The ARC of Zoe’s Tale (Get It? Get It? It’s a PUN)

First: Embarq appears to have pulled its head out and restored my Internet connectivity. Yes, I missed you too. No, don’t hug me.

Second: Tor has gotten its shipment of Zoe’s Tale Advance Reading Copies and sent me a couple, which makes me happy. Now it looks like a book! The ARC is taken from the first pass of edits, so there are little fiddly bits still in the text (for example, the hermaphrodite characters are still occasionally referred to as “he”), but people who read ARCs are generally aware that most of the fiddly bits will get fixed before the final printing. They won’t hold a little inappropriate gendering against me, hopefully.

The arrival of ARC is also interesting because it means the book is going out to reviewers and critics, and as always it’ll be interesting to see what they think of the book. Naturally, I hope they like it. I also hope they figure out what I was doing with it, in terms of Zoe, who I think with this book becomes one of the more fully-realized characters I’ve written. Early on in the writing process I got feedback from the Tor marketers, who were concerned about the title and suggested we might want to think about something else; we communally thought about it but eventually “Zoe’s Tale” won out. I’m glad it did, because it is precisely descriptive of what goes on in the book. It really is about Zoe, and her growing up over a certain stretch of time. We’ll see what they think.

I know what I think: I’m pretty happy with this book. And I think Zoe — the character — is a kick. I hope in August, when most of you will have a chance to spend some time with her, you’ll feel the same way about her, too.

34 thoughts on “The ARC of Zoe’s Tale (Get It? Get It? It’s a PUN)

  1. Embarq wishes to hug you John, and Embarq has a hairy chest, plumber’s butt crack sweat, bad breath, and body odor!

    Question: So would you consider “Zoe’s Tale” your first foray into the world of tween’ writing? Will it cross that line from hard SF fans onward into the realm of Cory Doctorow’s popular marketability (jeesh I hate marketing buzzwords like that) of “Uglies”?

    Simply curious.

  2. Christian:

    I’ve actually addressed that question several times here already — I wrote it to be a good story for fans of the OMW universe first and foremost, but it’s also a written so that it would be accessible to YA readers if they wanted to check it out. Its main character is a 16-year-old girl, after all.

  3. Send me one of those ARCs, and I will review it on my blog.

    Surely you cannot resist the opportunity to harness the economic potential of my fifteen hundred daily visitors! There are potentially dozens of dollars to be made here.

  4. Well, my 13 year old daughter would like to read it and if you send an ARC this way I’ll still buy a copy for her school library when it comes (my standard ARC m.o.), if I’m lucky she’ll share.

    Or..we’ll wait patiently.

  5. I’ve been curious. What is the reason for when dates are set for book release? Is there a good time to release books? (I imagine Christmas and before people start Summer vacations are better times.) Does it have to do with the process of copy editing and printing? All of the above?

  6. Folks, I only have a couple of ARCs at the moment, which means one for me, one for family to share amongst themselves. If I get a couple more, I’ll do a giveaway of some sort. Other than that, I can’t send along what I don’t have. Sorry. Please don’t hit me.

  7. we won’t hit you… or hug you either. However, we can still converse with you and try to trick.. i mean convence, you into sending any further ARC copies to your loving fans (not the kind that blows)

  8. It’s pretty good. Parts made me cry, in a good way. Zoe’s a kick.

    See? There! Now you HAVE to buy it!

  9. Is Zoe’s Tale being marketed as YA? I’m only asking not in relation to previous threads but just greed — Tor has recently sent us several YA ARCs because of our children’s bookstore, and I want more.

  10. I can’t wait to read the book! I’m just glad it doesn’t come out while I have class… I have a bit of a problem with puting books down…

  11. joelfinkle:

    It’s not being directly marketed as YA at this point as far as I know. But you’re more than welcome to request an ARC. Just contact one of the Publicity folks noted on the ARCs.

