Category Archives: FAQ

Psssst. Hey you. Want to see something cool?

Okay. I’ve got some important news about the upcoming signing tour for The Wise Man’s Fear. (Especially the San Francisco event.)

But first I need to you take a look at this:

That’s a screenshot of the product details on the Amazon page for The Wise Man’s Fear.

It doesn’t look like a lot at first, but there’s a cool piece of info there.

No, I’m not referring to the mammoth listing of 1008 pages. (Which isn’t true, anyway. The book is actually a mere 992 pages.)

Neither am I attempting to draw your attention to the fact that it’s coming out on March 1st. (Which is pretty cool in its own right.)

No. I’m referring to that bit at the bottom. Where it points out that right now, the sales rank of The Wise Man’s Fear is #8.

That means out of all the books on Amazon right now, only seven other books are doing better than mine.

Here’s a picture of Amazon’s top 10 list:

Yeah! Suck it, Rumsfeld! And you up there! Yeah you, arty-looking book with the parasol! I’m coming for you next!

Okay. Enough of that. Now some serious business.

Today I was hoping to post up the FAQ that would answer (most) everyone’s questions about the upcoming tour.

Unfortunately, on Monday I was brought low by a bout of food poisoning. I won’t trouble you with the details. But suffice to say that I was brought very low. Very. VENI VIDI VOMI.

So today, I’m just going to give one urgent update and one strong piece of advice.

The Urgent Update:

If you’re planning on attending my reading in San Francisco on March 3rd, you’ll want to e-mail them right away and reserve your seat.

You need to drop an e-mail to March32011@gmail.com telling them you’d like to attend. Give your full name. They’ll bounce you back an e-mail confirming that you’ll be able to get inside, and that e-mail will effectively serve as your ticket to get in the door.

Now if you don’t really care about the reading and all you really want is to get your book signed, you don’t need to drop them an e-mail. In that case, you can just show up the address around 9:00 instead of 7:00. Borderlands bookstore will be there at the theater, selling books, and I’ll be there, signing them. No ticket required.

The Strong Piece of Advice:

A lot of people have e-mailed me, asking if there are any particular rules for attending my signings. They wonder if they need tickets to attend, or if they need to call ahead to the bookstores to make sure there will be X copies available for them when they show up.

Here’s the simple answer. I honestly don’t know. Each bookstore does things a little differently.

I do know three things though.

1. Generally speaking, it’s considered polite to buy a book at the place that’s hosting the event.

2. Generally speaking, bookstores love it when people pre-order books.

3. It’s probably safer to call the store and see what their plans are for the signing, rather than be caught by surprise the day of the event.

So here’s my advice.

If you go over here to the Tour Page, you’ll see I’ve added phone numbers for all the bookstores on the tour.

So, if you’re planning on driving three hours to come to my signing in City X, you might want to give them a ring and make sure you don’t need to reserve a seat first. Even if you know you’ll be able to get a seat, it might not hurt to call and see if they’ll reserve you a book.

That way, not only will you have a better idea what to expect when you show up to the bookstore. But depending on how many call to ask about the event, the bookstore will have a better idea of what to expect in terms of attendance.

You see? Everyone wins.

Just in case you missed it, here’s the link to the tour page with the phone numbers again.

Share and Enjoy,

pat

Also posted in appearances, book two | By Pat109 Responses

Updated FAQ

Long ago, back in August of 2007, I wrote a blog answering the question: “If I send you a copy of my book, will you sign it?

When I wrote that, the book had only been published for a couple months. What’s more, when I wrote the blog, I expected the rules I laid down would discourage people from sending in their books. Specifically, I thought that requiring people to send me something cool would be a big deterrent, and the requests would slow to a tiny trickle.

I was wrong. Since then, hundreds of people have send in books for me to sign. And the cool things they’ve sent have been… well… really cool.

Someone send in a quarter with a bullet hole in it. A handmade Kvothe doll. Old coins. Keys. Jewelry. Magical charms. Grue protective gear. Brass gears, foreign delicacies, and strange gods….

I’ve been meaning to take pictures of some of these and post them up for a long time. Some of them I’ve wanted to post up for years. But with rare exception, I haven’t managed it. There’s only so many hours in the day….

