Daily Archives: December 13, 2006

How I Know It’s The Holidays

I know it’s the holidays because at the moment Book of the Dumb has a higher Amazon ranking at the moment than my other books. This happens every year; for most of the year the book does hardly any business at all, and then comes the holidays and suddenly everyone’s looking for a relatively inexpensive gift for hard-to-buy-for Uncle Fred. Book of the Dumb to the rescue! Then December 26th will roll around and it’ll be back to the book-selling equivalent of the Oort cloud for another year. It’s interesting being a seasonal flavor.

What’s really interesting about it is that it sells enough units in its one-month selling season that it’s still my biggest-selling book, although there’s a good chance Old Man’s War may finally overtake it in the next year. We’ll have to see. It amuses me to have it be my best-seller, though. I’m sure it says something about me and/or the American public, but in eaither case I’m not entirely sure I want to know what.

OMW & TGB Collector’s Editions

A brief announcement that will be of interest to you folks what like collecting: Subterranean Press and Tor have reached a tentative agreement for Subterranean to produce limited hardcover editions of Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades in 2007. These editions will include cover art and illustrations by Bob Eggleton, and will be pretty small runs: 400 of the Limited Signed Edition and 15 Lettered Signed Editions. As I understand it, they’ll go for $60 and $200, respectively.

For those of you who have signed up for the Limited Edition of The Sagan Diary, Subterranean will be offering a deal wherein you can reserve the same copy number of OMW & TGB — So, if you get #65 of The Sagan Diary, you can get #65 of OMW and TGB as well, so later, when I have my horrible and tragic death involving Paris Hilton, a jar of maraschino cherries and a can of WD-40, you can sell the whole matching set on eBay for ridiculous sums of cash. See? It pays off to be a collector after all.

I’ll have more details later, including when you can preorder OMW and TGB, and, if you’re in for a matching set of OMW-universe tomes, how you can set that up with Subterranean. For now, I’d just thought you’d like to know what’s coming down the pike.

OMW & TGB Collector’s Editions

A brief announcement that will be of interest to you folks what like collecting: Subterranean Press and Tor have reached a tentative agreement for Subterranean to produce limited hardcover editions of Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades in 2007. These editions will include cover art and illustrations by Bob Eggleton, and will be pretty small runs: 400 of the Limited Signed Edition and 15 Lettered Signed Editions. As I understand it, they’ll go for $60 and $200, respectively.

For those of you who have signed up for the Limited Edition of The Sagan Diary, Subterranean will be offering a deal wherein you can reserve the same copy number of OMW & TGB — So, if you get #65 of The Sagan Diary, you can get #65 of OMW and TGB as well, so later, when I have my horrible and tragic death involving Paris Hilton, a jar of maraschino cherries and a can of WD-40, you can sell the whole matching set on eBay for ridiculous sums of cash. See? It pays off to be a collector after all.

I’ll have more details later, including when you can preorder OMW and TGB, and, if you’re in for a matching set of OMW-universe tomes, how you can set that up with Subterranean. For now, I’d just thought you’d like to know what’s coming down the pike.

OMW & TGB Collector’s Editions

A brief announcement that will be of interest to you folks what like collecting: Subterranean Press and Tor have reached a tentative agreement for Subterranean to produce limited hardcover editions of Old Man’s War and The Ghost Brigades in 2007. These editions will include cover art and illustrations by Bob Eggleton, and will be pretty small runs: 400 of the Limited Signed Edition and 15 Lettered Signed Editions. As I understand it, they’ll go for $60 and $200, respectively.

For those of you who have signed up for the Limited Edition of The Sagan Diary, Subterranean will be offering a deal wherein you can reserve the same copy number of OMW & TGB — So, if you get #65 of The Sagan Diary, you can get #65 of OMW and TGB as well, so later, when I have my horrible and tragic death involving Paris Hilton, a jar of maraschino cherries and a can of WD-40, you can sell the whole matching set on eBay for ridiculous sums of cash. See? It pays off to be a collector after all.

I’ll have more details later, including when you can preorder OMW and TGB, and, if you’re in for a matching set of OMW-universe tomes, how you can set that up with Subterranean. For now, I’d just thought you’d like to know what’s coming down the pike.

Confusing the Capitalists

This is probably my favorite story of the last week: Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster went to a media conference for financial types and made them all drop their jaws to the ground when he explained how Craigslist isn’t all that interested in finding ways to eke profits out of each of its users, it just wants to help them find jobs and dates and apartments:

Wendy Davis of MediaPost describes the presentation as a “a culture clash of near-epic proportions.” She recounts how UBS analyst Ben Schachter wanted to know how Craigslist plans to maximize revenue. It doesn’t, Mr. Buckmaster replied (perhaps wondering how Mr. Schachter could possibly not already know this). “That definitely is not part of the equation,” he said, according to MediaPost. “It’s not part of the goal.”

