Friday, August 31, 2007
The first rule.... (Warning: Possible Spoilers.)

... is that you do not talk about Book Club.

The second rule...

Okay, enough of that.

I just got an e-mail from a fan that went something like this:

Dear Mr. Rothfuss:

My book group have decided to read your book for our September meeting. Besides your wonderful storytelling ability and use of language, are there any themes or questions that would be good to use as our discussion guide? Thank you for one of the best fantasy books I have read this year.

(A follow up e-mail revealed that these questions would be asked during the club meeting itself, after the people had finished the book. So there's no need to worry about asking spoiler-free questions.)

While I'm tickled at the thought of a group of people getting together and talking about my book, I have to admit that I'm totally at a loss as to what sort of questions I could offer them.

The main problem is that I've never in my life been in a book group, so I don't know the sort of questions that usually get asked.

So I'm going to throw this open to you, my brilliant, articulate readership. What questions do you think would lead to an interesting discussion in a book club?

Now before y'all get comment-y. I'm going to lay down some rules for today's blog because I'd like to eventually link to this thread in my FAQ.

First: Let's keep this particular set of comments tight and on-topic. Questions only. No answers. We'll save those discussions for later blogs, or, preferably, when we get a forum up and running.

Second: Please proof your questions before submitting. Capitol letters and puntuation marks are your friends, folks.

Third: Please read the other questions before asking your own. Related or follow-up questions are fine, but let's try to avoid duplicates.

Alright. Let's see if we can help our flagship book group out with some good questions. I'm curious to see what y'all come up with....

Thrill me,

pat

posted by Pat at 30 Comments



Monday, August 27, 2007
A Real book.


I got this e-mail and picture a while back, and I thought I might share it.

Pat,

I don't know if The Name of the Wind will survive long enough for me to
finish it!

My (Your? The? Our?) book arrived with the front cover ripped loose from
the binding. I figured that leaving the poor thing in a metal mailbox
for a day melted the glue or something. I live in a blast furnace, you
see, so I sort of expect mail-order stuff to be damaged.

That night I took my book with me into the bathtub which is dangerous, I
know. But nothing beats foo-foo bubbles and a good book I say, and even
if you drop the book in the tub it's *usually* salvageable and smells
pretty too!

But THIS book stained my hands purple. I usually read paperbacks
because they are more manageable (and I'm cheap) but the few hardcovers
that I've taken along on bathtub adventures have never turned my damp
hands strange colors. Yours just hates me, I think.

And finally, I dropped it today and when it hit the floor, it just gave
up. The entire cover went one way, the pages went the other, and I said
a nasty word.

It's been patched up with duct tape but I'm still wary. If it decides
to spontaneously combust or something I won't be terribly surprised.

Thanks a lot, and I really am loving the book. :)

~Lisa~

I'm sure there's a moral in this story somewhere, but I don't know what it is.

I will admit that at one point in my life the thought of my book being destroyed would have filled me with mute horror. But that's not really how I felt when I heard this story. This isn't a book that was destroyed by Fedex. This was the story of a book that went down in the call of duty. This is the story of a brave soldier who fought the good fight.

With this in mind, I asked Lisa to send me a picture of the book and she was nice enough to oblige:






If I had any doubts, they were laid to rest by the Strawberry Shortcake band-aid. This book hasn't been destroyed, it has been loved. This is the Velveteen Rabbit of books.

For those of you who live sad lives, here's passage from the Velveteen Rabbit that explains what I'm talking about.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day[...] "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."



This is a Real book.

Later all,


pat


posted by Pat at 18 Comments



Thursday, August 23, 2007
A sneak peek of Book Two...


Well.... just the cover really....



Apparently, it's a novel....


pat

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posted by Pat at 50 Comments



Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Back from Indy....

Well everyone, I'm back from Gencon. A good time was had by all, or at least by me.

I brought back all sorts of interesting stories, some cool swag, and an exciting disease. So all in all, I guess I have to consider the weekend a success.

On a related note, I've received a MUCH bigger response than I'd expected from my recent blog where I offered to sign people's books if they sent them to me. I've had a couple dozen e-mails so far.

When I was down at Gencon, I mentioned how my plan to reduce the number of book signing requests had kinda backfired on me. One of the more experienced authors mentioned that I should really get a post office box, rather than use my home address all the time.

I waved the warning aside at first. Then she looked at me and said, "How are you going to feel when the first person shows up on your doorstep? Or looks in your window?"

