Sunday, February 28, 2010
For those of that might be interested, I have a couple appearances coming up in the next couple of months. You can see details on the tour page
I'll be adding more dates to the tour page as new things get scheduled. I'm cutting down on my conventions a little this year because of Oot. But I will be attending PenguiCon
this year. (And San Diego Comic Con, if I can somehow get hold of a badge.)
Plus, I'm thinking of taking a little road trip.
You see, Sarah has a family wedding that she really wants to go to down in Virginia Beach. Since I'm not thrilled with the thought of taking Oot on a plane, we're going to be driving down.
This means I'm going to be traveling through a big piece of the US I've never visited before. And whenever that happens, I wonder if there might be a bookstore or a library in the area that would be interested in hosting a reading/signing....
The wedding is on the 21st of March. That doesn't leave us a lot of time....
So here's the deal.
Here are the two potential routes I can take down to Virginia beach:
(Click to Embiggen)
You can also go look at the google map directly if you follow THIS LINK.
If you live in this part of the country and want to help set up a reading/signing there are two options.
If you happen to own, manage, or work in a bookstore or library somewhere on this blue line, and you'd like to set up a reading/signing, you should drop me a via the contact form
on the webpage.
If you don't manage a bookstore or a library, but you still want to help lure me into your neck of the woods, you could go ask your local bookstore/library to see if they'd like to host an event. Then, if they're interested, you can have them drop me a line. Again, using the contact form.
I know this is a relatively tight timetable, but I think we can make it work.
As an added incentive, if we do set up a reading or two, you can be relatively sure that you'll get to hear a bit of The Wise Man's Fear, as well as get a sneak peek at The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle.
(I'm so friggin excited about this book.)
A few helpful tips:
1. If you post a comment below that says, "Come to Cleveland!1!!!" it will not in any way facilitate my coming to Cleveland.
Like I said above, I need to get in contact with someone who has the authority to set up an event.
1b. Ditto about sending me the phone number of a local bookstore. I just don't have the time to call 100 places and track down the two or three that might be interested. It's way better if YOU call them and ask them. Then, if they're interested, you can send me a message with their contact information.
2. Please take note of the blue line in the map above. If your hometown/bookstore isn't on that blue line, it's going to be a lot harder for me to make the trip. I'm spending 40 hours driving down and back to Virginia. Since I have my baby with me, I'm not eager to add a long side trip.
2b. New York and Boston are not close to the blue line, just in case you were wondering.
2c. If you want to lure me off the blue line, it will probably require some manner of lavish bribe or exceptionally exciting venue.
2d. I will make one exception to 2c. If there's a willing bookstore in Canton, OH, I'll make the trip. Because it will give me an excuse to wear my Jayne hat, and sing "The Hero of Canton" at the reading.
3. Your house is not a viable venue for a reading. A good venue should have seating for at least 40 people and hopefully some way of selling books. A nearby coffeeshop is also a plus.
I honestly have no idea if this will work. But I'm guessing out of the thousands of people who read the blog, at least a few of them have to work in bookstores and libraries. I love doing readings and signings, so I'm hoping we can set up at least a couple appearances so I can meet some of y'all down there in the southeast.
Rest assured I'll post up a blog as soon as we manage to set anything up.
Thanks for your help,
Labels: appearances, calling on the legions, The Princess and Mr. Whiffle
posted by Pat at
Friday, February 26, 2010
Is it drafty in here?
So today I was going to pass along some news about the book in a blog titled, "Why I don't talk about Book Two."
The blog was proving rather difficult to write until I realized it was really two blogs. So today we're just going to get the news, and I'll talk about the other stuff later.
Here's the news: I've finally finished my latest draft of The Wise Man's Fear.
Oot is shown in order to give a sense of scale. And because my baby is frikkin adorable.
This manuscript is about 200 pages longer, and about 500 pages different than the last one I took a picture of. I've fixed plotting, tweaked characters, cut scenes, added scenes, re-written, re-organized, re-read, and re-re-organized sections of it so many times that I couldn't even begin to give you a number of versions it's been through.
Now last time I posted up a picture of a manuscript on the blog, people got all twitterpated. They saw that big stack of papers and said things like, "Yay! That means the book will be out next month!!1!" and "Wow! How are they going to bind something that big?!?"
