Full Circle

A long time ago – a bit over 8 years, in fact – my first Alex Verus novel came out.  

Getting started as a debut author is a dicey business.  When Fated came out in 2012, I’d technically been published before (the Ninja books) but those had come out in the mid-2000s, had been in a different genre, and hadn’t been particularly successful, so that really didn’t help.  Effectively I was an unknown.  And back then, new unknown urban fantasy authors were very common.  The Twilight books were still in everyone’s minds, and hundreds of young adult, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance series had sprouted up in their wake.  

Unfortunately, by 2012, the urban fantasy tide was receding.  Most of the genre’s big success stories (Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris, Ilona Andrews, Patricia Briggs) had been successful a good long while ago, and the newer authors hoping to follow in their footsteps were mostly failing.  You couldn’t go a month without some new urban fantasy series being launched, failing to find an audience, and sinking without trace.

So when it turned out Jim Butcher liked Fated enough to give a blurb for it, my publishers grabbed that quote and put it on the cover.  

It was a longish blurb, so they were able to quote a different bit from it for the cover of book 2.  

And a shorter phrasing for book 3.  

By book 4 they’d run out of new material, so had to start recycling.  

And if we go all the way up to book 10, Fallen, released last year . . .

Looking back on it, it’s hard to say just how much difference that blurb of Jim’s made, but if I had to guess, I’d say:  probably a fair bit.  Blurbs won’t make a reader finish a book that they think is boring, and they won’t make someone stick with a series . . . but they can make a reader give a book a chance when they otherwise wouldn’t have paid attention to it  And when you’re starting out and no-one knows your name, that’s a big help.

Which brings us to Jim Butcher’s new book, coming out this year.  Well, there are two, actually, Peace Talks and Battle Ground.  Orbit UK just did their cover launch for Battle Ground.  It looks like this:  

Full circle.    

It’s not really the same, of course – Jim doesn’t need any help these days (whereas, starting out, I definitely did).  Still, there’s something satisfying about it.  In a weird way, more than any of the other successes I’ve had, it makes me feel like I’ve finally arrived.  

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10 Responses to Full Circle

  1. Alicia White says:

    That’s awesome!

  2. James says:

    I love this this makes me so happy. Admittedly when I was looking for new kooks Jim’s blurb helped me choose to read your first verus book. I will be purchasing Jim’s book this year and I am delighted your name is there !

  3. MagogHaveMercy says:

    This made me extremely happy to read. I have yet to crack an Alex Verus book, but that won’t be true for much longer after reading this.

  4. syzygy says:

    Congratulations, that’s wonderful that they used your blurb on Butcher’s book! Fitting indeed. I’m one of those who first picked up an Alex Verus book because of Jim Butcher’s recommendation,and I’m glad I did. Now i”ll be happy to buy his with your name on the cover!

  5. Helina says:

    I will admit, I started Alex Verus because of a half-remembered recommendation on a message board, and because the Jim Butcher blurb sealed the deal when I saw it at the shop– which is great because your books are fantastic and I can’t wait to see what happens to Alex et all in the future. You getting a blurb on Battle Ground is amazing, and this entire circle of events is so wholesome.

  6. Andrew Simoson says:

    I am a big Harry Dresden fan, so Jim Butchers blurb was the reason I picked up fated and read the synopsis. It is why I purchased fated. And I loved it! Fated had me hooked within the first 10 or 29 pages. I’ve been an avid fan of your books ever since and buy all on pre-order impatiently awaiting the next. To see you now quoted on Jim Butcher’s books is awesome and you do deserve it. I love Alex Verus and Harry Dresden and Atticus O’Sullivan equally, I believe all 3 are my favourite ever literary characters. Each and every book has brought me great joy and enriched my life. I thank you for your amazing, brilliant, inventive and thrilling books, and hope to read many more by both you and Jim Butcher in the future. Thank you

  7. Kurt Von Bosse says:

    I started the Alex Verus series soon after I heard Jim Butcher answer a question at a book signing about which writer’s work he admired and would recommend.

    Benedict Jacka’s name was at the top of Jim’s list. Two, maybe three people in the audience responded with claps and cheers; but very loud cheering, so I decided I wanted to find out what Jim and a couple people in the audience already knew. That was in 2014, I think, and boy was that a good decision.

    Not only have I enjoyed each book, but when I had the virus which will not be named, back in March, re-listening to the audio books every day helped take me away from my own misery, for which I am very grateful.

  8. Alex says:

    Jim saying your name first when asked “Who should I be reading” is the only reason I picked up the first book.

    The first book is the reason I picked up the next nine.

    Congratulations, this is awesome.

  9. Jason Enberg says:

    Congratulations! I don’t remember how I came across your books original but I’m glad I did!

  10. Melissa says:

    I read your first book as a recommendation from a friend, albeit my friend was an avid Dresden Files fan, so while I can’t confidently say Jim’s blurb didn’t influence his decision to recommend Alex Versus to me, I can say confidently that I’m glad he did. Congratulations!