Festive Greetings

It’s go time. Roll on 2023!

Edits are officially done and it’s time for some R&R! Today’s quick links:

Edits Round 2 Copyedits ✅ & Round 3 Pass Pages ✅

Last newsletter I had just finished my structural edits. Since then it’s been go go go with the remaining edit rounds. I received my copyedits at the end of November and had just over a week to review. As we’re publishing UK first my editor asked to change the text to UK standard. I already spell in a mostly British way (the joys/confusion of being Canadian) but I’d written the manuscript in US style using double quotation marks for dialogue which all needed to be changed to single quotation marks. Most of the changes were those darned quotation marks! (Thankfully my intrepid copyeditor took those on!) I took a fine-tooth comb to the manuscript, searching for echo words and inconsistencies, the rogue quotation mark facing the wrong way or errant dash (I love em dashes, but UK standard uses en dashes). Sent those in, and two days later the pass pages were in my inbox for a final proofread!

This is where things really start to feel real. The pass pages are basically pages which have been typeset—ie formatted into the final book. The whole of the manuscript is set in the chosen typeface, my name appears on the top of the even number pages, and the title appears on the top of odd number pages. It looks beautiful, especially with the drop capital that heralds each new chapter. I love the chosen typeface too, it has a somewhat gothic meets Art Deco vibe to it. Excited for y’all to see it!

I had a week to review the pass pages, checking for final typos and inconsistencies. I listened to the whole manuscript again using Adobe Acrobat’s read aloud function since it’s the best way to catch typos and missing words. I think I’ve listened to the manuscript three or four times now as part of the editing process. The week was pretty stressful, as it was also my kidlet’s last week of school, and we had tickets to see Totoro at the Barbican so there were many 4 am starts to get the hours in! Managed to send it in on time (went through the last twenty pages at the airport right before boarding our flight!) then spent the weekend writing acknowledgements, author’s note, dedication and epigraph.

And that’s it. Letting go was a little hard—the fear of sending out work with typos or consistency errors is pretty overwhelming. However, I’ve had so many eyes on it now—not to mention all those who read the manuscript before it sold—just at Hodderscape it’s been read by my editor, the assistant editor, a copy editor, the proofreader, and multiple times by me as well. I know we have done all that is humanly possible to make this story the best it can be. It’s go time.

I’m quite excited about the next steps. The Advance Reader Copies will be sent out to advance reviewers in January. These are pretty bound copies that are part of the marketing push. We’ll have the cover reveal around the same time, and I’ll be meeting with my marketing lead to discuss the plans for the next 5 months leading up to release. I’m working on the pre-order campaign swag, which I’m also super excited about. I’m partnering again with the amazing Hui Qing Ang for more of their stellar art. The swag will include, among other things, an art card of this illustration by Hui Qing, when Mr Lee first offers a Tootsie Roll to Lady Jing.

A skeptic all Chinese woman in a blue qipao takes a tootsie roll from a handsome Chinese man in a grey suit

Advance blurbs from stellar authors have started rolling in. Am so floored and honoured and verklempt to have such amazing, accomplished authors read my book and say nice things about it! Please scream with me!

This first is from none other than Tasha Suri winner of the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel! I screamed SO MUCH (and there were definitely wet eyeballs) when my editor emailed the blurb to me.

Shanghai Immortal is the must-read debut of 2023, both intensely fun and heart wrenching. A wild ride through a Shanghai you've never seen before. * Tasha Suri, award-winning author of The Jasmine Throne *

The next was from Chelsea Abdullah, who was an Author Mentor Match mentor alongside my own mentor Lia Ryerson. Amazing to have a blurb from someone who has seen the progression of my book from early draft to finished manuscript.

A delightfully wild ride through a fantastical Shanghai filled with rich mythology, endearingly snarky characters, and laugh-aloud mischief. Entertaining from start to finish! * Chelsea Abdullah, author of The Stardust Thief *

And the third from the amazing Vaishnavi Patel, NYT bestseller (!!!) My heart is so full!

A thrilling adventure packed to the hilt with attitude, Shanghai Immortal will have you laughing, cheering, and screaming along with the inimitable Lady Jing. From the glittering settings and vivid characters to the thoughtful exploration of family and sacrifice, this is a story you won't soon forget. * Vaishnavi Patel, New York Times bestselling author of Kaikeyi *

If you haven’t added Shanghai Immortal to your Goodreads shelf yet, you can do it here. Pre-orders are also up, so if you fancy treating yourself to the ‘must-read debut of 2023’ (ty Tasha!) head on over and gift your future-self this “delightfully wild ride through a fantastical Shanghai filled with rich mythology, endearingly snarky characters, and laugh-aloud mischief” (ty Chelsea!) that will have you “cheering, and screaming along with the inimitable Lady Jing” (ty Vaishnavi!!).

All pre-orders and library requests will be eligible for the pre-order campaign swag, just make sure to keep your receipts as you’ll need to submit them to receive the free swag. The form will be available in the new year, and I’ll share it here in my newsletter so you don’t miss it.

Currently only ebook is available for preorder in the US. Book Depository will ship the UK release books for free worldwide. The hardback will be released in the US and Canada in October 2023. Will keep you posted when I have more info to share.

Looking back, looking forward

So many of my dreams came true this year, including getting accepted to a bucket list SFF workshop and selling not one but three novels to an amazing publisher. I got to hug my parents after three years apart, returned after a ten year hiatus to the Austrian Arlberg region (one of my fave ski places), joined a lovely community of UK based writers, and attended some amazing bookish events including a winter ball hosted by my publisher and my first fantasy writers convention.

Looking back on 2022, the things that made the year so wonderful fell into three areas: the people in my life, both new and long cherished, the excellent memories made with said people, and embracing the writing opportunities which came my way. Looking forward to 2023, I’m going to focus on the same three things, spending time with excellent people, making great memories, and nurturing inspiration, creativity, and joy in my writing process. These are some of the specific things I’m excited about:

  • Meeting readers! That people I don’t know will be reading my book still blows my mind.

  • Meeting more writers.

  • Attending writer events like panels, cons, and retreats.

  • Celebrating the release of Shanghai Immortal with a fab party.

  • Travelling more.

  • Writing more short stories.

  • Writing books 2 and 3 in the Shanghai Immortal series.

Current Reads: Catching up on beta reads!

The past month or so of edits really ate up my time and brain power, so progress on Babel by RF Kuang has been slow. Kuang is unflinching when exposing the casual racism that is part and parcel of being a marginalised demographic. While this book is historical fantasy, the interpersonal, institutionalised, and structural racism Kuang lays bare is very much alive and continues to inflict harm in the present day. Every instance of microaggression was something I had experienced myself or seen first hand inflicted on others. I need to take breaks now and again from reading because the many moments of resonance can be emotionally overwhelming, but I gotta say it is very cathartic to have these normally unspoken, and often gaslit experiences be named and exposed for all to see.

Now that my edits are done and dusted, and my brain is starting to flex a little more I’m able to pick up the beta reads waiting on my TBR pile. Very excited to dive in again.

And that’s a wrap on 2022! Wishing you joy, health and much love for 2023.

See you all on the flip side.

Alice x