So before we all go leaping to a bunch of unfounded and erroneous conclusions, let's talk about a few things.
First, this manuscript is printed in....(wait for it) manuscript format. That means it's one-sided, double spaced, and printed in courier new font. That's what makes it look so big. Typesetting the book comes later in the process. That's one of the many, many steps that comes later.
That said, The Wise Man's Fear is going to be bigger than The Name of the Wind by at least 100,000 words or so.
Second, let's discuss what a draft is. A draft is a version of a piece of writing. Almost always it is an early or preliminary version. You can have things like a rough draft, which is... well... rough. A second draft, which comes after the first draft. Or you can have things like a final draft, which is... well... final.
Is this going too fast for anyone?
This is not the final draft of book two. If it were, I would have said something like, "This is the final draft of book two." But I didn't. So it's not.
But it isn't a rough draft either. The one I turned in several months ago was rough. There were some bad plot holes, some logical inconsistencies, pacing problems, and not nearly enough lesbian unicorns.
This draft is tighter, cleaner, and all around better. I'm really pleased with it, but it's not quite perfect. Not yet.
What this *doesn't* mean.
The book will not be out next week. The book will not be out next month. Right now there's no publication date. Remember when I said there wasn't a publications date? There's no publication date.
What this *does* mean. The book is a big step closer to being done.
The book is way better
than it was before. That last draft of the book was okay. It had some great parts, some parts that were "meh" and some that were "huh?" Overall, it averaged out to about 70 percent awesome.
Which isn't bad, but I'm not content with a C-minus book. This draft is way better. I'm guessing about 90-92 percent awesome. Way better. But still not perfect.
I'm working on the book, even if I don't constantly talk about it here on the blog. More about this in the upcoming blog: Why I don't talk about Book Two.
What happens now?
This manuscript goes to my editor, Betsy. She reads it carefully, maybe twice. She makes notes, then we talk about what she thinks might need to be changed/tweaked/fixed.
Then, depending on how much work we think it needs. We put it into the production schedule. That means we'll have a publication date. Which I will tell you. On the blog. With words.
Then I do another set of revisions. Or more likely, several smaller sets of revisions, as I'm a freak like that. Luckily, these next sets won't be nearly so extensive as my last round.
In metaphorical terms, the last round of revisions was like an organ transplant. Invasive, complex, labor intensive, and with a long recovery time. The revisions I do after this will probably be more like cosmetic surgery. Or an appendectomy at worst.But first, I get to relax.
I've been working on this fucker nonstop for months. And now, finally, I get to take a break while I wait for Betsy's feedback.
I'm pretty excited to be seeing more of you too, Oot.
You see folks, Oot is one happy baby, all laughs and smiles. But in order to get this revision finished, there have been times over the last several months when I've spent weeks at a stretch working 10-14 hours a day. That's not counting e-mail, dealing with translators, and writing the occasional blog.
That means on some busy days, I only get to play with him for half an hour or so. If our sleep schedules don't match up, some days I don't get to see him at all while he's awake.
I'm not mentioning this to get sympathy. I'm mentioning it so you can better understand my life. I'm mentioning this so you know what exactly goes through my head when someone sends me an e-mail or posts on my blog, saying, "Just finish the book for fucksake!"
So.... that's the news. The book is going well. There are parts of it that I'm so proud of that I almost can't help but talk about them here. It's coming. Be patient. And rest assured that I'm not just lounging around, doing whippets and eating the cotton-candy underthings off nubile young catgirls.
As for myself, now that the book is out of my hands for a couple weeks, I'm planning on catching up on some family stuff and playing Bioshock 2 until I puke.
Oh, and I'll be catching up on a few blogs I've been meaning to post, too. Tune in on Monday and I'll be announcing some of my upcoming appearances for convention season.
There will also be a chance for you to get me to come do a reading/signing at your local bookstore if you live in the right part of the country. Specifically in between Chicago and West Virginia...
So stay tuned....
Labels: book two, lesbian unicorns, Oot
posted by Pat at
Monday, February 22, 2010
For those of you who have never been there, Powell's Books is like no other bookstore I've ever seen.
It takes up a whole city block. As I mentioned before on the blog, I've only been there once
, and that was only for a bare 45 minutes or so. Even so, that was enough time for me to get lost.
