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Topic: The Offical Jeri Westerson Q&A thread!

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Subject: The Offical Jeri Westerson Q&A thread!
Date Posted: 11/13/2012 11:29 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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Hi all there has been a wee bit of confusion.  Jeri will be checking the tread all day tomorrow for your question, isn't that terrific!!!

So that Cheryl can link this discussion on the blog I am setting up the thread today.  Please hold your question for tomorrow!  Yay so excited!

Subject: Good Morning!
Date Posted: 11/14/2012 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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Hey, Everyone!  Want to chat? It's finally a decent hour of the morning here in sunny Southern California.  

What's on your mind? Something medieval I hope. I'm sharpening my sword and my wits to face you all. Come on down to the chat.

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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I was reading the Crime Thru Time comments and I thought Jeri got this one "spot on" when the question came up about "what will kill a good mystery" :

---- Jeri Westerson <westerson@gmail.com> wrote:
> > Killing an animal is number one to Avoid At All Costs. Kill all the people
> > you want, but don't touch the bristly hair on the head of your favorite
> > pet. Weird, but true.
> >
> > Jeri

I happen to be one of those who just cringe when the favorite pet is "done in"! I'm just wondering though, if Jeri has any other areas she avoids?

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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Well, Jeanne, I already broke another cardinal rule by killing children in The Demon's Parchment and Blood Lance. Though a careful reading will show that the reader never actually sees this happen.

And as I recently explained to an audience--these are ficitonal murders, done by a ficitonal murderer, solved by a fictional detective. No persons were actually hurt in the commission of these ficional crimes!

As for historicals, the main cardinal rule that should not be broken is: Do not change the history to serve the plot. I've kept to that.

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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I'm laughing at your response, Jeri! How true - it's all fictional. I appreciate the fact that you aren't changing history to serve the plot though - keeps my sanity rather intact! wink

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Oh, I do have another question though.....do you have a working title for the next book in this series?

And BTW, thanks so much for doing this for us!

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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I do! It's SHADOW OF THE ALCHEMIST. Am I too full of myself when I say I love my titles? And my publisher doesn't make me change them, either.

And by the way, I'll be at the Tucson Festival of Books this coming March 2013. I'll be on panels and likely doing a weapons demo. Drop in and say hello! Get  books signed. 



Last Edited on: 11/14/12 11:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/14/2012 11:33 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
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Good morning just checking in.  I am at work, and on the computer with the full knowledge of my boss. cool

I saw on your facebook page that you might be looking for a new publisher after the next book. Can you touch on this?

 

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 12:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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Yes, Jerelyn. It's the sad fact of publishing that your publisher expects your books to sell. And though there has always been a great outpouring of interest in my Crispin Guest novels, they've always gotten great industry reviews, each had been nominated for mystery awards, there haven't been enough of them sold. We are talking hardcover sales for the most part. My publisher, St. Martin's, focuses--for good or ill, these days--on hardcover sales. It's their whole sales paradigm. My sales have not met expectations and so they won't be offering anymore contracts--unless sales rise significantly for BLOOD LANCE. 

You might have noticed that last year's TROUBLED BONES hasn't come out in paperback. It won't. Neither will BLOOD LANCE or next year's SHADOW OF THE ALCHEMIST. The publisher won't spend the money to produce a paperback. Yeah, backwards thinking. 

It has to be said that St. Martin's has done a dismal job at promoting my books. And not just me. Every year they gather  many new midlist authors like me and throw their stuff out there. If one or two catch on, they start to put some money behind it. If they don't, they scratch their heads and wonder why nothing happened with those books. I bust my butt to promote, but it wasn't enough. What does this mean for the series?

Well, it means that SHADOW OF THE ALCHEMIST might be the last Crispin book if (A) St. Martin's doesn't change their minds or (B) I find another smaller publisher to take on the series. I'm hoping for the former but will happily take the latter. I have many more tales to tell about Crispin Guest and I don't want to see it disappear before I'm finished telling that tale. My last resort is to self-publish and I really don't want to do that.

