THIEFTAKER Promo Kickoff and a Contest Giveaway!


I’m home after a terrific weekend at ConCarolinas.  It was wonderful as always to see Faith, Misty, Kalayna, and A.J., as well as our wonderful friends and former regular MW contributors, Edmund Schubert and Stuart Jaffe.  It was also great to see so many of our devoted readers and commenters — the party Saturday night that was hosted by Mud and Laura was a highlight of the weekend.  Many thanks!!

THIEFTAKER by D.B. JacksonToday’s post kicks off what I expect will be two full months of Thieftaker promotion.  We are now less than one month away from the July 3rd release date, and I am excited, nervous and everything in between.

Let me say right now that I know many of you are probably sick to death of hearing and reading about this book.  I can hardly blame you.  To be honest, I’m sick of it, too.  I wish the book was out already.  And I’m sorry to be that guy who is always talking about his book.  Really I am.  Because most of the time, I hate that guy.  But at least with this post, I’m giving you a chance to win something.  More on that later.

So what’s the big deal about this book?  Why am I so obsessed with it?  Well, I don’t think it’s overstating the case to say that this is the most important release of my career.  I am trying to launch a new name — D. B. Jackson — and I am doing it with a genre-blending book that is potentially the most commercially viable thing I’ve ever written.  What I’m saying, I suppose, is that this book has more upside potential than any of my previous books.  If ever I am going to become a big-name author, this might be my best chance.

We often talk on this site about the dangers of writing to the market, and I want to be clear that this is not what I did.  I never said, “I think Revolutionary War Era urban fantasy is going to be the next big thing.  I should write one and hop on the bandwagon.”  Far from it.  In a way, I backed into this book.

When I first wrote Thieftaker, it was an alternate world fantasy, and in fact, you can go back in the archives to some of the posts in which I first mentioned the project and you’ll see that I was talking about worldbuilding and map-making, and all the other things one does when creating new fantasy worlds.  

Let me back up.  I had been inspired by a footnote that I found back in 2005, in a book on Australian history that I was reading in preparation for the year that my family and I spent living Down Under.  (I know: Only a historian can use the words “inspired” and “footnote” in the same sentence.)  The footnote came in the context of British law enforcement and the transportation of criminals to the Empire’s newly colonized territory in the South Pacific.  And it mentioned England’s most famous thieftaker, Jonathan Wild.

Wild was a very cool guy — a thieftaker, he and his henchmen were responsible for most of the crimes they later solved.  He stole goods, “recovered” them, and returned them for a fee, making himself out to be a hero.  As soon as I read about Wild it occurred to me that a character modeled after the man would make a great foil for a series protagonist who was also a thieftaker.  Wild eventually became the historical basis for Sephira Pryce, Ethan Kaille’s nemesis in the Thieftaker books.  So I guess you could say that this series idea started not with my hero, but with his main antagonist.

I was writing the Southlands books as I first worked up the idea for Thieftaker, and it took several years for the initial series proposal to come together.  But as I say, I envisioned Ethan and Sephira living in an alternate world.  When I explained the series idea to my editor at Tor his immediate thought was that the set-up would work even better in a historical setting.  At first I was unwilling to turn it into a historical because I LOVED the worldbuilding I had done.  But my editor was persistent, and he also indicated that Tor was buying fewer alternate world fantasies than it had been a few years before.  Historical stuff, on the other hand, was something Tom Doherty, Tor’s CEO, wanted to publish in greater numbers.  

My editor suggested that I set the story in London, since that’s where Wild lived.  But I’ve seen so many books set in London, that I resisted.  And that was when it occurred to me that I had seen precious few books set in Colonial Era U.S. cities, and since I have a Ph.D. in U.S. History, it seemed to make sense to take advantage of my academic background.  Boston struck me as the logical choice, since so many of the key events leading to the Revolution happened there, and as soon as I started my research, I realized that there were a number of historical events around which I could easily plot books.  The rest, as they say, is history.

So it wasn’t that I wrote to the market, but rather that a combination of editorial input, business considerations, and my own professional background steered me to the books I ultimately wrote.

Now that book is merely a month away from publication.  Finally!  And  because I am so eager to see the book succeed, I have a favor to ask of all of you.  Pre-publication sales can be a huge factor in determining the success or failure of a book.  So if you have not yet ordered a copy of Thieftaker from Amazon or Barnes and Noble or your local independent bookstore, I would ask that you do so right now.  And as soon as you do, come back to this site and leave a comment in the comments section indicating that you’ve done so.  When you do that, you will be entered in a contest to win a free Thieftaker t-shirt of any size from adult small to triple extra large.  If you have already pre-ordered, leave a comment telling me so, and you’ll be entered too.  We’re working on the honor system here, but I trust all y’all. I will announce a winner on Friday.

