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Friday, May 29, 2015

The Olympian indifference of Johnny Con

John Scalzi attempts to spin the narrative about his book deal on Twitter:
John Scalzi @scalzi
I'd like to thank @torbooks for taking a chance on me even though I don't actually sell any books.

John Scalzi @scalzi
Also, yeah, if you're one of those people who thinks I'm ruining science fiction, it's gonna be a bad next decade for you. Oh well!

John Scalzi retweeted
Jim C. Hines @jimchines
1. @scalzi signs a $3.4 million deal with Tor.
2. People authorsplain how he'd have earned even more if he'd only done ________.

#Facepalm

John Scalzi @scalzi
Reading commentary on the deal reminds me that a large majority of people do not know how publishing works. Which is fine, but interesting.

John Scalzi @scalzi
Most people don't HAVE to know publishing economics, mind you. Why would they? But if you're going to opine on them, it does help.

John Scalzi @scalzi
Schadenfreude: Watching people who've been sooo wrong about my career desperately try to spin this deal as a bad thing for me. Wrong again!

John Scalzi @scalzi
For those interested in compare and contrast: The advance for my first published novel -- "Old Man's War" -- was $6,500.

John Scalzi@scalzi
Someone living off of daddy's money probably shouldn't try to lecture others about finances.
What else is new? SJWs always lie. Mike Cernovich summed up the salient point yesterday.

Mike Cernovich @Cernovich
As a white straight male capitalist, I'm happy for @scalzi's $3.4 million book deal. But how many women/POC are squeezed out because of it?

I had estimated 680 on the basis of other SF publishers' current initial advances, but I stand corrected. According to McRapey(1) himself, Tor is funding 13 more John Scalzi books at the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors. As a side note, it is informative to see how much initial advances from major publishers have shrunk over time; the advance for my first published novel in 1996 was $20,000 $25,000.

CORRECTION: For the benefit of those who don't know, I brought in Bruce Bethke as a co-writer AFTER being offered my first book contract with Pocket Books. Also, it was the advance for my first solo novel, The War in Heaven, that was $20,000. Those who think publishing isn't a zero-sum game are correct in a sense, it is worse than a zero-sum game. It is a negative-sum game, which is why first advances are now one-fifth to one-tenth of what they were 20 years ago.

Those who have thrown hissy fits over Sad Puppies supposedly slate-blocking as many as 12 authors and preventing them from receiving recognition for their work at the Hugo Awards would do well to consider the fact that Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you're the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed.

As Scalzi himself says, it's going to be a bad decade for them. But at least we'll have a few more snarky, derivative and mediocre novels from Tor to not read. So that's nice.

It's a little strange that people have claimed that my head is exploding or that I'm somehow upset by this deal. That's not the case at all. In fact, I'm very, very, very pleased that Tor has decided to bet its future on John Scalzi rather than on any of the 523 other authors in whom they could have invested. I wish it had been a 13-book deal at $3.4 million per book. Scalzi isn't the problem, after all, Scalzi is just one of the uglier public faces of the problem.

Castalia House was never going to publish Johnny Con because we don't publish Pink SF snark-fic or work with people we know to be liars. But if you're one of those 523 authors left out in the cold and you have a really good science fiction novel you want to publish, then we would certainly be interested in hearing from you.(2)


(1) I have been asked if John Scalzi will be relinquishing the "McRapey" title in light of George R.R. Martin's astonishing accomplishment in rape fiction. Upon consideration, the answer is no, but GRRM will henceforth be known as "George Rape Rape Martin".  

(2) Yes, we are behind in responding to our submissions. I'll be working on them this weekend.

Labels: ,

107 Comments:

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 29, 2015 6:51 AM  

At least Scalzi could throw those losers a lawn party, catered food, paper plates and all.

Blogger Bobo #117 May 29, 2015 7:00 AM  

John Scalzi@scalzi
Hopefully now I can afford to buy a real chin and maybe a wife who looks less like a tranny...

Blogger Nate May 29, 2015 7:06 AM  

Wait... Vox doesn't know how publishing works?

Anonymous NorthernHamlet May 29, 2015 7:13 AM  

Wait... Vox doesn't know how publishing works

I'm sure the answer is rather obvious (disqualify all past efforts), but that claim struck me as really pathetic. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Vox can tell he knows something about books.

Really stupid.

Blogger Michael Maier May 29, 2015 7:13 AM  

How much did you get for MEDIA WHORES?

Seems you had publishing dialed in at least a little...

Blogger Jack Ward May 29, 2015 7:25 AM  

Finished up chapter five Three Body Problem. Have to admit, just on those chapters, that I would have had to vote Three Body for best novel over Larry's removed book. And, yes, I purchased and read that book by Correia. I would love to see tha TBP author join Castalia.

Blogger Nate Winchester May 29, 2015 7:37 AM  

Watching people who've been sooo wrong about my career desperately try to spin this deal as a bad thing for me. Wrong again!

Given the tweet you post 2 later, is he supposed to be referring to you? Because I remember that post from a few days ago. Here are VD's words: "This isn't a bad deal for Scalzi,"

First they couldn't understand nicknames, now they can't understand when Vox actually agrees them?

Blogger Nate May 29, 2015 7:37 AM  

I'm just pointing out... the guy has published how many books.... fiction and non-fiction through how many different traditional publishers? and now is the lead editor for a publisher.

but...

Vox doesn't know anything about publishing?

The funny thing about this is... how Hines and Scalzi can't actually be bothered to read and understand. Vox didn't criticize Scalzi for taking the deal. He simply called it the conservative call.

There is a time to make the conservative call.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan May 29, 2015 7:39 AM  

Does Tor books take rape seriously?

Anonymous Stingray May 29, 2015 7:40 AM  

Castalia House was never going to publish Johnny Con because we don't publish Pink SF snark-fic or work with people we know to be liars. But if you're one of those 523 authors left out in the cold and you have a really good science fiction novel you want to publish, then we would certainly be interested in hearing from you.

That's got to sting just a wee bit.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet May 29, 2015 7:51 AM  

There is a time to make the conservative call.

Agreed

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 7:57 AM  

There is a time to make the conservative call.

