Friday, January 11, 2008

New Fixation

As of yesterday I got a new fixation. This is not a good thing, but it's hard to resist...

The German version of Acacia has just gone on sale! I'm very pleased. I've been looking forward to this one for a long time, which may be part of why I'm inclined to pay more attention than usual. In the past, I never had much of an idea how the foreign editions were selling because I couldn't access the figures on line. (And, no, my foreign publishers aren't constantly sending me figures. My US publishers aren't constantly sending me figures, for that matter...) So it was just something that sort of happened out there in the unknown. (I did follow Pride of Carthage in the UK, but that's different. Same language and stuff, you know.)

Okay, but now there's, the German Oh, curse it! In the past 24 hours I've become just as fixated on it as I once was on the US version! There's good news and bad news because of this. The good news is that the book is selling. It's jumped around from 1k to 3k to 6k and back again. That would be quite good on the US site, although I've no idea what that means in actual sales in Germany. But in general terms it's still pretty good. It certainly means that people are buying the thing. (Magic, that...)

The bad things, though... Well, mainly this new distraction is just that: a distraction. It's so, so easy to skive off writing just to check You know, the figure changes every hour. I may check it five times during an hour, but, by god, that number is gonna change and I'll be there to spot it when it does!

This is not a healthy way to be. I'll work on it.

The other bummer is that... well, these people that speak another language (one that I can't read) can post reviews of my book. And what's happened? Well, some numbnuts gave me a two starred review! I've got no idea what his issues are, and I'm not bothered by them, actually. But the two stars just don't look good. (And I'm all about appearances.) So far there's only 1 Kundenrezension, which is why those two stars shine like a beacon alerting all of Germany to the tepid lameness of my novel...

Ah, so be it... It's not everyone that can say some German reader doesn't like their novel, right? By that accounting I'm a lucky guy. Plus, I've found that badly reviewed books often do surprisingly well... Am I on my way to German bestsellerdom? Time will tell... Oh, and if you'd like to see my German incarnation click here: AMAZON.DE!

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Blogger Brian said...

Let me offer a deeper fixation. 1) copy the comment in the original German. 2) Go to Google, and over to the side, "Language tools." 3) Paste the German in the box and choose "German to English" 4) Click.

The resultant translation might not catch every nuance (okay, maybe it misses every third nuance), but you can kind of get the picture:

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful:

Well-intentioned, poorly made, 10 January 2008
From Calime - all my reviews

The really beautiful cover design of the novel is irritating at "Acacia" right to purchase, and the flap text spells, which is obviously the higher literary suggest, at least, are really new. It is all the more bitter disappointment, when reading to see that the innovations with the two above-mentioned issues have also been exhausted.
Background of the story is a classic high-fantasy plot: The King großmächtigen an empire is murdered, four potential heirs are waiting for the various interest groups to be collected, and meanwhile it rumbling at the edges of the empire, when the northern people the weakness of the House rulers to a rebellion.
It tells the whole story of a number of changing perspectives, as has George RR Martin in the fantasy pervasive.

Description The world is really succeeded (there's also two stars), but the implementation runs like chewing gum. Many of the 800 pages can be "Nothing happened, and the very slow". A voltage arc is almost non-existent, and the characters and plot-development often does anything but conclusive.
A pity, because the background would certainly have given away more, and linguistically and stylistically, the book appealing. Without appropriate content useful but unfortunately little ...

5) Now write your reply. 6)Copy. 7) Go to Google "language tools". 8) Paste. 9) Choose "English to German." 10) Click. 11) Let Whats-his-name try to guess at the nuances.

11:24 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Thanks for that. I love it. (At least he liked the cover! Which I had nothing to do with...) I will, actually, go through those steps and post the reply here. (Probably not on Amazon. But here for local amusement.)

I'll have to do it at the start of the week, though, as I'm early to bed tonight and then camping at the coast over the weekend!


