Category Archives: Announcements

Awards, new books, and so on

Fortnight to When Words Collide and Mythcon 45

Both When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta and Mythcon 45 in Norton, Massachusetts will have Atomic Fez’s Authors in attendance!

Mythcon: Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts, USA, August 8 – 11

[click to enlarge / reduce]
Mark H. Williams [photo by Simon Gough]
The author of Sleepless Knights, Mark H. Williams, [photo, left; so as to aid the spotting of same in the wild], will be attending Mythcon 45. Part of the proceedings of the event is the announcement of the winners of the Mythopoeic Awards, Mr. Williams being a nominee for the “Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature,” alongside Yangsze Choo (The Ghost Bride, William Morrow), Neil Gaiman (The Ocean at the End of the Lane, William Morrow), Max Gladstone (Three Parts Dead, Tor), and Helene Wecker (The Golem and the Jinni, Harper). Should the winner be Sleepless Knights, it’s best to seek the location of Mr. Williams by looking directly at the ceiling to locate him.

Other events and panels Mr. Williams may be involved with /​ attending at Mythcon 45 are readings and the following panel:

  • The Inklings and King Arthur
    The 2013 publication of The Fall of Arthur complicated the generic complexities of Tolkien’s work: how does Tolkien’s Arthurian poem fit into the palimpsest of Arthurian legends? how does it map onto Middle-​​earth? How does it interact with Arthurian works by other Inklings? This panel represents The Inklings and King Arthur, an upcoming academic collection edited by Sørina Higgins. The panelists discuss Lewis, Tolkien, Williams, Barfield, Arthurian source materials, MacDonald, and Chesterton.

    • Panelists: Chris Gaertner, Yannick Imbert, Cory Lowell Grewell, Benjamin Shogren, Brenton D. G. Dickieson, Sørina Higgins (Moderator).
WWC: Carriage House Inn, Calgary, Alberta, August 8 – 12

Mark Leslie Lefebvre
Mark Leslie Lefebvre [photo by John Robbie]
Attendees of the 4th Annual When Words Collide can rub elbows with such luminaries as the author of I, Death, Mark Leslie (Lefebvre) [image, left], who is also a Guest of Honour; Chris Rothe, the author of Dirk Danger Loves Life. While Mr. Leslie’s schedule is easily followed on the event’s site – for the panels and presentations he is participating in are numerous – Mr. Rothe’s are equally easy: look for the young man wearing flippers and other snorkelling equipment, or possibly making dinosaur noises.

Atomic Fez’s Publisher /​ Proprietor, Ian Alexander Martin is also attending, and during the event will be participating in the following panel discussions (subject to change) explaining how Everyone Else is Very Very Wrong (this, sadly, is subject to inevitability):

  • HOW TO WRITE A GOOD PITCH AND QUERY (Friday, 2pm)
    You can write the greatest novel ever written, but you still need to get it into the hands of a publisher. Our panel tells you how.
  • BLENDING SF AND FANTASY (Saturday, 10am)
    The world of Science Fiction is one extended from the principles of known science; the Fantasy world is based in unknowable magic. There was a time when never the twain could meet, but writers love to break down this barrier. Can they? Should they? Are there examples where this hybrid has worked? Are there spectacular failures?
  • GRIPING ABOUT GRAMMAR (Saturday, 7pm)
    Who VS That. Who VS Whom. The apostrophe goes where? And what does subjunctive mean, anyway? Bring your grammar questions for our Grammar Gurus to debate, debunk, and decipher. Be prepared to take notes.
  • THE PUBLISHERSPANEL: NOVELS (Sunday, 10am)
    Novels Publishers and editors discuss industry trends, their working relationship with authors and agents, the impact of ePublishing on their business, and other questions raised from the audience.
  • THOUGHTS ON THE eBOOK REVOLUTION (Sunday, 2pm)
    The popularization of eReaders, such as the Kobo and Kindle reader, has changed the way books are read and has caused major upheavals in the publishing industry. This panel looks at some of the ramifications for readers, authors, and publishers, with special attention to issues that remain in flux.

I,Death Launch Final (Half)Between those points in the schedule, have a look in the Merchants’ Room near the table with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing books on it, because that’s where you’ll also find copies of Atomic Fez’s books; including copies of I, Death: freshly created for WWC, and only available there! Attend the launch at 3pm on Saturday and witness the author read words aloud!

