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Category Archives: Publishing

Two Cover Reveals!


I swear, I look down, get back to writing, look back up… and it’s almost been a month since an update.

How does time do this to me?

Well, this week I had not one but TWO cover reveals occur. The first one is the one that everybody has been waiting for, and HOLY CRAP it is beautiful! Here is Deathlords, Book 3 of the Kin Wars Saga.

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Nice, isn’t it? Bonus quiz: can you identify the planet from the series that the suit is protecting?

Then, on Thursday another publisher released the final cover of Sha’Daa: Toys, the (from what I hear) final anthology in the Sha’Daa universe. This one will actually be out in a few weeks, but the cover is downright creepy.

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They both are great, and shows once more while I will continue to support small press publishers. Both teams I work with are amazing people who put all their efforts into producing quality workmanship. I can’t ask for better people to write for.

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Darkling is LIVE


Darkling

Darkling – Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga

Yes, the title is correct. Darkling is now live and available over on Amazon. I’m super excited about this. How excited? So excited I’m going to be running a giveaway for a copy of WraithkinDarkling, and Kraken Mare, all autographed. All you need to do is Tweet it, tag me in it (@warpcordova), and voila! one entry. You can also tag me on instagram @warpcordova to show me your share for a SECOND entry! Want to enter a third time? Post a screenshot of you sharing a link of the book over on any other site like Facebook or MeWe and I’ll add in your names. Contest starts TODAY and will end at 11:59PM EST Sunday. Winner will be randomly selected at 8:00PM on Wednesday, April 18.

Here is the link

Good luck, my Kinions!

 

Release Date Announcement


Darkling

Darkling – Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga

Darkling will be live and on sale April 13, 2018.

**cue dramatic screaming from my tens of fans**

Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga will continue the story of Gabriel and Andrew, as well as introducing a new set of eyes to the novel. It also tears your freaking heart out (so I’m told by first readers), so there is that.

Mark your calendars and set aside some money. This one is gonna be good.

Finished and Other News


Two things…

First off, Darkling is finished! It’s now off and in the hands of the Super Mega Awesome Beta Force Crew for dissemination and assassination. Book 2 of the Kin Wars Saga had a ton of heartache, loyalty, and betrayal. Let the song of victory play!

 

Secondly, my article about the current kerfuffle within the Worldcon has gone live over at the Mad Genius Club. Go take a gander and see just why they would seek to remove one of the more prominent Hispanic science fiction writers out there from their attending guests, and see just what I think of this (hint: I’m not a fan of their decision).

Wronged Way


Cedar had an interesting post yesterday over at the Mad Genius Club (I actually missed the original post because I’ve been buried by basketball and finishing a book) and after reading it, I got to thinking (run! hide the women and children! he had two brain cells crash into one another on accident!) about professionalism in the publishing industry and how technology has changed the way it works.

I’ve been watching author interaction with fans now for over 7 years, mainly because I wanted to learn how to interact with my fans (all twelve of you… hey guys!) and what not to do. Then it dawned on me that I probably shouldn’t air my grievances against a publisher out in public (this is…. wise, one would think). This should be common sense but then you throw in the whole Internet thing and suddenly common sense takes a backseat to raging on a keyboard at the world.

Too often these days people forget about decorum because they are protected by the anonymity of online interactions. The web can protect folks from repercussions of their words online and gives people a false sense of courage. It’s easy to slam someone when hiding behind a firewall. It’s far more difficult to do it in person, to their face. There’s always the off-chance that calling someone a foul name to their face will get you kicked in the nuts.

One of the things I fall into the trap of is reading about when people are piling on an individual about some stupid thing they said or did online and nodding along, saying “Yep, they deserve what they’re getting right now.” It’s not really fair because, more often than not, what was posted was probably in the heat of the moment and the person wasn’t thinking clearly through their rage. I’ve been there, done that, copyrighted the hell out of it, so I understand completely.

So when Cedar talked about professionalism, I was kinda taken aback by the tone of some of the commentators on the private forum who had saved the epic rage-quit letter in question.

