimespreemag.com/blog/2012/04/the-rook-by-daniel-omalley.html

 

I talk about my dog, the peerless Sally O’Malley, at ‘Coffee with a Canine’. She looks much better in the photos than I do. http://coffeecanine.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/dan-omalley-sally.html

 

Buried under Books gives a charming review at http://www.cncbooks.com/blog/2012/05/09/book-review-the-rook-by-daniel-omalley/

 

And finally, a fun story with a happy (if somewhat belated) ending. Periodically, I will get a note from someone at one of my current publishers (Little, Brown & Co. or HarperCollins Australia) letting me know that something cool has happened. And this time, it was extremely cool. At Shelf Awareness, which publishes two newsletters (one for general readers and one for booksellers), there was an interview with Charlaine Harris, creator of the terrifically entertaining Southern Vampire Mysteries (now captured on deathless celluloid/silicon as the True Blood TV show). You can read the interview at http://www.shelf-awareness.com/issue.html?issue=1732 , and in it, Ms Harris describes herself as an evangelist for The Rook by (ahem) Daniel O’Malley!

Naturally, I was overcome with excitement. However, in the back of my skull, I couldn’t help but think “You know, ‘evangelist’ implies you’re singing its praises, and maybe wearing a robe, with a choir in the background.” So, I googled ‘Charlaine Harris Daniel O’Malley’, and I was led to this blog entry from waaaaaay back in February: http://www.charlaineharris.com/bb/bb230.html . Read it, and you will find that Ms. Harris wrote really nice, encouraging things about the book, and I never even knew.

This is like founding out that several months ago you were crowned the King of Switzerland, but that no one bothered to tell you.

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49 Responses

  1. Mary Faith Michael says:

    Since I started reading at age 3, I’ve read hundreds – no, thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands of books! (I’m currently 69 yrs. old.) I LOVED “The Rook”. You made me believe absolutely unbelievable things. You made me care about some very odd folks. You tickled my fancies and kept me entranced.

    Keep on writing, please, and the best of luck.

    • Sandy Blankenship says:

      Just like the former lady, I am a Boomer. Got into Sci-Fi at 12 when I read Wyndom’s Day of the Triffids. Been reading many years, all sorts of things.
      I am also an avid movie buff…and as I read The Rook…I could see the movie in my mind! Just an AMAZING, AMAZING BOOK….I can see Speilberg or
      the folks who did the Potter movies doing a remarkable job..such a satire, so many elements to work with!! Whhooo Hooo…
      Quick; write the next one!!!!

  2. Lesley Robinson says:

    I’ve just finished The Rook and it was bloody brilliant! Hope there’s another one coming…

    • Daniel says:

      Glad you liked it, Lesley. Don’t worry, the sequel is gestating right along.

      • Elle says:

        Hurrah – I wanted to leave a comment about the sequel but then I spotted this! I’ve been suffering from Rook withdrawals. This is a testament both to your writing skills and to my adrenaline-filled life.

        • carol stewart says:

          i have also been suffering from Rook withdrawals and am also a Rook evangelist – so far, at least three converts!
          but it is wonderful to hear that you’re working on a sequel. i’ve read the book three times and honestly – the second time i read it was one of those rare occurrences in my extensive reading life: i started The Rook, i read it all the way through … and then i turned back to page one and started it over again immediately. such a pleasing, rewarding, delightful reading experience!
          best wishes, and i can’t wait for the sequel!

      • Clarissa says:

        Oh, I’m so pleased to hear that! I read it really quickly (it was very compelling) and I was hoping there was a sequel coming along. I got burned out on typical urban fantasy a while ago, but I’m still hooked on Charles Stross’ Laundry Files series. That series is the centerpiece of the “Contemporary Weird” shelf on my Goodreads account, and it’s pretty lonely there. I was pleased to add The Rook to that shelf, though! I’m definitely telling other people about it. :)

  3. Diane Baker says:

    I suppose I am also an “evangelist” for The Rook. Picked it up on whim and it sucked me in immediately. Please do write more……. I read constantly, (for nearly so), and your book was a highlight. Your Mom was right!

  4. Steve says:

    Thank you for a fantastic book! It was fun and original. I enjoyed the humor and pace; both kept me engrossed through the very end. Any insights on where you are going next? Stay with the same character or move to others? (i.e. Incarnations of Immortality) What sort of timetable until your next offering? Thank you!

