Viewing: envy of angels
“Like occasionally I’m legit pissed about the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a fandom for this fantastic series because sometimes, all I want to do is talk about my SdJ theories with like-minded folks (but then I look at my latest fandom experiences and kind of… resign myself to being a SdJ super-fan in relative anonymity).”
That’s from a review of my newest offering, Greedy Pigs, out today from Tor.com Publishing. Stitch is a book/media blogger, writer, and student, and I just love her to death. She first came to my attention after she posted a drunken review/quasi-live read of my first Sin du Jour book, Envy of Angels, and I’ve followed her stuff ever since. It isn’t just that she gives my books fantastic reviews (although she does), and it isn’t even the fact that she’s a deeply insightful analyst of everything from movies to comics (she is). Stitch perfectly captures the experience of just loving the fuck out of a book you’re reading, and having that applied to my books is immensely rewarding. That’s simply why we do this, to make people feel the way we feel when we read books or comics or watch movies we love that really capture and compel and move us. It’s one of the best things about the human experience, right up there with tasting food and having orgasms.
You can read her full review of Greedy Pigs here, but that highlighted portion above kind of encapsulates how I’m feeling today, the day of Greedy Pigs‘ release (it’s out in ebook and paperback and you should buy it and read it and love it and review it and tell all your friends about it and all of that junk).
I find myself holding onto a mixed emotional bag on this, my fifth Sin du Jour book launch day, and I also find it difficult not to be honest about that. I just finished line edits on Gluttony Bay, the next Sin du Jour novella, and I was rereading an ARC of Greedy Pigs. The latter is my fiancée, Nikki’s, favorite SdJ novella thus far (quite an accomplishment, as she is my toughest critic), while Gluttony Bay, the penultimate book of the series, is my favorite SdJ I’ve done up to this point. I’m intensely pleased by both books, how the series has evolved, and where it’s going. This whole thing started out as a weird experiment (and it still is that, to a large degree) and me just trying to write something as funny and bizarre and unexpected and different as I could. It’s turned into a group of imaginary people I really care about who (I hope) feel/read very real, and work of which I’m very proud. Yet none of that seems to be translating into hard sales, which are, quite frankly, soft. It’s almost two years on and we’re not moving nearly as many physical books as I’d hoped we would, and we’re not reaching the readership I know this series could potentially impact.
Don’t get me wrong. This has been and continues to be a greatly fulfilling experience for me, creatively and professionally. I’ve got an amazing publisher in Tor.com Publishing who love and believe in these books enough to have committed to putting out all seven of them, which is bananas. They are selling. They’re earning out their advances and moving Kindle copies, if not paperbacks. I’ve gotten nothing but love and enthusiasm from virtually all the critics who have reviewed the books, which is unheard of for me. I’ve got readers who connect with the work and get what I’m trying to do and quite obviously love this world and these people. The people who actually take the time to read the books dig ’em. I am grateful for all of that, truly.
However, it also causes me a lot of frustration, especially lately. None of our current efforts seem to be able to break the series wider, and that intense enthusiasm of the readership we’ve built and critics we’ve converted just doesn’t seem to have the infection rate in others you’d hope. I’m a big believer in “if you can convert one, you can convert a million,” and I still am. So while it’s wholly gratifying to see people love the hell out of these books, it’s also frustrating to see the next 999,999 people watch that and shrug and keep moving. It’s amazing to receive starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, four-and-a-half stars and a Top Pick badge from RT Book Reviews, be one of three SFF books recommended by The Washington Post for the month, have SFF book blogs and fanzines like Barnes & Noble, File 770, and Nerds of a Feather consistently gush over the series, but that also creates an even bigger sense of, “Why isn’t any of this translating to sales/readership?”
These are, of course, hardly revolutionary problems. This is the exact same eternal struggle encountered by virtually every author and publisher every day of their publishing lives always. But I’m not every other author, I’m me, and this is my career and these are my books, and this launch day I just can’t summon my usual up-and-at-’em, let’s-keep-fighting-the-good-fight attitude. I do, however, retain my always profound gratitude to those of you reviewing and buying and reading and loving and talking about these books. I see it on Twitter and I read what you write on Amazon and Goodreads and I get your occasional emails, and I can’t express my appreciation enough for your cutting through all that white noise out there to actually give time and attention and customerage to my little books. Thank you.
