Random Crap 10/19

Bits and pieces going through my head today:

* It took two weeks for the comment spammers to figure out that I’d yanked all the previous Whatever entries, and now they’re back to annoy me again. Fortunately, this newer version of Movable Type makes it very simple to yank the comment spam out by the roots. I got rid of 25 comment spams this morning in about three minutes, and it would have taken me about three times longer on my earlier install. So good going, Movable Type!

Since I’m finding it not terribly onerous to yank out comment spam, I’ve decided not to institute any comment policies that require people to register. I want people to be able to comment at the drop of a hat, and I accept dealing with some comment spam as part of the “cost” of doing that.

* The Barnes & Noble Web site has an actual “street date” for Old Man’s War: January 28, 2005. I’ve sent an e-mail to Tor to ask about this, but since I’ve been told that generally a book is in the stores a few weeks before the official date, it seems unlikely to me that the book will be around for most of December and the holiday season, so all of y’all who were thinking the book would make a perfect Christmas/Hanukkah/Winter Solstice gift may find yourselves disappointed. As I said, I’ll wait until I hear from Tor to confirm this, but that’s my assumption. Of course, I hope you’ll buy it anyway. It’ll be just right for Valentine’s Day.

Silver lining, however: Book of the Dumb 2 will ready for the holidays — it’s supposed to be out this month, in fact. So it doesn’t have to be an entirely Scalzi-free holiday season. I also note that frequent Whatever visitor Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered has an official release date of 12/28, which again suggests it should be available for seasonal enjoyment. Why not check that out — here’s a chapter excerpt.

* Back to the Book of the Dumb series, I note that the first Book of the Dumb has been doing surprisingly resilient business, at least on Amazon: It’s current Amazon ranking is 6,436, which is not too far off the peak I saw, shortly after it was released, of the mid-2000s. From what the publishers tell me, the book has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 copies, which is good for me for two reasons — first, I get a sales bonus for that, and second, I think by some quasi-official metric the book publishers use, Book of the Dumb now qualifies as a “bestseller.” So you may now refer to me as “bestselling author John Scalzi.” Or, alternately “pathetically deluded author John Scalzi.” Either works.

Mind you, it’s not as if BotD showed up on any bestseller lists, and I doubt BotD2 will, either — a ton of the sales of these books go through places like Sam’s Club, which I don’t expect spends a lot of time reporting data to the New York Times bestseller list editors. On the other hand, why would I care? The book has sold tens of thousands of copies, there’s another book on the way which (one hopes) will sell as well, and if everything goes swimmingly, I can write more of these fun and silly books. Who can complain?

I am pleased to see that it’s selling so well after a year out, however. It bodes well for the longevity of the series. Also, if the book sells another 60,000 copies by October 2007, I get another sales bonus. Go, Book of the Dumb! Go!

* As a procedural note, it’s becoming more and more likely that I may take a hiatus from the Whatever in November. The reason for this is tied up in the writing of The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film, which may require some rather intensive attention next month for various reasons which rather thankfully have little to do with me as a proximate cause, but which nevertheless will require my mostly-undivided attention. So, if you don’t hear from me much in November, that’ll be why.

* I’m also behind on getting up the non-Whatever portions of Scalzi.com. Sorry. I wish I had a good excuse. Actually, I wish I had an unpaid intern to slap it all up. Either would work.

19 thoughts on “Random Crap 10/19

  1. One way to cut down your MT comment spam is to move your comment-submitting script. Most comment spammers seem to be looking for the default (IIRC) mt-comments.cgi script. All you (or your tech guy, next time he’s poking around on the server) need to do is to rename that file to something else, and add one line to a config file; legitimate commenters won’t notice the change. I’m sure the spammers will catch up eventually, but it’ll make posting harder for them in the meantime.

  2. So you may now refer to me as “bestselling author John Scalzi.” Or, alternately “pathetically deluded author John Scalzi.” Either works.

    ~~~~~

    You’ll always be “cat sodomizer John Scalzi” to me. Sorry.

  3. Congratulations Mr. Scalzi! I figure this is as good a place as any to thank you for all the hours of enjoyment your words have provided me…

    So, thanks!

  4. Eric, will John never be able to live down that one time he was drunk and young and stupid? He’s made restitution to the cat and its family and paid for the therapist bills – isn’t that enough?

    Though “cat sodomizer John Scalzi” does have a nicely twisted ring to it…

  5. Please, I insist that you use Mr. Scalzi’s full epithet — “crack-smoking cat sodomizer.” I know, I know, in this permissive age (it’s the End Times, I tell you!) you young ‘uns like to wink at taking a hit off the pipe, but really now, one can’t appreciate the true depravity of his character without taking a long, hard look at all of his illicit activities.

  6. “Pathetically deluded best-selling author and crack-smoking cat sodomizer John Scalzi was last seen…”

    Kind of has a nice ring to it, really.

  7. Quote:
    “Pathetically deluded best-selling author and crack-smoking cat sodomizer John Scalzi […]”

    Kind of has a nice ring to it, really.

    Doesn’t really fit on a name badge, though.

  8. I think the MT spammers must have launched some kind of offensive over the past few days. Between Monday and Tuesday I had over 70 spam comments on my blog.

    Thank god for MT-Blacklist.

  9. “I may take a hiatus from the Whatever in November. The reason for this is tied up in the writing of The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film…”

    Hmmmm, so there is no truth to the rumor that about secretly doing NaNoWriMo under a pseudonym?

    But seriously, thanks for pointing out Elizabeth Bear’s “Hammered” — looks like a book I would enjoy, will have to add it to my list.

  10. Jim asks:

    “Hmmmm, so there is no truth to the rumor that about secretly doing NaNoWriMo under a pseudonym?”

    No. If I were going to do NaNoWriMo, I’d do it under my own name, anyway. But, how, to put this, I’ll be definitely feeling the pain NaNoWriMo-ers will be feeling.

  11. The bookstore I work for has a soft street date for Old Man’s War on January 31st. So chances are very good that the date on amazon is correct, if not sooner. BTW, when are the other portions of the site going to be back up? The 17th has passed, although I admit to always messsing up with different time zones, so maybe it’s still the 17th in Ohio. :P

  12. Preventative rebuilds.

    Every day I rebuild the entire site. Why? Because some Russian figured out (or downloaded a script from someone who figured out) how to leave comments in the html pages but not in my database. Blacklist could not find any comments, but “phantom comments” advertising all types of sexual perversion (Horses? Really?) were left.

    A full rebuild rids you of the offending comments.

  13. I agree with the commenter above who said “Thank you for pointing out Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered,” by the way.

    Just FYI. *g*

    –Bear

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