Tag Archives: Quantum Zoo

Independent Fiction

I was looking at the books I've downloaded on my Kindle and they are probably 95% by indie authors.  That's pretty amazing, really, considering that a few years ago I didn't know anything about the field. I remember how I started downloading books by indie authors.  The first one I did was a book called BONE SHOP by Tim "TA" Pratt.  It is an urban fantasy, the fifth book in a series that had previously been published by a BPH imprint but was dropped after the fourth book.  Why, I don't exactly know.  Was it not selling?  I bought the first four at Barnes and Noble bookstores, where they had exactly one copy on the shelf.  I always looked when I'd go back in to see if they had anything else by Pratt, and once I bought the single copy of whichever they had, well, that was it. I was following a blog of editor Annetta Ribken on Journalscape back in the day, before she was an editor.  She had a very entertaining blog, and she was working on a novel, which was released as ATHENA'S PROMISE.  She decided to release it indie via Kindle and Createspace, and I bought the ebook of that one as well.  Both of those ebooks costed $4.99, which, at the time, I considered a bargain.  Now I consider it a premium that I'm willing to pay for authors I like.  Even then, I think twice about it.  "Just how much do I want to read this book right now?" I started thinking that if Annetta could do it that way, so could I.  Another author-friend who I met at Chicago's Printer's Row Festival, Sean Hayden, was working with a small press, editing and writing his own fiction.  He and his significant other, Jen Wylie, opened their own small press called Untold Press, and began publishing their own fiction as well as a few other authors.  Yeah, it's technically a small press, but it started as a way of indie publishing their own works. Connecting the dots, I found the blogs of Dean Wesley Smith and J.A. Konrath, and then I found Hugh Howey.  WOOL was, for me, a revelation.  It was engrossing -- I couldn't hardly put it down when I purchased it as an ebook.  Howey's story was almost as engrossing.  He put the book out in shorter installments, five of them, at $0.99 each, then compiled them into the single edition at $4.99.  And Hugh was making a killing financially, or so it seems. I found "The Passive Voice" and answered a submissions call for a SF anthology called QUANTUM ZOO, and lo and behold, mine was one of the twelve stories accepted for publication in the volume.  If nothing else, it validated me in my own eyes as a writer. From Konrath's blog, I read a comment by author Steven M. Moore, and somehow realized that he wrote SF and thrillers, and I followed the link to his blog, and now I've read everything he's written save (I think) two books.  (I'll correct that oversight this year.)  I also found horror novels by Bryan Smith and by William Malmborg, which led me again to other horror novelists. Now I'm reading one indie work after another, generally.  (I am trying to get a good run into Robert Crais' third Joe Pike novel, called THE SENTRY, but haven't found the time to get into it much.)  I am in the midst of a series (starting with E) by Kate Wrath.  I'm reading Mit Sandru's novels.  I read Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, John Ellsworth, Bobby Adair, and Edward W. Robertson. I've found tons of the fiction I want to read, and I haven't broken the bank buying all these books. Not to mention, I've become an indie author myself, with a bunch of short stories and collections out as well as two novellas. Buy indie.  Cut out that middle man! *****  

“Bob said,” versus “said Bob.”

I'm wondering if readers even notice this.  I know that I didn't until it was pointed out to me in the editing phase of my story "Playing Man" (which was published in QUANTUM ZOO).  I was informed by D.J. Gelner, my editor (who did an outstanding job, by the way) that the convention was to place the dialog tag at the end of the sentence, and it should be "Bob said," instead of "said Bob."  For example:
"I really want to try playing that Beatles song," Rich said. "Which one?  There are a million of them!" Peter said. "Let's do them all," Carter suggested.
Is that qualitatively better than the alternative:
"I really want to try playing that Beatles song," said Rich. "Which one?  There are a million of them!" said Peter. "Let's do them all," suggested Carter.
To me, they both read the same.  I read the tag and it vaguely registers as an identification of the speaker.  After being informed of the accepted (or proper?) way to write it, I started noticing, and while most fiction, especially indie fiction, does it the "right" way, Orson Scott Card's book RUINS mixed them up indiscriminately.  And so do I, in most of my fiction.  As I read my short stories and longer works, I find both forms used, with no rhyme or reason to the usage except for the rhythm of the words in my head. In other words, if it sounded right one way, I wrote it that way.  And vice versa. I don't know if it is "wrong" to do it that way, so I've been trying to make everything conform to D.J.'s rules.  But if I miss one, forgive me. *****

Kindle Giveaway (via KDP Select) – Success or Failure?

