$3.4 Million Deal for Science Fiction Writer

Here’s the link to the article about John Scalzi’s deal with Tor. Yaay, him.

Scalzi linked to it on his blog and followed up with a “Q&A” style column about the details. (13 books, 3 of which will be YA).

The amount of money, when you just see it up there, looks huge. When you amortize it (so to speak) over 13 books, it looks more… well, realistic. Still good, though, but maybe not overwhelming.  And nothing says, “Confidence in you,” quite like a 13-book contract.

Now I’m going to go a bit sideways. There is That Guy Who Hates Scalzi. As you know, I won’t link to him, but if you Google, “Hugo, Rabid Puppies” you’ll probably find him easily.  That Guy Who Hates Scalzi (TGWHS) devoted a blog post to the NY Times story. He broke down the $3.4 million by book and by increment, thus, somehow, showing, that it wasn’t very much money after all.

I wouldn’t have seen it, but other blogs that were commenting on the contract alluded to it. I broke down. I had to go look.

What stands out is the amount of time TGWHS had to spend. I’m sure he’s good at arithmetic, but still, more time than I would be willing to invest. He also spent a good number of words explaining how, since Scalzi is a hack, 13 books won’t be hard for him.

Okay. I look at $3.4 million dollars and think, “He might be a hack. He’s a successful hack.”

As for me, I’m happy for Scalzi. He may or may not be a hack, but he writes things that entertain me, so I like him. The article has an interesting observation by Scalzi’s editor at Tor. The editor says basically that Scalzi does well in the midlist, and that people who find and read their first Scalzi book often immediately seek out others by him. Tor understands that Scalzi’s work has legs. This seems like an optimistic point for other SF writers who are, to quote Mary Robinett Kowal, “comfortably in the midlist.”

As far as I’m concerned, good news all around.

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