Don’t get it twisted, we are not defeated. Not even close. I’m currently working on the very last book in the Sin du Jour series, Taste of Wrath, which is due out in 2018. We have another year of SdJ being current and “hot” and “new” and all that jazz, and I am going to step up my marketing/awareness-raising efforts and be as smart as possible about it and make the most of it. I’m also going to take a big cue from Stitch, whose words actually inspired a lot in me over breakfast this morning. Because there is Sin du Jour fandom out there, even if it ain’t the size of Harry Potter or The Dresden Files or anything. It’s just individualistic fandom, scattered like a thousand similar thoughts waiting to be galvanized into a philosophy. I am going to work on bringing y’all together, and in that there is power. I’m noodling some special events and perhaps some kind of forum for you. If you are a Sin du Jour reader who loves the books and would like to talk to others who do also and you have ideas about how you’d like to go about that, feel free to email me at matt AT matt-wallace.com about it.
In the meantime, you keep reading ’em and I’ll keep writing ’em. That’s what we do. That’s all we can do.
I really think you’re going to love Greedy Pigs. Sin du Jour keeps growing up, but I hope it stays funny and weird and wild enough to keep y’all entertained in addition to moving you just an inch or two.
I have to thank my editor, Lee Harris, as well as Irene Gallo and her whole team at Tor.com Publishing. I also want to thank my new copy editor on Sin du Jour, Richard Shealy, who did a bang-up job on Greedy Pigs. My fiancée, Nikki, is the best alpha reader and life partner one could ever hope to find. My agent, DongWon Song of Horward Morhaim Literary, is the only bullet you need in your gun (go #TeamDongWon).
Most of all, thank you for buying another ticket to take this ride with me. Those stubs are my favorite scrapbook items.
Matt Wallace (Los Angeles, CA 2017)
Obligatory pull quotes from critical praise for Greedy Pigs…
“Wallace’s imagination is boundless, and his wryly funny storytelling manages to be heartfelt and completely gonzo at the same time.” – Publishers Weekly
“Once again, Wallace mixes delicious drama and devilishly clever supernatural twists in another stellar Sin du Jour novel.” – Bridget Keown, RT Book Reviews
“Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour novella series is the best thing to happen to urban fantasy since Anita Blake lusted after her first vampire.” – Joel Cunningham, Barnes & Noble Sci-fi & Fantasy Blog
“…when Wallace delivers, he hits you right in the gut. It’s that gut punch, blended expertly with unmatched wit and creativity that makes Greedy Pigs so damned good.” – Joe Sherry, Nerds of a Feather
“While I may not be sure if I want to live in the weird world of the Sin du Jour series, Greedy Pigs makes it crystal clear that maybe, just maybe, we’re already there. And that’s what makes Greedy Pigs such a fantastic read.” – Stitch’s Media Mix
Hey, folks. Today sees the release of a new ebook by me from the amped-up war rig crew at Tor.com Publishing. It’s called Sin du Jour: The First Course and it’s an omnibus edition of my first three Sin du Jour novellas. As we approach the midway point in the series, Tor.com Pub wanted to make it as easy and as cost effective as possible to get new readers into Sin du Jour, and this is a fantastic way to do it.
Now, many of you are totally 100% hip to and onboard with what Tor.com Pub and I are doing here and that’s fabulous, thank you, but to a lot of other folks “omnibus edition of my first three Sin du Jour novellas” may sound like I’m quoting Chaucer while gargling grain alcohol. You see, novella series are an old thing we’re trying to make new again in mainstream publishing, and as with any new thing, or anything that deviates from that with which folks have grown comfortable, they get confused and frightened.
