Here I am at the Cincinnati Library Comic Con 2014 this afternoon:
As you can see, I brought a variety of my books with me, but I still had most of them by the end of the event. Still, I sold a bit over a quarter of my stock and earned a decent chunk of change, with 20% donated to the library. Not shown in the photo: the one copy I had left of Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder. Since this was mainly a comics event, my Spidey novel and Only Superhuman sold significantly better than the Trek titles, a change of pace from what I’m used to. It makes me think I should’ve tried harder to market OS at comics events back when it first came out.
The library had snacks available for the guests, including mini-quiches from Panera. I’m not usually a quiche eater, but I was hungry and I saw that they had a spinach-artichoke variety, so I decided to give it a try, and it was quite good, as one would expect from Panera.
Another thing that really impressed me was the material covering the table, that gold sheeting you see there. The texture had a good firm grip to it and it nicely held my books in that upright position. I usually have trouble keeping them from falling over when they’re like that, but they were all very well-behaved today, so I can only conclude it’s because of the tablecloth material. If I knew what it were called, I’d recommend it to all my conventions.
I have another signing coming up at the Main Library in Cincinnati, as part of their Cincinnati Library Comic Con event going on now through May 10. The Main Event is on Saturday, May 10 from 1 to 6 PM, and I’ll have a booth there that afternoon with copies of my books on sale. A portion of the profits will be donated to the Library. I just got a new carton of remaindered copies of the Only Superhuman hardcover, so there’ll be a bunch of those on hand, along with assorted copies of various other books of mine.
As before, here are directions and parking info for the Main Library.
Heads-up for folks in the Cincinnati area: This Sunday, April 6 from 1:30 to 4:00 PM, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County will be hosting the annual Ohioana Library Association reception for local authors, including me. The program will include a panel discussion (which I don’t think I’ll be on) and individual recognition of the featured authors, and will be followed by a book fair where attendees can meet the various authors and buy autographed books. This is the second year of the book fair portion, and last year I didn’t sell any books, perhaps because I neglected to let anyone know in advance that the event was happening (blush). So this time I’m giving some advance notice. I’ll have a few copies of Star Trek: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel on sale, and I’m also thinking of bringing some copies of ROTF: A Choice of Futures and some of Only Superhuman.
And of course there will be plenty of other Ohio Valley authors with books of their own to sell and discuss. So if you’re in the area this Sunday, drop by the Main Library at 800 Vine Street in downtown Cincinnati. Although be aware that, while downtown parking is free on Sunday, there’s reportedly a lot of construction in the area so it may be hard to find. This page has directions and parking info.
Well, not anymore. For many years, I’ve had a small TV in my bedroom, equipped with an antenna (no cable hookup) and attached to a VCR. But a few years ago, the broadcast stations switched to digital and I didn’t bother to buy a converter; I figured I’d just keep the TV around if I wanted to watch a tape before going to sleep or something. But I hardly ever did that (I prefer to read before bed), and the VCR doesn’t work well anymore — the playback head seems dirty or corroded and I have nothing to clean it with. So the whole thing was basically taking up space. But I’m a pack rat by nature, loath to get rid of things in my possession and preferring to keep them around “just in case.” So I just left the TV and VCR where they were, atop my dresser.
Yesterday morning, though, the thought finally overcame my mental inertia: Why do I even keep them plugged in if I don’t use them? I don’t even bother to set the VCR clock, since there’s a clock radio right next to it. Having them plugged in may have only used up a trickle of power, but it added up over time. So I figured I might as well unplug them until or unless I had reason to use them. So once I’d done that yesterday morning, it only took until afternoon for me to take the next step: If they’re unplugged now and just taking up space, why not just put them in the closet and clear up some much-needed surface area in my bedroom? So I did that, and I moved a crate which I use as a bookshelf into the vacant space, which cleared up some room to rig a couple of makeshift bookshelves where the crate had been (one out of a cardboard box with its flaps duct-taped back, one out of a plastic drawer I recovered and cleaned from someone’s curbside trash, which is almost exactly the same size as the box), and that let me ease the overcrowding on the bookshelves for my general SF/fantasy/other paperbacks.
