The Second Veil…

There will not be seven veils in this dance. There will be three (3). The second is coming. It follows the first (1st) and precedes the third (3rd). Just to be clear on all of this social media mystery theatre.

I’m still fascinated by the whole process, still sorting out my own responses to it. Here’s an example. I was (as I said last post) really happy and touched by how quickly (and by how much) readers blew past the 150 Facebook Shares to unlock chapter one. (Chapter one introduces Ren Daiyan, one of the two main protagonists in River of Stars, chapter two will introduce the woman who is the second central figure.)

But the publishers, ironically (to me), were wishing they’d set the bar higher so it would take time. I get what they mean (after it was explained to the naive author here). If it becomes ‘blink and it is unlocked’ they have no time to discuss it, tweet it, monitor. It is … up and it is over. So they tell me … to almost-quote Jaws, ‘We’re gonna need a bigger number.’

Because I am a self-confident sort of fellow I am prepared to be out there with jokes along the lines of ‘Guy wanted it to be fast, but the others wanted it to last longer.’ I’m safe. Nancy Huston already won the Bad Sex Writing Prize yesterday!

But, joking aside, I remain intrigued by exercises like this. I’m fine with a chapter or two being released (we are splitting chapter 2 midway with a good ‘curtain’, it is a very long chapter – I do that sometimes). I discussed it last post, how old the tradition is of serialized chapters from novels. What is new, where the changing culture and tech come in, is this empowering or enlisting of readers in the process. The intersection of social media and the book world.

The covers are up on and .ca and on Indigo and Barnes&Noble, which is nice. Won’t be anything new for those reading this … you can just look at the top of the Journal, but I like seeing them out there, adds an element of the tangible to the book. (There was a major riff on ‘tangible’ in the journal for Under Heaven because I used the word 3-4 times and then noticed I’d done that, and promised something – I forget what – if I used it again.)

The Canadian and American covers will be identical in look, though will feature different quotes. That is normal in the industry. All countries showcase major quotes form their own markets, which makes sense. Canada will use the Globe and Mail, the American edition will use the Washington Post. Not sure yet which quotes (one or two, usually) will go on the back of each.

Back to proofreading, the wild, ecstatic joys thereof. About 125 pages to go. But have to read slowly, or you miss things.


I did promise something new this week. Have a look at

As of today, my two North American publishers are offering an early look at the beginning of River of Stars. They are making it a bit of a game (why not, they said) so chapter 1 will be ‘unlocked’ once 150 people ‘Share’ their cutesy locked cover image on Facebook.

If this goes smoothly then, yes, the plan is to unlock chapter 2 at some level of sharing, and likely in two parts (it is a long chapter).

I wasn’t so much arm-twisted as skillfully cajoled this time. It is kind of interesting (I think): I do a book every three years or so, and the market changes a lot in that time. Chapter reveals are becoming more normal, though I am told this particular process is a bit newer, just for the fun part, I guess. In addition, as pre-orders become easier at the major online booksellers (with, I really hope, good discounts for buyers) that’s another factor.

They originally wanted three chapters. I am drawing the line. (No, do not ‘share’ arm-twisting, OR cajoling.) As it happens, chapter 1 introduces one of the major protagonists, and chapter 2 introduces another so together the two chapters do a nice stage-setting job. Chapter 3 starts to complicate that. (As I tend to, I guess.)

And, not incidentally, for all those who prefer to wait and read the whole thing in what I (and Mrs Malaprop) like to call one swell foop … don’t peek! I get that! But I also know, over the years, that many people do like an advance taste, like the small spoons at an ice cream parlour.

So if you want to taste River of Stars, and meet Daiyan, and then Shan, when they are young … they are there. Or will be when unlocked. Enjoy.