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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Pro­duce a gi­ant ex­pen­sive 500-page hard­cover dead-tree com­pendium of all the ebooks at Lulu or some­where similar.

  7. 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.