KDP Select

The A.I. Chronicles are here!

Yet another entry in The Future Chronicles series is available for preorder now and will be delivered on March 13th. I have a brand new short story in this one… A Piece of Cake. Sort of a satirical look at a future.

I have read several other stories in this anthology and so far each one is fantastic. Order The A.I. Chronicles now!

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The (Twenty)Five-Year Self-Publishing Phenomenal Success Plan

PMF 9 14 13 RezEasy!  Here’s how you find overnight success as a self-publisher…

1.  Write the first three chapters of your brand new soon-to-be-bestselling legal thriller and send a query letter via FedEx to John Grisham’s agent.  Get a phone call back the next day.  Have a new agent in the office ask you to send along the entire manuscript.  Tell her you’ve only got three chapters.

2.  Tell a friend in Manhattan who tells a friend who’s a book agent who tells a friend who buys books for TV.  Have that person want your manuscript for a TV movie, meet with you in NYC, tell you as soon as you finish and get a publisher she’ll make the deal.  Have her mention a six-figure payday.

3.  Start thinking about your fabulous new life and what you’ll do with all that money.

4.  Go back and take a year to write the book, sending Grisham agent chapters along the way that she files and doesn’t look at.

5.  Finally send her entire book and start staring at the phone.

6.  Be on a cruise when a letter arrives from her.  Call and have your Dad (staying with the kids) read it.  Have it be crushingly dismissive.

7.  Be discouraged for a couple of years.  Have life intervene.

8.  Write a political thriller that you plot out with savvy writing group pals.  Finish in six months.  Send out query letters to agents.

9.  Have some ask for chapters, some ask for entire manuscript.  Have one call you and say she stayed up late reading it and loves it.

10. Be amazed and wait for a fantastic offer.

11. Have her call the next day and say her fellow agent asked her not to take it on because the bad guy is African-American.

12. Write a sample for another book for her.

13. Have her send that out to publishers, who either don’t get it or think it’s a joke.

14. Be discouraged for a couple of years.

15. Rework political thriller over and over.  Learn to write better.  Change the bad guy’s complexion.  Make the other candidate female.  Send it out sporadically.  Become really excellent at query letter writing.

16. Write a young people’s fantasy and lots of short stories.  Contemplate other plots.  Do freelance writing for magazines and eventually online.

17. When people ask you when your book will be published, shrug and smile.  When they suggest self-publishing, tell them it’s death to a “real” writer.  Stay discouraged.

18. Read about Amanda Hocking.  Read Joe Konrath.  Read David Gaughran.

19. Do one last pass through political thriller.  Get a professional to do the cover.  Pay someone to edit.  Hold your breath and…

20. Spend the long Fourth of July weekend in 2011 learning to format and upload the book, with the help of your mostly patient IT-wise husband who has a PC.  Argue about italics.  Stress out.  Get it up with KDP, finally.  Stay married.  Become an indie on Independence Day!

21. Sell a few books.  Tell friends.  Be thrilled at reviews from strangers.  Be happy to sell 35 books the first month, then 20, then 10, then…

22. Jump into KDP Select free days when that’s brand new, at the end of 2011.  Be amazed as the counter on the “sales” page clicks every few minutes.  Give away 8,500 on the first day.  Catapult to something like #120 on the paid bestseller list the next day, because giveaways count as sales, and be too green to look and get a screenshot.  Get on Movers and Shakers list twice, and miss it because you don’t know what that means.

23. Make $6,000 the last week of December, 2011, and prepare to be rich.

24. Watch as sales drop slowly from that date until the summer of 2012.  Goose book with occasional free days, with less and less effect.

25. Publish thriller in print in summer of 2012.  Sell few, but enjoy the beauty of holding the book in your hand.

26. Read a short story called WOOL around the same time.  Read the Omnibus.  Read First Shift when it comes out.  Notice that someone else is writing Silo stories for money in the spring of 2013.

27. Become fascinated with following a loose thread in the WOOL saga yourself.  Contemplate writing “fan fiction,” never having read or written fan fiction.  Email author Hugh Howey and tell him about your Silo story.

28. Have WOOLmeister Hugh Howey tell you he LOVES your story, and go ahead and publish the first segment of the Karma series.  Note that even 99¢ ebooks make money when you sell two thousand in your first month.

