Saturday, July 31, 2010

Amazon Ebook Prices

In case you weren't aware, Amazon has changed its royalty method for ebooks. Previously, the minimum book price was 99 cents. I set my ebook prices at that point to encourage folks to at least get the sample (a handy feature if you're not sure you want to waste a buck).

Author/publishers can still set a 99 cent price point, but the royalty rate continues to be the miserly 35%.

If the author/publisher sets the price between $2.99 and $9.99, the royalty goes up to 70%. Hoorah, you might say, for the authors. However, what Amazon is doing is legal price fixing. What sane author wouldn't prefer the 70% royalty. Most authors are raising their price to that minimum $2.99. Me included.

Today is the last day to buy my ebooks for 99 cents each. Get 'em while they're cheap!

YA SciFi First Duty
YA Fantasy Quest for the Simurgh
MG Adventure Eagle Quest
Humorous Texiana Tales of a Texas Boy

I will reset the prices on 8/1 to $2.99. The 99 cents price will continue for a day or two after while Amazon updates its database.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Obligatory Blog Post

I'm not sure how many of the writers I know manage to post a daily blog. I tend to forget about blogging entirely unless I have news to report.

I'm supposed to give tips on writing, encouragement to perservere, and funny things that happen in my writing life. Oh, and I absolutely must have a picture of my cute cat, dog, child, or whatever every couple of weeks.

Every once in a great while, I'll post something like that, and I duck my head and wince. Nobody should care what I think about writing unless I have some credentials to prove I know what I'm talking about. Yes, I've published a bunch of stories and a couple of books, but that hardly makes me expert.

Still, it is expected, so here I go.

1. Use all the adverbs and adjectives you want. They are perfectly good words in the dictionary. Go ahead. Look them up. Nowhere does the dictionary mention that words are on a scale of 1 to 10 in worthiness.

2. If your book doesn't attract an agent, it's not your query or synopsis; it's your writing.

3. Money flows from the writer to the writing/publishing world. How many blogs tell you to take classes, go to conferences, join certain professional organizations. All of that costs money. In the long run and on the average you will spend more than you receive in royalties. Writing is NOT a money making proposition.

4. Write if you must, but don't expect the world to give any notice to you.

5. Writing is a hobby. Treat it as such, and you'll be happier in the long run.

6. "Its" is the possessive form. "It's" is the contraction of "it is."

There. I've done my bloggerly duty and given you a bunch of stupid advice. Use it wisely, grasshopper.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Smashwords Coupons

Alas, the Smashwords' storewide half-off coupon SWS50 ended up giving a smaller discount on my books.

I'm not blaming Smashwords because the coupon generator captured the price at the time it was generated. I'd set my prices to $2.99 to match the new Amazon price paradigm (70% royalty on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99).

Then, I thought why not keep my books priced at .99 until the end of July? Give people a last chance sale price?

So, I trotted back over to Smashwords and reset my book prices to $1.99, so that the 50% coupon would give the same .99 on both sites.

Oops. The Smashwords coupon price was set in stone. 50% off $2.99 made the sale price $1.50.

I apologize to those fine folk who used the SWS50 coupon in good faith and didn't get the promised discount. I'm relatively certain I a few folks tried the coupon and, upon seeing the incorrect price, cancelled their purchase. To those people I also apologize.

To make up for it, the coupon codes for FREE copies until 8/23/2010 (my birthday) are as follows:

First Duty Coupon VA49Y

Eagle Quest Coupon FV46X

Quest for the Simurgh Coupon YH59B

Tales of a Texas Boy Coupon MV32C

Again, my apologies for the screwup.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I've Got Cover Art!

Ultimate Duty is rockin' n rollin' it's way to publication with Eternal Press. We just finalized the cover art. Isn't Remy totally cool?