But that got me looking at the other bookshelves I have on top of the general-SF bookcase, the shelves where I keep my non-Star Trek tie-in books, mostly a whole bunch of Target Doctor Who novelizations from way back. (I used to have a comprehensive collection, though eventually I got rid of many of them, keeping only the novelizations of stories I liked and all the missing stories. But it’s still a pretty sizeable collection.) The main case I use there is one of a pair of cardboard bookcases, printed with a wood grain pattern, that I realize I’ve had for over 30 years. Each of the cases has three shelves, the top two of which are just tall enough to hold paperbacks and the third of which is just tall enough for standard hardcovers or trade paperbacks. The problem, though, is that I mostly just have standard paperbacks in the bottom shelf, and an extra row of paperbacks on top of the case adding weight, so one of the sides of the case is buckling at the bottom and the structural stability of the unit is compromised.
So clearly I need a new bookcase to put there, but my search online has been unproductive. Bookcases are expensive, more than I’m comfortable spending right now. And I can’t find anything like those cardboard bookcases. I found one site that seemed too good to be true, offering a 3-foot by 3-foot oak bookcase for under 15 bucks when it was normally sold for over 200 bucks — but then I found out that the catch is that the shipping cost is nearly 150 bucks. So much for that idea.
Maybe the problem is that people don’t read as much anymore. Perhaps I should be looking into DVD shelving instead, since DVD cases are a little taller than paperbacks.
Anyway, I’m just glad I’ve finally made at least a small start at rearranging my bedroom. I get tired of living in the same unchanging environment after a while, and I’ve been in this apartment over 10 years now. Sometimes I look sideways into my bedroom mirror to see the reflection of the room, and I always think “Wow, that room looks so much nicer than mine.” Because it’s different. When I was younger, I’d periodically find ways to rearrange my existing furniture and bring some novelty to the space I inhabited. Unfortunately, the layout of my apartment and the configuration of my furniture leaves me very few options for rearranging things. Even making a small change is rewarding. I just hope I can solve the bookcase problem before I have a collapse.
I’ve noticed that Only Superhuman has very few reviews posted on its pages at Amazon (11 as of this writing) and Barnes & Noble (7 as of this writing). I’ve gotten a fair amount of feedback for the book in various places, so I know people are reading it and talking about it, but surprisingly little of it is showing up on those two pages. Yet I gather that the reviews on those sites help generate attention for a book, at least among their customers. So I wonder if I could ask folks who’ve read the novel to post reviews on either or both of those pages. It doesn’t matter whether you bought the book there; this is about increasing attention and discussion. And of course I’m not just soliciting positive reviews. Please be honest, but make your thoughts heard. And feel free to use the like/share buttons on those pages too. And if you’ve listened to the audiobook versions of Only Superhuman or Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder, feel free to post reviews on their GraphicAudio pages.
If nothing else, getting more reviews might produce a more statistically useful sample size. As it stands, OS is averaging 2.8 stars out of 5 on Amazon and 4.5 out of 5 on B&N, so clearly the samples are too small to give representative results. Of course, what I’m asking for isn’t going to produce statistically unbiased results either, but it couldn’t hurt.
Feel free to do the same for any of my other novels as well, of course, although my Star Trek novels generally get more reaction already, and my Marvel novels are out of print. Only Superhuman is the one that I think could benefit the most. Plus it would just be nice to get more feedback from my readers.
Well, it’s been a bit of a mess trying to make arrangements for New York Comic-Con, since apparently they didn’t have enough tickets or something. They actually sold out of professional passes prematurely, before I could get one, so I had to buy regular tickets, and all they had left were Thursday and Friday tickets. So I’ll only be in attendance at NYCC on those two days — well, assuming my tickets ever arrive. The paperwork said they’d begin mailing them in mid-September, but I haven’t gotten mine yet. But there’s still two weeks to go, so I’m hopeful.
