Oh my gosh, I had no idea that I hadn't posted here for, what... three weeks now? MANY APOLOGIES!

My absence is largely due to ten million little tasks all piling down like a deluge of weasels, weasels driven like furry rain across the Great Plains, lashed on and on by all this stuff. Let's start with the fun and move into the rest:

  • I've made many thousands of words progress on The Galactic Adventures of Jack & Stella. Current word-count:


  • I've been doing this "300 Swings a Day Challenge," an idea promoted by the Breaking Muscle folks (who are awesome) and presented to me by clevermanka. Except for one day when I literally didn't have a minute to spare (but spared enough to do something like 100 anyhow, because FUCK ALL THAT I'M PRACTICING TO BE A BADASS), I've made my 300 swings EVERY DAY THIS MONTH. I started with my 55-pound kettlebell, but couldn't do more than about 40 with that, so switched to the 35-pounder. But for the past couple of weeks, I've been doing them ALL with the bigger weight, and in much shorter time (completed 250 swings last night between 7:30pm and 8:00pm, aw yeah), and with ever-improving form, AND starting to see some real changes in the musculature of my legs and ass and, honestly, all over. (I promise to post before-and-after shots at the start of April. Let's hope there's something to see!) I've tried to keep up with my other movements (pull-ups, push-ups, etc.), but the last two weeks have been... well, what got me started with this post.

  • My novel, Transcendence, was February's book selection for the PBR Book Club, which meets at the 8th St. Taproom (yes, friends, book fiends gathering at A BAR). Booze, books, and intelligent conversation - great tastes that taste great together. They had really insightful observations and questions. So much fun!

  • Saw the AMAZING Latenight Callers in concert at The Replay. If you haven't yet heard this band, DO IT NOW. I think of them as "Electro-Noir," and they're unlike anything you've heard for a long time, or maybe ever. They're seriously one of my favorite bands, and they operate out of the Kansas City metro area, and they formed in the cultural center that is Lawrence, KS. And I Knew Them When.

  • Went to Planet ComiCon in Kansas City's Bartle Hall Convention Center. Got to hang with LeVar Burton, Jonathan Frakes, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels (who's now working on a hip-hop comic!), Gates McFadden, Brent Spiner, Jewel Staite (Kaylee), Wil Wheaton, the Xenomorph from Alien (and his Predator buds), plus about a zillion local fans - many of them in costume. Wow. This was my first media-con since the 1990s (hello, Weaselmom!). I had no idea a local comicon could be so HUGE. The lines to get in wrapped around TWO city blocks. Once I adjusted to the crowds and lines, I realized that everyone was there among their tribe - polite, friendly, and HAPPY. A lot more fun than I'd expected. I'll do one of these again.

  • Finally, FINALLY, got the CSSF Lending Library fully alphabetized, including organizing our magazine holdings by publication and year. Just an off-hand guess, but I'd say we hold about 30,000 volumes. That was a monumental task, I TELL YOU WHAT, but my office (aka The Center's Space) is now the coolest room on campus. Before-and-after photos coming soon.

  • Designing my first Freshman-Sophomore SF course, which I'll offer this coming fall: Science Fiction and the Popular Media, where we'll study science fiction across a range of media forms including film, television, literature, fanfic, comics, gaming, and more. Hook 'em young, as they say. I made a request for suggestions on Facebook (which, sadly, is where I've been posting lately, also on my Tumblr blog, because if I'm only dropping something quick, that's where I go. Sorry for contributing to LJ's Long Decline.) This class should be a BLAST!

  • Hosted the English graduate-student recruitment party at our place, and met with one of the (hopefully) incoming creative writers.

  • Reading (and doing all the other logistics and setup) for this summer's Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop (June 1 - 15). We'll again have BOTH science-fiction Grand Master James Gunn and the inimitable Andy Duncan as this year's guest authors! Yours truly leads the Workshop. Are you thinking about applying, or know someone who would love to participate in an intensive but only two-week-long workshop? Now's the time!

  • Doing the thousand-and-one things necessary to host an international scholar here at KU. This year, the Center is host for a professor from Turkey! She'll be here until the end of May. (The last two were from China. We get around.)