29. Write and publish the second, the third, and the fourth books in the series.  Make a reliable four figures a month.  Get nervous and balk at writing the fifth.  Worry that the ending won’t live up to your fans’ expectations.  Write it anyway.

30. Come up with more Silo stories than you have time to write.  Decide not to spend your whole life writing ebooks set in the WOOLiverse, tempting as it might be.  Start plotting a new sci-fi dystopian series of your own.

31. Concoct your recipe for keeping on keeping on, and plan to find that amazing writing-for-a-living success in… about four more years, after doing a lot more of this:

Write for joy.

Write for yourself.

Write for fun.

Write quickly.

Write a lot.

Write short.

Write and publish and forget about it.

Write as though you are already the successful author you will be.

Remember that success is not about the money. 

It’s about the amazement of taking what’s in your wild and unpredictable imagination and sharing it with others.  

It’s about living in a time when we can get our words out to the entire world for virtually nothing. 

It’s about the joy of creating something that never existed before.

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Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

Hugh Howey talks about DUST, WOOL, and Spectacular Self-Publishing Success

Hugh-Howey1I asked Hugh Howey, self-publishing pioneer and author of the bestselling dystopian trilogy that starts with WOOL, to join me for an interview.  The final book in his Silo Saga, DUST, was released just two weeks ago…completing the adventure for fans of this instant classic.  He spoke to me just before that release.

Patrice:  So you’ve gotten a million questions around the topic “how does it feel to be a big name author?”  But, practically speaking, how has it changed you as a writer… or has it… to know that your next book, DUST, has been preordered in the thousands–I’m guessing–and is being highly anticipated by fans?  Does that spur you on or keep you up at night?  And do you get better tables at restaurants?  Recognized on the street?  Hounded by book groupies?  Tell the truth!

Hugh:  Ha! Recognized on the street! I’m not one of those authors like Harlan Coben whose face takes up the entire back jacket of his hardbacks. Which is a good thing. For all of us.

I don’t think about the pressure of a vast audience. I write the stories I care about. If I was going to succumb to pressure, I would have written WOOL 6 and 7 and 8. Instead, I left my bestselling novel on an island and wrote something way off in left field. And then I did very little to promote this new work. I don’t put links at the end of my books to urge people to purchase the next one. I just convince myself that I’m still writing for an audience of none, enjoy what I’m doing, and publish as quietly as possible.

Patrice:  You’re a little bit controversial for your outspoken views about self-publishing.  Clearly, 99.9% of writers of any stripe will not reach the level of success you’ve had with WOOL.  Yet, you maintain that there is little downside to jumping in and publishing one’s own book.  Do you believe that everyone is better off doing that first?

Hugh:  Yes, and I’ve been very careful to distance my anecdotal and outlying success with the reasons I give for self-publishing. I made a conscious decision to self-publish my second novel, despite having a contract and offer from a small press. Before WOOL took off, I was posting on writing forums that we are better off owning our material for all of time, that these works will never go out of print, and that going directly to the reader is better than applying to editors and their slush pile shovelers. I was mocked for this philosophy. When I suggested that agents would one day approach self-published authors, I was told I was crazy. Maybe this is why I look up to Joe so much. He shows us every day that logic trumps experience. The people who tell you that they have twenty years of experience in this industry? Back away from them slowly. This business is changing too fast for any of us to pretend to be experts.

As for the 99.9% who won’t see my level of success, I would point out that 99.9% of those who submit material to the traditional machine will never see a similar level of success. It isn’t like our option is to self-publish OR see how well our novel does fronted out on an endcap in a bookstore. Our options are to self-publish OR spend a few years landing an agent, another year selling the book to a publisher, a year waiting for that book to come out, and then three months spine-out on dwindling bookshelves before you are out of print and nobody cares about you anymore. If you’re lucky. Most likely, you’ll never even get an agent. Because you aren’t Snooki.

Patrice:  You have a traditional print publishing deal with Simon & Schuster in the U.S. and Random House in the U.K., as well as publishing arrangements in twenty-something other countries for translated versions.  Yet you still publish your own ebooks and sell print copies to fans out of your house, at least for the U.S. editions.  Did that take some fancy contract drafting?  Or did you just say, “I want to keep doing what I’m already doing successfully” and they rolled over and said, “Okay, Hugh Howey, but only for you…” ?   

