David’s just sent this along. Some good news, plus personal responses to a few of your recent comments. Full text after the break.
Amidst the Chaos Of Time…
Publication day has come and gone. This week the London Book Fair dominates all of our publishing ventures, and I’ve been promised by Ebury that ROADS TO MOSCOW will be given a big push at the Fair, to try and find a foreign home for the trilogy, and, all important, a North American publisher.
But before going into all of that… Last weekend was a strange but pleasant one. My good friend Ritchie got hitched to Roopa, who is lovely. They’re a really good match. On Saturday we had the civil ceremony, in a quite wonderful hotel, which was decorated to suggest it was an ancient Indian ruined temple. There we got to know Roopa’s enormous family. Ritchie hasn’t a large family at all – just an estranged sister – but we had a few friends there and, as Master of Ceremonies, I made sure all of the speeches were kept short and to the point!
The Sunday saw another wedding – this time the full Hindu ceremony (about two and a half hours, with nearly 300 people attending) which was in its turn rather wonderful. I sat up on the stage next to Ritchie, to whom I was best man, while we had a thorough induction course (or so it felt) as to what being Hindu meant. I must say the writerly part of me was quite excited by it all. And Roopa’s family are really lovely, friendly people, so it was fun.
Monday – two days ago now – I found I was busy in a very different fashion. I’ve been being pursued by several film companies for a while now and it was time to make a decision (or two). It’s not easy to commit to this kind of thing when there’s thirty years of history behind the project. That’s why I’ve dragged my feet. Anyway, in short, I pressed the big green button to start negotiations with one of the two – a big Hollywood producer who’s keen to get started on the project and bring a writer in.
Okay. So all of that is going on, only then, at the same time, I find that I’m suddenly dealing with another big Hollywood company – one I’ve spoken to about CHUNG KUO before now – who are keen to look at ROADS and see whether they can sell the idea to their big bosses back in LA.
Monday evening I went out (to the Groucho Club) with my French agent, Lora, and my new editor at L’Atalante, Denis, who is a delightful man, just turned forty. Denis was keen to look at ROADS, with an eye to buying it for translation into French. He also asked me about the situation regarding Corvus and CHUNG KUO, and, because they deal with Larry Rostante, the artist, is sure that we can come to some kind of arrangement where we divide the cost and get Larry to do the final 12 books in the series.
So far, so good, but Denis is also interested in developing some of the CHUNG KUO long short stories into graphic books, which I think is a great idea – providing, that is, it doesn’t clash with what my Hollywood guy wants to do with CHUNG KUO.
So. A lot going on. And who really knows where all of this will lead. Getting Film and TV interest usually takes years, but the French interest in finishing CHUNG KUO means a lot, because it allows me to do the job properly. They really are model publishers, I tell you. And they’re also happy with the schedule I’m suggesting – which is to get six volumes ready and then re-launch next year, alongside the last two books of ROADS. They’ve already published volumes 1-6 in French, with two more to come out next year.
And today? Today I’ll be writing a few letters and then I’ll get back to THE MASTER OF TIME, which I’ve not been able to look at for the past two weeks, still aiming for that end of June deadline to get it completed.
Right. Now let me comment on some of you guys’ comments –
Luke and Angel L… thanks for the support. It really does matter to me.
Kaneda… the reason why I need that delay is to make sure I’ve got most of it in hand and ready to run. There have been too many delays and hitches already and I don’t want that to happen again. Now that the French publishers are talking about being involved in the cover art, the last piece of the puzzle has slipped into place. But I’m going to get ROADS TO MOSCOW out of the way before getting back to CHUNG KUO. I simply can’t do both things at once and do both justice.
Trevor – thanks for your kind thoughts regarding CHUNG KUO. I don’t want to discuss the entirety of what went on with Corvus… what I want from that situation is reversion, so I can do the job that ought to have been done. Oh, and I have a Hollywood agent and a good friend who is a member of the California bar, who can advise me. All I’ll say about the producer I’m dealing with is that his last three films made large sums at the box office and one of those involved dealing with the Chinese backers. He’s also a CHUNG KUO fan (and has all the books). So… We’ll see. Fingers crossed and all that.