And I'm not speaking metaphorically here. I was actually physically lost. Lost as in, "I don't know where I came in or how I can get out."
Simply said, if heaven turns out to be something like Powell's, I wouldn't complain too much.
As if that weren't enough coolness all by itself, a friend recently stopped there and snapped a few pictures of what he found.
(Click to Embiggen)
Awww.... Thank you Powell's.
(Click to Embiggen)
Wow. That's unprecedentedly forthright. Thanks again, Powell's.
And just a couple days ago, someone sent me a link to Powell's "Puddly Awards" where customers and staff pick their favorite books
. Even better, Powell's then sells those books at a discount until the end of February. So you've still got a week or so to take advantage of it.
That's the hat trick. Thanks a third time, Powell's.
Labels: accolades, book two, cool things
posted by Pat at
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Signs of things to come...
Well, it took a little doing, but at this point we've got 99.9% of the raffle prizes packaged up and in the mail.
(Note: Oot is not a prize.)
Valerie did most of the packing and mailing, with solid assistance from a few others including Sarah and Oot. Though really, I don't know if what Oot does can be considered assistance. Personally, I think he's the weak member of the team. But Sarah and Valerie place great stock in cuteness, cooing, and the desire to bounce up and down while being held.
I don't doubt that some of the books have already started arriving at the winners' houses. If you'd like to send in a picture of you loving you cool new books, feel free to mail them to: paperback.contest [squiggly atsign thinger] gmail.com.
I helped with some of the packaging, but Valerie has perfectionist tendencies, and I tend to be a hardline proponent of function over form. After one particularly ugly wrapping job, I was told that my time would perhaps be better spent doing something else, like bouncing little Oot.
Personally, I thought the package was a marvel of engineering. Nigh-indestructible, in fact.
Sure it's ugly, but it gets the job done. (I'm talking about the package.)
Anyway, the upshot is that the girl members of Team Elodin did most of the post-fundraiser sorting and shipping. Which is nice, as it freed me up to concentrate on the book.
And yes, I'll be posting up news about that soon, so y'all can stop asking.
And no, there isn't a publication date yet, so y'all can stop asking about that too.
I mean seriously. If the book had a solid pub date, don't you think I'd mention it? Do you think I'd sit here at home, rubbing my hands together and chortling: "Yes! If I withhold this information another week, I'm sure to get another 100 e-mails asking me about the book!"
Yup. That's exactly what I'd do. Because obviously I am some sort of alien life form that lives on snarky fanmail and bitchy blog comments. Since I became stranded on your strange world years ago, they have been my only means of sustenance.
That's really the only explanation that makes any sense... Unless, of course, the reason I haven't posted up any news is simply because there *isn't* any news.
Now that I *do* have some news, I'll write a post about it. It's that simple. These things don't happen faster because you ask for them, you realize. Quite the opposite, in fact.
So, if you care about that sort of thing, stay tuned. I'm planning on titling the post: "Why I Don't Talk About Book Two."
Oddly enough though, I *will* be talking about book two in that particular blog. Go figure.
Labels: book two, Worldbuilders 2009
posted by Pat at
Friday, February 12, 2010
From the Archives: V-Day
I've had several people e-mail me in this last week asking for Valentine's Day advice.
Unfortunately, I'm at the end of a long stretch of revisions right now, and it would break my stride to write an appropriately frothy, bile-filled screed about this most abhorrent of qua-holidays.
Then I realized I didn't need to write a new screed. I probably had an old one on file from when I wrote a weekly advice column for the college paper.
So I dug around in my files a bit and found one. Actually, I found several, but here's the one I liked the best.
Share and Enjoy:
What are your feelings towards Valentine's Day? Personally, I believe it is just another Hallmark holiday in which consumerism reaches its ugly hand in the picture, forcing couples to exchange gifts and singles to feel like crap.
By the way, what are you getting your girlfriend/sister? Teehee.
For those of you who missed last week's column, the last line of Jessie's letter is a reference to a joke I made. Just so nobody is confused let me re-state again, for the record, that I am NOT dating my sister.
Not that there's anything wrong with my sister, mind you. She's great: smart, funny, and hot. It's just that we're really good friends, and I worry that getting into a relationship might jeopardize that.
*ahem* Okay. Moving on.
