The Redshirts Pre-Release FAQ

Because as we get closer to release date of Redshirts I am getting peppered with questions, mostly on Twitter, I am making this FAQ to refer people to prior to Tuesday. After Tuesday much of the information will be self-evident.

1. What’s the release date of Redshirts?

For the English speaking world: In the US and Canada, June 5. In the UK, November 15. I don’t know when it will be officially available in Australia/New Zealand as I don’t have a direct publisher in those countries.

2. Will the eBook version be available on June 5 as well?

In the US and Canada, yes.

3. Will there be an audiobook version of the book as well and if so when and who is narrating?

There is an audiobook version, from Audible. It is narrated by Wil Wheaton. It will be available in the US on June 5. I believe it will also be available in Canada at the same time, but don’t hold me to that.

4. Does it matter to you which format we buy the book in? Which one gives you the most money?

It doesn’t matter to me in the slightest which format you buy the book in; I’ll get paid regardless. I appreciate you paying for it. That being the case, get it however it works best for you.

5. Any foreign language editions?

To date Redshirts has been sold in German and Spanish and Hebrew. The German version will be out November 12; I don’t know about the other versions.

6. You mentioned earlier that the Redshirts eBook would be DRM-free. Is that still true?

Yes. Tor, my publisher in the US and Canada, is releasing the eBook without DRM (digital rights management) restrictions everywhere it is sold. I can’t speak as to whether my publishers in other countries and in other formats intend to do the same. Here are some additional thoughts on DRM and Redshirts.

7. Are you going on tour?

Yes. Here are the tour dates. Please double check with actual venues for times; things are still changing around and the venues will have the most up-to-date information.

8. Will you sign books on the tour?

Yes. I will also have no objection to signing books you bring with you to the event, although it is always a very good thing to buy a copy of a book of mine from the bookstore hosting my event (it’s how they stay afloat. Please support them).

9. You are not coming to a town near me on your tour. Why not? How may I get a signed book? 

Tour stops are chosen by my publisher who chooses the stops by various criteria, including which bookstores out there are excited to have me come around. If you want me to come to your town for a future tour, encourage your local bookstore to ask Tor to have me drop in. I have very little personal control over which cities I visit on any particular tour. Please do not be angry with me if I do not visit your city. Your city is awesome.

As for getting signed books, contact one of the bookstores on my tour and order the book from them and ask them to have me sign it. I will be happy do so. You may also order a book of mine from Jay and Mary’s Book Center in Troy, Ohio (my local independent bookseller). I’ll be signing their stock of Scalzi books either this weekend or next Thursday.

10. I live in the UK and I may explode if I don’t get to read Redshirts immediately. What do you suggest?

Here’s the thing: If my UK publisher doesn’t see interest in the book, then I will get dropped and then selling other books of mine into the UK will become even harder, which will make reading me there even more difficult in a general sense. My thought is that if you pre-order the UK version of the book from your favorite bookstore (online or off), then also somehow happen to read a version of the book ahead of its UK release date, I as the author will not complain in the slightest.

11. Wait, did you just advocate —

I advocate nothing but pre-ordering the book from my UK publisher. I am also not stupid. But, look: It really is important to me that you encourage my UK publisher to keep publishing me, and I suspect for future releases the release dates will sync up more precisely and this will not be a problem. In the meantime, Redshirts will make a lovely holiday gift.

Other questions? Leave them in the comments. I may add them to the document as we go along.

52 Comments on “The Redshirts Pre-Release FAQ”

  1. Item #4 makes me giggle. People are really concerned how best to give you the most of their money? Man, I would set up a paypal account and take donations if I was you

  2. Huh. I would’ve thought there’d be a FAQ that goes something like: “Where can I buy a red shirt like the one that appears on the cover?”.

