Tag Archives: Amazon

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 [email protected] 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

Posted in appearances, book two, FAQ | By Pat109 Responses

Interesting times….

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….

pat

Posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Things I didn't know about publishing | By Pat52 Responses

Interviewing Felicia

Over the last year, I’ve given a lot of interviews. I haven’t counted, but I’m guessing there have been somewhere between thirty and forty.

Generally speaking, I enjoy them. I have a strong oracular element in my personality, which means that when people ask me questions, I feel moved, compelled even, to answer them.

But that’s only half the story. I’m also a big asker of questions. I have a vast curiosity about all manner of things.

Combine this with my profound geekery, and you can understand why, when I got the opportunity to interview the fabulous and talented Felicia Day, I jumped at the chance.

Behold the result….

————

So tell us a little bit about yourself….

I’m a professional actor (meaning I pay the bills solely with acting work, cross fingers) and I’ve lived in Los Angeles for almost 8 years now. I moved here after going to the University of Texas at Austin and getting Mathematics and Violin degrees. Natural progression to acting, don’t you think?

I consider myself a “Jennifer of all trades” meaning I do a LOT of things PRETTY well. It’s not a good long-term plan, but it’s my personality.

Okay, I’ll take the bait. If you started as a mathematician and violinist, what prompted you to make the transition into acting?

I got a bad tendentious in my left pinky during college which caused me a lot of pain when I played. I had to get cortisone shots in the joint to keep playing. (It actually hurts when I play too much Guitar Hero now, LOL). That, combined with the narrow reality of a professional classical musician’s career choices, made me decide to focus on the other thing that brought me joy after college: Acting!

I also feel obliged to mention for all my fellow geeks out there, that one of your acting gigs was in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Felicia here played Vi in season seven.

So what have you been up to lately?

Recently my focus has been on creating web content. I’m the creator of the web series called “The Guild,” which is about a group of online gamers.


It’s awesome on toast, and I’m not the only one who thinks so, as it recently won a bunch of fabulous awards, too. How did you get involved in working on that?

I created the show as a half-hour television pilot after I shook a two year addiction to World of Warcraft. People read the script, thought it was funny, but thought it was too “niche” for TV because it’s about a group of online gamers. My friend and producing partner Kim Evey had just had fabulous success with her own YouTube videos, so after reading my script, she suggested we do it for the internet. We shot the first two episodes with our producer, Jane Selle Morgan, on our own dime, and after that we’ve been wholly supported by viewer donations through Paypal! It’s pretty cool. Like PBS for online web series.


Hold on. You actually quit WOW? You don’t play at all anymore?

Well, up until a month or so I did. I actually re-upped my account to see if I could play a normal amount of time (and to do some “research” for the show, haha). I had to quit cold turkey in the beginning though, it was consuming my life. I would move any WOW related tasks to the front of the queue, over career and family even. It got bad. Thankfully, my experience playing now is much more casual. I’ve only logged on a few times in a the whole month and it was easy to log off again after a few hours, keeping it short and sweet and playing with friends. Cross fingers I can sustain that!

In addition to playing the female lead in The Guild (Codex) you also write the script. Is this your first experience with screenwriting? Is it something that you’re interested in pursuing more of in the future?

I have 4 or 5 scripts written… halfway. The Guild was the first one I actually finished and rewrote and polished. It took an amazing amount of sheer will to get it on the page because I haven’t been writing since I was a kid like most accomplished writers. I absolutely admire writers more because of the whole process. I can’t believe YOU got through so many HUNDRED pages with your book! Phenomenal!!


Well… I didn’t write the whole book straight through, you know. I stopped around page 450 to get a sandwich and use the bathroom.

How do you go about your own writing?

The key for me was letting myself write badly at first in order to have something to rewrite and make better later on. I constantly have to beat down a perfectionist voice in my head. It holds me back in a lot of areas. Thankfully, the success (and fun) of writing the Guild has encouraged me to start writing other things and pursuing writing more seriously. I have several projects in the works now for TV and film. Getting them done is my main goal this summer!


Ooooh. I’m all tantalized. Can you tell us anything about your other projects?

They’re still in the development stages, but one is a half-hour comedy, and the other is my ATTEMPT to add more fantasy into the hour-long genre. We’ll see if it works!

