Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How do you “ship” a digital file?

Smashwords is both a retailer and a distributor. They will sell your book when you upload it, but they will also allow you to distribute it to many other retailers who will then sell it on their sites, too. Smashwords' authors can opt out of this distribution on an individual retailer basis, so if an author already has his book published via Amazon's KDP platform, he can opt out of shipping it to Amazon.

From everything I have heard, the Smashwords feed to Amazon isn't actually implemented yet. I recommend loading a book directly to KDP. For other retailers, though, Smashwords is a good bet, so long as you can live with really slow feedback on sales. KDP shows new stats within hours of a sale (usually); Smashwords is the same for sales from their own store, but they can take more than a month to update sales data for a specific retailer.

When you opt in to distribution, Smashwords will deliver an epub file (except for Amazon!) to that retailer, but they will refer to it as shipping the book. I find that weird!It's not like you pack a digital file into a padded envelope or a cardboard box! So far, Where Magic Rules has shipped to Barnes & Noble and to iBooks, but it's not showing up in either store yet.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Where Magic Rules made the Premium Catalog!

That was pretty quick! Maybe it was because it was only a novella, but Where Magic Rules is already in the Premium Catalog on Smashwords, which means now it can be “shipped” to retailers like Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Apple iBooks. Smashwords is very good about maintaining quality formatting in their ebooks; they review every book that is loaded and they won't ship it (it sounds odd to talk about shipping a digital file) unless the formatting is clean.

The book was loaded to Smashwords only 8 days ago. I'll be curious to see how long the next step takes.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Sixth Discipline got a mention on Dear Author!

The Dear Author blog is a wonderful site for romance readers and anyone interested in ebooks and digital publishing.  They feature reviews with some of the toughest graders you will find! They give letter grades instead of stars, and it very rare that a book earns more than a B+. The site is well organized and provides lots of info on ereaders in general, news on publishing/reading technology, and even lawsuits, such as their recent in-depth outline of the DoJ case against Apple and the Big 5.

Today their post on good deals in self-published and small press books leads off with a post about The Sixth Discipline being free in many venues.  Color me tickled pink!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The dragon in Where Magic Rules has taken flight!

My fantasy novella Where Magic Rules is now available in the Smashwords ebookstore as well as in the Kindle store. It will take a while to load to all the affiliated retailers.  I'll post when it shows up. And because it's a novella, it's only 99¢.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Price-matching is a wonderful thing!

The Sixth Discipline is still free in the Kindle store! This is the seventh day it has been free, so clearly Amazon doesn't impose the 5-day limit that it applies to Kindle Select books.

"The Sixth Discipline is a Science Fiction story set in the far-future upon a planet called Haven that has been colonised by several different human factions. The main character Ran-Del Jahanpur is part of the Sansoussy faction, who live a basic existence in the forests that reminded me of native Americans who have developed a variety of psychic abilities. Whilst out hunting Ran-Del is kidnapped by people from the city of Shangri-la who are technologically advanced. The story then follows his captivity and subsequent introduction to the wonders of the city as well as the political intrigue of the ruling families that has led to his captivity in the first place."

"... there is a fundamental romantic element to the plot but I felt the book was more a sci-fi adventure novel that explores some of the politics and interactions between various different factions on Haven."

"The story itself is very interesting and imaginative..."
                          --The Eclectic Bookshelf book review blog

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Retailer Update

Looks like Smashwords updated their Apple iBooks numbers last night. That's just over a month since the last time, which is pretty much what Smashwords advertises as their retailer update schedule.

iBooks does not show a count for free books, though, so I can't see how many copies of The Sixth Discipline I have given away in iBooks. It's over 1,000 now in the Kindle store, and a few hundred on the Nook, but the Barnes & Noble numbers are out of date by a month or so. Smashwords lists free downloads in with the sample downloads, so it's hard to get a total count, but the book is free there, too!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Book review: Indian Maidens Bust Loose

Indian Maidens Bust LooseIndian Maidens Bust Loose by Vidya Samson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vidya Samsom pulls off quite a coup with this book. She managed to write a very funny book (at times it was laugh out loud funny) that touches on some very serious subjects. The entire book is told in first person by a young woman named Nisha Desai, who lives in a house that is comfortably middle class by Indian standards, but it looks very strange and inhospitable to her two American born and bred cousins.