The other thing I’ve meaning to do for over a year is update the post I wrote back in 2007. That, at least, I’ve finally done. Now it’s a little more streamlined, and I’ve included details about how people from other countries can play the game.

The question now is how long will I keep doing this?

The truth is, I don’t know. But the smart money says I might have to stop before book two comes out. If 1000 people mail me their copies of The Wise Man’s Fear, dealing with the packages it will bury me for a solid month. Plus the people at the post office will want to kill me. Plus, cool things aside, I’ll probably want to kill myself.

But for now, I’m still doing it. Here’s the updated blog for those of you who are interested.

Be happy everyone. Be good to each other.

pat

Also posted in signing books | By Pat29 Responses

Heifer Fundraiser: Raising the Bar – Again.

Well folks, as I sit down to write this, we’ve raised over 12,000 dollars, and it hasn’t even been a full week yet. That’s not counting my matching donation,or any of the people who are choosing option #2 as described OVER HERE.

Click Here to Donate

Again, I wish I could make that thing say “we’ve raised.”

I’ve raised the donation “goal” to 20,000 on the Heifer page because I don’t want anyone to pass on donating because they think we’ve reached our limit.

To accommodate our growing numbers, I’ve increased the number of DAW samplers, maps, and signed books being given away. Also, two days ago I found an old copy of the UK galley proof. Though I have a sentimental attachment to it, I can throw it into the mix as well. I’ve only seen about 10 of these in my life, so a signed one is probably worth something as a collector’s item.

Also, the donations have started to come in. Most of them are signed books from other fantasy and science-fiction authors. I’ve been amazed at how willing everyone has been to contribute.

I’ll be posting those other donations up as they show up at my house. I might start as soon as tonight….

And now, a little more Q & A.

  • “If your name goes into the lottery hat multiple times, can you win multiple prizes? The first prize your name is drawn for? The Coolest prize your name is drawn for? How will that work?”

Here’s how it will work.

Say you donate 120 dollars, enough for a goat.

Your name would go into the final drawing 12 times. Then, if we draw your name out of the hat and you win a signed book, your name is still in there 11 times for the rest of the drawing.

Then I’ll drop you an e-mail telling you what you’ve won, and asking for your address. At that point, you can choose to pass on any of the prizes you’ve won. (For example, if you won two copies of the map, and you only want one.) I’ll keep those re-donated prizes in storage until we do this again next year.

You bet. Personally, I can’t think of a better way of keeping The Man away from your money.

  • I have something I’d like to donate to your lottery option. Where can I send it?

Well… before you drop that macrame owl into the mail, why don’t you drop me an e-mail at Paperback.contest (squiggly at thinger) gmail.com and tell me what you’re thinking of sending.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate your generosity, and it’s not that I have anything against macrame. Or owls. It’s just that right now we kind of have a tight focus of things we’re giving away as prizes. It’s mostly books and SFF related stuff. For now, I think it might be best if we keep that focus.

That said, if you’ve got a book or something you think would fit in into the mix, I’d love to include it. So e-mail me or send it to:

Pat Rothfuss
P.O BOX 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

  • “I have an idea for an awesome prize. You could offer to pass the winner’s manuscript along to your editor or your agent. I’d love to win that…”

Several people sent e-mails similar to this one. Believe me folks, I know where you’re coming from. I struggled to get someone to read my book for years. Back then, I would have loved to win a prize like this too.

But though I feel your pain, I don’t think this is a good idea. Here’s why:

1) Most of the people participating in this contest don’t have manuscripts I can read. I don’t want to give out a prize that would be useless to 90% of the people eligible to win it.

2) It really isn’t polite of me of me to inflict some random manuscript on my editor or agent. They’re busy people.

3) The implication here is that you’d get published off the deal. And that just isn’t a fair thing to imply. Hope is a wonderful thing, but false hope is actually more destructive than constructive.

But I think I might actually be able to offer a constructive option….

For you writers out there, I’m going to add something under the “Sure Thing” option. If you’re willing to make a sizable donation to Heifer, I will read your manuscript and give you feedback on it. Revision advice.

