Friday, September 30, 2011

Quality Vs Price Point

This news is certainly pertinent to our recent discussions here around copyediting where we talked about number and kinds of errors. The next obvious question: Is there a price point at which you expect better quality?

I found it interesting that the Galleycat article never names the publisher who was responsible for the errors, just the author who had no control over the final product and the distributor who sent out replacement copies. Can you see a journalist not mentioning the manufacturer of a car that's been recalled? Just an observation ...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Why Blog?

(Quick promo message: SECTOR C was a sponsor book at Red Adept Reviews yesterday, and it received a 4.5 star review from Katy Hanna at Good Book Alert. Both very nice sites to find some great reads. Go check them out.)

Everyone has their own reasons for blogging and for starting the blogs and websites that they do. Some folk simply use their blog to record their daily musings and happenings – using it in a true journal sense. Some folk have a product or service or hobby that they blog about and their posts often reflect an aspect of that narrow topic.

A virtual buddy of mine is deciding whether to start a blog on a specific medical affliction and wondering if that’s enough of a topic to create a blog around, and if it’s enough that she simply has family with this affliction – not even family that she interacts with every day. I contend that if it’s useful for her to write down what she’s feeling and to talk about the challenges both she and her family are facing that it’s enough.

Perhaps, though, some things are too private to talk about in public? Or might it truly help someone who is dealing with the same circumstances to know others have conflicted feelings too?

Why do YOU blog and/or why do you visit the blogs you do?

I get that as writers trying to be authors we frequent other writers’ blogs, agents’ blogs, and editors and publishers’ blogs. We want to keep up with an industry that’s changing fast. We want hints at what we can do to get a leg up on everyone else submitting, on submission or debuting. We want to be sure we don’t miss a trick or we’re looking for ways to simply improve what we’re already doing.

As a happy collateral happenstance, we make new friends. Real friends, even if they remain forever virtual in our lives.

I started this blog back when because writers in the process of submitting should have blogs, according to conventional wisdom. I was lucky that I didn’t have to flounder long wondering what the focus of my blog should be. Queries and synopses and critiquing were things I felt comfortable with and I truly believed I could provide a forum where I could kickstart a critique and then the rest of you could jump in and finesse the crit and hopefully a few people would benefit and learn how to write a better query and/or start getting requests because of the work we did together.

I know I learned the art of query writing from seeing the critiques of others’ work. I can even remember the moment when I realized what a query letter really was. In my mind, it’s NOT a business letter; but when I was learning that was the general wisdom being touted. That definition kept me from clearly understanding the composition and mechanics of a query for a long, long time. I kept trying to make it all formal and geared toward the business proposition side of things.

When I finally understood it to be a SALES letter, that’s when things clicked. I worked in advertising and marketing, and a query letter – in my understanding – simply became an extension of that kind of writing. I always knew how to write that kind of letter; I just didn’t understand that was what a query letter was. Semantics. Seeing the critiques on Evil Editor’s site and in the Snarkives clued me in. And I felt the least I could do was to try to pay it forward.

Now, though, I’m not sure what this blog is about. I do know I’m trumpeting my own books too much here for anyone looking for any kind of quality content. I’m excited about them, but self-promotion isn’t why I visit other peoples’ blogs, so why should anyone keep coming to mine if that’s all I’m doing. And most of the writerly things I have to say are sparked by conversations elsewhere where you can find other opinions that are just as provocative as mine (though never as right as mine, of course) to consider.

So THIS blog will become a bit more static going forward. It’ll be mainly a broadcast area where I’ll continue to talk about my books, my promo efforts and my sales as I’ve been doing. I’ll post interviews and reviews that I’m excited about. Maybe even host the occasional interview or Q&A. But the nuts and bolts of writing and publishing and such are covered so much better elsewhere that I think you guys are better served time-wise to be reading others.

The author/editor me will be active on forums and in the comments of those bloggers.