Anyway, I have two signings tentatively scheduled, both on Friday, October 11.
11 AM, Booth 838: GraphicAudio hosts a combined signing for the Only Superhuman audiobook, which will be on sale at the booth, and the mass-market paperback. which will be a free giveaway. There might be copies of the Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder audiobook on hand too, though I’m not sure.
4 PM, Booth 1828: Simon & Schuster’s booth hosts a Star Trek signing, which was hoped to be a group signing but so far is just me. I assume I’ll be signing copies of Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures.
There won’t be any scheduled event for me at the Tor booth (2223), which is why I’ll be doubling up on the MMPB and audiobook at the GraphicAudio event (and I’m very grateful to the GA folks for accommodating me). But I’ll surely be hanging around the Tor booth for a fair amount of time on Thursday and Friday, and there will be signed copies of Only Superhuman there as giveaways. No doubt I’ll drop by the S&S and GA booths on Thursday as well. Ticket gods willing, that is.
If there are any changes to the schedule, I will of course announce them promptly.
Look what just got delivered to my door:
It looks good. I’m a bit surprised that the spine is still green, since I’ve gotten used to the brown background of the front cover.
The books officially go on sale tomorrow (8/27), so there may be some on bookstore shelves even now.
And now that I have my copies of the MMPB, I’ll be able to double-check the page numbering and go live with my expanded annotations, which will encompass the hardcover, paperback, and audiobook editions of OS. There are a few minor textual adjustments, meaning that the paperback is now slightly more final and authoritative than the hardcover (although we’re talking, like, three single-word factual errors corrected, a missing number in the appendix restored, and a couple of typos fixed).
Here are some ordering links:
And here’s the link for the audiobook:
I do hope the book performs well in MMPB. I always felt it was more a paperback sort of tale anyway.
Empire Magazine‘s site has posted a feature on Pocket’s Star Trek novel line, focusing mainly on the series that expand the universe beyond the aired shows:
This includes some series that I’ve been a part of; Department of Temporal Investigations gets a whole page, and their “if you read only one” recommendation for Titan is my Over a Torrent Sea. Plus there’s an oblique reference to The Buried Age on their page for The Lost Era, though they don’t mention it by name. I do wish they’d spelled my last name correctly, but otherwise I appreciate the attention, both on my behalf and that of my colleagues.
I was checking my sales rank for Only Superhuman on the online bookstore sites just now, and I noticed they’ve now got the cover image for this September’s mass-market paperback edition of the novel. Here it is:
Note that they’ve rotated the artwork 90 degrees clockwise from how it appears on the hardcover. One thing I noticed about the cover art from the start is that it works pretty well in either orientation, so it’s kinda nice that it’s being used both ways. I also quite like the italicized and color-graded version of the title text. Oh, and I like it that my name is printed bigger. ;)
In other news, the audiobook edition of OS has intermittently been making it onto Amazon’s top 100 sellers list for SF and Fantasy books on CD. It hasn’t been staying there consistently, and I don’t think it’s made it above #50 yet, but it’s nice to see.
While I’m at it, I’ve found that there are pre-order links available for Star Trek: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: A Choice of Futures as well. Here ya go:
Still no cover art available, though. I don’t know when to expect that or what it might look like. Currently I’ve got the copyedits in hand, and those are due back on Friday. I’m also told that the manuscript has been officially approved by CBS, so I should be getting the remainder of my advance shortly!
I’ve also just turned in the outline for my next Trek novel, which I can’t talk about yet. I’ve got until the end of July to write it, so once I’m done with the copyedits on ACOF, I’m planning to shift focus for the next month or two and work on some original short fiction.
