News and Notices from the Writing Trenches #37…

#210:  Show your appreciation with a review….  I just received a glowing review of Survivors of the Chaos from David W. Menefee, Pulitzer-nominated author and reviewer for  Indie authors know what I’m talking about when I say how much I appreciate this review.  Thanks, Dave!

Readers of indie authors, you can show your appreciation for your indie author’s hard work and dedication to entertaining you by not only buying his or her books, but by writing a small review for Amazon or elsewhere, saying what you liked about the book (for more on this, see below).  Authors live for your feedback and there’s not any better way to do it than through a review.

#211:  Finishing a trilogy….  Survivors was the start of “The Chaos Chronicles Trilogy.”  Sing a Samba Galactica continued it.  I finished it off with Come Dance a Cumbia…with Stars in Your Hand!  Consider it my Foundation trilogy, although I’m far from being Isaac Asimov reincarnated.  What’s next?

I’m in the final editing of The Golden Years of Virginia Morgan.  More thriller than sci-fi, it features detectives Chen and Castilblanco, but does not make a trilogy with The Midas Bomb and Angels Need Not Apply.  I have another book sketched out for that.  No, Golden is DHS agent Ashley Scott’s very own sci-fi thriller, the one she had been on my case about (an excerpt will be featured ASAP in my blog).

In spite of hurricane Sandy, so far 2012 has been a productive year.  I know my muses wanted more from me, but I’ve managed mostly to ignore their cajoling whispers and louder threats.  In particular, I’m dangerously close to carpal tunnel syndrome, so Sandy actually benefitted me in that sense—forced vacation from writing.  Moreover, the holidays are upon us, so I plan to spend some time with family and friends as the year draws to a close—you should too.

#212:  Why indie authors?  Lately, I’ve noticed the following pricing phenomena:  Big Six (Big Five if you count the Random House-Penguin merger a done deal) eBooks are averaging around $13, indie eBooks around $4.  Just my perception, of course, but there is an increasing price trend for indie eBooks—due to the possible stigma associated with free and $0.99, but the $4 price is my take on where indie prices are stabilizing.  Let’s call it $5 so I can say that an indie eBook will bring you many more hours of pleasure than a Starbucks coffee!

On the other hand, the Big Six (or Big Five) are gouging the reading public.  I will not pay more than $10 for any fiction book, no matter who writes it.  This is partly because I run my writing business on a shoestring and can’t afford the luxury of enriching the Big Six (their authors receive less royalties than I do, percentage-wise).  I also get many books as freebies because I’m a reviewer (more than a casual one, that is).  And, finally, there is the phenomenon that a new Big Six eBook might be $13 today, but next year it will be $9.

The bottom line is that indie authors offer you more bang for your buck than Big Six authors (in my case, you have more bangs period and they’re real—as real as they can be in a thriller book).  Remember that when plopping down the $5 at Starbucks.  And you’ll get a better cup of coffee for your money at Dunkin’ Donuts or MacDonald’s—or, at home, for that matter.  (I lived in Colombia and I know good coffee—it’s not “dark roast,” because that only means “burnt tasting.”  Colombian coffee is the softest coffee around—why burn it?  Just sayin’….)  You could argue that Starbucks is over-priced and indie eBooks are under-priced, but remember that indie paradigm doesn’t have to support all the middle people between author and reader that the legacy publishing paradigm does.

#213:  Reviews.  I know I’m running the risk of being repetitive, but it’s worthwhile to harp on my policies about reviews, interviews, and guest blog posts.  I prefer handling my reviews (i.e. those I write) through  We’re a bunch of independent reviewers who write honest reviews.  Our Master and Commander Norm Goldman presents us with the titles that come in to him, and we snatch them up, or not, first come, first serve.  Otherwise, the website operates like many other reviewing sites on the web.

On the other hand, if you want to review one of my eBooks, just query me.  Within my shoestring budget, I can gift you the book with the understanding that you will read it and write a review (that’s SOP—I’m not buying an excellent review and feel that it’s a good way to find another reader).  Moreover, and this is a recent policy, I will gift any other eBook you choose to a shut-in, handicapped person, or charity of your choice.  That’s a win-win-win situation for all involved in the process.

#214:  Interviews and guest blog posts.  Regular readers of this blog will probably remember my interview of thriller author Gina Fava and her three interesting guest blog posts.  Readers benefit from such an interchange (I also “have appeared” on Gina’s site) by discovering new authors and/or learning about ones they already know.  They also benefit from reading other authors’ ideas beyond those of yours truly.  For the authors, this is generally an equal interchange between us, so we benefit from more web presence.

Fellow authors, this is easy to set up, although some work is involved.  For example, I can provide a list of questions I’d like the interviewee to answer.  She can ask me the same ones or use her own list when interviewing me.  For the guest posts, the interchange is usually comprised of some posts about the business of writing, but that’s not required—it’s just that this blog is mostly op-ed, so it’s a bit weak on the writing end.

#215:  Happy Thanksgiving!

In libris libertas….

[Note:  There will be no post on Thursday.  Happy Thanksgiving to all U.S. readers…enjoy the company of your family and friends.]

[If you enjoyed this post, support this blog:  read some of my books.]

3 Responses to “News and Notices from the Writing Trenches #37…”

  1. Scott Says:

    Who is “Infinity Publishing”? I notice your books from them are considerably more expensive than the ones from Carrack Publishing.

    BTW, I finished your short story collection. There were a bunch of very entertaining shorts in there. Made me want to get to the Detectives Chen and Castilliblanco stories much sooner than I had them in my queue…

    One other quick note – THE SHROUD by Steven and Michael Meloan was very good. A bit wordy at times, but the ideas and issues in the story were thought provoking…it reminded me of some of your fiction (not the wory part, the thought provoking part 🙂 )

  2. steve Says:

    Hi Scott,
    Infinity Publishing is primarily POD…the best I’ve found. As a result, their trade paperbacks (where I started self-publishing) are expensive, and when they added eBooks, they also tend to be expensive. They recommend the prices and I naively followed their recommendations. The difference between trade paperback and eBook is more beneficial to the reader, though, than books from the Big Six (now Big Five and soon to be Big Four?).
    Lately, I’ve been limiting myself to eBooks–more control, less cost for me, and faster releases (my output in 2012 is a consequence). I pass the savings on to the readers with the idea that more volume makes up the difference. Carrick Publishing handles both formatting and covers now. They also offer editing services, but I do a pretty good job of that on my own (I’m my own worse critic).

  3. steve Says:

    Hi Scott,
    I just realized you made two other comments (am I still under the trypophan influence?).
    I’m pleased to see that the short story collection accomplished its mission with you. Every story in it is a freebie that can be found in “Steve’s shorts” here in this blog. I just bound them together and Carrick Publishing did the rest. At $0.99, it’s PR and marketing for the novels The Midas Bomb and Angels Need Not Apply. These will be followed by a true mystery (i.e. not a thriller) sometime next year, I hope. The good detectives are also secondary characters in The Golden Years of Virginia Morgan, which I’ll release late this year or early next year.
    I’ve got The Shroud on my list of books to check out. My reviewing often plays havoc with that list, though. It sounds similar to The Shekinah Legacy, a book I reviewed (the review can be found in “Book Reviews”).
    All the best,