Quick Update

21 Jun

So I have stopped my review request campaign. Turns out that this is rather rude. It’s like telemarketing. Luckily, one of the first people I sent an email to is an author who has a rather acerbic wit. She led me to her website that deals with authors who would spam others. It had excellent advice and I am in the process of implementing the advice.

On a more positive note, I have now included a widget on my website. It’s on the right-hand side and it is a graphic from Pacemaker that shows how many words I have written in my novel Stoc. I need to write about 50,000 words to finish the novel. I finished Part One yesterday at around 48,000 words. That will bring the novel to around 100K words which is the right number of words for my novels, I think. 120K words is a little too much.

Anyway, now you can track my progress!

Ciao.

Indie Author and Mainstream Publishing

17 May

Support Indie Authors

I’m biased. I am an Independent Author (AKA Indie Author) and so I will gravitate more toward Indie Authors than mainstream authors. I want to say that up front. This is an opinion post. Not well researched and completely anecdotal.

I remember when paperback prices started to rise back in the 80s and 90s. There was anger by the readers and articles were written about it. The rationale of the big publishing houses? It cost more to produce a paperback or hardcover novel. The cost of paper, ink, binding, etc. all had increased and so did the cost of the novel. Many people, including me, didn’t believe it but had no choice but to accept that argument. I have tried to find articles on this but failed to find any – it was in the early days of the internet and I am pretty sure it was in an Ottawa Citizen newspaper article. I remember the gist of it though. Back then I paid for those paperbacks myself over at the House of Speculative Fiction on Fourth Avenue in Ottawa. [I miss that store, by the way. I still have those books downstairs on many bookshelves.]

When paperback prices started to rise, I was angry and couldn’t understand why, but when it was explained by the publishing houses I had little choice but to accept but I never forgot their explanation – even today. Thankfully along comes the eBook, and I rejoiced. The arguments I was fed for the high price of paperbacks no longer applied! I was happy (and yet deeply saddened at the loss of holding a book in your hands for an e-reader).

Indie Author; Bored?Fast forward to today. An author I follow, Patricia Briggs, a New York Times Bestseller who writes Urban Fantasy published the latest in her Mercy Thompson series and is charging $12.67 USD ($14.99 CAD) for the Kindle version of that novel as of today. I am flabbergasted. What justifies that cost? Can it be the cost of producing the novel that raised the price so high? I hardly think so. Ebooks are frakking EASY to put together. Writing is the hard part – formatting is easy. A child could do it. Takes about a day to do it right. So what is it? Greed? The cost for the most amazing and perfect editing job ever seen on Earth? Gimme a break.

$14.99? For an ebook? That is far too much, IMHO. We are starting to see more and more established authors charging more and more for their work. I wonder what the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel will cost? Probably more than $14.99 CAD. Shameful.

In comparison, another author I favour, Faith Hunter, also published a new novel in her Jane Yellowrock series. Faith is another New York Times Bestseller but her novel is only $7.60 USD ($8.99 CAD) on Amazon. While I find that a little high in price it is acceptable for someone who has made it “big” and can start to demand more for her work.

This is not hypocrisy on my part. I suppose everyone has a price that is their line in the sand. Everyone has a threshold for what they can accept. Mine is less than $10 CAD for an established author. Note that I can buy two of Faith’s books for one of Patricia’s. So, guess where my money goes?

What’s the difference? Who is the better author? They are both New York Times bestsellers. Yet one is pricing her novel at almost twice the cost of the other author. Does this mean that Patricia Briggs is twice the quality of Faith Hunter? I wouldn’t say so. They both have strengths. I personally prefer Jane Yellowrock over Mercy Thompson but that is a personal preference.

Who chooses what to sell the ebook at? I believe that is the publishing house that represents the author. So who published each novel? Penguin Group USA. The same company for both authors. Interesting, no? So, like the sailor I am, I boil away the water and see two piles of salt. One is larger than the other and is wrapped in dollar signs.

The good news: People will see those prices and say “fuck that” and go buy a reasonably priced Indie author’s novel(s). Yay, me. Publishing companies are shooting themselves in the foot, IMHO.

Segue: Some bloggers have been arguing that Amazon has been intentionally driving the price of ebooks down to corner the market. Others are saying that publishing companies are increasing the costs of ebooks to drive out the market. I don’t know what to believe. This anecdotal evidence seems to support both these arguments. I just know as an Indie Author I scramble to make the small amount of change I make off the sale of my novels. These prices frighten me and anger me because I buy all my novels. I have since I was a kid.

Will I crank my price up to $14.99 when I become famous? Not if I have any say in the matter. I want the 14-year-old kid of today to be able to click my novel and pay for it with their own pocket money and not have to take out a line of credit to do so.

Sorry to rant but wow, what a piss off to see ebooks gouging people like this.