  • Did a ton of thesis-project reading and critiquing and meetings, especially with one of my grad students who's working on an SF novel.

  • Teaching: Nothing unusual this semester, but teaching three full, writing-intensive courses always starts to crush me as we approach the middle of the semester. I was hoping to get caught up this week (Spring "Break"), but I have so many other things to do, including...

  • Journal-article writing: I'm finishing a research-intensive article about one of my greatest science-fiction heroes, a man with whom I had the great privilege and honor to spend anywhere from a few days to a week each summer: Frederik Pohl. Wonderful to go back and read so much by him again, but not so great to have to do this on top of things like...

  • Gary K. Wolfe's "Bold Aspirations" visit and talk for KU. SO MUCH planning. SO MUCH spreading the word, and setting up contacts, and writing press releases, and organizing gatherings, and ferrying him here from the airport, and so forth. Which was all great, mind you, but in the end a massive disappointment due to things I cannot discuss publicly. Friends, my fondness for academia is on the wane.

  • Building and organizing a group of Center for the Study of Science Fiction Faculty Affiliates. This has been really cool, setting up interdisciplinary relationships with faculty from all across the University of Kansas, but also a huge investment of time and energy. Expect Big Things out of this! More to come.

  • Similarly, I've been working with another brilliant group of interdisciplinary faculty and KU administrators in a think-tank named "Tech 2070," whose goal is to prepare the University for the kinds of changes we'll see over the next 50 years. FANTASTIC stuff, these bi-weekly meetings, but they also require hours of homework (seriously, but it's all stuff I'd read anyway given the time), including preparing to give presentations now that we've started to gel in our purpose.

And because it's not a post unless I share a photo of our Outdoor Pets, I hereby present "Squirrels Combating the Blizzard By Eating Tons of Birdseed" from the storm that whacked us recently (just days before the temps climbed back up to their present 60s and 70s!):

Click the chilly squirrels to see my Facebook photo albums.

Speaking of cute animals, want to see tons more photos of space-stuff and baaaby animals (among other things)? Then check out my Tumblr blog:

Click the fierce baby elephant to see my Tumblr blog.

...aaand now I've just spent an hour writing this post. So that's what's kept me away for so long. What have you been up to?

Tonight at 8:00pm at The 8th Street Taproom in Lawrence, KS, the PBR Book Club discusses my novel, Transcendence! Can't wait to hear what people think.

Organizer Nathan Hutchcraft sez anyone who's read the book is welcome to attend (you don't need to be a member), so I hope to see some of y'all there, too!

When my novel, Transcendence,came out a little over a year ago and was immediately pirated, I went through a little crisis. I ended up fighting the pirates by giving it away, myself, because I figured if people were going to take it for free, they could at least get it from my website and thereby get to know me a bit more than they could via some random torrent site. Also, I was following Cory Doctorow's theory that giving away your creative work leads to more sales - and at the very least, more readership, who'll be looking for your next book.

How did it go? Well, it's been downloaded at least 3500 times (no way to know how many downloaded from direct link to the .pdf or .epub versions), I got a few dozen PayPal donations, including one just this week. And I certainly got some publicity out of it, especially for a first-time author whose book came out in November from a small press - two huge strikes against it.

Will it help with my next book? We'll see!

In the mean time, ebooks have only become more popular, piracy has not abated, and the debate about copyright and ebooks has only heated up. Here are two videos that represent two facets of the debate.

First up, "Copying Is Not Theft," by Questioncopyright:

Um, yeah. Good luck copying that bicycle, dude. Maybe once we all have nanofactories, but now? Not convinced.

Next up is Stephan Kinsella Houston's Public Affairs Public Access Live program, talking about intellectual property. When he first mentions "business models," I want to punch his smug face.

He has some interesting (and wrong, in my opinion) ideas; unfortunately, most creatives are not businesspeople, or else they'd be in business. They're also often introverts, which makes his ideas impractical for most writers and artists and so on.

