Goodbyee, Goodbyeee!

It’s been a weird day, Internet. Today, I’ve written my final posts for both Comics Alliance and SpinOff Online – although the latter won’t appear until tomorrow and Sunday, meaning that there’s always time for them to end up very outdated before anyone actually sees them, always a potential thrill with writing things ahead of time. This week, I also wrote my final column for Robot 6, all of this happening as I clear my schedule to start writing on a regular basis for Wired.com next week (Officially Tuesday, but we’ll see if I have any space in my schedule on Monday).

It’s a weird feeling, not having CA or SpinOff around anymore; it’s not really sunk in yet. For the last couple of years (Well, year, for CA), they’ve defined the rhythm of my work week and my deadlines in a way that was often frustrating and exhausting, but also somewhat comforting in the regularity: Five op-eds and ten news posts ever week (That’s in addition to the weekly Time essay, the Blog@Newsarama posts, the weekly Newsarama top 10 and my ten Digital Trends posts). I knew, for the most part, what I’d be writing every day, even if I didn’t know what I’d be writing them about, and there really was something to that. There were times when it was a grind coming up with that much information – those many words – week-in, week-out, don’t get me wrong, but there was also some… security, perhaps? Something welcoming about not being entirely lost at sea when it came to output, and knowing that the work was there, if that makes sense.

I didn’t write a farewell post on any of those sites; I came close, twice – The final Robot 6 column makes mention of creators moving on, which was intentional, and the closest I came to actually saying “Byeeee” – but it felt too vain and self-conscious. I don’t know if my absence on any of those sites will be noticed, or remarked upon (Knowing my success with the commentariat at SpinOff, I think it’ll be applauded), and I’m not sure that I want to know. Let those sites, and me, move on and do something else, instead.

(Ideally, I’d like to go back and do stuff for SpinOff and Comics Alliance again in the future, and have told the powers that be in both places that, so hopefully it’ll happen. And I also recommended replacements to both sites, in case they were looking; it’d be great if my recommendations get the gigs, but we’ll see.)

That ending and my resultant melancholy wasn’t the only thing that made today particularly unusual, though; because these things come in threes, today was also the day when I finally made good on my promise to draw D-Man for Dylan Todd (Something I promised earlier this week, but have been meaning to do for far, far longer) – I was, because it’s me, stupidly anxious about sending that to him because I was all “It looks terrible! Real artists have done stuff for that blog!” but he was kind enough to say it was good, bless him – and the day when I found out that I am thanked in the acknowledgments for an upcoming non-fiction book by a writer whose work I admire, but didn’t even think knew I existed, because of “smart things on the intercyberwebnet that helped [him] shape some of [his] thinking on the subject.”

So, yeah; weird day. January, my friends; it’s always a month that feels like a somewhat uncertain prelude for everything else that’s coming in the year ahead.

Intent on Rendering Obsolete

From the Guardian’s Photo Blog:

US soldiers secure a French armored vehicle aboard a C17 aircraft at the Istres military airport prior to take off bound for Mali. French forces are continuing their advance northwards in Mali with over 2,000 troops assisting Malian forces fight islamic militants. Photograph: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

There’s something about this that feels as if it belongs in a science fiction movie to me; only the car looks like it belongs in the world I’m familiar with.

And Then There Are Those Things That Refuse To Be Said

Why, yes: I am writing about schlock and the myth of “so bad, it’s good” over at Time Entertainment today.

I was talking to a friend the other day about the problems she was having writing a paper for school; she was telling me that she kept writing things and then realizing that it was all in the wrong order, and that she wanted to keep changing everything even though she wasn’t even finished a first draft, leading to a particularly distracting, frustrating experience. That was this piece, for me; it stubbornly refused to come together, and I was tearing my metaphorical hair out trying to get it into some semblance of coherent argument (I’m not entirely sure I succeeded in the end, to be honest). There was one point where what is currently a paragraph in the first third of the piece was the final paragraph, then in the middle, then somewhere towards the end, and so on and so on. Some things just don’t want to be written, it can feel like.

“I Don’t Think I Lose A Print Sale By Selling in eBook”

My own guess, based on watching my sales profile over the years, is that print, eBook and audiobook do not inherently cannibalize each others’ sales — it seems to me that for each there is a class of reader that is “native” to each — that is, there is a group of readers who strongly prefers print over eBook or audio, another group who prefers eBook strongly to the other formats, and a third group (correlated, I imagine, with people who have long commutes) who strongly prefer audiobook. I don’t think I lose a print sale by selling in eBook, or an eBook sale by selling in audio — rather, that selling in each of these formats is allowing me to expand my overall audience. Once again, this is an argument for remaining actively involved in all of the formats rather than throwing one (or more) overboard and putting all my chips on a single format.

From here.

John Scalzi breaks down the sales of his last novel, Redshirts, across formats now that Tor has moved the title from hardcover to paperback in print form, and it’s the kind of thing that’s fascinating for someone like me, who’s unnaturally geeky about this kind of thing. The part about digital and audio and print not cannibalizing the other format’s sales is of particular interest to me, because I’m beginning to suspect that the negative sales velocity that digital brought to analog music and movies just doesn’t exist for either books or comics, perhaps because the latter two are more active pastimes and therefore have more engaged audiences with more specific interests and habits surrounding their preferred format.

Mon-El Times Three

My subconscious decided to offer me a strange gift this weekend, in the form of a particularly vivid dream where I was leaving old jobs I’d once held – Clearly, this week being my last for both SpinOff and Comics Alliance is weighing on my mind more than I’d realized – and all of my old workmates were preparing individual parties to say farewell, with each workplace chipping in to buy me a going away present. So far, so sweet, you might think, and you’d be right. Except for this strange detail: Each of the three workplaces had chipped in to buy three separate but identical action figures of the Legion of Super- Heroes character Mon-El.

Now, I’m a pretty big LOSH fan, I’ll admit, but quite why my subconscious chose one of the more bland characters from the series as the gift chosen by seemingly everyone for me, I may never know. Now, though, I’m almost hoping for a Mon-El in the mail before the week is over (Although I’d prefer a Darkseid or Mister Miracle).