Honestly Jessie, I'd all but forgotten that Valentine's Day is coming up. You see, I don't pay much attention to crap like that. And that's what VD is: a big, steamy pile of crap in a shiny heart-shaped box.
You were right in your letter. As a holiday, it's made-up bullshit. But Hallmark didn't start it, Chaucer did. He wrote "The Parliament of Fowles" back in the late 1300's. I tell you, there's only one time in history that more crap has been spawned from bad poetry, and that's the musical Cats.
Now I don't want to get a bunch of huffy letters with people telling me VD all started with St. Valentine, the priest who was imprisoned and fell in love with the jailer's daughter. If it were true, February 14th would be Go-Fuck-A-Priest day. A holiday, I might add, that I would wholeheartedly endorse.
But no, what we have is Valentine's Day. The day designed to convince you that if you don't spend money on someone, right now
then you're not really in love. Prove your eternal devotion through a four-dollar greeting card sporting some freakishly deformed bug-eyed puppy on the front. Go ahead and give someone the severed sexual organs of a plant. Diamonds are forever. Every Kiss begins with Kay.
(You can tell it's an older column, because Brett's illustration is in B&W and optimized for newspaper printing.)
Now I'm not just saying this because I don't have a girlfriend and I'm frothing at the mouth with bitter loneliness and rage. Contrary to what you might think, I do have a girlfriend.
I know, it seems to go against all the laws of god and nature. But not only do I have a girlfriend, not only have we been in a happy, healthy relationship for almost six years, but Sarah is sweet, kind, smart, funny, and almost unfathomably hot.
I know, it boggles the mind.
There are many theories among my family and friends as to why someone like her would take time to smile in my direction, let alone date me for six years.
Some of my more religious-minded friends used to believe that she was working off a hefty karmic debt from a previous life. But this theory lost credibility when one of my calculus-savvy Buddhist friends did the math for me, showing how much bad karma Sarah was actually burning off by dealing with me on a daily basis.
What it boils down to is this, if Sarah had, say, beaten a nun to death with a bag of kittens in a previous life, she could have worked that off in about three weeks of putting up with my endless bullshit. In fact, after six years of living with me she's built up so much good karma that she'll most likely reincarnate as a transcendent being composed entirely of white light and multiple orgasms.
Other theories held by my friends and parents include: blackmail, Truman-Show style conspiracy, and the suspicion that she is performing a prolonged psychological experiment.
What does Sarah herself say? I'll go ask….
In response to the question, "Why the hell do you love me, anyway?" Sarah responded thusly:
"Some part of my soul recognizes part of your soul as being really awesome. And sometimes you take out the trash.
" Sarah then made several sexually explicit comments that cannot be reprinted here. Suffice to say that apparently I possess certain skills that shall remain nameless.
Lastly, she gazed rapturously at me and said that I was "gorgeous.
All this seems to confirm my personal theory, that she has some kind of brain tumor that makes her love me. Really, it's the only thing that makes sense.
The only other explanation is that I treat her with kindness and respect. Or because when I give her a gift she knows it comes from a sincere upwelling of emotion, not because it's National Buy-A-Gift Day (TM). Maybe it's due to the fact that I make a habit of not taking her for granted, and I tell her I appreciate her, rather than buying a card that says it for me once a year.
Yeah. I know. Too crazy. I'm sticking with the tumor theory myself.
That's all I've got for now, folks. I hope each of you end up enjoying V-day in your own special way. If that means drinking a pint of rye whiskey and cursing the unfeeling sky, more power to you.
Labels: College Survival Guide, Fanmail Q + A, Sarah, v-day
posted by Pat at
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Fanmail Q & A: Advice For New Writers
I know you're busy, so I won't take up much of your time. I want to be a writer (Don't worry, I'm not going to ask you to read anything of mine.)
I was just wondering if you have any advice for new writers. Just one piece would be really helpful…
Love the book,
Over the last few years, I've heard this question a lot. It comes up in e-mails and interviews with clockwork regularity.
Despite that, it's a question I never mind answering. I like giving advice, and I like talking about writing. So this one's a twofer for me.
That said, my answer tends to change. If I'm reading something that irritates me, my advice might center around how to avoid that particular irritation. Sometimes it just depends on my mood, or what I'm working on in my own revisions.