    I can’t be the only person who’d buy one …

  3. I’ll be buying the audiobook for myself (I can’t pass up anything narrated by Wil Wheaton!), the ebook for my partner, and the hardcover for my collection. It feels a little weird to buy three copies of the same title but I HAVE TO HAVE the shiny shiny hardcover.

  4. Downloaded the preview chapters from iBooks and could NOT stop laughing. An absolute must-read for any sci-fi fan. Fabulous fun, can’t wait for the release of the full book. And add me to the “I want my red shirt” queue.

  5. Thanks for the info on the audiobook, but I still can’t find anywhere to order it online. I guess that I’ll have to look for it in the brick-n-mortar stores.

  6. So do people generally have a preferred ebook vendor, assuming I prefer epubs over Kindle .azw files or whatever they use?

  7. I was going to be driving through Lexington on the evening of the 28th anyway, and I am now going to try very hard to synchronize it so my family can go to your appearance there! Since we are all readers of your books – my husband and I have read the whole Old Mans War series, and I have also read a couple other books by you, including Fuzzy Nation, which my son is now reading. Things like this don’t always work out but it’s making me dread the long drive less, at least.

  8. Barry, annoying as it is, Audible doesn’t have things available for preorder ever. If they’re releasing it June 5th with the print and ebooks, it won’t be live on their site until then, at which time it can be bought right away.

  9. About the tshirts–I positively loathe “women’s tailored” shirts. Not all of us have an hourglass figure, which is what the “tailored” shirts always presuppose. If I get a tshirt, it’ll have to be a men’s small. Why do so many tshirt designers assume all women are prissy fashionistas? I just want a comfortable shirt!

    Okay, rant over. Resume normal activity…

  10. The eBook sales being restricted to the US and Canada seems rather foolish to me. You’ve made great strides in making it easier for people to pay you for your book, but this one restriction seems pretty counterproductive. Everyone who knows how to read an eBook knows that it will be on the internet for free the day of release, no country restrictions. You can’t beat pirates on the price, but letting them beat you on service to boot is shortsighted at best.

    Good for bowing to reality on DRM, but still a little work left. Putting up barriers for people who want to give you the money is never a good idea.

  11. Why US and Canada only for digital audiobook and ebook?

    I don’t see why Tor can’t open those up for a worldwide audience, but then that maybe because I want to buy it right now down here down under…

    It’s so frustrating as I don’t get why you wouldn’t release that globally.

  12. I have pre-ordered the hard copy book. I will also get the audio book because Wil Wheaton reading John Scalzi is a squee treat I don’t want to miss!

  13. I’m hoping to be able to make it to Vroman’s in Pasedena on the 12th, where I will have traveled from Murrieta, CA anywhere from an hour and a half to two hours depending on how the 91 is doing during my travel time.

  14. Since I no longer live in Dayton & so won’t be able to attend the Books & Co. signing, I ordered my copy from the friendly people at Jay and Mary’s. Happy Face!

    No personalization for an Ohio Ex-pat. Sad Face. But hay – I get my autographed book soon, so hurray!

  15. The New Zealand availability date (for me at least) will be June 5 + “Priority International Shipping”

  16. @ Donna Oy. The 91 at rush hour just makes me shudder. I’m hoping to make Vroman’s as well.. though the almighty 5 isn’t much better at that time.

  17. seems to be playing silly buggers on the pricing; on the price differential between the hardback and the Kindle is around 3 dollars. On the hardback is £20 and the Kindle is £7.99, giving a price differential of about 18 dollars. This is a very powerful disincentive to buying the book in hardback, and whilst it’s obvious what’s in it for Amazon it’s difficult to see what’s in it for the people who actually produce the books, not to mention what’s in it for the people who want to buy and read the books.
    Thought you might like to know about this since it seems relevant to point 10 on your list above…

  18. My guess for Australia and New Zealand is that we’ll get the book after the UK release (like, about 6 weeks after the UK release due to shipping time) – our publishing times are linked to the UK as per the ancient and venerable orderly marketing agreements which made up publishing domains. Alternatively, if you’re really keen, find a specialist science-fiction/fantasy bookseller, and order a copy of the US edition (via import) from them, and expect to pay premium prices plus Aussietax.