Well, this comes sooner than I expected — I happened to notice the other day that some of the major book-buying sites online are already offering pre-order links for the mass-market paperback edition of Only Superhuman, which according to them is due to be released on August 27, just about seven months from now. (Give or take, of course, since there’s no fixed release date for most books, just whenever the stores get them on the shelves.) The listed retail price for the MMPB is $7.99, pretty much standard for the format — in other words, the same amount that my Star Trek novels sell for. So fans of my Trek work who’ve found the hardcover of Only Superhuman too pricey, yet prefer to have a physical book rather than buying the $11.99 eBook edition, can now order your copies at last, though you’ll have to wait a few more months to read it.
And Amazon has a preorder link for the audiobook adaptation from GraphicAudio as well, which is due out in February (though I’m not sure when in February) and is apparently 7 hours long and will retail for $19.99 on CD. Here are the links:
It’s been announced by Macmillan that I’ll be appearing at the Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati to do a reading from Only Superhuman along with signing that and, presumably, whatever other books of mine they have around. It’s scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 7 PM, and the address is 2692 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45208.
This isn’t actually up on the J-B site yet, though, so it’s possible the specifics aren’t entirely firmed up yet. If any of this information turns out to need correction, I’ll be sure to post it as soon as I can.
I’ve been interviewed by the book blog The Qwillery about Only Superhuman. Here’s the link:
There’s also a giveaway of a copy of the novel, which you can enter simply by commenting on the interview post. Details at the link.
I just got back from running some errands, starting with depositing the advance check I just received for my current Star Trek novel — which I’m still not cleared to reveal any specifics about, as far as I know. It’s the second book advance I’ve gotten in as many weeks, which is a nice state of affairs.
After that, I went to the local Joseph-Beth Booksellers store so I could see my book on the shelf:
And hey, I’m almost right next to a book by my NYCC co-panelist Amber Benson!
I also introduced myself to a store manager there and tried to get a sense of how the book was doing, but that was inconclusive. They had 10 copies in stock at that store, which I’m hoping is a good sign, since at Books by the Banks (which Joseph-Beth supplied the books for), there were dozens of copies on hand. But it’s hard to be sure.
On the way out of my parking space at Joseph-Beth, my car was almost bumped into by a minivan with a Romney-Ryan bumper sticker, because its driver wasn’t paying attention. Which seems very fitting to me.
Anyway, after that came the roughest part of my trip, which was trying to take my nonfunctioning vacuum cleaner in to the local warranty service center. I wasn’t sure whether the vacuum had broken or both batteries had simultaneously died, so I hoped to get some help figuring that out and maybe getting replacement batteries if that was the issue, as well as getting the old ones recycled. But first off, I found it hard to find a parking place near the store, and had to do some extra driving and turning around and stuff to find a place I could legally park, which was a bit of a walk from the store. Then the store clerk told me he basically couldn’t do anything for me where that particular model was concerned except sell me a new one, which was only about 10 bucks more than a replacement battery would’ve cost anyway, so he said. (I checked online, and if you take tax and shipping into account, I’d say he was just about right.) My floor wasn’t getting any cleaner, so I gave in and bought the new one (which, to my disappointment, came with only one battery instead of the two my previous one came with, so I hope there’s still some life left in the old batteries after all). I’m upset that I wasn’t able to recycle the old vacuum, but at least I have some spare pieces in case I need them.
So that wasn’t too satisfying, but at least I have a functional vacuum again (hopefully). And on the way home, I noticed I was approaching a Big Boy restaurant. I’d just been thinking, not long ago, that it had been too long since I’d been to Big Boy and had one of their Buddie Boy ham sandwiches, which I quite liked. So I went in and did that, and it was very good, as were the baked apples I had on the side. Plus I saw they were advertising their pumpkin pie, and I remembered that they had a wonderful pumpkin pie, so I had a piece of that for dessert, and it was wonderful. So that was a lovely bit of serendipity and I feel very satisfied now — though it didn’t help with my efforts to lose some weight and get back into shape.
