Archive for the ‘digital publishing’ Tag

Progress Report – Kindness of Strangers

Kindness of Strangers is the working title of the third book in the first Strike Force trilogy. It’s the story of the colonel, Rahmsin Singh, and Chandra Ramasamy, and how she solves the mystery of what was the inciting incident that ended with the friendly-fire shelling of the Charlie Company electronic warfare unit (along with most of their behind-the-sharp-end field facilities), while he saves her, the miners who tried to save her, and starts the ball rolling to save the human race. Of course, because I always have people tripping over true love at the most inconvenient times, LOL.

It’s a tricky story, since both of them are, um, well, physically dead for most of it. She’s actually physically dead due to kludged cryogenic freezing (but getting better because Singh gets her into a regen unit where she regains consciousness and can move from her auxiliary brain chips into the Strike Force network), he’s in a hasty version of real cryostasis after the miners hit him on the top of his head and dump him into a cryostasis unit while he’s rebooting.

So it’s almost all inside “The Matrix” (so to speak). And it happens simultaneously with Getting Lucky, which made the timing tricky. And it’s also the climax of the political/industrial intrigue. And it introduces the bridge between this series of stories and the world of the human diaspora books (which start with The Valmont Contingency). It has a lot to do for a 35,000-word novella. Yeah, it might bulge out to 40K. I guess we’ll see.

Back to the progress report — it was supposed to be finished by the end of August, but that didn’t happen.  Then it was supposed to be finished by the end of September, and that didn’t happen either. While I was in Seaside, I stopped in at a palm reader (as one does on vacation), who figured out I’m a writer by looking at my non-writing hand (spooky!), then told me I wouldn’t finish my work in progress by the end of September, and I should forgive myself for it, LOL.

I made progress, I really did. I fixed plot problems, I created 12,000 words of new content that works with the existing content. I straightened out the bits that didn’t mesh with Getting Lucky. If I hadn’t had to fix the gigantic plot hole (which required cutting…a lot of cutting), I would have been finished by the end of September.

But I’m going to get it done this month, because I have a different project lined up for NANO in November. NANO is short for NaNoWriMo, which is short for national novel writing month. It’s an international organization all for the purpose of writing a book in November. That is, writing, from start to finish, a 50,000-word (minimum) story in 30 days. Which means Kindness of Strangers draft 1 has to be finished in October, by Grapthar’s hammer!



Getting Lucky is For Sale

This is just a quick note to let anyone interested know that Getting Lucky, the second novella in the Ganymede incident super-novel, is out in ebook, available at your favorite store:  Amazon, Nook (right now the author is listed as Valerie Robertson; I’ve fixed it once), Kobo, and iBooks.

Kanaxa’s rocking cover now has a story to go with it.


Back to editing Unique…which doesn’t yet have a cover.

Unique – the sequel to Blade’s Edge

Where have I been for the last five or six months? Writing! Well, fighting with a story.

This is the book that has been fighting me for five years and counting. But I’m 10,000 words shy of a first draft and I hope to have it finished this month (if I can’t write the last 10K in two weeks, I deserve ridicule). Then I can let my first-readers look at it and start poking it into something coherent. So I’m finally winning this fight. Bwah-hah-hah-hah.

Remember Crown Prince Talyn, the evil twin from Blade’s Edge? Yes, this is her book; where she goes and what she does after the psychotic break / nervous breakdown when she wakes up…wait for it…in a spaceship, on her way to a society of clones — where she is unique (yes, I loved the irony too much not to do it).

All I can really tell you right now is that she has an epiphany, gets a few things out of her system, truly falls in love, and learns to use her powers for good rather than eee-vill. The rest, well, it’s complicated and not completely settled yet.

If you want a ping when Unique is published, sign up for my newsletter, over on the right side of this page. I can assure you that you will not get a gazillion things from me in your inbox. I’m too busy and much too lazy go newsletter-nuts. Shoot, I can’t even manage a blog post more than three or four times a year.