Now, let’s be clear so we don’t have any misunderstandings. What I’m offering is this:

I’ll read your manuscript just like I read my own, with a red pen in my hand, making notes on my thoughts: What I like. How I feel about the different sections. What is working well and could be expanded. And what, in my opinion, needs fixing.

Then I’d call you and we’ll talk about the book. It’s not as good as getting together over coffee and looking at the same manuscript, but it’s better than me just dropping it in the mail and you trying to decipher my demented scribbling.

Also, and this is key, I’m not going to blow a lot of smoke up your ass. I’ll tell you what I really think about it, both good and bad.

That said, I should mention that I was a writing tutor for almost a decade. I know how to give constructive criticism without it being excruciating to the writer. It’s a talent I’m proud of. Too many tutors (and teachers, and writing groups) aren’t good at this.

Here’s what I’m not offering, just so we’re clear.

I’m not offering to do this right now. I have some deadlines myself. We’ll have to schedule it for some time after December.

I’m not offering to pass your manuscript along to my publisher or agent. Not. This is just you and me. Two writers having a discussion about your story and what you could do to make it better.

I’m not offering to work on your book with you as part of an ongoing editorial process. It’s a one-shot deal. I’ll read your manuscript once, a solid, careful read. Then I’ll chat with you on the phone about it. Then I’ll mail it back to you with my notes
.

Just so we’re clear…. Are we clear?

How much is a “sizable” donation? Well…. It needs to be fairly high in order to protect my time. If it was $10, I’d get 200 manuscripts and spend the next year reading Harry Potter fanfiction. Then I would kill myself.

So I think I’m going to have to set it at 1000 dollars or more. If you’re willing to donate at least a thousand dollars to Heifer, drop me an e-mail and we’ll negotiate.

Negotiate what? Well… YA fantasy is easier for me to read than quantum entanglement based science fiction, so I’d probably negotiate you to kick in more out of consideration for the extra time I’d be putting in. Same thing if your manuscript is 200,000 words long. If it’s full of hot lesbian vampires making out… I’m okay with that. No extra charge.

Lastly, I feel obliged to say that the only reason I feel comfortable doing this is because it’s for Heifer. You see, I’m trying to do what good I can, given my situation.

It’s like this, if I were a movie star I could help Heifer by showing up and taking some pictures with a goat. Then they would use my name and my picture to help spread the word about the organization.

But I can’t do that. Being photogenic is not part of my skillset. If someone took a picture of me with a goat, the journalists would get confused and the caption would end up reading something like, “Heifer also gives goats to shabby hobo-looking authors like Patrick Rothfuss. Before Heifer gave him a goat, Pat was too poor to afford a haircut or a second pair of pants. Now the nutritious milk will supplement his diet of ramen noodles, keeping his bones from becoming brittle as chalk.”

And that’s a best-case scenario. More likely the caption would read, “Goats provide milk to needy families, while sheep can be sheared for their wool, providing warm clothes and a source of income.”

No. I’m not pretty, and I’m not famous in any conventional sense of the word. But I know stories, and I eat and breathe revision. So that’s what I’m offering up on Heifer’s behalf.

Lastly, can any of you out there think of a cool name for this fundraiser? Obviously (given the title of the blog) I haven’t been able to come up with anything cool so far. Suggestions are welcome in the comments below.

Best,

pat

Also posted in baby ducks, Worldbuilders 2008 | By Pat34 Responses

Heifer Fundraiser: More Prizes, More Questions

You guys are awesome. I think I can safely say that.

It’s been less than four days, and we’re raised over 5000 dollars. That’s not counting my matching donation or any of the donations being made by people who are mailing checks or choosing option two.

If you’ve joined us late in the game and don’t know what’s going on, you should probably check out the blog OVER HERE. It gives the details of what we’re doing.

News.

  • I’ve added more prizes to the Lottery option, because we’re having a bigger response than I initially anticipated. I’ve added more maps, signed books, and a second Advance Reading Copy of book two.
  • I’ve been contacted by a bunch of authors who are donating signed books and other cool things to the cause. I’ll be posting up details as soon as those books come in. We’re going to have a LOT of new stuff in the mix.
  • My delightful PR person over at Penguin has managed to find us more copies of the DAW sampler. So we have 60 of those in the mix, each with a teaser chapter from The Wise Man’s Fear.

