Mass Effect 3 and The Witch Watch

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Mar 14, 2012

Filed under: Personal 118 comments

EVERYONE is asking me what I think of Mass Effect 3. I’m getting it in Twitter, email, and comments in multiple threads. I don’t think there has ever been a time when this many people wanted to discuss a single game like this. I’ve never seen such a pent-up urge to have a conversation. It’s actually kind of impressive, even if a lot of it is critical.

Sadly, I don’t have the game yet. We just spent a load of money on hardcopies of my book, and the royalties from the first sales won’t show up for another month and a half. (Another thing publishers do for you: They have the resources to solve this particular cash-flow problem.) Not to mention PAX East is coming up.

So, please be patient. It’ll happen. Please don’t post spoilers in the comments. I want to go into this cold. If I know what’s coming, it will blunt the effect, good or bad.

And the next question you’re likely to ask is, “How is the book selling?”

Roughly: Not bad. It’s selling in the hundreds, not thousands, but it’s selling. And other self-pubbing authors are quick to remind me that in self-pubbing, it’s all about the long haul. (The attitude of “Sell ten thousand copies in a month, or die” is a relic of the old system, apparently. Now the goal is, “Sell ten thousand, eventually, and in the meantime keep writing so your books can sell each other.”) The reviews are generally favorable, and I’ve got a few marketing efforts left to do.

Yes, another book is in the works. No, it’s not due soon by any stretch of the imagination. It just hit 25k words, which is the do-or-die point for me. Two years ago I started a book, hit 25k, realized it was a bad idea, and abandoned it. Next I wrote Witch Watch, and when I hit 25k I was thinking, “Yeah. This is working.” This book seems to be going well. So far. I’m not saying anything more about it. Okay you twisted my arm: It’s sci-fi.

And while we’re at it, do any of you have suggestions for sites that would be interested in a review copy of TWW? I’m talking about sites that you personally read and respect. I can google around and find a limitless number of sites willing to accept a free book, but I’d like to know about ones that have some kind of overlap with people who already like what I do here.

So far I have:


Any other suggestions?

EDIT: The Mass Effect 3 problem has been solved by a nice person making use of the donate button. We’re good now.


From The Archives:

118 thoughts on “Mass Effect 3 and The Witch Watch

  1. Mechakisc says:

    IHC, maybe?

    You might give Howard a shout. He’s good people, and (I’m pretty sure) self-pubs collections of his comic. I would think there’d be some overlap there.

    Or like Rich, the Order of the Stick guy?

    I don’t do much on the internet that isn’t webcomics or WoW, so IHC is about all I have as far as suggestions.

    1. Clint Olson says:

      I’ll second the recommendation of the guy who makes Schlock Mercenary. I know I’ve personally gone to see several movies and read several books (The Name of the Wind was one of them, as I recall) just based on the recommendations of his blog. On the other hand, IIRC most of the book recommendations he’s given have been because he personally knows the author, so a recommendation from some random dude may not be enough to get him to review it. Still, worth trying.

  2. TehShrike says:

    Hey, not that it matters, but I haven’t played any of the Mass Effect games and I don’t care that much! Though it has been interesting to read people’s responses to the game.

    Personally, I’d be interested in hearing what the guys at Penny Arcade thought of the book. Getting them to read it might be tricky, though.

    It’s a bit surprising to me how many people come to mind to suggest (out of all the blogs I follow). I’d be interested in hearing thoughts from Matthew Baldwin at

    Maybe Felicia Day would be interested, too… she reads stuff!

  3. Glenn says:

    Try this guy in the UK — he will take eBooks for review, and favors sci- fi and fantasy. Don’t know what his reach is, exactly, but every bit probably helps:

    Congrats on the success so far! My book is selling in the tens — well, ten, to be exact — so hundreds is drool-worthy!

  4. Nyctef says:

    Knowing that something is coming, good or bad, will blunt the effect unfortunately. I think the ending hit me really hard because it was late at night and I was really into the game at that point. Still, it’s a great game otherwise.

  5. CTrees says:

    Honestly… the only sites I read for which this book would be appropriate are the escapist, giant in the playground, and penny arcade. No idea your chances of getting reviews any of those places. Sites like which I follow that do book reviews dont focus on fiction.

