Answering a couple of questions I’ve gotten recently about the mechanics of the book-related stuff here:
* First, for those who were wondering about the disposition of the Duck and Hate Mail contests: The winner of the Duck contest will be declared on Monday. The Hate Mail winners, I suspect, will follow shortly thereafter, because I have to compare notes with the other judge. Hey, you guy spewed some excellent bile. It takes time to digest it.
* Several people have asked me how I got book companies to send along their books (presumably so they could do something similar). The short answer is I didn’t do anything, other than letting it be known I was happy to get them, and once having gotten them, perhaps to talk about them here. I’m not entirely sure this is an effective tactic for others. Hell, I don’t even know if it’s an effective tactic for me, since not every science fiction publisher — not to mention publishers in general — sends me stuff (I don’t think I’ve seen anything from Eos or Bantam Spectra, for example, and now that I think about it Tor’s been erratic as well, which is ironic).
And this is fine: Publicists are generally good at what they do, but they’re not psychic, and if I don’t actively ask to be put on mailing lists, they can’t be blamed for not putting me on them. It’s not like their Scalzi-sense is tingling, or anything. While it’s not out of the question for me to ping a publicist (I’m sorely tempted to beg for an ARC of the new Neal Stephenson), I’m mostly content to just sit here and see what comes my way. Because I’m lazy, you see.
* Given that this is my method of procuring books, you may be unsurprised to learn that my method of procuring participants for The Big Idea is basically the same: I wait for authors to ask. Now, sometimes if I’m at a convention and I see an author and I know they have a book coming out, I’ll remind them that I run the Big Idea feature here, and that if they want to participate, they should ping me. But that’s about it. Otherwise it’s mostly about others asking me, and me looking at the schedule. This keeps things relaxed and fun, for me at the very least.
* Do I read every book I am sent? No, nor do I attempt Klausnerian feats of speed reading in order to do so (Harriet Klausner, incidentally, just wrote her review of Zoe’s Tale, which was mostly positive; I was unaware there were shapeshifters in the book, but in her copy, apparently there are). If I did nothing else, I could read one book a day enjoyably, but I don’t do nothing else; rumor is, I occasionally write books myself. I typically read a couple a week.
* What do I do with the books when I’m done? Some I keep, some I give to friends, and sometimes, after a suitable time has passed where I’m no longer concerned that I’m interfering with author sales, I’ll give them to the local library, which will incorporate a few into their holdings and put others into their library sales. Seems a good way to do things.
You ask, why don’t I give them away to Whatever readers, hint, hint? It’s a nice idea, but unless you’re all planning to make a pilgrimage to my house to pick up your books (note: please don’t drive to my house with the plan to pick up books; Kodi will eat you), sending books out by mail costs me money, and I’m not sure why I would want that.
That said, I’ve toyed with the idea of putting together a mystery box of books I’ve received and auctioning it off, with the proceeds (minus shipping costs, naturally) to go to Reading is Fundamental or some such. It’s a thought; maybe I’ll do it when I’m more organized.
Any other (book-related) questions?