In the meantime, please tell your friends about the series. Talk it up on blogs, review it on online sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, PaperbackSwap, your own blog... anywhere and everywhere. Sales of NEW books are the only way to get a publisher's attention.

In the meantime, I'm working on a young adult series featuring Jack Tucker with a heavy fantasy element (as Young Adult books are wont to have. No vampires, though.) If i find a publisher for that, I think you will like this tangental series to add to your Crispin universe.

 

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 12:17 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Ouch, Jeri - truly a tough business. I admire your fortitude as well as your talent, of course! It would be a sad day if Crispin had to vanish from our favorites. This group will be doing all that they can to keep that from happening. yes

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I bought the audio book of Blood Lance  it is great, the narrator is wonderful,   have you had a chance to listen to it yet? 

 

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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I appreciate that, Jeanne. That's why I love doing these kinds of things. I know a lot of readers just assume that once you're published it's all okay from there. I was never secure in the knowledge that I would always be published. But it's frustrating when your own publisher doesn't bother promoting their own product.

And by the way, we certainly don't get rich either. If my husband were not supporting me, I'd be making very low wages indeed.

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
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Hi Jeri! Thank you so much for joining us! Jerelyn's review of Blood Lance is up on the PBS Blog today. Come see!

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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Oh, awesome!

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2008
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Great review - I left my comments. heart Jeri - any chance that a screenwriter is going to pick these up and make a film of them? IMHO, that's the only way that writers actually make any significant money from their labors!!! What a movie that would be!

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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It is a way to move up in the world. I'd love a TV series. I think that would do it better justice.

But again, only a few nibbles with no one courting me. Bestselling books beget interest. It will take someone who knows a producer to personally hand a book to them with their recommendation. 

Anyone out there know a BBC producer?

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2009
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Hi Jeri,

Thanks for sharing that insight on publishing. I have always been someone who likes to wait for the paperback version to come out as I find hardbacks too bulky to comfortably read in bed or throw in my purse.  I could never figure out why publishers don't release paperbacks at the same time/instead.  It is amazing to me, especially in this day and age, when there are so many alternatives to hardbacks (e-books, audios) that the publishers still put so much emphasis on hardback sales.  I am newish to this forum and just recently heard about your series (everyone loves Crispin!). I have been patiently waiting for Veil of Lies to come up on my wishlist (I'm number 27).  Now I am thinking I should head out to my local book seller and pick up my own copy! 

I am sad that I haven't yet experienced your novels as I am sure I would have so much more to say/ask you.  I so appreciate authors like you who reach out to their readers. I hope you will visit again sometime when I am better prepared!  Also, I am so glad to see your comment above about not messing with the historical timeline.  As a recovering medieval historian, there is nothing that irks me more than loose historicals!

I am looking forward to getting to know Crispin soon.  Any plans to head up north to the SF bay area?  The weapons demonstration sounds intriguing!



Last Edited on: 11/14/12 2:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/14/2012 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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Oh Kate, I just missed you! I was at the Oakland Library and the Belmont Library just a few weeks ago. I'll be up again next year.

Publishers rely on hardcover sales to recoup their losses. They market heavily to libraries, which are or were solid sales. Most of my sales go to libraries. When ebooks began, they wouldn't release the ebook for months. They call this "windowing" because they needed to recoup their hardcover sales. Now they release ebooks at the same time as the hardcover because they realize that readers use both formats. If they released paperbacks they'd never get their hardcover outlay back. Hardcovers are still the only book formats that get regularly reviewed by the industry magazines. The magazines need to change their policy so that more authors can be reviewed.

My books are also coming out in audio. Blood Lance is the first one, and all the rest will follow.

Do ask your library to carry the series in ALL their branches. And let them know they are also available in French, Polish, and Russian, in case you have a heavy population of those language speakers in your area.   

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
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Hi, Jeri -- welcome once again to our forum.

