Archive for October, 2010

David Farland

David Farland

No matter how long you’ve been writing, the study never ends. Whether it’s the nuts and bolts of craft, how to construct a gripping story, or how to sell a manuscript, there’s always more to learn, even more so because the world publishing is rapidly changing.

It’s not easy to find an old pro who will share their best secrets and tips with you, but that’s what David Farland (the pen name of Dave Wolverton) does for free with his email service called the “Daily Kick in the Pants.” I’ve been surprised at how much I’ve learned from this free service. I knew David Farland was a respected and successful writer with decades of wisdom behind him, but I didn’t realize how invaluable some of his tips would be until I started reading his “Daily Kick.”

You can sign up for it at DavidFarland.net.

There’s also new item on David Farland’s home page (10/19/10), a free recording of a recent conference call:

David Farland’s First Authors Advisory Conference Call

Listen in on David’s first ever Authors Advisory Conference Call where Dave covers everything from world creation to adience analysis!

David Farland will also be speaking at the next Superstars Writing Seminar in Salt Lake City, UT, January 13-15, 2011. I attended the first event and loved it Here’s a blog post from Kevin J Anderson about the event. Early bird pricing is still in effect until the end of October. Tell ‘em Large Mo sent ya!
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Piers Anthony on KindlePiers Anthony was interviewed by Red Adept on her blog today.  It’s a short interview, so I encourage you to check it out, but here are some of the most interesting parts (to me):

Red Adept: You have been publishing since 1963. Had eReaders been developed when you wrote your first book, would you have taken the Independent Publishing (Indie) route?

Piers Anthony: I would have tried for it, yes.

Red Adept: As a fantasy/science fiction author, what improvements do you see for eBook Readers in the future?

Piers Anthony: Better formatting, better terms for authors, better shelf life. That is, books can stay in print forever and keep paying royalties.

Red Adept: What advice would you offer to new authors in today’s publishing world?

Piers Anthony: Get into electronic publishing. It’s the future.
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22
Oct

Red Adept Reviews My Work: 5 Stars

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work, Reviews

I found out that Red Adept–who is THE Kindle indie book reviewer–was going to review my novella last Saturday. She wrote me to let me know that she would be posting the review on Tuesday, and she sent me a letter that initially had me wondering if it was going to be a bad review, even though it should’ve been obvious that it was a form letter. For example:

“My actual rating in the review is final … While I am happy to listen to any issues you have with my review, please understand that a review is just an opinion, in this case, mine. Therefore, I will not engage in any “debates.”

After thinking about it, I knew it was a form letter, but since this was my first big review by a major reviewer, I felt pretty anxious until Tuesday morning when I woke up and pulled this up on my screen:

Red Adept Reviews

I received The Black God’s War: A Novella Introducing a new Epic Fantasy, by Moses Siregar III, as a Review Copy from the author.

Description: Set in the middle of a ten-year war, this novella is the story of Lucia, who is being tempted by the “Black God” and her brother, the savior of her people.

Overall: 5 Stars

Plot/Storyline: 4 3/4 Stars

I enjoyed this novella from its opening chapter to its gripping end, which left me wanting more, as all good stories do. As just a fantasy tale, it provided plenty of entertainment. However, I found further enjoyment on another level.

I found this novella to be an interesting metaphor for religion in the ‘real world’, both historical and present. One faction is fighting for the right to worship and follow their own gods, while the other faction is fighting to spread their “religion” (although it’s never called that in the book) and force the first faction into submission. The biggest difference was that in the book, the gods’ existences are undisputed. By that, I mean that no one is saying they don’t exist. They do. They are evident and visit certain people. Therefore, it was more of a war between the gods than a war between people; although it was the people who suffered.

However, it did appear that the people had some free choice. They chose which gods to worship, how to wage war, or even whether to not wage war. The gods didn’t force them, just nudged them a little.

The novella is mainly about Lucia, the main character, her interactions with the black god and her country at war. Upon reading the first chapters with this information, I developed a real empathy for her and her people. Amazingly, the author managed to turn that completely around with just a short section told from the viewpoint of the other faction. I went from empathising with the first faction to being horrified at their actions. What a difference viewpoint can make!

My only criticism stems from the dreams that Lucia experiences. Afterward, she has trouble telling reality from the dreams, but she eventually is able to divine truth. Unfortunately, one dream toward the end is so vivid that I got a bit confused for awhile, making me stumble a bit in the reading process.

Although this is a “prelude” for a future series, I found it to be complete with a satisfying ending. There is even a little romance thrown in for good measure.

Character Development: 5 Stars

For the format, the characters were sufficiently well developed. I assume the author will be developing them further in his first book of the series, but this was a great introduction to them.

I enjoyed Lucia very much. I hope that in the full book more is disclosed regarding her childhood.

Lucia’s brother is the “messiah” of his country. I was treated to a small taste of what he felt about his “calling.” This is another character that would be fun to see developed further.

Writing Style: 5 Stars

The writing style of this novella immediately put me at ease in the setting. The opening chapter is told from the viewpoint of a child, and the voice was perfect. The descriptions were rich and vibrant.
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This is Moses again. I also answered some questions at the end of her review.

Thanks, Red Adept, for your very kind review!
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21
Oct

Nielsen BookScan To Track Ebook Sales by the End of 2010?

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in Ebooks, Publishing

Nielsen offers a widely used service called BookScan that tracks book sales. Editors, book buyers, and other publishing professionals can use BookScan to look up book sales and decide if they want to work with or carry certain books or authors.