Hugh:  It takes a whole lot of not caring to get away with what I do. It takes that, and it takes an incredible and tolerant agent like Kristin Nelson. We’ve been in contract negotiations, and someone will put forward a clause that runs counter to my publishing philosophy, and we’ll both just say that it’s a deal-breaker. We’ve walked away from multiple seven-figure deals without breaking a sweat. It helps when you’re totally fine doing things your own way. I still self-publish everything I write from the get-go. If anyone wants to make an offer afterward, I’m always open. I love having those discussions. But as soon as the deal doesn’t make sense for the reader (like higher e-book prices, windowing, limiting the number of works I can publish), the deal is off. My attitude is that publishers need writers far more than writers need publishers. If we can work together, awesome. But the days of dictating unfair deals to us are dwindling, and fast.

My success has largely come from putting the reader first, and that’s what I demand from any publisher I work with. Simon & Schuster and Random House UK have both demonstrated to me over and over again that they care about the reader. S&S agreed to a simultaneous paperback and hardback release. Who does that? Random House UK did a paper-on-board hardback for under ten pounds. They’ve done some incredible giveaways, and they allowed readers in on the process with some awesome contests, all the sorts of things I think publishers should do more of. It’s why I love working with both of these houses. And I love that they tolerate me doing the things I enjoy doing.

Patrice:  You’ve taken the unusual step of allowing others to write and charge for books set in your world, otherwise known as the “WOOLiverse.”  [Full disclosure:  I’m one of them.  I’ve published the four books in the Karma series, including The Sky Used to be Blue, Cleaning Up, Deep Justice, and Rising Up, as well as my newest Kindle Worlds short story, SILO SECRETS:  Daniel.]  Why are you doing this?  Aren’t there risks?   

Hugh:  It doesn’t occur to me not to allow this. Someone asked if they could write in my world. Who would I be to tell them no? I value freedom above all else. I value creativity, art, and artists. I can’t imagine telling someone that they aren’t allowed to write about my characters. All I feel is flattered and honored by the suggestion. And I can’t imagine asking someone to give away their hard work. I believe artists should get paid if at all possible. As foreign as my stance is to others, any other stance would be foreign to me.

Are there risks? I don’t see any. I have one more work coming out in this universe, and then I leave it to others. The greatest thing that has happened to me in the past few years has been the opportunity to connect directly with so many readers. The second-greatest thing has been seeing talented writers such as yourself connect with those same readers! Contrary to what many writers seem to think, we aren’t in competition with one another. We need each other. If someone can write in my world and entice readers away to their own works, I’ll cheer them on until I’m hoarse.

Patrice:  Amazon’s newly-launched Kindle Worlds programs makes formal the arrangement you’ve already had with some other writers to allow them to jump into the WOOLiverse and write “Silo stories.”  How do you see this as different from what is already happening, and what new opportunities do you think this program will bring to writers and fans?  

Hugh:  My hope is that Kindle Worlds will give these stories greater exposure. There is so much room for exploration in the Silo Saga. I can’t possibly cover it all. And fans have shown an incredible thirst for more adventures.

The most exciting prospect is that dabbling in a beloved world will turn readers into writers. There’s a misconception out there that fan fiction is lazy. The truth is that the world building is the easiest aspect of writing. The challenging bit is the plot, the dialog, the believable characters, the twists and turns and satisfying conclusion. If coming up with the world was the difficult part, it would be easy for anyone to write a story in the world we live in and know, or a story set in historical times. Fan fiction provides an opportunity for aspiring writers to discover their own talents and hopefully graduate to their own works. And the more people we have writing, the larger the pool of talent, the better this industry is for everyone.

Patrice:  Okay… advice to writers time.  What would you tell someone reading this who has an idea, or a book, and wants to get eyeballs on his or her words as quickly as possible.

Start with the first sentence. Make it so incredibly compelling that readers have to read the next sentence to see what happens next. Repeat until you reach the end of the story.

Possible first sentences:

Losing my virginity to a ninja was not what I had in mind on my eighteenth birthday.