Exactly. There is nothing wrong with the deal for Scalzi. He's not an empire builder, he just wants feel secure. It's a reasonable deal for him. The more interesting thing is how it works for Tor. It's superficially a great deal; they locked in one of their top authors for a decade. Where it might - MIGHT - bite them in the ass is on the opportunity cost side. We'll see.

Anonymous Tom May 29, 2015 7:58 AM  

Wow, I just read the first page or so of Three Body Problem on Amazon Preview. That's one hell of a writer right there.

I know nothing about the rest of the story, but that first scene is like an intricate little Faberge egg with that last little line like a silver chain linking it on to the next section.

Anybody who could make that deserves a $3.4 million contract.

Dang it. Another book I have to read. Yeesh, will it never end?

Anonymous Minion #0172 May 29, 2015 7:58 AM  

Scalzi of course counters that Tor will make money off his books which will enable them to fund even more opportunities for new POC, female, tranny, and handicapped writers.

On first blush this would seem to be classic capitalist dogma, where it's assumed one's success is not at the expense of others. Did J. K. Rowling's huge advances stifle new authors or did it expand the market?

Discuss.

Anonymous Nathan May 29, 2015 8:02 AM  

"Given the tweet you post 2 later, is he supposed to be referring to you? Because I remember that post from a few days ago. Here are VD's words: "This isn't a bad deal for Scalzi,""

Scalzi's likely referring to the Passive Voice article on his contract. The indie crowd was quick to point out various takes on Scalzi's contract, many of them unflattering to him.

Blogger Salt May 29, 2015 8:06 AM  

the opportunity cost of no less than 523 initial advances to new science fiction authors

All TOR would need is one ~J.K.Rowling. But no, better to go with a mid-list.

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 8:08 AM  

Scalzi of course counters that Tor will make money off his books which will enable them to fund even more opportunities for new POC, female, tranny, and handicapped writers.

Maybe they will, maybe they won't. But that's irrelevant and presumes Tor will make more off his 13 books than they would have made off the 523 other writers they could have signed. That's the case he would have to make in order to actually rebut, and he hasn't even started trying to do so.

Blogger Cataline Sergius May 29, 2015 8:11 AM  

Interesting thing is that $6500 was slightly above industry standard at the time for a unpublished novel.

Oh wait, It had already been published on his online column wasn't it?

Valuable lesson, if you want $1500 above industry standard, convince PNH that a blog is an online column.

Anonymous NorthernHamlet May 29, 2015 8:11 AM  

Scalzi of course counters that Tor will make money off his books which will enable them to fund even more opportunities for new POC, female, tranny, and handicapped writers.

War is peace basically.

The only issue with this is that, in expanding the market, they don't guarantee it'll be THEIR market.

Anonymous grey enlightenment May 29, 2015 8:16 AM  

So scaldi will be a bigger pretentious boob than he already his, assuming that is possible.

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 8:22 AM  

I’ve been offered half his total deal for a single book, turned it down, and then quadrupled the offer on my own within two years. On that single book. Out of the 13 books he writes, one will go viral. That’s his $20,000,000 book. Except, it’ll be a $4,000,000 book now.
- Hugh Howey

Blogger AmyJ May 29, 2015 8:22 AM  

The potential of me buying something from one of those 523 potential authors, and subsequent works if I liked it, is far greater than the potential of me buying something Scalzi wrote - which I have zero interest in doing.

I'd say they lost out.

Blogger Nate May 29, 2015 8:26 AM  

" It's superficially a great deal; they locked in one of their top authors for a decade. Where it might - MIGHT - bite them in the ass is on the opportunity cost side. We'll see."

I dunno... I just don't think Scalzi is the writing machine that Larry Corriea is. In fact the way he's been trying to get into gaming and tv is an indicator to me that the guy is worried he is losing his fastball (relative fastball here).

ya know a lot of authors are chugging along just fine.. the boom. They hit the wall.

Anonymous p-dawg May 29, 2015 8:28 AM  

Geez how come everyone's not patting him on the back for being the smartest little special boy ever?

Anonymous A Reader May 29, 2015 8:29 AM  

It will be interesting to see how well Scalzi's books sell under this deal. I have a feeling that he will 'coast'--writing novels that are serviceable but nothing mind blowing. Sort of like how the production of professors goes down after they receive tenure.

Blogger kudzu bob May 29, 2015 8:33 AM  

If Scalzi's blog were as popular as he claims, wouldn't he have been ideally positioned to take advantage of self-publishing?

Blogger Josh May 29, 2015 8:36 AM  

If Scalzi's blog were as popular as he claims, wouldn't he have been ideally positioned to take advantage of self-publishing?

He can't both self publish and remain chief rabbit of the warren.

Anonymous Nathan May 29, 2015 8:38 AM  

"If Scalzi's blog were as popular as he claims, wouldn't he have been ideally positioned to take advantage of self-publishing?"

Scalzi's always been about the advance from a publisher, as his comments about the Kindle Worlds monetization of fanfic and media tie-ins have shown. He should do well in this new self-publishing age, but he's got that blind spot of his. And boy is he ever so sensitive about it...

Anonymous NateM May 29, 2015 8:44 AM  

To McRapey, self publishing would make him the literary equivalent of what a 'Scab" was to union workers. Even his own side wouldn't take his calls to stick with TradPub seriously if he wouldn't do it.

Anonymous Roundtine May 29, 2015 8:48 AM  

Scalzi assumes any compliment coming from Vox, such as how is he a self-promoter, must be a backhanded one. He could sell 1 million copies and get a $100 million advance, or he could sell zero books and be rejected by publishers, it doesn't change anything about why he is disliked here. On net, I think more highly of Scalzi because he is successful and wish him well in his personal life.

Blogger Rabbi B May 29, 2015 8:56 AM  

"Scalzi assumes any compliment coming from Vox, such as how is he a self-promoter, must be a backhanded one."

Yes, because just as SJWs always lie and people like VD always tell the truth, people who think like Mr. Scalzi just can't ever brook the possibility that both memes are true.

Blogger Joshua Dyal May 29, 2015 8:58 AM  

Given the tweet you post 2 later, is he supposed to be referring to you?