Antonio – Yes, I’m afraid that the news re CHUNG KUO is going to irritate a lot of people, but there is very little I can do about that.
Anonymous – Thanks, I’m flattered.
Gabriel – Again, I’m sorry about this, but I hope A’s advice re getting EMPIRE on kindle will work for you, and hopefully Ebury will make a US deal in the coming months.
Goonda – thanks for the details on how to do this. And for your comments on small niches… I agree.
Jewell – I’ll be looking into costings for the project some time in the Fall, but until then THE MASTER OF TIME has to be my priority.
And, finally, thank you all for being concerned with the fate of all these ventures. Much is in the air right now, but that doesn’t mean that things aren’t happening. And if I’m vague about the details it’s because, when you’re mid-deal, it’s not fair to say too much.
Where you can help is in getting the word out. Maybe placing some reviews on Amazon or Barnes and Nobel.
Okay. That’s it for now. More news in a week or so’s time.
David Wingrove 9th April 2014
13 thoughts on “Amidst the Chaos Of Time…”
(I apologize ahead of time for the rather lengthy comment, but I feel compelled.)
I’m pleasantly surprised that you responded to my comment, so thank you and your welcome.
Forgive me though for pushing the Hollywood issue just a bit – it’s coming from a good place, I can assure you. I stand by my statement that it doesn’t make sense for Hollywood to make Chung Kuo in any fashion unless they plan to alter it significantly because the Chinese market is HUGE for them and they always calculate it into the revenue model of each movie.
Secondly it’s all nice that the producer is a fan and maybe he is and maybe he is a good guy, but I would still advise you to be very careful. If I was you I would insist that no significant alterations be made to the material other then obvious changes and editing that is customary when a novel is translated into film format. Books and movies are very different mediums and changes are inevitable. However, there is a difference between changes that are required because of the medium and changes that alter (mangle) the plot line and characters, such as turning the Chinese into Russians or Arabs (let’s say) and changing the character’s names accordingly. I was referring to just such a scenario when I mentioned the 2012 remake of Red Dawn. Originally the baddies were Chinese but the Chinese complained and put pressure on the studio and the production, so they had to replace all Chinese signs with (North)Korean ones and the production switched over to the baddies being North Korean (costumes, casting, language used, etc.) All this, so the movie can open in China… again… a BIG market. You can look it up online and read all about it.
Another (unsolicited) piece of advise is that it would serve you well if you would put a firm deadline on the film rights. And a short one at that. I would make sure that the producers had a limited number of years to try and make the movie, or TV show, or what have ya, and if they can’t do it then the rights are given back to you with you being able to keep all advanced moneys given to you for the rights. You wanna do this because of a certain Hollywood monster called “development hell” where the project gets tied up and passed along from one company or producer to another and nothing happens for years, at which point nothing ever really is gonna happen.
Lastly… just because you have an agent and a lawyer you still need to be careful. You need to make sure that both are experienced and in the lawyer’s case, specialized. Make sure your agent has been at it for many years, and if it’s an agency that’s representing you make sure they don’t pass you on to some junior agent. And your attorney needs to specialize in entertainment law and needs to be someone who knows “the business”. Otherwise, no matter how good a lawyer your friend is, when it comes to Hollywood he is useless to you.
I just don’t want you to get screwed, which can easily happen (and does happen) even with people who have been working in Hollywood for years and become huge.
As for Chung Kuo not making sense for Hollywood… I would like nothing more than to see a great movie made out of the books and/or a TV series or mini series, or what have you. But I know what I’m talking about. I know Chung Kuo’s subject matter and I can virtually guarantee that the Chinese will not get involved with it as is. It makes them look bad. I don’t care what your producer says. Producers always talk a good game. If the Chinese agree to fund the Chung Kuo project they will demand changes so they can come out looking good and the funding will be tied to that. I would love to be wrong, and I have been in the past ’cause let’s face it… no one’s perfect. But in this case, I doubt it.
Just watch your back David. That’s all I’m saying.
Wish you nothing but the best, and much success as well.