The real me will be over at the Confessions of an Animal Junkie blog. You see, my real life is pretty boring. I’m interested in 4 things: reading, writing, animals and avoiding housework. That’s it. Really. I don’t review, so I don’t talk about reading. No one wants to hear my pathetic rants about housework. So that leaves animals and writing. Over on my other blog I get to talk about my beasties and the farm on Mondays, and other people’s beasties on Wednesdays. And on Fridays I don’t talk about writing, I show you what I’ve written. The Vet Tech Tales series is a book in the making. Or book-like thing. Memoir-esque?

I hope those of you interested only in the writing aspects stay subscribed to this blog. I know some of you like the end-of-the-month wrap on sales and promos. And I’ll be reporting on promo efforts and giving you the low-down as always on what works/doesn’t work in my test-marketing. So staying subscribed won’t be a complete energy waste and you’ll know upfront that any marketing posts you see you can safely ignore. Plus, once my current super-secret project launches in a few weeks, I’ll likely have some better observations on the state of publishing and promotional opportunities that I can share here too.

I invite the rest of you to join me over at the Animal Junkie blog, where I hope you’ll contribute articles and photos. Writing an essay about one of your BFFs (best furry friends) is a lot closer to real creative writing than most guest posts you’ll be asked to pen ;o). And you can stretch those creative muscles to create something poignant or funny, sad or horrifying.

Thanks for hanging with me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Copyediting And Amazon: Update

Update to my last post: Seems more and more folk are coming forward with similar emails from Amazon about grammar issues. Anecdotal comments from the authors as well as cited comments from Amazon that are surfacing imply that Amazon is:

  • Performing spot-check quality control
  • Responding to customer complaints and acting on them
  • Pulling books from sale if errors aren’t corrected
The onus is on the author/publisher to either correct and reupload the book or to write to Amazon, explain WHY the punctuation in question is being used or how the word is proper dialect in spoken dialog (using “ole” for example). In two cases at least, an email back to Amazon with explanation (such as the errors in question conforming with generally accepted style manuals) resulted in Amazon dropping the matter.

Some of the errors, of course, are founded: duplicate words, an extra indent, a misspelled homonym. Still, if what seems to be a litmus test of 3 errors found in a book means it must be pulled, corrected and republished, then Amazon QA personnel are going to be working overtime and traditional publishers will need to hire extra staff to deal with all the error-handling and reuploads.

A Google search indicates this has been going on for the past few months. It does, however, seem to be more prevalent now than before.

An unsubstantiated claim is making the rounds that Amazon has offered a bounty to readers who find and report errors. The bounty has been cited in various venues as $5, the purchase price of the book or, in some cases, both. I think we can agree that in a land of grammar gray and where the idea of editors following a little manual called The Chicago Manual of Style seems a surprise to the Amazon QA team, this could become a real issue. Ebooks are not so difficult to correct and reupload, though the time investment is annoying. But books where the print run could be in the thousands? This one’s going to be interesting.

Also, has anyone else noticed an increase in Google + invitations since Facebook launched its revamped News Feed yesterday? :o)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Everyone’s A Copyeditor

Grammar. You would think something so fundamental to our language would be easier to parse, to critique and to use correctly. Oops, should there be a comma after “critique?” Does that question mark go inside the quote or outside?

We can, of course, turn to our trusty style manuals when in doubt. Except my manual may not be the same one you consult, and they may not jive in their advisement.

Problems arise when people think they know grammar but instead know only one style guide or philosophy and assume all writing should follow suit. You run into these folk in critique groups: the grammar nazis who believe all writing should follow formal rules and be bound by the wisdom of Chicago or AP or Strunk & White.

In the wild, you run into folk sure they remember every last grammar drill from school, not realizing they are mis-remembering what was taught or accurately remembering the lesson but not its spirit. I used to get this type of para-grammarian frequently at work. I’d present them with a perfectly good sentence and they would change it around into a perfectly wrong one, somehow believing they’d “fixed” it. (Hmm, comma before and in that sentence or not?)