I’ve always wanted to know what it felt like to kill a man, and now I know.

If you are reading this, you have exactly three days left to live, and I am already dead.

Maybe those aren’t the best examples, but I put all of two minutes into coming up with them. I’m already thinking of the books I would write to go along with these openings. I think I could entice readers to stick with me for a page or two. If I can do that, I can give these lines away in a Tweet or a Facebook status and gain a reader. I could give the first pages or even an entire book away and trust that they’ll tell others or come back for more.

The misconception out there is that writing requires a mastery of language, but nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t need perfect prose to launch a writing career; we need entertaining storytelling. Story is king and prose is pawn. Knock readers’ socks off. Shock them. Wow them. Give away your work and wow them some more. Basically: Ninjas + Sex, and you can’t go wrong.

Patrice:  And what about that movie deal… are you and Ridley Scott buds now?  

Hugh:  I wish! Ridley enjoyed my work and is pretty sure that he can make a mediocre book into an amazing film. And I hope he’s right. I get asked all the time how much involvement I would have in the film, and the answer is that I don’t want any part of the project. I would just hamper the development. The producers were kind enough to fly me out to Hollywood to meet the screenwriter and go over some ideas, and that was more than I asked for. Nothing will change the book I wrote. That’s the part I can control. I’d rather stay out of the way and be surprised by what they come up with.

Patrice:  Now that all your wildest writing dreams have come true, what do you still wish for, Hugh?  

Hugh:  For Ridley Scott to be my bud, obviously. 

Also, to be able to come up with something to write tomorrow. And the next day. Because it still feels like magic and something I’m not capable of. I feel like I’m bumbling along and faking it most of the time. I hope I can keep faking it. Because it’s fun to look back at the things I write that feel a whole lot smarter than I know myself to be.

Patrice:  Many thanks to Hugh for answering my questions, and to Joe Konrath, whose invitation to guest bloggers inspired this post, which originally appeared on his website.  I’m watching the phenomenon that is WOOL continue to spread around the world, and I’m thrilled that I was invited to play in Hugh Howey’s universe. 

If you haven’t read them, grab WOOL and SHIFT and DUST and enjoy! And then if you crave more, check out my Karma series, set in the same entertainingly chilling future.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

 

Meet the WOOLwrights

Jason Gurley, author of Greatfall, has put together an interesting article on Medium.com about all the folks who write stories set in or around the WOOLiverse.  The piece includes commentary by Hugh Howey and a number of other writers, including me, about “fan fiction,” the future of this growing franchise and the new program by Amazon known as Kindle Worlds, which is expected to launch within a few weeks.  WOOL has been added as one of the properties in which others will officially be allowed to write and sell books, and those of us who have already been writing Silo stories — which have sold an incredible 30,000 copies combined as of last week — are watching this development with great anticipation.

I urge you to check the article out and let me know what you think about fan fiction as well as Amazon’s plans.

In the meantime… look for Karma #4, Rising Up, by this weekend.  w00t!  Or as we like to say, w00L!  If you haven’t read the first three in the series, here they are, in order:

Karma #1, The Sky Used to be Blue

Karma #2, Cleaning Up

Karma #3, Deep Justice

I’m out of the country for a good bit of July, so the fifth and final book in the Karma series, Last Walk, may not be released until later in the summer.  I’ll be watching to see how the Kindle Worlds announcement impacts the possibilities for that book and for the compilation of all the Karma stories into one big novel… whose title I keep messing with, but which I’m currently calling Karma, Complete.

Thanks, as usual, for reading, and if you want to hear FIRST about news on my books, please sign up to be notified here.  No spamming and no selling of your email!  And of course you can unsubscribe from the list at any time.

 

Sneak Preview Karma #4 – Rising Up

Rising Up - EBook Cover Art

“There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them but will rather enjoy it.”
Aldous Huxley

            1

I stand looking at the gore on my hands, the endless blood sliding out from the man that was Jeff pooling under my feet, dank, metallic, slippery. 

What have I done?

 “Karma.”  I hear my name called as if from another country. 

 “Karma.”  It comes again, faint but louder.  Rick is sitting up on the cot, his pillow on the floor, his body sucking in great draughts of breath while the tendons in his neck stand out.  He is trembling.

