Bonjour, tout le monde!

February 2nd, 2008

For everyone’s safety, I think that’s about as far as my French should ever go. Yes, today is French Publication day for The Blade Itself, or, as they say across the channel, “L’eloquence de l’epee,” the first book, of course, of “La Premiere Loi”. Ha ha. Is it sad that I get a kick out of just hearing it in French? Yes, yes it is. “La Premiere Loi.” Ha ha.

The publisher is J’ailu, a long established imprint who publish Mass Market editions of such well-known fantasy names as George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman etc. etc. This is a new project for them, though, in that they’re making a move into trade editions. So the book is first available as a hardback, but will later, I believe, appear in trade paperback and mass-market editions. Because it’s a bit of a new endeavour for them they’re giving it a big push, which is always very nice to see. If there were to be any French speakers among you (and as far as I can tell there’s not that many among you who can manage English to that high a standard), there’s actually an interview with my French Editor, Thibaud Eliroff, online about this very collection.

The cover is an interesting one. It’s the first representational artwork I’ve seen of anything from the book yet, and that kind of thing is always going to be surprising for an author. The whole style is just a long way from my first, vague conception of what the characters might look like. Still, the purpose of a cover is to sell the book, or perhaps more accurately, not to deter people from buying the book, and the tastes of different readerships, in cover and in content, differ widely. Witness the black covers with a hint of red/green/blue that seem wildly popular in Germany. My job is writing the books, the selling you have to leave to the publisher, and that’s especially true of a foreign market where you know even less what the rules may be. I haven’t actually seen any copies myself, yet, but I’m guessing it will be done to a pretty high standard. Even on the proof, the internals are very nicely done.

More news as it appears and my Google translator allows me to make some kind of sense of it…

Posted in announcements, news by Joe Abercrombie on February 2nd, 2008.

10 comments so far

  • Bob Lock says:

    Ack, Joe!
    That just isn’t how I imagined Glokta to look like (presuming it is him?)
    I found the same with whoever did Jordan’s book covers for him, they were nothing like the writer’s character descriptions and you are left wondering if the illustrators even bother to read the books.

  • Hey Bob,
    I’d have thought illustrators almost never read the books. I think it’s very unlikely they have the time to do so – certainly no-one’s likely to pay them to. Normally – in a big publishing house with an art department, anyway – an editor (who will have read the book) will brief an art director (who probably won’t) and the art director will then commission the artists or designers they think suitable to fulfill the brief. With your primary publisher, you’ll probably be consulted (as I am in some depth by Gollancz), but with foreign publishers it’s extrememly unlikely anyone will ask your opinion. I only saw this cover ahead of publication because I have some contact with Thibaud and he was good enough to send me a proof. In the case of the German cover, I’ve never spoken to the editor there once, and the first time I was aware of the TITLE they were using was when courtesy copies came through my door, let alone the cover.

  • 42 says:

    I hate to do this to ya Joe, but it’s tout, not tous…

    Did I mention that I finally got a hold of your books? I snagged the last copy of The Blade Itself at Heathrow… it made for good plane reading, especially given the Godzilla-like turbulence we endured…

    Glad to hear you’re heading for London on just the week that I’ll be there… nice planning 😉


  • 42/Mary,
    Aaaargh. Told you that’s as far as my French should ever go. Turns out it shouldn’t even be allowed to go that far.

  • Bob Lock says:

    Hi Joe,
    I’d have thought illustrators almost never read the books.
    Probably true, I count myself lucky that Steve Upham (Screamingdreams) not only published my debut novel but also illustrated it (his profession) and he did read it first. The mage with the huge bat-wings on the front is a great interpretation and so is the Golem on the reverse.
    Steve’s also told me that the well-known illustrator Les Edwards/Edward Miller also reads the novel he has to illustrate before commencing with his work. (He’s done some for Steve)

    I suppose it is far more difficult with foreign publishers though as you’ve said.
    So, do you reckon that is the artist’s idea of Glokta?

  • James says:

    I actually quite like it…though why Glokta’s left hand has been replaced by a small, tentacled creature we can only guess.

    C’est la vie…

  • Jiggity says:

    Joe, you rock.

    Not so much on the topic of French publication, or the fickle whim of Illustrator’s, I know but there you have it.

    Disappointed with Before They are Hanged though, I hate finishing a book I paid $32 for, the day I bought it! Make them longer! I want a never-ending-story blast you.

    Oh and by the by, I dfisagree with the comments of your books “refreshing” the “tired fantasy genre” – I think your writing is representative of the fantasy genre of today. By and large, most epic fantasy is very dark nowadays – take Scott.R.Bakker for instance…

    Anyways, enough rambling. Can’t wait for the third installment!


  • moonwitch says:

    No! No! No!

    THAT! is not Glokta!

    Goodness me. If I had come across that cover when browsing for a book, I would never have taken it off the shelf let alone considered buying it!

    I only hope those peeps know what they are doing over there.

  • Bob,
    Yes, I’m pretty sure it is Glokta, with Frost and Severard behind.

    Different strokes for different markets, I guess.

    Yes, yes, I do rock. Stretch out the reading experience by buying several copies of each book and reading each one.

    Gah! Got to take that last comment down, I’m afraid – can’t have that spoiler up there where new readers might see it…

  • Gilles says:

    Hi Joe,
    I’ve read the first two books(printed chez Pygmalion, not J’ai lu.) translated in french, and really enjoyed these moments.
    I could have probably read them in english, but i’d lost all the emotions by concentrating on the translation :(.
    I was wondering when will you have the third book translated and printed in France? I havent found any news about this…
    By the way, i hope you had very good sales on the french market, cause your work is excellent; I’ve never read a book so quickly. Thanks!!


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