A few years ago, I submitted 25 mss pages to a contest being judged by published authors. The author who landed my mss went through the first 7 pages marking all the “errors” then wrote: I won't be pointing out any more errors. I suggest a book on basic grammar or a course at your local community college. Erm, I taught freshman college comp while I was in grad school and, at the time this happened, I had spent 20 years as an editor in the corporate world. The "errors" he'd pointed out were all stylistic choices. THIS from someone who purportedly knew enough to be pointing out errors.

Why do I bring this up now? Because yesterday I heard an author had been contacted by Amazon to clean up the grammatical errors in his ebook and republish it. Before you applaud, let's look at the request and the book it was requested of. The email the author received detailed just three errors. Two of the errors were comma-related and the third was a word choice.

To start with, three errors in a full-length novel may or may not pass your individual quality assurance test. (It passes mine.) But the “errors” Amazon was asking be corrected were 1) an unnecessary serial comma, 2) an unnecessary comma between unrelated adjectives and 3) slang in dialog.

The book, Hunter: A Thriller, is here. For the record, the author is a professional writer and professional editor, the book is selling well and it has a number of really great reviews (60+), none of which mentions any egregious issues with grammar and spelling. From the sample, serial commas appear to be used consistently throughout. The offending comma between adjectives occurs in this sentence: ... a high-velocity, 400-grain, solid-brass, boattail spitzer bullet. Did you catch the extra comma there? Thought not. And the slang was a character using the phrase “J school” to refer to “journalism school.” Amazon advised: an appropriate word could be used in the place the letter "J" [sic].

It’s not clear whether the directive from Amazon was inspired by a customer complaint or not, though the odds are that it must have been. Why Amazon would rely on one customer’s evaluation of the book to influence its actions is a mystery. And if Amazon acted on its own, then seriously, they need to find another editor to comb through the books.

I have glanced through the sample and I'll admit I would have made some different choices in comma placement here and there, but they all fall into the gray hole of comma use and not the black hole of comma splices and run-ons.

There are plenty – plenty – of books on the virtual shelves with shoddy formatting and shoddy proofreading. Targeting those books would be doing readers a customer service. Still, individual complaints about books need to be validated by professionals who understand the trade. There are too many people with agendas not in the best interest of the overall reading public leaving reviews and making complaints. And there are too many people out there with no agendas who, while earnest, are simply not credible copyeditors.

I’m currently reading Zoo City, a multi-award-winning book that was released this year in both print and ebook formats. It has some formatting issues and I’ve spotted a couple of typos – true errors such as misplaced apostrophes and quote marks in place of apostrophes. I expect to find a couple more errors before I’m through reading. That’s the nature of both the self-published beast and the traditionally published one. Do movie-goers demand scenes be reshot because of continuity issues or ask for their money back because a character is wearing a black tie in one frame of a scene and a dark blue one in the next frame?

I’m willing to ignore a handful or dozen of typos and even a comma splice or two in any novel – not that I’d be counting them up, but maybe one every 25 pages or so. And I certainly wouldn’t count editor’s choice stylings as errors.

How many formatting or copyediting (gee, is that one word or two?) errors do you let slide before you throw the book against the wall, mention them in your reviews or refuse to recommend a book to a friend?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Let's Celebrate YOU!

Sometimes it seems like a hard slog through an unforgiving universe, doesn't it?

What writing milestones have you achieved lately?
  • Have you finished a manuscript?
  • Submitted it?
  • Gotten requests?
  • Gotten an agent?
  • Been published?
  • Published something yourself?

We all deserve a little brag time. I'd love to hear what you have to brag about!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Welcome Red Tash “Trick or Treat” Contest Enterers

The porch light is ON and I’m home to help hand out treats!

EVERYONE can enter, although you do have to be a US/Canada resident to win the KINDLE and other prizes Red’s giving away to celebrate the launch of her new ebook, This Brilliant Darkness. I’m throwing in a free copy of SECTOR C over there, but I’ll hand out 3 additional digital copies here based on randomly drawn comments – and you don’t have to be local to win those. Could be other participating SF, Fantasy and Horror authors are handing out more free books too. Go check out the treats they have on offer!

Red’s contest rules are here, along with the list of participating authors. You have through Oct 16 to rack up points toward that lovely Kindle, free ebooks and the additional copies of SECTOR C.

