Less Than Random Thoughts From a Science Fiction Author and Generally Good Guy [ Fawkes ]

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Paperback Publishing Is Not Easy - Big Surprise, Eh?

So I finally finished formatting TPN for Lulu, to put out a paperback. Big relief, yes? Big relief, no! Going through this for the first time I'm a babe-in-the-woods, don't you know. I finally got to the 'pricing' section of the on-demand publisher Lulu. Turns out unless I price my 284 page 6 X 9 inch paperback in the $25 range, I don't make a dime, literally, off each unit sold. How is it possible for a new author, unknown to the public at large, to expect a stranger to spend $25 on the off chance the book will be worth it? Heck, I wouldn't pay that much for an unknown, and the pricing for known-authors is more like $10 at bookstores and on line. Moral of the story: new-age-on-demand-changed-paradigm publishing is the new face on the old vanity publishing houses. We, the little newbie, cannot catch a break! Big Publishing would take a chance on anything, so we're out-a-luck there. We can push our own stuff ahead if we pay pay pay some online hacks way too much. Or we can e-publish, Kindle, Nook, etc, but that still remains a very small portion of the market. So, if you wish to write and have fun and have a few people enjoy your work, welcome to the New Era in Publishing - everything has changed. If you wish, however, to access the wide-world of hard-copy readers and make a modest return on your efforts, don't call us, we'll call you, because it ain't gunna happen - nothing has changed.
Does it bother me? Why, yes, and thanks for asking. Does it surprise me (cynical, wold-weary me)? I have to admit, a little, which is sad, because I should have seen it coming. What's truly unbelievable is that Lulu and Create Space (CS, see next paragraph) are cheap compared to the crooks who are out there. An unwary author can easily spend thousands of dollars using online vanity companies. There are a lot of bad people out there anxious to take a huge chunk of your hard-earned dollar.
So I re-formatted for CS. The site is much harder to use, but I got through it, I think. When I get to the 'pricing', I don't get violated as badly, as flagrantly, but only by this much. If I price at around $14, and purchase for $39 their 'pro' plan, I can earn almost $2 on a sale on Amazon.com. Wow, two bucks. I can sell though my website and get a reasonable half, but if I want the access Amazon brings, I must basically give it to the Corporate giant or price myself out of contention. Great to know Amazon is willing to give me a chance if I only give them a lot of profit for zero effort on their part. If your curious, here's a link to a PDF listing various on-demand companies and their services/prices: http://www.booksandtales.com/pod/ and http://dehanna.com/database.htm And so it goes.
Oh well, I am having fun doing all this, the writing and figuring out of things. I can maybe be like Scott Sigler and try and lasso my readers to my site and make a decent return-on-investment in the long run.
So, happy Halloween to each and every one of you, my friends, and please eat WAY too much candy. Afterwards, don't even brush your teeth - be a big-old kid again and love every moment......

Saturday, October 30, 2010

You Know You're Getting Old When...

The answer to the title is "When a buddy of yours gets a place dedicated to him." A great guy I worked with for 20 years retired 3-4 years ago, and passed away last year. He was kind, intelligent, caring, witty, and a neurosurgeon. Yeah, wow, the last one almost doesn't fit. right? His name was Rod Smith, MD; in his case I affix the MD because it meant the world to him and he brought honor to the calling. So my hospital made a plaque for him, had local artist create a couple wonderful paintings, and they dedicated one wing of the ICU, where he spent many an hour toiling, to him. Way to go Rod! He would be touched and he certainly deserved a shout-out in perpetuity. So the problem is, I am now old enough to have a buddy of mine honored thus. Dude! I cannot be that senior!! Please agree with me and quickly!!!
Dedications are funny things if you knew the individual. A sad and tortured soul I knew years ago finally ended her pain. Her devoted husband placed a dedication stone in our parish courtyard. It was something simple, "Lydia, we love you," something like that. We don't go to the church often anymore (now there's a long story), but when we do, and I see the stone, I know I know her, I remember her - very poignant. Now Rod. Every time I pass the ICU entrance, I'll think of that dapper prince and smile. Every time someone who didn't know him passes, they will think, if they think anything of it, "Oh, another plaque to a dead-guy." They might equally remark, "Oh, a rock named Lydia." To those strangers, to those generations of strangers, who won't even know anyone who knew them, 'Rod' and 'Lydia' will be cold impersonal names in the night, not even foot notes, just plaques. And I knew them. They were real living, loving, failing, caring, and participating persons whom I shall miss, and whom the world is lesser without, and Heaven is a better place for having.
Yeah, plaques. Weird, eh?