Thieftaker t-shirt

The red line isn't actually on the shirt; it's a graphic centering tool.


37 comments to THIEFTAKER Promo Kickoff and a Contest Giveaway!

  • Chris Branch

    Just pre-ordered from Amazon. Thanks!

  • wookiee

    Pre-ordered from Amazon. Book sounds right up my alley. Really glad you decided to put the PHD to use instead of doing London – I agree it’s overdone!

  • David, please don’t enter me, but I’ll be getting one for my mom at our Book Signing Extravangza! Hey, kiddo. you need to post your signing schedule here so we can support you there too. Just sayin’.

  • Thanks, Chris and Wookiee! And Faith, Yes, I will be posting my book signing schedule AND my blog tour schedule very soon.

  • As someone whose current mss is a blended-genre historical fantasy, I HOPE YOU ARE FANTASTICALLY SUCCESSFUL. And, lest the snarkies come out, because you are genuinely one of the nicest writers I have ever met at a conference. It would be a nice perk for all the hard work you have put in over the years. Just preordered my copy:)

  • Preordering it tonight! Sounds like something I’ll enjoy. 🙂

  • mudepoz

    Already preordered. Already have the T-shirt. Won’t be near you to get it signed, so would you consider snail mail signings, or at least a book plate?
    And if you are going to sell wonderful t-shirts to us fans, please consider getting a fabric marker so you can sign them 🙂

  • Lillian, thank you so much. You’re very kind.

    Thanks, Scribe.

    And thanks to you, too, Mud. You might win a t-shirt anyway, and then you’d have to give it to a friend. I have always been willing to do snail-mail signings and will gladly do them for Thieftaker, too. And just so you know, I had a Sharpie with me this past weekend, and signed a couple of t-shirts.

  • Gypsyharper

    Just pre-ordered from Amazon. I’m really excited to read this book – especially after reading a little about how it came to be in its current setting (I’ve occasionally been inspired by footnotes myself, so I can relate 🙂 ). Best of luck to you!

  • Just pre-ordred it! 🙂 Looking forward to reading it. And I’ll bring it with me to Dragon Con to have you sign it.

  • OakandAsh

    Done. And as promised, one of those signed t-shirts was duly paraded about UT campus today.

  • Gypsy, thanks so much. Glad to hear I’m not the only footnote geek out there!

    Pea, thanks. Great seeing you this weekend; looking forward to catching up again at Dragon Con.

    Oak, many thanks for preordering, AND for serving as UT billboard! Will look forward to seeing you again at future cons.

  • A. R. Gideon

    I’ve had Theiftaker preordered for a while. I annoyed the people at my local Barnes and Noble trying to preorder it before they had it the system lol. Reading the short stories you’ve done, I’m so excited for the book. I got a shirt from you this weekend, but I still need to get it signed.

  • I’ll get mine and buy the t-shirt at your Rock Hill event, but wanted to let you know that if you want to guest post over on my blog as part of your blog tour, you’re always welcome there – even before the ConCarolinas video goes up! Great seeing all of my MW buddies this weekend!

  • Pre-order done, mon capitan. You had me at “inspired by a footnote” – that’s how I got my dissertation topic, so I can relate. Also, I support any fellow PhD who defies the idea that creativity and scholarship don’t blend well.

    Also, since you mentioned this being a genre blend book – could you do a future post about how to sell something like that to an agent, a publisher, an audience? How does one get past the “but where would we shelve it at Barnes and Noble?” issue?

  • Pre-ordered. I love the colonial American time period, and can’t wait to see what you’ve done with it!

  • Cindy

    I have pre-orded on Amazon. Heck I have been waiting to read this book for awhile. A question though, why did you pick the time period? Why not for instance fifty years earlier or later?

  • A.R., thank you! Glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed the Thieftaker short fiction. And I’ll be happy to sign that shirt any time.

    John, sounds good. And I will absolutely take you up on that offer. Thank you. I’ll be in touch about that soon. Great seeing you, too.