Mars races into our sleeping area from the server room.  He flips a switch and throws blinding whiteness across the body, the grue, the killer standing there with her arms covered with blood.

That would be me.

I am the killer. 

2

Mars wants to get out of here right away.  He is pacing the floor, eager to leave this thirty-fifth level hell immediately.

 Rick and I say we need to talk while we have privacy.  We need to come up with a plan, agree on a story, and figure out what to say when we emerge.

 So we’re talking.  But we’re talking fast.

“I’ll turn myself in,” I say.  “To Sheriff Aponte.”

“No,” Rick says.  “They’ll put you out to Clean.” 

He reaches across the small table in the sleeping area we carved out for ourselves.  His arm touches mine.  I am still getting used to his new way of caring.

 I look at him, in part because I am amazed at his kindness and concern.  But in part because I don’t want to look at the large sheet-covered mass on the floor.  The sheet is stained with blood and already stinks of death. 

 Mars stops his pacing.  “Dad.  We have to get the body—Jeff—taken care of.  At least put him in a bag.  It will take both of us.”

 Rick nods and stands up.  He is stronger now, but his arm is still weak. 

 “I’ll help,” I say.

“We can handle it,” Mars says, heading off to the storage room where I assume there are extra body bags. 

“I killed the man.  I’ll help take care of his body.”  I look at the sheet.  The lump that used to be Jeff.

 

Rising Up will be available through KDP Select by July 1.  Please sign up here if you want to be the first to know about new titles! 

RISING UP coming right up!

I’m excited to announce that Karma #4, RISING UP, is going to be available for purchase by July 1 (and maybe even earlier).  I just wrote “The End” on the draft, and now I do some rewriting and then send it out for formatting.  Watch this space next week for a sneak preview!

And here is the cover… ta da!

Rising Up - EBook Cover Art

Third Part of Karma Series – DEEP JUSTICE – out now!

Deep Justice - EBook Cover Art

I’m thrilled to announce that Deep Justice, #3 in the Karma series, is available as of last night.  And it’s flying up the charts already, joining my first Silo story The Sky Used to be Blue, and my second, Cleaning Up.  Be prepared… this one has a lot of action.  We see a side of Karma never encountered before.

It is an amazing time to be a writer!  If anyone reading this is thinking about writing, DO IT.  It’s never been easier and more accessible to the average (poor) person.  I’ll be adding another blog post about self-publishing soon.  Watch this space.

And as to the Karma series… there are two more parts to come!  If you’d like to be notified the minute they are released (or even before) please give me your email address here, and I’ll let you know.  No worries that I will abuse your trust.

Thanks to all who are following this series.  I continue to be humbled by the enthusiastic response to my stories, and always grateful to Hugh Howey and his WOOL books.

2,000 Ebooks Sold in the First Month!

Here’s a thank you to all of you who read “The Sky Used to be Blue”! I made a video for you, kazoo and all.  And if you wonder what I’m talking about when I mention that the picture behind me is backward (and it’s not), that’s because a friend flipped the vid for me!  So now the cover makes sense, but I don’t.  Oh well!

However, it was a very good hair day, so…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXkrtRPpujw

Thanks for buying, thanks for reading, thanks for telling your friends, and thanks for reviewing!

 

 

Self-Publishing? Step on the GAASS!

If you want to write, you should write the stories that are in your heart. Follow your bliss, tell your truths… yadda yadda. But if you want to make a living at writing, there are some techniques that will increase your chances of making an early profit, thus putting you in a position to follow your bliss and write the stories that are in your heart.

Herewith, Patrice’s advice on how to make money–as of the indie ebook world in the spring of 2013:

The writer, getting ready to step on the GAASS.

The writer, getting ready to step on the GAASS.

Write GENRE
Write AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Write AS FAST AS POSSIBLE
Write SHORT
Write SERIES

Personally, I have many different interests, and I’m currently concocting ebooks in lots of different genres, including science fiction/fantasy, political thrillers, chick lit, cozy mysteries, and funky short stories. So I don’t mind concentrating on what works best, i.e., gets me more readers, first.

