Random Crap 10/19

Bits and pieces going through my head today:

* It took two weeks for the comment spammers to figure out that I’d yanked all the previous Whatever entries, and now they’re back to annoy me again. Fortunately, this newer version of Movable Type makes it very simple to yank the comment spam out by the roots. I got rid of 25 comment spams this morning in about three minutes, and it would have taken me about three times longer on my earlier install. So good going, Movable Type!

Since I’m finding it not terribly onerous to yank out comment spam, I’ve decided not to institute any comment policies that require people to register. I want people to be able to comment at the drop of a hat, and I accept dealing with some comment spam as part of the “cost” of doing that.

* The Barnes & Noble Web site has an actual “street date” for Old Man’s War: January 28, 2005. I’ve sent an e-mail to Tor to ask about this, but since I’ve been told that generally a book is in the stores a few weeks before the official date, it seems unlikely to me that the book will be around for most of December and the holiday season, so all of y’all who were thinking the book would make a perfect Christmas/Hanukkah/Winter Solstice gift may find yourselves disappointed. As I said, I’ll wait until I hear from Tor to confirm this, but that’s my assumption. Of course, I hope you’ll buy it anyway. It’ll be just right for Valentine’s Day.

Silver lining, however: Book of the Dumb 2 will ready for the holidays — it’s supposed to be out this month, in fact. So it doesn’t have to be an entirely Scalzi-free holiday season. I also note that frequent Whatever visitor Elizabeth Bear’s Hammered has an official release date of 12/28, which again suggests it should be available for seasonal enjoyment. Why not check that out — here’s a chapter excerpt.

* Back to the Book of the Dumb series, I note that the first Book of the Dumb has been doing surprisingly resilient business, at least on Amazon: It’s current Amazon ranking is 6,436, which is not too far off the peak I saw, shortly after it was released, of the mid-2000s. From what the publishers tell me, the book has sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 copies, which is good for me for two reasons — first, I get a sales bonus for that, and second, I think by some quasi-official metric the book publishers use, Book of the Dumb now qualifies as a “bestseller.” So you may now refer to me as “bestselling author John Scalzi.” Or, alternately “pathetically deluded author John Scalzi.” Either works.

Mind you, it’s not as if BotD showed up on any bestseller lists, and I doubt BotD2 will, either — a ton of the sales of these books go through places like Sam’s Club, which I don’t expect spends a lot of time reporting data to the New York Times bestseller list editors. On the other hand, why would I care? The book has sold tens of thousands of copies, there’s another book on the way which (one hopes) will sell as well, and if everything goes swimmingly, I can write more of these fun and silly books. Who can complain?

I am pleased to see that it’s selling so well after a year out, however. It bodes well for the longevity of the series. Also, if the book sells another 60,000 copies by October 2007, I get another sales bonus. Go, Book of the Dumb! Go!

* As a procedural note, it’s becoming more and more likely that I may take a hiatus from the Whatever in November. The reason for this is tied up in the writing of The Rough Guide to Science Fiction Film, which may require some rather intensive attention next month for various reasons which rather thankfully have little to do with me as a proximate cause, but which nevertheless will require my mostly-undivided attention. So, if you don’t hear from me much in November, that’ll be why.

* I’m also behind on getting up the non-Whatever portions of Scalzi.com. Sorry. I wish I had a good excuse. Actually, I wish I had an unpaid intern to slap it all up. Either would work.