  19. @Curse: If there’s no DRM, it doesn’t matter where you buy it from or in what format. Just use Calibre to convert it to whatever you need. (Actually, with the proper plugins you can use Calibre to convert it whether it’s DRMed or not…) I personally prefer ePub, since it’s an open standard and has better features than many of the alternatives, but I have a Kindle and so have to use mobi for that. I end up with two copies of all of my ebooks, one in mobi for my Kindle and one in ePub for my computer and Android tablet and phone.

  20. I love items #3 and #10 – Wil’s reading of your books are just fantastic. I just hope that Audible’s region restrictions will allow me to buy from the US store. I was a US Audible store subscriber with monthly credits long before the UK store had proper amount of books in it… but you can’t use their US credits on the UK store… aaarrrgggg.

  21. Honestly, am a bit confused. What’s the One Right Link to buy this thing to be delivered on release day, DRM-free, and have the money go to where it should? Approve of DRM-free, just confused by logistics.

  22. The universe wants me to read this book. I arrive in the USA on the 5th. First stop looks like being a bookshop.

  23. Michael J Parry:

    “It’s so frustrating as I don’t get why you wouldn’t release that globally.”

    Because I get paid more by having a larger number of publishers.

  24. Since Tor’s parent company won’t sell eBooks to libraries, the fact the eBook is DRM free is irrelevant to all libraries. This is an unfortunate circumstance that I’d hope you would nag your publisher to change.

  25. “Because I get paid more by having a larger number of publishers.”

    I get that for the paper book and for cd releases of the audio book. With the hard copy versions the division of the word wide rights into territories makes sense. The local company can control marketing and ensure bookshop shelves are stoked. So for the author you get more money. Funnily enough that doesn’t matter to me if we don’t have a release date in N.Z. as I can order the physical copy from Amazon. They will ship to NZ and as an author you get my money.

    With the digital however that mode and thinking doesn’t make sense. In NZ at least the shops we will use are the same ones – Amazon, ITunes, IBook’s, and Audible. I can see no advantage to the territory system there. And usually the items are limited to being downloaded in the territories. This means that I can’t buy them when I want them. Therefore the author isn’t getting paid more because I can’t buy the book.

    I am in a frustrating loop right now with another author’s work where I want to buy the digital audio books to her works for my son (who does most of his reading by listening to audiobooks). It is not available for the NZ/Australia market. Her hardcopy versions are though. I can go to the shop and buy a paperback (which I have done) but I can’t buy the audiobook because no one has the rights to this territory. The company that has the rights to sell the works here isn’t interested and the main company who releases them in the US can’t because of the paperback rights. And the author misses out on getting my money.

    Sorry for the rant but I really believe in the digital arena that the territory system just doesn’t make sense.

  26. Michael J. Parry:

    “With the digital however that mode and thinking doesn’t make sense.”

    If you wish to make that argument to local publishers, who will not purchase books without controlling the electronic rights in their territories, then you are of course free to do so. However, they will disagree with you and will tell you that it makes no sense whatsoever to let another publisher take rights in their territories and have revenue they could have for themselves.

    “Therefore the author isn’t getting paid more because I can’t buy the book.”

    You are assuming that the author gets paid when you purchase a book. In fact almost authors gets paid through an advance on royalties (relatively few books earn out their advances). From the author’s point of view it generally makes more economic sense to maximize advances from publishers, which means offering up the rights publishers wish to control in their territories.

  27. Since I’m still a little confused, will the ebook will be DRM free no matter where we buy it from? So if we buy it from Amazon, it will not have Amazon’s DRM on it? Or do we have to buy it from Tor directly to get a non-DRM ebook?

    jesse c

  28. What part of “there’s no DRM” is so complicated?


  29. “there’s no DRM”

    Well. I get that you’re saying that there is no DRM. But, I see a lot emphasis on DRM in that sentence. I mean, DRM is completely capitalized.