  5. di says:

    On the NBC Today show on Friday morning Canberra time, Charlaine Harris recommended The Rook as a good summer read. Fingers crossed for some more sales due to this high profile fan. :)

    • Jim says:

      NBC today show was a great thing. I too was inclined to read The Rook based on the endorsement from Charlaine Harris. My wife and I loved the Sookie Universe and with a glowing review from her we picked up the audio book. I have to say I have re-read / re-listened at least 3 times so far and I think the reader Susan had done a fantastic job with Rook Thomas. I anticipate the next book. Thank you,

  6. Lito says:

    From early childhood til perhaps a year or two after college I devoured books at an incredible rate. I’m 48 now and I find myself playing more video games and watching sports on tv when I’m not working. Recently I was given a Nook and came across The Rook while searching for recent novels with good reviews. Its the first novel I’ve actually finished in a long time and I have to thank you for bringing back that lost feeling of utter satisfaction after turning the last last page. I probably won’t go back to reading at my previous rate, but I know I will be reading again…. hopefully the Rook’s sequel. :-)

  7. Jessa Shute says:

    My poor kids had to have Pop Tarts this morning because I very literally could not put it down until I was finished, at 5am. I read about 4 books a week and this is the best book I have read in I can’t even remember how long. I only wish I had found it after the sequel because I am in withdrawl and want more!!! Thank you so much for sharing your creation with us.

  8. Cyndi says:

    I’m just beginning chapter 30, and I’m already hoping for a second book. This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. The whole X-Men/Jason Bourne/MIB theme is terrific. I will absolutely recommend this book to friends. This is the 7th book I’ve read in the last 5 weeks and is the best. Congrats on the Charlaine Harris recommendation (which is how I heard of your book).

  9. Lucy says:

    Daniel.

    I’m an audiobook fiend and picked up your book on a total whim. I’m now completely sucked in, and just re-read the description. Funnily enough, this line still seems outrageous:

    “As Myfanwy battles to save herself, she encounters a person with four bodies, a woman who can enter her dreams, children transformed into deadly fighters, and an unimaginably vast conspiracy.”

    I’m so glad I took the chance. What seemed ridiculous is unbelievably entertaining and intriguing. Well done!

  10. Stephen says:

    Your book was immensely enjoyable. I wait for the sequel with bated breath.

    • Stephen says:

      …Have you made a movie/TV deal yet, cuz I’d pay good money to see a house-sized flesh-cube on the silver screen.

  11. Hope says:

    I can’t wait until the sequel of The Rook is released! I too am a constant reader and was very hopeful to see another book written by Daniel O’Malley to start on right away. I love the characters in The Rook and hope that this becomes a long line of sequels! Looking forward to reading more!

  12. Maureen says:

    I finished The Rook. I put it down. Warmed my coffee, let my dog out, checked Facebook in case someone was wrong about something. Came back upstairs to my comfy reading chair (Ikea rocker with footstool) picked up The Rook and started it all over again. I don’t think I have ever done that. I often reread books, sometimes our of choice, sometimes from memory loss, But there is usually a year or two between readings, not 15 minutes.

  13. Candace says:

    It’s not often that I read a book I discover out of nowhere. But I saw that Charlaine Harris chat on the TODAY show, and I enjoy her writing, so I gave it a look. And fell straight in, hook, line, & sinker. Please, I implore you, give us more on Myfanwy, the merger, the Pawns, Ingrid, Aldrich, et al., just as soon as you can. I promise I, too, will evangelize the dickens out of this book if increased sales will permit you to quit your day job and write faster!

  14. molly says:

    Was this seriously your first novel? I really enjoyed it and hope you do a sequel. More mulfawney! The world needs more characters like her. Loved it. Please write more as long (as bronwyn is not an evil grafter). Great job!

  15. LindaS says:

    I had finished the book and enjoyed it immensely. How did you come up with a fresh new idea of supernaturals in modern day? I like the idea very much. Do please hurry for the sequel of Myfawny’s adventures. LindaS.

  16. Two weeks ago we, that is 5 adults, 10 children ages 13 to 4, walked down Diagon Alley in London looked in at the doorway to two Leakey Cauldrons, re-traced the route of the Night Bus, saw where Mozart spent a few nights and got his hair cut, walked across the Millenium Bridge, saw Shakespeare’s haunt, the Globe theater, stood outside the Ministry of Magic, and joined the queue of tourists from 5 countries waiting to push a trolley through the wall at King’s Cross’s platform 9 and 3/4′s.

