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September 11, 2004

Books & Stuff, 9/11

The ever-rocking Lucy Huntzinger has passed along this picture of me at my Noreascon reading, holding up Old Man's War. Actually, it's not really Old Man's War; it's the cover to OMW wrapped around another Tor book whose dimensions are near exactly what my book's will be. But it's more impressive to hold up a book than merely a cover. Yes, I'm all about appearances.

I got one bit of good news about Old Man's War recently: It's been chosen by the Science Fiction Book Club as an Alternate Selection for January 2005, which means that if the members aren't pleased with the main selection for that month, they can just check a box or something and get my book instead. I don't know how many will opt for that, but on the other hand now my book will be waved in the face of the many thousands of SFBC members, and, you know. It's hard to beat that. These people are already motivated to buy science fiction novels, so that's one less battle to fight.

There is the drawback that contractually, what I get for books sold through the Book Club is less than I get by way of non-Book Club royalties. But let me provide you with a bracing moment of honesty, here. I am a first time novelist. At this point, it's really more important for me and to me to get read. If the Book Club does it, well, bring it on. I'm not hurting financially, and the potential long-term payoff (more readers hopefully willing to shell out for my books) is worth it.

So, if you're a member of the Science Fiction Book Club, you know what to look forward to with your January selection card. Tell the folks you know.

The folks at Tor have been strongly hinting that they want the followup to OMW sooner than later, which is a nice fuzzy feeling, if you ask me. So depending on how quickly things fall together, the second novel you may see from me could be The Ghost Brigades rather than The Android's Dream. Is this possible delay to TAD's publication good or bad? Honestly, I don't see it as either; it's simply of matter of my publisher trying to fine-tune things to get the maximum result. This is, mind you, manifestly better than one's publisher simply plopping the book onto the market. It's comforting to know other people have a strategy to make me a popular writer.

As long as we're on the subject of books, I'll also note that Book of the Dumb 2 is now available for pre-order on Amazon; if you're hankering to get a fresh load o' stupidity hot off the presses, you know what to do.

I'm banging away on Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film right now; I'm slightly behind but I'm catching up. One thing I keep forgetting is how quickly I write -- I banged out about 6,000 words yesterday (most of a chapter) and I'm polishing it today before going on. Be aware that I'm aware writing fast is not the same thing as writing well; still, this book is on a tight deadline and it's nice to remember that one I bother to get going on writing it comes pretty quickly. It's always the starting of the writing that's the annoying part.

It's 9/11; I'm remembering, as should you. I made a brief entry about it on By The Way, check it out if you like.

Back to the Science Fiction Film book...

Posted by john at September 11, 2004 11:55 AM

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Jim Winter | September 11, 2004 12:25 PM

John, I was talking to Michael Koryta, who won the SMP/PWA contest I lost last year. He said when he got the jacket to Tonight I Said Goodbye (Go out and buy it now!!!), he immediately wrapped it around a hardcover and walked around the house pretending it was his. I said, "Well, I'm glad I wasn't the only one who thought of that."

Thanks for confirming that neither Michael nor I are completely loony.

Well, at least that the lunacy is normal.

melody | September 11, 2004 12:51 PM

Googled Old Mans War, and read the write-up that i found on it... my curiosity must be assuaged. I am dying to know why old men are being conscripted into the army.
Grrr, now OMW must be added to my already full reading list!
Thanks alot!

Ian Mathers | September 11, 2004 06:00 PM

As a member of the science fiction book club, I'm now attempting to clear some credit card space so I can get it when it's the "featured selection". Hopefully it is up here in Canuckistan, too.

mythago | September 11, 2004 07:28 PM


Arnold | September 12, 2004 05:10 AM

You look a lot better clean shaven.

John Scalzi | September 12, 2004 11:06 AM

My wife thinks that, too. I think that the beard thing can look good, but it's only for a relatively short time before it looks scraggly again.

Dawn B. | September 13, 2004 04:39 PM

Michelle Sagara West has posted about the varigeties of book publishing in her LiveJournal. Http://www.livejournal.com/users/msargara (I think).

Her experience is that it is *best* for a book to come out once every 2 years, and series are better than standalone. The front list drives the backlist and so on.

And Congrats on the SFBC contract. While the royalties may not be as good the exposure (and presumable added sales) are great!

Bill Peschel | September 13, 2004 05:18 PM

Once every "2" years! Jesu! This I gotta see.

I'm following a co-worker's adventures through a two-book contract, and his are spaced 18 months apart and I thought that was insane.