Finally, to clear the palate, we have Neil Gaiman providing wisdom on copyright and piracy:

I find tend to agree with Gaiman; well, you kinda have to, because part of his talk is about his personal experiences and how giving it away has helped spur his career. Gaiman isn't talking about eliminating copyright; instead, he discusses how giving away his books has helped grow the audience (and market) for his copyrighted, printed work.

At least, I hope that's how it works!

Especially convincing is the idea that almost everyone found our favorite authors by having a book lent to us from a friend or the library. Does that = getting a free, pirated ebook?

Your thoughts on where copyright and the publishing industry is headed?

Hadley Rille Books is giving an "April Fool's" ebook sale this weekend! Lots of books for only ninety-nine cents (99¢), including my novel Transcendence in both Kindle edition and Nook edition, plus many more great ebooks by other Hadley Rille authors.

Come get 'em while they're hot and tasty!

mckitterick: At the book-launch for TRANSCENDENCE, Nov. 5, 2010, in the Jayhawk Ink bookstore at the University of Kansas. (Transcendence reading)
( Feb. 9th, 2012 03:51 pm)
Just got my royalty statement and learned that Transcendence has earned out. Hooray! Thank you to everyone who has purchased a copy. If you haven't, well, why not take a trip to your favorite bookstore ;-)

Hadley Rille Books, my publisher, is having a massive 6th Birthday sale right now!

You can buy many of their ebook (titles - including my novel, Transcendence - for just 99¢! This includes both the Nook edition and the Kindle edition.

This offer is good for a limited time only: ends November 29, so act fast!

Oh, and I'll let you in on a little secret: On Black Friday, watch for a print-book sale, too....

Happy Birthday, Hadley Rille Books!


A couple of posts I made over the weekend that I don't want you to miss!

How to Save the World, with a great video from Jeremy Rifkin and an essay by me about empathy and how we must exercise our empathy or lose our humanity. It's the most important thing I can write about.

Library Journal wrote a review of Transcendence - a very nice one!

Now back to grading.

My editor, [livejournal.com profile] ericreynolds, just tipped me off to Library Journal's review of my novel, Transcendence. They really seem to get what I was doing:

In the near future, technology pushes the world toward self-destruction. As a teenage hacker attempts to use his skills to find a girl he once loved and unwittingly betrayed, a supertycoon uses his artificial constructs to increase his control over the world. Actors in a virtual reality drama start a real-time war in space, while an artificial intelligence decides to try on a physical form and live as a human. Short story writer McKitterick’s first novel tells a larger-than-life cautionary tale of men and women in crisis and of the dangers posed by an out-of-control technology.

...and end with this nice recommendation:

VERDICT: Readers who enjoyed the cyberpunk feel of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash as well as the cosmic fiction of James Blish’s Cities in Flight should welcome the author’s full-length SF debut.


They also gave a nice review to another Hadley Rille Books author, Terri-Lynne DeFino ([livejournal.com profile] bogwitch64), for her book Finder. Nice day for HRB!

Now I'm heading out to celebrate with some friends at Henry's!

In this wonderfully illustrated talk about "preparing the groundwork for an empathic civilization," Jeremy Rifkin discusses the evolution of empathy how it has shaped human development and how we interact. Check it out, then come back and we'll talk:

What he's saying here is that we need to broaden our sense of identity from selfish or tribal or religious or national identity to identifying as part of human civilization, as a fellow living being, as part of the Earth's biosphere - and I would add, as part of the Milky Way Galaxy, as part of the universe as a whole. He says that we are "soft-wired for sociability, attachment, affection, companionship," and that our "first drive is to belong. It's an empathic drive."

He summarizes, "If we are truly Homo Empathicus, then we need to bring out that core nature. Because if it doesn't come and out it's repressed by our parenting, our educational system, our business practices, our government, the secondary drives take over: the narcissism, materialism, utilitarianism, violence, and aggression."

This is the primary theme in all I write. It's what Transcendence is about, what Empire Ship is about, and what my upcoming young-adult SF books will be about - that we must be empathic in all we do, because all we produce (our "fictions," technology and nationalism (in its broadest sense) and religion build barriers to understanding one another. Those walls we build rise so naturally when we don't exercise empathy - which is hard! It hurts to feel the suffering around us - and the wall-building grows as we stifle our empathic capacity, thereby limiting our ability to see others as like us in some way, even as human.