  6. anaphysik says:

    Funny thing about that ‘no spoilers’ thing, which I’m also doing for ME3 (a game which I’m liable to boot up for the first time in a few minutes) – I didn’t start ME2 until *after* seeing the entirety of it on Spoiler Warning. And you know what? It really did improve my experience of the game. Already knowing about the Illusive Choice Man and the Space Baby Terminator and all the other Stupid allowed me to better focus on the actual good stuff (stuff like Mordin and Legion).

    Now, it’s obviously important to recognize all the negative, but definitely make time to appreciate and enjoy the full impact of the positive.

    It sounds like going in blind is best for you, but I’m personally a little worried. Oh well, let’s just see how it goes.

    1. Nyctef says:

      One good thing about ME3’s ending: space baby terminator actually gets explained in a way that makes sense. Well, kinda :) Some of the other stupid gets lampshades or handwaved too which is nice

      1. anaphysik says:

        “space baby terminator actually gets explained in a way that makes sense”
        Honestly, I’m hoping that the root of the explanation is “Harbinger was a rogue cell.”
        Because that’s still the only thing that makes ANY sense.

      2. Cineris says:

        No. No it doesn’t.

    2. Jeff says:

      There’s a very minor spoiler that everybody should know – the side/optional missions can be “timed”.

      The one I’m thinking about triggers fairly early on (when the ME3 equivalent of Yeoman Chambers tells you she detects a distress signal), and if you do three other missions instead, it will automatically fail.

      There is absolutely no indication prior that there are consequences for being “late”, especially since other missions that call on you to rescue people from war zones never seem to have such a time limit.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    You can always just watch someone else play it and rant about that.It saves you a lot of money,plus you can see the essentials:somewhat nice gameplay,great filler stuff(bioware really became experts in the side things department),average to borderline bad main stuff,and a sweet renegade interrupt with al-jilani.

    1. Venalitor says:

      Al-Jilani again? Talk about tired, that’s been in every one of them. too much.
      hm. It seems as though I have been vindicated in my decision to abstain from purchasing ME3.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        It does have a nice twist to it this time.Check it out.

        Some of the other callbacks,however,arent that good.Mordin singing,for example,isnt the same when he has a different voice.Or worse,when joker asks for sex advice about him and edi.Still,at least some effort went into this,which cant be said about some other things*coughawesomebuttoncough*.

        1. krellen says:

          The only thing I get out of that is that somewhere along the line, Renegade became code for “complete arsehat”.

          1. Raygereio says:

            Renegade was always human-supremacist-jerkface.

            It’s kinda silly really, I mean they introduced Paragon&Renegade with this big fanfare about how it wasn’t going to be good vs. evil, but instead a meter about your approach to mission.
            You’d think they’d have learned from Jade Empire in which BioWare made the same promise. But nope…

      2. Khizan says:

        Yes, the reporter you (may or may not have) punched out in the previous two games makes an appearance in this one, and you get another shot at her.

        Clearly, this is the sign of a bad game, the inclusion of a repeating joke from previous games in the series.

        There are a lot of arguments to be made against ME3(I liked the gamw, fwiw, but I certainly admit that it has its flaws), but having the chance to take another swing at Al-Jilani isn’t one of them.

        1. Jeff says:

          The greatest bit is that if the player isn’t expecting what happens when you slug her, she hits back! (Though you can still slug her with the second interrupt.)

    2. Hitch says:

      I saw that sweet renegade interrupt go horribly (and by horribly, I mean hilariously) wrong. ;-)

      Not in my game, mind you. I refused to even talk to her, just walked past like she didn’t exist. But then I saw a play-through on YouTube that screwed it up. Seeing it happen to someone else made me happy.

    3. 4th Dimension says:

      There is also Bizzaro encounter with Verner, you know that idiot that worships you?

  8. Peter H. Coffin says:

    See, this is Yet Another Case where the marketing of this game is screwing the publishers: If this were on Steam, you’d have it by now, because some twerp would have shoved a copy onto your account before the first comment got posted on this entry.

    1. Heron says:

      You mean EA is screwing itself ;)

      I wanted to buy the game for a friend a few days ago, but unfortunately Origin does not allow you to buy games as gifts for friends.

      1. Bodyless says:

        you can buy and gift it on or,
        maybe even cheaper then on origin.

    2. KremlinLaptop says:

      See, my reaction on hearing Shamus didn’t have the game yet was, “Wait, what? No one has bought him a copy to lambast yet?”

