For those of you planning to go to or thinking of attending the O’Reilly Tools of Change conference in New York City, February 9 – 11th, be aware that I’ll be there and I’ll be on a panel that is in fact pretty much about this very Web site: “Where Do You Go with 40,000 Readers? A Study in Online Community Building”
Here’s the abstract for the panel:
Science fiction author John Scalzi began writing the Whatever blog in 1998, posting about a wide variety of topics including the core themes of politics, writing, and science fiction, which helped him accrue an audience of roughly 40,000 daily readers over the course of a decade. In 2002, Scalzi serialized a novel, Old Man’s War, on his website and got the attention of Patrick Nielsen Hayden, a senior editor at Tor Books—which, starting in 2005, published that book, three sequels, and another novel over a three-year period, with yet another book on the way for 2009.
Publishing industry observer Ron Hogan will interview Scalzi and Nielsen Hayden about, among other topics:
* the role of Whatever in building up a fan base for Scalzi’s fiction
* the online community that emerged from that fan base
* how to nurture such a community—and how lightly to hold the leash
* the model Scalzi’s success offered for the creation of Tor.com
* using free ebooks to promote authors and publishing imprints
As noted, I, PNH and Ron Hogan are on the panel — but the panel also as a special guest star: Tobias Buckell, who as you probably know does that there Web thingie himself. It’s going to be tons of fun. The panel will be at 3:40pm on Wednesday — one of the very last panels of the conference, actually — so mark your calendars now.
I think it’s kind of cool that Whatever is being held up as a model of community building, etc at one of these conferences, and I’m looking forward to talking to all of them about all of you. Don’t worry, I’ll say only nice things. What, you think I’m going to talk smack about you all behind your back? I would never. Well, there was that once. But I was drunk. I swear.