Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Punishing the Purchaser: FBI Warnings and Other Follies

I hope they don't sue me for pirating this screen shot. I ripped it straight from a DVD I had laying around.

Anyway, I popped in the Knight's Tale DVD the other day and had to sit through two piracy warnings that stayed on my screen for 30 seconds each before even seeing the main menu. Then I started the movie and guess what? Another FBI warning! If I hadn't already owned the DVD for a couple of years, I would have returned it.

Instead I ask; does anyone actually think this works?

I mean, being put out of my way actually makes me lean towards just logging on to my favourite p2p (peer to peer) site and grabbing whatever I'd like. At least the piracy groups know not to inconvenience their patrons.

I remember seeing the first two minute anti-piracy commercial after paying $11.00 to see a movie in a theater, I was pretty tempted to leave. Is that kind of advertising supposed to inspire me to go on some crusade against piracy? Am I supposed to feel ashamed if I download a missed episode of television or grab a copy of a movie from the net because I haven't gotten my copy from Amazon yet? I'll tell you, it doesn't work. I know plenty of people with massive digital movie collections and they don't look guilt ridden. I also don't feel like shaking my finger at them and telling them that they're hurting the creators of that work.

Theft is wrong, that's undeniable. If everyone who read my books pirated them I would still be working in a call center cubicle and I'd be spending thousands of dollars submitting manuscripts and mail outs to agents and publishers around the world. A few science fiction fans have put their support behind me because they had access to some of my work and as a result I'm writing for them full time. I still have to work to continue getting the word out to build that following, but I don't mind.

On the other hand I'm not interested in posting big notices in the first pages of my books telling them (the readers, my supporters), that piracy is wrong, and that I'll sue them if I find out they made a copy for someone else! Imagine starting into one of my EBooks and seeing a whole page dedicated to that kind of threat? I don't think anyone would put up with it.

So, since it's not illegal, I've started ripping all my DVD's to a hard drive, skipping the FBI warnings and keeping all the digital picture and surround sound goodness. You see, what they don't tell you in those threatening announcements is that everyone who owns an intellectual product is allowed to make 1 or more copies for backup purposes. That's true in Canada, the US and the UK. My glossy DVD's will sit on the shelves getting dusty and ignored from now on.

As a final note with regards to piracy, the whole digital information industry is trying to find a new business model that lets everyone think they're getting something for free. I'd love to give my stuff away, but I don't receive enough donations or have enough cash in the bank to allow for it. That doesn't mean I'm going to wait to be rich to find a way to get my books out there cheaply or freely. In the future I'll be trying a few different strategies on my own as I discover new opportunities. No promises at this point, I'm still looking at several options. My point is that there will be ways to get content for free eventually, even though it may take another decade for companies to figure out how to stay in business and finance their productions.


[Are you an advocate for piracy or a supporter of the content creators? Do you have a solution that lands somewhere in the middle? Leave a comment!]

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dark Arts To Begin July 7, 2009

After getting the thumbs up from my editor and test readers, the Dark Arts series is set to begin on July 7, my birthday gift to myself. Dark Arts is a horror series that will be available here for free (later to appear in EBook formats).

The first installment, called simply RISING is divided into seven parts that will be released every Tuesday.

Here's a general description:

Dark Arts is a supernatural horror series that focuses on members of a mysterious society of occultists who use any means to maintain the divide between the spirit and material worlds.The Dark Arts series is written in distinct plot cycles and offered for free. The success and continuation of the Dark Arts series depends on donations from the readers.

RISING tells a story about two characters; Zachary who has been possessing one mortal after another as he seeks the secrets of true resurrection and Maxwell who bears the responsibility of destroying Zachary and preventing him from accomplishing his goals. The surly British occultist has been led to the place where Zachary was first killed as a mortal and has to take the opportunity to further the goals of the society while there is still time.

RISING is a complete plot cycle, adapted into prose from a concept for a television series. If enough readers demand more after finishing RISING I'll gladly provide.

What's happening with Spinward Fringe? I'm working on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element right now, actually, no worries!


[Have you read Supernatural Horror before? Whose your favourite author or series?]