    We are committed fantasy fans and Myfanwy Thomas reigns as the newest heroine for us!

    My kids and I (they are American’s) held one of the Olympic torches, watched gold medals being won, touched ancient stones at Glastonbury’s old Abbey where King Arthur and Guivnevere were once buried, drank from the Chalice Well, walked up to St. Michael’s Tower on the Tor, and wept over the decapitated Hawthorne Tree on Hill Head and touched the ancient stones at Avebury.

    The after an 8 hour flight back to Miami and home to the sweaty swamp of the Florida Keys, where history and fiction don’t intertwine so elegantly, I was lucky to find THE ROOK.

    Well, it wasn’t even on a shelf, it was just sitting there on the miscellaneous edge of a counter at the Key Largo library. I was abusing my husband’s vacation time, left him home with the 4 girls under the guise of picking up some missing ingredients for the evening meal at the mall in which the Library lives.

    What grabbed me first was the red spine, black and white, the graphics and the emblem, the heraldry seemed so very regal and the octopus, bunny and tea-pot just made me curious, and laugh in a serious sort of respectful way. And then the little type that said ‘on her majesty’s supernatural secret service,’ I mean how could anyone, book club ladies included, not fail to be interested?

    I am totally smitten and stricken. Rook Thomas is goofy in her first self and then cool. And thanks for the absence of sex, sex, sex….really, it is terribly upsetting when everyone’s racing towards the inevitable encounter, right now you have the right balance: hint of love interest but no suitable candidates. (Well, except the blue shirt mystery man) I am sure someone is telling you to get the sex out there, but with the 50 shades of smutt epidemic i’m not sure you need to, and I, for one would be happy for you to miss it entirely.

    Well done, for seeing this vision of creativeness so clearly. We are set to be your fans in the Florida Keys….all 4 girls. Maybe not their rather logic stricken military Dad. But we’ll see. The laughs are so funny, even he may get infected.

    CAN’T WAIT FOR MORE MYFANWY THOMAS

  17. Rachael says:

    I was intrigued by the premise, so downloaded the free sample chapters to my kindle. It hooked me in straight away and so I bought the book. Absolutely fantastic; please tell me you are writing more. Really soon.

  18. Kelly says:

    Dear Daniel O’Malley,
    Like so many, I thoroughly enjoyed your book ‘The Rook’ and am eagerly looking forward to the next installment. I’ve been recommending it to friends and buying copies for family.
    The choice of Susan Duerden to narrate the audio book was perfect, she’s so entertaining to hear, as to buy other books she’s narrated just for the listen – the combination of your work and hers is genius.
    Also, thanks for not bashing the Americans, although I really had to laugh at your comment about puritans whose ‘idea of fun was not having any’, we still have some of them around, if you can believe it :)
    Thanks so much, can’t wait for the next one!
    Kelly

  19. BBall says:

    I would love to see the book turned into a cable TV series.

    I’m just mad that I happened to discover it soon after it was published so I couldn’t go out and buy the sequel immediately :(

    Waiting is hard.

  20. Clarissa says:

    Oh yes, I have to agree with the above poster — covers do count for something, and I hope somebody sent chocolate or wine or something to the graphic designer/cover artist. :) It’s definitely why I first picked up the book!

  21. katie berryman says:

    Thank you for such a great read. I was one of the sent over’s by Charlaine Harris. she is a favorite of mine and I loved her summer reading list and decided to make it my fall/ winter reading list. I had to wait 7 weeks for your book to become available at the library but like everyone else above struggled to put it down. I just finished it two days ago and have just been wanting more sass and sarcasm from myfawny! It just makes her a bit too human! I now have a teen reading the book and loving it.
    Thanks again for bringing your thoughts to life. I will defnintely be keeping an eye out for the sequel(s)!!

  22. Maria Miller says:

    Fantastic book. Loved the plot, charecters, etc. waiting for the squel.

    • Gerald says:

      Found this at the library way out here in Post falls, Idaho. Took it home. Had to read the part about Myfanwy and the bunny to my family it was so funny. I loved it. my nine year old daughter then grabbed it and loved it. Then my wife had to read it also. Wonderful story, well put together. Just picked up my copy from the local bookshop. I’ll definitely be facebooking this one. Please keep at it. very well written.

  23. David S says:

    Daniel – amazing 1st novel, really impressed. I wish you all the success for selfish reasons – like others here, I want more!