Note that if you enter once a day, your entry needs to appear either in the comments of the post for that day or the day before. The point is not to keep coming back to this post to enter but to engage with the blog itself. Duh ;o).

Let’s be safe out there. Good luck!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

SECTOR C Vs. Contagion: Smackdown!

Remember all those compare-and-contrast essays you had to write for English class? Yeah, well this post won’t be so formal, I promise, but the premise is the same. For the simplified version, see the chart here.

Mild spoilers for both the book and the movie below.

OK, I know they are two different media, but some of the underlying themes and risks that Contagion, the new movie, takes are echoed in SECTOR C. It’s natural that I want to know how audiences respond to the movie.

For one, the movie circles around trying to find its main characters. There are a lot of little-more-than-cameo performances, which is why it can include the named cast it does. In that, it feels more like a documentary than a movie and produces a more distancing effect.

SECTOR C circles in the beginning too, though it does land on two main characters who are threaded through the first half of the story and spotlighted in the second half.

The mystery of what the disease is and how it began is at the center of both vehicles.

They both focus heavily on the scientific response.

They both discuss the role private enterprise might play.

They both gloss a bit over the full impact the disease has on the individual. There are scenes in both where death is shown up close, but because of the crisis mode, the scenes feel a little clinical, a little sterile. Again, a little distancing.

Contagion takes the greater risk, I think, in showing us the science in a movie. Are movie audiences ready to sit through a thriller that doesn’t really thrill in the classic sense? It offers a plausible glimpse into events that could be without a lot of sentiment or time bomb ticking at the individual level, saving that for society in general and giving us a more global feel for how the crisis plays out.

In contrast, SECTOR C displaces focus from the global onto a regional response. It takes that narrow response one step further by not dwelling on ordinary people deep in crisis but showing select reaction at the beginning of the crisis before much is known about it. Too, the focus is dispersed. The disease in SECTOR C is not limited to one or two species, and there is a deliberate attempt to concentrate on the animal-related response since the human-centric response is dealt with so well in so many other pandemic thrillers.

The science, in written form, goes down more easily, I think, and people who don’t really care about it or who don't understand it can skim it to get back to “the story,” something not so easily done in a movie theater.

The movie takes the greater risk, too, in presenting a realistic ending done within realistic timeframes. It’s only real bow to a Hollywood-type ending comes in the last few frames (think Carrie).

In truth, this ending is the thing I’m most watching response to and reading reviews for. It isn’t neat and tidy. Neither is SECTOR C’s. It’s a feel-good-for-now-for-specific-people type ending, but the book leaves off without offering a full resolution to the crisis. That’s left to the reader’s imagination and is hopefully part of what makes this, as one reader called it, an “intelligent thriller.”

That said, while Contagion gives us a completely plausible and unsettling story line, it doesn’t give us anything new to really think about. People were already using paper towels to open restroom doors and coughing into their sleeves before Contagion came out. The movie simply shows us graphically how contagious diseases spread and reminds us to be vigilant about the contact we have with others and with objects others come into contact with.

But beyond that? For me, there were so many more interesting ways this movie could have gone and many more questions it could have posed to leave the audience thinking about it long after they walked out of the theater.

Whether SECTOR C succeeds on that level or not, I’m not going to venture. Only its readers can tell us that. However, business ethics and animal rights are collateral themes explored. The disease isn't what the book is about in the same way the pandemic defines Contagion.

In fact, in two respects, SECTOR C is more “Hollywood” than Contagion:
  • Patient Zero is the stuff out of science fiction. And yet, science has a way of catching up to the fiction, doesn’t it? SECTOR C takes place a dozen years in the future. I think that’s just about right given where the science is at today.
  • The mystery of the disease is resolved in the first 2/3 of the book. The latter 1/3 is more thriller-esque, what with fires and an explosion and running and shooting and chomping.
If you’ve seen Contagion, how did you respond?