      …Then I remembered, oh right, it’s not on steam.

    3. CTrees! says:

      Yep, my first thought on reading the post was, “hrm, it’s tempting to send it to him on Steam, because it’s worth it to see his commentary” Then wait, no, it’s Origin. *sad trombone*

  9. FuguTabetai says:

    John Scalzi’s blog has pointed me to good books in the past. But it might be hard getting reviewed there. See his publicity policy. 45k visitors a day, and the president of the SFWA.

    1. Fritha Hennessy says:

      I came here to say exactly this – I’ve picked up many good recommendations from Scalzi’s Big Idea series.

    2. Zak McKracken says:

      Scalzi says he’s not reviewing unpublished books (which I can understand), and self-published books count as unpublished to him in this regard. I wonder what that’s about.

      1. Mayhem says:

        Simple answer – self publishing suffers badly from Sturgeons Law.

        Longer winded version – requiring a professional publisher to have worked on the book at least guarantees a certain minimum level of quality – it will be properly edited, typeset, proofed and (hopefully) a decent story. Also, it helps maintain professional standards, which he has a responsibility towards as a leading member of the SFWA. Vanity presses and many of the print-on-demand scams work against that.

        Many authors also have legal advice that strongly recommends against them reading unpublished work on the grounds that if they get a good idea from it, they can be sued for plagiarism. Not necessarily successfully, but it has happened enough that once you get a certain amount of success you get very wary.

        1. Zak McKracken says:

          Makes sense. Sadly this’ll also mean that Shamus won’t get a review from him. At least not the regular way.

  10. GiantRaven says:

    This is good news. Means I have time to finish the game before diving into reading about it. Avoiding all the discussion about the ending is killing me.

    1. Scott Richmond says:

      My thoughts exactly!

  11. Scott Richmond says:

    Shamus, I do hope your next “sci-fi” is a cyberpunk. Not only will I definitely buy it (Didn’t buy your current one) but I believe the sub-genre carries a decently sized niche market with little competition.

    1. peter says:

      plus, it’s easy to recommend a big-ish site to get THAT book reviewed. cyberpunkreview is still kicking.

    2. Astor says:

      I’d rather if it be a hard sci-fi, post-cyberpunk piece of literature.

  12. Guvnorium says:

    Hmm. I only follow one thing that reviews books, and that’s the live journal of a fanfic author by the name of Inverarity. He writes good reviews, in my opinion, although I’ve read a fraction of the stuff he has read. The only issue with sending a book to him or some such is his… lets call it dislike for self publishing and indie publishing. There’s that, and I have no idea how many people actually read his livejournal account. Still, if you could somehow get him to read it, that’d be cool. He tends to go for fun stories, and has a particular love for well written female characters. (Which I personally think Alice is.)

  13. Strangeite says:

    io9, the Gawker sci-fi and fantasy site, would be a huge boon. Best bet would be to try and reach one of the individual contributors, Charlie Jane, Annalee, Meredith, etc. instead of just trying to contact the io9 mothership.

  14. OldGeek says:

    After all the free entertainment you’ve given on this blog, I was honored to by your book. And I must say it was pretty good.

  15. Kevin J. says:

    If I were you, I’d send Instapundit a copy- he gave Scalzi a nice boost when he was just starting out (not that he is singlehandedly responsible for his success or anything, but Scalzi gives him credit for helping him out). Even just a quick link would net you several sales, I bet.

    1. JAB says:

      I second this. A one line “Hey, this author sent me this book, and here’s the pointer to Amazon” on Instapundit will get you a heck of a lot more eyeballs than a review on a book review blog. Include a few sentences about how self publishing was easy/hard/interesting, and you might get more from him. But probably not.

  16. Ericc says:

    You might want to check out what Michael Stackpole ( has written about self-publishing. He’s discussed (a lot) about how authors can escape the agency model, so something might be on there.

    Review website:

    A friend of mine posts reviews there. Not sure if it does anything special, but you never know.

    1. I think we have it up on Goodreads, library thing, and the other book reviews by people who are reading the book site (which of course I have forgotten the name of.) I have accounts on all three and I THINK I have gotten the info up to date there.