I felt that too many people wanted to revel in glee at the misfortune of the person in question (seriously, go read Cedar’s piece. It’s pretty good) and focus on the negativity, instead of feeling sorry for the author who felt that a rage-letter to her publisher was the way to go. I’ve seen many careers in the past go down in flames because of letters like that. Nowadays? Not so much, because most authors understand that everything they do online stays online. Publishers also understand this, though to a lesser extent. Authors talk to one another, as do publishers. It’s very easy to find oneself under a blacklist when you bad mouth a publisher (alternatively, piling on another seems to benefit others, but that still doesn’t make it right).

While I haven’t always been pleased with some of my past publishers and how they treated me, I kept my grievances mostly private. I’ve warned a few authors away who I felt may have been harmed in their business dealings with those publishers, but overall I simply let it be. It doesn’t help me one bit to attack someone who I don’t like or have worked with in the past.

Now, I know I’m not perfect. Sometimes when I get all worked up and pissed off I will go on a warpath (the Empress Theresa incident is a good example), but I do try to avoid this. In private, at home? With my cats staring at me like I’m insane? Oh yeah. They know how I feel. But everyone else? Nope. That stays between me and the cats (who were probably ignoring me anyways, so I’m good there).

What do you think? Should authors publicly call out publishers and other authors who they dislike or feel as if they’ve been wronged by?

Release Day


Today is the release of the long-awaited first book of a brand new series I’m writing. Wraithkin is out and available in both print and e-format, and the early reviews is that all my hard work has come to fruition with this book. Run and buy, share, talk about it. Publicity never hurt a writer.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00045]

Book 1 of the Kin Wars Saga

On Reviews For Authors


So at a very odd hour late last night, I went ahead and wrote a review over at Shiny Book Review. To say that it was an adventure is an understatement. Reputedly, this author has a history of lashing out at reviewers, so we’ll see just how interesting things get around here.

I mentioned elsewhere that the ideal author response to any review is a “thank you for writing a review”. That should be it. Drop mic, exit stage left, fade to black. For some reason some authors feel the need to tell the reviewer that what they read was not what was written, and they missed subtle nuances, etc. Word of advice: if the reviewer missed it, then it’s possible it wasn’t there in the first place.

Nobody knows the story and the characters as well as the author, and it’s completely understandable to see something that the reader does not because you know the characters and story so much better. It’s okay, really. However, lashing out and yelling at book reviewers (or going creepy cyber stalker, like this author did) is not the way to go. You are a professional now, damn it. Try and remember that, even if your Twitter feed is nothing but hyperbole and pictures of lattes (nothing wrong with either, actually).

 

Too Stubborn


Air! I can breathe!

In all seriousness, it feels like I’ve been drowning in my writing the past few months. Ever since Eric and I wrapped up Kaiju Apocalypse III, it seems like my head has been underwater when it comes to writing. I may have burned myself out a bit (writing 4 books in 4 months will do that to anybody) and needed a break, but I proscribe to the “Monday through Friday, 8:00 – 3:00” writing schedule. You know, treating it like a job? It’s a good habit to get in to, quite frankly. But because of my schedule, and the fact that I mentally cringe anytime someone says “kaiju” around me, I’ve been writing utter dreck lately. This is while I’m trying to prepare the first two Christian Cole novels for publication (The Green Jewel and The Midnight Crew) and get a few short stories I owe to John Manning off to him (which I haven’t done yet, FYI), and help promote an anthology which just came out that I have the first story in (Terror By Gaslight, which has the first Tobias Fox story in it, Nightwalker).

That’s… a lot. I can see why my creativity has been flat-lining as of late.

Today, however, I woke up sort of refreshed. I didn’t sleep particularly well, but it felt as if a cloud over my motivation had lifted. Of course, I’m a little pissed off at the states of Colorado and Virginia right now, and hate and anger usually fuels my writing, so there is that. But for the first time in awhile I’m able to actually sit down and focus on writing itself, and not simply putzing around pretending to be a writer (other writers know what I’m talking about). It’s produced some decent material, most of which will make it into the final submitted piece.