Could be he's referring to Hugh Howie, which is even more obtuse on his part, actually.

Scalzi of course counters that Tor will make money off his books which will enable them to fund even more opportunities for new POC, female, tranny, and handicapped writers.

On first blush this would seem to be classic capitalist dogma, where it's assumed one's success is not at the expense of others. Did J. K. Rowling's huge advances stifle new authors or did it expand the market?

Discuss.


While that is the theory, true, there are a lot of caveats to it. For one thing, it only applies to the long term. In the short term, a publishing house only has so much that it capitalize on at a time (of course, this cuts both ways, as it also applies to the putative 523 new authors too.) The pie isn't limitless, and certainly isn't limitless at any given time. There isn't limitless demand for the same kind of thing, either. In fact, completely unscientifically, I'd wager based more on gut feeling than anything else, that the market for snarky, preachy, diversity "science fiction" is pretty well saturated by supply right now, and has been for quite some time. For another, it assumes efficient use of profits from a successful product, which the bigger and more bureaucratic the organization, the less likely this is to be true. They become money sinks of overhead, poor decisions are made and propagated that squander gains, etc. Turning those profits into opportunities for whatever pet interest groups he's claiming that they will be turned to is hardly a given, and based on past performance doesn't even seem all that likely, quite honestly. The publishing world has gotten much more risk averse when it comes to finding new authors and much more interested in backing known quantities--even if the known quantities are under-performing. As a simple example of this principle: James Patterson. But he's not the only one.

On the other hand, it's hard to argue that in the wake of Rowling there haven't been, specifically, more YA series of vaguely fantasy-like appearance, and some of them have managed to be moderately successful. But the takeaway to me is that the flash-in-the-pan expansion of the market tends to be in copycat also-rans which gain little to no traction. If Rowling did expand the market, and I'm not saying that she did or that she didn't, it's not quite as clear cut as one would like to think. If anything, the market expansion seems to have come in the form of Twilight supernatural romance also-rans or YA dystopian future Hunger Games also-rans moreso than anything that would trace its success in any way whatsoever to Rowling.

tl;dr; Scalzi's assertion is unfounded and dubious. Also, he's no Rowling anyway.

Anonymous dh May 29, 2015 9:05 AM  

Someone living off of daddy's money probably shouldn't try to lecture others about finances.

There it is folks. Why Scalzi really hates Vox. Daddy issues.

Blogger Dexter May 29, 2015 9:06 AM  

that's irrelevant and presumes Tor will make more off his 13 books than they would have made off the 523 other writers they could have signed.

It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that Tor will make more money off Scalzi than the hundreds of no-names, because Tor will push Scalzi hard (publicity, Hugo machinations, etc.) to ensure they recoup their investment, whereas they'd let all the no-names sink or swim.

Blogger bob k. mando May 29, 2015 9:07 AM  

John Scalzi @scalzi
Schadenfreude: Watching people who've been sooo wrong about my career desperately try to spin this deal as a bad thing for me. Wrong again!
John Scalzi @scalzi
Also, yeah, if you're one of those people who thinks I'm ruining science fiction, it's gonna be a bad next decade for you. Oh well!
John Scalzi@scalzi
Someone living off of daddy's money probably shouldn't try to lecture others about finances.



taken together, these three tweets certainly do seem to indicate that McRapey spends a lot of time browsing Vox Popoli.

but don't get it twisted, it's Johnny Con who is in Vox's head. not vice versa.

Blogger bob k. mando May 29, 2015 9:13 AM  

Dexter May 29, 2015 9:06 AM
whereas they'd let all the no-names sink or swim.


fuck ...

they're loading John Wright down with lead.

go into your local book store and tell me how man Mass Market Paperbacks of Wright's that you see on the shelf ...

while Wright is in the middle of writing a space epic. just for explication, the 2nd book in the cycle ( The Hermetic Millenium ) was published in 2012, the 4th book was published this year ... but only the 1st book has ever made it into MMP ...

can you even find any Trade Paperbacks for Wright?

it's no wonder Wright's Tor editor won't reply to his emails.

Blogger JartStar May 29, 2015 9:16 AM  

I suspect more mid-list writers are going to get long term deals like this as the traditional publishing houses try to lock in what talent they have, and hope to prevent the writers from moving to the greater risk and reward world of self publishing.

He's made it very clear he has no desire to go to the effort of self-publishing so this was a good deal for him. From what he's written about his income he's not making any more off from these books than he made recently, he's just set out a path of income so long as he writes the 13 books.

The guy is almost certainly going to be a millionaire in a few years given his conservative lifestyle, and for him it is enough. I say good for him. If he's content with his life, family, and work that's more than a lot of people can say.

The main thing which can derail him at this point is saying something stupid and the SJWs come looking for blood, so if he has any sense his blog turns into pictures of his yard, dog and his favorite dresses.

Anonymous Nathan May 29, 2015 9:17 AM  

"John Scalzi @scalzi
Also, yeah, if you're one of those people who thinks I'm ruining science fiction, it's gonna be a bad next decade for you. Oh well! "

Not really. Neal Stephenson's got a new book out with more on the way, Three Body Problem is the first in a series, Castalia and Baen are still publishing, and indie is flourishing. Kristine Kathryn Rusch's series of anthologies from women in SF in the 40s-60s is set to demolish the rhetoric of the snowflakes. It looks like there's going to be good SF in the next decade, despite Scalzi.

Anonymous Musashi #0350 May 29, 2015 9:18 AM  

Poor Scalzi, he's just a sad little man still coming to terms with being bullied in middle school.

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 9:19 AM  

Speaking of publishers and opportunity costs:

Publishers Weekly ‏@PublishersWkly
@jamespatterson speaks to booksellers: his first novel was rejected by 31 publishers

The main thing which can derail him at this point is saying something stupid and the SJWs come looking for blood, so if he has any sense his blog turns into pictures of his yard, dog and his favorite dresses.

True, but I doubt he has the discipline to do that for the next 10 years. His need for attention is too great. As George Rape Rape Martin is learning, one slip, even one retroactive slip, is all that it takes for a darling to fall from favor with the SJW crowd.

