Daily Archives: July 17, 2008

Electronic Editions, or, I Can’t Believe I’ve Not Put This Up Already

Because at this point I’m getting a couple of e-mails a day on the matter and need something to direct people to:

Yes, I have eBooks available: Old Man’s War, Ghost Brigades, The Android’s Dream and Zoe’s Tale are available on Amazon Kindle, and Old Man’s War and Zoe’s Tale are available in other formats as well, and you can buy them at places people buy electronic books. Agent to the Stars is available on this site in html format (although not in the most recent, copy-edited, cultural-references-updated version, which will be available in October in trade paperback).

No, I don’t know when the other novels will be available/will be available in a format other than Kindle/will be available in the format you’ve determined that you love the most and have vowed never to cheat on with any other electronic format. This is because it’s not up to me, it’s up to Tor (and my other publishers), and who knows when they will get around to doing any of this. They kind of do their own thing, you know? I’ve asked them if they might not consider getting the other books out in eBook format sooner rather than later, if only so I don’t have to keep answering e-mail on the subject. Sending me e-mail/comments on the subject does nothing, I’m sorry to say. Sending me repeated e-mails/comments on the subject will just annoy me. Send your e-mail to Tor. Tor loves to get e-mail.

No, you don’t have to send me a several-paragraph-long e-mail explaining why ebooks are good/why you only read in ebook format/how I’m losing millions of dollars or whatever by not having the books in an ebook format. Because I know/good for you/oh well. I find it vaguely amusing, since I’ve had a complete novel up on my site for nine years now, that people feel the need to try to convince me that having ebooks out there might be a good thing. I find it amusing like I find people trying to offer me advice on how I should change my published books to make them better amusing, which is to say it’s the sort of amused that is lucky I don’t have a chainsaw handy.

No, I don’t need a lecture on DRM’d eBook files. This is another one to send Tor’s way. I generally think DRM is useless, and my publishers know this is my opinion. But the number of people who complain about not having particular titles of mine as eBooks is larger than the number who complain about DRM on the eBooks of mine that are out there, and in both cases it’s not up to me at this point, and to a non-trivial extent, I just don’t fucking care. Yes, Cory Doctorow will excommunicate me for that statement, but you know, there are perfectly excellent non-DRM’d versions of my works available: They’re called books. Buy those and then scan them in, or whatever. I won’t tell.

And yes, I know I sound a little cranky. But look: Fact is, authors actually have very little to do with the distribution of their work once book contracts are signed. Indeed, that’s one of the major reasons we sign book contracts at all: so all the boring crap about the book business will be someone else’s problem, and we can focus on the only thing we’re actually good at, re: writing. I recognize that in some cases folks don’t know this, and think that that author is always in control of everything about the book, so this is me telling you: No, not really. I’m a bubble-burster, I know.

Edit: Patrick Nielsen Hayden, my editor at Tor, has further thoughts in the comment thread.

Doing Other People’s Publicity For Them

Maybe this is just me being a little oversensitive to word use, but recently I’m seeing a lot of e-mails and some comments where people are pointing me at something and saying that I should give that thing “some publicity.” It’s starting to annoy the crap out of me, possibly because I think there’s a difference between people sending me links to stuff they think is cool and that they think I would like, and people sending me links because this site gets oodles of visitors daily and they think I should promote something they like, regardless of whether I might like it.

So, let’s make it easy for folks:

1. If you personally are doing something (or have a book out, or some other creative thing), feel free to e-mail me about it, per my publicity guidelines.

2. If you are a professional publicist, feel free to send me e-mailed press releases about your clients; again, per my publicity guidelines.

3. If you are not in one of the two categories above, please do not send not e-mail me links to stuff because you think I should promote them, because, clearly, people acting as freelance publicists is tripping some annoyance trigger in my brain, and I’m not likely to have the response you’d prefer me to have.

4. Likewise, absent an “open pimp” entry and comment thread, please do not more or less randomly insert links to other stuff (including your own stuff) in comment threads just to use my site for a little freelance pimping. If the link is relevant to the actual post or comment thread, groovy. But if it’s not on topic, you’re just going to piss me off, especially if you do it more than once. As others have learned, my tolerance for crap like this is actually very low, and I will take it out on you if you keep doing it.

If you want to e-mail me a link to something somewhere on the Net because you think it’s funny, or interesting, or compelling, and you think that maybe I’ll think it’s funny, or interesting, or compelling, well, see, I like that idea a lot. Please feel free. If you would be so kind, however, don’t feel you have to suggest that I should promote it. I can make that decision on my own, thank you.

Please note that I don’t think any of you who have done this recently should have been aware that this sort of thing annoys me. Just be aware going forward that it kinda does. Thanks.

Giving Ridley Scott His Due

Over on AMC today, I talk about how Ridley Scott, director a Best Picture (Gladiator) and recipient of three Best Director Oscar nominations (not to mention director of Alien and Blade Runner), is getting to the point where one of those honorary Academy Awards ought to be coming his way sometime in the next few years. Check out the column and see if you agree with me. And as always, if you have something to say, be sure to leave a comment there. I love me some comments.