Very Important News About My 2016 Novel Release (and Other Fiction Plans)

So, here’s the Very Important News about my 2016 novel release:

Currently, there isn’t one. Not a new one, anyway.

Which isn’t to say I’m not writing a novel in 2016. In fact, I’m writing two(!). Merely that Tor has decided to wait until 2017 to release the next new one.

Why the wait? Among other things, because Tor just dropped a ton of money on me so we want to make sure we debut this next novel, the first in the new contract, just right. I’m on board with this plan — note the “we” in that last sentence — since (again, among other things) I actually want to try to earn out the silly large chunks of money Tor has dropped on me. I also don’t mind the extra time it gives me to write/tweak the novels I’m currently working on.

Note that 2016 isn’t the first year without a new Scalzi novel: 2009 and 2010 were likewise new novel-free. And then came the nice run of Fuzzy Nation, Redshirts, Human Division, Lock In and The End of All Things. We did all right after the last pause, is what I’m saying. I think we’ll be okay with this one too.

(For those curious about the novels I’m currently working on: One is a YA, and the other is a space opera, planned to be the first in a new series, the latter being the one that will likely be the 2017 release. For more details on these, you’re just going to have to wait. I know, I know, waiting sucks. I’ll make it worth it, promise.)

Does this mean that there will be no fiction work from me in 2016? Not at all. Here’s what you’ll definitely see on tap for 2016 (i.e., done and awaiting publication):

* The paperback release of The End of All Things, currently scheduled for May 31st.

* The novella “The Dispatcher,” which will debut first as an audiobook through Audible, and then later in printed/eBook form through Subterranean Press. This is my first foray into contemporary fantasy, and I think you guys are going to enjoy the hell out of it. No solid release date yet but almost certainly in 2016.

* A short story called “On the Wall” which I co-wrote with my pal Dave Klecha, which is part of the Black Tide Rising anthology, co-edited by John Ringo, for Baen. Yes, that John Ringo and that Baen. Pick your jaws up off the floor, people. I’ve made no bones about liking Baen as a publisher, and I’ve noted for a while that John Ringo and I get on pretty well despite our various differences and occasional snark. Also, it was a ton of fun to write in his universe and with Dave. The BTR anthology comes out June 7th.

There’s also a strong likelihood I will have something else released from Subterranean Press in 2016. More details on that when everything’s hammered out. Plus! I may have a short story or two out in ’16, pending scheduling. Again, more information on that later if something positive happens in that direction.

All of which is to say that you won’t lack for fiction from me in 2016. It’ll be there.

Top Ten Whatever Posts for 2015, Plus 2015 Social Media Stats

Every year about this time I do a review of posts and stats, because I’m a nerd like that. Are you ready for the countdown and nerdery? Then here we go!

Top Ten Whatever Posts: For 2015, here were the top ten posts on Whatever, by number of visits. The posts with asterisks are the ones that were written in previous years, i.e., posts from the archives.

1. Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is*
2. Eight Things About Donald Trump
3. Being Poor*
4. Paris
5. Apologies: What, When and How*
6. Frightened, Ignorant and Cowardly is No Way to Go Through Life, Son
7. Keeping Up With the Hugos, 4/20/15
8. A Note About the Hugo Nominations This Year
9. 10 Things Teenage Writers Should Know About Writing*
10. You Never Know Just How You Look Through Other People’s Eyes*

That’s an even mix of pieces from 2015 and pieces from previous years, and the archive pieces are not a surprise; each of them were in 2014’s roundup, too. They’re in there because they’re classics, that word here being defined as “pieces that show up very high in Google searches on that topic.” I don’t mind this at all; like any writer, I like that things that I’ve written have staying power.