I’ve also been informed that, due to the high sales of the Kaiju Apocalypse trilogy, combined with the surprising success of Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, I am no longer eligible to enter the “Writers of the Future” contest. Now, considering that I’ve never entered it any way, nor really considered entering seriously (those are some good damn writers, while I’m… meh), receiving that email was sort of surprising. I was wondering if it was a scam of some sort, but it seems to be legit, which brings me to the next question: who really gives a crap enough about me to be preemptive like that? Flattering, yeah, but spooky all the same.

I’ll have the second Murder World book (Murder World: Kaiju Dusk) ready by… Christmas? Which means publication in February? Hard to say right now. There is a lot going on in the publishing world that is making me a little nervous. And if I’m nervous, mid-listers who rely on writing as their only source of income have to be absolutely terrified. I know I would be, if I wasn’t so shallow and carefree in nature (heh).

No word on either Hand of God  or Wraithkin yet. I was hoping to hear something about the former by now, and I expect to hear something about the latter in the next few months. In the meantime, I’ve been toying around in the Wraithkin universe and am coming to realize that I created one complex universe, quite by accident. If someone ever says that I must really know politics to create such a nation like the Dominion of Man, I’m going to apologize and start laughing.

There was some other serious stuff I was thinking about talking about, then I remembered that I have an article due for the Mad Genius Club this Friday, so I figured I could save it for that. Nothing political (I think), more of a “this is cool” kind of thing. Who knows, maybe someone will learn something?

Won’t be me, though. I’m too stubborn to learn.

Digital Watermarking the Grave


Yesterday, over on Facebook, I kinda sorta touched on the new HarperCollins digital watermark, which is another updated rendition of their failed attempts (thus far, apparently) at a secure and impenetrable DRM. Those pesky pirates are costing publishers a lot of money, so of course the natural response is to put even more money into a system that will be obsolete in about four months. Most of us who know anything about computers will roll their eyes when reading the description of what this new digital watermark does:

We are pleased to add this new service to our anti-piracy toolbox,” said Chantal Restivo-Alessi, Chief Digital Officer at HarperCollins Publishers. “Part of the value publishers provide is protecting the livelihoods of our authors and ensuring that they’re being properly compensated for their work. Digimarc Guardian Watermarks help us identify and stop potential e-book leaks in our digital supply chain that result in piracy. This technology, alongside the monitoring and takedown service, helps us better protect our authors’ content.

The real fear for publishers, it seems, is not in the average 4chan user who has a copy of some bestseller, but leaks from within their own organizational supply chain. Of course, this does nothing for those dedicated individuals who are willing to type up an entire hardcover book and release it into the wild, ala Harry Potter before J. K. Rowling allowed for ebooks to be created. The amount of money that they would need to spend to get this started, as well as ensure on a daily basis that their DRM code within each and every book is unique, is going to be expensive. Intuitive thinking leads one to believe that in order to combat this growing cost (and it will grow, since the digital algorithm for their DRM will be cracked inside of a month by some 13 year old kid who was bored after playing Destiny), prices may go up in the near future for all HarperCollins books, especially with the beating that its parent company, NewsCorp, took this year with their quarterly earnings.

Now why, one may ask, would HarperCollins do this? Well, their 1Q 2014 earnings show that they had a 15% increase in profit, which is very good in the publishing world. Most of their profits came from the NYT bestseller Divergent and ebook sales. Well, one was made into a movie, and the other… must be protected from piracy, because that 15% could have been 15.2%? I don’t know. To me, this sounds like it was a call from above, since piracy of their most popular book (Divergent) didn’t seem to hurt their profit margin any. NewsCorps, in case you were wondering, did not have a good 2013 on the whole (HarperCollins was their lone bright spot, apparently). Instead of riding the surging popularity of their books, a decision was made to ensure that the Dread Pirate Roberts would not be able to pilfer their books. This is going to hurt them in the long run, methinks.

