Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Writing Wibbles

Lots of ground to cover this week, so I’ll get right on it…

• • •

First off, Angela Kulig’s mini-anthology Coffin Nails is free through Wednesday! Go get it.

• • •

Kindle Unlimited… I’m hearing a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over a new lending service. Seems like we get this every time Amazon tries something new, huh? (Tip: instead of spending $10/month, go down to your local library and get set up for borrowing eBooks. It’s free and the selection is wider.)

My take: The per-borrow payout has been a over $2 for months, now, slightly more than the royalty on a $3 eBook purchase. Amazon has offered a 30-day free trial, so I expect that August is going to push down that payout quite a bit (my guess: it will be around 50¢) despite Amazon increasing the fund by 66%. For some authors, the increased borrows will more than offset the depressed per-borrow payout. Others will hate it—perhaps enough to yank their books out of Select.

Amazon is walking a tightrope. At current payout levels, an average of four borrows per member per month (about one per week) will nearly wipe out the monthly subscription fee. But if the payout drops too far, authors will pull their most popular books, making the service much less attractive.

I’d recommend taking Green Day’s advice: wake me up when September ends. The free trials will peter out, Amazon will adjust the lending fund, and I expect that things will right themselves by November.

• • •

I’ve been tagged in the Meet my Main Character blog tour by my Twitter bud and co-op partner, Tony Noland!

Here are the rules:

The taggee must write a post answering the same seven questions about their MC (main character). Then the taggee becomes the tagger and chooses five other authors.

Since I have an ongoing series, this is both a WIP and a published work. It has not one MC, but three. I thought it would be more fun to let them answer the questions.

1. What is the name of your main character? Is he a fictional or a historical person?

Sura: What is this “he” about?

Mik: I think this world uses “he” as a generic pronoun, Sura.

Bailar: Mik is right. No offense was meant. Now, let me introduce us. I am Bailar the Blue, once Sorcerer of Exidy, although we haven’t seen home in over a year now. These are my apprentices: Sura sam Bailar, also my daughter, and Mik sim Mikhile, whom I named Mik Dragonrider. Sura and Mik are 14 and 15, respectively, as of our latest adventure. I suppose you would consider us fictional, although we feel quite real to ourselves.

2. When and where is the story set?

Bailar: We have roamed a great deal of Termag, the name of our world, so far. The three of us are citizens of the Stolevan Matriarchy, and we hope to return there some day. We’ve seen great cities, little upriver villages, and the ruins of ancient sites that will soon be resettled.

3. What should we know about him?

Sura: There’s that “him” again, but no matter. As an infant, I was abandoned on my father’s doorstep. It’s unheard of for Matriarchy women to abandon their daughters, but he raised me as his own. I learned of my true parentage in The Sorcerer’s Daughter. Without a mother, I’m legally the head of our household. Still, I defer to Father on certain matters.

Mik: I grew up in Lacota, one of those upriver villages the mentor mentioned. Two winters ago, I awakened an ice dragon when invaders from Westmarch were set to overrun my home. I had no training in sorcery, but the spell was in a child’s rhyme. It drove away the invaders, but I didn’t know I was supposed to dispell it afterwards. So it flew me to Exidy, and I became an apprentice.

Bailar: There is a fairly complete history of my life elsewhere. To that I would add, I have my hands full these days. Not only with all our adventures, but keeping the apprentices focused on their studies. Sura and Mik are good people, and excellent apprentices, but Nature tempts them. The skirmishes we’ve been in have given them a taste for mayhem as well, and that sometimes troubles me.

4. What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

Sura: Patriarchies.

Mik: The mentor scrying when Sura and I are alone together.

Bailar: You need to whisper more softly, Mik.

Sura: That was second on my list.

Bailar: And that is why I scry. But my apprentices downplay our adventures. Each of the stories to date has a primary conflict, or perhaps a series of them. We have faced rogue mages, pirates on rivers and high seas, lovestruck suitors, and creatures thought extinct. We need not go looking for trouble, it finds us easily enough.

5. What is his personal goal?

Sura: His again. I give up. Let’s go, Mik. Father can finish this.

Bailar: Keeping the apprentices focused on earning their sashes, and keeping them safe. Although, sometimes, they end up rescuing me. Serving the Conclave, seeing new things. You know, I dreamed of adventure when I myself was an apprentice. As painful as it can be at times, I do enjoy this life.

6. Is there a working title for this novel and can we read more about it?

Bailar: Of course! First, I shall link to the first four stories already published.

Accidental Sorcerers
Water and Chaos
The Sorcerer's Daughter
Into the Icebound

The next story, Lost in Nightwalk, is about our harrowing experience in Koyr, which was supposed to be a safe haven. There will be excerpts soon enough, I believe.

7. When can we expect the book to be published?

Bailar: The first draft is complete, and the finished book should be available before the next solstice. Now, let me check on the apprentices before they get into too much mischief…



And… they’re gone. I guess I need to tag the next five victims. A lot of my Twitter friends are already tagged, so I’ll dip into the Google+ pool as well:

9 comments:

  1. I hope everyone who hates it and is pissed at Amazon stops selling there... WINK WINK

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    1. Well yeah, exactly. There are lots of other options available, including setting up a shopping cart on one's own web page.

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    2. Now I like that idea Katherine ^_^

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    3. It does have the advantage of 100% royalties!

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  2. Thank you for mentioning the library aspect of KU -- that was the first thing I heard of when the announcement happened. I'm very lucky to live in a city with a really great book selection, both ebook and paper (plus they have DVDs, CDs, and streaming music and video... why don't people use libraries more?). But hey, if you don't have access at a municipal level, or you get tired of waiting in the holds queue for your items to come in, then KU makes a lot of sense.

    I've noticed most of the wailing over KU is happening in countries where if you want to sell electronic works, it's Amazon or bust. Otherwise, Amazon is an important part of the mix, but it's not the be-all and end-all. Who knows? Maybe KU will have a knock-on effect and boost Google Play and iTunes book sales. Stranger things have happened.

    And I love the way that you responded to the character questions! Sura's always so cool.

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    1. The library aspect was fresh in my mind, as I'd just set up my Kindle with my local library a couple weeks previous. I don't get to our library as often as I'd like, as the hours are pretty tight these days, but they have a ton of services. Like your library, we can get movies, music, audiobooks… and sign out laptops. If you don't want a Smelly Dell, they have Chromebooks!

      Glad you enjoyed the banter. I knew it would be more fun to let them answer the questions than me answering for them.

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  3. I found this an interesting posts Larry, I have to admit I hardly ever read my Amazon news letters so I'm a bit dim about what's happening - thanks for keeping me up to date!

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  4. I haven't been paying much attention to what everyone's been saying about KU. I'm pretty meh about it.

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  5. I hadn't heard about this new Amazon service but you've pretty much summed it up for me!

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