Lack of understanding leads to lack of empathy. Lack of empathy leads to easy dehumanization (or de-bunny-ization or so forth). Next, our identity shrinks until at some point it shrivels down to just Me. Then selfish drives take over, and it feels right and sensible that all I care about is what I want, because I can't imagine what others would think or feel. Now it's easy to hurt others; it's easy to disregard others, to lock them away in dungeons, to steal from them or take advantage of them, to rape or kill them.

It's only natural that prisoners and victims develop powerful empathy for their abusers, because the victim's world makes no sense: Why would someone do this to me? So they grope for understanding, exercising their empathic powers, delving into the minds of their abusers. This is why we have Stockholm Syndrome, why people stay with their abusive parents or partners.

It also explains why people who consistently behave in sociopathic ways - guards at secret prisons, habitual criminals, investment bankers - appear to lose their humanity. It's why military training works hard to erase the humanity of the target, and why soldiers make poor police. In fact, I would like to see a study that seeks to cure "sociopaths," because I hypothesize that such people might be curable over time if they exercise their atrophied empathy.

The dude who wandered around the Middle East a couple thousand years ago preached love and understanding and forgiveness: He preached that we must exercise our empathy or we will descend into Hell, which - In a literal sense - means that our world will become horrific if we are incapable of understanding and empathizing with one another.

Saving the world is simple: The sooner we start embracing the people and animals and natural wonders around us as part of us, as our identity, the sooner we will solve all the problems facing us.

This is also what I love about science fiction: It is the literature of the human species, not limited to the individual or nation or religion or even species or planet. Taken as a whole, SF says that we are all in this together, and when we're not - and when we lose our capacity to think of us as in it together - things go to hell in a hurry. As our technology grows more powerful, so too does our capacity to dehumanize and destroy others.

The Cold War was so horrible because it institutionalized anti-empathy. All wars are like this, including the current "war on terror" (and we all know that, right now, that means against Islamic fundamentalism), which is worse in many ways because it is not nation vs. nation or ideology vs. ideology: It's Us vs. Them. There's no reasoning with that, and the side-effects are pervasive and creeping. We all know The Terrorists are evil, right? And they all know that the West is evil. There's no room for understanding when our walls rise up and meet at the top.

When we cease empathizing, when we lose the capacity to imagine the other as our self, we build mausoleums around our cultures, nations, religions, and everything else that constitutes our identity - around our very selves! But empathizing is hard, I know. Listening to the news is painful, because it's all about suffering and loss. As the Dread Pirate said, "Life is pain, princess. Anyone who says differently is selling something." Heck, every week I see an animal on the side of road, needlessly killed by inattentive drivers, and that makes me suffer a little more. When I can, I stop and move the dead thing to the bushes and tell it that it's safe now, but at a deeper level that's just for me, to ease my empathic suffering.

One can argue that the most selfish thing you can do is to empathize. But as Rifkin says, "To empathize is to civilize," so this is one need we should satisfy whenever we can.

To be able to feel others in our heart: This is what it means to love. When people say that love is what life is all about, that there's nothing greater than to love and be loved in return, they don't mean some cheesy Hallmark version of love; they mean empathize with each other. This is all that matters in life. This is how we save the world.

Go out and empathize today!

Today, to celebrate Hadley Rille Books' 5-year anniversary - and his own birthday! - Eric T Reynolds ([livejournal.com profile] ericreynolds) is writing 50,000 words. IN ONE DAY.

So far: about 5000 words in two hours. You can track his progress on his Facebook account. Go wish him luck!

Also in celebration of this wonderful publishing house's anniversary, Eric is giving away a Kindle 3G! You get one free registration, and the more books you buy, the more entries you get. Help Hadley Rille sell 5000 books by December 31! I hear they have this science fiction novel entitled Transcendence (at a nice discount directly from the publisher), which would make a lovely present ;-)

I can't believe I didn't mention this in my original post: My publisher found the artist (Greg Martin) who provided the gorgeous art for the cover by seeing his work online - where, essentially, he gives it away via some lovely art galleries, much as I'm doing with the book. Because he lets the world share his art, he made a sale. Yet more evidence to support the hypothesis that giving away creative work can increase sales!