Blogger Stilicho #0066 May 29, 2015 9:20 AM  

The more interesting thing is how it works for Tor. It's superficially a great deal; they locked in one of their top authors for a decade. Where it might - MIGHT - bite them in the ass is on the opportunity cost side. We'll see.

I would think that Tor would want to lock in Sanderson before Scalzi. Talent, productivity, and readers all exceed Scalzi's.

I just don't think Scalzi is the writing machine that Larry Corriea is.

He hasn't been in the past. Perhaps one of those books can be a collection of his blog posts. Another can be a collection of his tweets.

Anonymous black knight May 29, 2015 9:36 AM  

The biggest question of all is... why the FUCK is this even news?

A guy gets paid a $320K salary and the New York Times writes about it? How many (shitty) hedge fund guys make that much in NYC? Even a small public company CEO makes that... the median pay for a CEO is twice this amount ($683K). http://www1.salary.com/Chief-Executive-Officer-Salary.html

Something is very fishy with Tor's PR department. Someone should google "Emily Mullen" and "Senior Publicist at Tor/Forge Books" and see what they can dig up...

Anonymous FP May 29, 2015 9:39 AM  

Interesting link from the PassiveVoice blog posted earlier:

"The state of publishing in 2015"

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,214989.0.html

Tor Uk could be going away.

Blogger Joshua Dyal May 29, 2015 9:47 AM  

"The state of publishing in 2015"

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,214989.0.html

Tor Uk could be going away.


Bigger take away for me from that is that science fiction is on the leading edge of flight from traditional publishing to independent. Confirms much of what is asserted here and elsewhere about boring message fic, pink-sf, etc.

Blogger Nate Winchester May 29, 2015 9:48 AM  

Other Nathan, Joshua Dyal, thanks for answering my question.

There it is folks. Why Scalzi really hates Vox. Daddy issues.

That gets into my growing theory about SJWs.

Premise 1: Whenever you investigate the most vocal of their group (especially those who have made it a career), they are almost always trust-fund kids at most (upper middle class at least). Therefore these people are ones who have greater advantages in life than almost any other human being alive.

Note 1: It is also a common observation that these SJWs are, by measurable standards, failures in many ways. (thus denying them what Arthur Brooks calls the true meaning of happiness: Earned Success)

Note 2: As was pointed out by Larry Correia once, several people, who often start out at lower middle class or below (and thus with fewer advantages) have, by measurable standards, succeeded in many ways.

Conclusion: Thus SJWs, faced with the fact that they have countless objective advantages and failed, while others were the opposite, invent the narrative of "privilege" to explain this disconnect. "I failed not because I'm lazy, but because I'm a [insert minority] who is always being held back." (etc etc)

Premise 2: Vox, per their stated worldview (no idea if true or not, just pointing out their POV), is a "trust-fund baby," not unlike many SJWs.

Note 3: By measurable standards, Vox has succeeded in many ways.

Conclusion: They would hate him enough for proving how much their own failures are their own fault. Had he messed up in ways like they have, he would become a hero to them (especially as his minority status is revealed). However he has not only succeeded as they have, but also while being a minority, thus acting as a perfect control group to disprove their various "privilege" theories. Therefore they hate Vox with a special, raging hatred not just because of anything he's ever said, but because his very efforts and existence is a disproof of the comforts their egos must erect.

Anonymous fish May 29, 2015 9:50 AM  

John Scalzi @scalzi

Also, yeah, if you're one of those people who thinks I'm ruining science fiction, it's gonna be a bad next decade for you. Oh well!


Oh well indeed!

I didn't read your books before I learned what a tool you are....rest assured I won't be throwing any money at Tor after learning what a tool you are. Don't know why you think your piddling advance is going to ruin my next few years?


Blogger Stilicho #0066 May 29, 2015 9:53 AM  

Conclusion: They would hate him enough for proving how much their own failures are their own fault. Had he messed up in ways like they have, he would become a hero to them (especially as his minority status is revealed). However he has not only succeeded as they have, but also while being a minority, thus acting as a perfect control group to disprove their various "privilege" theories. Therefore they hate Vox with a special, raging hatred not just because of anything he's ever said, but because his very efforts and existence is a disproof of the comforts their egos must erect.

That's just the icing on the hate cake. They hates him...gollum...hates him forever...because he tells the truth and truth is the one thing that neither they nor their fantasies can abide.

Anonymous fish May 29, 2015 9:54 AM  

Someone living off of daddy's money probably shouldn't try to lecture others about finances.

If that person understands finance he should! Just stop digging Jon.

Anonymous Daniel #0189 May 29, 2015 9:54 AM  

Besides, once the SJWs want him gone, the $3.4 million exclusionary deal alone is enough for them to wrench him apart. Add rape, privilege and plenty of public footage...and McRapey's left a network of fuses behind him, all attached to the powder keg he barrel-rolled to get here.

Don't forget that not publicly embracing his ladyboy porn fetish enough was enough to leave Arthur Chu out in the cold. I mean, the bomb threat didn't help his case, but the fact is when the SJWarren catches whiff that you may be more threat than protection, you are out: they'll make any case they want - that OMW constitutes elder abuse, that Redshirts is gender-biased, that the Hugo award pictures are phallic.

In other words, you don't even have to "slip up" with these people. If you are weak, they'll make even flimsy charges stick.

The irony is that had GRapeRapeM not lied about and fled the Rabid Puppy debate in the first place, he likely would have had an actual ally in his defense: one that believes he has the right to write what he wants, and that the manufactured outrage is just that. Instead, he acted as if he thought that taking on and losing to Vox would impress the SJWs and make his work immune and beloved.

Social justice has never been so poetic.

Anonymous dh May 29, 2015 10:00 AM  

It's fairly interesting to me that this little nugget got published in the NYTimes. This is basically the NYT acting like PRNewsWire. It would be pretty interesting to be a fly on the wall of the e-mail chain that started this article.

For all we know it's a total lie.

Blogger Nate Winchester May 29, 2015 10:04 AM  


That's just the icing on the hate cake. They hates him...gollum...hates him forever...because he tells the truth and truth is the one thing that neither they nor their fantasies can abide.


yeah but there's a lot of people out there telling truths that the SJWs barely notice...