You can probably also find Atomic Fez’s Publisher /​ Proprietor in the pub with a pint of beer in his hand. Failing that, have a look under one of the tables; you might be rewarded for helping him to his room.

Eagle's idea of 1949 Northrop Flying Wing
Artist’s impression of Northrop Flying Wing, c.1949 [Illustration originally by L. Ashwell Wood for the comic book Eagle (via XRay Delta on Flickr)]
Thankfully the Atomic Fez Flying Wing [artist’s impression, left] is going through final air-​​worthiness checks so as to be ready to whisk those involved thither and yon in the pursuit of spreading the good news of books!! The Publisher /​ Proprietor is looking forward to spending much of his time in #15 and #16, so as to properly receive other passengers as some are picked-​​up here, others are dropped off there, and so on.

Sleepless Knights Finalist for Mythopoeic Award

Cover by Jimmy Broxton [click to enlarge/close]
Cover by Jimmy Broxton [click to enlarge/​close]
Lost in the shuffle of excitement of the last two weeks is the news that Sleepless Knights, by Mark H. Williams, has been named a finalist in the 2014 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature!

The Mythopoeic Society is a non-​​profit organization promoting the study, discussion, and enjoyment of fantastic and mythopoeic literature through books and periodicals, annual conferences, discussion groups, awards, and more. They are especially interested in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Charles Williams, prominent members of the informal Oxford literary circle known as the “Inklings” (1930s – 1950s).

Thus, quite logically, the “Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature” is given to the fantasy novel, multi-​​volume novel, or single-​​author story collection for adults published during the previous year that best exemplifies the myth-​​making tradition of the ‘Inklings.’

CLICK to learn about the awards [new tab or window]The award may not be widely known, but the authors and works named are quite prestigious, whether declared winners or not.

Previous winners include Mary Stewart (twice), Orson Scott Card, Elizabeth Hand, Neil Gaiman (twice), Salman Rushdie, Michael Chabon, Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Stroud, and J.K. Rowling. Those who made the “short list” and never won are an equally interesting list; Michael Moorcock, Tanith Lee (twice), Charles de Lint (four times), Guy Gavriel Kay (five times), Connie Willis (twice), Elizabeth Hand, and Margaret Atwood.

More details about the award right here.

This year’s nominees for the award are as follows:

  • Yangsze Choo, The Ghost Bride (William Morrow)
  • Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane (William Morrow)
  • Max Gladstone, Three Parts Dead (Tor)
  • Helene Wecker, The Golem and the Jinni (Harper)
  • Mark H. Williams, Sleepless Knights (Atomic Fez Publishing)

The winners of this year’s awards will be announced during Mythcon 45, to be held August 8 – 11, 2014, at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts.

Mark Leslie's I Death Launching in August

I,Death Launch Final (Half)Atomic Fez Publishing is happy to announce that Mark Leslie’s first novel, titled I, Death, will be officially launched as part of When Words Collide in Calgary, Alberta. The “book social” will be held Saturday, August 9th 2014 at three pm.

Mr. Leslie will be in attendance to read passages from the book (and different from those read during other festival reading events), as well for signing. Copies of the novel be available for purchase at the “book social”, as well as throughout WWC in the ‘Merchants’ Room’ thanks to an agreement with EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing and the brains behind the genre-​​house, Brian Hades.

Mark Leslie Lefebvre (photo by John Robbie)
Mark Leslie Lefebvre (photo by John Robbie)

Mark Leslie is leading a fair bit in pre-​​festival workshop series [MORE INFORMATION HERE], mostly in his role as Director of Self-​​Publishing & Author Relations at Kobo Canada. He’s specifically doing “Marketing Best Practices” Thursday morning, followed by “Hybrid Publishing” in the afternoon. The two sessions promise to be an excellent opportunity for writers of all levels to get an insider’s perspective at the ever-​​shifting landscape of literary publishing, especially during this period; arguably the most anarchic time since Gutenberg made it possible to produce books of guaranteed quality in high volume at a tiny fraction of previous costs.

Space is limited for these two workshops (and may already be full, actually), so e-​​mail them to reserve your seat or add your name to a waiting list.