But I've also noticed a slow change in how I think of this question as time goes on. Sometimes my answer centers around the nuts and bolts of the craft: revision, or character, or how to comport yourself professionally at a convention.
But more and more, I tend to answer this question in more practical terms. While these snippets of advice tends to be much more universal and useful that talking about managing POV, interviewers seem to be put off by it.
I've come to realize that when an interviewer asks me, "Can you give one piece of advice for new writers?" what they're really looking for is something pithy and encouraging. They want me to say "Reach for the Stars!" or "Never give up!"
But that's not really good advice. I mean, you could really hurt your shoulder reaching for the stars. Good advice is occasionally disheartening. "Come to grips with the inevitability of rejection." Or "Don't quit your day job."
Once, I had a lovely 30 minute phone interview that ended roughly like this:
Thanks for the interview, Pat.
In closing, if you could give one piece of advice to new writers, what would it be?
Live somewhere cheap.
I beg your pardon?
Odds are, it's going to take you a long time to finish your novel. Then it's going to take you a long time to break into the publishing world. That means you're effectively going to be working at a job that will pay you nothing, and you're going to be doing it for years. So you should live somewhere cheap.
I was thinking something more along the lines of worldbuilding….
If you live somewhere like Seattle or Manhattan or LA, you're going to have to shell out thousands of dollars just in rent. If you have to work three jobs just to pay your rent, when are you going to find the time to write?
Do you know how I managed to keep working on my first novel for 14 years without starving to death?
Student loans? Some sort of trust fund?
Shit no. I learned how to live cheap. Up until 2005, I never paid more than $225 a month for rent.
I'm a good bargainer. And I had roommates. And small-town Wisconsin is a cheap place to live.
Also, I lived in some real shitholes from time to time. But you know what? You can write in a shithole. You can't write when you're working 70 hours a week.
[chuckles nervously] Well, I think that's about all the time we have….
Hell, I was so poor for a while I qualified for low-income housing back in 2004. Those places were pretty nice, actually.
Remember to turn in next week, folks. Thanks again, Pat.
Did you know that if you boil a paper shopping bag long enough, it makes something that's almost like soup?
[Cut to static]
Okay, I made up the part about paper bags, but the rest of it is true.
The nice thing about being a writer is that you can do it pretty much anywhere. If you want to be a Hollywood actor, you have to live in LA. If you want to be a professional pianist or a ballet dancer, your options are pretty limited. But if you want to write, you can live whereverthehell you want.
For example, back in 1994 I lived in a one-bedroom apartment with a shared bathroom down the hallway. The rent was $135 a month, everything included. My friends called the place: "The Pit."
I was really poor back then. I was working three little part-time jobs and paying my own tuition. I didn't even have a telephone because the 30 bucks every month for basic service was money I could really use for other things. Like food. You can eat for a month on 30 bucks if you're careful.
Was the place a shithole? Absolutely. Was it inconvenient not having a phone? Of course. Hell, at one point my parents took out a classified add in the college newspaper because they had no other way to get in touch with me.
But I had time to write.
In fact, I distinctly remember writing Kvothe's first admissions interview while living there. And his first class with Hemme. I was pretty proud of those scenes, and they didn't change all that much between there and the final version of the book.
Best of all, living cheaply is a skill that will serve you well *after* you're a published writer too. Especially if you're writing Fantasy or Sci-fi. Tobias Buckell did some research into the advances a new writer gets for a first novel
. And, on average, it's not a ton of money.
So there you go, Becky. My advice for a new writer. Live somewhere cheap. Sorry if it's not the gem of wisdom you were looking for, but really, what would you do with a gem of wisdom anyway? This is more like a muffin of wisdom. Everyone likes muffins.
Labels: Ask the Author, Fanmail Q + A, my student days
posted by Pat at
Friday, February 5, 2010
Elodin Enterprises: Making Tomorrow's Mistakes a Reality Today.
Over the years, I've learned a lot about women.
When I was younger, I was the guy all the girls came to for relationship advice. Don't ask me why. I'd never actually had a relationship. But I was thoughtful, and a good listener, and I didn't openly gawk at their breasts. (I did gawk, of course, I just wasn't rude about it.)
These three things may not seem like much, but from what I understand they rarely come together in a 16 year old boy. The result was that most girls found me to be trustworthy, fun to be around, and neuter as a Ken doll.