Oh, and if anyone doubts the honesty or integrity of human beings, consider this: Since I posted my book for free download (with Creative Commons license), I've received a number of donations via PayPal - including one for the full, hardcover price! I'm deeply touched and pleased to see that people really are honest and want to support artists - enough of them, anyway, to counter the ill-will of a few pirates. Thank you so much.

Having my novel pirated and torrented all over the web has gotten me thinking a lot about copyright and distribution of creative work, what to do about pirating, and the freedoms that get touched when combating pirates.

One cannot write about this topic without mentioning long-time Electronic Frontier Foundation fellow Cory Doctorow, who observes that "Despite 15 long years of the copyright wars, despite draconian laws and savage penalties, despite secret treaties and widespread censorship, despite millions spent on ill-advised copy-prevention tools, more copying takes place today than ever before" (Guardian).

His observation is that "if I give away my ebooks under a Creative Commons license that allows non-commercial sharing, I'll attract readers who buy hard copies. It's worked for me."

When Doctorow came to Lawrence, KS, for the 2009 Campbell Conference (where we honored him with the Campbell Award for Little Brother, free download from Doctorow's Craphound site here), he gave a talk about an experiment he was planning to run. He's long argued for giving away ebooks as a tool to increase an author's visibility, and after hearing his plan to completely circumvent traditional publishing with his experimental project - the marketing supported by giving away books (marketing itself coming from Boing Boing, articles, and thousands of avid fans...) - I was convinced that it was a good approach for a new novelist, as well, and planned to give away my book for free.

Heck, John Scalzi made his name by giving away his work, and he's doing pretty well now.

Only the pirates beat me to the punch and cracked a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/0982946708/?tag=CSSF-20" target="_blank">the Kindle version of my book, posted it to bittorrent sites, and posted links all over the web. So I'm playing catch-up with the pirates in a race to give away my work! It's available as a free .pdf download now; as I write this, a friend is converting the book into epub format, and I hope to offer more formats (html next) as soon as I can manage to make them. Not just sample chapters, but the whole darn thing.

Am I crazy? Well, when it comes down to it, it's already out there. As I see it, I'm losing nothing by giving it away. Now, we can have all kinds of ethical and philosophical debates at this point, wring our hands about the decline of civil society where people feel it's okay to take something that someone created, copy it, and give it away to others (or even charge for downloading it! One has to be a member of some of these forums to use 'em...), but that misses the point.

My book has been pirated and shared already. I can't stop that, and the methods necessary to create a pirate-free environment would transform the internet into something ugly and forbidding. Look at the Great Firewall of China. Do you want that? I don't. And even this unimaginably oppressive regime of censorship doesn't stop serious Chinese internet users who seek internet freedom.

Freedom isn't free, sez the dusty ghost. Musicians, movie-makers, authors, artists, and other creatives pay for the cool stuff we can get on teh interwebs - not with money (though, sure, that too; websites aren't free), but with creative energy that they could have used to make money. Before I turned to a life of teaching and fiction-writing, I worked in high-tech and used my creative energies to create software documentation. My career change cost me about $50k/year in salary and bonuses, not counting stock options and other perks. I no longer get fancy parties or logo-embroidered jackets or a 5th-floor office with windows overlooking forested hills and all that jazz.... But I love teaching. And when I'm not writing fiction, I get grouchy and unhappy. Will fiction-writing ever make up for the earnings I gave up in the transition from IT dude to teacher? Seriously doubtful, but that's not the point.

This is the same story for all creatives: Whatever you're doing for love is costing you greenbacks, probably a lot of 'em. If you were dealing crack or selling stocks or whatever, you'd earn a lot more dough. So there's a measurable cost to creative output. If - rather, when, because that's the reality of our times - someone pirates your work, be it a photograph or song or book or whatever, you are potentially giving up even more income that you could have earned from selling that work. To have created that work in the first place is to have cost yourself income due to the time and energy you expended to create it. So pirated work serves up a double-whammy, kicking you in the creative 'nads while you're down.