Now personally, my feeling is that anyone who looks in my window is probably going to get exactly what they deserve, a profoundly traumatic experience followed by years of therapy. But more importantly, I tend to think that my book is cool and, by extension, the people who like it have to be cool too. In fact, it seems to me that the people who liked it the most would be the coolest people, and therefore hugely unlikely to try to give me the love knife or the full-blown Misery treatment.

And I have to say that in the several months since my book has come out, I haven't had a single bad experience with a fan. Generally speaking, everyone has been lovely. Nobody's done so much as call my house without e-mailing first, let alone give the impression that they're getting ready to go all stalkeratzi.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that all it would take is one social maladjust showing up at my house to seriously weird me out and ruin my day. So I went out to to get a P.O. Box.

But apparently it's easier to buy an assault weapon than rent a PO box these days. I need two forms of ID with current address and photos. But I just moved, so my driver's licence is out of date. And if I'm going to go get a new licence, I should really get a haircut first. Right now I look like the unholy paring of John the Baptist and a certain Hogwarts gamekeeper brought to life by the Henson Company. Not really the look I want my official ID to have for the next umpteen years....

So things are taking a little while to sort out, but eventually you will be able to send in your books to be signed. I promise.

In a couple days, when I'm up for it, I'll post up the highlights of the convention for those of you who are interested. There are a few interesting stories to tell...

And now to sleep,


pat

P.S. The disease I brought back was just a cold, for those of you who were wondering.

posted by Pat at 14 Comments



Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Off To Gencon

Okay. I'm rushing to get everything ready before I hop a plane down to Indianapolis today.

But before I talk about anything else, I have to send you to all to check out a link.

GO HERE.

(Seriously, go there.)

That is the coolest, geekiest thing that's ever been done for my book. My hat is off to them. I am laughing with delight and shame. Ladies and gentlemen, the bar has officially been raised.


Okay, here is my Gencon Schedule for anyone who cares.

Panels:

Thursday 16th
10:00 - Worldbuilding: The Basics
11:00 - Worldbuilding: The Anthropology of Fantasy
12:00 - Avoiding Cliches: Prophecies, Chosen Ones and Orphans

Friday 17th
12:00 - Refreshing old characters: Pirates, Vampires, and Elves

Saturday 18th
4:00 - Alchemy and Sorcery, the Science of Magic in Fiction:
5:00 - General Q&A

Signings

Friday 2-4
Saturday 1-3

Both signings are happening at booth 2241, where the multifarious Tarol Hunt will be peddling his ass. I mean wares. I mean, comic. If you haven't read Goblins yet, you're really missing out. He'll have copies of his book there for sale, so even if I'm not there, you should stop by and check out his stuff.

I'm also having a reading / Q&A session / signing at the Wayne Branch Library.

Thursday night at 7:00.

198 S. Girls School Road
Indianapolis, IN 46231
For more info call: 317-275-4530

There will also be books for sale there.


Geekapalooza, here I come.


pat

posted by Pat at 20 Comments



Monday, August 13, 2007
FAQ: "If I Mail You My Book, Will You Sign it?"

People have been asking me this question more and more often lately, and strangely enough, the question has been getting more and more difficult to answer.

First, I should explain something. While I've been a writer for a long time. I've been a *PUBLISHED* writer for a very short time. As of right now, my novel has only been out for a little more than four months.

This means that I'm still a total geek about most things. I still get a glowy, warm feeling whenever someone likes the book enough to post up another five star review on Amazon. I keep looking back at the Amazon page to see my sales rank is. And when someone tells me they like the book, I feel like a mom must feel when someone compliments her baby.

I still read all my fanmail, and I respond to all of it, too. (Though right now I'm really behind, and I apologise to everyone who hasn't received a response yet. Sorry.)

The other thing I did for a couple of months, was agree to sign any books that people wanted to send me. It was just cool for me that anyone would buy my book, let alone care enough to want my signature. So whenever asked me this question, I gave them my address. Then when the books showed up, I signed them and sent them back.

After a few months, a couple things started to change my feelings on the matter.

First, the number of people asking for me to sign their books has been slowly increasing. This is a problem because it probably takes me around half an hour to unwrap, sign, repackage and drop the book off at the post office. While I love the thought of making a fan happy, that's time I could be spending working on book two, or doing the dishes, or kissing girls. There's only so many hours in the day, and I've been very, VERY busy lately.

Second, I became aware that some of the people who wanted me to sign their books weren't fans, but book collectors. Or rather, signed book re-sellers. Imagine my surprise when I found copies of my book out there selling for hundreds of dollars.