But I learned a lot by listening to their relationship problems. I learned what irritated them, what they really wanted in a relationship (or said they wanted, anyway), and the sort of jerky things guys were capable of.
Eventually I started to develop a list of things you should never do in a relationship. Rules of conduct that should never be broken. I continued building that list all through college.
Now I'm not talking about the obvious stuff here. Rules like, "Don't sleep with your girlfriend's sister." or "Don't jab her in the eye with a pointy stick." Shit like that is obvious.
My rules were more specific, but other people had paid for them in blood.
A few real examples:
* Never tell a woman she looks like her pet.
* Never compare a woman to a cow.
* Never compare a woman to any sort of cheese.
Maybe those last two don't happen so much outside of Wisconsin. But trust me, you really can't pull them off. Dairy products are fine. If you're careful, you can use creamy or milky. You can even, depending on the situation, get away with buttery. But cheese is right out. It can't be done in a good way.
Later on in life, as I started to date more, I began to add new rules based on my own experiences. Things like:
* Don't break up with a girl then send her roommate a love letter.
* Don't invite four different women to the same poetry reading. Especially if one of them is your ex-girlfriend, one is your current girlfriend, and one is the girl who kinda wants to be your girlfriend.
That last one might seem a little specific, and it is, I suppose. But if I can keep even one other person from making that mistake, I will be doing the world a very big favor.
Now some of you may scoff at my list of rules. Thinking them bizarre and overly specific. I don't really feel the need to defend myself or prove the efficacy of my system. Simply look at me, then look at my past girlfriends, all of whom have been lovely, intelligent, and sexy as hell. My results speak for themselves.
I'm not claiming to have it all figured out. Far from it. I'm still adding things to my list all the time.
For example, the other day I'm laying in bed with Sarah and little Oot. Because Oot is a happy little bundle of cute, Sarah experienced a moment of what I call Mom Bliss. I'm pretty sure this is an evolutionary thing. Specifically, it's a rush of endorphins designed to make moms adore their children, rather than devour them.
So we're all on the bed and Oot kinda squirms around, looks up at us, and gives us one of his trademarked triple-distilled cuteness grins. Then he makes a happy little shriek that sounds like he's trying to speak dolphin.
This presses Sarah's mom button, and the endorphins hit her brain like a pixie stick dissolved in a jam-jar full of heroin.
" Sarah says, her eyes all dewy with Agape-style love. "This is so great! I'm in bed with my two favorite people!
"Yeah," I say, pretty much agreeing with her. "It's kinda like a lame three-way."
New rule: Do not refer to quality time with mom and baby as "kinda like a lame three-way."
Here endeth the lesson.
Labels: day in the life, my dumbness, Oot, Sarah, small adventures
posted by Pat at
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I really don't go in for talking about current events on the blog. The main reason for this is the fact that I am profoundly out of touch with the outside world. I don't have cable and I don't watch the news. On the rare occasion I miss the news and feel the need to absorb some fearmongering bullshit, I just drop a tab of acid and read a Lovecraft story. There's less pretense that way.
I generally assume that if something really interesting happens, one of my friends will tell me, or it will show up in some of the webcomics I read. In a pinch, I assume I'll simply absorb the knowledge through the aether, have it beamed into my mind with alien space rays, or apprehend it directly through examination of my Socratic soul using the dialectic.
I'm well aware that this isn't the most efficient or comprehensive way to aggregate information. But it still beats the hell out of watching Fox News.
The other reason I don't talk much about the issues
on here is that when things are big enough to be interesting, they also tend to be so big that it's hard for me to form easily encapsulated opinions about them.
For example, when there was the big kerfuffle about Google digitizing a shitload of books and thereby egregiously violating international copyright law, I was interested. Anything dealing with intellectual property rights effects me personally and professionally. So I read a bunch of stuff about it, thought some thoughts, and had a few really good conversations with a few of my librarian friends.
The upshot of my research? It's a really complicated issue, and I have mixed feelings about it. Is Google being a bit of a dick and doing morally questionable stuff? Absolutely. But.... Well.... It's more complicated than that.
See? Any blog I wrote on the issue would be nothing more than a long-winded shrug. Not terribly fun to write, and not particularly entertaining to read.
