John Scalzi Begs to Differ

By Neal Comment

Tucker Max may brag about his latest book deal, but when he says he’s the first blogger who’s been able to go back to the publishing well a second time, science fiction author John Scalzi can hold his peace no longer. “I’ve signed *six* different book deals with three publishers since selling Old Man’s War to Tor from my Web site, Whatever,” Scalzi emailed us this morning. “Tucker Max is a piker compared to my unstoppable contractual onslaught!” (Not to mention that Old Man’s War was recently up for the Hugo Award for best novel, and though he didn’t win that prize, Scalzi did pick up a John W. Campbell Award for best new writer.)

This follows Scalzi’s reactions to the blogger book deal woes on his site yesterday, where he says that “the issue is not the quality of the writing or even the sales, but that someone on the publishing end started shoveling money before engaging his or her brain.” So how did authors like Stephanie Klein and Ana Marie Cox get such huge advances? “A publisher could have this excuse: ‘We thought being blog famous was the same as actually being famous,'” Scalzi muses. “This is understandable, I suppose. If bloggers are good at anything, it’s self-promotion and self-aggrandizement, and giving the impression that we’re fighting above our weight class.”

“But, look,” he adds. “Being a blogger is a bit like being that lady in the supermarket who hands out free samples. You see her, you stop and have the tiny piece of sausage she’s got speared on a toothpick, you might chat for a second, and then you move on. You like the sample lady—she’s giving you free sausage!—and you may even seek her out (“I could use some free tiny sausage right about now”). But no matter how much you or anyone else likes the sample lady and are glad to see her and her tiny sausage chunks, the number of people who actually reach behind the sample lady to buy the product she’s offering you a taste of is a pretty low percentage.”

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a metaphor!