Friday, June 26, 2009

Spinward Fringe Frontline Available Now From Amazon.com In Print

Finally, to the delight of a few of my readers who love turning paper pages and leaving a copy in the loo, Spinward Fringe Frontline is available in print from Amazon.com. They've been kind enough to include it in their Super Saver Shipping and Prime programs.

This is happening two weeks early and I couldn't be happier. I know there are a number of readers who are waiting eagerly to get their hands on this book in print and it's always nice to see the book on paper.

Here's the lowdown on the printed edition:
I certainly hope you all enjoy the latest book in the series. It's a darker, broader story that follows the main characters through the dark heart of a new war that is changing the galaxy. Meanwhile, Jacob Valance's crew do their best to cope with managing their new ship and the hundreds of refugee and deserter volunteers. This full fledged novel elevates the Spinward Fringe series to an all out space opera epic while maintaining a gritty, challenging atmosphere. Recommended for young adults and older.

Thank you for all your support so far, dear readers. It's come in many shapes and forms and I hope you continue on this journey with me through the Fringe.


If you're new to the Spinward Fringe universe and would like to start from the beginning, here's the link to where it all started: The First Light Chronicles Omnibus

Now Back To Our Regularly Scheduled Program...

Special thanks to everyone who showed their support for the Wikipedia page yesterday. I'm talking about Iamz, Janet, Elross, the anonymous fan and of course, Somacow.

Some fair edits were made and Pete Tillman, the archivist who replied to the anonymous watchdog who brought the article to his attention, approved it after review material and an Amazon.com link was removed. Thanks for listening to the people who support me most and for giving them time to make the appropriate changes.

Regardless of the online drama yesterday I did manage to get some writing done, but now I'm all pent up and I'm sure I'll get a good chunk of work finished today. It's like this story is a hundred raging bulls bashing at the gate trying to get out and, since I can't write a hundred thousand words in a day, I can only let them out a couple at a time.

Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is looking great already, with a focus on characters that I enjoy, a complexity that I don't think I've managed to build into any book thus far, excitement that comes out of character development, interesting situations and a return to the basics as far as the main players are concerned.

Spinward Fringe Frontline was a very serious novel and a different animal from the rest of the books in many ways. I enjoyed the experience even though the dark journey the characters took was at times difficult to write. There are sections of that book I look back on regularly that make me grin. Two readers have contacted me comparing the book to William Gibson's early work and one went as far as to say that I've added something new to cyberpunk. Great compliments, thank you, and very interesting since I don't see this series as a cyberpunk saga at all. I suppose that's one of the reasons why I feel so free to add whatever I feel I need to keep the stories interesting and moving in the right direction.

I realize that Spinward Fringe Frontline is still a new book for most people and people who read print haven't had a chance to get their hands on it at all. To me it's ancient, I started work on it in November, '08 and it's sold 111 copies. Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is the future I look forward to and it returns us to the roots of the series, with the humour and excitement of the First Light Chronicles and the scale and building complexity that the Spinward Fringe series is just now starting to become known for. This book makes me excited, the idea of pushing forward with all the pieces right where I want them is absolutely thrilling.

I certainly hope everyone is enjoying Spinward Fringe Frontline and I look forward to hearing more of your opinions about the book as more of you finish it. At the same time The First Light Chronicles Omnibus has been moved to the General Fiction category (taking the number 1 spot due to a good sales history in Mobipocket science fiction), so we can invite more people onto this journey.

Spinward Fringe Frontline is going to be available on Amazon.com in print sometime next week. The Kindle version is already available.

I'm also working with another large Canadian EBook E-Tailer (Online Retailer), to broaden the availability of the First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe series. From the looks of it the books will be sold at a very reasonable price and I like the tools they provide for their readers.

Now, back to writing Spinward Fringe Rogue Element. I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Wikipedia entry about to be deleted!

Here's what happened. After the release of Spinward Fringe Frontline the Wikipedia page a very kind reader started for me became badly out of date. Thinking that it was important for an encyclopedia, even Wikipedia, to be up to date I took the initiative and marked Frontline as available, added the ISBN and added Spinward Fringe Rogue Element as an upcoming novel.

Now someone's come along and marked it as an advertizement and as containing material not appropriate for an encyclopedia.

