Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Kindle Exclusivity and a Poll

Saturday, April 7th, 2012

As some of you may know, in order to have some actual experience with the Kindle Select (KDP Select) program I enrolled Free Fall, the My Immortals novella, in the program. I blogged about that decision here.

The KDP Select program means a book must be exclusive to Kindle for 90 days. It cannot be for sale anywhere else, including your own website.

Amazon Prime members can read your book for free. Authors in the Select program are reimbursed for borrows through a pool of money Amazon divides among authors. Books enrolled in the program can be scheduled for a total of 5 days during which the book is free. All well and good for the author. Most authors make most of their money via Amazon so the income lost because of the exclusive period is, from what I hear, often not a huge amount. There are reports of authors doing very well with the program.

But is it good for readers?

As mentioned, I enrolled Free Fall in KDP Select. I sent out a newsletter today (Saturday April 7) announcing that Free Fall was available. But I also asked subscribers for their opinion on the exclusivity. I heard from several people right away.

Not surprisingly, they were Nook owners and they were disappointed that they would have to wait for Free Fall. I also heard from two people who were hoping for a print version. I have that in process now and hope to have a Create Space POD version available pretty soon.

My Thoughts

As a writer, I want my book to get to ALL my readers. 90 days limited to one platform seems … anti-momentum and anti any reader w/o a Kindle or Kindle App.
I know B&N has made 30 day exclusive arrangements with some authors, but those are not promotions average authors can get into. Regardless, 30 days doesn’t seem so bad. 90 days does. That’s a long time to ask a reader to wait when that reader knows the book is actually available… just not to them….

I don’t know if the KDP program will make up for the money I lose by not having the book on sale elsewhere. I won’t have complete data until the 90 days is up. But this sort of thing is why you do tests. So you can get a handle on the actual effects.

I think it’s not enough to look at sales data. What other effects might there be?

Two Polls

Put on your Reader hat!

If you read eBooks, what device(s) do you use?

View Results

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As a READER what do you think of the KDP Select program?

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Analyzing my Recent Kindle Purchases

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Here’s something worth thinking about:

I was just looking at my Kindle library.

Of the 50 most recent books:

  1. Four were RITA books I didn’t want to read in print. I would not otherwise have bought these books.
  2. Nine are non-fiction
  3. Four of the 9 non-fiction titles are Big 6 books, the others are self-pubbed.
  4. Three are hardbacks in print (all non-fiction). I REALLY wanted to read them and didn’t want a print book. I think I’m done buying hard covers unless they’re for my dad, who won’t read eBooks.
  5. One of the novels (excluding the 4 RITA books) is a Big Six novel
  6. Thirty-nine are either self-published or from established ePublishers who charged less than $5.00 for the book.
  7. Four of the 50 were free. One of them is public domain
  8. Forty-six were priced at $2.99 or higher
  9. Six I haven’t read yet.
  10. Two of the 6 I haven’t read yet I bought today.
  11. Four of the 6 I haven’t read yet are non-fiction
  12. Fifty were bought in the last 6 weeks
  13. Eighteen of the novels were by 3 different authors
  14. Six of the novels were fails
  15. Two of the novels were DNF
  16. Five of the 50 were MAJOR wins for me. All of them were self-pubbed
  17. forty-seven were good books that I enjoyed reading.

My Conclusions

  • I am a book whore
  • I read a lot of fiction
  • I read more non-fiction than I thought
  • I am more or less no longer buying Big 6 MMP. Holy CRAP!
  • I’ve managed to find a lot of non-Big 6 books I really, really enjoyed
  • When I find an author I like, I buy their backlist

Remember When?

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

I’ve been thinking about a lot of publishing stuff lately, gathering thoughts, forming opinions etc. But of all the upheaval lately, I can’t help but be struck by something ironic.

Way back before Jeff Bezos named a website after a very large river, there were bookstores! Physical bookstores. Then along came chain bookstores. Really BIG bookstores that had the power to demand and get steep discounts and payola that got called co-op (where a publisher pays the bookstore pretty big bucks to get a title in the best part of the store, or to get a piece of paper tacked onto the shelf under the book, all to improve the chances of that book selling.) This put the independent bookstores at a disadvantage. There was an outcry. Shop Indie!! Don’t buy from the chains!!!

The Mega-Store Model Is Anti-Avid-Reader

I remember when Mom and Pop bookstores started disappearing from my town because they could not compete with Crown, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks and the like. Several cute little bookstores just up and closed shop. The hue and cry was still Shop Indie! Don’t Buy from the Chains! Chains are evil!!

As smaller indie bookstores went away, the selection of books at chains and even some of the large independents started to shrink. I remember how hard it started getting to find what I wanted to read. For years and years, my local independent, which I LOVED and still do, did not carry romance. And the dozen or so smaller stores that did were gone. Drugstores, who used to carry racks and racks of genre fiction, got rid of the racks of books because the jobbers who filled those racks were all fired. Suddenly, the only books in drugstores were the same damn books in the chains.  One less place to find and buy books.