So the giveaway is over.  I put two of my titles, SOLE OCCUPANT and DEAD OR ALIVE, on free promotion from Wednesday 12/10/14 to Sunday 12/14/14.  How did they do, you ask?  Well, between the two of them, I gave away 144 copies of the two short stories.  I really didn't know what to expect as far as numbers, but it was mentioned to me by SF/Thriller author Steven M. Moore that giveaways used to be measured in the thousands and now they're measured in the hundreds. I piggy-backed this giveaway on the concurrent giveaway of QUANTUM ZOO, hoping for a few shares of my posts promoting both giveaways on Facebook so that I would be exposed to other authors' fans, but the only share I got was by D.J. Gelner, the editor of QUANTUM ZOO.  (Thanks DJ!)  It did help, because instead of around a hundred people seeing my posts, close to 300 saw the first post with the links in the comments. SOLE OCCUPANT got more downloads than DEAD OR ALIVE did, in the US by 75 to 50.  It's a much shorter title, with two stories adding up right around 3100 words, while DEAD OR ALIVE is a single story of about 7800 words, something like that.  DEAD OR ALIVE is part of a larger "trilogy" of vampire detective stories, which I hoped might work in its favor.  SOLE OCCUPANT has a cover made by professional Rich Siegle, while DEAD OR ALIVE features a home-made cover.  I don't think it sucks, but no way is it as good as Rich's cover. My hope was that perhaps I might get a paid download or three of one of the collections.  I haven't had a paid sale in a month.  My other goal was to get a review or three.  But so far, out of 144 titles given away, there are no additional reviews, either good or bad.  I don't know if that means that most of the downloads haven't actually been read, so I suppose there's still some time. A third goal was simply to get some of my work into the hands of readers, who may or may not like it, but I figured it was worth a shot.  Tastes vary, and out of 144 tries, you'd think that maybe I might get a new reader or three. It's sort of depressing.  A commenter, John Ellsworth (I think) on one of my other posts suggested that I focus on writing something longer.  I have longer pieces out there, nothing approaching 80K words (the length he suggested) but maybe closing in on 50K for a couple of them.  Nothing under 23K, I think.  Mostly horror, though one of them is a mystery. It's sort of one of those catch-22's, in that I want this to be a self-supporting hobby.  I am willing to pay for covers and editing, but I want to see enough earnings to suggest that it's worth it for me to do so.  I hoped to sell enough short stories to make enough money, even if it was just a hundred bucks a month, to pay for cover art for some of these longer projects.  But it's been a no-go. So what should I do?  Keep writing?  (I'll do that anyway.)  Keep publishing?  (Not as certain about that one.)  I'm dismayed by the lack of reciprocal promotion I get from authors whose works I've promoted on my FB page and here on the blog.  Not even a "Like" from any besides D.J. and J. Michael Major, who has also reviewed a few of my stories on Amazon. That's okay.  I have to admit, however, that it makes me less enthusiastic about supporting (via promotion on either here or on my FB page) other indie authors.  I'll still support the ones I like to read by buying their books, and possibly reviewing them if the mood strikes me. Maybe this giveaway experiment will result in sales down the road.  Maybe it will result in a few reviews, positive or negative.  But right now, I have to come down on the side of "failure" when asking myself if it was a success or failure. *****  

Two titles free for download from Amazon!

