Thursday, November 15, 2007
Butterflies....

So in half an hour or so I'm going to be getting into my car and driving up to Minneapolis for the Fantasy Matters convention I mentioned a while back.

I was pretty sure that by now, I'd be numb to the pre convention jitters. Over the years I've done a lot of public speaking in a lot of different venues. I've been a teacher for years, of course, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Teaching is a cakewalk compared to some of the other gigs I've had.

Hell, about a year ago I was the commencement speaker at the biggest high school in the state. That was scary. Going to another convention shouldn't be making me jittery. Improv comedy. That's hard. Preaching a sermon, singing in front of judges, live radio interviews.
All of those are way more.... anxiousnessing than talking on a panel at a convention....

Shit, it's starting already. I'm losing all my words... what's the word for when something makes you nervous? Is there such a word? There has to be....

Hell, by noon tomorrow I'll be speaking like a... Labrador? What does that even mean? Fuck. Now my knack for clever analogies has crapped-out as well. Soon I'll be reduced to grunts, rude gestures, and scratching crude sketches in the dirt with a stick....

The reason for my anxiety is this. Neil Gaiman is going to be at this convention. I'm finally going to meet him.

Now over the last year or so, I've met a lot of important people. Big people. Agents. Editors. Movers. Shakers. Authors that I've read for years. Luckily, it's been a slow progression so that I was never especially overwhelmed at any point.

A couple weeks before my book came out I had dinner with Tad Williams when he was in the area doing a signing. And the strange thing is, I was cool with it. He was just a guy. I should have been a little freaked-out, but I wasn't.

But Gaiman. His writing is beyond the pale. Dude is mythic and I am seriously nervous. I'm worried that when I meet him I'm going to try to be witty and I'll just spaz out instead. It'll be like a Muppet having a seizure. A Muppet with bad language skills.

I'm guessing it would pretty much be like Grover on methamphetamine. With tourettes.

Somewhere between this:





And this:






Oh Deviantart... is there anything you don't have an illustration for?

Personal to Mr. Gaiman: If you read this, please do not call the police. I won't visit spazzy Muppet death upon you. Neither will I scalp you and wear your hair like a little hat. You have my word as a fellow fantasy author. I promise. Pinky swear.


Okay, time to get on the road. Got a long drive ahead of me tonight.

Later all....

pat

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Today, I suck at life....

I was ready for today to be a cool day. A super-cool day even.

My star seems to be in ascension. A couple days ago I got a super cool review on NPR. As if that wasn't cool enough, superhero librarian Nancy Pearl is the one doing the reviewing and recommending.

If you don't know who Nancy Pearl is, you should. Any you know that any librarian with her own action figure is a force to be reckoned with...

If that weren't enough, I also recently got wind of a review in Science Fiction and Fantasy Magazine. Michelle West wrote such a flattering, descriptive, spoiler free review discussion of the book that I realize I will probably never have much luck being a reviewer myself. I don't think I have the knack.

Anyway, my point is that things were looking pretty rosy moving into today. Two embarrassingly good reviews, my student's tests were graded, and my amazon rank was ridiculously high (#240). I was half convinced that the local woodland creatures were going to wake me up, sing me a song, and help me get dressed for school -- Cinderella style.

Because they didn't show, I had to find my own socks and consequently I was running a little late. So I drove onto campus and found a spot right in front of the building. It even had 20 free minutes on the meter. Better and better.

Then I end up having a disagreement with the local photocopier. I want to make copies of the grading rubric for my class. The machine wants to take a big old shit on my day.

Ultimately the machine wins. It even manages the trifecta by denying me my copies, devouring the one and only copy of the rubric, and making me five minutes late to my own class.

Everything went downhill from there. The class was a trainwreck. Because dealing with the photocopier took all of my class prep time, I looked disorganized and clueless. I wrote all over the dry-erase board with a big bright red non-dry erase marker. (Not my fault, someone left it there.) I looked like an idiot several times and some of the students actually were talking to each other and laughing at me.

Lastly, toward the end of the class I said something in response to a student's comment that was meant to be a general statement for the class, but I think was interpreted as me being bitchy at that student. *sigh* I don't know.

It's strange how quickly your day can turn to shit. In some ways it's even worse because everything else was really good before that. If you spend the day picking up dogshit it's not going to be a great time, but at least you know what you're in for. You're braced for it. It's different if you're just having a picnic and someone hits you in the face with a turd.

And with that lovely image, I will leave you. Hope your day is going better than mine.


Best,

pat

P.S. 204. That helps a bit.


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Saturday, November 10, 2007
Confessions of an Amazon addict

Ok, I have a confession to make. My name is Patrick Rothfuss, and I am addicted to Amazon.com.

Not for the reason you might think, while I do use Amazon to occasionally pick up cheap DVD sets and hard to find out-of-print stuff, I actually do most of my book buying from the local independent bookstore. It's hard walking away from Amazon's sexy, cheap books, but I feel better about shopping locally. I know the money is staying in the community.

No, I'm addicted to Amazon for another reason entirely: the Amazon Sales Rank.