    Oh. Well that’s better. Now, when you say “wherever” do you mean wherever wherever? Because, honestly, I’m a little confused by all this talk of the TOR EDITION. Is that a special edition? Are there others?

  30. “Buy it wherever you want.”
    I would if I could. The geographical restrictions suck. I somehow understand the restrictions when they are applied to UK, where an another publisher is publishing an English language version of the book. What I don’t understand why the restrictions are applied to non-English speaking countries, where there will be no competitive versions of the book. By the way, do you have a tip jar if i happen to “find” a copy your book somewhere?

  31. @Other Bill: If the “Publisher” line for the ebook listing says either “Tor” or “Tom Doherty Associates, LLC”, which is the case on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble, then it’s DRM-free. If it’s published by another publisher, as would probably be the case outside of North America, then it will probably be DRMed.

  32. “THERE IS NO DRM ON THE TOR EDITION OF THIS BOOK. PERIOD. Buy it wherever you want.”

    In short, I don’t actually trust that the version I’d buy from Amazon would be DRM-free by either being a locked file or a proprietary format. If someone pointed me at a retailer that had continually sold .epub files without DRM and said they’d also be carrying this and other TOR books then I would gladly throw my money at them. That’s why all the questioning.

  33. Why can’t I buy the english ebook version in Germany? It’s ridiculous … I don’t want it in German, I want the English version …

  34. Amazon tells me I would have to wait until 15. nov for the english ebook version … hmpf … I thought they would like to *sell* the books?

  35. @Thomas: By “english” do you mean “British”? Because Amazon US is showing it will be available tomorrow.

  36. I’d encourage your UK publisher if they weren’t making me wait 5 months. Sorry. No sale. It’s insulting and backwards. I’m not rewarding that kind of behaviour.

  37. “It’s insulting and backwards.”

    Oh, for goodness sake. It’s neither. It’s because before they could print the thing, they had to buy it from me, and the contractual back and forth took time. Once they had it they had to fit it into their publishing schedule. If you’re personally insulted by a business actually acting in a business-like manner (which includes making sure I am being treated fairly), I have no idea what to tell you.

  38. It works the other way too people. There are plenty of books, from authors from countries other than America, which I’ve waited months after their release to be published here. It certainly is not the authors fault or the fault of their own domestic publishers. There is an author, from Australia, who is one of my favorite authors. She has 2 books of a new series out there now, and book one hasn’t been published here yet. I have heard she is in negotiations to publish them here. I understand the feeling, it makes me want to tear out my hair. But, it is how these things work.

  39. I preordered signed copies from two bookstores during the tour (Brazos and Vroman), and they both ran out. Congrats on a great-selling book, but I’m still bummed. Finished Android Dreams a few weeks ago, and instantly had the urge to go buy all the rest of your books (still missing a few!). Hate Mail is quite enjoyable.

  40. Ok, I get the whole staggered publishing thing, US authors will sell to US publishers 1st and then to overseas ones & likewise, as many dead tree publishers also have ‘e-stores’ it makes sense for them to release both formats on the same day. How come I can buy the audio book (which I have) from itunes already tho? Other than some dastardly plan to make more money by enticing me to listen to it & then buy a copy to read in 5mths time, they are publishers after all ;) Oh, never read any of your books before this onebtw but Howard Tayler said ‘if you like schlock you will like this’ & that usually works for me :)

  41. Thank you for making my Christmas so very very complete by signing a copy of the book for my husband and me after my friend requested it from your local Ohio bookstore. You have turned her from an awesome friend and gift-giver into a super-galactic-interstellar-supernova friend and gift giver. Plus made me giggle all day in between playing Hungry-Hungry Hippos and putting together Lego sets with our sons. :)

%d bloggers like this: