Not tired of winning yet…
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While one would think that the lack of reviews for Kraken Mare (currently with two reviews only, even though both are good) I would be a sad camper. Except, as I said the other day, one cannot eat reviews.
The upside to the lack of reviews is that they don’t seem to be affecting sales in any way. Kraken Mare continues a slow, steady climb upwards, doing extremely well and actually taking the place of Kaiju Apocalypse as my highest ranking yet on Amazon. I can’t believe the positive comments I’ve received from people about the book. Chris and I thought it would be a crass and humorous book with lots of pop culture references and that was it. But people read books differently than you often intend, and see a deeper meaning or have an understanding of the book that you (the author) didn’t think of.
I hated The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter because, well, badly thought out sequel. But there was one comment in the movie that rang true with me then, and still does now. The bookstore owner (Mr. Koreander) says the following:
Ahh, but have you ever read a book twice? Books change each time you read them.
Surprisingly, they do change, because your understanding of the characters and the knowledge of the book within changes as well. You notice details that slipped by you the first time, and little changes can alter your perception of the novel on whole.
That’s why I always read a book three or four times. I always miss stuff.
Dream job? AWESOME!!!
Lone downside? Lack of writing time. But still, this is the job that I have been searching for since I quit teaching 11 years ago (holy crap… 11 years? Really??).
It’s great that I have the opportunity to help young boys become men and teach them how to go about it. I mean, one of the things society tends to do for kids in the system is be placeholders until they either go home or are emancipated. This is not conducive to child rearing. So my new job takes it one step further. We act not only as role models but also as quasi-parents, living in the cottage with 4-8 boys and just being there for them as they go on through school and towards adulthood. I really wish I’d had a place like this when I was 7-8 and bouncing around various group homes.
A lot of my friends have said recently that they’ve never seen me this excited before, not even for a book release. I remind them that while I enjoy writing, my first love is helping others. And this is the best way to not only help others but shape the future while doing so.
In other news, Kraken Mare is absolutely killing it over on Kindle. As of 5:45PM EST it’s looking like this:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,503 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #87 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
- #97 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Galactic Empire
- #109 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military > Space Marine
This is AWESOME but there’s only one review. However, my buddy Leo reminded me that you can’t eat reviews.
(side note: I told him I was going to invent a dish and call it a review, just to spite him)
One of the things I hate to sound like is a broken record.
One of the things I hate to…
You get the point.
Sarcasm aside, I really would like to implore readers to review the books they read over on Amazon. It helps spread the word and get the author noticed in the midst of the thousands of authors trying to gain an audience. Whether it’s a 5 star or a 1 star (or those pesky in-between stars), reviews help.
Of course, we authors prefer the “above 3 stars” reviews more than the 1 or 2 stars, but all reviews can be helpful if they’re actually pertaining to the novel. Complaining about the price of an ebook (which the author has no control over, usually) is akin to complaining to Peyton Manning about beer prices at Arrowhead Stadium (football analogy, woot!).
Right now, Kraken Mare is sitting pretty at #26,839 in overall rankings for ebooks. This is awesome! Except… there’s only one review. Granted, it’s a 5 star review (yay!) but it’s all by its lonesome (sad face here).
So get out there and vo– er, I mean, review.
So Chris and I are highly amused by this cover because his name is first (even though it should have been mine). Unfortunately for me, it works better aesthetically if his name is first. So I got to give Chris a lot of grief late last night when I showed it to him (many thanks to author Kacey Ezell for helping me out with the prank).
Anyway, without much further ado, here is the rough cover for Kraken Mare (rough meaning this should be the final version but it might change a little):
So, any thoughts?
So I’m on a shirt!
Okay, some back story here…
I help out quite a bit with the charity Operation Supply Drop, which helps get video games and other entertainment devices into the hands of deployed troops overseas who have no other way to relax in their downtime, as well as help returning veterans readjust back into social gatherings by taking them to gaming conventions and whatnot. One of our favorite thing to do to raise money is a 36 hour livestreaming event called Tanking for the Troops. This helps raise money for Operation Supply Drop while allowing viewers the chance to win prizes within the World of Tanks online game.
In appreciation of our volunteer efforts, OSD commissioned one of our livestreamers/graphic designers (AnIdiotMachine) with all of the streamers names on it to create an M4A2E8 Sherman tank. It’s a pretty cool design (my name is the cupola on the turret and the antennae) and all of the proceeds from the shirt go towards Operation Supply Drop.