  12. We were just about to send the winners of the last post’s rumble out to ‘encourage’ Embarq to get working, too. They can change their name to Ponies & Rainbows, but they’ve still got Sprint’s customer service department.

  13. Was there any editorial discussion of imposing upon our heroine a diaeresis?

  14. I shall not resort to begging.
    I’ll just wait until the end of the month, when you’re at BookExpo and score a copy then.
    And I shall happy dance. Oh yes. I totally shall.

  15. ‘Early on in the writing process I got feedback from the Tor marketers….’

    Wow – now I know that my cynicism concerning various Internet feedback loops being a simple excrescence of already existing structures was well justified.

    Though why it is worth commenting on at this time strikes me as showing how out of touch I have become.

    Authors and marketers, early on in the writing process – sounds promising, especially in a demographically rigorous application of profit maximization sort of way.

    Which is what I am always looking for when buying books.

    Though for at least the last decade, pretty much the only books I have actually bought were used.

    Not that the marketing team is going to lose any sleep over that.

  16. not_scottbot:

    I’m not sure why you think open communication between me and the people who market my work is a bad thing. I hate to break it to you, but one of the reasons I’m a writer is to sell lots of books. So I’m happy the marketing folks take an early and obvious interest in how best to move my books by the bushel. The marketing people don’t have a veto over the content or even the title; they just let me know what they’re thinking, and I can use it or not.

    Bear in mind that marketing decisions about my book will be made with or without my participation; all things considered, I prefer having some input into how my book is presented to the public. If the idea of me actively colluding with the marketing folk to sell my work offends you, I suggest you get a grip. This is my business, and I treat it as such.

  17. wait, you make money on this stuff?

    also: I would love to see moar of the cover art, so I can talk about the book on my own site, and share in my scalzi worship.

  18. Well, I’m gonna hit you, but not because you don’t have enough ARCs to go ’round…I’m just cranky today. Hitting lots of people. Don’t take it personally. Gaaaaarrrrr, etc.

    (But in other news, congratulations…)

  19. I was wondering about that odd insistence on the cover, “Winner of the John W Campbell Award”.

    I mean, suppose it just said “Winner of the Campbell Award”. Might there be some confusion?

    [em]“Oh, you mean John W Campbell?”

    “Nah, this was the Myrtle Coswicz Cambell award. You know, the one they give to the shredded book her cat likes best for litter.”[/em]

    If they said it (or you) won the Hugo Award (I’m still pulling for ya’) we wouldn’t be asking if that meant the Victor Hugo award for best hunchback in a dramatic role. The context is clear and we know what’s meant. So this peculiar insistence on John W just puzzles me a little, for no special reason.

  20. kluelos @ #31: it’s doubtless called the
    ‘John W Campbell Award’ in full to distinguish it from the
    ‘John W Campbell Memorial Award’, which is something completely different, although named in honour of the same person. So there could indeed be some confusion!

    The former is for the best new writer of the year (actually of a 2-year elegibility span), and is voted on and awarded alongside the Hugo Awards, while the latter is for the best new sf novel of the preceding year as determined by an international committee of stefnal worthies.

    I believe it not unknown for the two to have been confused by publishers’ publicity departments, and to have been ascribed incorrectly on book covers (though obviously not in this case).

  21. Well, okay, except that it doesn’t, does it? Assuming that you did know (which I didn’t) about the memorial one, it still doesn’t distinguish them adequately.

    I mean, the label “winner of the John W. Campbell Award” by itself still doesn’t clarify which one you’re talking about, unless you go on to say “for best new writer”, or “for best novel”.

    Now if you said “Campbell Memorial Award”, that would be clearer for the one (if not for the other), but you still wouldn’t need the “John W”.

    I suppose this really doesn’t matter, at least for right now, (though someday I think it will be an important historical footnote when they talk about how the Coveted John Scalvi Memorial Award got started).

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