Penguicon & Blook
One million cumulative daily visits! Woot n’ stuff. Also we’re in the top 5,000 of all blogs on Technorati, and one of the top 10 econblogs by Technorati rank.
Seems like a good time to mention that I’ll be appearing at Penguicon, a combination open-source/science-fiction convention in Troy, MI, Apr 18-20, as a Nifty. I’ll be doing an intro to Bayesian reasoning that you probably don’t need if you’re reading this, possibly a panel on the Virtues of a Rationalist, some stuff on human intelligence upgrades, and definitely “The Ethics of Ending the World” with Aaron Diaz (Dresden Codak).
After the jump, you can see some proposed cover art for the blook.
For the benefit of the humor impaired: Yes, this is a joke. Erin, my girlfriend, Photoshopped this when she heard I was planning to do a book.
This is all taking longer than I expected—as expected—but I do think I’m getting there.
My current serious strategy for the blook is as follows:
Finish all the important serial material on rationality—the posts that have to be done in month-long sequences. That’s probably at least another two months.
Maybe spend another month or two doing large transhumanist sequences, either on the Singularity Institute blog (currently fairly defunct) or here on Overcoming Bias if the readers really want that. My self-imposed deadline here is August 2008.
Switch to writing shorter posts on topics that can be considered independently given the already-written background material—maybe cut back to a Sat-Sun-Tue-Thu schedule. Don’t worry, this won’t happen anytime soon.
On days when I don’t post: spend my time compiling collections of related Overcoming Bias posts into medium-sized ebooks of 50 pages / 20,000 words or thereabouts, broken up into short blog-post-sized sections for easy reading. (This is good because it can be done incrementally, and I tend to bog down when I try to do anything book-sized all at once.) Leave a comment if you have any suggestions on ebook-writing software or ways to get the book design done cheaply.
Publish the ebooks incrementally on Wowio, as a compromise between “information wants to be free” and “authors want to eat”. (Email me if you happen to work at/with Wowio, because I’m interested in testing the waters on this sometime soon.) Publish the ebooks with a cheap nominal charge for readers outside the US, since Wowio doesn’t work outside the US yet.
Produce a giant expensive 500-page hardcover dead-tree compendium of all the ebooks at Lulu or somewhere similar.
Once all the fully detailed material exists somewhere and I can summarize it with a clean conscience: pick the easiest and most favorably received topics for a short, popular book; produce an outline and a couple of starting chapters; and begin looking for an agent who believes that the book can be a New York Times bestseller, to find a publisher who believes that the book can be a bestseller and who’ll invest a corresponding amount marketing it.
If you’ve got more experience in the publishing industry and you see some reason that any of this won’t work, i.e., “No one will talk to you if you’ve ever done anything with Wowio or Lulu” or “Today’s readers don’t want short popular books, they want 500-page tomes” or something like that, please email me or comment.