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Okay, my wife and I are at our twice-annual dog show, with our two salukis. Lots of fun, great comradery with old friends, and lots of wonderful dogs. Eating too much and laughing all day, wow, it make tomorrow - Monday - seem all the more bitter. I think I finally finished to text edit/formatting for the LuLu-paperback edition, so onward and upward! Its supposed to rain like the dickens in No. Cal today, the last day of the show, so it will build character, something I sorely need, most my friends will tell you. Have a great end to your weekend.....craig

Thursday, October 21, 2010

and you know, darn it all, I'm worth it.

So I decided to charge for my first two books on Smashwords.com. I had listed them for free, and have had a lot of hits, but, darn it all, I think I'll ask a token fee. I am allowing 50% sampling, so really only those who wish to see how the books end need pay. I think a lot of us newbies undervalue our efforts. I want to be heard, so I do it for free, but I really do put a lot of time (a LOT of time) and soul into this, so a token fee, for now, is okay. Thanks for listening to my apologia, I needed to vent (ie., confess) ; )

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shoulder to the grind-stone, nose to the wheel......

I continue to edit. I finished the paperback format/edit, but am now placing those corrections in the older ebooks. In doing so, I find errors I now need to place in the paperback edit. This may actually go on for-ever! But, it is satisfying, and, hey, whose worried; no deadline, right? So, hope life's treating you well, after all, it should. Talk soon......craig

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Okay, it's better, but those days of the week are still not off the hook - they had better behave! We will see if life wins, or corporate America. Grrrrr.
Formating of TPN to print paperback done, so I'll have this done soon. So way cool...........

Friday, October 15, 2010

Good, or otherwise, Night

When I tell you this Friday has outlived it's utility, I really mean it. Bad Friday!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Prisoner of NaNoWriMo is an Ebook!

Okay my friends, after months of waiting and labor pains galore, it's a novel! My third book is now available in ebook formats on Smashwords.com: http://bit.ly/ccakwo . The books been out as a serialized audiobook on Podiobooks.com for 2 months, and is doing well there. Over 1500 people have started the book there, and I have a handful of very nice reviews. This is lots of work, but it's very rewarding too. Next giant task: a paperback edition for online retailers. Oh my.....
Thanks to all those who have been helpful and supportive, especially Brian Duggan, Renee Chambliss, and Laura Givens. Oh yeah, and my sweet wife for listening to my wandering thoughts on this project for the last year.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Oh What a Relief It Is!

Okay, okay, I finished the ebook version of TPN! I have a message in to my cover artist Laura Givens to size-out the cover, and then I can put that whiny baby to bed ; )
I can then s-l-o-w-l-y start about the LuLu publishing. Mostly though, I'm done. Hopefully I'll get a little buzz from the start of this year's NaNoWriMo to boot. Then I can finish up Time Diving which will take months, but the end product will be the best I've done. Then, drum-roll please, then on to my 'real' project, the one I will make a series, my main professional push. What is it, you ask excitedly? I have no idea, but it will be fun finding out! So, off to day job and my worried-well patients.......craig

Friday, October 1, 2010

First Reviews In

Now that TPN is fully released, it got its first two stranger-reviews (no, not "strange reviews" - you, you - no, reviews from people I don't know!). The one on PB.com is lukewarm, but the one on iTunes is really wonderful. As you can imagine, us authors are praise-sluts, so a great review from someone who clearly thought about the book and their response is heart-warming.
Hopefully I'll finish the edit for at least the Smashword ebook this next week, so it will be readable before this year's NaNoWriMo.

Otherwise, life is as complicated as I can really stand it, but I'm getting by. I begin to ask why it has to be such a struggle sometimes. I believe the answer is because we learn from the bad times and the trial tests our resolve, but that doesn't make it more palatable. Oh well. So, I pray you have a wild and wonderful weekend.........craig