Daily Archives: May 14, 2013

Reminder: Tomorrow, San Francisco, Borderlands Books, 7pm

And I’m very excited about it, because Borderlands is one of my favorite bookstores in all the land, and it’s always so much fun to be there. Will you be there? You should be! That is, if you’re in the San Francisco area. If you’re, like, in Idaho, it’s okay if you sit this one out. One day I will come to Idaho, I’m sure. But if you’re in or near San Francisco, Borderlands is going to be the place to be.

The details are on Borderlands Books events page; scroll down a little bit.

See you there!

Reminder on Getting Signed Human Divisions + Thoughts on Dan Brown

First thing’s first: If you wanted to get a signed copy of The Human Division and are not able to get to one of my tour dates, here’s what you do:

1. If you want it signed and personalized, order the book from one of the stores on my tour I have yet to visit and they’ll be happy to set aside a copy, which I will be happy to personalize to you (or whomever you wish to have it personalized to).

2. If you just want it signed, the better to sell it on eBay when I am smothered in a tragic kitten avalanche, then check with the stores I’ve already been to, they probably will still have signed books in stock. For example, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore in San Diego has tons of signed Human Divisions, and after tonight, so will their Redondo Beach store, and so on. Alternately, my hometown bookstore, Jay & Mary’s Book Center in Troy, Ohio, has signed stock on hand and would be delighted to send one along to you.

Of course, if you can come to the signings, please do come to the signings. They’re fun. And I don’t want to be alone.

Second thing’s second: A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by a journalist who was doing a story about authors who have a book coming out on the same day as Dan Brown’s new book Inferno, presumably because it will be amusing to hear us wail and gnash our teeth about that particular juggernaut crushing our books. I wasn’t home when he called and he never got back to me about it, so I will not be in that article. But if I had been, what I would have said is this:

I am in fact entirely unconcerned. I have no doubt that Inferno will sell rather more copies than The Human Division, but I doubt seriously that it will take away any sales from my book; which is to say I doubt that someone is going to walk into a book store, see Brown’s book and mine, and have a great existential crisis about only being able to choose one or the other. There may be overlap between our audiences, but I suspect that the overlap we have would choose to get both.

This would be the place to say something snarky about Brown, but I have nothing snarky to say about the dude. I read one of his books; it was entertaining and I was entertained and if there was anything about the book that was supposed to be deeper than that it went right past me. Being cranky about a Dan Brown book not being high literature is like yelling at a cupcake for not being a salad; it’s really missing the point. You don’t want the cupcake? Don’t eat the cupcake. Apparently lots of people like cupcakes. They don’t care that you want them to eat salad. You eat salad, if it’s so important to you.

But beyond this, I suspect that the article this journalist fellow was writing might have been predicated on a zero-sum thinking, which is that the money spent on Dan Brown today takes money from other writers. It doesn’t actually work that way. There are a certain number of Dan Brown readers who read one book a year, and the book they read this year is his. Bluntly put, that’s not money taken from me or other writers because we were never in contention for that cash. There is the another category of Dan Brown reader, which are the sort of people who love to read books, and also read Dan Brown. Someone in that category is going to cruise through Inferno in a couple of days and be on to the next book — perhaps mine, perhaps someone else’s. The point is in this scenario Dan Brown doesn’t take money away from any other writer in any significant way, because people who love reading read a lot of books.

And then there’s a third scenario in which people who didn’t know they like to read, read a Dan Brown book, enjoy it and then say “what else is out there?” In which case Dan Brown just did me and every other author a favor, because now there’s a new reader to shop our wares to. This is one reason why you won’t hear me gripe about Dan Brown, or E.L. James, or Stephenie Meyer or [insert frequently maligned author here]. They don’t hurt my career, and have the potential to benefit it.

So good luck to Dan Brown on his sales today, not that I think he will need it. And good luck to me, too. I suspect when the day is over, both of us will be perfectly happy with how it’s turned out.

The Human Division Hardcover (and Compiled eBook and Audio Editions): Now Out!

The hardcover (and compiled, DRM-free electronic edition, and also the compiled audio version) of The Human Division, the latest novel in the Old Man’s War series, is officially out today, May 14, here in the US and also (because Tor owns the rights worldwide) in the rest of the world as well. You can buy it at your local booksellers (which I encourage if you like your local bookseller) or online at just about any major online book retailer; please note that not all online retailers will turn on the “sell” button at the stroke of midnight. The hardcover/compiled eBook edition includes a couple of extras not (yet) available separately. People who bought the individual episodes online need not fear, however, as those extras will be available online in the near future (i.e., you won’t have to buy the rest of the book, again, to get them).

In addition to being the fifth novel in the Old Man’s War series (after Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, The Last Colony and Zoe’s Tale) this also my ninth novel in total, and my nineteenth book overall, all published since 2000 (and all the novels since 2005). Time flies when you’re busy writing. I will say that although The Human Division is the fifth book in the OMW series, it was intentionally written so that people new to the OMW universe would not have to read the rest of the series to know what’s going (and to enjoy the proceedings). I’m a big believer in getting every OMW book to stand on its own, even as they form a series.

This book is unusual in that it comes to the print market not just a bestseller, but a multiple best seller — in electronic form, each of the book’s thirteen episodes made it onto the USA Today bestseller list, one after the other, for thirteen straight weeks. I don’t mind telling you that when “Earth Below, Sky Above,” the final episode, made it onto the list, I breathed a sigh of relief. The book stuck the dismount. Thank you, those of you who bought the book in the episodic form.

I’m also happy to say the book has been getting some really excellent reviews, which is also an occasion for a sigh of relief. You never quite know how people are going to respond to you, as a writer, returning to your best-known universe, even if they have been clamoring for you to go back into it. By and large, people seem to have taken to this new installment, for which I am grateful.

I’m also grateful for having gotten an opportunity to go back into the OMW universe in this way. Over the last couple of years, I knew I wanted to tell more stories in this world, but the stories I wanted to tell wouldn’t necessarily fit comfortably into the convention novel format. The fact that Tor not only allowed but actively encouraged me to aggressively play with the traditional structure of the novel is the reason this particular novel works and (in my opinion) is something special. They also did an amazing job with book — everything from art to advertising. I have never been happier to be a Tor author than I am with this book.

As most of you know by now, I am on tour to support this book; the official tour, which starts today in Redondo Beach, takes me to fifteen different cities throughout the USA. If you are in or near one of these cities, I hope you will come down and see me on tour. I promise you a fun time.

I’m really proud of this book, folks. It’s already done some amazing things, and I’m looking forward to where it takes me next. I hope you’ll read it and like it as much as I do. I think you will. I hope you will, anyway.