GENRE – Romance, chick lit, sci-fi, fantasy, mysteries, thrillers, are the easiest sells. I think that’s the current order of popularity. Not that you can’t write the great American literary novel. But perhaps try something hotter first.

AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE – This means that if you have a book out that hits big, and you have nothing to sell other than that, you waste a golden opportunity to convert readers to fans. They read the one, think it’s great, and have nothing else to buy… and nothing else to hook them in to you as an author. When you get the next book out a year later, they have moved on to other authors, and have bought their entire oeuvres. That could have been you! (Trad publishers, take note–one book every year or two is not making it any more for readers.) Of course you have to start with your first book. Just keep writing. Don’t wait to see if self-publishing is for you. It won’t be for you if you only write one book. I made that mistake. I had a phenomenal selling streak with my political thriller RUNNING in the hot days around Christmas of 2011 (eons ago in self-pub time). For about a minute I made $6,000 a week. Which slowly simmered down into the summer of 2012, when I made FAR less. I still don’t have a book to follow that one up in the political thriller genre. Which brings me to my next point:

AS FAST AS POSSIBLE – You have a busy life, I know. A day job, a spouse, a house, kids, the dog, friends, TV shows (you’re still watching TV?? You’re a writer. Writing is the new TV. Get away from the screen… unless you’re typing on it.) But write anyway. You may have heard of Hugh Howey, of WOOL fame. He wrote during his lunch breaks while working as a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. He scribbled in longhand part of one of his books while sitting in the audience at a book awards presentation… while they were up there congratulating last year’s bestsellers, he was at a table writing the next one. P.S. He made more than a million dollars last year on self-published ebooks alone. And then sold print rights for mid-six figures, and sold the book in 24 countries, and sold film rights and comic book rights and… yeah, don’t get jealous, just write your own book. Books!

SHORT – I have my newest short story out now, 8,500 words, and it’s selling for 99¢. That one short story is going to make me $700 this month. That’s at the 35% royalty rate. Multiply that by several shorts, and you get… more money. Short is fast, short is easy, and readers LOVE short. They can read it on their lunch hour. It’s ideal for iPhones and iPads. Now that the price point for indie ebooks is rising to $2.99 or $4.99, not as many full-length novels are selling for 99¢. Plus, even full-length is dropping in length from 80,000- 100,000 being typical for a print novel (and longer for fantasy and sci-fi titles) to 50,000 – 80,000 being considered a reasonable length. Joe Konrath calls anything over 30,000 a novel now, and anything over 15,000 a short novel. Barry Eisler sells 35,000 words as a novel…. You can now write THREE books with the words that it used to take to make ONE. Faster, shorter, more money for you. They still have to have a satisfying story arc, a beginning, middle and end. Just make the bits move faster.

SERIES – This is pretty obvious from all the millions of Book 1, Book 2, Book 37 titles you see out there. One set of co-writers is publishing “Around the World in 80 Men,” and they’re up to Books 21-25 (Puerto Rico, Nevada, Tahiti, Spain, Holland, FYI). They sell each ebook for 99¢ and collections of of five for $3.99. They’re going for, obviously, 80 of these. This sweet young waitress becomes a high-priced international hooker. (I suspect there is sex involved.) They’ve simplified the process for themselves–no not the sex process!–of preparing the books by using the same cover in different colors. I think these writers are going to make a mint. You don’t need that many fans if they all buy 80 of your books, or 16 compilations of 5 books each. And these writers are putting them out there FAST! I just read the first chapter of the first one, which is currently free, which is another wise move when you have a lot of books out… we could add FREE to the GAASS acronym, but then it would be GAASSF, and what does that mean? The first chapter showed this to be a fun, light read. About a sweet young thing who decides to travel the world and have sex for money. How much you want to bet she pulls a Pretty Woman and falls in love with Mr. #80?

So there you have it. The latest best advice on how to maximize your earning potential as an indie ebook writer. All so that you can make a few bucks and then write that esoteric masterpiece on ancient phlebotomy techniques among the Incans. Which, who knows, could turn out to be your biggest seller!

Because I believe in giving back, I am going to start critiquing (for free) your work. I’m a good writer–I’ve been writing novels for 20 years. I have an English degree (and a law degree and a grad degree in vocal performance, but I’m not sure they will help you much) and I’ve worked as a freelance writer as well as an editor. I’m the CEO of my own publishing company, and my ebooks are on the charts.