Frankly, if it were written as an advertizement it would contain a synopsis of each book, a tag line for each series, pictures of each cover and it would contain a whole lot more marketable links. I have places for that, here for example, so I don't need Wikipedia for that at all. In fact a pleasent bio and a list of books by year is appropriate for an encyclopedia and should be listed in Wiki since a solid number of readers have come in contact with my work.

This blog post isn't meant as a call to war against Wiki, however. Someone who was more paranoid than they ought to be pushed the panic button over there and I really have no idea what to do about it. All I do know is that Wikipedia has a notion that if the subject of an entry (me), modifies its contents it immediately becomes advertising. So that leaves me with one real option.

I have to ask you good people to make some kind of modification that will get my entry off the deletion list. I honestly don't know much about the back end of Wikipedia, so I can't tell you how this is done but if something isn't done soon I'll be off Wikipedia, sad.

This is my humble appeal for help, if you want or need any information that doesn't involve coding (which I really know nothing about), then just send me an email and I'll see if I can help.


You can also help my Wikipedia page from being deleted by adding your comments about it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Randolph_Lalonde

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spinward Fringe Frontline Available on Amazon Kindle

This book has done quite well on Mobipocket with 107 copies sold to date. Now Kindle users, including people who use the Kindle App for the IPhone, will have access to the latest Spinward Fringe book.

I'm very happy with the feedback I've been getting on this book, and since I take some pride in my relationship with my readers I invite anyone and everyone to send me direct email with regards to Frontline or the previous books. I do listen. When Resurrection and Awakening came out I recieved emails from people who had to tell me that their favourite characters were Ashley and Finn. As a result I gladly wrote them in as point of view characters in Triton and Frontline. They happen to be two of my favorite characters too.

On that note, if you feel compelled to write a short review on Amazon.com for anything I've written it would be very helpful.

Thanks for all your support thus far, work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is going very well.


As of this writing Amazon has Spinward Fringe Frontline is on sale for $7.99.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Spinward Fringe Frontline: Available at Lulu.com

I had no idea, but there's apparently a demand for the Spinward Fringe Books in .pdf format. That came as a a surprise since I barely ever use .pdf. I find them pretty inflexible.

Regardless of that, I'm happy to announce that Spinward Fringe Frontline is now available in DRM free .pdf format here.

Sadly, Lulu.com has started charging for providing international print distribution, so I won't be able to use that avenue to get printed editions out to people in the UK. I'm still looking for someone to carry my printed titles out there and in Canada, I'm hoping to find a self publishing partner or publisher soon.

If you don't want to wait for Amazon.com to list Frontline, you can purchase a printed copy from Lulu.com for 19.99.

It's always good to see this book appear in different places and different formats. When I think of Frontline I can't help but compare it to Triton where quality of storytelling is concerned. They were both very serious books that moved the characters along quite a bit and it's hard for me to pick between the two when I try to think of which one I like more.

It'll take a while longer for Amazon.com to begin listing this book and I'll announce its availability the moment it appears.

Thank you to the two readers who told me that they were looking to purchase .pdf versions of my work, I'm glad Lulu.com was able to give me the ability to provide.

As an additional note, I'd like to thank the recent donor and everyone else who has purchased copies of my work and gotten others interested. I would be in a call center cubicle if it weren't for you guys! Keep spreading the word and there's no limit to where this series can go!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Don't save the galaxy unless you really, really, have to.

Or the world, the universe or even mankind as we know it. That's right. Why save them at all? I'm speaking a fictional context of course. If I had a way of saving us all from ourselves on this great green and blue planet I'd wave my hand and sit back with a Guinness (plus scotch sidecar) and watch it happen.

No, I'm talking about all those shows, books and films that depict individuals and groups who dare to be the hero, are bold enough to step forward and make enough of a difference to save billions of lives. Yaaaay, someone spanked the big bad and saved all us humans so we can go on texting, eating (often too much), and opening gang, holy and resource wars like they're 711's and it's 1980. (In case you missed that refference, there were a lot of 711 convenience stores opening in the early 80's).