Blogger Stilicho #0066 May 29, 2015 10:11 AM  

yeah but there's a lot of people out there telling truths that the SJWs barely notice...

Vox has a bigger soapbox than most

Anonymous The other robot May 29, 2015 10:20 AM  

Wow, I just read the first page or so of Three Body Problem on Amazon Preview. That's one hell of a writer right there.

Really?

The Red Union had been attacking the headquarters of the April Tewnty-eighth Brigade for two days. Their red flags fluttered restlessly around the brigade building like flames yearning for firewood.

All I can say is that if Kratman had written it, it would be far better. There certainly would be more crucifixion.

My biggest problem with the first chapter is that the prose is so florid, IMO.

Anonymous Jake May 29, 2015 10:23 AM  

No matter how successful Scalzi gets, he becomes proportionately insecure.

Blogger rycamor May 29, 2015 10:30 AM  

McRapey, McCreepy, and now George Rape Rape Martin. They should form a rape obsession support group. Hines has a whole section of his website devoted to "Rape Resources", so he should probably be the honorary head of the group.

Blogger Dexter May 29, 2015 10:32 AM  

A guy gets paid a $320K salary and the New York Times writes about it?

Wasn't it $260k per book? Assuming he writes them?

Because $260k per year is a solid but not exceptional "fully loaded" annual salary in many corporate settings. Definitely not senior management. Would go a lot farther in Nowheresville Ohio than Manhattan, of course.

Blogger Cail Corishev May 29, 2015 10:39 AM  

Here are VD's words: "This isn't a bad deal for Scalzi,"

Doesn't matter what he said. This is a good example of why you should never alter your words to try to appeal to or mollify SJWs. Vox was actually complimentary about this deal, even arguing with some of the Ilk who bashed it. Doesn't matter. Vox could have praised the deal to the skies, and it wouldn't matter. He could have said this made Scalzi the premier SF author of the age and that Lock-In should be up for the Hugo, and it wouldn't matter. He could have refused to comment on it at all, and it wouldn't matter.

The moment this news came out, Scalzi and the other SJWs instantly decided that however Vox reacted, it would reflect butthurt and jealousy. There was no chance whatsoever of changing that.

Blogger Joshua Dyal May 29, 2015 10:44 AM  

Because $260k per year is a solid but not exceptional "fully loaded" annual salary in many corporate settings. Definitely not senior management. Would go a lot farther in Nowheresville Ohio than Manhattan, of course.

Of course, that corporate middle management guy would also be fully fringed with that salary, which is worth a fair bit as well.

Blogger Cee May 29, 2015 10:46 AM  

If anything, the market expansion seems to have come in the form of Twilight supernatural romance also-rans or YA dystopian future Hunger Games also-rans moreso than anything that would trace its success in any way whatsoever to Rowling.
This is an interesting observation.

I wonder why this is happening, actually. I'd think there's surely a market for Magic Kids at a Magic School also-rans out there. Did Harry Potter genuinely crowd the market out, or is there something else going on that's preventing copies from spawning? (Given the whole kerfuffle with Neil Gaiman, I guess what I'm saying is "are they being super-litigious about anything that even vaguely resembles Harry Potter because it was 'borrowed' in the first place?".)

Blogger Cail Corishev May 29, 2015 10:58 AM  

One thing about a contract that long is that it surely has a lot of caveats built in, and you can't really judge its value without knowing those. How fast does he actually get the money? What happens if Tor goes bankrupt after 2 years? If his sales tank or skyrocket, does either side have a buy-out clause? Can the contract be sold to another publisher, like an athlete's? If he falls behind deadlines, what penalties are there? Are their outs in case he has a reason, like a debilitating illness?

You guys in the business probably know what's typical on stuff like that; but I'd think the details could make the difference between a good and bad contract, aside from the dollar amount.

Regardless, good for him if he's happy with it. It's just too bad he can't enjoy it like a man, without being such a dink about it.

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 11:15 AM  

Doesn't matter what he said. This is a good example of why you should never alter your words to try to appeal to or mollify SJWs.

And it's also why you should simply speak the truth. I wasn't going to badmouth a reasonable deal simply because it went to a ridiculous guy. The deal is what it is. To pretend otherwise is to attack one's own integrity.

I would not take that deal for a number of reasons, chief among them being that I could not possibly write 13 books in ten years. My books are too long. But that doesn't make it a bad deal, just a bad deal for me. What makes sense for one author does not make sense for another and it's pointless to pretend otherwise.

Anonymous Koppernicus 0298 May 29, 2015 11:19 AM  

Speaking of books, when is Somewhither coming out? I want's it, my precious.

Blogger Josh May 29, 2015 11:26 AM  

I wonder why this is happening, actually. I'd think there's surely a market for Magic Kids at a Magic School also-rans out there. Did Harry Potter genuinely crowd the market out, or is there something else going on that's preventing copies from spawning?

Isn't the Percy Jackson series sort of like that?

Anonymous Minion #0172 May 29, 2015 11:28 AM  

"[Scalzi] told you that he has private reasons he isn’t going into [for taking the deal], and mentioned that he was satisfied with those reasons."

Maybe because Johnny Con doesn't plan on being around to actually write those 13 books? Maybe he just wants that $1 mil plus chunk of change on signing.

A lot can happen between then and the deadline for the first book.

Blogger Russell (106) May 29, 2015 11:32 AM  

The opening chapters of "The Three Body Problem" sure paints the SJWs in a poor light. I wonder how many are voting against it because it's a RP nominee and not because it shows the perfidy of their ideology.

Blogger Joshua Dyal May 29, 2015 11:32 AM  

I wonder why this is happening, actually. I'd think there's surely a market for Magic Kids at a Magic School also-rans out there. Did Harry Potter genuinely crowd the market out, or is there something else going on that's preventing copies from spawning? (Given the whole kerfuffle with Neil Gaiman, I guess what I'm saying is "are they being super-litigious about anything that even vaguely resembles Harry Potter because it was 'borrowed' in the first place?".)

