News and Notices from the Writing Trenches #147…

Freebies. Although my books are never free now (except when a reviewer offers to do an honest review), I do offer other freebies. Here’s a description of a few:

First, there are my blog posts. Among these you will find book and movie reviews as well as short stories and novellas (archived in the following blog categories: “book reviews,” “mini-reviews of books,” “movie reviews,” and “Steve’s shorts,” respectively). The op-eds usually aren’t related to writing or the book business, but you might find those entertaining too. Comments are always welcome.

Sometimes I compile my short fiction into PDFs. See the list on the webpage “Free Stuff & Contests.” These PDFs are all free for the asking. You can circulate them to friends and family as long as you respect the copyrights.

Articles about writing and the book business. Readers and writers might be interested in these. They’re archived in the blog category “Writing.”  My blog also features this online newsletter, “News and Notices from the Writing Trenches.” You can sign up for a free email newsletter too.

My little course on writing fiction (another PDF free for the asking) might be interesting to readers and of help to writers. In it I relate some of my experiences I’ve gained as a writer publishing over the last 10+ years.  There’s an updated version now available where I relate some of my experiences about traditional publishing and the trade-offs between indie and traditional publishing. This five-lesson course (with references) complements Stephen King’s little book On Writing, but it can be read independently.

Both the articles and course offer an insider’s viewpoint that often goes beyond similar material you might find elsewhere. Check them out—all free!

Want some awesome book recommendations? In addition to my book reviews, don’t forget the books listed on the webpage “Steve’s Bookshelf.” These are books I’ve found particularly interesting, both fiction and non-fiction. You’ll probably recognize many of the authors, but other books different from those that made them famous are often listed. Moreover, there’s a list of up-and-coming authors and their books you might have yet to discover.

In the last category, let me recommend Donna Carrick’s The First Excellence and the stories of Scott Dyson. Donna runs Carrick Publishing and does the formatting for many of my books, both ebooks and trade paperbacks, but she’s quite an author in her own right. Scott has some really creepy tales, many of them reminding me of Stephen King in his early career. Scott is also one of my beta-readers, but he didn’t learn to write horror from me—I’m not good at that, so he has a natural talent.  Both authors, Donna and Scott, are good friends…and quite talented.

Are you waiting for my post-apocalyptic thriller? It’s been sent to beta-readers. The post-apocalyptic subgenre is very popular now, but The Last Humans is a bit different than your average post-apocalyptic thriller. First, it’s nearer present day. Second, it mostly takes place in California and is only the second novel of mine to take place in my home state (the thriller Silicon Slummin’…and Just Gettin’ By was the first). Third, it features another strong, smart woman who manages to survive the aftermath of an apocalypse.

When I receive the inputs from my beta-readers, which I really value, I’ll start querying agents and small presses. Publishing with Penmore Press, the small press that published Rembrandt’s Angel, was a good experience, so they’ll get first look. I’ll also have some new offerings via my Canadian friends at Carrick Publishing too.

These are all good reasons to keep reading this newsletter, of course.

Reviews of Rembrandt’s Angel. We’ve sent quite a few reviewers copies of this mystery/thriller novel in exchange for an honest review. We’re waiting for their reviews. The book is still too new. The one unsolicited review on Amazon has five stars, but the review has some real meat to it. doesn’t use a star system, but their reviewer also liked the novel and wrote a long review.

Do you review? I have a fixed budget for each book’s reviews. Print and ebook versions are treated differently because the former are more expensive and have associated mailing costs.

Each of my books needs more reviews. You can read any of them for free, while the book budget permits, in return for an honest review. Amazon provides .mobi formatted files; Smashwords provides that plus other formats you might prefer. Print versions are a bit more problematic (see above).  Query me via my contact page.

Authors need book reviews nowadays. Help your favorite authors by reviewing their books. Only a short review containing what you like or dislike about the book and why helps other readers and the authors of the books.

Google+. I once thought of it as a good alternate to Facebook. It’s never lived up to the hype. I still “shared” my blog articles there using the little icon on my website. Now that icon takes me to somewhere else that looks nothing like Facebook…or Google+. Bye-bye, Google+. You’re now dead as far as I’m concerned.

Is Google becoming yet another monster indifferent to its users? Probably. Increasing size often goes hand-in-hand with increasing indifference and incompetence!

Smashwords annual report. FYI: This online ebook retailer and distributor is one of Amazon’s biggest competitors. Each year they produce an annual report—always interesting and sometimes controversial. Mark Coker focuses on ebooks, of course, and indie authors. The latest report shows the romance genre still dominates Smashwords (no surprise there), and there’s a slight uptick in ebook pricing (fair warning?). If you’re a member, you have access to the report. It costs nothing to become a member and you’ll have access to fantastic ebooks and their promos, including their summer/winter catalog. Most of my books are on sale until July 31.

My Smashwords critique. What the annual report doesn’t contain are my pet peeves. First, Smashwords doesn’t seem to worry about book piracy. They should. Second, they also emphasize newer ebooks in their search categories; my older ebooks are still fresh and current—some of the earliest, like Full Medical, the first book in the “Clones and Mutants Series” (it has a second edition), are more current today than when I wrote them! Finally, an author’s books aren’t easy to find in their annual summer/winter catalog; most of mine are on sale, but I can’t find them! If you go to my author page (search on Steven M. Moore), you’ll see all my books, but the prices listed there are the non-promo prices, not those in the catalog.

Smashwords’s advantages over Amazon: In spite of the critique above, they distribute to other retailers; Amazon doesn’t. They’re affiliated with lending services; Amazon asks an author to be exclusive to their site before s/he can lend books via Amazon, and those customers are pretty much limited to Prime members.

These are big advantages! This is why my ebooks are no longer exclusive to Amazon.

This newsletter… is a freebie. You don’t have to sign up for it because it appears in my blog—you only have to visit my website. The newsletter is archived in its own special category, so it’s easy to read back numbers. Moreover, comments are appreciated, just like for all my blog posts, either by using my contact page to send me an email, or by commenting directly at the bottom of the newsletter. I value your opinions.


In libris libertas! 



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