Everyone say, “Thank you Erica.”

You know she’s cool, because I don’t let just anyone wear my gnome hat.

Now, answers to more questions.

  • “Can you add an early reading copy of book two to the Sure Thing option? I’d pay ANYTHING for an advance reading copy of book two. ANYTHING!”

Really? Okay. I’ve added it to the list of things for sale under option two. You can buy one for 1000 bucks.

Here’s the deal. I’m not saying you can have it right now. You’ll get it when it’s ready, and right now it isn’t ready. I can’t promise you a galley copy either, because I don’t know how many of those I’ll have at my disposal. But if I can’t get you a galley, I’ll print a copy off for you on my own personal printer, bind it together, sign it, and mail it to you. Maybe I’ll draw a little goat on it too.

New – If you’re interested in this option, keep in mind that your 1000 dollars doesn’t get added to the lottery. You’re effectively going for Option Two, as described over HERE. If you don’t know what Option Two is, go over there and read about it.

Now just so you know, I’d never sell advance copies of the book like this just to make money. That would be crass. But this is for charity. So if you have money to burn, and you *really* want it that badly. Drop that check in the mail. I’ll even add 200 bucks of my own. 1200 dollars is ten goats for ten families.

  • “I love that you’re doing this. Can I post about this on my blog?

Absolutely. I’d like nothing better than for people to help spread the word. Tell your friends on Myspace. Twitter it. If you’re on Facebook, you can join the event someone created for the fundraiser. Feel free to sign up and invite your friends. The more the merrier.

However, I would prefer if you would link to my blog, rather than trying to copy-and-paste my post. That page gets updated whenever we get new prizes or something changes.

  • “I plan on donating to Heifer Int’l this year as a gift to my parents. In the past, donating directly, I received a card verifying the donation. If I donate through your page will I still receive the same type of gift card/verification?”

For those of you who are new to Heifer, this is the card he’s talking about:

(Click to Embiggen)

These cards are actually really cool. They talk about the work Heifer does, and how the different animals improve people’s lives.

I called Heifer and they reassured me that donating off MY PAGE is just the same as donating through their gift catalogue or anywhere else on their site. You still have the option of requesting the gift cards.

  • “Can I donate to Heifer International using paypal?”

Nope. Sorry. But if you have Paypal, I’m guessing you have a credit card. You can use that.

  • “I don’t have a credit card. If I mail you a check will you enter me in the lottery and match my donation?”

Absolutely.

  • “Can I send you cash?”

Muahahahahah….

Um…. Wait. No. You really shouldn’t. It’s just risky all around.

However, if you don’t have a checking account or a credit card, you could get a money order and send that to me. I’ll enter you in the lottery, and double your donation.

That’s all for now folks, keep spreading the word.

pat

Also posted in baby ducks, fan coolness, Worldbuilders 2008 | By Pat23 Responses

Heifer Fundraiser: A Few Questions Answered.

Today has been a great day.

Today I woke up feeling refreshed. The tight knot in my back that’s been bothering me for almost a year was almost non-existent. I found myself singing in the shower, something that I used to do a lot, but haven’t lately.

It’s no great mystery what’s making me feel this way. It’s the fact that in less than 24 hours, we’ve raised more than 2000 dollars for a great charity. More that 4,000 after I match everyone’s donations. Success beyond my wildest expectations.

This is so much fun.

Click Here to Donate

Hmmmm…. I wish that little thermometer said, “We’ve raised.”

Anyway, because we’ve had such a strong start, I waned to answer a few questions people have been asking.

  • “Will you stop matching donations when you hit 5,000 dollars?”

No. I’ll match all the donations that are made.

Earlier today, when I told Sarah how well things were going, she looked at me a little nervously and asked, “Are you going to be okay with it if people donate 10,000 and you have to match it?”

“I expect I will whistle a jaunty tune,” I said happily.

“What if they raise 20,000?” She pressed.

“Then I will probably perform a tiny, happy dance while I whistle,” I explained.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I’m not all Scrooge McDuck rich over here. But I can’t think of any better way to go broke than this.

