Where Do You Go with 40,000 Readers? A Study in Online Community Building

Ron Hogan (Shelf Awareness), John Scalzi (Scalzi Consulting), Patrick Nielsen Hayden (Tor Books), Tobias Buckell (self-employed)
Location: Broadway North (6th Floor) Level:

Science fiction author John Scalzi began writing the Whatever blog in 1998, posting about a wide variety of topics including the core themes of politics, writing, and science fiction, which helped him accrue an audience of roughly 40,000 daily readers over the course of a decade. In 2002, Scalzi serialized a novel, Old Man’s War, on his website and got the attention of Patrick Nielsen Hayden, a senior editor at Tor Books—which, starting in 2005, published that book, three sequels, and another novel over a three-year period, with yet another book on the way for 2009.

Publishing industry observer Ron Hogan will interview Scalzi and Nielsen Hayden about, among other topics:

  • the role of Whatever in building up a fan base for Scalzi’s fiction
  • the online community that emerged from that fan base
  • how to nurture such a community — and how lightly to hold the leash
  • the model Scalzi’s success offered for the creation of Tor.com
  • using free ebooks to promote authors and publishing imprints
Photo of Ron Hogan

Ron Hogan

Shelf Awareness

Ron Hogan created Beatrice.com in 1995, making it one of the oldest continuously running literary websites on the Internet. He also writes about the publishing industry at GalleyCat.com and speaks frequently at industry conferences and book festivals, including Tools of Change and BookExpo America.

John Scalzi

Scalzi Consulting

from Wikipedia: John Michael Scalzi II (born May 10, 1969) is an author and online writer, best known for his Hugo Award-nominated science fiction novel Old Man’s War, released by Tor Books in January 2005, and for his blog Whatever, at which he has written daily on a number of topics since 1998. He has also written a number of non-fiction books.

Photo of Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Patrick Nielsen Hayden

Tor Books

From Wikipedia: Patrick James Nielsen Hayden (born January 2, 1959 in Lansing, Michigan), often abbreviated as PNH, is an American science fiction editor, fan, fanzine publisher, essayist, reviewer, anthologist, teacher and blogger. He is a World Fantasy Award and Hugo Award winner (with nine nominations for the latter award), and is a Senior Editor and the Manager of Science Fiction at Tor Books.

Photo of Tobias Buckell

Tobias Buckell


Tobias Buckell is a New York Times Bestselling Caribbean-born science fiction author of several novels and fifty short stories. He also consults and designs eBooks for Subterranean Press.

  • Impelsys Inc.
  • Ingram Industries
  • oXygen XML Editor
  • Adobe Systems, Inc.
  • codeMantra
  • Connotate
  • DPCI
  • Innodata Isogen, Inc.
  • LibreDigital
  • Lulu
  • Malloy
  • Mark Logic
  • Media Services Group
  • Quark, Inc.
  • ReadHowYouWant
  • RSuite
  • Safari Books Online
  • Smashwords, Inc.
  • Sterling Commerce
  • Verso Digital

Sponsorship Opportunities

For information on exhibition and sponsorship opportunities at the conference, contact Sharon Cordesse at scordesse@oreilly.com

Press and Media

For media-related inquiries, contact Maureen Jennings at maureen@oreilly.com

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