Tag Archives: Amazon

Cancer sucks, and fiction’s fun!

Happy Halloween! I hope you’re staying warm (and dry, those of you who met with Hurricane Sandy), and I wish you all a great night with friends and family… and good fiction.

While you’re looking for the perfect Halloween read, check out Inveterate Media Junkies’ series of posts today about the awesome anthology, Hazard Yet Forward! This collection of short stories sends all proceeds after Amazon’s cut to cancer-fighting superhero, Donna Munro. You can celebrate this evening by reading great fiction, spitting in cancer’s face, AND eating all that candy you couldn’t bring yourself to give away to the neighborhood kiddies. Yeah, I know about that secret Snickers bites bag.

Come on down to IMJ to learn about the amazing writers who have contributed to this anthology. There really is something for everyone!

You can read my column, The Princess and Her PS3, here.

You can read Heidi Ruby Miller’s column, Geek Girl Underground, here.

You can read Jason Jack Miller’s column, Sound Check, here.

Which is your favorite story from this anthology? I honestly can’t decide — there are so many amazing ones. Let me know if you have a recommendation!

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Breast Cancer Sucks, but Great Fiction Helps

Here is an anthology that everyone will want. It offers just about every type of fiction you could need from top authors in their genres — and it supports one of the coolest writer chicks I know who is currently battling breast cancer like a champ. Read on for the press release, and get your copy today!

Seventy-six writers connected to the Seton Hill University Writing Popular Fiction program have created a multi-genre charity anthology entitled Hazard Yet Forward.  All proceeds from this project will benefit Donna Munro, a 2004 graduate of the program.  Munro, a teacher living in St. Louis, Missouri, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  An active member of the SHU WPF alumni committee, Munro helps organize the school’s annual writing conference, the In Your Write Mind Workshop.

To aid Munro and her family, faculty members, alumni, students and friends of the Writing Popular Fiction program quickly responded to compile this massive anthology.  The book features flash fiction, short stories and even a full-length novella.  In total, there are 75 works from various genres, which makes this anthology one that features something for everyone.

Genres represented in the book range from horror to romance to mystery – and everything in between.  Some of the notable writers in the anthology are World Fantasy Award winner Nalo Hopkinson, Bram Stoker winners Michael A. Arnzen and Michael Knost, Bram Stoker nominee Lawrence C. Connolly, ALA/YALSA Best Book for Young Adults winner Jessica Warman, Rita finalist Dana Marton, Spur winner Meg Mims, Asimov’s Readers’ Award winner Timons Esaias  and WV Arts and Humanities literary fellowships winner Geoffrey Cameron Fuller.

About Hazard Yet Forward, co-compiler Matt Duvall says, “It’s an unprecedented collection of stories from every genre imaginable.”  This large volume is an electronic book for the popular Kindle platform and is available for purchase through Amazon starting August 7.  It’s also reasonably priced.  The book will be on sale for $9.99.

I am honored to be a part of this anthology.  My story “God Corp.” is one that I penned around the time I first met Donna, so it is a special treat to be able to include it in this amazing collection.

More information about the anthology can be found at http://hazardyetforward.wordpress.com.

Does Amazon’s lending service help or destroy authors?

Amazon Prime members can now borrow a book for free with no due date.

There seem to be mixed feelings among writers about this offer. What does it mean for authors and publishers?

Complaints about this are similar to debates regarding ebook pricing and giveaways. At what point are authors pricing themselves out of business?

Assume that it takes about six weeks for a seasoned author to write a strong first draft of a novel. Depending on the writer’s process, research may come during these six weeks (lengthening this time) or after, when revisions take place. Critique partners read the chapters and make comments. Changes are made. This may take several more weeks, depending on deadlines and other issues.

If the writer already has a publisher waiting, then it’s time to send the work there to be read, marked up, and sent back for final revisions. Tack on some more weeks and hours of work on the author’s part.

If the writer does not have a publisher waiting, then begins the submission process, which can take months or even years to complete successfully. Finding the perfect match in an editor or agent is a notoriously difficult thing to accomplish, and many writers never find that “best fit.”

Count up the hours and weeks/months/years it took the author to write, research, revise, promote, query, revise, submit, revise, and finally realize publication, and then that $0.00 price tag looks a bit low.

But is it a killer for the industry?

Amazon’s new lending service is technically a subscription model, since borrowers must be Amazon Prime members – they must also own a Kindle to participate. This reminds some users of the Netflix structure, where subscribers are able to put some films in their “instant” queues indefinitely. I have over a hundred in mine right now. Some I have watched multiple times.

I also already have an Amazon Prime membership; it gives me deals on shipping and renting films online that I can’t find on Netflix. In addition, I own a Kindle and am constantly purchasing new titles to save for a rainy day. Amazon Prime lending is definitely a service that is intended for a consumer like me.

When I consider the debates surrounding Amazon’s lending subscription, I take the writer’s process very seriously. My YA fantasy finished its contract with its original publisher after a good two-year run, and I decided to indie publish it to keep it out there while I work on other titles.

The opening week cost was a choice I had to make carefully. Should I go for a standard rate of $2-3 for a full-length novel that has been thoroughly edited and vetted by readers and reviewers already? Or should I lower the price to attract new readers who might be willing to take a chance on something when the risk is only $0.99?

For my opening week, I have offered From Light to Dark at under a dollar because I ultimately decided the extra readership is my most important asset. This isn’t the only work of fiction I will want to share with audiences. The larger my audience grows, the better my returns will be – and, consequently, the more I will write.

I wonder whether the Amazon lending service will provide a similar result for authors. It’s worth noting that many of the major publishers have rejected this new borrowing plan and will not offer their books as part of it. Are they making the right decision?

I keep thinking of Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, which he released for free as part of Creative Commons, and his description of Neil Gaiman’s question to fans:

“Hands up in the audience if you discovered your favorite writer for free ­­because someone loaned you a copy, or because someone gave it to you? Now, hands up if you found your favorite writer by walking into a store and plunking down cash.”

According to Doctorow, it was the freebies that made life-long fans of writers. These people came across a title by paying no money at all, but after that they bought several copies of each title the author put out, some to share with others, and they attended book signings and generally spread the love.

So, readers and writers, what do you think? Are authors pricing and lending ourselves out of business? Or are we taking a loss up front to expand our readership down the road?

From Light to Dark

Borders is closing its stores. Is the reader community diminishing?

This morning readers got some sad news: Borders will be closing 30% of its stores in a matter of weeks.

In my area, at least, Borders is one of the best places to go for books, community, and local literary flavor. It’s without a doubt one of my favorite stores.

Want to know whether your preferred Borders is on the chopping block? Check here. It’s a depressingly long list, but there is a search function where you can enter your city name or the store’s address to see if it appears.

Is this the future of print books that some have predicted will come as a result of computers and e-readers? I love my Kindle, as I’ve shared before. But it can’t meet all of my needs as a reader.

Is this another example of how stores like Amazon have attracted more customers with low prices and convenient access? It’s great to be able to check the reviews of a book online or order something I’d like to read in the future. Still, I’m an impulsive reader. I like to pick titles up the same day when the mood hits me.

One of my biggest concerns is the growing lack of locations to gather with a shared interests in books. What will become of the community setting that book stores currently provide? Is it enough to gather online?