I’ve been seeing it a LOT in reviews of the series and the individual books this year. Folks writing about them may assume they’re reading/writing about a novel, not a novella, so I get dinged for the length and the brevity. They don’t understand they’re reading one book in a series, or they don’t understand it’s also a serialized series in which the story is meant to continue and unfold over several volumes, so I get dinged for the structure. They don’t know how many books there are supposed to be in the series, because Amazon only lists the number of books in a series based on how many books have actually been released or made available for pre-order thus far.
It’s a surprisingly broad landscape in which to get lost, despite being a fairly simple concept, and I’ve seen the series suffer this past year for it. I’m really hoping in 2017 we can get a lot more people hip to the concept of novella series as their own thing, and to what I’m doing with Sin du Jour, specifically.
So, to kick us off right, here are the top 15 things you absolutely positively need to know about Sin du Jour that will allow you to dive right in to the world and the series with total consciousness (so you’ll have that goin’ for you).
- Sin du Jour is a series of novellas, beginning with the first book Envy of Angels, which was released in October of 2015.
- Each book in the series is between 30k-40k words.
- The title of the series is taken from Sin du Jour Catering & Events, a fictional Long Island City-based catering company that plans events for the world of the supernatural co-existing with our own. The series follows best friends and aspiring chefs Lena and Darren, who unknowingly go to work for Sin du Jour, unaware they’re stepping into a world of rival demon clans, celebrity Goblins, and ancient magical creatures of all shapes and variety.
- These books are funny. They’re my attempt to combine comedy, dark humor, and lots and lots of satire with action-packed urban fantasy and the world of professional kitchens and food. All my favorite things, basically.
- These books are funny, but not absurd (well, mostly). It’s a real world with real perils and real consequences for the people living and loving and dying in it.
- There are seven books planned in the series, total.
- So far, three of those books have been released. We’ve got four more to go.
- Each book is released in its own paperback edition, and ebook edition for both Kindle and Nook. The first three books are also available as beautifully produced audio editions.
- Currently, Sin du Jour is being distributed on-line only, through websites like Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com, though you can order it through your favorite local bookstore. Just ask ’em. They’ll love the business. The books also pop-up in libraries, and you should ask yours to hook that up, as well.
- We try to release each volume in the series 3-4 months apart for a faster-paced, more serialized reading experience as opposed to waiting six years for the next epic fantasy tome. One might take a little longer while another is released a little quicker. It’s not an exact science.
- Each book features its own standalone story told around an event Sin du Jour is planning and catering.
- Although each book is a standalone story, there is a bigger arc that plays out over all seven volumes, and each one contributes to that arc. This is what makes it a serial, or serialized series.
- The next novella in the series, Idle Ingredients, is scheduled to be released on February 7th, and is currently available for pre-order.
- Sin du Jour: The First Course collects the first three novellas in the series into one omnibus edition at a great discount price.
- Several of the Sin du Jour novellas are currently awards eligible, particularly for the Hugos, and I’d love to see more comedy literature recognized with major awards. I wrote about that just yesterday here.
There you have it, folks. If you’re new to the party, I hope you feel appropriately armed now and are ready to take off your shirt and airplane that shit over your head with the rest of us wonderful freaks. Please feel free to click any of those links to The First Course, purchase and download the mini-omnibus, and binge my first three Sin du Jour novellas like Netflix for your imagination.
Now, if you’re already hip to Sin du Jour and lovin’ the books, that’s tremendous. Thank you so much for your continued support and enthusiasm for the series. It’s everything. What you folks can do for me, and this is the absolute best way to support me and Sin du Jour and help us both reach the heights I known we can…I will repeat this part with emphasis, because it’s that important…the ABSOLUTE BEST WAY TO SUPPORT ME AND THE SERIES IS…get people you know to purchase and read The First Course. That’s it. Tell friends, family, co-workers. Hell, buy it as a gift for folks you know will love it as much as you. Share it on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever you do your social networking. LET NEW PEOPLE KNOW. That is the key, folks. The only reason a million people aren’t reading this series is because that million people don’t yet know it exists. That is the absolute truth. So help ’em find their new fiction crush. Please.