I mean, it's been done to death. I'm not saying that it can't still be fun. The new Star Trek was fun, and they pretty much saved Earth (again). Stargate SG-1 was fun, and they saved the planet every couple of months. They even went as far as to save the galaxy a few times before the upped the scale and saved more than one galaxy at a time on Stargate Atlantis. That was fun. The writers, performers, directors, producers and everyone else worked very hard to make it enjoyable and believable. There was a trend forming, however. I think the show runners of Stargate Atlantis (who were the same as those for Stargate SG-1 for the most part), realized something. Watching someone barely save their own ass is fun too. The new show coming up from the same makersm, Stargate Universe, looks like it's going to be about the characters saving their own butts on a weekly basis, actually.

Just consider for a moment the value of a story about one character you can relate to getting into serious trouble and then having to go to extrordinary measures just to keep on living. They aren't nessisarily a hero, they're just one person, maybe more than one person but the important thing is that they took you along for the journey. You have the opportunity to cheer them on, yell at the screen (or paperback or ebook), if you know they're going the wrong way or to feel their pain if they have to sacrifice something in order to avoid a worse fate.

Sometimes the struggle to survive is so much more interesting when compared to brash heroes stepping up and saving the world. That's all I'm sayin'.

If you're tired of seeing people simply saving thier own butts consider a twist: two characters striving to save their own butts. One is likeable, the other isn't and furthermore the survival of one could mean the death of the other. For a good example of this, go watch a film called Vertical Limit. Pretty fun film I'd passed on for a long time until I had a bout of insomnea and caught it on cable. If you're afraid of heights (like I am), and have a great big screen (like I did at the time), this is a great movie (if you're a masochist).

Anyway, breaktime is over and it's time for me to get back to work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element, where more than one character is faced with the challenge of saving their own butts, but what else is new?


One of the most enjoyable examples of constant butt saving is Joss Whedon's Firefly. Go watch it if you haven't already!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Spinward Fringe Frontline Hits Number 1 and Four More Months...

Thaaat's right, after selling 97 copies in under three weeks on Mobipocket, Spinward Fringe Frontline is now the number one book on the site. The First Light Chronicles Omnibus (where this whole series found its beginning), is number four.

Being number one anywhere is a telling sign. For a new stand alone book (one that isn't part of a series), it means that publicity, author popularity and word of mouth worked. For a book that's at the far end of a series like Spinward Fringe Frontline is, it means that there were enough people looking and waiting for it to propel it to the top of the list. For that, I thank you!

Omnibus being at number 4 on the Mobipocket overall top ten means that the word is still spreading, that you're still talking about your experience with that and the Spinward Fringe series. I have to take a minute to thank you for that as well. The glowing testimonials on the site are a huge help too.

While I'm on the topic of reviews, there's something I've been meaning to mention. If you have a blog or website or have seen a review done on any of my work, please drop me an email or leave a comment on any of my blog posts so I can link to it from my websites. If someone takes the time to review one of my books I'll gladly take the time to share my audience with them by adding a link here. I have to take a moment to thank the SomaCow crew, who haven't seen me lately because I've been rediculously busy as of late, thanks again for continuing to mention me and for looking forward to the printed edition of Frontline.

There's one other thing I really have to talk about before I go. Most authors see the topic of money as taboo, but then, most authors with an audience also have an agent and publisher(s). If you haven't guessed already, I do things a little differently than most. So, on to the topic of money. Thanks to the people who have been buying my books and the two donations I've recieved over the last two and a half months I'll be able to keep writing full time for another four months by the end of this quarter (July 1, 2009 is the beginning of the next quarter). There is a minimum I have to earn so I don't have to go find a part or full time job and I'm glad to say that as of yesterday I hit it! With only two weeks left in this quarter that's cutting it a little close, but I'm not complaining. Thank you everyone, I hope you're all enjoying my work!

What's going on right now? Well I've also socked away just enough to put my order in with Amazon.com so they'll start digitally stocking the master files for Spinward Fringe Frontline and print copies as people order them. There's no fee for them to do this for me, but shipping the proof (which I have to review before anyone can order a copy), costs more than you'd expect.