I think it is happening, it's just that none of the also-rans (with the exception of Percy Jackson, which is kinda sorta similar) have gained any traction. My own kids, while younger, were looking for ersatz Harry Potters after finishing that series, and just didn't seem to like much of what they found and didn't stick with any of them.

Blogger Daniel May 29, 2015 11:36 AM  

I have no critique of the deal, but a ton for the bad idea of devoting a PR campaign, especially with the details they released. In light of the $7 million deal announced for Meredith Wild which was positioned as one new book plus four reprints (press release was wisely vague on particulars) it makes McRapey's deal look like a cobbled together vanity push, when in truth it isn't. It is an ok deal.

But when a self pubbed writer with 4 books whips your ass in a dick measuring contest, don't whip it out in public and brag that yours is a big deal.

But crowing about mediocrity is what he does, so...more power to him?

Anonymous Anonymous May 29, 2015 11:37 AM  

John scalzi has some writing advice on rape: http://io9.com/something-to-think-about-before-writing-that-edgy-rap-1705586415

Basically, don't do it...wait, Didn't he write from the POV of a rapist a while ago?

Anonymous GreyS May 29, 2015 11:38 AM  

Definitely a smart deal for Scalzi. His recent "Big Bestseller!" was a flop, he's lost blog readers in droves, one of his champions at Tor has been let go and Scalzi knows the future of Tor's current staff better than outsiders do. No author who starts off doing a rip off of a famous book has confidence. Watch that Oprah video again if you believe his post-success bravado.

He looks at it like this-- Get some guaranteed money, scour the genre(s) to find something to emulate, get the Tor Logrolling Machine fired up, sell some of those concepts to TV. The estate of Michael Crichton should get their lawyers ready because he is likely going through that catalogue as we speak. Can anyone doubt there is a Jurassic Snark coming??

Think of Scalzi as a .500 pitcher on a MLB team. He went 7-2 in an emergency call-up his rookie year but has been 13-12, 10-14, 15-13 since. Some in the organization think of him as middle-inning relief, but as a starter he logs enough starts and works the innings which get the team through the dog days of summer. He signs a low-money, long-term, guaranteed deal. He is looking at expanding his small franchise of carwashes in his home state next offseason.

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 11:45 AM  

Speaking of books, when is Somewhither coming out? I want's it, my precious.

Within 2-3 weeks.

Blogger Dexter May 29, 2015 11:50 AM  

John scalzi has some writing advice on rape: http://io9.com/something-to-think-about-before-writing-that-edgy-rap-1705586415

From which:

"One day I was over at her house and I was talking to her about a story idea I had; I can’t specifically remember what the story idea was, but I vaguely recall it being some sort Silence of the Lambs-esque thriller, in which an investigator and a serial killer matched wits, you know, as they do."

Does the guy ever have ANY ideas that don't involve ripping off someone else's work?

" I thought it would be an interesting character note for the investigator, and a good plot development for the book, for the serial killer to basically rape and torture the wife"

Like in Seven! But with more snark!

Blogger Nate Winchester May 29, 2015 11:59 AM  

The fact that the blog owner is voting for it instead of the works he actually nominated is pretty damn amusing to most.

What? That he was honest and sincere about wanting to vote for the highest quality books? Who knew??

The only amusement I can figure these people get is from the idea of someone being honest and straightforward. At which point one must ask, "if the truth is so funny with you, maybe you have a problem?"

Blogger Russell (106) May 29, 2015 12:00 PM  

I apologize. I got that confused with the non-slate non-marching orders from the Supreme Dark Lord.

Blogger Subversive Saint #249 May 29, 2015 12:01 PM  

The last item about George R(ape) R(ape) Martin made me chuckle.

Surely the Dark Lord is in high spirits this day.

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 12:05 PM  

Stop cyberstalking, Obvious. This is the second time today, and the third time in three days that you have been harassing people here.

Anonymous patrick kelly May 29, 2015 12:08 PM  

" Vox didn't criticize Scalzi for taking the deal. He simply called it the conservative call."

Yeah, that was my take. Scalzi is responding to some 2nd or 3rd hand criticism, he may not have actually read anything Vox wrote.......or it is the usual wabbity knee-jerk assumptions and reactions.....that's more likely....

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 12:10 PM  

Make that the third and fourth time today you've been harassing us here, Obvious. I'm just documenting the case of your ongoing cyberstalking and online harassment here, and once I have a sufficiently large dossier I'll present it to the police and let them decide how to handle it, just like I did in the case of Mr. Marston.

Perhaps they will press charges, perhaps they won't, but they'll definitely bring you in for a nice long talk. More than once, if necessary.

You do not have any right to be here. You are trespassing, cyberstalking, and harassing, and you have been repeatedly informed of this.

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 12:11 PM  

That's five today by Obvious.

Anonymous clk May 29, 2015 12:14 PM  

"But if you're one of those 523 authors left out in the cold and you have a really good science fiction novel you want to publish, then we would certainly be interested in hearing from you.(2)"

There is always the silver lining to everything that happens.. which speaks to the universe and its constant inclination to reach a state of balance, return to justice etc .... I hesitate to say God directing behind the scenes (although thats what I beleive) ... but certainly this happens enough to be noticed and commented on. Its always informative to look at the bigger picture and if you stand back far enough and squint your eyes ... see something of interest.

If things hadn't happened as they did .. the whole dust up ending with VD getting thrown of the SFWA, would any of these other things have happened (CH, SP, RP etc) ?...if VD is successful in the CH model it can change the way of publishing... One of those 523 might be the next JRR or Clarke etc ....

Anonymous Nathan May 29, 2015 12:49 PM  

"I would think that Tor would want to lock in Sanderson before Scalzi. Talent, productivity, and readers all exceed Scalzi's."

They probably have. His Cosmere is the most audacious of the Aggravated Trilogies, he tends to show up with an extra book when it's time to deliver, and, from various interviews, he needs that validation from *Tor* specifically. My guess is that the Scalzi deal's publication is as much of a middle finger to Puppies as the nomination of Uncle Timmy's Revenge of Hump Day was one to the con crowd. (For some reason a big part of the trolling on this is that the SJWs expect us to wail and gnash teeth over Scalzi's success. I wonder if they're baffled by the constant refrain of "Good for him" or if they're just driveby shitposting.) Otherwise, given the size of the fantasy market compared to science fiction and Sanderson's success, I'd expect Tor to build the house around him.

