Archives: Business of Writing

Reconnoitering Kindle Scout

coverokI’ve written before about the slender paperbacks popular in the 60s and 70s. They no longer make financial sense in today’s publishing market. Not in print, at any rate. But it seems to me they are admirably suited to e-readers. Digital is the new pulp.

When checking up on the status of my book sales on Amazon (who, me obsessive?) I discovered that Amazon was promoting an experimental new publishing model called Kindle Scout. The gist of the program is that readers can help choose which books get published by reading sample chapters and selecting which books they wish to read in full. Readers whose selection is chosen for publication receive a free copy. A nice incentive, I think. It isn’t precisely a democracy, Amazon retains the final choice. But it is an intriguing model.

Second Novel Ruminations

Under Strange Suns debuted almost a week ago. By this point you may well be tired of my mentioning it. Could be I’m tired of mentioning it too, ever think of that, bucko? Hmmm? How about you buy a copy and I’ll stop bringing it up? What’s that, you say? “How about I just stop reading anything you write, Ken, that’ll solve my problem.” Touché, gentle reader. Well played. I withdraw the suggestion.

But I’m going to have to bring it up from time to time. People seldom buy unadvertised goods. And I’ll want to raise my hand when the print edition comes out, and note upcoming signings, etc. Still, I get you. I’d just as soon focus on the next project myself. Bear with me, though, a bit longer, allow me to ruminate a little more on my sophomore outing.

The truth is, the book still doesn’t feel real to me. I know it is, of course. I’ve read through it countless times, in all its permutations and formats, on various computer screens, printed out and scattered across the floor, PDF file, unbound book mock-up. But until I get my author copy in hand, the novel still seems ethereal to me, so much vapor. Very subjective, you say, a highly personal response. Well, yes. This is my web log. Personal is what you’re going to get, until I can hire underpaid marketing minions to manage all my social media duties. Maybe there’s a blogging service in Cambodia, able to crank out a year’s worth of posts for $2.75, throw in daily Tweets for a quarter per month. Think anyone would notice?

Oh, just one more thing. I checked only a moment ago, and Under Strange Suns is still discounted to 99-cents. Just saying.UnderStrangeSuns_med

Slim Volumes

I’ve been ill. Still am, to be honest. Head throbbing, muscles and joints aching. Tired. No surprise then that it is hard to concentrate. But today is Sunday, so a web log post must be completed, illness be damned.

I’ve been re-reading Simon Hawke’s “TimeWars” novels. Fun, fast-paced stuff, the kind you really don’t see much of in today’s marketplace of 300+ page novels. Number four in the series, the one I”m reading now, weighs in at about 196 pages, if I remember correctly. I’m too tired to check. My bookshelves hold a lot of paperbacks of roughly the same page count, the 175-200 page range. I miss those. Not that I dislike longer books, it’s just that I don’t seem to have any other option when it comes to new releases.

“Reunion” Book Signing After Action Report

“Reunion” Book Signing After Action Report

Tip of the hat to Tanasbourne Barnes & Noble bookstore. The store graciously hosted a signing of “Reunion,” even moving me up to the front of the store away from some sort of children’s event going on near the space originally intended for the signing.

So, how did it go? Well enough. Of course as long as any unsold books remain on the table or the store shelves I’ll still complain. I’m like that.

Let me review the steps I took over the previous couple of months to promote the event. There are a couple of on-line author promo sites I posted the event to. The local television stations offer community event listings and I hit up three or four of them. The local newspaper carried a listing the day before in its Arts and Entertainment section. I posted in the events section on Craigslist. I mentioned the signing more than once on Twitter and Facebook. I mentioned it in this web log and sent a notice to those of you on my mailing list. (Hi y’all.) I printed leaflets and distributed over 250 of them among libraries and coffee shops near the bookstore.

Hey, Look at Me!

May is a busy month for me this year. What is going on, you ask? You’ve come to the right place for answers.

My short story “Brava – or – the Fire Demon” is out, published by the fine folks at Swords and Sorcery Magazine. If you like sword and sorcery fiction, if you like reading your fiction in digital editions, then this one is for you. This is the second of my ‘Cesar the Bravo’ stories. The first one, “Bravo,” is available at whichever on-line book seller you frequent.

Yes, self-serving promotion. How degrading. Let’s stick with it.

Book Signing, Once Again

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Honestly I would have considered the event a success if I’d only sold a single copy. So I left the signing yesterday more than contented. I’d like to thank Jan’s Paperbacks for hosting the event. Also Jack Whitsel for suggesting that I join him at the table. I owe many thanks to those who stopped by the table, especially those who bought a copy of Reunion. I hope you enjoy the book and that my signature doesn’t hurt the resale value.

And additional thanks to all the store patrons that afternoon for leaving some of the cookies. I was hungry.

It’s an odd feeling, sitting at a table facing the front door when a customer walks in. Expectancy. Elation when a complete stranger picks up your book and announces the intention to buy a copy. Embarrassment, as an incoming customer turns his head and edges around the table to avoid eye contact. It’s okay, bookstore patron, I’m not upset at you for failing to buy my book. I’m not a used car salesman, I’m not going to apply high-pressure sales tactics. For one thing I don’t know any. Say hello, have a cookie, take a bookmark. No hard feelings.

In all, a good afternoon at the bookstore. I walked in a with a box full of copies of Reunion, walked out with only two copies left. Yeah, a good day.

"Reunion" Signing

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This previous Wednesday I enjoyed my first – and, I hope, not last – book signing as an author. I’ve attended a signing on the other end before. Bruce Campbell signed my copy of “If Chins Could Kill.” Good guy, Bruce. But this time I was holding the pen.

Things From Another World, the Portland store, hosted the signing. I don’t know if the free munchies and beer served as a greater draw than I did, but the event appeared well attended. My thanks to those who organized the event, especially Elizabeth Allie.20140604_181441