Yo Canada

Amazon.ca has been live pretty much all month, but nobody’s showing any love for Perigee. What’s up with that?

So I guess ya’ll just have to push me to go there and make it free. Fine. You got your way. Now go spread the word!

Tipping Point

2012 may be known as the year Indie publishing broke down the final barriers to general acceptance. This may be one of the biggest roadblocks to fall:

NY Times Critic Selects Self-Published Book Among This Year’s Top 10

A lot of writers have been of the opinion that a big-shot reviewer’s stamp of approval is the brass ring we needed someone to grab. I hope that’s the case, because there aren’t that many left. Consider what’s happened just in the past twelve months:

Literary merits aside (gaah!), there’s no denying that 50 Shades of S&M Grey pretty much owned the best-seller lists this year. A more worthy (IMO) example is Hugh Howey’s Wool, which didn’t do so badly itself after being published pretty much on a lark as I understand it. It’s very good – surprisingly good – in that I knew it was getting great reviews and selling well, but I was surprised at how emotionally powerful it was. Turns out he made the right move, as the movie rights have been picked up by Ridley Scott.

Personally, 2013 is going to be a big year for yours truly. Look for the Perigee sequel this spring, and a novella that connects the two books by next Christmas.

There – committed to them in public! Suppose that means I’d better get on with finishing them…

Fired Up

Being a gadget freak, I’m always eager to hear about the latest whiz-bang computing devices. Alas, I’m only limited by the power of money. If only the kids didn’t like living in a house and eating food so much…and those braces? Meh.

C’mon boys, wouldn’t you rather Dad got an iPad?

And if a frog had wings it wouldn’t bust its ass hopping. $700 is a lot of money to play Fruit Ninja. But I can dream, right?

So let’s narrow this down a bit: being a budget-conscious gadget freak, I’m always eager to hear about the latest whiz-bang devices from Amazon. Which means today I’m a very happy boy.

Checking off the latest techie goodness from the Left Coast:

Front-lit Kindle touch? Tick.

Cheaper Kindle Fire with more memory and battery life? Tick-tick.

Kindle Fire HDs with 16GB memory and screen resolution comparable to iPad’s Retina? Tick-tick-tick…

But wait, there’s more! The HDs come in 7″ and 9″ models, priced at $199 and $299 respectively. BOOM!

There’s also a higher-capacity Fire HD with 4G LTE wireless, at a price point that gives Apple the Big Middle Finger.

Lots more from Wired’s live blog of the Amazon event, just follow the link above. There’s also a quick write-up at Gizmodo.

After singing the praises of indie publishing through Kindle Direct, Jeff Bezos also announced a new product from the KDP service: Kindle Serials. For one price, you can buy a serial novel and automatically receive each new chapter as it’s published. As a bonus, you get to interact with the author during the writing process.

I like the sound of this, as the next book I have in mind after the Perigee sequel would be big. As in spanning-generations big. I’d figured on it being a three-volume work but a serial version might be just the ticket.

Finally, it appears that Kindle Singles are now being priced at $1.99. Not sure yet how that might affect the $0.99 price as a promotional tool, but my first guess is that we won’t see many more novels priced that low.

Live on Kobo

It wasn’t quite “pushing the easy button”, but it was mostly painless: Perigee is now for sale on Kobo.

I couldn’t get it to accept my ISBN numbers for some reason, and there’s no obvious way to link to reviews from Goodreads and other sites. More to follow as I figure it out…

UPDATE: Always helps to dig a little deeper in the user’s guide (duh). Finally got it to accept the ISBN, which will eventually link itself to Goodreads.

Kobo Publishing: How Much Longer?

Some tantalizing details about Kobo’s self-publishing platform have hit recently, and it looks like they’re prepping their website for launch.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this since hearing about it several weeks ago. It was supposed to be a done deal by now, but they’ve been sitting on it a bit longer to collect more info from their beta-testers.

Which is all well and good, but come on ya’ll…get on with it already!

If you’ve not heard of Kobo, think “Canadian Kindle” and you’re there. It’s also (I think) the most popular e-reader in Europe. So yeah, I’m anxious for this to get going so I can stop struggling with Smashwords’ “meatgrinder” conversion (a more appropriate label would be hard to find) and expand my audience. It’s never fun having to pick through every single line of a 400-page Word document, and is downright teeth-grinding when you’ve already got the $%#@! book in epub format.

Yep, it’s just sitting there on my hard drive. Oh, and on Barnes & Noble’s as well…

So hold on, Canadian and EU readers: one way or another, some bang-up stuff is coming downrange any time now!

UPDATE: Well, that didn’t take long. Just got the email from Kobo and they’re live. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Free at Last

My exclusivity agreement with Amazon for Perigee ends today, so it’s now available for Nook readers through Barnes & Noble’s website.

Kindle Select was a great deal when it started, but it’s been time to move on for a while. Free promos were a good way to build readership, especially when they counted against your total sales. It was easy (maybe too easy) to hit the jackpot lever and watch my title end up in the top 10 for its genre.

Both sales and loans to Amazon Prime members (which are still paid for) have slowed to a crawl. That’s as good a signal as any that it’s time to expand the market. So if you know anyone with a Nook, do me a solid and recommend it.

And if you have a Nook – well, what are you waiting for???

Where Writers Go From Here

Via the Fantastical Andrew Fox: a far-reaching essay on the current state of literature (I’d say “publishing” but it’s so much more than that), where it’s going, and what it means for us ink-stained wretches who slave over our keyboards. It’s a long read but well worth it.

A couple of quick excerpts:

For the overwhelming majority of midlist writers, those without a history of best-selling books and those without a pre-existing “platform” of fame and public recognition, traditional publication by a large publishing house will be (and, for the most part, already is) a fading dream, a “winning the lottery” type of event. Most of us are simply going to have to do a whole lot more of the business end of things ourselves, if we hope to attain any presence in the literary marketplace. By the business end, I mean publicity, reader outreach, editing, and book design.

. . .

I think many writers enjoy helping other writers. I think this is so because writers were readers before they ever became writers, and thus learned to cherish other writers, and because writing is a solitary, lonely business and many writers hunger for a community of their fellow enthusiasts. I think as it becomes more and more crucial for us to assume greater responsibilities for the business side of our writing careers, it behooves the more successful among us to help our less fortunate, less resource-endowed fellow writers to pull themselves up by their proverbial bootstraps. Because we will benefit as readers and potentially as business people, and because creating community is a source of joy and fulfillment.

Yes. In a sense we’re all in competition with each other, but I don’t think most of us see it that way. Readers are always looking for good books, and they’re always looking for that one that hits the perfect notes – the one that makes the reader think “I must have this book”. Might be something of mine, then again it might not be. More power to ’em. Every single “name” writer I’ve been in contact with has been tremendously helpful, and I fully intend to follow in their footsteps. This is a tough business to break into, though it’s admittedly easier with e-publishing to a certain point…once your work’s out there, it’s all you, buddy. Be prepared to endure the slings and arrows, because we each stand or fall on our own talents.


The Prodigal Son Returns

Admittedly that stretches the analogy too far, but it makes for a good headline at least. Hey, you’re here reading this, right?

If you’ve not read Boyd Morrison’s work (and I highly recommend The Ark), he was the first Kindle author to hit the big time with a legacy publishing deal. Therefore he’s been a major influence and inspiration – not to mention he writes really fun books where engineers save the day. Continue reading “The Prodigal Son Returns”