    Sarah, I have to admit that I love footnotes. One of the things I enjoyed most about Susanna Clarke’s JONATHAN STRANGE AND MISTER NORRELL was her use of discursive footnotes. And yes, I will address that in a near-future post. Thanks for the idea. And for the pre-order, of course.

    SiSi, thank you! I hope you like the book.

    Cindy, thanks to you, too. I chose the pre-Revolutionary era for a couple of reasons. First, it always fascinated me when I was a grad student getting my Ph.D. (though it was not the period about which I wrote my dissertation — that was the New Deal. Go figure.) Second, it’s a period that has received very little literary attention in fiction. There is some stuff written about the Revolution itself, but far less in the period just before. And finally, there is a historical reason. Fifty years earlier and there would have been far less interesting stuff going on in Boston. The early 18th century was a fairly prosperous and uneventful time in Boston’s history. By the 1760s, Boston has been through an economic downturn. It has lost its place as North America’s pre-eminent city, having been supplanted by New York and Philadelphia. It’s a bit seedy and downtrodden, just like my lead character, which is really perfect. And 50 years later, and Boston will have established a functioning and competent police force, rendering thieftakers unnecessary.

  • I feel like this book has been on its way forEVER, and I’m really glad we’re starting to get close to release. I had planned on getting this for awhile, but it had slipped my mind. So to prevent that happening again, I went ahead and pre-ordered this morning. 🙂

    Only tangentially related: I love getting B&N gift cards because I always have money on hand to pre-order things for my Nook at unexpected times. Like today. Sometimes, I even buy them for myself!

  • Margaret

    Pre-ordered from Amazon, and I will bring it and the shirt I bought for Emily to Dragon*Con for signing *grin*

  • J. J. Hall

    Special ordered from local Hastings!

  • David, it was such a pleasure to meet you and the other MW folks at ConCarolinas. I’ve preordered Thieftaker and I already have a t-shirt (I wish I had thought to ask for an autograph!) I wish you outrageous success with your new direction!

  • Pre-ordered! One of the best things about a website like Amazon or Indigo is that if you spend over $25, you get free shipping. So I bundled my pre-order with another book that happens to be coming out on July 3rd, Kalayna’s GRAVE MEMORY. 🙂

    And thanks, David! I had a fantastic time there, and it was a great pre-birthday present to myself. Already strategizing how I can attend again next year. I really want to come back.

  • Kiara, I feel the same way. Thanks so much for preordering!

    E.K., it was great to meet you and your husband. I already felt like I knew you, but making it official was wonderful. If you win the contest, your husband gets a shirt. Thanks so much for preordering.

    Laura, that’s great! I know Kalayna will be as grateful as I am. Wonderful seeing you again this year. I hope you can make it happen again in 2013 — it’s becoming a tradition.

    And to all the rest of you, the contest goes through the end of the week, so if you haven’t preordered yet, go ahead and then comment here. You may win a shirt!!

  • Great stuff, David. Love the shirt.

  • Just pre-ordered, but don’t worry ’bout the shirt. Happy to support the MW community! 🙂 Plus, needless to say, looking forward to reading it…

  • Thanks, A.J.

    Adrian, I appreciate the support more than I can say. Thanks very much.

  • Razziecat

    Paper only, or does the e-book count? 🙂

  • E-book definitely counts. A preorder is a preorder! Thanks, Razz!

  • RhayaH

    I ordered the book as soon as I saw that I could on amazon! I’m very excited… Less than a month now!!

  • ajp88

    Pre-ordered through Barnes & Noble. Can’t wait to read it!

  • Thanks so much, AJP!

  • Rider

    I ordered mine several weeks ago based on the recommendation of Faith Hunter. I have the delivery date written in red on my calender. Waiting impatiently……

  • LiontheBig

    Amazon delivery date: July 3rd! (I’ll be carrying it around until I bump into you, for an autoDBgraph.)

  • LiontheBig

    Speaking of footnotes, are you familiar with Jack Vance’s extensive, amazing, and humorous footnotes?

  • Rider, thanks! I’m pretty impatient for it, too.

    Mark, I appreciate it, and will be glad to sign it whenever our paths cross. I’m not familiar with Jack’s work, though I should be.

    Also, to Rhaya, J.J., and Margaret, my apologies for not getting those comments approved earlier. They’re up now, in plenty of time for the drawing of the winner’s name, which I’ll do tomorrow. Stay tuned!

  • Thanks for the entries, all. This contest is now officially closed. Gypsyharper is our winner. My deepest thanks to all who pre-ordered THIEFTAKER.