Positive early signs for Albatross

June 18th, 2019

Presale ranking 190617

I’ve always found Bookmanager to be an easy way to follow how well my books are doing in the weeks leading up to, and the months following, publication. It provides the sales data for the CBC Books Bestsellers List and many other bestsellers lists. But it also tracks preorders and ranks the most anticipated books in the run up to their publication. You can also engage various filters to pinpoint exactly what you’re looking for. So the ranking above is for “future releases” by “Canadian authors” in the “Fiction” category. It’s certainly gratifying to see that with still two months to go before its publication day, Albatross currently seems to be the eighth most anticipated Canadian work of fiction. I’ll take it! I’m thrilled to be in such fine company alongside Margaret Atwood, Louise Penny, Rawi Hage, Ian Hamilton, Miriam Toews, Lori Lansens, and the late, great Richard Wagamese. August 13th is the official publishing date. It won’t be long now.

Here’s the full cover art for Albatross

May 13th, 2019

Final full cover

I’m not suggesting you’ll be able to read the cover copy, but you can at least see how the book will look when it arrives in stores in August. I’m very happy with it, but book cover design is such a subjective world. We just wanted it to be arresting so that readers notice it on the shelves. My deep thanks to the designer, Five Seventeen (yes, that’s his name) for the “look,” and Bhavna Chauhan, my editor for coordinating the whole design process. My twin brother Tim took the quickly-aging author photo on the back flap.

The legendary Alan Bradley blurbs Albatross

May 9th, 2019

Alan Bradley

Unless you’ve been living in the untouched wilds of Borneo for the last decade, you’ve almost certainly heard of Alan Bradley and his internationally bestselling Flavia de Luce series. He took the book world by storm in 2009 when the first in the Flavia series, The Sweetness at the bottom of the Pie, was published and hit almost every bestseller list you can name, including that of the New York Times. Alan Bradley is a very big deal. So I’m thrilled that he has read Albatross and very generously offered an endorsement that will join similarly lovely words from Linwood Barclay and Amy Jones on the back cover of my new novel when it finally arrives in August. Clearly, I am blessed.

Here’s what Alan said about Albatross:

“Book lovers rejoice and buy this book! In Albatross, Terry Fallis has found the antidote for what ails our sorry world. May millions of you benefit!”

Alan Bradley, internationally bestselling author of the Flavia de Luce series.

 

The wonderful Amy Jones blurbs Albatross

May 8th, 2019

Amy Jones

Nationally bestselling novelist Amy Jones, who was a finalist for the Leacock Medal for her debut novel, We’re All in This Together, has kindly provided an endorsement for Albatross that will appear on the back cover of the book when it’s published this August. Amy is a wonderful writer and I loved her first novel. Her second, Every Little Piece of Me, will be published by McClelland & Stewart in June. I look forward to reading it.

In the meantime, here’s what Amy said about Albatross:

It’s hard not to get excited about a new Terry Fallis novel, and it is equally hard not to fall in love with Adam Coryell, the big-hearted, sarcastic, fountain-pen-obsessed hero of Albatross, a young golf prodigy who just wants to write short stories. In his inimitable style, Fallis has crafted a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about what it means to stay true to your dreams, and to yourself. Do yourself a favour and pick up this book–you won’t put it down again until the final page has been turned.”

Amy Jones, nationally bestselling author of We’re All in This Together

I’m grateful to Amy for her support.

Albatross will be an audiobook, but…

May 6th, 2019

Albatross podcast

I’ve had quite a few emails and social media queries about when the Albatross podcast will start, so I think it’s time to break some news. After producing the podcast editions of my first six novels on my own, underwriting their hosting, and giving them away for free on iTunes and on this blog, I’ve decided to accept a contract from Penguin Random House to produce the Albatross audiobook. So the good news is, Albatross will be available as a downloadable audiobook on August 13, the novel’s publication date. As well, I’ve been contracted to do the reading. So if you’re a regular listener of my podcast novels, it’ll still be my voice ringing in your ears for Albatross. On the downside, the audiobook will not be free. Sorry about that. I’m not sure what the price will be, but it should be comparable to other audiobooks.

So why break with tradition? Why not self-produce the podcast version of Albatross and make it available for free as I did for my first six novels? Well, it is a lot of work to produce the podcast and to at least try to approach the production values of professionally produced audiobooks. As well, having six separate podcast feeds means that I’m paying six separate monthly hosting charges to make the podcast novels available to any listener on the planet with a highspeed internet connection (and I’ll continue to do that for my first six novels). By signing with Penguin Random House Audiobooks, I’ll gain a modest revenue stream that I have not had with my earlier novels. And I can assure you, virtually all Canadian writers are in need of additional revenue streams.

Moreover, the wonderful Ann Jansen, with whom I worked for several years when she led CBC Books and CBC Canada Reads, now runs the audiobook operation at Penguin Random House. I welcome the chance to work with her again. I’ll be heading into a professional recording studio in early June to read Albatross under Ann Jansen’s watchful eye and acute ear.

In the meantime and for the foreseeable future, you can still find the podcast versions of my first six novels on iTunes and here on this blog. I’ll keep you posted on the recording process and thanks for your understanding.

Finally, I remain very grateful for my loyal podcast listeners. It was the positive feedback I unexpectedly received to the podcast of my first novel, The Best Laid Plans, that gave me the resolve to go ahead and self-publish the novel when no publisher seemed interested. That was a decision that changed my life as a writer.