One of the hardest parts of being a writer is actually trying to sell the book. A lot of authors spend years racking up rejections. Is the auditioning process similar to that?

Ooooh yes. It’s even worse (well, from my perspective!) After you send in your book and get rejected, at least you get your book back and can take it other places. As an actor, you go in and do your interpretation of a role, and when you’re rejected, they give it to someone else. It’s not a judgment that you’re necessarily bad, you just aren’t what they’re looking for, but it’s hard not to take it personally. The mechanics of the actor’s audition process is grueling, and I never ever will get to the point where I’m not anxious and nervous when I go in to read for a part.

Though it fills me with shame, I constantly check my Amazon Sales rank to see how well my book is selling. Most authors admit to doing the same thing. Is there anything similar that actors do?

Of course! Ratings are a #1 topic of conversation with anyone in the industry! Personally, I check my hits on YouTube a lot, especially the first few days after we post a video. The immediate feedback of the internet is pretty gratifying (and horrific depending on the comments : ) ) I have Google Alerts set up on my name and the show name and other phrases to constantly update me on what the web is saying about me/the show. After a while you get a much thicker skin, haha.

What sorts of things have people said over the years? Can you give us an example of something that’s really gotten under your skin?

I really hate the racist comments against my cast members, I remove all those comments immediately. It’s surprising how many they actually are, especially after we get featured on the front page of YouTube.

I also am irritated when people make fun of us for only putting out an episode a month, implying we’re lazy or something. It touches on the part of me that is frustrated we don’t have the budget or means to do them any quicker, but also shows that a lot of people don’t understand what it takes to make a 5 minute short that looks much better than the average video. We don’t just have one guy holding the camera, we have a real crew, who are all professionals, and who are working for free or near free. Hopefully for the next season that will not be an issue, as we’re talking with several people who are interested in financing the show.

What’s the weirdest fan moment you’ve ever had?

Well, I actually interact with fans on an everyday basis because I’m so wedded to the internet, so fan communication is actually a two way street with me and I generally ask fans for more stuff than they do of me! But the best experience I’ve had recently is when I visited Austin, and my brother and Dad and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond together to get a bath mat of all things, and a guy who worked there came up and asked me if I was Codex. Right in front of my Dad, which was so cool because not only did I create that character myself from scratch, my Dad got to see the reality that what I’m doing is “known”. It was a great feeling.


You recently got to work with Joss Whedon on “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.” What can you tell us about that?

I can tell you that it’s going to be make a lot of people want to sing after hearing the music. Joss and his brothers Zack and Jed and Jed’s fiance Maurissa wrote the show together to go on the internet in three parts. Joss had seen The Guild and had been percolating the idea of an internet musical for a while, and he said that watching the Guild was a part of the inspiration to get it done; that and the strike.


Hold on. You inspired Joss Whedon?

He said it was a PART of what spurred the work on Dr. Horrible. Don’t make it seem like I’m claiming too much credit for it!! I worked with him on Buffy a few years ago and was crazy lucky enough for him to hire me for the part of Penny. I can’t tell you what a fabulous experience it was working on it, the script and songs are fantastic! For someone in Joss‘ position to do something this experimental is great because not only is it going to be a huge success, it’s going to make people look at internet content in a new way. I can’t wait for it to be released!


Do you have a date for that?

I believe he said it will be released on the internet before Comicon.


Okay. I have to ask. Is Joss Whedon as cool as I think he is?

Yes, he’s worthy of every kind of crush you could develop, I hate to say it. He’s one of the most creative people I’ve ever met and he has a good and true heart. A real gentleman and a pleasure to be around.


Oh good. I have such a crush. I’m one tiny step away from setting up a little shrine in my house. It’s only through a supreme effort of will that I’ve kept myself from doing something extreme to get him a copy of my book. I don’t want to be that guy….

Let’s say the impossible happens and The Name of the Wind gets made into a movie. We both agree it would be dreamy if Joss Whedon wrote or directed it, but what would your ideal cast be if you got your pick?

OMG that’s hard, I’d have to read it again to refresh (the paperback is by my bed just for that purpose actually, haha!!)