I'm also finishing work on a supernatural short today. I don't know if it's any good, but it's controversial and very cinematic in nature. It's not unussual for me to be unsure of a work's enjoyability as I finish it, that's one of the reasons why I have test readers. I'll have much more info on this as my proof readers and editor gets through with it some time next week. Hopefully I've written something decent and not given birth to a great big turkey. (Turkey = Boring, cheesy, silly piece of work that isn't worth saving).

After that I'm back to work on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element full time, which is looking pretty good so far.

Thank you again for four more months of writing full time. Everyone who bought a book (on Mobipocket, Kindle, Lulu, Amazon.com), or spread the word had a hand in it and I'd shake every one if I could reach far enough. You'll have to settle for more fiction as your reward.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Progress Update: What I'm working on right now and the future.

Spinward Fringe Rogue Element is well on its way. It's important to note, however, that there are other projects in the works as well, even though the bulk of my energy goes towards the Spinward Fringe Series.

The last few weeks have been very interesting. Writing a pair of novellas that have nothing to do with the Spinward Fringe setting was a good idea. They were experimental and won't be published. Those ninety thousand words weren't a waste of time, however. In doing the work I developed a few new ideas, cleared a few character questions up (concerning Spinward Fringe characters), and gave myself the opportunity to make a few decisions about what I'll be working on for the rest of 2009. It also gave me a chance to clear my head after working on Spinward Fringe Frontline for over five months.

Since that 90,000 word writing spree a lot has been happening, here's an update:

Spinward Fringe Rogue Element
I've written the beginning to Spinward Fringe Rogue Element, determined the course that the characters will be taking through that book and gotten a couple of extra chapters down. Aside from that I also managed to mangle the Spinward Fringe Triton cover to my satisfaction, turning it into a fair representation of the attitude behind Spinward Fringe Rogue Element. I'll be glad to get back to it this weekend.

Dark Arts
It's been years since I've written horror or anything supernatural. While exercising my brain on those novellas an idea took root centered around a few characters and it just wouldn't go away. That's where Dark Arts begins. I'm taking a pseudonym on for this project: L.S. Randolph. Do I care if anyone knows about it? Nope, spread the word. I just need to do this work under a different name. This work is intended for adults, the imagery and subject matter will eventually go further than I've ever gone in unpublished or published works. Think Exorcist meets Saw. There will be more on this and a free short story to kick things off shortly. I'm giving myself this week to work on it before getting back to Spinward Fringe.

The Secret Horror Novel or RAGE³
This was the horror novel I had originally planned to start working on after Frontline. Sadly the twenty one page outline (sort of a write by numbers assignment I had penned), went missing and no Canadian police agency got back to me about doing an interview or ride along for research. Fate's telling me to go back to the drawing board and it looks like I'm doing just that. I'll be doing research for this one while I work on another outline from scratch. If anyone happens to see a blue notebook with Spiwnard Fringe, First Light Chronicles and RAGE³ notes inside, drop me an EMail, willya? (Oh, and it's prounounced: Rage Cubed). What's the idea behind this book? All I can say at this point is that it's about a serial killer.

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6-7
The First Light Chronicles and the Spinward Fringe series are still drawing interest thanks to some very faithful readers who seem to be spreading the word and things are still going pretty strong on Mobipocket. Keeping that in mind I'm making plans for the sixth and seventh books in the Spinward Fringe series as I write Rogue Element (the fifth book). I still write each one as though it's the last, giving readers somewhat of an ending (like in Frontline) while leaving things open enough for another book. There are a lot of stories left to tell in this setting, with these characters and I'm hoping I can keep on going. It's largely up to the readers though, so keep spreading the word and remember that the books are available through Amazon.com for everyone who doesn't like reading EBooks.

Fate Cycle Book II: Exodus
This long awaited finale (that's right, there won't be a book III), is still sitting in a manuscript case waiting for the last 9 or so chapters. I'd apologize but frankly the science fiction I'm working on is much better. Going back to the Fate Cycle series means doing a full edit of Fate Cycle Book I: Sins of the Past without changing the story THEN I'll get to finish Book II: Exodus. If you really want to take a look at the fantasy novel I wrote ages ago and its more playful, simpler prequel (Sins of the Past: Dead of Winter), you can pick them up on Mobipocket. I will eventually finish Exodus, there's no question, but right now I have to look at things more realistically and write what people enjoy (and demand), the most.

