I had been a published author for a grand total of three weeks when I attended my first con — WorldCon in San Antonio in 2013. And for the better part of two days, I carried with me a Ziploc baggie with bagels in it.
Why? Because John DeNardo, who runs SF Signal, is well-known for his love of toroidal bread products, and any other bagel west of New Jersey pales in comparison to the real thing. It seemed only fitting that I would help him rediscover the joys of the One True Bagel, especially given the support SF Signal had given my burgeoning authorial career.
See, it’s hard out there for a debut author — and it was a particularly interesting debut for me. Night Shade Books nearly folded before The Daedalus Incident came out, and then was sold to Skyhorse Publishing. The book was delayed about three months, though I will say that going from just-another-debut at a struggling publisher to the lead title of a new imprint ultimately was a step up.
Throughout all that, SF Signal was stalwart in its support. Paul Weimer’s review of Daedalus was one of the very first out there, and his positive take made me think that, yes, this whole novelist thing could work. And pretty much any time I asked for something, John was not just agreeable, he was enthusiastic. Guest posts, interviews, cover reveals and enough mind melds to crowd out the voices already in my head…SF Signal was awesome.
Hence the bagels. It was my little way of saying thanks.
All this”was” feels positively funereal, but alas, SF Signal is heading off into the digital sunset. You can read John’s farewell here, which naturally references The Lord of the Rings and the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in the first 50 words (and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in the teaser text). I completely understand the reasoning here — running a site the size and scope of SF Signal had to be a massive undertaking, and things like jobs and families are important.
So let’s not make it so dour. The site had an incredible run, picked up a bunch of Hugos, helped hundreds of authors introduce their work to thousands of fans, and kept the focus squarely on the books and the geek stuff, all with humor and good grace. I’m not only appreciative of the boost SF Signal gave my work, but of everything it did to keep fans informed and entertained for more than 12 years.
My thanks to all the contributors — Paul Weimer, Rob Bedford, Patrick Hester, John Anealio, Regan Wolfrom, and so many others. Even if I never worked with you, I always enjoyed reading your stuff. I hope all the contributors continue to write and produce thoughtful reviews and essays for many years to come.
And to John, the very heart and soul of the site, thank you for giving me bits of your digital real estate. Thanks for letting me reach out to your readers. Thanks for the reviews and all the support. And finally, thanks for putting together a site I read and loved not only as an author, but as a fan.
Next time I see you, whenever that is, I’ll bring you more bagels.