After each post I’ll pick one commenter and critique up to 10 pages or 2,500 words.

I don’t have many commenters yet, so your odds are excellent! A comment gets you one chance, a tweet of this post another. Linking to it on your site or FB page gets you another. Subscribing, friending me on FB or following me on Twitter gets you another. Increase your odds by doing as much as you can. And if you become a regular around here I’ll probably just pick you eventually anyway. If I read your pages I plan to be honest, so be ready for that.

So let me know in the comments what you are doing to promote this worthy, pithy, and free advice for fellow authors, and I will put your name in the hat for a personal critique by ME.

Thanks for reading!

Now go out there, fellow writer, and step on the GAASS. Or, GAASSF. Or maybe GAFASS… which sounds really bad.

Who says ebooks are just for porn?!

British author and winner of the prestigious Whitbread Prize for Literature, Joan Brady, made these provocative statements in an article in the UK’s online version of The Daily Telegraph:

“…lowbrow ‘pulp’ such as ‘celebrity biographies… and porn’ will ‘disappear into e-books.’

“Your Rolex watch? It’s a statement. A four-wheel drive? A statement. That’s what the books in your house are too.”

Odd! I thought books were for reading, not for placing on a shelf to prove your erudition. [Erudition: extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books: profound, recondite, or bookish learning. And though I love the heft of a great big print dictionary, I got that definition online instantly.]

I had my first-generation Kindle ereader for about a year before I used it much… I really wanted that Kindle, and as soon as I heard that such a device was coming out, I asked my then-fiance and kids to buy me one for Christmas. They did, and though the Kindles sold out fast that year, mine was pre-ordered and I got one of the very first ones. Then it sat around for about a year while I continued to buy and read old-fashioned paper books.

But eventually I picked up that original Kindle… which is now rather like a Model T of ereaders. Sometime later I began publishing my own books and those of others electronically, persuaded by all the advantages and control available to new indie authors. Now that I have both the classic Kindle and a Kindle Fire (my husband graciously reads the old black-and-white) I am a complete convert.

I acknowledge the value of print books. I was in a bookstore yesterday for the first time in a while, marveling at ALL that paper, and the outrageous expense of producing it, but also the beauty of these objects, and some of the positive aspects of a simple, non-technical solution to the desire to share stories. We will always have print books, despite their limitations.

But I prefer ebooks and ereaders. Let me count the ways:

1. Ebooks are lighter (for many books).
2. Ebooks are cheaper (nearly always, once you have your reading device).
3. You can choose your font size (increasingly important as we age).
4. There is an infinite selection of books available at a touch.
5. A reader has the ability to chat with others in real-time about ebooks and the reading experience.
6. The content of an ebook is updatable.
7. There can be, and will increasingly be, brilliant, light-filled color photos.
8. No trees are destroyed.
9. Instant gratification — you are able to order a new book and start reading it in seconds!

(Love the last best — I can finish Book #2 of The Hunger Games at midnight and give in to the irresistible urge to buy Book #3 in the blink of an eye!)

But I ain’t sayin’ nothin’ about that 50 Shades book. Oh, all right, I was curious. I read the sample. And I couldn’t figure out what all the fuss was — it wasn’t even very dirty, and it certainly wasn’t very well-written. So I had to buy the first one, of course, and then I was still curious, so I bought the second. By then, my curiosity was sated. And yes, it was dirty. And after a while, not all that interesting. Perhaps that’s the porn Ms. Brady is talking about.

But ebooks being just for pornography? Hardly.

Here’s when we’ll know that ebooks are the thing. When the word “book” simply means ebook, and one has to use a term like print book or paper book to identify the old-fashioned kind.

Oh, and here’s the kicker to the story in The Telegraph: Ms. Brady’s new book, The Blue Death, to which she is naturally trying to draw attention with her provocative statements, is available as an ebook!

I note that her book, a kind of political thriller, costs $14.99 via Kindle, $3.00 more than the paperback costs. Currently, it has no reviews on her U.S. Amazon page. I guess she doesn’t object that much to ebooks and ereaders… but perhaps she is not having much success electronically.