  • Marketing Best Practices (9 AM – 12 PM; Thursday, August 7th)
    • 3 hour session limited to 50 seats, and includes topics from pricing, to marketing strategies, to working with eRetailers and local bookstores
  • Hybrid Publishing (1PM – 5PM; Thursday, August 7th)
    • Traditional or Self Publishing? Choose both. Mark Leslie draws on his experience in the publishing industry to discuss the advantages of each method in this presentation limited to 50 seats

CLICK to view their site [new tab or window]
CLICK to view their site [new tab or window]
When Words Collide exists to provide an opportunity for the literary community, from readers to writers to publishers, to gather and share information and inspiration. With the belief that different genres have more in common than they have differences, the festival includes content for all types of literature including Mainstream, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery, Historical, Literary, and non-​​fiction.

WWC 2014 will be held at the Carriage House Inn, 9030 Macleod Trail South, Calgary, Alberta.

In addition to Mr. Leslie, Atomic Fez’s publisher Ian Alexander Martin will be there; as well as Chris Rothe, the author of Dirk Danger Loves Life.

Join them in the celebration of reading and story-​​telling, won’t you?

ROUND-UP: Too Much News for One Post!

…but somehow I’ll cram it all in.

[pause for inevitable ‘that’s what she said comment from somewhere in the back of the crowd

So… herewith: a whole bunch of news!

Change of Publishing Date for Sleepless Knights

Due to overwhelming demand, all printed copies destined for stores and libraries in the United States of America has been re-​​scheduled to September 24. Note that orders placed directly with the publisher through this site remain entirely unaffected. The only copies this covers are the 2nd official run of the paperback destined for retail outlets distributed through Midpoint Trade Books.

CLICK to read the interview [new tab or window]Interviews A-Plenty

Read an interview with Mark H. Williams!! He tells you all sorts of things like his preference for coffee v. tea (depends on the time of day), cats v. dogs, and many other exciting things!  Head here: http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1477641-an-interview-with-mark-h-williams-author-of-sleepless-knights

Also: listen to Bell Book & Podcast Episode #2, wherein Ian Alexander Martin (the publisher in charge of this so-​​called house) babbles about how editing gets done, the publishing industry and its anarchic developments, what the Big Publishers think about the books you think you own but never actually have (the publishers do, actually),  http://pgbell.wordpress.com/2013/bbp2/ and how he actually resembles a Hollywood Movie Star.

If you’d prefer to hear something from Mark H. Williams about how he writes (which interests many people far more frequently than the publishing nonsence), head to http://pgbell.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/bell-book-podcast-1/ for a shorter, more fun podcast. 

For more Bell Book & Podcast yumminess, subscribe here:

and so on.

Sleepless Knights Launch Party!

Some more information about the event in Cardiff can be found on the author’s blog in the post titled “Launch! Party! Prizes!” Meanwhile, here’s some pretty pictures.

Images of the diorama competition entrants as well as wonderful images of the launch (above)!

As mentioned a few posts ago, Mark held a competition on Twitter using the hashtag #DioramaFriday.

DIORAMA FRIDAY WINNERS!

Draken was hopeful that he'd be in Mark's book but Sir Kay wasn't convinced ... by @Indigo_Blues_
Draken was hopeful that he’d be in Mark’s book but Sir Kay wasn’t convinced …by @Indigo_Blues_
The palisade's guard by Zoe, aka @SaidHanrahan
The palisade’s guard
by Zoe, aka @SaidHanrahan

These photos below are also quite nice.

LAUNCH PARTY FUN!!

Mark H Williams reads from Sleepless Knights at the launch. EXCITED!
Mark H Williams reads from Sleepless Knights at the launch. EXCITED!
PHOTO BY: Laura Cotton ‏@lalscotton
CAKE!!!
CAKE!!!

Other bits about the launch can be found here: http://pgbell.wordpress.com/2013/08/07/sleepless-knights-book-launch-and-podcast-update/

WORDS: Sleepless Knights Author Speaks!

So… you know… there’s this book coming out short-​​ish, eh, and… well, we’ve been talking about it, like…

…and then I wrote:

…but a few days before that, Mark wrote:

…and then someone else wrote:

Just click the thing.
Image of Mark’s original tweet, which was tweeted by Sarah Dollard and then re-​​tweeted by @Indigo_Blues_… click to read the Tumbler post associated with the image, original tweet, and so on.