I will not badger you with more on this – I promise 😉 – but if you have questions then by all means fire away (email me) and I’ll respond to the best of my abilities or point you in the right direction.
Hollywood can chew you up and spit you out if you’re not careful. And that would be a great shame.
Oh… and always get your money from the gross, not net, profits. VERY important.
Ok… Really… That’s it.
This is Gabe.
1. Yes, i did to the “registering the kindle to the UK trick” and it worked and i’m therefore currently enjoying book 1 of Roads…
2. Please don’t apologize. As the author of this work i already know that you want more than anything for this book to be available in North America. I suppose i was only upset because i wanted to get it for my brother’s birthday.
Thanks for responding, and I’ll have my fingers crossed regarding a good Chung Kuo film. So long as the hollywood suits don’t bleach it with political correctness as they did to “Ender’s Game,” it will be really good.
Many thanks for the feedback…I will try to stay strong during the waiting period. Please make sure the first book after the break has a longer summary at the beginning 😉
All the best, and looking forward to read the first Empire of Time novel (I will get it next week!)
Thanks to Amazon.co.uk for getting my copy of Empire of Time to me a week earlier than expected. It arrived last night and I had read through Part 1 by the time I left for work this morning. Looking forward to more.
This is all just a little bit exciting, I must say. As ever, I wish David well with all his projects.
Just started on The Empire of Time last night and thoroughly enjoyed what I’ve read so far. I’m trying to get my brother and friends interested in Chung Kuo and Roads to Moscow, as well, so wish me luck.
I suppose I’ll have to do the “switch my Kindle to the UK” deal to get David’s new book. Shame that they simply can’t publish the eBook in the US, don’t really understand why not.
Hoping that Chung Kuo can be sorted out and published in its entirety. The only kind of adaptation that would do it any justice, though, would be a cable TV series a la Game of Thrones. IMO that’s the only way to handle such an epic story without eviscerating it or dumbing it down.
This is Gabe.
Guess what? Friday i’m flying to Seattle and i’ll have a 4 hour layover in Heathrow airport in London on the way. Is Empire of Time currently being sold in hardback? If so, i’ll be able to buy a copy at that airport as a gift for my brother. Anyway, if not that’s ok. I’m really impressed with it so far, by the way. I’m about three quarters of the way through on my kindle.
I can confirm that the trade paperback actually exists (I was reading my copy this morning), but I can’t speak to availability in specific stores. WHSmith (the book realtor at Heathrow) does have the trade paperback listed on their website.
Locations of the shops within the airport can be found at the link below. Search for “WHSmith” (11 locations, book selection appears limited to best sellers) or “WHSmith Bookshop” (2 locations, appears to have a larger selection of books).
Wow, thanks Goonda. I’ll definitely take a look at this.
Gabriel, if you weren’t able to find it in a bookstore during your layover, maybe you can try bookdepository.com. They’re not significantly cheaper than retail, but since they offer free worldwide shipping it’s well worth checking out when you’re just after one or two books. Especially ones you can’t get in your home country!
Superb blog! Do you have any suggestions
for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start
my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a
free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There
are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed ..
Any suggestions? Thank you!
I’m no author, but here is are a few author’s experience that I have heard of over the last year or so:
Andy Weir started publishing his first book, The Martian, as a serial novel on his own blog, for free. After a while his readers demanded he offer the book through Amazon’s Kindle, despite the fact that it would increase the price from free to $1, which was the minimum price Kindle would allow at the time. At that point the book took off, became a Kindle best seller, and not long after that Weir was offered a publishing deal for the book. Later he also received a movie deal, with the film due out later this year, directed by Ridley Scott with Matt Damon playing the lead.
Gary Whitta, a screen writer probably best known for the Book of Eli and for the upcoming Star Wars 7, has recently published his first full novel, Abomination, through a website called Inkshares. It is probably best described as “Kickstarter for books”. You write the book, pitch it to Inkshares, they estimate how much a minimum pushing run would cost and set that as the goal for a crowd funding campaign (in Whitta’s case, his target was $16,460). If the goal is met, they publish the book and the “backers” receive copies of the book according to their backing levels (electronic, softback, hardback).