Eye-Roller of the Day

Uh-huh:

White House officials will be required to attend briefings next week on ethics and the handling of classified information after the indictment last week of a senior official in the CIA leak probe, according to a memo released on Saturday.

The briefings will provide a refresher course on general ethics rules, including "the rules governing the protection of classified information," the memo said.

Yes, because, you see, that whole thing about senior White House officials allegedly blowing the cover of a CIA operative? They just didn’t know it was wrong. Which may in fact be true; however, not in the manner a refresher course in ethics would be able to rectify. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad President Bush decided a course on ethics for his staff was necessary. Possibly, however, it should have come in late 2000, before they all took up shop.

Meanwhile, as this memo comes out, Cheney is still pressing Congress to let CIA agents torture people.

Gaaaaaaah. This White House doesn’t need an ethics course. It needs an ethics intervention.

Fun With Royalties and other Book News

Yesterday’s mail brought royalty statements for Old Man’s War through June of 2005 (yes, there’s a bit of a time lag involved), and it was pretty good news. Not only has Old Man’s War earned out its advance, it’s also earned out the advance of The Android’s Dream, the book that was the other part of the two-book deal I got when I shacked up with Tor (The Ghost Brigades is on its own separate contract), and has earned a bit more beside that. This is good news because:

1. It means that the trade and mass-market paperback editions of Old Man’s War will be pure gravy, in terms of royalties;

2. It means I start earning royalties on The Android’s Dream from the very first book sold;

3. It means I start being paid royalties sooner. The way the contract was structured, royalties wouldn’t be paid until the advances for both novels were recouped, so if OMW had only earned out its own advance, I wouldn’t be getting a check until when/if Android’s Dream earned out its advance as well (you may ask: why agree to such a thing? Answer: because I didn’t figure it would be an issue one way or another. Yay! I was right!).

4. It means Tor is definitely making money off me, and relatively early, which is a happy thing for the selling of future books, particularly to them.

So am I rolling in sweet, sweet royalty money? No. Three words: "Reserves Against Returns." Which is to say Tor holds back some money every statement period to make sure they’re not whacked by returns of the book; the money held in reserve is typically refunded in the next statement period. By that time they’ll have stopped selling the hardcover to get the trade paperback in the stores, so we should have a nearly complete accounting of how many hardbacks were sold and how many were returned. This is probably where Tor’s thing of multiple-but-relatively small printings will be useful; I don’t imagine there will be too many returns overall, and that’s not a bad thing.

In all, not a bad place for a first-time author to be. As an aside, I’d note that if you actually wanted a copy of the hardcover of OMW, now would be a good time to get it, since as noted it’s going to be withdrawn from sale when the trade version comes out. This is particularly imperative for folks who like the Donato cover, since the trade version (and any future mass-market version) will feature the John Harris cover.

Other book news: Subterranean Press informs me that Agent to the Stars has sold 1200 copies so far, which is a very healthy number for a small-press limited edition. The run was of 1500 copies, so that means 300 are left. I’m hoping these get nabbed by the end of the year, so I’ll be forced to fork over $350 to the Child’s Play charity, as previously promised, on top of the 10% of the cover price Subterranean has already pledged to Child’s Play. You can get them at the link above or off of Amazon.

Also, Barnes & Noble is featuring The Rough Guide to Sci-Fi Movies as a Recommended Gift for the holidays. Naturally, I couldn’t agree more.  

That’s the book news I have for you today.  

 

Mike Argento and the Dover, PA ID Trial

For those of you who have been following the basics of the "Intelligent Design" trial in Dover, Pennsyvania, here’s an excellent resource for a more or less daily perspective on what’s been going down there: York Daily Record columnist Mike Argento had been attending the trial from start to finish (which was yesterday) and has been writing rather acidly about the proceedings. He’s not Mencken at the Scopes Monkey Trial, but that doesn’t mean he’s not been doing a fine job. Also, he’s clearly having fun with it. His blog has all the relevant columns — they start on September 23rd and conclude with an entry today. It’s good stuff.