That's my recent take on the current Amazon dealio.
For those of you who haven't heard. Amazon (the bookseller) recently got into a bit of an argument with Macmillan (a book publisher) about e-book pricing. As a result, Amazon pulled all of Macmillan's books off their website. Not just the e-books. All the books.
I've done some research and talked to some people and my conclusion is that.
1. This is a big deal.
2. Amazon is being a bit of a dick, and attempting to bully folks in order to get more of the publishing pie than is really fair.
This feels weird for me to say, because honestly, Amazon has been good to me over the years. They gave me good reviews and really helped promote my book early on. It was really nice.
But it really doesn't matter how good they've been to me in the past. If you're nice to me, then beat up my neighbor for his lunch money, you're still a bully. I'm afraid there's just no way around it.
3. This whole thing is pretty complicated, and I'm not well informed enough make any real intelligent assessment of the overall situation or what it might mean for publishing, DRM, or the future of e-books.
If you're interested in that sort of thing, you might want to check out this blog written by the lovely and talented Charles Stross. He understands the landscape of publishing WAY better than me and does a great job of summing things up.Amazon, Macmillan: an outsider's guide to the fight
Here's also a blog from Tobias Buckell that has more technical details. He does some of the math for you and explains what all this really means in a delightfully low-bullshit way.Link to Buckell's blog.
Here's the public statement from Macmillan too.
I'm bringing this to your attention because if you're like me, you sometimes miss things like this unless someone points them out. Also, I'm guessing most of you kinda like books.
I like books too, and while two companies having a corporate slapfight might seem far removed from the book you pick up, read, and enjoy, the truth is that these corporate manoeuvrings have very real effects on which books get published in the future, their quality, and how well authors get treated in the process.
If anyone else has relevant links they'd like to post in the comments below, please feel free to do so. I'm way too tired to dig up more stuff right now. I've got to go to bed.
We're living in interesting times, folks....
Labels: a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Amazon, Things I didn't know about publishing
posted by Pat at
Monday, February 1, 2010
A few updates: Coolness and Prizes
Those of you who read last week's blog
about the Gaiman-Day scale of coolness might be interested in this picture:
(Click to Embiggen)
These are just the weekly stats, and my numbers are artificially inflated by my recent blog post. But still, if you're like me, it's nice to get to play with the cool kids, even if it's just for a week or so.
In other news, we're still dealing with the aftermath of this year's fundraiser. It's going a lot slower this year because we've got WAY more stuff to sort, package, and ship out.
Just to give you a basis for comparison, this was our prize shelf last year:
I was really proud of that shelf and all the authors that contributed to it. But still, you can see that a lot of the books on there are mine.
These are our prize shelves this year...
(Click to Embiggen)
This doesn't even include all the swag from Subterranean Press, as they're shipping out their own books. (God bless them.)
Try not to be distracted by the extreme coolness of my brick-and-board shelves which, I would like to mention, I put up by my very own self.
As you can see, a *lot* more authors chipped in this year. Which gives me a warm, glowy feeling of goodwill toward the entire sci-fi & fantasy community. It goes without saying that the donations from DAW and Gollancz made a world of difference, too.
And just so you know, we're not contacting all the winners beforehand. It would be *way* too much work. You'll know you've won something when a package shows up in the mail. Please don't e-mail to ask if you've won....[Edit 2-2-10 Answers to a few questions:
I'm not going to post up a list of everyone's names that that won, because not everyone wants their name posted up on the internet. Just in case any of you were wondering, it's not cool to post personal information about people on the internet without asking first.
I'm not going to e-mail everyone asking if I can post their info up on the net either. Because, well... duh.
What I will be doing is asking folks to take pictures of themselves and their prizes, then we'll post them up here. That way, even if you didn't win something yourself, you can live vicariously through the joy of others. That's kinda what worldbuilders is all about.
The big winners I've already contacted personally. The people who won Gaiman and Sanderson's books, as well as the guy who won the golden ticket. I'll be putting up some information about them, if they're cool with it.
We can ship to PO boxes just fine. Don't worry about it. If something is strange or confusing about your address, rest assured that we'll contact you to sort it out. End edit.]
More blogs on the way....
Labels: my rockstar life, Worldbuilders 2009
posted by Pat at
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