My short stories SOLE OCCUPANT and DEAD OR ALIVE are both available for download for free as of today, December 10th, through Sunday, December 14th. SOLE OCCUPANT is a 14 page, two story combination that features the short story SOLE OCCUPANT (about 2400 words) and THE ONLY SOLUTION (about 700 words).  It's short, to be certain, but it's also free! DEAD OR ALIVE is a 32 page short story and is the first story of THE STRIKER FILES, a combo-volume featuring all three stories of the series plus a bonus story (priced at $2.99 at Amazon).  DEAD OR ALIVE is free today through Sunday. QUANTUM ZOO remains free as well, until Friday! Sole_Occupant_Cover81pdvoY55PL._SL1500_*****

Sales report

All I can really say is, it's a good thing I'm a dentist!  Haven't sold a book or had a short story bought since October 23rd. I counted, and I have eleven titles out there.  They range in length from the very short (14 pages) SOLE OCCUPANT, which is in Kindle Select and KU, and costs $0.99, to my six-story collection DIE 6, which has 123 pages and is priced at $2.99.  Also there is THE STRIKER FILES 3-in-1 COLLECTION, 93 pages also priced at $2.99, and my non-fiction title (under my real name) DOING DISNEY, which is again priced at $2.99 and contains 101 pages of information about visiting the Florida resorts.  14 DARK WINDOWS is a fourteen-story collection of short "flash" fiction, 63 pages, and is once again priced at $2.99. What could I do?  Perhaps a full collection of ALL of my short stories, would come in at something around 250 pages (maybe a bit more), and price it at $4.99?  I have five stories in the very early stages of readiness for publication, all need rewriting and editing, but none are ready to go tomorrow. Anyway, I know I don't do much to promote the stories.  The only people who have bought them are people who know me through Facebook, for the most part, or knew me from my days at Delphi Internet Service when I helped run the Book and Candle Pub.  I submitted a story to the anthology QUANTUM ZOO with low expectations, but it was one of the twelve that was selected for inclusion, and I'd hoped that perhaps someone would read my story there and decide to check out at least one or two of my other stories, but the problem is that very few of the stories I've written and published would excite the QUANTUM ZOO target audience.  So perhaps my efforts for that collection are wasted. Who knows?  For me, a good story is a good story.  I've bought several of my co-authors' stories but I don't know if it is working in reverse.  Oh well.  I don't really NEED the income.  I can just keep writing, and when they're ready, publishing, and if they catch on, great.  If not, so be it. As the saying goes, it was worth a try. *****

Quantum Zoo is free!

The 12 story anthology QUANTUM ZOO, which contains my story "Playing Man", is free starting today and going through Saturday! Free is good, right? If you haven't downloaded a copy, grab it now... QUANTUM ZOO! Please consider taking a look at my own new release THE STRIKER FILES (which isn't so new - it's actually a compilation of three previously released single short stories, all set in the same universe and telling different parts of the same story, with a bonus short story included as well). Here's that link: THE STRIKER FILES Thanks! ******

QUANTUM ZOO is live on Amazon!

QUANTUM ZOO!QUANTUM ZOO was released while I was out of the country, on June 17th, and has already hit number 1 on the Amazon SF Anthology list! If you haven't picked it up yet, get it now...it's on sale for a limited time for $0.99!  It won't be such an incredible deal for too long! Here's the link:  QUANTUM ZOO in the Amazon Kindle Store There are 12 (count 'em!) high quality stories in the collection, ranging from Egyptian gods to alien zoos.  Even a little supernatural stuff!  And of course my story, PLAYING MAN, can be found right smack in the middle of all this SF/Fantasy goodness! Grab a copy and read it!  You won't be disappointed! Go ahead.  I'll still be here when you get back.... *****

QUANTUM ZOO has a website!

QUANTUM ZOO! If you're following along at home, you will already know that I have a story which will be published in the indie anthology QUANTUM ZOO, along with eleven other authors.  I was honored and thrilled to be included in their numbers.  Most of them have significant writing credits and credentials; all of them have more of those things than I do. Anyway, there's a website!  It contains info about all the authors as well as story excerpts and some other goodies. There is going to be a Facebook release party as well, though I won't be able to "attend" due to other commitments.  I'll post more when I know more. Here's the website address:  http://quantumzoo.blogspot.com/ Please check it out! *****