12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David!
I'm from a german fantasy website and here are some comments from my side:

1) Don't ever trust an amazon review! ;) What can you expect from a reviewer, who gave Harry Potter and Eragon (!!) five stars, but Gene Wolfe (The Knight) only 3??
2) I know of 2 german readers, who read the english version and both gave them 4 of 5 stars. But a lot of us are waiting for the german edition, which hasn't appeared in all local bookshops yet.
3) I wouldn't give the sales rating from amazon THAT much value. Local book sellers are still strong over here, thanks to the price fixing on books.

As I said, a lot of us are waiting for the german edition, but it just stared to appear in local book stores. Once we have the first reviews on the translation, I'll let you know.

(PS: Forgive me my bad english, I am only used to read microsoft technet articles, not to write much...)

7:30 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hello TD!

Thanks for writing. Your comments are very encouraging. I'm glad to hear that some German readers are looking forward to the book. I have to admit that I'VE been looking forward to the German publication for a long time. My editor was so enthusiastic about the novel's prospects, and I've heard many good things about the German fantasy readership and the book market in general.

I haven't been to Germany (yet), but I can well imagine that bookselling is different than in the US - where local and independent bookstores are being squeezed out of existence.

And, true enough, I feel fine about being dissed if it means I'm keeping company with Gene Wolfe!

(By the way, your English was perfect! No apologies necessary.)

9:57 AM  
Blogger Gabriele Campbell said...

td, and moreover complained about clichés in Acacia - as if Eragon has none of those ;)

Fantasy is popular here, and for some weird reason, translations even more than German Fantasy. Some German authors take up English sounding pen names so it looks like a translation.

I admit I'm waiting for a paperback edition because I'm really short of money (and the trade pb announced for May 2008 is still more expensive than the German translation, argh), else I'd post an announcement on Literaturschock, but I feel a bit bad including a short review - as expected - since I have only read Pride of Carthage.

Btw, does the publisher have some fee books? If so, a giveaway on sites like Literaturschock or td's place might be a good marketing idea.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Be assured that a lot of german fantasy readers are eager to read the book (in translation). And I know for sure, that Blanvalet has MUCH faith in this book. (One of the Blanvalet people hangs out on our forum....).

I just took a look at the Blanvalet flyer and your book is marketed over a 2 page spread,
(~10 MB, page 43), as a "fantasy top titel" and with a starting number of copies 50.000 (!!). And 50K for a fantasy book is HUGE!

There's already a 2 page thread in our forum ( about the book, so yes, there's definitly interest over here! ;)

And for me personaly "Acacia" and "Name of the Wind" (which will be released in germany in fall this year) are the TWO most awaited books of 2008. :)
(Those two and the third R. Scott Bakker in german.)

1:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Blog-software ate my link! ;)

I guess I have to break it down:

1:07 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Gabrielle and TD,

Thanks for the perspective from on the ground in Germany! That all sounds quite encouraging. TD, thanks for mentioning the Blanvalet catalog. I hadn't seen it before, but I have now. It's beautiful - especially because the image on the cover is from the cover of my book! I think I'll do a new post and try to put up an easier link to it.

That's funny about the large printing. Strangely enough, I've had two 50k first printings: this one and the Italian paperback of Pride of Carthage. I don't think I've ever gotten about 30k in the US. That's still a lot (and I'm not claiming we sold all those books), but it's interesting that in so many ways the foreign editions of my books are becoming more and more important...

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The catalog has your cover on it? I think you misunderstand that: The complete PDF is the catalogue.
(Paperback-catalogue for fall/spring 07/08)

Your book is on page 43 of the PDF, and if can read it right, page 85 of the printed version. Anyway, a two page advertisement is great.

7:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS: In case you mean the printed catalogue, I haven't seen this one.
It might differ from the PDF, but I have no clue.

I guess that people prefer to download it weeks and month before it's actually printed.
And the publishers don't print as much of them, as they used to do, way back before the internet was born. :)

8:15 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Ah, I see. I had trouble pasting in the address you gave, so I ended up finding a different catalog. The one I found does have the Acacia artwork on the cover, but I just found the one that directed me too also. I'll go add it to the new post I just put up about this.

Thanks -David.

8:18 PM  

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