Other Projects and Whats Ready
I'm still focusing most of my efforts on writing Spinward Fringe, finding new ways to get it to people and getting it noticed. That series is not only my best work to date but it has nearly three hundred readers. The fact that I enjoy writing that series the most at the moment is a massive bonus. When I take a few days to work on something else I'm just taking a break from Spiwnard Fringe, and always plan on going back. I'm always thinking about the characters and plot lines based in that universe.
What's ready? Cover art for RAGE³ has been purchased and the central image for Dark Arts has been found, now I have to beg to borrow or buy it. Considering how very broke I am, I might have to take extraordinary measures... *gulp*

To sum up: Watch for Dark Arts while you wait for the next Spinward Fringe Installment (Rogue Element). For the rest, well, I'm hoping to get around to everything in 2009 but nothing is certain, so keep checking back for news!


Thanks for sticking with me thus far. Things can only get more interesting from here!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 5: Rogue Element

Spinward Fringe Frontline is the second best selling EBook on Mobipocket.com thanks to the seventy six people who have downloaded it so far. As some of you already know the ending of that book is unique to the series. Frontline was about things coming together under the worst of conditions.

Now I'm working on Spinward Fringe Rogue Element. It's been a blast so far, with a definite shift in my writing style that is thanks to the pair of novellas I completed while Frontline was being edited.

The first sentences of this new work were written to the sounds of Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Rogue Element marks the beginning of a new era in the Spinward Fringe series and the name refers to the ship and the crew we've all become so familliar with.

I can tell you for a certainty that this book won't take as long as Frontline. Why? Well, that's simple: the characters are all where I need them to be to tell this story. That will probably only make sense to people who have read the entirety of the series so far, Frontline included, and so be it.

I hope everyone is enjoying the journey thus far, keep inviting your friends and I might be able to keep doing this for a living! As long as there's a demand for Spinward Fringe books they'll be my primary focus. Even the work I did between Frontline and the one I'm starting now: Rogue Element was only undertaken to try a vastly different style, experiment with some character dynamics and now I'm back to writing science fiction, applying what I learned.

It's good to be back and I'm having so much fun writing Rogue Element that I'm having trouble sleeping and massive issues focusing on anything else for more than a few seconds at a time. I think I have a case of the Fringes... or something...


Oh, and if you've never heard of this series and want to see where it all started you can either download The First Light Chronicles: Freeground for free (there's a link to the right), or you can purchase the First Light Chronicles Omnibus from Mobipocket or Amazon.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Incoming Price Drop On Amazon.com

That's right, these are hard times and I'm willing to acknowledge that. It's one of the reasons I love being independent, the ability to control what happens with my work and counter bad market trends.

There are no plans for Amazon.com or their self publishing imprint Createspace to offer mass market paperback sizes. Why is that a big deal? Well, it's simple: Mass market paperbacks (also known as pocket book size), are cheaper, about $6.99-$9.99 in the US and $9.99-$12.99 in Canada. The currently offered Trade Paperback (measuring a much larger 6"x9" and featuring better quality paper), averages between $19.99-$29.99 in the US and between $24.99-$39.99 in Canada. By rights, if I were following the trends set down by the big publishing companies I'd be charging those prices.

I don't think so.

I like my readers and am willing to take a massive hit in order to offer Trade Paperback books for a price closer to that of a mass market paperback. In short, you get big, glossy, 6"x9", high quality books for nearly the price of those cheap, corner store quality newsprint paperbacks. US customers will also be eligible for Super Saver Shipping. Here's a list of the price drops:

First Light Chronicles Omnibus: Was $17.99 Now $14.99
Spinward Fringe Resurrection & Awakening: Was $15.99 Now $11.99
Spinward Fringe Triton: Was $14.99 Now $11.99
Spinward Fringe Frontline: Will be $14.99 when I can afford to cover the cost of shipping a proof copy from California to Ontario.

To be honest I'll be making $3.00 or less for each book I sell but I'd rather ensure that people can afford them than make more money for each one sold. These books are made to be read, enjoyed, and for that to happen they have to be affordable.