Remy Belieux, a woman born into a life of servitude on a repressive factory planet, is desperate for a different life. When she's accepted into the Space Service Academy, run by the organization that enslaves her planet, she discovers the truth behind generations of rebellion. Now, she must decide what to believe, where her ultimate duty lies, and fight for more than her life against impossible odds

More info as it becomes available. Like release date, price, etc. Should go out in ebook first, but (hopefully) will get in print as well.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ebook Sale Still On

You've got until 7/31 to get my ebooks for only 99 cents. You can buy them at Amazon or from Smashwords using coupon code SWS50 (makes the price .99). Here are the links:

First Duty: YA Science fiction. Kindle Smashwords

Eagle Quest: MG adventures. Kindle Smashwords

Quest for the Simurgh: Middle-eastern fantasy. Kindle Smashwords

Tales of a Texas Boy: Humorous tales set in West Texas. Kindle Smashwords

I hope I got all those links in the right place.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Not the Only Place to Buy a Book

I use CreateSpace as my printer. To clarify, they're not my publisher, although I've used their free ISBN a couple of times to broaden distribution. I self-publish, but I'm totally DIY. I only pay CS for my own copies. They supply distributors when a book sells, mostly on Amazon.

However, my books are also for sale ON CreateSpace. Each book has its own page. I've set 40% discounts for those major bookstore sales (LOL!), but there's no reason you all can't get the same deal. True, I lose money on every sale, but I make it up in VOLUME, VOLUME, VOLUME (old joke about used car dealers).

So, here are the direct links and the coupon codes so you can buy like a major bookstore:

Use coupon code GP6AJ4SD at check out for these books:

First Duty: YA scifi space opera.

Eagle Quest: Mid-grade adventure.

Quest for the Simurgh: YA fantasy set in the mythical middle-east.

Quest Large Print here.

Use code 9Z94TUUZ for:

Tales of a Texas Boy: Homespun humor set in 1930s West Texas. 7x10" Large Print

Tales alternate edition here. 6x9" Large Print

The more you buy, the better the deal on shipping.

Thank you for your support.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Invisible Gang Update

We now have several members. Note that I have forced every one of them into the gang with dire threats, or by simply telling them they are part of it whether they wanted to or not.

Bamika has suggested we need a gang tattoo, invisible of course. Since Richard is the Official Gang Artist, maybe he could supply one.

What say you gang members? What should our official tattoo look like? Since it'll be invisible, only other gang members will be able to see it, so go crazy!

Join me and other gang members on Facebook!

Friday, July 09, 2010


Having determined by empirical research that I am, for the most part, invisible to others, I have decided to plan a bank robbery or some other dastardly deed to make myself slightly more opaque.

There are a few discerning people in the world (you are one if you're reading this) to whom I'm not invisible.

In order to gather my gang, would all of you to whom I'm not invisible leave a comment and a list of your skills in cat burglary, larceny, mayhem, or other criminal behavior.

I'll be getting back to you via this invisible blog to make our evil plans to take over the universe.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah!

I read lots of writer, agent, and author group blogs. One theme I notice, particularly in the writer and group blogs, is the GO FOR YOUR DREAM! YOU'LL SUCCEED IF YOU STICK TO IT. Rah rah rah.

Here's the fact of the matter. Your chances of realizing your dream via the agent to major publisher route is about the same as winning the lottery. Not so hot.

This is not to say you should quit writing or give up on being published. Not at all. But I just hate to see young writers (in their 20s or 30s) getting the mistaken impression that they will get an agent if they persist.

You've probably watched at least a couple of episodes of American Idol, particularly the auditions. What do you see?

1 - Really horrible 'singers' who think they're absolutely great and get totally hysterical when Simon tells them they suck (and they do suck).

2 - People who say "I want this more than anybody, so I should get it." Every other person in that stadium wants it just as bad as you do, so get over yourself.

3 - Some pretty good singers who might get some gigs in a bar or bar mitzvah. Hey, it's a living.

4 - A tiny teeny percentage of singers who actually have a shot at success. Good on you!

Writers are no different than American Idol hopefuls who sign up at those mass auditions. The percentages are probably about the same for writers who "audition" by sending their queries to agents: Way less than 1%.