Why doesn’t Craiglist at least do AdSense ads? they asked Buckmaster. His response was that as far as he knew, his users weren’t asking for them. Apparently this precipitated another wave of the “qua?” face from the analysts, et al. They didn’t seem to get the idea that a company could leave that much money on the table.

This makes me feel almost intolerably warm and fuzzy toward Craiglist. I like money quite a bit myself, as most of you know, but I think from time to time it’s perfectly fine not to have money be the main reason one does a thing. Craigslist was not initially designed to make tons and tons of money for Craig Newmark, as I understand it. He wanted to help people find things around San Francisco. The company’s bigger now but its goal is pretty much the same, and I think its fine that the company has focused on that rather than blinging out the revenues. Presumably it’s doing well enough. Unless Newmark and Buckmaster suddenly decide that what they both really need is a 300-foot yacht stocked with cocaine and supermodels, how much more do they need?

Buckmaster’s response to the analysts resonates with me because on a drastically smaller level, these are the same issues I deal with here. I get approached all the time to run ads; I just yesterday turned away someone who asked to run one. I also know people who don’t quite get why I don’t run ads here, given the site’s traffic. The reasons are pretty simple: One, I don’t wanna. Two, I don’t wanna. Three, I don’t wanna. Also, like Buckmaster, I’m not really hearing a clamor for ads from the visitors to the site. I can’t really remember anyone ever saying to me something along the lines of “I like the Whatever, but I’d like it even more with advertising.” Also also, there’s the small matter that unlike Craigslist, this isn’t even a business, so I wouldn’t even have that excuse.

As I’ve noted before, I’m not opposed to people putting ads on their site, and even if I was, my opinion of what other people do one their own site counts as much as their opinion counts for what I do on mine, i.e., not a damn bit. I’m not even saying I will never put ads on the Whatever one day; really, who knows. But right now it doesn’t seem particularly likely. I like not having ads here. I like not having to do everything with an eye on how much it can get me.

On the other hand, I’m not walking away from potentially tens of millions in revenues like the Craigslist people are. All things considered, their decision to skip the ads is rather more impressive than mine. Makes me want to post an ad there or something. You know, just to say “good on you.” Which reminds me I still have my Virginia home up for rent. Hmmm.

Top 51 Personal Blogs in SF/F, December 2006 Edition

Last July I published a list of the top 51 personal blogs in science fiction and fantasy (it was supposed to be the top 50, but there was a tie on the last ranking, so I put them both in), and it’s been long enough that I thought it might be time to refresh the list. So here’s an updated list for you.

Selection details and trivia:

* The list is limited to personal (not corporate-sponsored or news-oriented), single-author blogs, with an emphasis on science fiction and fantasy writers, editors, agents, publishers, artists and fans. Film/Television/Video Game-focused personal SF/F blogs were not really considered. Doesn’t mean they’re bad, I just decided to focus the list this way. By all means, make a different list if you like. The tie-in with SF/F is the author of the blog, not the content of the blog; some of these blogs discuss SF/F quite frequently, and some hardly at all.

* Rankings are based solely on Technorati rankings, which as I understand it generates rankings via an algorithm that factors in the number of links leading to your blog and how many other sites are linking in to the blog. These rankings should not be seen as an indicator of anything else. The blogs ranked up at the top are not necessarily better than blogs ranked below them (or not ranked at all); they’ve just got a lot of links coming in. Rankings are accurate as of about 10pm December 12, 2006. These rankings will change over time.

* These blog rankings are based on a universe of a few hundred SF blogs that I know about or that have been brought to my attention by others. It is entirely possible I have missed a few, or, alternately, that when I checked its Technorati rating, Technorati didn’t give me adequate information to rank the site. Needless to say, I am the person making all the final decisions as to which blogs are and are not eligible, so, yeah, go ahead and blame me. In all cases, if you have a site that you feel ought to be included, and its Technorati ranking is sufficient for it to be listed (i.e, greater than 59,315), please note it in the comment thread and I will factor it in the next time I update this list, which should be six months or so from now.

* For kicks and giggles I have added a new notation to the list, which notes whether the blog in question is written by someone who is (to the best of my knowledge) an SF/F writer (W), Editor (E), Critic/Commentator (C), Agent (A), Artist (Art) or Fan (F).

* I decided to stick with 51 entries because it amuses me to do so, and will drive those who need nice round numbers absolutely bonkers. Bwa ha ha ha hah!