Then Amazon came along and I remember booksellers and publishers scoffed. Who would buy books on-line and wait for delivery when you could go to a bookstore and walk out with the book right then? Why, you couldn’t even browse!

Amazon’s Model is Pro-Avid Reader

As I reader, I discovered that at Amazon, I could now find the books I wanted to read. I knew who my favorite authors were, I knew what titles were getting word of mouth and I could get those books from Amazon. I could jump on Amazon, search Romance or Fantasy or Barbara Hambly and browse for the books I wanted. I also started hearing that editors, though they scoffed at Amazon, were using Amazon as a way to find out what was unexpectedly selling and as a book-finding system. Amazon kicked ass at that.

I remember when the chains started gobbling each other up. B.Dalton? Acquired. Waldonbooks? Acquired. More bookstores disappeared, gobbled up by other chains. Fewer bookstores, but much bigger stores. Too big?

The pressure from Amazon built and some of the bigger independents started having trouble, because more and more avid readers, annoyed with the dwindling selection of books and the relentless push of the same-old same-old, turned to Amazon. And then Amazon solved the wait-for-it problem. I could order a book and have it the next day. And it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg.

Some really big independents closed. Here in the Bay Area, the two shockers were Cody’s Books in Berkeley (not romance friendly) and Staceys (also not a Romance friendly story, I’m sorry to say).

Avid readers complained about the Borders selection and its inability to shelve or reshelve their stores with books that were getting buzz. Impatient avid readers didn’t wait for the book to finally show up. Why should they when they could order from Amazon and have it the next day? Border’s problems with inventory control were an open secret among readers. They really did support Romance, though, and I suspect that kept their doors open longer that might otherwise have been the case. Several years before the Borders bankruptcy the Borders/Walden Express nearest me closed not because of sales (they were quite profitable per square foot, which I think was in large part due to their awesome romance and genre sections) but because the landlord (a Mall) tripled their rent. If I’m recalling correctly, to $30,000 a month. A MONTH.

Then Border’s failed and suddenly, everyone seemed to forget that Chains were supposedly responsible for the demise of the independent book store. No, it was Amazon who killed them. And Amazon killed Borders too! Except if you read past the first paragraphs of articles analyzing the failure, eventually, you’d get to the description of the inventory problem. That, combined with a corporate cookie cutter mentality about what books would be stocked — so that a Borders anywhere would, supposedly, be the same experience, was a far bigger problem because it was baked in. This cookie cutter/chain store mentality infects Barnes & Noble, stores too.

The Avid (Romance) Reader’s Dream Comes True

Then Amazon came out with the Kindle. It was a success, and anyone paying attention to the Romance community could have predicted it — because eBooks had already been a success  in Romance for 10 years. At long last, we’re seeing mainstream acknowledgment that Romance readers are the leading edge. Ignore us at the peril of your book delivery business. Then came 70% royalties for self-publishers and Amazon started eating a lot of lunches.

Now we’re all supposed to cheer for the survival of the last remaining chain store and it’s all Amazon’s fault.

Maybe. From what I hear, Amazon is ruthless. I don’t doubt for a moment that there’s a reason publishers and booksellers actively despise (not just fear) Amazon.

But I’m a reader, and darn it, Amazon makes my reader life better. Print publishers have not made my reader life better. They make it worse, and that’s true despite the fact that they’re publishing books by authors I want to read. As a place to buy print books, Barnes & Nobel is irrelevant to me. The nearest one requires a drive of 13 miles that typically takes 45 minutes. No. No. No. NEVER.

If there’s a book I want to read, or even just a certain type of book, I can have that book 30 seconds after my click and I can do it lying in bed. If it’s backlist that has been self-published by one of my favorite authors, I have that book at a better price.

Since this post is already too long, I’ll save the rest of my thoughts for another post.

What are your thoughts?


All The News That’s Fit for News and Other Stuff

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Where to start?

Some Sad Annoying Stuff

Tuesday, I restarted my iMac and it could not. Could. Not. I made an appointment with the Apple Store and Wednesday took the computer in. Alas, the result was not good. The iMac needed an overnight stay . . . I confess I suspected the worst going in. Not being able to boot generally means a hardware failure (unless you did something stupid like delete system files, which I did not do.) Indeed, the disk repair utility found icky errors.

Today I got the call that the hard drive had breathed its last byte.

So, that’s bad. I’m pretty well fully backed up, provided my Time Machine backups weren’t backing up corrupt data. I’d been thinking about getting a new desktop anyway, but at the moment, I need to save as much cash as possible. So for the meantime, I am using MacFang (the laptop) which, of course, has all my critical writing files on it. I’m having the iMac drive replaced but I’ll have to do the restore from Time Machine when I get the iMac back.


