Monthly Archives: February 2014

How did you find this book?

I’m curious, to any and all who drop by here: How did you find the book? Link in from somewhere else, browsing the Amazon top (whatever) list (which one?), an Amazon recommendation, or something else? As a first time author, I’m new to all this, too, so any and all feedback about how you came across the book or what specifically struck you as most interesting is welcome. I don’t do FB or Twitter or the rest because I hate datamining, so the only thing I care about your post is what you say in your post, not all the background metadata.

For those that are curious, I am working on another book, but it might not be the one you are expecting. I could easily outline a dozen books that tie into this one, but I plan on writing books that will stand alone just fine, but will enhance each other.

Inside Politics and Publishing

It seems authoritarian creep (and creeps) manage to infest just about every large group that offers awards and titles. I used to be very active in the medieval recreation group the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronisms). I loved fighting in armor, the camaraderie, events, and the rest. But it started to get much too political and inbred (for lack of a better word) about the same time I met the young lady that became my wife, so I quit the SCA cold turkey. The SWFA (Science Fiction Writers Association) has become similarly infested with self-promoting, left-wing, intolerant hacks. There are a lot of details I’m sure I don’t know, but I’ve sort of been following it at Vox Popoli, and more recently at Sarah Hoyt‘s blog. A few days ago there was this hysterically funny posting, written mostly in animated GIFs. Among the comments were two cents worth being put in by Jerry Pournelle, Kim du Toit, Charlie Martin (not surprising, I guess), Michael Kingswood, David Brin, Mercedes Lackey, and many others. It was one of those things that was “just…. wow” to watch unfolding. An incredible rant, and magnificent comments, among them this gem by gryphonking: Continue reading Inside Politics and Publishing

Changes in the publishing industry

A New Yorker article. Talks about Amazon and changes that have taken place in the publishing industry in the last 20 years. Some food for thought. Creating good content is difficult, and electronic distribution costs these days are negligible. Authors should pocket a large percentage of the actual retail price of their stories IMHO. OTOH, without a good distribution system, an author can’t get to market, so I see why they’d want a percentage of the action.  But a total race to the bottom is ultimately not the best thing, either.

I’m not sure what the best answer is. Maybe a new book-only company that gives a fair deal to independent authors (like the 70/30 split Amazon gives for their KDP Select folks) but with no other caveats, and does a reasonable business in books for the publishing house authors (like carrying their books, but letting the publishers ship so there is no overhead) and no “promotional fees” just algorithm recommendations, in exchange for the authors getting 20% of whatever the publisher actually sells the (paper) book for, and 60% of electronic book sale price. Eventually I’ll learn more about Kobo and Smashwords and the rest, once I’m done with the 70% + exclusive KDP deal with Amazon. In the meantime, I’m doing OK with it.

Interesting numbers

Ry forwarded this link to me, a report on author earnings. Some interesting numbers. It’s only Amazon data, and it isn’t sliced and diced in all the absolutely perfect ways for my tastes, and it’s got some serious caveats, but it’s data, a lot more than any publisher or book-seller makes public easily anywhere else.

The take-away is that ebooks can make some significant money, and the industry is changing, but it’s not an easy path because there is a lot of competition and it isn’t an unlimited supply of buyers. But I think it means that getting a big name publisher is not nearly as necessary for success as it used to be, at least not in those particular genres that this report looks at.

Learning new things

As an author/publisher, nobody tells you anything. Well, people tell you all kinds of things, but not necessarily what you want or need to know ahead of time. You don’t have an agent or publisher or mentor to guide you through things, point things out, and (hopefully) point you in the right direction while steering you around common pitfalls. I can search all day and night, pester friends until they are not friends any more, read books, download books, click through on links, and come up blank far more often than not. But then every now and again, you find something useful, like: Continue reading Learning new things

Taj Short-Newborn 3

A middle aged man, slender, reddish hair combed straight back, well-groomed goatee, neatly dressed in a suit with the collar of a cleric and a small crucifix stands walking slowly on a treadmill in front of a desk, hands clasped behind his back. On the screen, a young woman in a simple skirt and blouse walks through a meadow, matching him pace for pace.
Ship AI: Faith in that which cannot be measured is not rational. Continue reading Taj Short-Newborn 3

Taj Short – Newborn 2

An elderly man with whiskers, tanned skin, and a waistcoat over his brightly colored shirt converses with a ship avatar, appearing as a swarthy middle-aged man with a confused expression.
Ship AI: But why is Xerbos Chancellor? His statements are contradictory to the point of being almost random, with extreme inconsistency not only over time, but current proclamations conflict with his claimed principles. I find no reason not to agree with the news articles calling him a pathological liar.
Bud: Yes, that and more. All politicians are liars. Continue reading Taj Short – Newborn 2

Taj Short-Newborn

A crowd of people are assembled in a large mission-control room. At each of the dozens of work-stations sit a range of people, from older men with flowing beards in casual clothing to “youngsters” in their late 20s sharply dressed in the latest fashions, a scattering of women. In the central area is a gathering of older people, ethnically diverse and dressed in conservative business clothing. The background is filled with the hum of the A/C and quiet murmur of the scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and programmers conversing or going though checklists. Most of those “on the floor” sound and look professional and excited, the politicians observing look nervous and uncertain. Continue reading Taj Short-Newborn