Head On Post-Writing Post

Now that I’ve, you know, slept, a few thoughts on Head On (that’s the UK book cover for it, btw):

1. I like it and I think others will like it to. It has everything: Futuristic sports, murder, sex, love, home invasion, shady business people and midnight flights to central Europe. As one must.

2. It’s also a book that ended up different from the book I intended to write when I started. Books change in the telling, because sometimes the book that makes sense in your head doesn’t hold together on the page. That’s not because the page is unforgiving; it’s because your head is too forgiving, allowing you to sort of slide over plot gaps and dodgy character motivations and what have you. Or at least, my head is. So when I tell you “this is not the book I had in my head” that means it’s better, not worse.

3. I’m also sure the writing of the book is deeply informed by it being written in 2017. I’m not going to get into the details of that now, as I think it’s something people reading the book should be able to discover and judge for themselves. Don’t worry, there’s not a strawman Trump stand-in or anything like that. That would be a little on the nose. Just that writing the book was a reminder for me that while science fiction writers write about the future, they live in the now, and the now is going to have an effect on writing.

4. This book also took the longest of any novels to write — I started it in January and finished it yesterday. Part of this, as I noted earlier, is because the world is on fire, and that makes it difficult to focus. With that said, there’s only so much I can blame the trash fire that is 2017. Some of it really is on me. My new year’s resolution is going to be an overhaul of my time management. Wheee!

The good news is that the book was done when it needed to be done to hit its publication date, which is ultimately the important thing. The not so great news is it was done at almost literally the last possible moment to hit its pub date, which is a thing I don’t want to do again. Not only is it not great for me, but it’s a real pain in the ass for the book production staff. I try not to be a pain in the ass.

5. For those who will ask, yes, there will be audiobook, and aside from that it’s too early to say anything else about it. So anything else you’re going to ask about the audiobook, please see the previous sentence.

6. Also, to anticipate the next question, there will also be a book tour for this one, albeit somewhat shorter than the one for The Collapsing Empire — something like ten date rather than twenty four, plus some conventions and book festivals. For this one we’re trying to hit some places that we haven’t been to recently or at all yet. More details when we have them, probably in a couple of months.

7. Finally, in case you didn’t know already, Head On is being released on April 17, 2018. You can pre-order online or from your favorite local bookstore.

8. And now I’m going to spend the rest of 2017 sleeping and watching Teen Titans Go!, I think.

36 Comments on “Head On Post-Writing Post”

  1. April 17? Now, that’s just plain mean. My elder kid is getting married eleven days later, and I am going to have a DICKENS of a time forcing myself not to sneak off to read Head On instead of doing all the tasks I’ll be given in the lead-up to the big event.
    I’m still glad that you made your deadline, and I’m very eager indeed to see what the combination of your imagination plus a raging trash fire of a year produced. And if you do figure out that whole time-management thing, I’d be grateful if you’d share what you learn, as I could stand to improve in that area myself.
    Enjoy your winter vacation, and thank you for all the hours of great reading that you’ve given all of us!

  2. Congratulations! And I like the way the UK cover illustration wittily contradicts the title. I loved ‘LOCKED IN’ and look forward to ‘HEAD OFF’…I mean ‘HEAD ON’…

  3. 1. Congratulations!

    2. You anticipated all of my questions.

    3. If you do a time-management post, I am happy to list what worked for me this year.

  4. Teen Titans Go! my a$$, back to the typewriter, content monkee!

    Just kidding, take a break, enjoy the holidays, go on a cruise, recharge the batteries. And then we’ll discuss your terms of indenture…

  5. But … I’ve got this REALLY important question about the audiobook that I NEED you to answer …..

    But, I guess that’ll have to wait. Looking forward to this one. Enjoy a well earned Christmas break.

  6. Congratulations.

    As for “For this one we’re trying to hit some places that we haven’t been to recently or at all yet.”:

    How about Berlin, Germany? Just a suggestion :)

    whats that? taking a break? oh ok.
    quiets clamour.

  8. Can one suggest the Two Rivers Bookstore, in Memphis, TN, as one potential stop on your tour? Looking forward to this book!

  9. As much as I enjoyed LOCK IN (really, it’s a SUPERB story), I still regard HEAD ON as the book I will be clambering over to get to the COLLAPSING EMPIRE sequel. The Interdependency universe is THAT GOOD. No pressure or anything.

  10. JIT publishing! I’m looking forward to this book. Also, you’ve got fans in Florida, any chance that your publicity tour takes you down here? Suggestion to your publisher…

  11. “Futuristic sports, murder, sex, love, home invasion, shady business people and midnight flights to central Europe”. Yeah, that’s all great and stuff, but are there any explosions? Car chases? Tubas?

  12. Not sure I buy the whole “let’s blame 2017” because it didn’t agree with you personally. Seems like an excuse, ultimately we are responsible for ourselves and letting the events be drama that prevents you from working well is something that doesn’t fly in the real world.

  13. Toronto wants to see you for this book tour. PLEEZ… I have a few unsigned books plus one you signed twice which I would bring for a third.

    LOCK In is one of my favorite comfort reads – I can read it when sick and be entertained even though half my brain cells are scattered about in tissues . This is NOT in any way an insult or criticism. Books that work on multiple levels as this one does – that’s a skill thing. Really looking forward to HEAD ON.

  14. I really hope I get to hear Wil Wheaton reading this one as an audiobook.
    He’s such a good performer for your books.

  15. That UK cover is fabulous. So looking forward to re-entering this world. Also, looking forward to a time when the world is not on fire. Hope it comes some day sooner rather than later–for all of us!

  16. Excellent! I look forward to this taking my mind off of whatever 2018 has in store for a little while.

  17. Is writing posts about time management an effective use of time?  I ask you.

    The ghost of Anne Boleyn is haunting Space Station E and asking why she couldn’t have been the main character of this book as she could really use some head on.

  18. Speaking as a book production manager, looking at your release date, looking at yesterday’s date, and looking at the penultimate sentence of your point #4: I highly recommend sending a crate of high-quality booze and chocolate to Tor’s production department.

  19. As somebody who’s worked behind the scenes as an editor to help turn the author’s manuscript into a real live book, I can attest to the fact that turning it in this week for an April pub date is a very tight turnaround, and basically means that Head On gets pushed to the, um, head of the queue at every next step along the way. And that it IS a bit of a pain, and that Tor wouldn’t do it unless Scalzi had already established over the years that it was worth it.

    I will assume, though, that Scalzi delivers very clean, well thought-out copy and will need minimal editing (not NO editing, but minimal), so THAT helps.

  20. “the writing of the book is deeply informed by it being written in 2017. ”

    This worries me. 2017 has not been one of the best years. Yes, you said that readers would discover and judge for themselves, but you can’t just leave it it that. I would probably have been happier not knowing (or possibly knowing more). Now I get to worry if it will have a depressing tone, or if the world has gone to heck. or worse.

  21. Could be worse, could be informed by November of 2016!

    And could someobne please explain the bug up Trump’s ass re. Mitt Romney?

  22. Barath Sundar:

    “Yes, you said that readers would discover and judge for themselves, but you can’t just leave it it that.”

    Fine. It contains major plot spoilers to The Last Jedi. I hope you’re happy now.

  23. I wish the UK cover were the US cover; I like it much better. I might try to figure out how to order the UK edition if I go for a hard copy.

  24. I watched ‘Teen Titans Go!’ with my grandson when I visited him last spring. Loved it! Kinda reminded me of ‘Sesame Street’ in the way it blended humor and story lines that could appeal to both kids and adults.

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