I've also run into a number of Canadian readers who are leery of buying from Amazon.com because they'd rather keep their money in the country. Sadly I don't have any print distribution in Canada. Don't wait for me to get any either; thanks to market conditions in this great country there's no telling when or how distribution will happen. So, if you're in Canada and want copy of my books, please order from Amazon.com. You're still putting your money in the right place; in my hands so I can keep writing full time.

As a side note, if you're a publisher in Canada and you'd like to acquire the print rights for my work in this country or any other, drop me an email with your contact information please. It's still early enough in the game to get the lion's share of the sales in North America since I've sold fewer than 20 books through Amazon.com.

I'm currently working with a publisher in the UK to offer my books in print in that end of the world and I hope to have more news on that soon. Those rights are available as well.

Thank you very much for your support so far everyone! I hope this makes it much easier for you to obtain printed copies of my work and spread the word to friends who don't read EBooks just yet.

On my end I'm hoping to see more than 3 books a month sell through Amazon.com (That's the current average). I love Mobipocket but I'd like to have a secondary source of income and more exposure in the US and Canada.

If you'd like signed copies of my work, send me an Email. I'm sure we can arrange something!

I aim to entertain and hope to increase my audience so I can keep working for you, my readers!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

UK Publisher / Self Publisher Wanted!

For months now I've been trying to find a good UK publisher / self publisher who is willing to sell printed copies of my work to people in their back yard.

In case you didn't already know, I'm located in Ontario, Canada. As a result I have access to a lot of US self publishing companies that will allow me to do all the design work myself and offer the work to readers. I still have to order a single proof copy with most of them, but that's a reasonable reality. It's best for me to see what my readers are getting. Other than that the companies I work with don't charge any upfront fees and there are no cash cost surprises.

What I've found in the UK is that the vast majority of self publishing companies are more interested in making thousands of dollars from independent authors and have little interest in selling books to readers.

After being thoroughly screwed by Trafford in Canada I promised myself that I'd never pay cash up front for a publisher to list my work and half heartedly offer it to readers. That rules out every self publishing company I've seen in the UK out.

The Emails regarding the lack of printed copies in the UK don't stop, however, nor would I like them to! The problem is I still don't have a way of fulfilling the demand. I could just give up and say; "Well, it's not easy, so I'm afraid you'll have to stick to buying EBooks in that part of the world!" That's not the way I work, however.

Instead I'm posting an open invite to all publishers and self publishing companies in the UK to offer my printed work to your customers. Here are a list of qualifications you MUST meet:

There must be no up front, listing, maintenance or procedural fees.
You get a cut of the cover price, that's it.
I must be allowed to determine the cover price (with a self publisher).
I will be given a 30% or higher royalty on the cover price (with a conventional publisher).
I retain all rights to my work (with a self publisher, a conventional publisher will recieve print rights but will have no entitlement to other media rights).

What I can provide:

10 titles.
Records of sale that will show thousands of EBooks sold.
Information and graphics for promotional purposes.
I can do all my own design work.
I will make myself available for telephone/radio/print interviews.
Your listings will be prominently featured on my various websites.
A conventional publisher will recieve exclusive print rights for a limited term in exchange for an advance against future sales.
I'll offer my eternal gratitude.

So that's all. I do have a note for users who might want to offer self publishing advice though, and that is to do your homework before offering it. Please don't recommend anyone unless you personally have a positive relationship with the company.

If you're recommending a publisher, be aware that I'm not interested in a long submission process and my readers don't want to wait around for a year or more and over 98% of unsolicited manuscripts are either never reviewed or rejected even if it's the best thing they ever read. There are many market, legal, time and budget considerations that come into play that prevent unsolicited manuscripts from being considered. I also don't have a literary agent.

Taking that into account, if you know of a good, free self publishing service in the UK or you're a real publishing house or literary agent and are interested in helping me, drop me an Email and I'll get back to you right away.

In the meantime I'll keep researching while I'm not writing and hopefully I'll be able to find a way to make printed copies of my work available in the UK.


Friday, June 5, 2009

First Light Chronicles and Spinward Fringe Take 5 Top 10 Spots

I have the readers to thank and as I've done before, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this display of patronage.