Not 10%. Not 75%. All 100% of it.
If you are interested in buying one, click here. It comes in five colors, a women’s cut and a hoodie as well (I’m sorely tempted to get the hoodie except I already own a few and don’t need another).
(Warning: this contains spoilers for Ctrl-Alt-Revolt! Continue at your own risk)
As a writer, one of the things I dread more than anything else is the editor’s response to the finished product. Oh sure, gutting it on your own to clean it up and make it acceptable for publishing is hard enough. But having a professional who does it for a living? It’s terrifying.
However, as you become a solid producer of words, you are given a little bit of leeway within your story’s construct. Well, usually at least. There are cases where this is not the usual occurrence. Such as the case of Nick Cole.
Nick is a talented author, there is no denying this. His novels have been solid sellers for a few years now and he has built up quite a bit of backlist which, for any other, means better money. Living money. So one can assume that this is a guy who’s earned some credibility with his publisher and, as such, should be given some leeway when it comes to telling his story.
Except that it didn’t work out that way.
An editor somewhere along the line at his publishing house determined that his antagonist’s reasoning about why humanity had to die was not worthy of being published and was deeply offended by the idea. Now, traditionally SF is the place where “troubling” ideas go to be presented to the rest of the world as strange “what ifs?” It was the place where authors can test the boundaries of ideology without being set upon by the aggrieved masses.
However, now it appears that some deeply offended editor is going to cost her company not only a lot of money but also the matter of public opinion, which in today’s social media/viral world can be a death knell for any publisher. Especially given as to how much traditional publishers and book stores are hurting financially.
His latest book, titled Ctrl-Alt-Revolt!, was not put out by his publisher and his contract subsequently torn up because of something minor that the villain of the story uses to justify the evil they wrought upon mankind. Something that really wasn’t even an issue (quite frankly, I would have balked at the ending if I was a publisher, but only because it was a little too pat for my tastes) and shouldn’t have even been commented upon really. It was a cast-off line, meant to show how fear can delude the minds of even a critical thinking machine (because SILAS’ response was based on fear, which makes for an interesting conversation of it’s own: that a sentient AI’s first emotion to anything is fear).
I thought it was well-done and very pragmatic. I also understand precisely what Nick is going through right now, because I’ve gone through the very same thing.
I’m assuming that the majority of people have read Corruptor by now (if you haven’t, well, I understand… but I’m going to spoil a bit of the middle of the book here). When I had first written it, I had two scenes in it that were very… difficult to write. The first was a rape scene that made me very uncomfortable writing about, given my past. The second was the emotional and mental collapse of one of my favorite secondary characters, which in turn led that person to betraying their friends.
One of the coolest things about this book was that it sold in six days. That’s freaking unheard of for an unknown author. I had submitted it on Feb 17, 2005 and it was sold on the 23rd. The publisher apparently liked it that much. Hey, I wasn’t going to argue. I was excited, the publisher was excited… for a first time author, that was a career-maker. I was given an editor to help me clean it up some and then it was scheduled to be released in Oct 2007.
To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement.
However, when I received the very first notes from the editor, the two scenes that I had been concerned about weren’t even mentioned by the editor. No, the editor was freaking out about something that made her decidedly uncomfortable. I asked her what it was and she told me that the idea of grown men finding a 16 year old girl attractive while under the guise of an avatar in a video game disgusted her. She had a 16 year old daughter and the idea that grown men would find her attractive within a game made her sick. She demanded that I change it. I balked and said no.
It was obvious to me there (and remains obvious to me now) that my editor had never played any sort of MMORPG in her life. It was painfully obvious that she didn’t even grasp the basic idea of how an avatar can be changed, appearance-wise, at the gamer’s whim. She told me that I needed to change it, I said no. She went to the publisher and refused to edit my book, so another editor was brought on.
I kid you not, but the second editor did the exact same thing. Nobody had yet to complain about the rape scene (which I actually decided to tone back a little because it was bothering me) but the idea of men finding this character attractive disgusted them beyond measure. I told the publisher that I was not going to change that because it’s pretty much how a lot of gamers react when they find out that the other player is a Real Life Girl. Yes, immature and irrational thought, but still a common one.
Oh the fuss she raised. The publisher removed her and got a new editor for the book.
Meanwhile, we’re in 2009 at this point. Publishing date has been pushed back indefinitely. My life was in shambles at that time but was slowly starting to turn around. I was frustrated, angry, and tired with the publishing world. So I figured “Screw it. This is the last book I write.”