Or is this another "evil Mormons in SFF" thing?

Anonymous JS May 29, 2015 12:58 PM  

"Patrick Nielsen Hayden and John Scalzi have combined to prevent more than 500 authors from getting published and receiving paid advances. Opportunity cost is a bitch, especially when you're the one upon whose fingers the window of opportunity has closed."

Huh? This doesn't even make any sense. Tor could still choose to offer the advances you say it can't and still give Scalzi what they did. However, there re only a finite number of Hugo Slots.

Math, VD, Math!

Blogger automatthew May 29, 2015 1:01 PM  

"Huh? This doesn't even make any sense. Tor could still choose to offer the advances you say it can't and still give Scalzi what they did."

Tor has a money tree?

Blogger VD May 29, 2015 1:02 PM  

Huh? This doesn't even make any sense. Tor could still choose to offer the advances you say it can't and still give Scalzi what they did.

Really? They have infinite financial resources?

Blogger MidKnight (#138) May 29, 2015 1:13 PM  

I believe the number would be lower than 500 - the opportunity cost of a new author isn't JUST the advancement bonus, but time/etc. from the editorial and other staff. In some regards, dealing with one KNOWN author is actually easier per work submitted than ferreting out new work....

That said, the basic principle stands. Barring an effectively unlimited well of capital (monetary and time), the chunk of change they are throwing his way, and the resources they are committing to tie up beyond the "decide to publish" stage cannot be used to develop new talent, and I'd be willing to bet THAT number is still over 100.

Blogger Stilicho #0066 May 29, 2015 1:14 PM  

Scalzi deal's publication is as much of a middle finger to Puppies

That was my thought as well

Blogger Tommy Hass May 29, 2015 1:25 PM  

The title of this post is a brilliant shiv.

Blogger Chiva May 29, 2015 1:31 PM  

I say John Scalzi made the most appropriate choice for his career and family. He stays relevant (somewhat) in his industry and acquires some security for himself and his family. For most people this is a win.

"A man's GOT to know his limitations." - Harry Callahan.

Blogger Dexter May 29, 2015 1:38 PM  

Scalzi deal's publication is as much of a middle finger to Puppies

It would be a bigger middle finger to make five times as much going self-published. Except then he'd have to wait 13 years to flip that bird and show he made the right choice.

Anonymous Nathan May 29, 2015 1:43 PM  

"It would be a bigger middle finger to make five times as much going self-published. Except then he'd have to wait 13 years to flip that bird and show he made the right choice."

Considering that the Mad Genius Club writers and fans make up a fair share of Sad Puppies and that they are huge proponents of indie, anyone trying to flip that particular bird at the Puppies would likely get a "Congrats" and "Told You So."

Anonymous BigGaySteve May 29, 2015 1:46 PM  

Leftists can never understand Cause and Effect or Opportunity Cost, although what could have been done with the $27 trillion that Paul Kersey said was wasted failing to make blacks equal is hard to imagine.

There it is folks. Why Scalzi really hates Vox. Daddy issues.

Everyone on the left has Daddy issues.

Anonymous BigGaySteve May 29, 2015 1:56 PM  

yeah but there's a lot of people out there telling truths that the SJWs barely notice...

The Pope saying gay marriage is a bad idea, no biggie. BigGaySteve saying the only people that want gay marriage actually want gay alimony as proved by “I need feminism because I intend on marrying rich and I can’t do that if my wife and I are making ,75 cent every dollar a man makes.” http://myfox8.com/2015/05/28/gay-feminist-students-yearbook-quote-goes-viral/ , and the gold digging muff divers will go crazy because it could ruin their plans, as their might be gay prenups. I have been the person to bring up prenups for several of my str8 friends that where afraid to bring it up themselves. Perhaps someone should tell her that women's studies doesn't pay as well as Chemistry.

Blogger Harsh May 29, 2015 2:36 PM  

Someone living off of daddy's money probably shouldn't try to lecture others about finances.

Scalzi once again misses the point. It's not that his book deal makes bad financial sense, it's the fact that he's so willing to sell now tells us a lot about him as a writer and person.

As it's been said, the book deal is certainly a good one for him. $3.4 million is more money than most people see in a lifetime and certainly more than a derivative science fiction author of mediocre talent can reasonably expect to make, so kudos to him for finagling that deal.

But here's the downside. By agreeing to this deal (and so loudly crowing about it) he's showing those of us in the know that he is A) risk averse, and B) a depreciating asset.

See, he's admitted that his books aren't going to be anymore valuable tomorrow than they are today, and may in fact decline in value. He is, in trader terms, buying a put option on his future books to lock in today's price. If he thought he could sell future books at a higher price than he can today, he'd run far and fast from this deal.

It's a smart move on his part, but it's also a tell that the man lacks confidence and realizes that his popularity is waning.


Blogger Harsh May 29, 2015 2:43 PM  

I’ve been offered half his total deal for a single book, turned it down, and then quadrupled the offer on my own within two years. On that single book. Out of the 13 books he writes, one will go viral. That’s his $20,000,000 book. Except, it’ll be a $4,000,000 book now.
- Hugh Howey


I don't know much about Howey but he seems to be doing it right. Salon ran a hit piece on him so how bad could he be?

Anonymous frank costanza May 29, 2015 2:50 PM  

Bragging about how much money you've made (or will make) in public is not smart. I wish Scazi no harm, just putting this up as a warning for the wise. My cousin once made a ton of cash at a poker game in a casino. He had a big fat mouth too. Later, someone broke into his home while his family was sleeping. A co-worker tried to extort him. Long-lost family members showed up at his door begging for handouts.

Not only does "counting your chips" in public make you seem like a low-class jackass, but you attract criminals and other interesting people. Scalzi is displaying his naivete and desparation for self-congratulation. Again, I wish him nothing but the best. I just know that if it were me, I wouldn't be farting out my finances for every psycho to read about in the New York Times.

Blogger JohnR219 May 29, 2015 2:50 PM  

The comments about Scalzi having daddy issues is probably true. I don't want to sound like I'm defending the guy, but I grew up w/o a father too and you cannot imagine how disastrous that is for boy. More than you can imagine....