At first I was stunned. Then I was flattered. Then I started to realize that I might be getting hustled a little. I don't mind taking twenty minutes out of my day to get someone a signed copy of my book if they're geeking out over it. I'm less thrilled about spending that time so that someone else can make 100 bucks off the deal.

Now I'm not implying that all those people out there selling my books screwed me. Many of them approached me honestly and asked for signed copies specifically to sell. Some of them were even generous enough to cut me in on a piece of the action.

But a few people did hustle me. That and my busy schedule made me think I should give a firm, polite "NO" to this question once and for all. I even made a humorous flow chart to soften the blow of this news to hopeful folks out there:





(If you click on the picture, you'll be able to read it.)


As you can see, the best possible result is that I end up eating tacos. And honestly, I can do that whether or not you send me a book to sign.

This was all about a month ago. I was ready to pack it all in when I got the following e-mail.

Pat,

I managed to pick up an Advanced Copy of NOTW at a small used
bookstore. I felt a bit guilty about buying a book that clearly states "Not for Sale" on every surface of the binding... but I've purchased four legit copies so far (attempt at justification), and have distributed them to those I deem worthy (coupled with altruism)... And I know that you're a bang up guy (flattery), and would likely not hold this against me.

So the favor is this: If I pack the book up in a self addressed, postage paid box and send it to you, would you be willing to sign it and drop it in the post?

I would make sure it was carefully packed in bags of high-quality Ethiopian coffee (I assume whole bean is acceptable), and safely wrapped with other "recyclable" material. Interested? ; )

Thanks, Pat -- I know you're a busy guy, so don't feel obligated to
reply if you don't have the time. I completely understand-

This letter was not only flattering and funny, but the guy was smart enough to realize that I didn't make any money off the him buying an ARC of the book. What's more, he recognised that I was a busy guy, and that signing the book would take time out of my schedule. So he agreed to send me a present to make it up to me.

So I e-mailed him back with my address and gave him the thumbs up, then forgot about it. A week or so later, I get this in the mail:





In the middle is the ARC copy of the book. The rest of the stuff is the "packing material." Chocolatey sugar-bomb cereal, coffee, candy, and a Powell's Bookstore T-shirt. It was like Santa wanted my autograph.

Then, again, just a few days ago I got a bottle of wine in the mail as a thank you present from someone who asked me to signing a few books a month ago.

This made me re-re-consider my position on the book signing. Not just because I was getting swag. But because it made it clear to me that for some people, getting a signed book was a really big deal. I know that feeling. I've had it myself in the past.

So here's what I've decided. If you want me to sign your book, I will. But here's the price.

1. You need to send the book. (Contact me for the address.)

2. You need to send me the Return Address and an explanation of exactly what you'd like written in the book(s).

3. You need to send a check for seven bucks per book to cover postage and the cost of good packing materials to keep the book safe when I send it back to you.

4. Lastly, you need to send me something cool.

It doesn't need to be expensive, or big, or edible, or rare. (The guy who sent me the ARC clearly went overboard.) It just needs to be something that I'll pull out of the package and think, "Hey, that's pretty cool."

Then I'll eat it, play with it, wear it, or put it on a shelf. And when I'm signing your book, packing it back up, and walking to the post office, I'll feel happy. Because the coolness of your gift will convince me that getting a signed book is kind-of important to you. Then, even if you decide to sell the book on e-bay, I won't really mind because you took the time to send me a present as a way to say thank you.

If you don't want to go through all the trouble and delay, you can catch me in person by keeping an eye on my tour dates page here on the website. Or you could just buy a signed copy from any number of online places, such as Dreamhaven, Adventures Underground, or any of a number of other places online....

Edit: Here's the address where you can mail your packages, if you are interested:

If you're sending it through the post office, use this address:

Patrick Rothfuss
PO Box 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

If you're sending it UPS or FED-EX, use this address:

Patrick Rothfuss
English Department
486 CCC
UW-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481

Lastly and most importantly: I would like to encourage you to pack your books carefully. Perhaps even obsessively. Padding is important, but the true key to keeping the book safe is to make sure your it can't move around inside the package itself. I also strongly recommend that you take the book jacket off the book and keep it at your house, as it's the most easily damaged part of the book.

If you have any doubts about your packing job, think to yourself: "If I threw this package across the room, into the wall, would the book get hurt?" If the answer is, "yes" then you need to pack it more carefully. These things get really knocked around sometimes. And if your book shows up damaged, I'll have no real choice but to shed a single tear, sign it, and send it back in its crippled state....