* Finally, this is for amusement purposes only. Please don’t freak out over it.

There was a quite a lot of movement in the rankings since the last time I made a ranking; very few blogs maintained their July 2006 positions. Moreover, the rankings became more competitive; whereas for July’s list a Technorati ranking of 149,618 was sufficient to make the cut, this time the cut was some 90,000 positions higher. This is to some extent an artifact of me widening the universe of blogs I considered for the rankings.

Despite the tightening at the bottom of the list, at the top there was a general drop in overall Technorati rankings. Although the top five blogs from the July 2006 list stayed in the top five this time around, all but one dropped in its Technorati rankings, and every blog but one in the 6-10 positions in July experience a drop in its Technorati numbers. Indeed, of the 50 blogs in the July list, more saw their Technorati rankings decrease rather than increase (although many of those decreases are not shown in the December list, due to greater competition knocking them off the list entirely). I leave to others to ponder the implications and ramifications of these facts. I’m just putting up numbers.

And now, without further ado, the Top 50 Personal Blogs in SF/F, December 2006 Edition. Each entry notes (in order) list ranking, blog name, blog author, Technorati ranking and author class.

1. Neil Gaiman’s Journal — Neil Gaiman (487) W
2. Whatever — John Scalzi (1,142) W
3. Making Light — Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden (1,293) E
4. Beyond the Beyond — Bruce Sterling (5,240) W
5. The Sideshow — Avedon Carol (6,289) F

6. Paperback Writer — S.L. Viehl (6,916) W
7. Charlie’s Diary — Charles Stross (7,622) W
8. They Must Need Bears — Elizabeth Bear (11,541) W
9. The Mumpsimus — Matthew Cheney (14,156) C
10. Anna Louise’s Journal — Anna Louise Genoese (16,017) E

11. Amygdala – Gary Farber (17,450) F
12. Vanderworld — Jeff VanderMeer (19,437) W
13. Contrary Brin — David Brin (19,711) W
14. Justine Larbalestier — Justine Larbalestier (21,110) W
15. The Art Department — Irene Gallo (21,863) Art

16. Westerblog – Scott Westerfeld (22,945) W
17. Kathryn Cramer — Kathryn Cramer (24,723) E
18. Not a Blog — George RR Martin (25,326) W
19. Pocket Full of Words — Holly Lisle (26,543) W
20. Shaken and Stirred — Gwenda Bond (26,763) W

21. The Early Days of a Better Nation — Ken MacLeod (27,417) W
22. Et in Arcaedia, Ego — Jennifer Jackson (28,360) A
23. Bluejo’s Journal — Jo Walton (31,123) W
24. More Words, Deeper Hole — James Nicoll (31,523) C
25. Lakeshore — Jay Lake (33,339) W

26. Honor Your Inner Magpie — Elise Matthesen (33,683) F
27. Nalo Hopkinson — Nalo Hopkinson (34,048) W
27. Notes From the Labyrinth — Sarah Monette (34,048) W
29. Notes from the Geek Show — Hal Duncan (34,441) W
29. The Hal Spacejock Series — Simon Hayes (34,441) W

31. Nick Mamatas’ Journal — Nick Mamatas (34,844) W
32. The Slush God Speaketh — John Joseph Adams (35,642) E
32. 14theDitch — Jeffrey Ford (35,642) W
34. KRAD’s Inaccurate Guide to Life — Keith RA DeCandido (36,018) W
35. John Crowley Little and Big — John Crowley (38,427) W

36. Holly Black — Holly Black (39,788) W
36. Out of Ambit — Diane Duane (39,788) W
38. The Prodigal Blog — Charles Coleman Finlay (40,292) W
39. Goblin Mercantile Exchange — Alan DeNiro (41,784) W
40. My Life in the Bush of Wombats — Kevin Maroney (43,951) E

41. Composite – Liz Henry (44,546) C
41. Dragonmount – Robert Jordan (44,546) W
41. The Pagan Prattle Online — Feorag NicBhride (44,546) Art
44. Arthur D. Hlavaty — Arthur D. Hlavaty (45,144) E
45. Tobias S. Buckell Online — Tobias Buckell (45,773) W

46. It’s All One Thing — Will Shetterly (47,764) W
47. Chrononautic Log — David Moles (48,480) W
48. From the Heart of Europe — Nicholas Whyte (49,196) F
49. Cyberabad – Ian McDonald (50,718) W
50. Oached Pish — Sherwood Smith (57,134) W

51. Barnstorming on the Invisible Segway — Marissa Lingen (59,315) W

See you all in six months!