…and then Mark decided to give some stuff away for #dioramafriday in addition to the Name the Knights contest and wrote:

So, basically, you can read all sorts of things in the top article, then read “Part 1″ of the book for free and enter a contest to win a huge amount of things including a signed, Advance Copy of the book, then you can set-​​up a little diorama and tweet the picture of it and possibly win another signed copy of the ARC.

…or, you could just order yourself a copy of Sleepless Knights here and skip all of that effort. 

It’s up to you, really.

CONTEST: Sleepless Knights Name the Knights Competition!

To celebrate the launch of Sleepless Knights on 5th August, Atomic Fez have put together a prize-​​packed Questing Kit for the winner of our “Name the Knights Competition!” A goody bag-​​full of Arthurian delights can be yours, featuring variations of Jimmy Broxton’s Sleepless Knights artwork – including: a T-​​shirt and Hoodie in your choice of colour & design, a set of buttons*, a mug, and a signed Advance Reading Copy [or ‘ARC’] of the book. Plus a tote bag of your choice to put it all in, perfect for ease of access for any questing knight in the field. To be in with a chance of being the envy of Camelot, just follow these steps…

Download and read the 42-​​page Part One for free, here. “Day One” of Sleepless Knights introduces the main characters, as Sir Lucas the Butler attempts to round them all up for their annual get-​​together, while the clock ticks, tempers fray, and chaos escalates…

Next, jot down your own cover art Who’s Who, using the following character names:

Knight Contest Key
Knight Contest Key
  • Lucas
  • Kay
  • Pellinore
  • Perceval
  • Gawain
  • Lancelot, and
  • Arthur

To (hopefully) avoid any confusion, we’ve given each figure on the cover a brief description, corresponding to the numbers in the picture to the right. 

So all you have to do is complete the following…

  1. Knight behind long shield is…
  2. Background knight, clutching kebab is…
  3. Knight with moustache is…
  4. Central knight with white face & sword is…
  5. Background knight, with stabbed roast chicken is…
  6. Knight in full armour is…
  7. Knight peeking out in front of starred shield is…

Once you’ve done that, email your seven named knights to Image used to foil SPAM by Friday 2nd August.

The person guessing (or closest to guessing) the author’s own Knight-​​identification, will win the coveted Questing Kit, instant promotion to the Round Table, and the eternal fellowship of Camelot.

In the happy event of two or more correct guesses, Atomic Fez proprietor Ian Alexander Martin will randomly select the winner from those entries.

Let the naming begin!

ARC* of SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS
Win an ARC* of SLEEPLESS KNIGHTS signed by the author!
[*Author’s thumb not included]
Knights diorama with mug
Win a Knights mug with a diorama of your creation!
[figurines not included]
Knights only t-shirt
Be a proud wearer of a Sleepless Knights t-​​shirt, just like this lady!
[winner must provide own lady]
 
* People in the United Kingdom will know this as a set of “badges.” 
 

FREE: Sample the Quest!

For those of you wishing to “try before you buy,” you can now read PART I of Sleepless Knights by Mark H Williams

Cover design and art by Jimmy Broxton
Cover design and art by Jimmy Broxton

Follow this link here to discover why Muriel Gray said the following:

Mark Williams’ dazzling début shakes up Arthurian legend into a wildly inventive, roller coaster ride of thrills, hilarity, dark fantasy and brilliant characterisation all written with an exquisite elegance befitting the originality of the tale. Treat yourself.

Muriel Gray, author of The Trickster, Furnace, and The Ancient

Plus, stay tuned for more educated acclaim from the Great and the Good, as well as a SPECIAL CONTEST!

ANNOUNCEMENT: Distribution in the USA

METRO VANCOUVER, B.C.–Atomic Fez Publishing is proud to announce they have signed a distribution deal with Midpoint Trade Books for supply of its catalogue of titles to libraries and wholesale trade customers in the United States of America. This agreement covers not only paperback and hardcover books, but widespread supply of electronic books as well.

The Publisher /​ Proprietor of Atomic Fez, Ian Alexander Martin, says this distribution agreement was “something that Atomic Fez very much needed to complete the preparations for Mark H. Williams’ Sleepless Knights. Without some proper way of satisfying the public clamour for the novel, the author would be done a disservice after all his hard work, given the tale’s appeal to such a wide swath of the reading public.”