For those of you who don't know about it. The sales rank is how well your book is selling on Amazon compared to all the other books. As I write this, I can see my rank is at #1224 among all books. A very respectable ranking, especially considering that I'm a new author.

What you might not realize is that authors don't have any way of finding out how well their books are selling. We can read reviews and take guesses, but for the most part, we don't have access to any real factual information about how well are books are selling. Every six months we get a royalty statement and that's about it.

What we do have is the Amazon sales rank. You want to know the maddening thing? It updates, like, every 15 minutes or so. That means that I am fucking compelled to keep a Firefox instance open to my book's Amazon page ALL THE TIME. Then, no matter what I'm doing, I can hop over and click refresh. Again, and again, and again. Just to see if it's changed.

Ooh. Now I'm at 1028! Someone must have bought a book! Maybe two! I am a tiny god!

Because I'm constantly refreshing on Amazon, I've also developed a secondary addiction to the Amazon reviews.

Generally speaking, the reviews have been good. People like the book, and they have been generous with their praise. Every time I saw another 5-star review I got a warm fuzzy, and for several months, I was powerfully proud of my unbroken 5-star average. Then a few people gave it 1-star reviews and my average dropped to 4.5 stars, causing a great wailing and gnashing of teeth on my part.

Still at 1028.

As a whole, I respect the concept behind the Amazon reviews. They're like true democracy in action, everyone gets to chime in and let their voice be heard. PHD in English literature? You get 1 review. Fourteen year old boy who loves Nascar? 1 review. Benobo chimp addicted to methadone? Assuming you have a credit card, you get a review too.

Still 1028. Maybe it doesn't update every 15 minutes.

While I respect the egalitarian nature of the Amazon reviews, it does tend to occasionally remind me how really low the lowest common denominator really is. A couple days ago some choad posted up a 1 star review because the book was 900 pages (which it isn't) and because he'll have to wait for book two to come out. I can respect a bad review if the person makes a few salient points, but my suspicion is that this guy hasn't even read the book.

Nooo! I'm at 1375 now. I suck. The Karma gods are punishing me for defaming some poor anonymous reviewer's character. And perhaps for the gratuitous use of the word 'choad.'

Okay. Another confession. I just bought a copy of my own book to see if it would make the Amazon rank go back up. It didn't (I expect there must be a delay.) But when I made my order, I saw that right now they're selling my book for less than fifteen bucks. How cool is that? I'm all about shopping locally, but 40% off is a significant chunk of money.... Maybe I should buy a few more... Is it tacky to give away your own book as a Christmas gift?

Okay, I've rambled long enough. I should get back to revisions of book two....

Later,

pat

P.S. Still 1375.

Edit:
P.P.S. In the comments below, RoseNeko posted a link to an article so perfectly relevant to this that I wanted to
LINK IT HERE for all of you to see. Bless you Neko, and the person who wrote this article. Maybe now I can start letting my obsession go.

Y'know... using 'P.S.' Doesn't make much sense anymore. For one, it was a convention that came about when you wrote letters longhand, so the P.S. was necessary in case you left something out. Nowadays there's no reason to leave anything out. Since I'm typing everything out, I could just go back and add it into the original post.

What's more. P.S. stood for 'post script.' But I'm not scripting anything, I'm posting a blog. So really, it should be P.P. for 'post post.'

But somehow I don't think that's going to catch on...



P.P.P.S. 1087


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posted by Pat at 41 Comments



Thursday, November 8, 2007
Various and sundry items

It seems like I have a half-hundred little things I want to write about, but not enough time to do any of them justice.

So today you get a hodgepodge of miscellany. A hodgelany. If my regular blogs are nutritiously balanced meals, served with an eye for presentation... well... then this blog is going to be more like you coming over to my house and eating fish sticks directly off the cookie sheet while sitting on my couch. Tasty, but strictly no-frills.


Item 1) What I dressed up for this Halloween.

Gay Dumbledore.

If you hadn't already heard the news, crawl out from under your rock and look HERE.






"Ah yes," Dumbledore thought to himself. "That young Potter is a lovely bit of crumpet if I've ever seen one. I wonder if he'd fall for the old 'pull something out of my hat' routine...."





"Five points for Gryffindor!"


My accomplice in the photos is none other than my lovely ladyfriend, Sarah. It really wouldn't have been a funny costume if I hadn't been able to chase her around the party all night, groping shamelessly by the punchbowl and occasionally making suggestions that would make a fanfic author blush.


Item 2) Name of the Wind just made Publisher's Weekly's list of the top 150 books of the year. There were only seven books in the Sci-fi/Fantasy category, so I'm pretty flattered by that.

Item 3) Name of the Wind was also named one of the top ten Fantasy/Sci-fi books of the year by Amazon.

Item 4) Name of the Wind is the only fantasy novel to make it onto both of those lists.

Item 4-a (corollary) I rock the house. And, by virtue of association, so do you.


Lastly, because the blog has been getting swamped with spam advertising comments, you now have to do one of those mildly irritating security countermeasures in order to leave a comment. Please don't let this dissuade you from making your usual witticisms. I crave them, and if they are not forthcoming, I may curl into a wretched emo ball and weep piteously.

Later,

pat

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