Truth is, when I was setting up the page on Heifer, I set the goal at 5000 because I had no idea if y’all would be interested. I didn’t want to set it really high, because then if I only got a few donations, I’d feel like a sad loser.

But because this actually seems to be going somewhere, here’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to raise the goal on the donations page to 10,000. If we hit that, I’ll be all tingly.

I’m also going to add more prizes to the pool, so that everyone still has a good chance of getting something cool. That way, you can tell help me recruit more people without feeling like you’re ruining your chances to win stuff.

I’ll post up more details about the new prizes in a couple days.

  • Can I do some fundraising of my own, then donate it and have you match it?

By all means. Have a bakesale. Search under the couch cushions at your friends’ houses. Show people at work the website then pass the hat. I’m matching donations from any and all who want to chip in.

But make sure you get it in by Dec 11th. And make sure you donate through THE PAGE I SET UP. That’s the only way I can track donations.

  • “I can buy chicks on your page, but not baby ducks!”

Yeah. They don’t offer all the different options on the donor pages. The cost of a flock of ducks is the same as for the chicks: $20.

  • “How much of my donation to Heifer goes to actually helping people?”

This is a fair question. A lot of so-called charities are actually just scams that collect money, then use a very small amount of it for the intended purpose.

But trust me that I’ve done my research. Heifer is an award-winning charity for a reason. They’ve been doing good works for over 60 years.

Heifer keeps all its financial records available to the public, and 75% of everything it collects go directly toward helping people.

Here’s a nice visual breakdown from Heifer’s site.

You can see here that less than seven percent of their money goes toward administration. That’s exceptional.

  • “I live in [foreign country]. Can I still send you a check and buy a book?”

Yes. I stopped by the post office and bank today and peppered them with questions. So here’s how it will work.

It costs me $20 dollars to ship a book internationally. Every additional book in the same package adds $10 to the cost of shipping.

So here’s what you do:

1) Add the extra shipping to the prices I’ve already given.

2) Add three bucks to cover the fee that the bank is going to charge me.

3) Convert it into your local currency. (euros, pounds, rupees, whatever)

4) Write me a check using your local currency. (This is important. Don’t write me a check in dollars if that isn’t what they use where you live.)

5) Mail it off to me with the other information I’ve asked for written on a notecard.

Easy as pie.

  • “I love that you’re willing to donate to charity. Would you match my donation to [insert name of charity here] instead?”

Everyone has their favorite charity. As I said in my first post on the subject, I know there are a lot of good causes out there, and people have very personal attachments to them. Emotions run high in these areas.

Someone contacted me asking about animal shelters, another about diabetes. A third person posted a comment on the blog, arguing that people living in the US shouldn’t give money to charities that support causes outside the US. I erased the post because it was harshing my groove, then I felt guilty about it because the person was very polite in making their point.

But here’s what I’m getting at. I think it’s important not to go all Bruce Wayne in these situations.

Follow along with me on this. Bruce Wayne’s folks were killed by criminals, so he grows up and becomes Batman in order to fight crime. Because he hates crime. Because his parents were killed by crime.

Now I like Batman as much as the next guy. Good stories. Batarangs. Men in tights. He’s probably my favorite superhero, or close to it. But the fact is, his whole Batman deal is pretty self-indulgent.

Think about it. Dude is a multi-billionaire. If he wanted to make the world a better place, he could create a foundation 100 times bigger than Heifer International. He could build shelters for battered women, schools in low-income neighborhoods. Sustainable agriculture. Renewable energy.

What does he do with his money? He builds super-gadgets so he can fight crime. Drives a rocket car.

Yes I know that Bruce Wayne is also a philanthropist. Don’t quibble. He does a tiny bit of charity, and a whole big shitload of being Batman.

Why? Well… because it wouldn’t be much of a comic if he didn’t. But the other answer is, he fights crime because it makes him feel good. Not because it does good. There’s a difference.

Cancer got my mom not too long ago, and it took a good hard swing at my dad, too. That means that I shoul
d be raising money for cancer research because I hate cancer, right?