If we take out the archive pieces, here are the five other pieces from 2015 that would have shown up on this list:

Obviously, for 2015 there was high interest in the Hugo Awards, because this was the year a bunch of petulant whiners joined forces with a narcissistic bigot to systematically jam a bunch of their pals’ work onto the award ballot, all the while going out of their way to insult everyone who was not them. Naturally this was a topic of conversation in my circles (also, and unsurprisingly, it didn’t work out for those involved very well; also unsurprisingly, they continue to think the problem is everyone else). But this is also the year in which I started writing more about politics and non-nerd-related social stuff, after a couple of relatively light years in the topics. It’s not surprising to see that back on the year-end menu as well. I expect 2016 will have more of the same (the political and social stuff, that is; hopefully not more Hugo nonsense).

Social Media Stats: Well, let’s start with Whatever, shall we? On this date in 2014, Whatever had 5.768 million visits for the year. As of today, for 2015, Whatever has 5,788,858 visits (I’m positing the whole number because I’m amused at how many eights are in that number), which is to say, essentially the same number of visits as last year. That’s just a smidgen under 16,000 visits a day to the blog.

Note I say to the blog, because the site also has 21,635 WordPress followers, up from 12,242 on this day last year, which is healthy growth for followers, but also is a number of people who don’t visit the blog because the entries get pushed to them instead. To get a little(!) fast and loose with the stats here, if we were to take the average of the WordPress follower numbers of the last couple years (which would be 16,938) and multiply that by the number of Whatever entries for the year so far (603, not counting this one), that would be another 10.2 million “visits” to stuff I’ve written here this year, for an aggregate average of 44,000-ish daily “visits” to material written here. This also doesn’t count the people who see it through RSS feeds (Feedly, etc) or via Tumblr and other sources. Or the 2.2 million visits in 2015 to the previous iteration of Whatever not tracked by my ISP stats package, but not by WordPress’s (on account those pages aren’t WordPress pages).

All of which is to continue a theme which I’ve noted for the past couple of years, to wit: It’s getting more difficult to track who, and how many, are reading things from here, thanks to the increasingly fragmented manner in which material from here gets to people out there. It’s fun for me to look at my stats on an annual basis — and fun to share them — but I’m aware that the reliability of those stats, as relates to this particular site, is more uncertain each year. Not that they were ever particularly certain, mind you.

(Which is also why I don’t get put out when someone wishes to brag they get more visitors to their Web site than I do. One, good for you! You must be proud. Two, it’s not actually a competition. Three, even if it were, see above. The site stats don’t tell the whole story.)

Regardless, what the site (and other stats) do tell me: People continue to read what I write here. Hooray!

Aside from Whatever, Twitter is where I spend most of my time, and as of this very moment I have 93,494 followers, up roughly 18.5k from last year. I also tweeted (again, as of this second) 21,753 times in 2015, which amongst them garnered 137.61 million impressions. Note that not every tweet is seen by every single one of my followers — people have lives and are not tethered to Twitter 24/7, I mean, hopefully they’re not — and that tweets that are replies are usually seen by exponentially fewer people than the more general ones. Twitter reach is a funny thing. That said, when a tweet hits, it hits big: several of my tweets this year were seen by hundreds of thousands of people, thanks to massive retweets, the top tweet (this one), reaching 587,000 people. It’s interesting.

I’m also active on Facebook, where my fan page has 14K likes, and on what remains of Google Plus, where 18K people follow me, but I don’t have any real stats for them, so, meh. Likewise, hey did you know I’m on Ello? A thousand people follow me there! Hello, Ello!

Coming back to Whatever, here’s how people came to the site from other sites in 2015: Google was by far the largest driver of visits, followed by Twitter and Facebook. Reddit, interestingly, sends only a fraction of traffic that either Twitter or Facebook does; the only people there who have an a real interest in me are either the odious dweebs of Gamergate or the Redditors who poke fun of the odious dweebs of Gamergate (Gamergate in general, I should note, seems to have gone past its sell-by date, which is, you know, nice).

In all: 2015 seems to have been a reasonably good year for this site and for me on social media in general. If you’re reading this, you’re part of the reason. Thank you for that. Let’s see where 2016 takes us from here.