    Also, this is the best female protagonist I’ve read since the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series. Any influence there? I was struck by the physical type similarities between Myfanwy & Lisbeth.

    Don’t get me wrong, there are a TON of creative, clearly original concepts & dialogue, just curious as to the genesis of Rook Thomas from the writer’s perspective.

    Thanks & keep it coming!

    David

  24. Kate says:

    Dear Daniel

    I adored this book and am so looking forward to the sequal. It was great and refreshing to read about a female who wasn’t model perfect, who had a brain and was able to use it.
    I really hope Myfanwy gets to have more adventures and decorates her appartment.
    Waiting patiently….,

  25. rosehipjam says:

    Thank you for this wonderful fantasy! I mainly bought the book because I read in Amazon reviews that the villains are from Belgium. That’s where I currently live, and the idea was just so quirky, I had to read it. Best decision in a while! I absolutely loved it, from the fantastic storyline to all the little details (the dentist Dr Olivier, smirk…). I marvel at all the ideas you have in your head. While The Rook could stand very well on its own, pleeeeeease keep working on that sequel!

  26. Kim says:

    I bought your book because it was one of Charlaine Harris’s recommended summer reads.I thoroughly enjoyed it and am very happy to see that there will be a sequel. I will also be purchasing another copy to gift for Christmas!
    Thank you for writing such an entertaining book!

  27. Bill says:

    Imagine a grown man reading a book by himself in an airport and laughing almost hysterically. Enjoyed The Rook very much.

  28. HeatherM says:

    I picked up your book from the library and wish now I had actually purchased it in order that you make some money off of me! Loved, loved, loved it. Was hooked on the tagline “on her majesty’s …” and from page 1, blasted through it. Very eagerly awaiting a sequel. Thanks and Merry Christmas

  29. Rune says:

    Just chiming in to say that the “Going clubbing. Clubbing what?” conversation made me laugh out loud on the train to Porto.

    Is the next book perhaps “The Chevalier”?

  30. Robert says:

    As the others have written, i find myself also joining ranks with those who are well pleased with “The Rook”. I do read alot and very seldom brag about the novels i read, This is one i have advised many people to pick up and read and will continue to do so.

    I await your next Rook novel with grumbling due to it not already being out there so i can get my “fix” of fantasy.

    Thanks for the terrific first novel.

  31. randall says:

    I just listened to the Audio Book. I think Susan Duerden does a bang up job narrating your wonderful story. I especially like her take on the crazy Belgian in the tank.

    Keep up the excellent work.

  32. Terri says:

    Hello Daniel, I guess I am a bit behind the reading curve but I just purchased your book after reading a review from a reading blog of authors to watch. I decided to leave a before and after reading reply. My before reply to say I am very excited to read your book and I plan for it to be the very first book I review on my own new reading blog site, as soon as the site is ready. But first comes your book, so off I go….Terri

  33. Trish says:

    I started reading “The Rook” at the weekend and was obliged to call in sick to work on Monday – I just HAD to finish it.
    I loved it and will recommend it to everyone I know.
    Many thanks for such an original, funny, supernatural mystery with a very appealing heroine.

  34. jim says:

    I loved it, my daughters loved it, my friends loved it. I even gave my copy to the library so they could spread the love around..

    but daniel, enough shilly-shallying, inquiring minds NEED to know. Give us an approximation for ‘The Bishop’, please. Maybe in time for my birthday in June?

    jim

  35. Mark Needles says:

    Hello sir,

    Myself, I enjoy books that are a bit different and was really glad I stumbled across The Rook. A great read and an interesting twist. After I loaned my copy to friends, my OSU-bound daughter (of course) wanted to read it so I had to buy an e-copy for her.

    She loved it as well and wanted to know if there were any sequels or related novels coming. Told her I would ask (sorry, no cake involved here).

    Thanks,

    Mark

  36. Melissa Webster says:

    I found The Rook through that esoteric blog posting of Charlaine Harris! My husband and I obtained it through Audible.com and loved it together. As for the Evangelist in the family, my husband has now listened to it four times. He adores it, as do I. Not to sound like a broken record, but can’t wait for the next book and thank you for bringing such creative fantasy into this world. Love the book.

  37. Chelsie says:

    Love your book. Can’t wait for the sequel! And thanks for not bashing us Americans too badly, though I loved the past about American teenagers with to much time on their hands not being able to hack into the Checquy system. Too true. I honestly think you ought to look into getting your book made into a television series. Can’t wait to see or hear more from you.

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