That's all for now, folks. I've got to go get some sleep.

pat


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posted by Pat at 68 Comments



Monday, August 6, 2007
The Upcoming Festivitites in Indianapolis

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I'm going to GenCon this year.

"What's Gencon?" I hear you ask. Why it's only the biggest gathering of geeks known to man.

And I use that seemingly sexist phrasing intentionally. Want to play a little game? It's called, "Find the girl."

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Can you find her?

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

No I'm afraid not. To the uninitiated, this might look like a girl at first glance. But that is, in fact, a man. Trust me.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Congratulations! You found the girl! Better catch an eyeful now, because she's obviously legging it away faster than you can say, "I've got wood for sheep."

I'm joking, of course. There are women gamers, many of them quite attractive and cool to be around. Many of them will be in attendance, dressed up in leather corsets, chainmail bikinis, Japanese schoolgirl outfits, and my favorite con occurrence of all -- the catgirl.

Of course the fact that there will be guys dressed up in the exact same outfits can be troubling for some people. But not me. One of the coolest things I ever saw at a GenCon was a 6' 4", 300 pound man with a beard you could lose a ferret in dressed up as... are you ready? Sailor Moon.

It was awesome. He was my hero. You need serious nuts to wear something like that. And given the costume, there was little doubt as to... well... I'm sure you can see where I'm going here.

Anyway, here's my schedual for the convention itself.
Panels:

Thursday 16th
10:00 - Worldbuilding: The Basics
11:00 - Worldbuilding: The Anthropology of Fantasy
12:00 - Avoiding Cliches: Prophecies, Chosen Ones and Orphans

Friday 17th
12:00 - Refreshing old characters: Pirates, Vampires, and Elves

Saturday 18th
4:00 - Alchemy and Sorcery, the Science of Magic in Fiction:
5:00 - General Q&A

If you're not in the mood to show up and hear me talk geeky author talk, you can show up at the booths where I'll be signing books, hanging out, and basking in the revelry.

One of my favorite webcartoonists, Tarol Hunt of Goblins, has agreed to let me hang out at his booth a little bit, so that anyone who's interested can swing by and get a book signed by me.
I'll be there, at booth 2241, from 2-4 on Friday, and 1-3 on Saturday. Feel free to stop by and chat.

Lastly, for those of you who really don't want to brave the convention, you can catch my at one of the Wayne Branch Library on Thursday night at 7:00.

198 S. Girls School Road
Indianapolis, IN 46231
317-275-4530

As always, this information is available on the tour dates page. But I thought I'd bring it to your attention here, just in case.

Later folks,

pat


posted by Pat at 18 Comments



Wednesday, August 1, 2007
Writing, moving, and talking about books.

Sorry I've been gone so long, folks. It's been pretty crazy around here. In addition to working like a dog on book two, this week I've had the untrammeled delight of moving all my earthly goods from one house to another. Moving sucks, in a nutshell. Do you have any idea how many books I own?

Anyway, aside from the general upheave, things seem to be settling down. My move is done, barring the last bit of cleaning I still have to do tonight. So for now I just have time to post a few, brief announcements.

1. I'll be down in Indianapolis at GenCon from August 15-19th. I will be doing book signings, panels about writing, and workshops. Plus, I'll just generally be getting down with my geeky self. (I'll post up specific times and places in a couple days. Stay tuned for that.)

I will neither confirm nor deny the rumor that I might be dressed as a garden gnome at the convention.

2. The online discussion I've been having with Orson Scott Card about Harry Potter has turned out remarkably well. By this I mean I managed to avoid making an ass out of myself in front of one of my favorite authors. Plus, as an added bonus, I got to defend poor Tom Bombadil from unwarranted attacks against his character.

3. There's a new Q & A up over at Subterranean Press. This interview turned out kinda different, as she asked me some probing questions about my geek heritage. So if you're a gamer, there might be something interesting for you there. Plus I think I might have accidentally flirted with her a little. As with all my ill-considered choices, I blame caffeine.

4. Lastly is part two of the Q & A I did with Straight from the Barrel. It's a little more serious than the Subterranean Press interview, but I talk about writing, racism, and one of my favorite webcomics. So there's a little something there for everyone.

And I'm done. I've got to go rugdoctor my apartment before I get any sleep tonight. Wish me luck.

pat

posted by Pat at 11 Comments



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