If you haven’t seen it, is there something about it (other than a fab cast) that makes you want to see it? Or not see it?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Weekend Reading

Dropping in on an off-day to mention that Wilkins MacQueen has some nice things to say about SECTOR C. She even posted an addendum (and no, I don't think it gives anything away to say the story doesn't have a vaccine-in-the-nick-of-time, Hollywood-type ending!).

She also has a recommendation for what sounds like a truly uplifting book about elephants: Elephant Dance by Tammie Matson. I'll certainly be reading that one soon!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Traveling the Blogosphere

How exciting to be three places at once again!

I'm going on about SECTOR C over at Chrystalla Thoma's blog today.

And Lexcade has a review of Spoil of War.

I'm feeling quite well-traveled this week!

Doing It On Demand

In my interview with Lexcade a couple of days ago, I professed to being a plotter rather than a pantster. And while that’s true for a lot of my writing, sometimes I do strip off my plotting gear and pull up my take-me-where-they-will pants.

Take blogging. I used to have a fairly structured blogging life. Monday through Friday was devoted to critiquing queries and synopses. I didn’t have to think about what topics I would post about except on the weekends. Even then it might be something about the writing biz one weekend and something about my beasties the next. Pretty easy for someone whose idea bank is, well, not really limited so much as slow. I’m usually late to the trending stuff and I hate to just repeat what everyone else has already said. What’s the point in that?

With the break from critting, I set a goal to come up with a writing/publishing topic on this blog three times a week along with a farm story and Vet Tech Tale each week for the Animal Junkie blog. Eek. Having the schedule and a deadline play right into my plotter frame of mind, but coming up with things to talk about? That’s where pantster me sometimes has to jump in.

I know YOU don’t care if I follow my schedule, but I care about meeting deadlines – even those I’ve imposed myself. And gosh-darn-it, I’ve agonized at times over what I would post about. For example, Tuesday night I went to bed mad at myself that I hadn’t scheduled anything to post overnight on the Animal Junkie blog. I hope to have the calendar full for guest posts every Wednesday once that blog matures, but for now the Wednesdays I don’t have guests are a bit free-form. I woke up settled that I would just make another plea for guest posts. How lame is that? Especially for, you know, a writer.

Then I sat down and pantster me took over and wrote a post that I had no idea I was going to do. It even had my farm-story voice with a totally in-brand beginning and end. How’d that happen? (And please happen again next time too!)

And then, of course, that little excursion brought me around to this post, which yesterday I would never have imagined. Serendipity -- or something else?

When it comes to producing on demand, do you surprise yourself sometimes too?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rex Rising - Chrystalla Thoma

Since others are kind enough to be hosting me today, I thought I'd return the gesture.

You'll find me spoiling SECTOR C over at Lexcade's place.

And Spoil of War is being featured at Indie eBooks.

Here, I've invited Chrystalla Thoma to talk about Rex Rising: Book One of Elei's Chronicles, her YA science fiction e-book that released on Sept. 1. I met Chrystalla when she submitted (and I accepted!) a most excellent story, "The Angel Genome," for the Extinct anthology and I've been a fan of hers since.

Who is Elei?

In a world where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life as an aircar driver — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side. Pursued for a secret he does not possess and with the fleet at his heels, he has but one thought: to stay alive. His pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, although that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he hardly knows in a mad race against time. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret – a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known – or die trying.

What compelled you to write Rex Rising?

Behind every book is another story – the story of the author and how she or he ended up creating a world, new characters and a twisted plot. It’s the book’s backstory, if you will, and it is inextricably linked to the author’s life at the moment of the writing but also to her or his past.

Having said all this, if I cast my mind back to the time I wrote the first draft of the story, in 2007, certain events and thoughts jump in my memory. I had moved to Costa Rica, following my Costa Rican husband, after a long stay in Germany. Although Costa Rica is a relatively rich Latin country, the house we lived in was next to a river on whose steep banks a slum was built out of tin and cardboard. I saw squalor and poverty like never before in my life (although Egypt came close). I wanted to create a sort of post-apocalyptic world where one human race oppresses the other, and I admit I drew inspiration from certain neighborhoods...