      1. Scott M says:

        I recently reviewed The Witch Watch on Goodreads. (Cross-posted my Amazon review, but whatever.) One thing I noticed is that the cover doesn’t show up there, just a placeholder image, which pretty much screams “not a professional book”. I don’t know what the process is to apply a cover image to a book on Goodreads, but as the author there’s probably some way for you to do it.

    2. chrisw10 says:

      Mike Stackpole is a great resource. So are Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusche for the business side of writing. Great people.

  17. Everlag says:

    How about Luke over at Terminally Incoherent ? I have no information about the quantity of views he gets but he pointed me here originally to look at project frontier. Then somehow you ended up on a rss feed in rainmeter. His reader base seems about right for your novel.

    Sorry about the disposable email but my primary account has a horrible 38 character password that I’m not going to bother decrypting now…

  18. Cody211282 says:

    I’m waiting on the book until Friday after I get paid, though I will probably have to wait until after I’m done with school to read it :(

    Though I have to say I love that your going to throw in your 2 cents for ME3 and your waiting until after you have finished it to comment, to many people don’t get what the deal is and it’s because they haven’t played it.

    1. Sumanai says:

      I haven’t played it, and I know very well what the deal is. Despite spoiling some parts in the Mass Effect Wiki, I still had to read a piece online to realise what was bothering me. They only discussed the ending, but I felt better about the rest after reading the post and comments at Rock Paper Shotgun. Mainly because I got the impression that the game in general is not as bad as I thought.

      On the other hand, I had very low expectations, so being better than that doesn’t prompt me to purchase Mass Effect 3.

      1. Cody211282 says:

        Don’t get me wrong 90% of the game is amazing, but the last 10% is just really really bad.

        1. Sumanai says:

          To me, that doesn’t begin to describe the problem. But better to save that for later.

      2. X2Eliah says:

        On the whole, it is worth playing. Because the ending is *almost* the only thing that’s bad. The rest is ranging from ok to great to amazing.

        1. krellen says:

          Except that, gameplay-wise, it’s still a shooter, like ME2.

          1. Bodyless says:

            or like ME1. Having tons or meaningsless stats doesnt make it less of a shooter.

            1. krellen says:

              The stats are meaningful, though, which does make the difference. Try sniping things without having spent any points in sniper rifles.

        2. Sumanai says:

          Knowing what waits for you in the end isn’t very encouraging. I’d get into details why, but I think it borders too close to spoilers. However, apparently Bioware has some more plans in regards to the ending, so I would suggest people to wait until all the DLC gets out in order to find out what they’re planning. And whether it’s all worth it. Unless they’re talking about a secret ending.

          Personally: if they release DLC that changes the ending and ask money for it, don’t buy it. You’d be telling Bioware that one way of getting you to pay extra for their games is to ruin the ending and then fix it with paid DLC.

  19. Darkness says:

    Maybe when you are rich and bored you could start a new site. One that is a gaming review site that automatically deletes haters, ragers and fan boiz. Just posts and comments about how the story was and what was good about the mechanics. What we liked or disagreed with but in a civilized conversation instead of the normal game fans auto-rage mode.

    I am not going to buy ME3 until it is down to $30 with all DLC. It requires some multi-player which is a deal breaker for me. I allowed myself to get into the spoilers and I am actually glad I broke from my normal avoidance mode. It actually helped with the decision not to get it and I doubt if I had bought it now and gotten through to the end I would have been anything but rage filled anti-fan boy.

    Bioware had commented that only 57% of their players finished ME2. One of the variations of that was why put all the development dollars into something that 43% never got to? I would argue that ME was very good. I played it five times to completion. Never once without completion. I would have probably only played four times but I didn’t realize how important importing a level 60 vs a level 58 character was. I only finished ME2 once. I really didn’t like the changes all the regular reviews sites said were so good in the combat. I could play many different sections of ME and never died. In ME2 I died so many times it changed my enjoyment of the basic game. Changing armor on the fly and resetting the squads ammo could change the outcome of a battle. Then I could only change armor in the captains quarters and only change weapons at a weapons locker. Not to mention the stinking Illusive Jerk would high-jack my ship into a mission and I could even change my armor or weapons load out. I have a MaleShep that is not completed but I only started him to romance Tali. The drive to romance her has been unable to overcome the lethargic reaction to the rest of ME2. So I only have a FemShep that is ready to play.

    I was really looking forward to getting lost in saving the galaxy from the Reapers or die trying. I will just have to get used to playing Dark Souls with the network disconnected.