CLICK to log-on to their site [new tab or window]Representing 275 independent publishers across the United States, UK, Canada and Australia, Midpoint Trade Books provides full service book, eBook and audio sales; as well as a marketing and distribution. It is based in the Flatiron District of New York City, with additional offices in Kansas, Michigan and San Francisco.

Since Midpoint aggregates many publishers under one name, they have a much larger catalog and market presence. This makes the books they carry, including Atomic Fez’s, more attractive to larger retailers such as Chapters/​Indigo, WH Smith, Waterstones and Barnes & Noble; as well as the internet branches of retailers and the many international versions of Amazon, and the incalculable number of American public libraries.

Midpoint was founded in 1996 by a group of industry professionals, including current President Eric Kampmann and Executive Vice President Chris Bell. Today, Midpoint retains the same entrepreneurial spirit with which the company was founded, which was something that Mr. Martin felt was a key factor to the partnership being mutually beneficial. “Taking risks because it’s exciting is no way to run a business,” he explained. “Taking a risk which is a qualified one – using pre-​​orders or reviews as an indication of potential sales – is something which any small press publisher does, but always with a varying amount of success” when independent houses attempt things on their own. Midpoint understands that, and provides the ability for me to realise that goal for the authors.

“There is no way I could handle even a fraction of the work load Sleepless Knights is going to create,” Mr. Martin added. He pointed-​​out the review last week from Publishers Weekly which earned a star making the title “Highly Recommended” in the estimation of the reviewer. Additionally, the book was reportedly featured on the ‘Table of Contents’ page in the printed edition of the issue. “With attention like this prior to the official publishing date of august 5th,” Mr. Martin continued, “I’m confident this is a book that people are going to not only want to read, they’ll take the time to do it. All of the books Atomic Fez has published more than earn their place in people’s reading time, but once in awhile a book really hits all the right notes so that you know it’s something anyone, no matter their tastes, will share your enthusiasm about.”

The recent surge in eBook sales has seen a considerable need to create distribution on the electronic format. The Association of American Publishers reports eBooks represented 22.55% of the total share of the USA trade publishing market’s net revenue in 2012, compared to a miniscule 0.005% a decade earlier¹. BookStats recently released statistics showing this translated into 457.093 million units for a total value of $3.042 billion last year². This growth has expanded even to the typically staid European market, with eBooks reaching 2.4% of the German Book Market in 2012, representing a 140% increase from only the year before³. Additionally, the Institute for Publishing Research projecting that eBooks will represent 20% of the overall reading market by 2015. Additionally. most readers do not buy physical books once they switch to buying eBooks (and these readers are often the most voracious).

New supply of electronic titles to eRetailers
• Amazon Kindle
• Mobipocket
• Barnes & Noble
• Fictionwise.com
• Ereader.com
• Sony eReader Store
• Kobo Books
• Ebooks.com
• Books on Board
• Scribd
• Apple iBookstore
• Blio Store
• Book Depository
WH Smith
• Waterstones
New supply of electronic
titles to Public Libraries
• Overdrive
• Net Library
• myilibrary.com
• Follett Software Company
• eBook Library

Recognising this but being unable to break into the market in any meaningful way was something which Mr. Martin found frustrating. “Kobo, the Kindle store, and directly through the Atomic Fez site, the eBooks are available – and always without any DRM to screw things up for readers down the road – but sales of the books just haven’t matched what the growing market represents taking place. The problem is that, when you’re doing everything yourself, you’ve only got so much time, so much influence, and so much cash, to try and make a big enough splash readers take note of your titles.

“So when Laura Robinson” – Midpoint’s New Business Manager and National Accounts Manager – “pointed out that they handle eBooks, my heart skipped a beat. After skimming down the list of retailers Atomic Fez’s books could be brought to, especially the Public Library market, there wasn’t any question that signing an agreement with Midpoint was going to be a cornerstone of our step up in the next few years. At long last, this is going to put the words written by Atomic Fez’s authors in front of a huge number of readers’ eyeballs compared to before now.

Citing text on the Midpoint Trade Books’ website quoted below, Mr. Martin says “it’s obvious that Midpoint is dedicated to create the kind of connections that small press houses need” to make the difference between being a hobbyist concern and an on-​​going, professional concern.