Ciao.

Here are a couple of interesting articles I found after about 10 seconds of Googling:

Have Publishers Shot Themselves in the Foot with Costly Ebooks? by Caleb Mason (January 19, 2016)

Publishers Initiate Predatory Pricing on e-Books to Destroy the Market by Michael Kozlowski (September 26, 2015)

The Muse of Music: It Makes Me Write

17 Apr

My muse is music.

I have to have music around me at all times because it makes me enjoy this world all the more. This post is not so much about music but how I can’t seem to focus on my art.

Stoc

Stoc: Volume Three

My work on my third novel in the New Druids series is plodding along, albeit not as quickly as I would like. I am finding it difficult to find the time and when I do I have time, to focus on the task. I think many of us have this problem and the symptoms are as old as the heavens.

Here’s what I do know: you need to be in the right mindset. I have to one, find the time, two, recognise that this is an opportunity to progress my work, and three, commit myself to actually doing the deed. Hard to get all three of those items lined up just right. For example, I have the time now, I recognise that it is a perfect time to write, but I find myself writing a blog post rather than writing on my novel. I am easily distracted.

“Wicked, bad, naughty Zoot!”

Yes, I blame Monty Python, because why not?

But I have not procrastinated. So that is good news! I have managed to put away the Christmas lights, I raked the front yard, and I have brushed out the garage. But wait, there’s more! I also put away the snow blower and pulled out the lawn mower. A truly glorious day!

I should probably close this out and get to writing. Did I tell you that I am having all sorts of difficulty working out a massive battle scene in the third novel? I probably shouldn’t tell you that. Spoilers, I guess…

So, right, Music.

I mentioned it way up above in the title of this post. Why? Because music is a grounding muse for me. I play music and I can typically fall into positive patterns of behaviour. I play music on my piano. I run to music. I ride the bus with music. I sit in airports and rocket through the sky in thin-skinned aeroplanes with music. I also write to music. I write my novels to acoustic guitar most often, like Andy McKee, or Jack Dawson. Or I listen to post-rock from Explosions in the Sky, This Will Destroy You, or Godspeed You! Black Emperor. It calms me. If not post-rock then Band of Horses is always a winner.

Here are some samples:  This Will Destroy You: The Mighty Rio Grande or Explosions in the Sky: Your Hand in Mine and Band of Horses: Detlef Schrempf

Ciao.

Piracy and Copyright Infringement

9 Dec

UPDATE #2: Amazon sent me a very nice explanation email. Here is what Anne Tarpey, the Amazon Trademark Agent, said:

“Thank you for your e-mail. The Kindle title, “DUILLEOG: Druids Novel” ASIN: B01N9CSV4N was removed from sale on Amazon.com. Our North American sales records do not reflect any sales of this item while it was active. The appropriate group is currently investigating this publisher. For privacy reasons, the results of their investigations cannot be disclosed, but be assured they will take any disciplinary actions they find appropriate.”

UPDATE #1: The offending novel has been taken down from Amazon. This happened yesterday, December 10, 2016, sometime in the afternoon. Still no word from Amazon.


Yesterday I was working on the details of my new release for Leaf and Branch. As I am wont to do, I went to Amazon and typed in my first novel title. This lets me quickly get to my author bio and copy it. When I typed in my novel and hit enter I found myself looking at another novel with a very similar title: Duilleog: Druids Novel. My alarm bells went off.

I clicked the book and found myself looking at a very badly done cover and the name of an author called “Park Michael”. I clicked the novel to look inside and noticed, one, the copyright detail was not there, two, it was a complete cut and paste from my novel, Duilleog, A New Druids Novel, Volume 1. This asshat had blatantly stolen my novel and was selling it on Amazon. I want to be clear here: it is a COMPLETE copy of my novel. Word for word.

I have sent a copyright infringement notice to Amazon and I am STILL waiting on word back. It’s been over 24 hours now. Meanwhile, needing a shoulder to lament on, I went over to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Author group on Facebook and told them – and my personal Facebook page. Their support and the support of my friends has been nothing short of spectacular. Moral support. Sympathy. Everything I could need. PLUS, they have flooded the pirated novel with one-star reviews and warned the world it was a plagiarised novel. My faith in humanity restored. They have all levelled up, IMHO.

Meanwhile, this pirate is selling my novel. Amazon needs to be more responsive. This is without a doubt a blatant theft. I fail to understand how Amazon could allow the publishing of something so clearly plagiarised. In Staff College, I had to submit my essays through Turnitin. Surely to Gaea, Amazon could run submissions through something similar. It’s not hard. The novel was at least two years of my life if not more. Hard work, sweat, tears, frustration, joy, and everything in between – only for someone to scan it, post it, and sell it as if it was their own. It’s criminal.

I’ll update when I have more news.