    1. Heron says:

      It requires some multi-player which is a deal breaker for me.

      As far as I’m aware, the only thing you actually *need* multiplayer for is a five-second special clip that plays after one of the endings.

      One of the variations of that was why put all the development dollars into something that 43% never got to?

      I’ve heard people say that too, but I don’t really buy it. If they had put less work into the ending (by removing pretty much everything after Shepard and Anderson’s encounter with the Illusive Man), I think the ending would have been orders of magnitude more fulfilling.

      1. Darkness says:

        My understanding was that it increased your readiness by some percentage.

        I never understood the 43% BS either. I wouldn’t have liked the game without it.

        1. Hitch says:

          It can increase your readiness, but it’s not that hard to get sufficient readiness without ever touching multiplayer. My first run through was only about 20 hours (I’m sure I skipped more than half the game) and I was fully ready for the final battle.

          I immediately started a new career, after getting a save editor to create the effect of a Mass Effect 1 and 2 play that had all the options I wanted, rather than the cannon version of my first career. (I never finished 2.) (Most specifically, I wanted Miranda DEAD.)

          1. Khizan says:

            Where did you find this save editor? Link, please?

    2. Hitch says:

      I never finished Mass Effect 2 because of the combat as well. I died a lot, but not so much because the combat was hard. The combat sequences were just so long and drawn out, because they wanted to make the game “more shootery” (because shooters are big and RPGs are dying) that I would get bored midway through and either get careless, or try to rush through it so I could get to something interesting.

      Mass Effect 3 has very nice “I don’t care about playing a shooter” options.

      1. CTrees! says:

        I also never finished ME2, because of the combat. Cover based shooters don’t do it for me. Then I downloaded the demo for ME3 and… immediately dumping you into more of the same cover based shooting? I think I’ll do exactly what I did for the end of ME2 – watch the different ways the scenes can play out on Youtube.

    3. Rosseloh says:

      I’m probably going to do the same thing (waiting for it to be cheap-ish). Although I think my primary reason is that I dislike EA, and very much dislike Origin. The fact that I can’t get the game from Steam is going to keep me from buying it, and even then, I’ll be getting it retail (does that require an Origin install as well? I wouldn’t be surprised).

      Unless of course Shamus plays it and gives it a glowing review — that would convince me to get it early (still retail, though), since we seem to have similar thoughts about a lot of stuff in games.

  20. Octal says:

    I’m not sure what kind of traffic they get, but I regularly read Ferretbrain. They definitely do reviews of submitted books, and having read (and enjoyed!) TWW, I think it might go over well there.

    1. Ian Miller says:

      Hmmm. As a regular reader of the ferrets, I’m not exactly sure if they’d like it or not. A lot depends on who’s reviewing, and what mood they’re in. Plus, as far as I can tell, it’s not an enormous site in terms of traffic. Or maybe that’s just the comment system.

      I do love them, though. Just not sure it’s the right fit for TWW, much as I love both.

  21. Kerin says: (@LiteraryGary on Twitter) is one of the best reviewers I’ve read. He’s also a great guy. Downside: he doesn’t accept review copies because he’s worried about ethics. I’ll point him in your direction, though.

  22. Adam P says:

    This is a bit of a crazy idea and might be a long shot, but consider PA for a review copy. Since you did DM of the Rings (and Experienced Points, Spoiler Warning, etc), it’s likely they’ll find your book (and site!) interesting enough to plug.

  23. X2Eliah says:

    Hm. With some luck, you could get somebody at sfsignal ( – despite the name, they cover both sci-fi and fiction books.

  24. KremlinLaptop says:

    To be honest I keep wishing I could somehow launch the book at Cory Doctorow at such speed that he’d have no choice but to review it and post about it on

    That’d be the longest shot in all the long shots, though.

  25. benjamin says:

    Will you get back working on project frontier ?

    1. Adam says:


      Seems like it’s probably dead though :( Oh well at least Sea of Memes updates every so often.

  26. sab says:

    Try and see if you can get an endorsement from George R. R. Martin, that should help.

  27. kikito says:

    Sci-fi! Yeah!

    Are you using MS Word again? :P

  28. ENC says:

    Shamus: I recommend checking out this thread, it’s useful for both aspiring and novice authors

    It has some review sites (I think critical is one, where you submit your works for critique and in turn you have to critique others), as well as some writing ‘tips’ that are no less applicable for people like annie whom are already career writers.

