Thursday, March 27, 2008

Analog to serialize Wake

[Update: Robert J. Sawyer's novel Wake is now out in book form -- read all about it here.]
Pssst! Wanna be among the very first to read Wake, the first volume of the WWW trilogy by Robert J. Sawyer? Subscribe to Analog Science Fiction and Fact, the world's top-selling English-language SF magazine.

I'm thrilled to announce that Stanley Schmidt, the Hugo-Award-nominated editor of Analog, has just bought serialization rights to Wake. Stan will be running the full text of the novel in four parts, in the November 2008, December 2008, combined January-February 2009, and March 2009 issues (the hardcover will follow later in the spring of 2009 from Ace Science Fiction in the US and Penguin in Canada).

Since the "November" issue actually comes out early in September, and since it takes a while to start receiving subscription copies, now would be a good time to subscribe to Analog. You can subscribe to the print edition here or the electronic edition here (one year) or here (two years).

This is my fifth (!) serialization sale to Analog, and I hold, by far, the record now for sales during Stan's 30-year tenure as editor of the magazine (no other author has more than three). My Analog serials:You just can't beat this kind of exposure. Every single one of my previous serials went on to be a Hugo finalist (and Hominids won the Hugo); in addition, The Terminal Experiment (which Analog ran under my original title for the book, Hobson's Choice) won the Nebula Award, and Starplex was also nominated for it (and was the only 1996 book to be nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula).

(Yes, serialization is great for book sales -- you just can't beat having tens of thousands of people doing word of mouth about the novel on the day it first arrives on bookstore shelves.)

The Robert J. Sawyer Web Site

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At March 27, 2008 6:43 PM , Blogger Stephen Kotowych said...

Congratulations, Rob! That's great news--can't wait to read it.

I'm curious: do you think the Cory Doctorow approach of giving work away online has a similar positive effect on sales via word-of-mouth as does serialization in ANALOG?

At March 27, 2008 6:56 PM , Anonymous Ryan McFadden said...

Congrats! Obviously, this is only an option for established authors such as yourself -- but can you elaborate how a serialization happens? Who initiates contact (you, agent, magazine). And how does your publisher react to serialization?

At March 27, 2008 7:09 PM , Blogger RobertJSawyer said...

I'm sure it's been beneficial to him, but, gently, it hasn't put any of his books on the Hugo ballot, nor has it generated enough sales interest for his print publisher to release any of his books in mass-market paperback, so "similar" might not be the right word here.

Yes, I suspect Cory has had more downloads of at least some of his novels than ANALOG sells copies (although only ANALOG is legally obligated to provide audited figures), but I also suspect that a much, much higher percentage of those who buy ANALOG actually read the magazine; a very large percentage of free downloads are never read, I'm sure.

Also, of course, ANALOG pays four cents a word for serials -- $4,000 in the case of a 100,000-worder like WAKE. Not huge money, but it is actual cash directly attributable to the serialization, and my own experience shows that serialized books (such as ROLLBACK) certainly don't sell any less well than do unserialized ones (such as MINDSCAN), so that money is not offset by any loss in book royalties.

But remember, when you speak of the "Cory Doctorow approach," that's not just doing what Cory does, but doing what Cory does from the massive web platform he has; not every author tossing out a free edition is going to have the number of downloads Cory gets. But every author who places a novel with Analog -- whether it's an old hand like Joe Haldeman (who just finished having a serial there) or a newcomer like Karl Schroeder (who preceded Haldeman) gets the same big audience. :)

At March 27, 2008 11:08 PM , Anonymous Judy in SATX said...

Happy happy joy joy!

I will definitely be getting Analog from fictionwise again. I did the same with Rollback and really enjoyed getting it early, as well as having both the electronic version and a hard copy after the book was released.

Congratulations on the sale Rob!

At March 28, 2008 11:50 AM , Anonymous Jamie Todd Rubin said...

Congrats, Rob. This is great new, particularly since I am rapidly running out of Sawyer books that I haven't read. I enjoyed the serialization of Rollback. There's something about tearing through 30 pages in one sitting and then having to wait 28 days to find out what happens next. Plus, it means something to look forward to at the end of the summer...


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