Kvothe = Damien Lewis or a young version of him. (Life cop show, Band of Brothers) Jesse Tyler Ferguson also came to mind? (The Class)

Bast = the guy from American Beauty, Wes Bentley (What happened to him?)

Denna = Kiera Knightly or Natalie Portman definitely. Or the girl from Serenity: Morena Baccarin?

Oooh. Good picks. I hadn’t ever thought of Morena Baccarin as Denna….

Would you have any interest in playing a part yourself?

My dream role would be Auri. I like playing damaged goods, haha.

So you live in LA, where everyone is beautiful. What happens when you take a trip to somewhere like Wisconsin. Is it traumatic looking at us regular folks?

That’s funny! It is true that LA is filled with freakily beautiful people. I feel a lot prettier when I go out of town because the bar is set SOO high here! In LA I’m considered for the “plain” or “homely” characters mostly, I get called in for every one of those roles. They end up being more fun to play in the end, so I definitely don’t mind. But going back to Austin and dressing up and getting head turns, that’s pretty fun too, haha!

What’s the worst part of the whole actor gig?

Auditioning. It’s the most important part of the career, but you don’t know that going into it. You have to consider auditioning the sole (unpaid) function of an acting career. When you actually get hired, that’s the exception. And it’s the thing that keeps you going, of course: Those moments when you’re on set and working. There’s nothing like it!


Any advice for aspiring actors and actresses out there?

Don’t expect someone to pick you up off the street and make you a star: That’s like winning the lottery. Make your own work. It will fill your hours with fulfillment and also lead to things you’d never expect.


Like with The Guild?

Yes! Like me with “The Guild”!

———–

In a gesture of inspiring largess, Felicia has said that she’s willing to give away 10 autographed photos to folks out there that would like one. Well, eleven pictures, if you’re counting mine….

If you’d like to be part of the random drawing for one of those pictures, why don’t you send me an e-mail at paperback.contest {swirly at symbol} gmail.com with your mailing address. We’ll leave the drawing open until… say… May 12th.

Lastly, today marks the end of the paperback photo contest. I have to say that the response has been beyond anything I could have reasonably expected. There have been so many submissions that it’s going to take me at least a week just to sort them out, judge the best of them, and award some prizes.

That means if you spaced out and forgot to send your entry in, you can probably sneak it in tomorrow and I’ll pretend to be too busy sorting to notice….

Later all,

pat

Posted in Felicia Day, Interviews, Joss Whedon, Me Interviewing Other Folks, the craft of writing | By Pat17 Responses

“While I’m alone and blue as can be…”

I don’t dream often. I’ve never had the “show up naked at work” dream. Or the “I didn’t study for the test” dream. I’ve never had sex dreams, not even when I was teenage and sloshy with hormones.

My ha’penny theory is that I don’t dream much because I don’t have many inhibitions, so my brain doesn’t need to let off much steam when it’s on vacation. Another theory is that I don’t have much separation between my conscious and my subconscious minds.

Either way, last night was the exception to the rule, because last night I had a dream.

I was in a classroom, similar to the room where I used to take physics in high school. The room was full, two people sitting at each of the large, black worktables, and there was someone teachery up at the front.

It wasn’t high-school, or college, but it was definitely a class of some kind, and I was definitely one of the students.

The teacher never said anything, not through the whole dream. He/she was just a faceless presence at the front of the room. Everyone knew what was expected. We were going to be reading our stories aloud to the rest of the class.

I wasn’t anxious. If anything, I was a little smug because I was going to read from The Name of the Wind. And, all Midwestern modesty aside, I think the book is pretty awesome. This was my chance to be cool in front of the other students.

I’m first. I don’t go up to the front of the room, it’s not that formal. I just and turn so I can face most of the class and pull out the hardcover. I’m excited with that slight sweaty-palm feeling I always get before a performance.

I start to read, but some of the words are hard to see because they’re caught in the middle of the book where the pages come together in the binding. I lose my place once or twice, make a mistake, and start to sweat as people start to move around in their seats, bored and embarrassed on my behalf.

Then the lights start to get dim so I can’t see the text on the page. But I know I can’t stop reading. I only get this one chance. Either nobody else notices the lights dimming, or they consider it part of the reading. Either way I know that it’s no excuse to stop. By now I can’t see any of the words. I’m having to fake it and things are a real mess.