 

It really is disconcerting as a reader and must be demoralizing as a writer to deal with a publishing industry that so often seems to overlook deserving work while rewarding work that should be overlooked. Obviously, Crispin is a beloved character among us and we hope to see him pursue many more adventures.

I loved the appearance of Henry of Bolingbroke -- and look forward to reading more of him in the future. I'm hoping that Crispin will be somewhere near center stage when Henry deposes Richard -- yes?

I know you do a fair amount of library research (loved the historical note at the end of Blood Lance) -- how much, if any, research has involved traipsing the streets of London and does walking modern-day London help you at all in writing about medieval London?

What authors/genres do you read for pleasure? Can you read just for pleasure or is it the curse of a writer that you're always analyzing others' writing?

Oh, and for those who may have trouble finding Jerelyn's review that Cheryl refers to above, here it is: Blood Lance.

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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Henry Bolingbroke does become a major player in future books--obviously. And Katherine Swynford finally makes an appearance in SILENCE OF STONES, the seventh in the series (the one that still needs a publisher). And I'm not telling about when Henry deposes Richard. That would be the last book in the series, number 17. So hold your horses. :)

Unfortunately, due to a lack of finances, I haven't been to England in thirty years. (Though there is a fan in England trying to get me sponsorship to do a book tour there. I wish him luck. I'd love to go! You don't know how much!) But even so, the London of the fourteenth century is long gone. Though I would like to walk the cold tile floors of Westminster Abbey again, tour the Tower once more, and visit, for the first time, Westminster Hall, the only place in that area that is intact from Richard II's time. It was his builders who installed the hammerbeam ceiling making it the huge open space it is today. It's all that remains of the palace at Westminster. The rest is the Parliament buildings.

But walking the streets, touuching the stone, watching the river, surely would help.

And what do I read for pleasure? Everything! I'm reading a lot of YA books so I can get a sense of what I should write for the Jack Tucker tales. And the last novel I read was Cloud Atlas. Good thing I finished it before the movie. Don't know what people make of the movie who haven't read the book. I'm also currently rereading Tey's Daughter of Time, and an early Lee Child book in the Jack Reacher series. I just can't read other medieval mysteries. Afraid I'll subconcisously walk away with a plot.

 

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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Perhaps I should be writing Fifty Shades of Crispin.

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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I was just thinking that Jeri!  I think that is the industry's puzzle of the year.  My daughter in their early 20's read (50 Shades)  I suppose most mothers would be alarmed that their daughters are read such a sexually explicit novel.  I however was horrified that they were reading such a poorly written one.

I think the industry is going the way of everything else in this country the homogenization of the market place.  That is why I am in favor of self publishing, but is there any money in it, is there any security?  Often times there is no quality control.

Maybe you need to find a wealthy patron? :)  Any of those out there?



Last Edited on: 11/14/12 5:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/14/2012 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
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Um, no, ugh! The only reason that drivel got so much attention was because silly Diane Sawyer mentioned it on TV. It had nothing to do with quality or content, just a mere mention and off it went.

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2011
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I could use a mere mention. Maybe a photoshopped photo of President Obama with a Crispin novel under his arm!

Self-publishing is really not a career builder. Despite the few that make the news there were some 210,000 self-published books in 2011. So that's many, many thousands more that no one will ever hear of. Many are not edited professionally. People are so anxious to jump the gun and get it out there and rake in the dough. It just doesn't happen.

For someone like me, I have a better chance of making some money but that would leave out library and bookstore sales, unless I can talk some indie bookstores into carrying it. I'm already doing a great deal of publicity on my own, but to do what my publisher does would be a full time job. Still, it's not outside the realm of possibility. Yet I read over and over again, about authors who have gone indie and then the moment they are offered conracts from a publisher again, what do you suppose they do? They hand it over. Of course they do. It's a huge pain in the arse doing ALL that yourself.

Date Posted: 11/14/2012 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 9,174
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What made you explore PTSD?

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