Monday, December 19, 2011

Expendable Few Still In The Works

Even though the Expendable Few draft is finished, editors are still reviewing it, they need time. I was hoping our formatters would be able to pencil us in, but there just won't be enough time to get everything done by the Holidays, which are very close at hand.

That being said, the first two thirds of Expendable Few are getting very high marks from the editors. I'm ready to address problems if they come up, and our formatting partners are excited to work on another Spinward Fringe book.

The bottom line is that we have a lot of work done, so the chances of Expendable Few being out in January are very high. The moment the book gets a pass from an editor, and I get on our formatter's schedule, I'll have a firm release date for you.

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday season. I feel blessed to have so much support, and owe all of you my thanks.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Expendable Few Draft Completion

The Expendable Few novella has become a small novel, and I'm finished drafting. I had several goals and a story to tell with this book, and I think I've accomplished what I set out to do.

Now I'm doing my last editorial pass, and sending chapters to both my editors as I finish polishing. The Expendable Few became a very difficult project. Some chapters took several weeks to think through, and I've never had a short work generate so much cut material. The cut material isn't the result of sloppy writing, most of it was experimental content that didn't work for the story, the characters, or it took the book in the wrong direction.

Like any experimental work, I was actually a little afraid to finish it, and I'm terrified to release it. History has shown me that, as long as my editor(s) sign off on the story, the book will do well, but the jury is still out.

I expect to finish my pass early this week, and the editors are already getting new chapters. Here's hoping that this book meets their standards. If it does, I may be looking at a release around Christmas Day. If the editors tell me it needs a little more work on my end, I expect it'll come out in late January or February.

After Expendable Few is finished I'm taking a month off to clear my head. For the last few months my brain has been occupied with the Expendable Few and Broadcast 7. I've taken some great notes that will help me finish 7,  but I want to clear my head before I sit down and edit what I have, then get to work on the second half of that book. I'm glad I wrote Expendable Few, it was instrumental in figuring out a few things for Broadcast 7 and beyond.

I'll share the editor's verdict once they share their thoughts.

Thank you for your patience,


Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Utopian Publishing System

This discussion started on the Spinward Fringe Crew Facebook Page, and I realized that I had said something in a lengthy response that hasn't been voiced too often in the publishing world. Most likely because it's a pie-in-the-sky idea that no one knows how to bring into being yet.

I call it the Utopian Publishing Model.

I'd love to see a cooperative group lending system come about, where the readers and the artist are taken care of. From what I can see, Amazon is working on something similar but they are missing the mark right now. On the readers' end, they have to have a special type of credit card with Amazon. On the author's side, they have to make the titles in this upcoming program exclusive to Amazon / Kindle. It's not the right solution right now, but the seeds of an open coop are there.

It's the necessity to make money to survive that makes the co-op difficult to develop. How do you provide books for all people regardless of their income, cover the costs of servers, etc... and make sure the author is paid for their work? It's a difficult system to develop, especially since current systems aren't truly accomplishing what they have to.

Publishers have to protect themselves against the inconsiderate few, and it costs the kind majority. The best example is piracy. On average a spinward fringe book is found on a piracy site three times a month. There is also a clear example of legal piracy in the fact that Amazon forces indies to enroll in their lending program when publishing a book. If an indie doesn't enroll, their royalties are cut in half. I don't have anything against the lending program under most circumstances, but enrolling should be a choice connected to marketing strategy and personal prefference.

Those kinds of things make companies (and some authors) too paranoid or bitter to participate in a new system.

Some of these companies also don't understand ePublishing, or their customers, and you'll find an easy indication of their block headed-ness in the way they price their books. Here's a couple example of "grossly overpriced" books:

From my point of view, the price setters of these books suffer from profit and piracy paranoia. They're also setting themselves up for a big fall. Thousands of readers are noticing that price and turning away from that book - for good - so lowering the price in a year won't help sales much. I could go on about strategy of pricing, but you already get the point.

I wish we didn't have to bring big publishers kicking and screaming into the eBook market. The fact that it really did happen that way tells me that future systems where you guys get to read for a few pennies a novel, or nothing at all, and I get paid fairly will be even harder to figure out.