The house belongs to Nisha's mother's mother, which makes for an interesting dynamic, as Nisha's father is a petty tyrant who wants to rule the roost, even though he doesn't own the hen house. Nisha's mother is suffering from a bad case of sibling rivalry as her disgraced sister (she ran off with a white American boy when she was quite young) has been allowed to return home with her two young daughters. Nisha and her sister Vinita give up their own rooms so the aunt and cousins can be more comfortable but this isn't what disrupts Nisha's life: the cousins have not been taught that their father's word is law; they don't believe in tradition and blind respect for elders. Pretty soon Nisha waffles between envy, fear, and wistfulness as she realizes how different her life is from theirs. For one thing, their father isn't trying to marry them off to any man who will take them off his hands without asking too much dowry.

Other themes touched on include the caste system, the plight of the poor, the corrupt nature of politicians, the difference between acting from a sense of duty and acting out of love, and how easily many people are fooled by false hopes. There's a dash of romance thrown in, mostly at the end, but this isn't really about falling in love as much as it is about learning to know yourself.

Nisha's tone is very funny and personable. The author has some of the characters speak English with a kind of consistently incorrect grammar that borders on dialect, which wore on me after a while. It might be accurate but repetition made it annoying. There were just a few rough spots on this gem, but on the whole it was a very enjoyable book that was also rather an education. It reminded me of the kind of comedy of manners kind of book that authors like Nancy Mitford used to write; the author could even have called this one LOVE IN A HOT CLIMATE.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Sixth Discipline is still free on Kindle!

I don't now how long it will last, but The Sixth Discipline is still free in the Kindle store as of now. It's actually doing pretty well, and in the two days it has been free, Amazon has given away over 500 copies. That's only in the US Kindle store, of course, as Amazon doesn't seem to be price-matching internationally. TSD made it into the top 20 free science fiction books, which is really nice! The rankings change every hour or so, so it's hard to know for sure, but I think the best it did was this afternoon when it hit 14th in the science fiction list, but I only got a snap of it as 15th on the list,

Friday, July 6, 2012

Surprise freebie in the Kindle store!

I was expecting Shades of Empire to be free in the Kindle store today (see post below), but I was very surprised to find that in the US Kindle store only, my first book The Sixth Discipline is also now free on Kindle. TSD is not a Kindle Select book, since it is on other platforms; Amazon must be price-matching, as  TSD is now free on many of those platforms. In fact I suspect its appearance as a freebie on the Nook Lovers site precipitated this action.  Amazon has lowered the price of my books before but it never made one of them free except through a Kindle Select promotion.

Nook Lovers is a handy site if you have a Nook or use the Nook app; they list free and cheap Nook books.

We have lift-off! Okay, really we have a free Kindle book

Shades of Empire's last hurrah as a free Kindle book is today. It is now free in the Kindle store in the US, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.

If you're interested, this book is kind of an old-fashioned space opera, if that's not an oxymoron. It's got a princess, an evil emperor, a damsel in distress, a couple of heroes and some courageous women, too. Parts of this story are rather like the story of Caligula, which will tell you it's more R-rated than G-rated. Go to your Kindle store and grab it!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cross your fingers!

I have scheduled Shades of Empire to be free in the Kindle store tomorrow.  Assuming Amazon's programming doesn't go belly up on me (again), it should be free at about midnight tonight, US Pacific Daylight Time and stay free for approximately 24 hours. This is most likely the last time this book will be free on Kindle.

I will confirm tomorrow and post links for all the Kindle stores: US, UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France (not that anyone in France will care!).