The digital marketplace has expanded well beyond Amazon Kindle. It now includes retailers, libraries, and independent eBook websites — and new sales avenues are developing all the time!

At Midpoint, we have developed an extensive sales network for eBooks. Midpoint eVolve gives you access to this network, so that you can provide customers with more opportunities to buy your books.

The digital marketplace offers a huge growth opportunity for publishers, but entering that market can be confusing and overwhelming.  That’s why we created Midpoint eVolve. eVolve is a full service eBook solution, which includes consultation, conversion, distribution, sales, secure digital storage, and reporting.

Principal to any distribution agreement is the physical movement of printed books from one place to another, mostly from the distributor’s warehouse to a retailer’s location. With Midpoint’s use of Leisure Arts’ distribution centre located in Little Rock, Arkansas, shipments by common carrier can reach either the Pacific or Atlantic coast in two days, while both UPS and FedEx deliver to most of the USA within one to three days, at regular non-​​priority rates. Even postal shipments tend to get to their destinations faster when shipped from Little Rock. In fact, more than 98% of all orders ship from the warehouse within 24 hours of being released, and more than 99% of orders ship accurately

Midpoint’s storage of its inventory using Leisure Arts facility enables use of the latest technology and equipment in order to provide fast, efficient service. The distribution center is an air conditioned, secure, state-​​of-​​the-​​art facility, equipped with high-​​flow sprinklers and both fire and burglar alarm systems. The modern wire guide system ensures safe and efficient movement of products and can handle pallet loads of up to 4,000 pounds.

While specific dates and details weren’t available, discussions regarding distribution agreements with firms in both the United Kingdom and Canada which are allied with Midpoint are expected t be concluded soon.

CLICK to get details about this titleMr. Martin cites Midpoint’s approach to pro-​​active sales demonstrated through their positive, friendly environment at conferences and expos attracts large numbers of people to their booth at events. Midpoint is known for having a particularly strong presence at Book Expo America – aka “BEA” – and The London Book Fair. Author signings at the Midpoint booth provide their publishers with a strong platform for promoting their authors and titles.

In addition to international events such as those, Midpoint is always interested in other opportunities to connect with the publishing industry. They often have a presence at The Frankfurt Book Fair, ALA, CBA, NEIBA and other regional trade shows.

“All in all,” Mr. Martin concluded, “things couldn’t look brighter for Atomic Fez than they are right now. There’s not just the awesome novel Sleepless Knights from Mark H. Williams on the way, there’s a system ready to go to make it available as widely as possible in any edition people can want. Not only that, it’ll apply to the entire current Atomic Fez catalogue of genre-​​busting fiction. Things feel ready and, with this agreement in place, things are ready.”


Links from this article:


¹     Library Journal, April 11, 2013: “Statistics: Ebook Sales Made Up 22.5% of U.S. Trade Publisher Revenues in 2012

²     Library Journal, May 22, 21013: “Ebooks, Online Drive Trade Sales Growth

³     The Digital Reader, June 13, 2013: “eBooks Reached 2.4% of the German Book Market in 2012

EXCELSIOR! News of a Starred Review

HOORAY!! Huzzah! Plus other exclamations of joy! We’ve got a splendiferous review of joy of Sleepless Knights from Publishers Weekly! With a star! Plus there’s a reproduction of the cover by Jimmy Broxton on the issue’s “Table of Contents” (still trying to track down an image of that page’s layout)!

But before we get there, let’s a provide a bit of information about who that is. Some of you are reading this in the United Kingdom and may not have heard about this US-​​based trade journal. A few years ago I was looking for Quill & Quire, which is the Canadian version of PW. I went into a location of one of Canada’s national bookstores and had the Store Manager tell me he didn’t know what Publishers Weekly was – never mind Q&Q unsurprisingly – explaining that he was “new to books.”

Jesus wept.

Anyway, let’s put it this way the most easily: Publishers Weekly is to the book trade essentially what Variety is to TV and Movies.

Publishers Weekly is described by Wikipedia as “an American weekly trade news magazine targeted at publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents. Published continuously since 1872, it has carried the tagline, ‘The International News Magazine of Book Publishing and Bookselling.’ With 51 issues a year, the emphasis today is on book reviews.”

Fairly succinct and a fine job of summing it up.

