Friday 30 May 2014

Fantasy - crossing the border.

 On the face of it there's little difference here. The same book, two languages. Similar covers. There are actually slightly more native Spanish speakers in the world than English speakers so both markets are large and of similar size.

In fact the only noticeable difference is the title. In Spanish it's a rather generic 'Prince of Evil'.

I found out this week that there won't be a Spanish King of Thorns or Emperor of Thorns. I got paid my advances but Principe del Mal didn't sell well enough for the Spanish publisher to want to sink the extra cost of translation in, so they cut their losses.

Why did a trilogy that has sold over a million copies world wide and is still going strong sell not much more than 0.1% of that number in Spanish? National taste? Marketing? I really don't know.

What I do know is that it's a sobering fact. If I were Spanish my books may very well have flopped and I would have disappeared from the shelves with scarcely a whimper.

I've no deep insight to offer here, just questions to offer up. Did a butterfly beat its wings one way in Spain and another in the UK/US? Is success so ephemeral? Or does a road trip of a few hundred miles from London to Madrid really bring around some deep seated difference in reading preferences?

One surprising wrinkle is that much of the Broken Empire trilogy is actually set in Spain! How many fantasy books can you say that for?

My books have been published in 25 languages and in some translations they sell very well. In Brazil (where they use the titles I gave the books) the Broken Empire trilogy have sold many tens of thousands of copies in hardcover. They sold well in Hungary, Poland, and in France. Less well in Germany and Italy. Who knows why? I can't give a full list though as sales figures from overseas publishers are as rare as very rare things (*).

(*) I save the good analogies for books.

UPDATE: The Spanish rights for the trilogy have all reverted to me, so it could be sold, along with The Red Queen's War trilogy and the Book of the Ancestor trilogy whenever a Spanish publisher shows interest.

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Saturday 17 May 2014

Photoshop contest!

Look what arrived!

To celebrate I'm running a contest to give two away, signed & delivered to your door.

All you've got to do is photoshop the book (US or UK version) into a photo and send it to me at

Witty caption (in shot or accompanying photo) is optional.

On prize will be based on a vote for the best entry. The other will be awarded randomly, so you're in with a chance even if you're not that good with this stuff.

Only your first entry will be entered in the vote and the random draw, so multiple entries offer no advantage - you're welcome to do more than one, but please no more than four.

Contest Closed

Vote for your favorites HERE (choose as many as you like!)

The official prize vote is on my facebook page for my facebook friends only HERE (this prevents vote-stuffing).

Entries now ordered by their score in the prize vote (down to entries with 4 votes, then numerically).

#8 Agnes M.

#23 Aggressive Art

#26 Kurt S

Should I pity this fool?

#19 Symon M

#4 Doug S.

"I love that cover."

"I know."

#18 Brandon N

#20 Jake S

#7 Dusty

"Klaato barada nikto?"

#51 Mindi B

First Rule: Stick them with the pointy end.

#47 Dan B

Some fans have been waiting longer than others for Prince of Fools.

#14 Graham S


#1 Sebastian P.

I'll part more than the Red Sea for a copy of that!

#2 Robin C.

#3 Stacie C.

"Dude, what you up to?"

"Nothing really, just reading Prince of Fools, and being naked and stuff."

#5 Miguel B.

'no caption required'

#6 T.O Munro

# (non eligible) Dusty

"Three books? Wait a minute. Hold it. Nobody said anything about three books. L- Like what am I supposed to do? Take one book, or all books, or, what?"

#9 Rob McD

#10 Petr B

Prince of Fools, the Louvre edition.

#11 Rob L

#12 Alicia B

#13 David P

Dammit, Jack!

Passing the torch.

#15 Johny M

"You have chosen ... wisely."

#16 Andrew

#17 Malin Z


#21 Kate M

#22 Liam H.

#24 Lachlan McH

#25 Glen H + Marty McFool

#27 David M

#28 Bridget LaM

#29 Christian PC

#30 Gabe E

#31 Michael W

"Is this a kissing book?"

#32 Juan

#33 Tracey S

All you need is a towel and a good book.

#34 Chris S

#35 Dimitar

#36 Carly C

No, Donkey! This is MY BOOK!

#37 Roy

#38 Jan W

#39 Mikhail D

When reading an intense book: "Yeah, that's right ... crush them all!"

#40 Botond S

At the Dawn of Man

#41 Lennart S

#42 Simon S

#43 Angela M

#44 Christy S

#45 Peter H-V

#46 John C

The unveiling of Prince of Fools

#48 Karen W

#49 Mia C

#50 Minroy R

#52 Valentina W

#53 Jerome L

#54 Blood Cake News

#55  Alun

#56  David

#57  Lynda

#58  Angela

Here are some more examples to inspire you:

I appreciate your enthusiasm, but it's clearly just a poster.

Zombies be fools.