My political thriller, RUNNING, has 51 reviews, a 4.4 star rating, and has been downloaded 50,000 times. Oh, and it’s on sale for $2.99 right now.

And though it does have a bit of sex, it’s not porn.

P.S. That first photo above is me, looking at my Kindle Fire, in front of my library of old-fashioned books, being funny. But I’m not reading porn!

(Not that you would know, right?)

See comments for a response from Joan Brady herself.

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Works in Progress

“I Dream of PIA” (for The Robot Chronicles anthology, available July 25, 2014)

3149/ 3000 words. 100% done!

"Sand Song” (a novella set in Hugh Howey’s SANDbox)

8,627 / 10000 words. 87% done!

"The Terminal” (a dark futuristic short)

2383 / 2000 words. 100% done!

“ROCKS 1” (the first episode in a dystopian series)

5675 / 10000 words. 57% done!

“Salt & Pepper Mystery #1” (Book one of a cozy mystery series)

22379 / 40000 words. 56% done!

Like Running

My Books

Karma of the Silo: the Collection (Karma Omnibus)
Karma lives in the Silo, deep underground. She lives with a man whom she barely knows and with a name she doesn’t remember choosing. When visions come to her about another husband, another way of life, and another world, Karma struggles to discover what came before.

Cleaning Up: a Silo story (Karma)
Five years have passed since the airlock slammed shut on the 4,000 souls condemned to live in the Silo. Karma can remember now that there was a time before--before she was locked into this cylindrical tomb under the earth. But all she can see of the outside are dead hills and the dark clouds swirling through what remains of a toxic world.

The Sky Used to be Blue: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma lives in a Silo deep beneath the earth. She isn't sure of much else… only that the wallscreen shows an outside view that is barren and swirling with toxic clouds. Most of the other residents seem content. Except for the ones who jump to their deaths from the hundred-level spiral staircase. And the ones who are pushed.

Last Walk: a Silo story
The kids are fighting in the Silo—gangs engage in battles between the Up Top and the Down Deep, with the Mids caught in between. There are too many young people without work. They ink themselves with primitive face tats and guard their territory against incursions from below or above.

Deep Justice: a Silo story (Karma)
Karma has endured twenty-five years underneath the earth. Her path in life—a path she never bargained for—has included marriage to a man she never chose, whose powerful position forces her to hide her memories of the time before.


Rising Up: a Silo story (Karma)
After a hellish three months locked in the private inner sanctum of IT, Karma and her family emerge, bloodied and forever changed. Rick is a man who is no longer in control. Mars has become the power in the Silo.



Silo Saga: SILO SECRETS: Daniel
Daniel is sixteen now, and he can count up to one hundred. He can go all by himself up and down the two levels of the Silo between his home and his job. Daniel knows he's not as smart as some people. But his mother told him he was smart enough to help her, so it must be true. He always believes his mother. His mother is a doctor.

Running
THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE A WOMAN... Catherine Young, Vice President and newly-anointed Democratic nominee, is surging in the polls. The race is on against GOP candidate Jerusha Hutchins, folksy charmer and blonde beauty, who is the darling of the far-right Liberty Party.

Till Death Do Us Part: a short story
Join Harold and Rosemary as they bring together their family and friends for a night of celebration before a long-planned trip... and see just how this journey ends. Mix a little Dorothy Parker and a little Shirley Jackson, add a twist of David Sedaris and a pinch of O.Henry, and out comes a satirical romp. "Till Death Do Us Part" is a 3,000 word short story. This is a sophisticated take on the way people fool themselves. More New Yorker magazine than Asimov.

The Terminal
To be published next week!





Looking for Lance
A pinch of Dorothy Parker and a twist of O.Henry go into the mix to make this Fitzgerald short a bracing sip of satire. There is a free sample of RUNNING, her best-selling Kindle political thriller, at the end of this story.

Jungle Moon
Another quirky short story from Patrice Fitzgerald about love and the ways people connect. When Felicia gets a special birthday request from her husband Herman, she can't believe what he's asking her to do. Will she say yes? This 3,000 word short story explores the nature of a happy marriage, compromise, and passion. A four-chapter sample of Fitzgerald's best-selling political thriller, RUNNING, is also included.

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