Alan Rinzler writes:

BookScan numbers are like an author’s credit rating

All book publishers (and some savvy authors) subscribe to Nielsen BookScan.  The very first thing an acquisitions editor does is check a published author’s Nielsen numbers, when considering a new submission.

I just found out today, after emailing with Dennis Halby at Nielsen, that Nielson is hoping to track ebook sales by the end of 2010 and that they are working diligently on this goal, though they do not have a confirmed date so this is still speculative information.

This would be big news for publishing, because it would make it possible for anyone to compare ebook sales to print sales. We could begin to see what percentage of sales for any given book or author are e-sales and how these percentages compare between different categories (for example, fiction vs non-fiction) or genres.

Here are a couple of older blog posts on this topic. Why We Need a BookScan for Ebooks, by Ryan Chapman (September 2009) and Will Kindle Crash Nielson BookScan by Steve Weber (May 2009).

Literary agent Kristin Nelson wrote a blog post called An ISBN that could Hurt, in which she warned self-publishing authors:

Here’s something to keep in mind though (besides the fact that self published books need solid marketing efforts to succeed). Self-published books (through Lulu or similar) are assigned an ISBN—a sales identifier for that work. And here’s where the ISBN could hurt you. Once a book has an ISBN, then sales of that book can be tracked on Bookscan. If the books sell thousands and thousands of copies, not a problem but if the book sells only 20 copies, this could potentially make the road to traditional publishing more difficult. Editors often check Bookscan when considering previously published writers. Book Buyers at the major chains are looking at these numbers as well.

If the sales record is strong, no big deal; if it’s not, those low sales could create a roadblock unless the writer is willing to change his/her name to start with a clean slate.

I’m putting this out there because I imagine a lot of writers contemplating this route might not have considered the potential ISBN trap.

This new development ought to be interesting to anyone who considers self-publishing, even if just with ebooks, and still wants to be careful about keeping their options open with traditional publishers. In the past, self-publishing an ebook was something that seemed relatively harmless because your sales were a relatively private affair. Amazon has its sales rankings, but that’s a complicated formula that gives constantly changing information and can’t be used to know actual book sales.

Boyd Morrison, for example, self-published an ebook in March of 2009 and successfully used those sales to interest the Pocket Books imprint of Simon and Schuster in acquiring the US rights to his work. He wrote recently on KindleBoards.com that he self-published only electronically to avoid the potential ISBN trap that Kristin Nelson wrote about.

Now it sounds like things have changed and someone in a situation like Boyd Morrison was previously in would need to consider whether or not he wants to self-publish any ebooks.

Of course, many “indie” authors aren’t interested in traditional publishing anyway. But many others are interesting in both publishing worlds, so for them this would be a new reality to consider.

This is also good news for indie authors who have good e-sales on their resumes, though it probably doesn’t make much difference for them since they can already report their e-sales (as Boyd Morrison did, and as Amanda Hocking has reported that she did when she contacted agents).

The most interesting thing about all of this to me is that transparency may be coming very soon to ebook sales.
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18
Oct

Great Moments in Personal Geekdom: Moses Got His Novella Back

   Posted by: Moses Siregar III    in My Work

The site: Our house, in the middle of our street.

The date: 10/18/10

The event: Opening the box with the first proof copies of my novella (an intro to my novel), which I will use as review copies and bring to WFC.

If you’re interested in a very, very limited edition copy, I’m selling a small number of them for $20 (including shipping).

"Oh, crap. Oh, crap. Oh, crap."

Come out and play, my precious.

"Heh heh. Heh. Hehe. Heh."

"I made this."

"Look at that awesome comma I used right there. Wow. Breathtaking."

"Hey, baby, it's bigger than it looks right now."

Where it all begins ...

With some love for Jillian Sheridan and Rich W Ware

With some love for Jillian Sheridan, Scott Nicholson, and Rich W Ware


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From Kevin J Anderson’s recent blog post, A Day at Work:

A few years after my first novels were published, David Brin asked me if I would collaborate with him on a short story.  At the time, David was at the height of his career, winner of numerous awards, a New York Times bestselling author, one of the most respected names in the field.  I, on the other hand, had far fewer credits.  Although we had known each other for a while, I was still surprised by the offer.  “Really?  Why would you want to collaborate with me?”

“Because I want to figure out how you can be so prolific.”

So, we plotted and worked on the story, back and forth, but it never really came together.  Finally, after about three months, David said to me, “All right, I’ve figured out how you can write so much.  It’s because …

I know, that was a low-down, dirty trick. An in-your-face, I-know-you-can’t-resist-this-link, cliff-hanger ending.

But if you want to know the rest, you’ll have to read the rest.

Check it out, then come on back.

Venture forward, only ye who fear not the dreaded semi-spoiler-beast of Golamabarthu-ki’i’:

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I don’t know about you, but this post from Kevin J Anderson brought up a mix of thoughts and feelings for me.

  1. Depressing: Could I even do that?
  2. Contemplative: Do I even want to do that?
  3. Inspiring: I want to do that!

For now, I’m going with what’s behind door number 3. I’m hoping it’s the trip to Tahiti instead of the stinkin’ farm animal (though farm animals are great, if that’s what you’re into).

What's Behind Door Number ...

Kevin J Anderson and other Sci-Fi and Fantasy writing luminaries will be offering their second Superstars Writing Seminar in Utah in January. I intend to write more about this seminar soon. I went to the first event, and I did not, in any way, get zonked.

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