At this point, I have some sort of seizure. I literally fall down on the ground and foam at the mouth. From the strange semi-detached perspective of the dream, it’s actually something of a relief, because now I don’t have to keep doing my sucky reading.

I’m not clear whether it was a real seizure. It’s not that I don’t remember what happened in the dream. It’s that the dream itself it was ambiguous. Was it real? Did I fake it so that I didn’t have to keep reading? Was it real but I hammed it up so that people would feel sorry for me? I really didn’t know.

The paramedics come and take care of me, and everyone admits that it wasn’t really my fault that I had to stop reading. Understandably, I’m glad it’s all over.

Then everyone starts writing out their evaluations and passing them to the front of the class. And somehow I can see what everyone is writing. Most people are giving me A’s, but some people are giving me B’s or C’s. Then, I see the worst thing…. someone has given me…. a C-.

I’m laughing now as I write about it. That was the big reveal. My book got a C-. But you know how it is in dreams. At that moment, I was profoundly ensaddened and hurty inside. It was like every teenage angst of my life distilled down into one powerful, emblematic event.

And then I realize that I’m not wearing any pants.

Seriously. I’m not making any of this up. I don’t know if I’ve been missing my pants this whole time, or if perhaps the paramedics have taken them off as part of some innovative attempt to revive me. All I know is that I’m still wearing my t-shirt, but I’m totally nude below the waist. It’s not a very long t-shirt either, just barely halfway covering all of my dangerous man-stuff.

Worst of all, nobody has noticed, and I know that if I could just somehow get out of the room, I’d be safe. But I’m in the middle of the classroom and there doesn’t seem to be any way to leave without drawing attention to myself….

And that’s the end of the dream. I didn’t wake up in a cold sweat or anything. I actually forgot about everything until I was in the shower.

So… yeah. Welcome to the inside of my head.

Personally, I think the whole thing was brought about by the fact that yesterday, despite my better judgement, I read the pair of two-star reviews that showed up recently on amazon. I know that I should be over that sort of thing by now, but… well… apparently I’m not.

Plus, all I had for dinner yesterday was a bunch of bowling-alley nachos and a huge chocolate chip cookie. I will admit to actually dipping the cookie in the cheese at one point. I’m guessing that’s what caused it. That sort of behavior is bound to anger the gods.

Later folks,

pat

Posted in dreams, the man behind the curtain | By Pat38 Responses

…. and I’m back.

Hello there everyone. Sorry I’ve been away for so long.

One of the problems with doing a blog like this….

You know, only after typing that sentence did I realize something. I don’t really consider this a blog. Rather, I know this is a blog. This entity that you show up and read is a blog. But I don’t think of myself as *writing* blogs. I think of myself as writing something else. Something nameless. Something somewhere between a news post, an editorial column, and an open letter to the world.

Anyway, as I was saying, one of the problems with writing something like this. (Something that I update according to my whimsy, but that a fair number of people show up and read.) Is that if I don’t post anything for a while, it actually starts getting harder to post. After two weeks of silence, I start to feel like like I should have something *Really Cool* so say when I come back.

But I don’t. I don’t even really have any especially exciting reason for not posting for a while. Truth is, Me Being Busy Playing Catch-Up After A Convention + End of The Semester Grading + Thanksgiving + Two Signings = Radio Silence on My End.

I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t even checked my Amazon Ranking for, like, two or three days…. an unprecedented event.

(470, by the way.)

Let’s see, what news do I have? The Name of the Wind has been nominated for Borders’ Original Voices award for 2007. Point of interest, I’m the only person in my category whose title does not have a colon in it. For some reason that fills me with pride.

It just snowed here in Wisconsin. About 10 inches. My first snowfall as a homeowner. I shoveled for a solid hour tonight, great exercise that has reminded me how truly out of shape I’ve become. Take it from me, kids, being a writer has certain perks, but physique isn’t one of them.

Other news…. Hmmmm… it seems like after almost three weeks of being gone, I should have more to report….

Oh, right, my meeting with Gaiman.

In brief, it was pretty cool. About four hours before Gaiman was scheduled to do his reading, I went from being nervous about meeting him, to a different sort of nervous. Suddenly I was worried that Gaiman wasn’t going to be cool enough to live up to my expectations.