(Thank God I didn’t listen to myself)
The new editor simply went through and copy edited instead of asking me to change anything. She offered suggestions to sentence structure but the story as a whole she left alone. I was thrilled. I finished the recommended edits in about a week and sent it back in, excited over the prospect of finally seeing this book out in print.
2009 came and went… no book. I was unhappy but I understood how publishing schedules worked. You needed to schedule those bad boys a year or so in advance. So I queried my publisher and asked about a publication date.
Much like Nick found out, I’d been put on a little list. The publisher stopped talking to me and communication dropped to almost nothing. Again, I figured it was all my fault and resigned myself to not ever seeing anything else out in print again. I had no idea when the book was to come out. It was a frustrating experience.
It grew worse when I received a message on Facebook from one of my friends yelling at me for not letting them know that my book was out. I was confused. It was the week before Christmas and I had no idea that it was out. I hopped over to Amazon and, sure enough, my poor lost novel had been published and released into the wild… on November 30, 2010.
At the time I was simply happy that it was finally out. After working with various publishers over the years since, however, I can say that what happened was a bit of a jerk move by the publisher. My understanding now is that this is how a publisher gets rid of a “problem writer.” No marketing behind the book, no news out, bad links on the website… there was a laundry list of issues that I had ignored early on but only became aware of later on. The book would have faded into complete and absolute obscurity (as would have I) if not for fans of a different publisher.
So now I’m rallying everyone I know. Go read this book. It’s an amazing and fast paced novel. I finished it this morning three hours after purchasing it. It’s only $0.99 on Kindle as well. It’s really good, and will probably join my Hugo shortlist for next year.
Now, I will be the first to say that my experience wasn’t that bad, all things considered. I received far worse treatment at the hands of people due to being on the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies Hugo lists last year than I ever did from that particular publisher. And I’ve reconciled with that publisher (sort of) by referring to them some great new authors whose books didn’t quite fit into the traditional publishing “norm”. But still, I can understand where Nick is coming from, his reaction, and his counter-move.
Which I loudly applaud.
I was going to finish Cân Rowan this week and instead I got caught up in Darkling, the sequel to Wraithkin. Which is bad, because Cân Rowan has a check ready for me as soon as I turn it in (money!!!) while Darkling is still waiting on the publisher to decide what to do with the first book in the series (no money yet 😦 ).
…and then I added a new point of view character…
…and it’s easier to write than another point of view character I was planning on writing…
…which leaves me in the unenviable position of deciding which new POV character stays: the spy or the politician? The spy may be more fun to write and read about, but the politician can actually give more depth to the story and the overall situation at the time. *sigh* I can’t have both, though, because I don’t want to turn into A Song of Ice and Fire with 36 character POVs (no worries, I’ll never get that crazy… I have a hard enough time reading it and keeping track of every character while reading).
No word yet on Kraken Mare. I’m not too surprised, since they’re inundated with books right now (summer release season is almost upon us). One of my other coauthors (Eric S. Brown) has a new release out as well called Kraken (yes, we’re psychically linked… scary coincidence) and it has a pretty cool cover, so I’m hoping the delay is because they’re finding an awesome cover for it and they’re waiting for the big reveal.
That’s my theory, at least.
It’s now in my publisher’s hands. I’m about to finish the rest of Cân Rowan for another editor, then I’ll have… free time.
Man, I’d forgotten what that was like. Huh.
So apparently it’s Hugo season again (didn’t we just do this?), though this year I’m thinking “Yeah, I lost a lot of time and energy last year dealing with that public smear campaign. I’m not even going to pay attention this year.”
Seriously. In 2014 I managed to get a ton of writing done. 2015? Jack squat. Oh, I wrapped up a few short stories, and got most of Kraken Mare done, but when it’s compared to 2014? Nada. Zilch. Zero. Zip.
I liked it better when I was beneath the radar of the most virulent Defenders of Justice and collecting many royalty checks. Don’t get me wrong, I really appreciated being included on so many ballots for the Campbell Award. Yes, this is my second and final year of eligibility, but I really don’t care at this point. As I said earlier, too much energy was expended trying to defend myself and my friends from random attacks and accusations of racism (which still makes me laugh).
I hope my friends do well again this year. I truly do. When I get my voter packet, I’ll read all the works and vote, as I usually do. But getting involved? No thanks. Being nominated? No thanks.
I’d rather just continue to get paid.