I’m Not a Stalker – An Open Letter to John Scalzi

SciFi at its best!

SciFi at it's best!

Dear John,

I hope all is well. We exchanged greetings at this year’s BEA, and I may have given you the impression that I am a stalker. I’m not. I realize that no stalker thinks they’re a stalker, but I promise you I’m not. Allow me to explain. First, why you may have gotten the impression that I am a stalker:

I walked up to your signing table at BEA just as your session ended. I had a signing right after you. I introduced myself to you and you very kindly offered to give me a signed copy of Zoe’s Tale. I happily said “Yes.” While you were signing the book, I said the following; “You don’t understand. I talk about you every day.” To which my friend and co-worker said in a very exasperated voice, “Yes, he does.” Before I could explain why I talk about you every day, I was called away to tend to something behind the curtain. I never had a chance to explain why a 42-year-old man talks about you every day.

Any reasonable adult male may have been creeped out by hearing that another adult male talks about him every day. My friend and co-worker who was there even confirmed that I came off quite stalkerish.

Now, let me explain why I’m not a stalker. My job (beyond the author gig) is helping author’s develop marketing strategies for their books. I advise them on how to build a community around themselves and their book. I use your blog as an example. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of the Old Man’s War universe, and once I get through with some of my own projects I plan on jumping into Zoe’s Tale. And if I were ever to stalk someone you would be on my list. But in this case, I am merely turning authors onto your blog so they can see how a blog should be implemented and managed.

So, sleep tight. I’m not a crazed fan.

Sincerely,

R.W. Ridley

Back From BEA and Poorly Rested

Well, I zoomed into Los Angeles on Thursday, grabbed some cheap Chinese food and locked myself in my room cursing my advancing years and the three hour time difference between Charleston and Los Angeles. I worked the floor and met some interesting people, but the fun started when I hit the signing area. I only got two books signed. One I previously talked about, Dave Madden. The Partridge Family was a big part of my life growing up, and I still consider the comedic timing between Danny Bonaduce and Dave Madden one of the best of that era in sitcoms.

The second book I got signed was Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi, and I think I totally managed to freak Scalzi out. I consult with authors every day about how to market books online. I use Scalzi as an example of an author who has successfully built an online community and maintained a substantial fan base that basically serves has his volunteer sales force because they love him so much. This is what I should have told Scalzi, but instead I said. “John Scalzi! I’m a big fan of Old Man’s War and your blog. I talk about you every day.” To which my coworker Whitney said “Yes he does!” (It’s a small office, and we all hear each other’s phone conversations.) Scalzi looked somewhat alarmed as this 42-year-old man is staring him like a stalker. I never explained to him in what context I talk about him. I imagine he assumes I have pictures of him in my cube with candles burning and a plastic bag with a lock of his hair. I did get an ARC of Zoe’s Tale hastily signed by Scalzi with an eye towards the closest exit point.

I’ll be back here later to talk about my own signings. It was great getting to meet some of the readers, and a little strange at the same time.

If you’ve never been to BEA, go! It’s in New York next year. I’ll see you there.