Wednesday, September 28, 2011

New Kindles!

I don't usually post twice in one day, but then Amazon doesn't usually launch so many new products on one day! If you check out Amazon's main page,  you will see they now offer not only the promised Android color tablet/ereader, but a new bare-bones (no way to type easily) $79 e-ink Kindle, an e-ink Kindle Touch (touchscreen, naturally, with wfi connectivity) and aTouch 3G (wifi and 3G).  The tablet is named the Kindle Fire which doesn't strike me as a good name (competitors will try to put the Fire out) and it looks very nice but I am an e-ink fan, and I just pre-ordered the Kindle Touch 3G because once you have 3G it's hard to give it up.

It should come at the end of November.  I'll post about it when it comes. My one concern is will I be able to read one-handed as I do with my K3 (now named Kindle Keyboard!).

A lovely review for The Sixth Discipline

Canadian reviewer and blogger Ren has posted a delightful review of The Sixth Discipline.  She gave it 4.5 stars (out of 5) and mentioned the world-building in particular.  Ren blogs about movies and life in general if you want to check her out. She has three different blogs and she writes fiction, too, so she is a busy person up there in Canada.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Manning the barricades of the digital revolution

The thing about the book industry is, it was always a little behind the times. It was years after writers started using word processing software before publishers would accept electronic manuscripts, because their systems were not adaptable for anything except keyed input. As this post by industry expert Mike Shatzkin makes clear, the ebook revolution gained traction four years ago, with the introduction of the Kindle, the first device that made it easy to buy an ebook because it a) offered wireless delivery and b) was linked to Amazon's sizable online ebookstore.  

Previously, ebooks suffered from the chicken-and-the-egg syndrome: publishers would not invest in digital transformation of books because there was not a sizable base of people with ereaders to buy them; at the same time, there was not a huge market for ereaders because there weren't that many ebooks available to read on them. Amazon provided for both sides of that equation and ebooks started to explode as a market.  Four years ago they were less than 1% of book sales. Now, Amazon sells more Kindle books than hardback or paperback books. Some publishers have already passed the 20% mark in revenue coming from digital books. 

The speed that this has happened has been phenomenal, especially for an industry that was used to change coming at a glacial pace. The nature of ebooks as cheap, easy, and quick to produce (from a technical standpoint) means that almost anyone can be a publisher.  The lines are blurring as self-published authors hire their own editors, agents publish books, and retailers set up publishing imprints. It's enough to make anyone's head spin. 

When it comes to book publishing, the times they are a-changing, and change means opportunity for good as well as bad. Unless you happen to own a bricks-and-mortar bookstore, it's an exciting time.  If you do own a bricks-and-mortar store, I suggest you have a website, hook up with Google ebooks, and concentrate on providing a book-lovers experience that online retailers can't provide, like signings, book club meetings, and even a coffee shop. 


Friday, September 23, 2011

Baltimore Book Festival

Mother Nature sure showed Baltimore who is in charge! When she wants to rain in torrents, she does, without regard to the size or the outdoor nature of the Book Festival.

I was amazed the “Which eReader is Right for You?” panel got as good a turnout as it did; I certainly had fun, and I met some nice people.  If you are coming to this page from what I said there, looking for ereader info, be sure to click the eBooks & eReaders tab at the top of the page.  Interestingly, our panel of five writers had two Nook owners (both original Nooks), two Kindle owners (a Kindle 2 and a Kindle 3), and one Sony owner who mostly reads on her iPad/phone. From what I have read, those are not typical statistics, but then again, the sample was pretty small.

I was also surprised by how much of the book festival wasn't about books. Ikea had a booth, as did several banks and telecommunications companies. But the Maryland Romance Writers tent was centrally placed, well organized, and equipped with microphones and speakers. The tent itself had a few small holes and gaps in the roof, so the organizers had to spread tarps over the electronic stuff. We still heard some popping noises that didn't sound good at all, and one mic stopped working.  MRW members deserve some credit for sticking with it in the face of daunting weather.

The festival continues throughout the weekend. It's in a neat part of Baltimore, right around the tall column that is Baltimore's version of the Washington Monument.  There's a public parking garage nearby, but do bring an umbrella, just in case.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cover art

A recent Facebook post by Pyr Books editor and art director Lou Anders reminds authors that when they post their cover art, they should credit the artist. He's exactly right, so I made a point to change the images on my main page to include the artist's name beneath the covers.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kindle library books are in beta!

According to the Digital Reader blog, Amazon is beta testing library book on the Kindle! This is exciting news.  Amazon had promised they would support library ebook lending on the Kindle by the end of the year, and this suggests they will make it.

Update: Kindle library lending is here!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Great site for Kindle owners/readers!

If you use a Kindle or a Kindle app to read ebooks, you might be interested to know about a very useful free resource on the web.  It's called, and it's main purpose is to alert you when a book either becomes available on the Kindle, or when it's price drops to a point that you specify. It's a great idea, because price is more dynamic for ebooks than for print books. If publishers are smart, they drop the price of an ebook when a cheaper version of the print book comes out. Publishers will also run sales as promotions, and this is one way to get alerted if you're interested in specific books but don't want to pay the current price.

You need to set your region/country but then you can sign up for your own custom notices for the books you're interested in. You'l get email if the book drops enough in price.

They also have a link for Kindle books that publishers offer free as a promotion, and links to browse books recently added to the Kindle store or newly reduced in price.   It's a great site for Kindle readers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

No Safe Haven is on sale for 99¢!

In honor of the launch of Tribes, I made The Sixth Discipline free on Smashwords for the past month.  Now that I am making that book 99¢ again, I decided to also make No Safe Haven cost only 99¢ on all three platforms,on KindleNook, and Smashwords. I don't have a way to directly change the price on iBooks, so it still costs $2.99 there.

This sale only lasts until the Ides of October, a.k.a., October 15.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Tribes has an Amazon review already!

The reviewer gave it 5 out of 5 stars!  Even better, she said she stayed up until 3:30 am reading the book because she had to know how it came out. There is nothing a writer likes to hear more than that!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Sixth Discipline is free on Smashwords!

To celebrate the launch of Tribes, I have made The Sixth Discipline free on Smashwords. I set the price at $0.0 and it will stay that was for the next two weeks.