    1. We have a huge list of review sites that take submissions and how to submit to each thanks to a speculative fiction forum that I frequent (for writers/publishers but I am there as an illustrator/reader.:)) Shamus is looking for ones that specifically line up with his fan base because those are more likely to be actually useful and not just play to other authors in a giant mutual appreciation society (which is what most do.)

  29. James says:

    Won't comment on ME3, but I can comment on people in general.

    Disappointment is a fascinating and emotional charged reaction, and how long it lasts is directly propionate to the amount of people who agree with you. If no one agreed with your opinion then you'd shrug your shoulders, assume everyone was crazy and shelf that topic. When a handful of people agree with you, you feel vindicated and you can give yourself a hug and move on.

    When a hundred people- when a thousand people agree with you over a disappointment in the entertainment industry, it becomes Star Wars. The dialog never ends because there are so many people willing to support your opinion, the fanbase becomes its own self-sustaining dynamo of resentment.

    Games in general don't do well under intense scrutiny, a lot of the time we forget how much is airbrushed over or not commented on. But when you're having fun those details don't matter, and you'll probably be more than happy to fill in any holes with your own imagination. But when you're not having fun you have no desire to support the games weaknesses ““ so when your opened to a grave disappointment it brings the entire game under a dull grey light.

    1. george says:

      Too true. Things spiralled out of control for WoW/Pandas, and now blizzard are trying to milk the subscribers for very little content whilst releasing as many expansions (where retired players come back for a few months) as much as they can.

      I guess it goes with the territory of huge releases 5 million+ releases, the negative will be focused on the most (because that is human nature), remembered and scrutinised (e.g. we’d rather pay attention to how boring the side missions were with the Majo, forgetting the RPG depth and the fantastic storyline/universe associated with it which we didn’t really talk about).

      That being said, ME was an 8.3, ME2 8.2, and ME3 a 7.9 for me (less than a dozen games I consider 9+).

      I’m also amazed that the games barely been out a week (maybe longer for America, at least we don’t get it many months after like TV shows), yet people have already finished it, when it’s a 20+ hour title.

      1. Heron says:

        I had a very hard time putting the game down to go to bed, I was having that much fun… Which made my disappointment in the end all the more bitter.

        1. James says:

          I had this same experience with a game called Viking: Battle for Asgard. Straight forward brawler, looked nice, played nice, didn’t shoot for the stars but was satisfying.

          But the ending. NNRRRR. It was very lazy, it was basically an irritating gauntlet followed by a copy paste of a boss fight you’d done over five times by the end. It’s the only game I’ve ever returned because it felt so betraying. It was an ok game, but whenever I think about it all I can focus on is how terrible that end fight was.

          I think why I like a spoiler warning so much is that they can't really just skip analysing a part of the game, because their playing through the whole thing. ME 2's ending kinda ruined the series for me, but I'm glad they played through it cause it gave me a chance to readjust my opinion on the entire game- rather than lingering on my dislike of the ending.

          It's the difference between telling someone about the good/bad bits and actually showing you them. Since games are all about experience I think this kind of analyse suits the medium more than trying to sum up 20+ hours of gameplay into a handful of bullet points.

        2. Dude says:

          I’m going to say, I don’t care if the game, Mass Effect 3, goes downhill from the point where I’m in it right now, but Mordin singing (you know which one) was outstanding. Absolutely worth enduring the mess that was Mass Effect 2.

    2. Sumanai says:

      It gets grim if the creators, or one of the creators, goes ahead and acts condescending. Either the conversation will get more angry or there will be a bitter silence. Neither should be good.

      1. Avilan says:

        The biggest problem here is that on top of the the general disappointment as such (the writing of the ending sequence is not even half as good as the writing for the rest of the game), the actual, objective factual difference between what was promised about the ending and what was delivered was HUGE.

        That adds another degree or ten to the rage as well, especially in this day and age when it is easy to just find the promises online and compare them to what was delivered.

        1. Sumanai says:

          Yeah, the only thing I don’t get is why so few focus on that. If a company promises something and don’t deliver, it’s a pretty serious thing. They essentially lied, so why trust them on anything in the future?

  30. Hal says:

    While I know you’re heading there for fun and not profit, you are taking a few hard copies of the book to PAX East, right?

