A few years ago, I began inviting hosting scientists, engineers, doctors, and other experts to my blog to discuss their subject of expertise as it applies to science fiction and fantasy. I had no idea that the blog series would go on to collect over 150 articles, or that we’d develop it into a book with Writer’s Digest.
Putting the Science in Fiction was published last month. Since it’s the last week of NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d recap some highlights from our book’s first month in the world.
Writers Digest made digital ARCs available on both Netgalley and Edelweiss. They also commissioned Ingram to produce some lovely print ARCs that are virtually identical to the book. Many book reviewers were kind enough to take the time to write an early review. You can find most blurbs and reviews on the PSIF book page, but here are some of my favorites:
The entries are brief, knowledgeable, and highly entertaining, like hearing an exasperated friend rant about his or her area of expertise.”
The basic information is here as jumping off points, some delve into much more detail, and many offer up other resources to dig into the topics more deeply…a useful, well-written resource. Recommended.”
-Bill Capossere, Fantasy Literature
One of the most entertaining and enjoyable books we have read recently. It is a thoughtful, engrossing, well-written and well-edited compendium of guidance on a wide range of subjects.”
-Ian Scott-Parker, MyMac
The chapters are concisely written and easy to read. This book is for you if you’re interested in making more storytelling more accurate and interesting… or you’re simply a curious nerd like me.”
-Joe Palmer, The Gay League
This book is a brilliant resource, both for writers and for those with a more general interest in science.”
-Ellie, Books at the End of the Alphabet
My contributors and I did some in-person events during release month to help spread the word about our book. In early October I went to New York Comic Con for a panel and book signing with Chuck Wendig. Contributors Anne Lipton and Matt Perkins sold out of their signed copies at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference.
I also got to live out my dream of an event at the fabled Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego along with contributors Danna Staaf, Gwen Katz, and Amy Mills. We held a lively panel on the science of science fiction and signed plenty of books.
Sci-fi Story Prompts
My favorite thing about this book are the ~40 contributors who’ve worked on it with me for the past year and a half. All of them were eager to help share it with the world. With so many experienced bloggers, we naturally thought of a blog tour. However, we wanted to give it a new spin and provide some inspiration to the writing community. We came up with the Sci-fi Story Prompts blog tour.
Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a contributor shared a bit about his or her expertise and some related story prompts as inspiration for #NaNoWriMo. The good folks at NaNoWriMo even let me share some advice on researching your writing on the NaNoWriMo blog. There was a giveaway, too, of ten copies of the book signed by yours truly. I loved all of the story ideas and hope they inspired some NaNoWriMo projects.
Interviews and Guest Posts
WD hired an external publicist, Lisa Sweet, who coordinated a lot of the pre-publication publicity like my LitCast conversation with Publishers Weekly. Undoubtedly our biggest media exposure so far was the interview with CNET that was published as “The science of Star Wars, Spider-Man, Avatar debunked by actual scientists.” Although the title was a bit more sensationalist than the interview content or the book itself, it certainly got a lot of attention. More media requests came, including a discussion with Rick Liebling for his Adjacent Possible column on Medium.
Some well-established authors were generous enough to host a guest post from me on their blogs. I discussed writing realistic science fiction on John Scalzi’s Whatever, and balancing research with writing on the blog of publishing guru Jane Friedman. I also shared some of the creepy and/or horrifying things I learned while editing the book on Chuck Wendig’s Terribleminds.
PSIF Audiobook Announcement
The latest bit of good news about our book came this week, when we were able to announce that Tantor Media bought the audio rights for Putting the Science in Fiction, including the foreword from Chuck Wendig.
The folks at Tantor Media have been fabulous to work with so far — they’ve already lined up some amazing voice talent to narrate the book — and I’m confident they’re going to produce a great audiobook.
Help Spread the Word
I’m pleased with the attention we’ve garnered for our book and the reception it seems to have found in the community. However, we still need all the help we can get to bring it to a wider audience. If you’re willing to lend a hand, here are some things you can do:
- Talk about PSIF to your friends, family, and social media followers
- Share it with your real-world or online writers groups. They can read a sample here.
- Add the book to your To-read list or rate it on Goodreads
- Leave a review on your e-retailer of choice
- Ask your local library to stock the book
- Give the gift of PSIF to the writer in your life.
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