I won't say much more than the picture of Scalzi with his wife and she is striking a dominant pose and he is striking a submissive pose is telling. His being proud of his daughter outlifting him is another tell.

He does not know how to be masculine and that is a tragedy.

Blogger JohnR219 May 29, 2015 3:00 PM  

Frank: The self-congratulatory bragging is part of growing up w/o a father. He needs the attention from his readers/fans that he didn't get growing up.

I'm the same way. I have a compulsive need to make women laugh, not sexual in any way, I just want to make them laugh because it validates me and they remember me. It's the feeling you chase and Scalzi chases it by boasting. He just has a public forum.

I believe it comes from being left alone too much as a child. My mother worked 70-75 hours a week and was emotionally distant. She did the best she could with what she had. I spent most of my time alone when I became an adolescent because there was no one there to guide/direct me.

As a kid and a man, I always felt like I was adrift at sea in a boat with no paddles. Even at 56, I have to force myself to remember to act like a man would. I pray to God every night I raised my 2 boys right.

Blogger Cee May 29, 2015 3:14 PM  

I think it is happening, it's just that none of the also-rans (with the exception of Percy Jackson, which is kinda sorta similar) have gained any traction. My own kids, while younger, were looking for ersatz Harry Potters after finishing that series, and just didn't seem to like much of what they found and didn't stick with any of them.

That is also possible.

Have they tried Diane Duane's Young Wizards series? I personally prefer it to Harry Potter, but I think I might be alone in that category.

Blogger Feather Blade May 29, 2015 3:16 PM  

Tor could still choose to offer the advances you say it can't and still give Scalzi what they did.

You don't understand, JS. Every dollar that goes to a white het cis male scum is a dollar that can never then be given to an oppressed othergendered POC womyn,

Paying white men takes money from the wallets of the oppressed!
The pie is finite and white male cishet scum have taken too large a share by being white male cishet scum! Because privilege!

/SJW

...Anybody got the brain bleach?

Blogger Dexter May 29, 2015 3:19 PM  

$3.4 million is more money than most people see in a lifetime

Meh. Most college graduates will indeed see that much money in their lifetime -- although in 30 years rather than 13. Such is the advantage of a Bachelor's in the Philosophy of Language!

I don't know much about Howey but he seems to be doing it right.

I thought Wool was dull as dishwater. Couldn't finish it. It's popularity baffles me.

But yeah he is doing it right from the business standpoint.

Blogger Harsh May 29, 2015 3:44 PM  

I thought Wool was dull as dishwater. Couldn't finish it. It's popularity baffles me.

I just bought Wool on Kindle so we'll see. He didn't lose me after the first two pages so that's a good sign.

Blogger bob k. mando May 29, 2015 8:40 PM  

JS May 29, 2015 12:58 PM
Huh? This doesn't even make any sense.


thus speaketh the buffoon that thinks that there's a bottomless bag of Obamaphones and if he votes Democrat he'll get one.

listen you idiot, money is both fungible and limited. say Tor has $10 million in capital to invest in authors. they can:
a - sign 500+ new authors to single book advance deals
b - sign Scalzi to a single 13 book deal

either way, the $10 million is now gone. you can't do BOTH because you don't have the cash to do both. you only had $10 mill to start with.

now, do you really think that you're not going to find ANY new authors out of that 500+ that you could have signed? because Tor is locking itself into a deal with a known AND DECLINING quantity in Scalzi when they could have signed 500 authors in the hopes of finding the next EL James.

frankly, the opportunity cost on Tor's end makes me think this was a really dumb business decision ...

unless they're that confident that their editors and slush pile readers are so incompetent that they're sure all the next JK Rowlings and EL James would be sent rejection letters.

Anonymous The other robot May 30, 2015 12:44 AM  

Well, if they had $10M they could have signed about 2.9 Scalzis or 1 Scalzi and 970 new authors.

Anonymous Bz May 30, 2015 4:23 AM  

GRRM will henceforth be known as "George Rape Rape Martin".

I would like to submit, for occasional use to leaven the discussion, "Gorge Rape Rape Martin".

Anonymous Bz May 30, 2015 4:28 AM  

I wonder if any of the Scalzi novels will be media tie-ins. Halo maybe? I've heard they sell well.

Blogger epobirs May 30, 2015 4:47 AM  

One thing to recall about the source of Harry Potter is that there are HUNDREDS of such series over the last century or so in the UK. The core plot isn't the magic stuff. It's the kid plucked out of a abusive lower class household to suddenly be placed in a boarding school with a strong upper class element. Michael Palin satirized this kind of thing repeatedly in his career, such as 'Ripping Tales.'

Other than that, the core plot is Changeling Prince, which has countless entries.

Anonymous Shut up rabbit May 30, 2015 5:40 AM  

A saw a couple of interesting revelations of the rabbit mentality in this event. First of course, the complete lack of humility. This is hardly news so the PR behind by all parties concerned is an order of magnitude beyond what it deserves. Clearly it's one final, all out bluff against reality before SJWs/ Traditional publishing and newspapers go down in flames while singing, "Every little thing gonna be alright" with their eyes closed.

Secondly, the perceived insult that Vox said it was a "good deal". He could have said a "great deal" or even "a fantastic deal" but that too would have been an insult. You see, he didn't say it was The Best Deal, he implied the rabbit could have made a better deal and that kind of talk does not fly in the warren. Every act an SJW ever makes is Teh Bets and must be recognized and applauded as such. The claim better choices exist is nano-harassing micro-oppression or whatever it is the make the rabbits all cross & grumpy.

SJWs always make the best choices because they make them and they are aware of everything pertinent all the time!

Blogger Kallmunz May 30, 2015 12:55 PM  

I have to agree with everyone here and would even amplify, it's not totally correct to say "this isn't a bad deal for Scalzi," given his future prospects, in all likelyhood it's a fantistic deal.
If even one of the 13 books sells like Enders Game it would be a really bad deal for him, but they won't.
That all said, isn't it interesting that when it comes to putting the money down, TOR will bet on the white straight male.

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