Well…. no. Do I hate cancer? Of course. But if I just focused on fighting cancer for the rest of my life, I’d kind of be doing it for selfish reasons. Instead, I’d rather focus on making people’s lives better. I’d like to focus on doing good, then let the feeling good be the side effect.

That’s why I’m focusing on Heifer. They help people all over the world, not just here in the US. Why? Because people all over the world have it really shitty and they need help. To say that some people deserve my help more just because they’re from the same country…. Nah. That’s not my game. I’m playing for team human, not team USA.

Does that make sense? Wait…. What was the question again?

Oh. Yeah. Will I match donations somewhere else instead of Heifer? Respectfully, I’ll pass. I’m not saying you should stop loving your charity. But I’ve put some thought into this, and I’m going to stick with Heifer for now.

Lastly, for anyone who’s interested. I’m going to be doing a workshop (4:00) and a reading/signing (7:00) at a library in Lanesboro, MN tomorrow (Wednesday the 12th). I’m excited because I hear this place is about fifteen miles away from Lake Wobegone.

Want more details? Check out the my tour schedule page.

Later all,

pat

Also posted in fan coolness, Worldbuilders 2008 | By Pat25 Responses

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 punctuation 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

Also posted in Fanmail Q + A | By Pat1 Response

FAQ: “If I Mail You My Book, Will You Sign it?”

Editor’s note: Pat is taking a break from this right now until he can find a better way to do it . Keep an eye out for more details…

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 apologize 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 of him buying an ARC of the book. What’s more, he recognized 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 sign 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:

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 play with it, wear it, show it off, 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.

  • The step-by-step instructions.

1. Find something cool.

2. Write me a brief note that includes:

  • Your return address.
  • Your email address in case I have to contact you.
  • An explanation of exactly what you’d like written in the book(s). If you don’t include instructions, I’ll just do a simple signature and send it back.

3. 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.

3a. DO NOT send anything other than a check or money order. (or cash, if you really need to.) Don’t try to be helpful and send a pre-paid Fed-ex sticker or a postal coupon. Those things are a huge pain in the ass for us to deal with. They’re anti-helpful. They waste my time and delay your book getting back to you in a timely fashion.

3b. If you want the book sent back to you faster. Make the check out for 15 bucks and we’ll ship it using priority mail.

3c. If you need the book shipped overseas, read the instructions in Warnings and Addendums below.

4. Package everything carefully. (Details in Warnings and Addendums below.)

5. Mail the package to me at:

Patrick Rothfuss
PO Box 186
Stevens Point, WI 54481

For UPS or FED-EX, you’ll have to use this address:

Patrick Rothfuss
English Department
486 CCC
UW-Stevens Point
Stevens Point, WI 54481
 
 
  • What if I don’t want to go through all that? Can I just buy a signed book directly from you?

Sure. I do sell signed hardcover copies of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. All proceeds go to Worldbuilders, the charity I started a couple years ago.

This option is simpler. You can just go visit our online store. Or follow steps 2, 3 and 5 up above.

Warnings and Addendums

  • Packaging.

You really need to package your stuff up carefully.

Padding is important, but the true key is to making sure your book can’t move around inside the package itself.

I also strongly recommend 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….

  • Timing.

I try to get books signed and mailed back to people as soon as possible. But sometimes I’m busy. Or I’m on vacation. Or whatever.

This means if you desperately need a book for some special event, you need to send it to me a couple weeks in advance. Ideally, you should send it to me a month in advance, just to be safe.

  • Overseas shipping.

If the book needs to be shipped overseas, it will cost me 40 dollars to get it back to you.  55 dollars if you send both Name of the Wind and Wise Man’s Fear.

Here’s the trick, you need to make the check or money order out in US Dollars or my bank won’t cash it.

  • What not to ship.

While I appreciate all gifts people send me. Some things simply don’t travel very well.

Homemade cookies, for example, don’t survive a long journey and two days in a PO box very well. Liquids are also dangerous. If they’re not packaged carefully, things can break and ruin your book.

My advice is simple. Think twice and package carefully.

There we go. All updated and shiny new as of July 2010. Hope this is helpful.

pat

Also posted in fan coolness, Fanmail Q + A, geeking out, Worldbuilders 2010 | By Pat112 Responses
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