However! If someone encounters your art or book or movie or song or whatever via a friend's blog or in an email or wherever, and if they like it, and if - and this is important - if you are identified as the creator of that work, you've earned a new fan. This is someone who might potentially purchase your work, or at least spread the word to other like-minded people, some of whom might purchase your work. This was a functioning business model for Jim Baen's Universe, enough so that they paid pro rates for stuff they gave away. The idea is pretty simple: The more this happens - the more your work gets around for free - the greater the likelihood that someone will encounter it who'll buy it or make a donation to your PayPal tip jar. Assuming enough of these ethical folks see your work, potential losses from non-sales will be outweighed by the acquisition of new fans.

When it comes down to it, that's why we create stuff: To communicate whatever it is in our hearts that burns so strong that we are driven to create art and share it with others. To grab the stranger on the street by the collar and say, "Listen to this! I have something really important to say!"

Getting paid to do this just means we can continue to do more of it. I don't know any professional writers, artists, or musicians who honestly hope to get rich from their work. Though a lot of beginners have this motivation, few succeed, because creative fields simply aren't the best place to get rich. We do it for other reasons. If I could make a living writing fiction, would I give up teaching? It would mean another salary drop, similar to going from IT to the university, plus loss of more benefits like health insurance and so forth, but it would also mean giving up teaching, about which I am equally passionate. Happily, I won't have to face this dilemma any time soon.

But many creatives out there dream of earning enough from their art to pursue creative work full-time. It seems counter-intuitive to think that giving away one's creative output could serve that goal, but obscurity = poverty. Perhaps even worse, obscurity = no one can hear the really important thing you have to say. But if no one pays the creators, there'll be few creators to make the cool, quality stuff we love. Right here is the heart of the matter, and the eternal question regarding piracy and giving away our work. If I ever transition to full-time writing, I'd love to be able to earn enough to buy food and pay the bills. The only way to make that happen is to develop an audience now, enough of whom are willing to pay to enjoy my work later.

So am I bothered by my book getting ripped and torrented? Sure, at least I was when I first discovered the piracy. Now I see it as an irritant; I'm annoyed that the folks who ripped and shared it didn't ask if I was willing to give it away and let me handle that. Heck, I told an audience at ConQuesT (the Kansas City SF convention) last spring that I was going to give it away, and I've been telling people that ever since – and even wrote it on my website and blog! In fact, I'm a bit flattered that someone liked it enough to share it. But when people read my book in shadowy corners of the internet, I don't know about it. On the other hand, when they buy a Kindle edition or a paper copy, my publisher tracks those sales. When they download the ebooks from my website, I know about it. My primary motivation in writing is to share stories about things I can't not write about, so I want to know when people are reading it. I want to hear what they think about it!

So I urge you: If you enjoy a creative work - especially one you got for free! - tell the world about it. With my novel, at least, you needn't worry about getting caught, because I'm giving it away. Blog about it, post reviews at Amazon or Goodreads or wherever, and tell your friends whom you think might also like it. Post a link to my site where others can download it. Because those small efforts are payment-in-kind for my effort-cost to create the work and distribute it without demanding payment or imposing DRM on the free copies. Visit my my blog or Facebook page or send me an email to let me know what you think. Heck, buy a copy and give it to your local library or to a friend if you really liked it, but largely I simply want to know that I'm being read, that someone out there gets what I'm saying and is affected in some way by my work. It would be awesome if my writing could provide enough income to pay for a trip or fix the roof or so forth, but I'm not banking on it. I just don't want to be the idiot who worked his ass off for years to create something and then just let people run off with it without even saying, "Thanks."