      1. Drew says:

        Of course you should try to get a copy in Jerry’s hands. If he reads it, and mentions it on PA, you’ll sell a zillion copies in 10 minutes from people who are curious.

        It’s a long shot, but totally worth a try.

  31. Eruanno says:

    I’ve never seen a game that people want to spoil so before Mass Effect 3. In every single forum thread about it, somewhere among the first five comments is a comment spoiling something, without any kind of spoiler tag or warning. Thanks for telling me that the spoiler spoilers with the spoilers while on Spoiler-Planet, jerkface.
    Not even Skyrim was this bad >.>

    1. Milos says:

      You get to fight Intrusive Man on the back of a space whale but only if you killed Jacob in ME2.

      1. GiantRaven says:

        Damnit, my Jacob was alive and kicking!


    2. GiantRaven says:

      I learned this the hard way after seeing a single spoiler. It was perhaps the only thing about the Mass Effect trilogy that I wouldn’t want spoiled for myself.

      1. krellen says:

        Your enjoyment of a story is increased if you have been spoiled.


  32. Rick says:

    Off topic here Shamus, but I’m curious. As a programmer and a writer does it bug you that writing convention has close quotes after the period at the end of a sentence?

    Vader explained “Luke, I am your father.”

    As a programmer it infuriates me that the quote reaches out past the end of the sentence. It’s within the sentence, therefore logic dictates it should finish within the sentence.

    I’ve even seen plenty of books/magazines/websites/newspapers miss the closing quote marks completely when at the end of a paragraph. For it to be that widespread it must be a typographical rule I’m unfamiliar with.

    p.s. Looking forward to your sci-fi book :D In a long time, when it’s ready.

    1. Bubble181 says:

      At least in Dutch, the only correct rule is to close the quotes within the sentence.

      I said “I am worried.”. <– this is a correct sentence
      I said "I am worried". <– this is also a correct sentence
      I said "I am worried." <– this is not a correct sentence

      As I said – Dutch grammar rules; maybe English is silly enough to do it the other way around.

      1. Rick says:

        Your way (the Dutch way) makes sense to me. It’s logical.

      2. Radagast says:

        In English, the period always goes within the quotation marks. So in your three-part Dutch example, the only one that is incorrect in Dutch is the only one that is correct in English.

      3. Corran says:

        It’s unfortunate but you are incorrect.

        See here:

    2. some random dood says:

      In (UK) English, the sentence would usually be “some quoted stuff”.
      Re the missing end of paragraph quotes, that indicates that the same speaker is continuing his/her speech.
      E.g. explicitly mentioning A and B for the people in a conversation (which would not usually appear)
      Some blurb setting up speakers A and B
      A) “What did you think about Mass Effect 3?” asked Adam.
      B) “I liked the milk shakes and the space whales.
      B) “Oh, and I really liked the ending where you got to paragon-interrupt for the space shark to laser the frak out of TIM!”
      A) “… I … didn’t find the space shark option. What did you do to get that?”
      B) “Did you miss the mission that Conrad gives? Oh maaaaaan!”

      Note in the above waffle, the first line for B did not have closing quotes. This indicated that B continues speaking the next paragraph, rather than switching to A. (This can continue over mulitiple paragraphs, the closing quotes at the end of a paragraph indicates that that person has finished their speech.)

  33. De Zwits says:

    For a foreign audience (the Dutch are avid English language readers), try, a mash-up of art / music / literature / movies / pop culture. With resident nerd present (I should know – I am that nerd, and regular follower of the site)

  34. Radagast says:

    Shamus, you should check out This Link for how one person succeeded in self publishing.

    I know that some larger bookstores have an option where you can do a book signing too. You pay the bookstore a flat fee, but in theory you are selling hundreds of books and make your fee back and more…

    Finally, isn’t it interesting how people just can’t handle the “don’t post spoilers” bit? :)

    1. We have considered this but our local book store is small (though owned by a big company) and when they have author signings there the author sits there not doing anything because we live in a hick town where everyone works for the steel mill– not much book interest here.

      1. Matt K says:

        I know you guys live in central PA, have you considered doing some sort of signing at one of the University book stores in the area, eg Penn State, Bucknell, Dickenson, …? I’m sure there’s a decent number of fans at the Universities so it should be at least somewhat busy.

