Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Indie Pub News

The first week of May, I am planning on releasing Vignetta in the Red House. Because I am self  indie publishing, and really have nothing to lose, I will be entering the Kindle Advantage program with both my novels, which means that for at least three months my two novels will only be available from Amazon, in the Kindle format. For a couple of days each I will make them free, to see how many downloads an unknown author can get doing this. For Science! Sweet, sweet Indypub science.

I will also be changing the price point I am selling at. Because the $.99 price is not magic, or possibly past it's use-by date, I am going to claim Amazon's 70% royalty rate by selling titles at or above $2.99. This will let me make more from selling my books very slowly, rather than less.

However, because I aim to make money by selling books to strangers, not friends, AND because I would like to encourage some traffic to the Kindle page for my book, I am going to make another offer to friends:

If you want a free copy of Rock of Aeons from Smashwords, and are willing to post a review to the Amazon site, I will send you a coupon code if you private message or email me. It doesn't have to be a good review. You hate the book, write a one star review. But I would like to get some more reviews on Amazon. Think about it! Free book. And before you fuss about buying it: right now I make .30 each sale. The potential joy I create by entertaining someone I love (Yes, I love all of  you!) is worth way more than a third of a cup of coffee. Cheap coffee.

In fact: if you have a friend who says they would review it, have them PM or email me with your name, and I will give them a coupon code, too. The possibility of entertaining someone that you love is worth almost as much to me, because you have added so much to my life. Does that sound unctuous? It isn't. The only thing I really have to offer people is my strange, strange brain.

Fair warning, there is sex in Rock of Aeons.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

11 PM Book Review: Supervolcano: Eruption

Supervolcano: Eruption is a soft apocalyptic novel about catastrophic environmental change in the wake of the Yellowstone cauldera blowing up and dumping ash over a third of the United States. It views the events through the lense of a family: a cop, his ex wife, their grown children, and his girlfriend.

I liked most of the characters in this. It was interesting to see how they dealt with their individual issues, and the author drew their characters very sharply. You could generally see their flaws better than their strengths, and clearly see how each affected their choices. The most interesting problem belonged to the self important and bitchy character of Vanessa, the cop protagonist's daughter. She ends up living in refugee camps spread around the ash fall from the volcano, and I would have liked to see a lot more of her and how she dealt with her problems.

Unlike character driven Sci-Fi with similar themes, say the Niven and Pournelle disaster novels, Supervolcano didn't 't really hold up for me. Although I liked the characters, I felt that they alone were not a strong enough throughline to carry the story. Really, this is a disaster story, and there's not nearly enough disaster in it. It takes some 95 pages to get to the eruption. Mind you, no one survives a supervolcano. So the way the author handled the eyewitness account of the eruption was elegant. But for the rest of the novel, most of the characters are relatively unaffected. They live out their day to day concerns: how to stay in college, how to defend a thesis, how to bag groupies on the road... and the Supervolcano affects them largely with inconveniences.

So, I liked the characters, but it got kind of boring watching them sometimes. And there was a Supervolcano in the background that I wanted to see more of. I think this is part of a series, and if the author follows his usual themes, other series entries will deal with How-Life-Changed-As-A-Result. Which I cold see being interesting. But probably not enough to make me pick up another installment.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

11 PM Book Review: Switched

Switched is about Wendy, a troubled young woman who's mother tried to kill her when she was a child, and who has been in the care of her aunt and brother ever since. When she starts to exhibit psychic powers, a strange young man begins stalking her. Chased by kidnappers, the strange young man sprits her away to a secret city. There she finds out that she is a changeling: Trolls (or Trylle of the series title) live in secret along side human beings. They steal human babies, and put troll babies in their place. When the troll babies are reintegrated into troll society, they bring the money and influence of their adopted families back with them. She's not just any troll either. She is the daughter of the Queen.

I picked this up because I often read self pub wonders (and dream of being one) to see what "takes off". It's easy to see why people enjoy this. The voice is engaging, the prose is upbeat and active. It's an easy read, and despite the poor editing, a pretty smooth one.

That said, the editing is poor. There were a good number of malapropisms and a fair number of typos. Probably not more malapropisms than Alter of Eden, by James Rollins, or more typos than in Briarpatch, by Tim Pratt. I don't think I'll pick another one up because despite the fact that it is an engaging read, the trylle/changling society is rigid and unsympathetic: aristocratic, classist and racist. Although the Trolls get their kids back, humans are never returned to their human families and remain as a servant class. Wendy's lack of motivation to leave really kind of makes her a milksop. I know the idea of being a "princess" is a powerful narcotic to many people. However, Wendy, as written, has little interest in being a princess. And the idea that an entire separate race could prey on other people's children in a 21st century U.S. was kind of unconvincing as well.