I know it’s silly to idolize authors. I know this because I *am* an author, and it’s silly for people to idolize me. Over these last couple months I’ve had people get nervous about meeting me and/or have various degrees of anxiety-related endearing geekiness when we talk. When people e-mail me and tell me that they’re nervous about meeting me a signing or a reading, I laugh and say, “Believe me, I’m really not that impressive.”

Anyone who has actually met me will back me up on this…

So I know firsthand that it’s silly. Authors are just people. But the fact remains that when we love a book, we want to love the person who wrote the book. We want them to be as cool as the stories they write, and Gaiman writes one hell of a story…

So as Gaiman’s reading approached, I grew increasingly nervous. What if he wasn’t cool enough?

I needn’t have worried. He was very relaxed and laid back. Very witty and articulate. He’s a marvelous public speaker. He gave us a early taste of his upcoming “The Graveyard Book.” He’s a great reader, too. Though I wasn’t surprised by that, as I really enjoyed the audio book story collection, “Fragile Things” which he read himself.

My reading was a half-hour after his, a hard act to follow. But I muddled through as best I could, reading a bit of my novel, a bit of poetry, and an essay I once wrote on the slow vs. fast zombies debate. It was a pretty good time.

I had about five minutes left in my time slot, and was trying to decide how to fill it, when one of the people organizing the conference came in and said, “Mr Gaiman wants to make sure he has a chance to talk to Pat before he leaves. I’m afraid I’m going to have to steal him…”

I gave the audience a look that said, “Are y’all cool with me heading out a little early?” They looked back, “Are you kidding? It’s Neil Gaiman! Run you fool, run!”

So I went over to meet him. I tried my best to not be a total spaz when we met. I didn’t want to be all gushy and fanboy. Personally, I enjoy it when people get a little geeky over my writing, but I figure he has to get that sort of thing all the time, and it has to be wearying after the first ten years or so.

So we hung out and chatted for a bit. Me and Neil. I have a picture somewhere, but I can’t find it right now…

He was, as they say, “a hell of a regular guy.” He told me that he’d had the chance to read the first few chapters of my book, because his publisher in England had given him a copy. He said something very flattering about my writing, but unfortunately, the book was too big to fit it into his carry-on luggage for his flight home. (The UK book is even bigger than the US version.) After that his life got a little busy, what with two movies coming out, books, signings, and generally being Neil Gaiman. So he kinda lost track of it. I can understand that. I’m overwhelmed right now and I can’t be a fraction of as busy as he is…

So yeah. The whole experience was lovely. We chatted and I asked him some comic-book questions, as I have some people sniffing around about doing the graphic novel adaptations of the book. It was lovely, and he gave some good advice.

Now here’s the crux of the story. Gaiman got ready to leave, but before he could head out, one of the con-goers caught him. The guy asked if he could send Gaiman a copy of his brother’s novel to read, so that Gaiman could give him some feedback. Gaiman politely refused, explaining that he wished he could, but he really didn’t have the time.

But they guy wouldn’t take the gracious refusal. He asked if Gaiman would maybe just look at a few chapters instead. Gaiman explained, again, that there just weren’t enough hours in the day, and besides, his brother would probably get better, more in-depth advice from a local writer’s group….

But the guy really wouldn’t take no for an answer. He tried a few more times from different angles. And here’s the thing: Gaiman stayed cool through the whole thing. He didn’t get bitchy or snippy or exasperated. Considering that he must get hit like that all the time, I was truly impressed.

The end. Moral: Gaiman is awesome.

I think that’s all I’ve got for now….

Oh… one other thing. I’ve been invited by writer/author John Scalzi to offer up one of my already written blogs for promotional re-post on his site: Whatever.

Any advice? Of the blogs you’ve read on here, which one do you think would be best for amusing/entertaining/hooking in new readers?

I’d appreciate it if you let me know what you think in the comments below.

Later all,

pat

Posted in awards, hodgelany, meeting famous people, Neil Gaiman | By Pat31 Responses

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

Posted in reviews | By Pat42 Responses

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

Posted in hodgelany, Sarah | By Pat30 Responses
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