I read a historical romance that made me sad. Because I LOVED LOVED LOVED the hero and heroine, but there were HUGE problems that I could not get over. Also, I think there might not have been any sex, but at the end I was paging through so fast I might have missed it.

Some of the problems:

The story starts with the heroine cleaning out a house she has just inherited.
Two chapters later is the reading of the will in which she is left the house plus some other wacky things that made no sense.
While she’s cleaning out the house, she meets the hero and pretends to be a servant for reasons that made no sense at all. NO EFFING SENSE other than the plot required it.

There were so many problems. So many. Illegal terms of a will. Misstatements of the law as they related to women and property and the rights of husbands. The heroine was the trite and cliche and completely historically inaccurate spinster who could not understand why she did not have the same rights as men and behaved as if this was so blazingly obviously unfair that everyone must see that she is right. Except of course, most people did not. Because there was still about 150 years of social progress yet to be hard won.

And then, then, oh my God. She has a fancy gown made so she’ll look all spiffy for the hero. And the dressmaker tells her the gown, which is transparent more or less, MUST be worn without stays. Because stays would ruin the line of the gown. WTF???? And everyone stands around saying, yes, this is so. You must not wear stays! Stays will make your see-thru gown all lumpy and bumpy.

No. No it would not! ::spluttering::

That’s when I gave up and stopped caring. Because really. Could you at least crack open a fashion book and read about how the stays provided the line of the gown?

Seriously. If you were at a party and some chick walked into the room in a see through gown and NO undergarments whatsoever— no matter how spectacular her body — would you think that was a fashion statement to follow? Wouldn’t you be embarrassed for her lack-wittedness? And that’s today, 50 years after women were burning their bras. Which didn’t last all that long because actually, as most women soon discover, a bra provides comfortable support for the girls.

Today was not really a good day for me.

Good news

Wait a sec. I forgot what it was. Tomorrow is Friday?

Oh, right. Apparently, I am considered a Twitter expert on . . .










Not that either.






Pretty sweet.



Monday, July 4th, 2011

Cover of From A Name to a NumberFrom A Name to a Number by Alter Weiner

I read this book on the return plane trip from RWA in New York. English is not the author’s first language, and it shows. Don’t expect to read a literary tour de force. The story is powerful nonetheless. Do expect to be reminded that there are evils in the world that require our remembrance and our open acknowledgement that there are times we must give voice.


Over at Heroes and Heartbreakers today!

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

I have a blog post over at Heroes and Heartbreakers. Genus, Genre, Genius, or, as I like to call it, the Dangers of Not Reading Romance. Check it out! I talk about sea slugs. And some other stuff.



Monday, February 28th, 2011 items (Sold by, LLC) :

1 The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingk…

Oh frabjous day! It’s shipping to me as you read. Heck, by the time you read this I may already have it. I will probably buy more copies of this book.


What Fiction do you Like to Read? Poll

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a poll, so here’s one! I’m sure I’ve forgotten some genres and, if so also pick “other” and leave a comment about that genre. For categories that have sub-categories vote for the main category and leave a comment about any subcategory you particularly enjoy, if you feel so moved. Go!

What Kind of Fiction do you Read?

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At last! My Immortals Short Story!

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Hot Demon - Telos

Yes! It’s here at last for your reading pleasure! Oh so long ago, I started writing a short story for the My Immortals series, and boy, it took forever to finish and then my publisher wanted to wait a bit before releasing it on the world but now it’s here! And you can read it. For free. And download it. For free.

There’s a picture!

The artwork is available in the online version, but you can also download a pdf which does not include the artwork. As soon as I carve out the time I’ll get an epub version, too. The story (but not the artwork) is released under a creative commons license. Download away. Post it on your own site, whatever, as long as you credit me as the author.

About The Story

Lys is an attorney for a San Francisco law firm where she litigates high stakes computer hacking and corporate espionage cases. Her go-to expert witness for these cases is Telos Kunbish who may not always operate on the right side of the law. He’s a big, dangerous looking guy and after she leaves her abusive boyfriend, she needs someone just like him to escort her while she gets the rest of her things from the house.

Only Lys isn’t quite a normal human, her ex-boyfriend is a mage who wants her dead and Telos is a demon. Uh oh. You’ll also encounter a couple of the characters from the My Immortals series.

The story, by the way, is about 50 pages, so it’s not exactly short, but maybe just shy of a novella.

You can read the story:


Happy New Year Thoughts

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Happy New Year to all my blog readers. Thanks for stopping by from time to time, and for everyone who’s left a comment, thanks! I do enjoy reading what you have to say.

May everyone’s 2011 be full of joy and great books to read!