I first encountered internet pirating a decade ago. My website contains a bunch of poetry, and some of the sex poems have made the rounds on various sites. I never expected to earn anything from those - they're poetry, famous for not making money! - so I found it flattering that people liked them enough to share with others. I wish the posters had at least identified me as the creator with link-backs to my site. To this day, when I find one of my poems on a site, I respond to those posts (when the site allows non-members to respond) something along the lines of, "Glad you liked it! Here's my website..." The moment that made giving away these works worth it was when a woman wrote to tell me that one of my poems had re-ignited her and her husband's sex life. (Yes, that was an appropriate response to the work *g*) Can an author ever hope for more than that? Also, a musician asked to use it as lyrics for what became one of his most popular songs.

That's what I'm talking about.

What did I earn from giving away those poems? Not much. But the value I got from my efforts was immense. I'm not willing to give up the exquisite freedom inherent in the Web as we know it today in order to make more money from my creative work. Trampling on net neutrality, imposing draconian safeguards over content, DRMing everything - these are baby-steps toward a Web that is not free. I give away my stuff because I want people to read what I have to say and then to tell others - and me! - what they think of it. I just don't want to be a chump about it; I want to make a little income from my efforts.

I'll let y'all know how my own experiment turns out: Will giving out my novel earn extra sales? That'll be tough to measure, because it's my debut novel, so I can't compare it to anything. My publisher might be able to guess a bit by comparing my sales to those of other SF books he publishes, but that won't say much more than what appeals to various market segments. But I hope to see results in the form of responses from readers. And maybe some of them will buy a copy of this or my next book!

EDIT: By the way, it's important to mention that I made prior arrangements with my publisher (and we put it into the contract) that I retain the right to sell or give away electronic editions of the book. In fact, he was very supportive of the idea, because Hadley Rille Books is a smaller press with a limited marketing budget, so he sees my giving it away as just another publicity tool.

EDIT2: I've been interviewed on this topic on the Lawrence Journal-World website, here. If digital freedom is important to you, check out the discussion! Some really good chat there.

So I discovered this morning that my novel, Transcendence, has been ripped (presumably from its Kindle edition) and file-shared all across teh intarwebs. Most irritating, perhaps, is that the top several hits on a Google search of my name and book title show torrent and file-sharing-club sites.

Here's how I responded:

  1. What? How can this be? I can't believe someone would rip and share my book without even letting me know!

  2. How dare they! The bastards! They didn't even ask, and none of them provide link-backs to my site.

  3. Maybe if I ask the torrent sites to take down the offending posts, this will go away.

  4. *boo-hoo*

  5. Hm. I guess this just means that I have at least one torrent-hack for a fan. Any exposure is good exposure, right?

  6. I know! I'll beat them at their own game and give it away, myself. Bwahahahaha!

So! If you want to help, let people know where they can get my novel:

My publisher's website with my book:

Here's the link to Amazon:

It's also been Kindled:


Barnes & Noble:


And of course they can get it from my site, where people can download the whole thing in .pdf, .epub, or .html versions for free:

I also provide a link for people to drop me a donation if they choose:

Links to these will help alter Google's (and other search engines') algorithyms such that the torrent sites fall off. I'd appreciate your help!

mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (Daruma sees)
( Nov. 8th, 2010 02:38 pm)
This weekend, I:

. Fixed the radiator leak under the Saab's hood.
. Finally washed that poor, filthy car.
. Fixed another leak, this one in my toilet.
. Installed a new seal under my garage door.
. Started installing insulation on said door.
. Put away the garage dehumidifier/AC and replaced it with the regular dehumidifier.

It's a book! Holding the one and only existing hardcover at the release event.

Audience at the book-launch. That's SF Grand Master James Gunn on the left side, for whom I wrote this book in the first place. Thanks for coming, everyone!

Reading at the book launch in Jayhawk Ink, at the University of Kansas student union, in Lawrence, Kansas, on Friday, Nov. 5, 2010.

My editor, Eric T. Reynolds, snapped this shot in front of the Jayhawk Ink bookstore, a few days before the official release event.

TRANSCENDENCE release after-party, with MellyStu being trouble. Note how Daruma still has only one colored-in eye... that was about to change.

TRANSCENDENCE among some of my short stuff, on my bookshelves, at the release party.

Daruma finally sees TRANSCENCENCE published! An event 10 years in the making.
Click the photo to open a full-size image of the complete hardcover dustjacket. Art by Greg Martin, cover design by Melissa Lytton.