UPDATE: I just tried the new vacuum’s battery in the old vacuum, and it worked. So I only needed a new battery after all, not a new vacuum. I wonder if it’s worth it to return the vacuum and just order a replacement battery. Or maybe it’s a good idea to keep the new vacuum on hand just in case the old one does break down.
Today was the Books by the Banks festival for authors from the Cincinnati region, and I spent six hours at the convention center downtown hawking my wares. In addition to a big pile of Only Superhuman, the bookstore providing merchandise for the event also had a bunch of copies of Forgotten History, a small supply of Watching the Clock, three copies of the Mere Anarchy trade paperback, and one lonely copy of Spider-Man: Drowned in Thunder — which wasn’t lonely for long, since it was the first book I sold. By the end of the event, I’d sold out of Mere Anarchy as well and was down to one WtC, and I’d moved seven copies of OS and at least a few of FH. Plus a few people who didn’t buy OS then and there nonetheless indicated they intended to buy it online or as an e-book. All in all, while I could’ve wished for better, it was a pretty decent performance considering that this was a general book festival, not specifically SF-oriented. I seem to recall that at my first BbtB, where they only had Titan: Over a Torrent Sea for sale, I didn’t sell that many copies. So I’m satisfied with how this event turned out. Plus I made a couple of new contacts and set things in motion for a book signing event that will hopefully materialize fairly soon.
It’s October 16, 2012, and that means Only Superhuman is now officially on sale! The major online bookseller sites all list it as “In Stock,” and the e-book editions are now available for download! I’ve updated my website’s ordering links from “preorder” to “buy.” But just for the heck of it, here are the main ones again:
In other news, I’ve been interviewed about Only Superhuman by the website My Bookish Ways.
Look what the UPS guy brought to my door today:
It’s finally here! It’s been 24 years and 2 months to the day since I first came up with the character of Emerald Blair (I remember the date since it was 8/8/88), nine and a half years since I first outlined Only Superhuman, and now it’s a finished hardcover novel I can hold in my hands. My journey is finally finished.
Although I’m hoping it’s just the beginning of a new journey. Which depends on all you guys buying enough copies that I get to do sequels.
The folks at Tor sent over some uncorrected advance reading copies of Only Superhuman. These are paperback printings of the second-pass galleys (so despite the “uncorrected,” they incorporate all the edits I asked for, except for a few bits in the appendix which should be fixed in the final book), intended for sending out to reviewers and such for advance publicity. I gather they’re mainly for sending to book reviewers in magazines that have a publishing lead time of several months, so that they can get reviews published in a timely fashion.
Aside from being in paperback (and having a cropped version of the cover painting, presumably because the hardback cover is a bit larger), it’s apparently representative of the look and feel of the finished product. So it’s pretty cool to get to hold it in my hands and page through it. It’s the next best thing to getting the actual book come October.
I put a copy on my science fiction bookshelf, as I’ve been waiting to do for a very long time. It’s sitting between Timescape by Gregory Benford and The Stars, My Destination by Alfred Bester. A pretty cool place to be.
It’s actually a thinner book than I expected, though that could be due to the paper stock or something. And I guess it’s not that long a book; the final draft came out to around 115,000 words, and of course a hardcover or trade paperback can fit more words per page. And no doubt the hardcover’s, uh, hard cover will add more thickness.
It’s been a full day for me. First, I finished proofreading the first-pass galleys for Only Superhuman (i.e. the pages that show what the final text will look like including formatting) and mailed them back to Tor. I caught a number of typos that I’m amazed I never noticed in all the dozens of prior times I’ve been through this manuscript, like “to use use” or “that was in itself was the result” or my personal favorite, “Sarkar crossed your arms.” That’s right, she reached out of the book and crossed the reader’s arms. (In my defense, that was right after a sentence ending with a very emphatic “you,” so I guess there was some pronominal inertia there.)