Another idea that was a lot on my mind at the time was the uncanny ability certain people have to assess a person instantly – with just a brief encounter to know whether this person is good, interesting, trustworthy etc. – an ability many people seem to lack. Rex Rising revolves a lot around Elei’s lack of trust in his own instincts, especially when events begin to become twisted and the truth to seem like a lie, until he learns to trust more in himself.

Finally, the parasites! I was fascinated with them ever since I read a book called Parasite Rex, which described all different sorts of parasites and all the amazing things they can do, altering their host’s abilities and behavior in order to propagate. I remember thinking that the scientific facts I had just read beat fantasy by a long shot! So I decided to give parasites a major role in the story.

What can you tell us about the science in Rex Rising?

If you wonder if it is a good idea to control one parasite by introducing another, I admit I don’t have an example – but consider this: in ecology, if a species is introduced in an environment where it has no enemies, it will take over the environment and destroy it. Efforts have been made to control such invasive species by introducing another species. For instance, on the Bat Islands of Costa Rica, rats were introduced by man and completely took over the ecosystem. So, cats were introduced to control them. Now they are reaching a balance. Therefore, I do think that it is a possibility. You can check on the internet about invasive species or assisted dispersion to read more about the topic.

Regarding parasites attracting each other or attracting their hosts, read for instance about the Toxoplasma gondii parasite we humans often get from cats. Studies have shown that when rats get infected with it, instead of avoiding cats and places cats frequent (marked by cat urine), they actively seek them out. In effect, they seek to be eaten, so that they can pass the parasite to the cats where it will continue its life cycle. Read Parasite Rex mentioned above for many examples of behavior-modifying parasites.

What do you hope readers will take away from Rex Rising?

Rex Rising is Elei’s journey. He struggles to discover the truth about his world and the people around him and to learn to trust in himself, his own strength and his instincts. I hope readers will identify with him, feel his pain, his fear, his confusion and his joy as the story unfolds, and that they may even see their own lives with different eyes.

Find Rex Rising at the following distributors:
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE

Read more about it – learn about the geography of the world and read a sample at:

Like Chrystalla's Facebook Fanpage

Follow Chrystalla on Twitter: @chrystallathoma

Saturday, September 3, 2011

August Sales Stats and an Elephant

Looking at other authors’ stats and hearing the grumbling in the various forums, it seems August was, for a lot of folk, not a very lucrative month.

Spoil of War’s sales could easily have lost the same ground that many of its siblings-in-arms' books lost if not for a certain review that broke early in the month.

The Elephant

I’m not one to avoid elephants in the room, and I won’t avoid acknowledging this one either. That doesn’t mean I have to talk to it, though. I’ve thought about any number of ways this post could go, but in the end I’ve settled for letting others do the talking for me. Because one thing is clear: Whatever I say will be questioned or refuted, which then begs further engagement. And if I don’t engage, that prompts people to assume I must agree with commenters. It’s a no-win game. One I refuse to play.

So to all the folk who quibble over seeming anachronisms of time and materials (because while it may be ridiculously easy to find pictures of Roman war saddles, it’s also ridiculously easy to discover that they were already losing favor by the third century CE), yet who not only forgive but demand anachronistic thinking from characters, I’ll point you to 3 links:
While there are other more favorable reviews I could point to, I won’t chance that those reviewers will be insulted and their integrity called into question the way other respectable, legitimate reviewers who have said good things about Spoil have been. Here then, a balanced review from a respected site where the reviewer reviewed Spoil precisely because of all the hubbub. (You can also look at the ratings bestowed there upon other [traditionally published] books for more insight into how Spoil compares:
A timely article by Alyssa Rosenberg, a correspondent for the and The Washington Monthly, takes to task Sady Doyle’s critique of George R.R. Martin’s popular and hugely successful Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. There is much in Rosenberg’s article – and in its 80+ comments – that resonates with the Dear Author review and its ensuing comments. I’ll leave it to you to sort out the similarities. 
     “It is now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern wars.”
          - Major General Patrick Cammaert, former Deputy Force Commander, MONUC.
This hearing underscores the number of women and children in the last couple of decades (~1 million) who have been raped as spoils. What is the acceptable modern response for these women behavior-wise? Or are these million women simply not heroine material?