        1. george says:

          I know in Australian culture people don’t really go to University things unless they’re something along the lines of ‘CHANGE THE WORLD!’ (Marxism 2012, Save the animals from unnecessary testing, those kinds of things)

  35. chrisw10 says:

    You’ve sold several hundred? Congrats! The fact that you’re selling that many instead of like, 5 a month is due to your built-in audience. If you start from scratch it takes awhile to get up to that level. Keep at it.

  36. Gary says:

    I read very often and even though they are not a book review site they check out all things sci-fi and fantasy. Also I have seen them review books and here within the last 6 months or so I’ve seen them review a number of alternative history novels. Here is a link to one of them.


    I hope I did that right.

  37. Hermes says:

    Mostly tv series and books but the occasional computer game as well

  38. Mayhem says:

    Two things.
    First, how much do you really want to sell – is this a personal project that you needed to get off your chest, or is it something you really want to move into?
    Secondly, how fast can you scale up? If you get an inspiring reference from a big name, can you actually cope with potential demand?

    Honestly, I would recommend trading off your existing contacts in the webcomics world. Get your book into their hands, see what they think. If they like it, they will spread the word. If not, you haven’t lost much. Either way, they probably have the ability to throw in a bootnote about what they are reading which will attract further interest. If nothing else, spread it around at PAX to a few people you know and it doesn’t matter if it gets left on a chair at the back of a booth – people will notice it. Further to that, if people like the book, they will want more, so you do need to keep writing. I’d personally suggest writing something else that works with the first, but not having read the book, I’m not sure how standalone it is or if you have left threads you can tie into. Once you have the next one down, branch out into whatever interests you. Above all, write! Maybe some short vignettes, that you could always revisit and turn into longer works.

    And if you could do all that without slowing down providing us with the copious quantities of awesome free reading material on your blog, that would be … great. Plus I’m gonna need you to come in on Sunday too … yeah.

  39. Will says:

    It’s been a while since I ventured into the main book forum, but the folks over at read a very broad range of sci-fi and fantasy. One of the admins over there might review the book.

  40. You might try the Sword and Laser podcast. It’s more of a book club than a review site, but there’s an associated message board on Good Reads and they like and read most F&SF.

    1. Fukiku says:

      And now they have Felicia Day’s name attached to them via Geek and Sundry, which definetely doesn’t hurt. :)

  41. aquagosh says:

    I’d recommend Rob Bricken over at Topless Robot. He runs a nerd news blog, and he’s reviewed the occasional book. Plus I think his audience would be the same one you’re aiming for.

  42. Vect says:

    Well, “That Guy With The Glasses” has a Book Review group and that site has a pretty massive fanbase, even if they’re mostly dedicated to a few primary reviewers (Doug Walker and his close associates mostly). Still, speaking of them I’d think that Lewis “Linkara” Lovhaug (comic book reviewer) or Noah “The Spoony One” Antwiler (video games/films but he does like a good book) would be pretty interested in this kinda stuff. A recommendation from those guys might do wonders.

  43. Aanok says:

    I dunno if someone else already pointed this out, but The Witch Watch is still not showing up on non-USA Amazon sites. Was this expected or did something bad happen?

  44. decius says:

    I will add my recommendation for Unshelved. If you can get Howard Taylor (Schlock Mercenary) to do a review or shoutout, that will hit a lot of your target audience as well.

  45. Khazidhea says:

    The Witch Watch is also now available at the Book Depository which has free shipping (and PayPal, if that’s your thing); handy for us international fans.

  46. radhock says:

    Witch Watch, vs Mass Effect (which I couldn’t care less about – I’m an old school gamer who still wishes for Loderunner Lives and BC’s Quest for Tires revivals).

    I got tired of trawling the comments so may have missed this, but how about Batrock? He’s got an interesting, independent point of view. I know he’s on your blogroll – that’s how I found batrock – but I would assume be unbiased.

    Separate but related note: do you want feedback on typos etc in The Witch Watch? I grabbed it for kindle from Amazon yesterday, one day after getting the Kindle cheap, and have noticed a few typos (well, two so far).


  47. Jon says:

    I know this was posted ages ago, but it just occurred to me. A great site for book reviews of fantasy is

    They have a substantial community as it is an offshoot of the main Eragon based website ( and as far as I can tell does a lot of interesting and good book revewis. You could try submitting it to them.

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