 

Rock star writer Linwood Barclay blurbs Albatross

May 1st, 2019


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If you’re a fan of topnotch thrillers, you’ll know the name Linwood Barclay. He is a New York Times and internationally bestselling thriller writer who is likely as well known around the world as he is in Canada. He’s also a very nice guy. We’ve appeared at a few events together and I’ve always enjoyed the time we’ve spent with one another. Linwood has been kind enough to read the Albatross manuscript and I’m over the moon to share the endorsement (or “blurb” as we say in publishing) he has kindly provided to appear on the back cover of the novel.

“Fallis writes from another time when Wodehouse and Leacock and Twain roamed the earth. May he never become extinct.”

Linwood Barclay, New York Times bestselling author of A Noise Downstairs

It doesn’t get much better than that. I’m thrilled and grateful.

I urge you all to pick up Linwood’s recent novel, A Noise Downstairs, as well as Elevator Pitch when it’s published in September. He is a fantastic writer and a brilliant storyteller.

Cover reveal for Albatross

April 28th, 2019

As promised, here is the cover design for my seventh novel, Albatross, to be released on August 13th. The goal of any cover is to reach out from bookstore shelves, grab readers by the lapels as they walk past, and force them to take a closer look. I think this cover scores very well on the old “eye-catching” meter. Breaking up the word Albatross using the hyphen is unusual and I hope makes the cover a little more arresting than if the word had been displayed in the usual fashion.

As for symbolism, the cover leans on the “gilded cage” metaphor. My narrator, Adam Coryell, is blessed or cursed, depending on your perspective, with unmatched natural ability at golf. This grants him fame and fortune beyond any sane person’s wildest imagination. Yet he is not happy in his life. Not to put too fine a point on it, Adam’s golf prowess “imprisons” him in a gilded cage. The novel tells the story of how he found himself in the cage, and how he escaped.

I’m very happy with the cover, though I know it will not appeal to everyone. Here’s hoping it does its job and catches bookstore browsers’ eyes starting in mid-August. My thanks to my editor, Bhavna Chauhan, and the design team at McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House) for coming up with this. It was not a straightforward design challenge.

Albatross Final Cover

 

The new title of my seventh novel is: Albatross

April 16th, 2019

A few weeks back, I promised to unveil the new title for my seventh novel, due in bookstores on August 13. The original title I’d come up with was If at First You Succeed. I liked the wry little twist on this common phrase. But it is a mouthful. My editor, the wonderful Bhavna Chauhan at McClelland & Stewart (Penguin Random House) and I agreed that it was worth considering some other title options that were a little pithier and punchier. I’ve always liked titles that have at least two different meanings, even if the reader doesn’t understand the second meaning until later in the novel. One Brother Shy and Poles Apart are two examples of titles of mine that, I hope, take on additional meaning for the reader as the story unfolds.

So with all of this in mind, the title for my new novel is Albatross. Without giving too much away, this word has strong connections to the story but in two different contexts. This is not a novel about golf, but the game does play into the story. In golf parlance, an albatross is that rare and wonderful event when a player shoots three below par on a hole. In other words, if a golfer holes her second shot on a Par 5, she would be said to have scored an “albatross.” I’ve scored many birdies (one below par on a hole) in my less-than-stellar golfing career, and one lonely eagle (two below par on a hole). But I have never come close to landing the elusive albatross. So in one sense, the word albatross reflects the rare talent for golf that the narrator in my novel possesses.

albatross on scorecard

But there is a completely different meaning for the word albatross (I mean beyond the literal sea bird definition). Back in 1798, the English poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a very long poem called The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. In the poem, an albatross seems to bring good weather and favourable winds to a ship that was threatened by the ice of a winter storm. When a sailor shoots the albatross with a crossbow, the ship’s fortunes change for the worse. For his crime, the sailor is forced to hang the dead albatross around his neck as punishment.

albatross-around-your-neck

This second meaning of the word albatross – the bearing of guilt or a burden – becomes a powerful reflection of the narrator’s life when his golfing prowess becomes a burden or the albatross around his neck.

When I suggested the alternative title, my editor, and according to the legend, everyone else at Penguin Random House, thought it was short, punchy, clever, and perfect. Who am I to argue?

So when the novel hits bookstores in August, the title will simply be Albatross.

I should soon be able to share the cover design, but not quite yet. Stay tuned!

A new title for novel #7 is coming soon…

March 12th, 2019

Screen Shot 2019-03-12 at 5.32.57 PM

Just wanted to let you know that shortly I’ll be unveiling a new title for my seventh novel, due out in mid-August. My editor at McClelland & Stewart and I just decided that there was a better and more meaningful title, though I like the sentiment captured in the original. It shouldn’t be too much longer before all will be revealed. I may even be able to release the cover design at the same time. Stand by…

Editing If at First You Succeed

November 6th, 2018

blue pencil

I’ve been working closely with my editor at McClelland & Stewart, Bhavna Chauhan, to edit the manuscript for my seventh novel, tentatively known as If at First You Succeed. It’s been tough slogging but the novel is much better now than it was before this editing stage. I should have the revised manuscript back to her in the next few weeks, and we’ll see how she likes it. I’m enjoying the process and we’re both staying focused on making this the best book it can be. We’re still on track to be published in August 2019. Stay tuned.