Thanks for bearing with me,

Wylde Hare Press’s First Cover

The marvelous Kanaxa did the cover for my first published book, Blade’s Edge, published by Samhain Publishing. I discovered recently that she’s doing a limited number of freelance covers and immediately contacted her about Open Mike at Club Bebop and the rest of the Ganymede series. She came up with the best cover idea and after a very little tweaking, she sent me this (imagine me bouncing with excitement as I embed the image):


I couldn’t have asked for a better cover to kick off Wylde Hare Press. I think it might even be better than the cover for Blade’s Edge.

Now all I have to do is get the book formatted, the ISBNs purchased, the blurb written and get it uploaded to all the stores. My target date for this is August 20th.

This is going to be so much fun; I haven’t formatted a book in…well, more than 20 years, back when I was working my way through college as a typesetter in the university’s graphics and printing department. And it was before mobi and epub formats existed, so I get to learn something new.

(bounce, bounce, chortle, bounce)

Books by Friends — Amazon Recommends Tyrmia

Look what I found in my inbox this morning:
Amazon e-mail for Tyrmia

Tyrmia is a stand-alone novel set in the Starstrikers universe created by Ken McConnell. I’ve known Ken for several years, and I’m delighted that the gigantic bookstore has taken notice of his independent efforts.

I’m not saying the book is perfect — no book is, and this one has its share of typos — but I think Ken is a gifted storyteller. Copy editors are easy to find; really good storytellers…not so much.

Go, Ken!

Viva La Revolution Digital!

I wrote this for a local writing group’s newsletter and I thought it might be nice to post it to my blog, too. Enjoy!

As I write this, 19 of the top 50 USA Today bestseller list titles are selling better in digital format than in hardcopy for the third week in a row.

Figures cited in January 2011 peg digital books as 9 percent of the trade book market. At the end of July 2010 they were five percent of the market. That’s now fast this “new” book format is growing.

So what is a digital book? Well, it’s pretty much the electronic file a publisher would send to its printing plant to produce a physical book. This means it has been written, revised, edited, copy edited, formatted proofread and galley-proofed. A cover has been designed. Jacket or back-cover copy has been written and an author photo has been taken.

Quotes have been obtained from other authors and an author bio has been written or edited. Catalog copy has been written, a website listing has been created. All of the things that have to happen for a hardcopy book to get to the ink-and-paper stage have been done.

It’s ready for printing—or for conversion to E-pub, PDF, Mobi or some other electronic format suitable for reading on a computer screen, a cell phone, an I-Pad or a dedicated e-reader.

What’s in it for you as a reader? Less expensive books. Yes, you have to invest in a reading device (unless you already have a smart phone or can read on a computer), but you can buy books pretty much anywhere, anytime.

Many publishers set digital book prices slightly lower than physical book prices, and if you’re an online bookstore patron, you don’t have shipping charges added to the total.

And that’s the digital publishing revolution from the reading point of view.

From the writing point of view, there’s a lot more involved. For example, digital-first publishers like Carina (the digital-first division of Harlequin) don’t pay advances. They pay higher royalty rates than regular publishers and get the books to stores considerably faster.

My book came out from a digital-first publisher, Samhain Publishing; I signed the contract on Saint Patrick’s day 2009 and received my first royalty payment in mid-October of that year.

New York publishers generally get books into print 12-18 months after the contract is signed. And they break advance payments into several portions: part on signing the contract, part on manuscript acceptance after editorial revisions, and the final portion when the book hits bookstores.

The royalty rate for my publisher is 40% of cover price on digital books purchased from their website and 30% on digital books purchased from a third party website, such as amazon.com.

Standard royalty rates for digital books from New York publishing houses are, well, lower than that. Most houses are trying to make 25 percent on net the standard, with net being the amount the publishing house gets for the book. However, the payments are comparable to hardcopy versions.

Of course, to them it’s still only a small percentage of the market. Or it was until a few weeks ago, when the bestsellers started selling more digital copies than paper copies.

The market is in flux, the method of payment is in flux and the role of big publishers is in flux. Writers still create stories and readers still consume them. At least some things don’t change, even in the midst of revolution.

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