You see, the typical Information Security Analyst clears about $117,000 a year. I’m not sure what the hell a “Chief Digital Officer” is, but I’m willing to bet it’s something like a management level ISA, so let’s say that a senior manager like that would make more than $117,000 per year. Of course, this is also a publisher notorious for pinching pennies, so let’s cut that back a bit. Call it $100,000 a year. But she’s not going to be doing all this coding and whatnot alone (if at all, if my own history of working for senior managers is any indication), so she’ll have coders doing this for her. And the code monkeys should be making about $45,000-$75,000 per year, according to my sources in the industry. That’s quite a bit of money to be paying, per year, to ensure that they don’t lose half of that in sales.

One of the things I’ve found, doing a little bit of research into the matter, is that while HarperCollins is protecting their rights and intellectual properties through the digital marking, they’re also data mining your device. This wasn’t mentioned in the same article as the one above, but from a previous interview done with Ms. Restivo-Alessi by Fast Company back in January of this year. She mentions her job history was in the music industry (specifically, EMI) and digital security, which makes you wonder just how far HarperCollins is going to be willing to go to protect their books from piracy. There is a reason that the music industry has been properly vilified over the past 15 years.

But let’s go back for a moment. In the interview with Fast Company (in regards to a question about data-driven projects), Ms. Restivo-Alessi said this:

The first one is insight. Where we are making the first inroads is really allowing ourselves to acquire more consumer data–primary and secondary–and do it in a more cost efficient way. Also, we’re in the early days of then having a way of providing a digested presentation of the data to our publishing colleagues so that they can incorporate that information in the way they run the business.

The other is a little more sensitive, but I can tell you just in general it’s the area of digital sales and pricing. Again, because of digital, much more data is available so you can start inferring and analyzing impact and demand elasticity. That team doesn’t report directly to me, but it is a part of my job, as a part of looking for what works in the digital space and what best practices we can share.

There are a lot of buzzwords in there that sound impressive until you break it down. Once you do that, it starts to sound downright creepy.

We are consumers, and companies like HarperCollins wants us to buy their product. In order to do that, they have to put out a product that is both of value to us, the consumers, and entice us to purchase their product over someone else’s. This business model is pretty much capitalism in its most basic form, most people would agree. However, when you begin to take away the choice of the consumer through manipulations and “trends” in data mining, suddenly you have 56 different versions of Twilight floating out there because that’s what the data mining shows. The consumer is no longer the consumer, but a part of the product. As Facebook has shown, when you own the trends and data history of a consumer, the consumer becomes the product.

The second part is pretty simply: prices are going to go up, and that will justify more DRM. It’s a self-serving loop, one which tells the Greek myth of the Ouroboros. Eventually, this will consume itself. Oh, they can claim that their new digital marketing and DRM has shown that profits are increasing while they’re protecting the author, but anyone who works in traditional publishing knows that these books that are bestsellers now have been sitting in the queue for up to five years now. It happens to be fortuitous timing on their parts, and nothing more (well, other than the books being good, that is).

Look, DRM is not going to work. The people who steal ebooks are the people who weren’t going to buy it in any case. I have never had someone tell me that they pirated my book because that $3.99 was just too expensive for their tastes (waiting for my inbox to fill up now challenging this statement…). Yes, HarperCollins was profitable in 2013. That doesn’t mean that making it more difficult on the consumer in order to protect past profits means any sort of substantive growth for 2014 and beyond. If anything, this could cause sales to flatten and even decline.

In the end, all this is going to cause is more people refusing to buy HarperCollins overpriced ebooks. To combat this, they’ll have two choices: raise prices, or get rid of the DRM. And history has already shown us which direction they’ll take.

On Sale Now


There are some nice deals going on this week.

Kaiju Apocalypse is currently on sale for only $0.99. This is would be the perfect time to get the first book in the series and try it out and see if it’s up your alley.

Kaiju Apocalypse - Published 2014

Kaiju Apocalypse – Published 2014

Also on sale is Murder World: Kaiju Dawn for only $0.99 as well. You really might want to grab this gem, since it has one of my favorite characters of all time in it. We’re still writing the follow up books to this, but rest assured that the sequel will be out this year.

Murder World: Kaiju Dawn - Published 2014

Murder World: Kaiju Dawn – Published 2014

Come on, what are you waiting for? For less than two bucks you can get two exciting Kaiju novels.