Just to be fair, let’s go to the source and let Publishers Weekly describe itself.  “Publishers Weekly, familiarly known in the book world as ‘PW’ and ‘the bible of the book business,’ is a weekly news magazine focused on the international book publishing business. It is targeted at publishers, booksellers, librarians, literary agents, authors and the media. It offers feature articles and news on all aspects of the book business, bestsellers lists in a number of categories, and industry statistics, but its best known service is pre-​​publication book reviews, publishing some 8,000 per year.” You can read more about them in their own words right here on their site.

Notice that the magazine pushes the international aspect of the thing. They’ve recently appointed an editor specifically for reviews of Canadian published books, thus acknowledging we have the printed word i the Great White North (even if it might only be about hockey and coffee shops originally owned by former hockey players).

Cover art designed and drawn by the mighty JIMMY BROXTON!
Cover art designed and drawn by the mighty JIMMY BROXTON!

And speaking of reviews of Canadian published books…

logo ©Publishers Weekly, which is the property of PWxyz, LLCA ‘Highly Recommended’ STAR! from “Publishers Weekly!”Action and comedy duel for prominence in this brilliant début novel about the knights of the Round Table. Sir Lucas, King Arthur’s butler, has been Arthur’s faithful servant for hundreds of years. In the modern world, it’s Lucas’s job to make sure that Arthur and his remaining six knights gather on an annual basis to drink from the Grail and continue their Eternal Quest toward “truth, justice and the Arthurian way.” When the exploits of Lancelot and Gawain make the modern news broadcasts, threatening the secrecy of the quest, desperate measures must be taken, but plans to find Merlin end up releasing a host of dragons and undead. Lucas is left, Jeeves-​​like, to clean up the mess, which might do more harm to Arthur’s legend than the fall of Camelot did. Lucas brings a refreshing “downstairs” sensibility to the usual heroic acts, and his fate is both surprising and entirely satisfying. Williams, an experienced playwright and television writer, has created a delightful addition to the Arthurian canon. (Aug.)

Publishers Weekly, 6-​​17-​​2013, Vol. 260 Issue 24

What’s that star thing really mean, anyway? I hear you cry. I am so glad you asked, astute and inquisitive reader! Let’s turn to the people who award that little doo-​​dad, shall we?

Reviews editor Sybil Steinberg, starting in the mid ‘80s,  had a keener, more sophisticated critical eye, and for a wider range of books. She also yearned to give more prominent attention to books she particularly admired, and it was under her aegis that PW began to award stars to books of exceptional merit, and later to create the lengthier and more prominent boxed reviews.

Meanwhile, over at Wikipedia, we learn that Texas novelist Clay Reynolds, in The Texas Institute of Letters Newsletter (February, 2004), gave a behind-​​the-​​scenes glimpse into the policies of PW, saying he’d written 87 reviews for them and only “given three stars in all that time.” That’s a ratio of 1:29. My perusal sees that a bit a on the tough side, with over-​​all use of the star being one in about fifteen or twenty reviews.

This marks the ninth Atomic Fez published title from a total catalogue of  ten which has been reviewed by PW.

This is the third review with a star, so Atomic Fez is running a 1:3 ratio of critical acclaim. Which is fairly awesome!

The previous stars were for 2010’s back-​​to-​​back hits of John Llewellyn Probert’s Wicked Delights, plus the first “Benji Spriteman Mystery”: The Terror and the Tortoiseshell. Both are still available. Click the links. Please.

LEMONADE: When Life Provides Only Citrus…

Below the image is the text which accompanied it on Facebook, and it’s things like this that Atomic Fez has strived to achieve. The ‘Small Press’ has let too many people down over the years, and we need to re-​​earn the trust of people with their money. Thank you for your support of us, Paulo Brito, as well as your support of Rhys Hughes.

Copy of “Twisthorn Bellow” received by Paulo Brito [click to embiggen/close]
Copy of “Twisthorn Bellow” received by Paulo Brito

Order placed and paid on March 3. Order placed in the mail on April 16. Order received today. As you can see by the dates the order took more than a month to be processed which is very bad. If I was disappointed, of course. If I will buy more books at Atomic Fez Publishing, yes I will. Reason? I have to highlight the excellent professionalism and posture of Ian Alexander Martin that solved this abnormal situation. The small publishers should be congratulated.