I also just got my complimentary copies of Star Trek DTI: Forgotten History from Simon & Schuster! Yup, the book is in my hands now, and it should be on bookstore shelves within the next few weeks. It’s not as hefty a tome as its predecessor Watching the Clock, but they make a nice pair.
I also just got some reading materials as research for a possible new project, so I’ve got past, present, and future projects (or present, near-future, and more distant future in publication terms) all converging on the same day. It’s all a bit overwhelming.
Especially since I also had to deal with getting my car towed. I discovered yesterday afternoon that it wouldn’t start, and had no electrical power whatsoever. A couple of kind people helped me try to jumpstart it, with no luck. It was a bit late in the day, and I didn’t urgently need it then, and I still had a lot of proofreading to do, so I put it aside until this morning. So I had to call the insurance company to find out how to deal with the situation (turns out they’ll reimburse me for the tow), then call the tow truck guy, then walk three blocks to the ATM and three blocks back so I could pay him in cash. Then when he arrived it took me a few minutes reading the manual to discover how to get the car into neutral with no power so it could be moved into a position where the tow truck could get to it. (Yes, I actually read the manual.) Then I had to walk a mile home from the garage, and wait for them to call while I finished up the galleys.
So anyway, while I was composing the first draft of this post around 4 PM, I realized the narrative had no resolution, so I decided to call the garage and find out how the car was doing (yes, I am a writer, why do you ask?). Turns out they were just about done with it, and it was a bad battery, which means the warranty applied and I saved some money. So I have a new battery now, and since the car was in the shop anyway, I asked them to replace the windshield wipers too, since the ones I had were lousy and didn’t do much good. And as it happened, it was raining lightly when I picked the car up, so I got to try them out right away, and they’re nice and quiet and work better than the old ones.
Plus, as it happens, the garage is directly across the street from the post office, so I got to mail back the galley pages and pick up my car on the same trip — and right after that I drove to the grocery store and did the shopping I was going to do yesterday. Which is nice, because if I was going to walk a mile for the second time today (plus 3/5 of a mile to the ATM and back), it’s good that I was able to get multiple things accomplished. (Hopefully including getting in slightly better physical shape so that walking that distance will be easier in the future.)
So now I’m very tired and kind of sore, and that’s even after a long, hot soak in the tub. But I accomplished a lot today, and that’s a good feeling.
Looks like Only Superhuman is starting to show up online. A book database called Risingshadow.net has posted the cover blurb for the novel (though it may be tweaked a bit before publication):
In the future, genetically engineered superhumans, inspired by classic Earth comic book heroes, fight to keep the peace in the wild and wooly space habitats of the Asteroid Belt
2107 AD: A generation ago, Earth and the cislunar colonies banned genetic and cybernetic modifications. But out in the Asteroid Belt, anything goes. Dozens of flourishing space habitats are spawning exotic new societies and strange new varieties of humans. It’s a volatile situation that threatens the peace and stability of the entire solar system.
Emerald Blair is a Troubleshooter. Inspired by the classic superhero comics of the twentieth century, she’s joined with other mods to try to police the unruly Asteroid Belt. But her loyalties are tested when she finds herself torn between rival factions of superhumans with very different agendas. Emerald wants to put her special abilities to good use, but what do you do when you can’t tell the heroes from the villains?
Only Superhuman is a rollicking hard-sf adventure set in a complex and fascinating future.
And we’re starting to see some pre-order links showing up too!
The Risingshadow site has a page of multiple ordering sites for the novel, most of which don’t have the book yet, but if you’re interested in alternatives to the big vendors, you might want to bookmark that page.
Both the big vendors have the book at a considerable discount, currently marked down to $14.50 from the list price of $24.99, but don’t worry — my royalties are based on the list price, so I still earn the same amount even when you pay less (as long as you buy it new rather than used).
So far only the hardcover edition is available for pre-order, but I’m told there will be an e-book version released the same day as the hardcover.