The bloggers who cheerlead you into believing if you just stick to it you'll get yourself an agent and a big contract are lying to you. They're lying, not because they're mean people, but because they believe they should encourage others. That's nice of them, but they really ought to go serve meals to the homeless and leave writers alone. The odds are simply against you gaining success in the traditional way.

The other side of the story is the trash-talkers against self-publishing. "All self-published books are crap." Yeah, sure. Read some of the major publisher books, and you'll find an equal amount of crap.

Follow your dream, but don't put your hopes on mainstream publishing. Be creative. Look for small publishers, epublishers, POD publishers. Hell, do it yourself, then you won't depend on anybody else to validate you.

Just never believe the Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah crowd. The last syllable is the operative part: Bah. It ain't going to happen except for 1 out of 1000 cases. Can you wait for it to happen? If you're comfortable with that, then, by all means, keep churning out those queries to the agents.

For the record, I have nothing against agents. I'd love to have one myself. However, I'm at a certain age and experience level to understand that the odds are against me. I suppose I could adopt a child and raise her to become an agent, then I'd have an inside track. But, the sad news is, I should have adopted them twenty years ago. Too late now.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Book Prices Going Up

I'm appalled to see the price of trade paperback books (let's not even talk about hardbacks). They cost too much in my opinion, so I don't buy books with a $15.95 price tag. I'll look for the ebook version and, if it's set to the mainstream publisher $9.99 favorite price, I won't buy that either.

Amazon recently instituted a new pricing structure for ebooks. Books priced from $2.99 and up have a 70% royalty for the writer. Books $2.98 and lower are 35%.

I've priced my books, both paper and ebook, at the lowest amount I could and still cover the costs of printing and the cut the publisher takes for their profit, plus a tiny amount for me. Good for them. Profit is fine. My cut per year on sales will buy me a nice dinner out.

My ebooks have always been less than $1.99 and, for some months now, I've set the price to 99 cents. Did that increase my sales? Only to the extent that I beat people over the head with it. I think most of my sales are guilty tit-for-tat by authors whose ebooks I purchased.

But my generosity of setting my book prices to approximately one-half of what it costs to buy most other books of the same length and genre appears to be for nothing. That is, the lower price doesn't encourage sales at all.

So, if I'm not selling books at my terrifically low prices, then there's no reason to keep those prices low. If you want to buy my book, then you'll have to pay the same for mine as any other book of a similar length and quality.

On August 1st, the price of my ebooks (Kindle and others) will be raised to $2.99. My paperback books's prices will increase depending on the factors I mention above: length, similar book price, genre. I haven't set all those prices yet, but I doubt you'll get one for less than ten bucks.

So, if you want any of my books you'd better buy damned quick.

For you few readers of my blog who know me personally, you know how to get my books really cheap. Ask me directly. You have my email address.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Art and the VIneyard

Arts, crafts, books (like mine), and WINE! Stay for the fireworks after dark.

Full details at Art and the Vineyard.

When: Today. I'll be at the author table from 11:30-5:30.

Where: Alton Baker Park, Eugene, OR

Saturday, July 03, 2010

First Duty Print With Look Inside

The Look Inside (formerly Search Inside) feature is now available on the print edition of First Duty on Amazon.
146 pages for only $7.95. A bargain price for print books these days. Most big publishers charge more than that for the Kindle edition!

If you were hesitating because you'd like to read some before buying, go for it.

Hey! I need a print sale! Pretty please.

Friday, July 02, 2010

A Review of Eagle Quest

The fabulous Gina Salerni posted her review of "Eagle Quest" on the fabulous Dianne Salerni's blog today. Thank you, Gina for a great review.

Book Buy Links:

Thursday, July 01, 2010

July Issue of Lorelei Signal On-Line

I've had a long and wonderful relationship with Lorelei Signal and its sister 'zine Sorcerous Signals.

The July-September issue just came on-line. Enjoy "Poor Little Rich Girl" along with a whole raft of other great fantasy stories.

Art by Holly Eddy.

Read and vote for your favorites (say, my story?).