Rob St. Amant

Rob St. Amant
December 31
My roots are in San Francisco and later Baltimore, where I went to high school and college. I stayed on the move, living for a while in Texas, several years in a small town in Germany, and then several more in Massachusetts, working on a Ph.D. in computer science. I'm now a professor at North Carolina State University, in Raleigh. My book, Computing for Ordinary Mortals, will appear this fall from Oxford University Press.


OCTOBER 3, 2012 7:50AM

I'm less than a tenth the writer Thoreau was

Rate: 9 Flag


Oxford just sent me a box of twenty books. Each one has my name on the spine of the dust jacket.

Opening the box was a gratifying moment. And then I was reminded of Henry David Thoreau, whose first book didn't sell many copies. He wrote, "I have now a library of nearly nine hundred volumes, over seven hundred of which I wrote myself."

So at this point I'm less than 2.8% the writer Thoreau was. I'll settle for that.



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Hah! Let's hope that it pays to be humble.....

I suppose that implying one is a god is not a good place to start. :-)
Congrats. Is it available now, Rob? If so, can you put up the publishing info (or just PM me).
Thanks, Lee. The official date is October 29, though a few people have copies already from the publisher for reviews and such. (Here are the Amazon and Powell's pages, if you're curious.) I'm in publicity hound mode for the next month, a somewhat uncomfortable position for me, but we'll see how it works out...
Welcome to the club! The experience will at least teach you patience. I still have about 500 of the 2000 copies printed of The Disappearing Cemetery. That said, it's been a thoroughly wonderful experience, selling those other 1500.

Too bad you didn't write a wingnut screed like Unfit for Command or any other screed by conspiracy nut Jerome Corsi. If you had, Regnery would dump your book by the case -- nay, by the pallet-load -- to wingnut outfits like the Heritage Foundation, and you'd find yourself on the NYT bestseller list!
Good luck selling your books.

Finding a home for them will be challenging but I'm certain you'll garner experience as well as a fresh perspective on what it takes to sell yourself.
Thanks, Belinda!

Tom, your book is still on my nightstand... (I've had a lot of professional stuff to read and write about lately. But it's next on my list.)
Congrats, Rob. Will be buying your book, and know it will be helpful, as I have followed your generous tech advice right on this site. And I do remember the wonderful feeling of seeing a book delivery, kind of like a birth . May it sell well.
Thanks, Lea! It's lovely to talk to writers about this sort of thing.
Quite an achievement, mortal or otherwise. Congratulations! We’ll be spreading the word, too. Heading off to Amazon...
Congrats Rob. What a good feeling it must be to cross the finish line on a project. Can't buy one now because I'm so broke but would if I could. Good luck on your sales.
Thanks, David! Thanks, whirlwind!

It's something of a relief at this point.
Make sure your Walden has indoor plumbing. I'm looking forward to reading and learning. Keep us informed on the dates for your national book tour. Remind your doctoral students that dissertations will be judged based on the number of books they sell on your behalf.
Well seventy percent of success is just showing up and you're here.
Hey, Stim, I'll call you once I reach Chicago on my national tour. (Assumptions, assumptions...)

Thanks, OEsheepdog. That's a good way to look at it.
Congrats on the publication and good luck on the promotion.
Musicians end up with boxes of CD's in the basement. They don't mold as easily.
Thanks, AKA. Fortunately, I've promised all these copies to friends and family, so I won't even need the shelf space I'm using now.
Actually it's a great place to start! You'd be mankind's very first humble god!!

PM comin' at ya......

Congratulations! May all us ordinary mortals find copies!
Pretty exciting stuff, Rob. Your headline for this post is, in itself, a work of genius. Less than a tenth...that made me ponder.
Thanks, KC!

Sandra, I'm blushing. Well, not really, not with my compexion, but you know what I mean.
Nice. Walden Pond had a first self-published run of 2,000, just like my first book. I'm down to about my last 700, so I'm pulling even with HDT.
I'm glad there are more Thoreau wannabes than just me. :-)

A friend has sent me email saying that my book is now in stock on Amazon and can be ordered, and I can soon look forward to becoming a hundredaire.