Other than pointing to the above discussions, I will not engage further on this. Thank you for understanding.

Back To Sales Numbers

I can probably credit that DA review for sales of Spoil not slipping like sales for so many other authors did. What effect the backlash of 1-star reviews and the rash of people popping over to Amazon and Goodreads to vote the good reviews down and the bad ones up will have on future sales we’ll find out together. Still keeping a running total in the sidebar.

The most fun I had was watching the sales on August 31. Up to that point, the sales numbers for July (when I upped the price from 99c to $2.99) exactly matched those for April (its first month at 99c) at 68, and August sales were running neck-and-neck with May at 77. Late in the evening, August pushed to the front by a nose with 78 sales.

The UK showed Spoil a little extra love, but Amazon UK is an easy site to seduce. Only 8 sales there, yet Spoil hit #12 in historical fantasy (represented by 1448 titles) not once but twice. And it dipped into the Top 100 in historical fantasy in the US (with 1710 titles there) several times throughout the month.

The breakdown:

56 - Amazon US
08 - Amazon UK
12 - Barnes and Noble
02 - Smashwords

The grand totals:

How Does This Compare?

96 respondents on Kindleboards had posted their August sales when I captured them. Disclaimer: This is anecdotal and non-scientific. Keeping that in mind, for respondents who broke their sales out by title:

34 titles sold less than 100 copies = 45%
30 titles sold between 101 and 1000 copies = 40%
7 titles sold between 1001 and 2000 copies = 9%
4 titles sold over 2001 copies = 6%

More granularly:

1-20 = 20
21-50 = 9
51 - 100 = 5
101 – 200 = 10
201 – 300 = 2
301 – 600 = 5
601 – 800 = 6
801 – 1000 = 7
1001 – 1500 = 4
1501 – 2000 = 3
2001 – 3200 = 4

And for respondents who reported aggregated sales across multiple titles:

1 – 20 = 4 (across 2-6 titles)
21 – 100 = 3 (across 4-15 titles)
101 – 300 = 3 (across 5-6 titles)
301 – 1000 = 5 (across 2-16 titles)
1001 – 2000 = 3 (across 3-5 titles)
2001 – 5000 = 1 (across 31 titles)
5001 – 16,000 = 1 (across 4 titles)
20,000 = 1 publisher (across 5 authors)

Next month bookkeeping gets more complicated (I hope!) with the addition of sales for SECTOR C.

(PS: Comment moderation is on today.)

Friday, September 2, 2011


Well, that was underwhelming. The majority of the 141 folk who came by yesterday didn't play because you thought there'd be a huge run and how could you possibly win, right? Right?

Some of you bought the book instead of trying to win a copy. I love you forever.

Some of you have a copy and tweeted anyway. Again with the forever love.

So after the tally, those who didn't already have a copy or who didn't buy the book after coming here are all winners! Let me know what format you'd like -- Kindle, nook (epub) or PDF -- and I'll send your copy over post-haste.


And if a couple more of you would like the book and want to spread the love, keep tweeting. I'll add a couple more freebies to the prize stash.

As always, THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

SECTOR C Launch Day and Contest!

I hurried this book out so as to get the drop on that little film called Contagion releasing Sept. 9. I mean, really, what does that film have that my book, SECTOR C, doesn't?

Here's a chart to help you answer that (it wasn't a rhetorical question). *SPOILERS* in the chart!

So picture the following with cows instead of Gwyneth and tigers in place of Jude.

A no-brainer choice-wise, right?

Let's help convince others! I'll give away 5 copies of the book -- winners' choice of format -- from a random drawing of everyone who posts, messages and/or tweets the following before midnight Central Time (US), Sept 2:
Why wait till #Contagion hits the theaters on 9/9? Read the medical mystery/ecothriller #SECTOR C now!
I'll see your tweet via the hashtag. If you message or post elsewise, let me know in the comments.

I'll announce winners tomorrow, and on Saturday we'll look back at August and decide how good a month it was for moving books.