That's right, the First Light Omnibus remains at the number one spot in Science Fiction and Spinward Fringe Frontline has taken number two! Spinward Fringe Triton has placed third while Resurrection and Awakening take up the rear in seventh and eighth place. The First Light Omnibus is maintaining a spot in fourth place for site wide sales and Spinward Fringe Frontline has crept up to the sixth spot, almost trumping Dan Browning's Angels and Demons.

Considering the fact that I'm an independent author with no advertising and no budget, I find this pretty amazing. Mobipocket is a small site, selling far fewer books than say Amazon.com or Stanza and I think that's a pretty important factor in making this all possible.

Thanks to Mobipocket users I can write full time! Most authors with a couple published books can't and I've never met an independent author who has a large enough following to quit their job, so thanks to Mobipocket I can continue to stretch my imagination and entertain people around the world without having to beg an agent to pay attention to my work or answering to a publisher who takes most of the profits. If I had that kind of support on Amazon.com I could rule the world! Sadly I'd be too busy writing to handle that kind of administrative responsibility...

When I think of all the people who have supported me so far it boggles my brain. These are people who sent donations, posted five star reviews, spread the word to friends, relatives, ordered signed copies, sent emails, posted on forums I've never heard of and most of all bought the books. Without one of those points of assistance I believe I'd be stuck working at a call center, getting carpel tunnel syndrome for all the wrong reasons! You'd have four books to read instead of a staggering seven with another on the way.

I've been at this for eighteen months now.

It feels like the books in the First Light Chronicles are ancient history, like I spent three years working on Spinward Fringe Frontline (it was actually six months). On the other hand the time has flown by. There are still people just discovering the First Light Chronicles and the Spinward Fringe Series is spraining new thumbs every day as science fiction and general fiction fans keep advancing through the books on their cellphones. Only four hundred people (give or take a few), have purchased all the books leading up to Frontline and today the forty fifth copy of the latest Spinward Fringe book was sold.

From a publisher's perspective that's barely a handful of people. To me it's enough to keep a reasonably priced roof over my head and three square meals on the table. I couldn't imagine selling a million copies of anything, perhaps I never will. I'll tell you what I'd like to see though; a television show or well made film. A video game with all the fixin's of the Spinward Fringe universe would be fantastic too. In fact, that would be pretty amazing. Above all else I'd like to make a reasonable living off my writing alone so I can keep entertaining people for the rest of my life. That's the dream.


Does anyone still play Role Playing Games? I've written a few gaming systems and compendiums over the last twenty or so years, I wonder...

Anyway, those are dangerous, distracting thoughts. I'd rather finish what I'm working on now, the next Spinward Fringe book, Broadcast 5. All I can say about it right now is that it's different, it's fun and I'll be announcing the title on June 14th.

Thank you for taking this journey with me. I'm glad to see Frontline received well so far. See you back here soon!


[Would you like to see a Spinward Fringe Tabletop Role Playing Game? Sound off in the Comments!]

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spinward Fringe Frontline: Now Available From Mobipocket.com

Since Mobipocket users have been the most supportive Spinward Fringe Frontline is available there first. Right now, in fact.

People who have sent me emails over the last year with regards to my writing got first crack at it yesterday when I sent them each a message telling them how to get it the day before release.

Spinward Fringe Frontline is a novel that I've been eager to finish, not for the relief of completion, but so I could share this story with everyone whose been following the Spinward Fringe series. There is no shortage of answers in this book and it brings the whole series up to the epic scale many people expect from Space Operas. I like to think there's something more between the covers as well, questions about personal identity and how different types of personalities react to prolonged pressure. There's more, but I can't go into it without giving something away.

Suffice it to say I'm excited. I've been living with this novel and this story for nearly six months now and as I start working on the next book I hope to hear back from some of you through reviews on Mobipocket and possibly email. Thank you for coming on this journey with me, I truly hope you enjoy the bumpy ride as much as I do.

You can find Spinward Fringe Frontline on Mobipocket here.

Spinward Fringe Frontline will become available on Lulu.com, Createspace.com and Amazon.com in print and Kindle editions over the next month to six weeks.