If you want to check out the book, click here to read sample chapters and stuff. Now available at fine bookstores and online dealers such as Amazon (hardcover and trade paper) and Powell's (trade paper only). Or order directly from the publisher at a nice discount with free shipping: Hadley Rille Books.

I cannot begin to describe how pleased I am. *beam*

Here's wishing you a fine day. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who attended the reading, signing, and party. You made it an Event of Awesomeness™.

I'm super-excited about holding the real-live hardcover copy of TRANSCENDENCE in my sweaty palms! Here it is, along with two more novels coming out from Hadley Rille Books in short order, FINDER by Terri-Lynne DeFino and THE NORTHERN QUEEN by Kim Vandervort:

The release party will be held at Jayhawk Ink (second floor in the KU student union) this Friday, Nov. 5, from 4:00pm - 5:30pm, then party at my place afterward from then until late! Come celebrate the release of my debut novel. Should be a blast!

PS: Some folks have asked about ordering the book if they can't make it to the book release. No problem; in fact, you can still pre-order directly from the publisher at a tidy discount (with free shipping). Amazon and other fine bookstores will have it in stock starting Friday, and the Kindle edition (among other ebook formats) will be available soon.

Howdy! In less than two weeks is the launch of my novel, Transcendence, and I need to figure out where to hold the post-bookstore-event party, how many might be coming, what I should prepare, and so forth. Help!

[Poll #1636331]
If you have any other ideas or comments, I'd love to hear 'em in comments. Thanks!
Geez, busy has prevented me from sharing some excitin' news: My editor just sent Transcendence off to the printer! Here's the final cover for the hardcover edition, coming out in TWO WEEKS:

Click the image to see the full-size dustjacket. Click here to see sample chapter stuff.

And check out that quote just above my name, deep in shadow: Jack McDevitt read it and liked it and gave me a blurb (full quote inside the flap). Woohoo! Thank you, Jack, and thanks to Kij, George, Jim, and Ann for their kind words (and to A.J., who passed away a few years ago).

If you're in town on Friday, November 5, come by the University of Kansas student union building, where the Jayhawk Ink bookstore will host my book launch from 4:00pm - 5:30pm. I'll host a reception at my place afterward. Spread the word!

Oh, and you can pre-order now from Hadley Rille Books at a big discount (for either the trade paperback or the hardcover) and get free shipping. Bargain!

Tomorrow afternoon, I give a spec-fic writing workshop with Robin Wayne Bailey and Susan Satterfield at The Writers Place in Kansas City. Should be much fun!

Rather than make a lot of handouts for the attendees, I added a bunch of SF Writer Resources to the Center for the Study of Science Fiction's weblinks page (where you can also find tons of other resources for SF scholars, teachers, and fans).

TRANSCENDENCE news: Countdown to book launch: Exactly four weeks, minus a few hours. Reading and signing at Jayhawk Ink, in the University of Kansas student union. Getting so excited!

Oh, and it's Hadley Rille Books' 5-year birthday, and they're giving away a free Kindle 3G to celebrate! Just go to the website and register. I also noticed that you can pre-order my novel at significant discount (with free shipping) directly from the site.

*happy dance*
mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (Daruma)
( Sep. 17th, 2010 12:48 pm)
We now have the book-launch date and location set for my novel, TRANSCENDENCE:

Friday, November 5, 4:00pm - 5:30pm at the KU Bookstore (the store formerly known as "Oread Books," where we hold the signings and readings for the Campbell Conference).

Reception afterward, with details TBA. Need to pick a place for the party!


Hi folks -

So I have a book coming out in late October or early November, so it's time to start thinking about how to prepare. I plan to give away the book electronically via my website, plus it'll be available as a Kindle book among other formats. When it hits the shelves, I plan to partake in a book tour or two, with readings and signings and more, and give away signed copies and so forth... but I'm unsure how much of this would actually be useful without knowing more. So: A poll!

[Poll #1600753]



mckitterick: Yes, this is one of my actual scooter helmets. RESPECT THE EMPIRE. (Default)


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