A Wrinkle in Time as a Movie!

I am probably way behind everyone here, being in the outbacks of Central Europe and all, but I just learned that A Wrinkle in Time is being made into a movie! It was one of my all-time favorite books as a kid, and probably one of the main reasons I became a science fiction and fantasy addict — and eventually a science fiction and fantasy writer. 🙂

This is what I remember checking out from the Eugene Public Library in the sixties:

A Wrinkle in Time
Here the trailer:

I can only hope they do the book justice. On the other hand, I can hardly believe it took so long for the award winning book to be picked up by producers. I know I’m not the only one in my generation who regards the Newberry Award winning book by Madeleine L’Engle as a little less than a revelation. As a child in the sixties, it blew my mind, opening it to huge possibilities.

After which I became addicted to mind-blowing. 🙂

Scammers Break The Kindle Store

Sigh. More evidence of how clickfarms (and those who use them) win.

David Gaughran

On Friday, a book jumped to the #1 spot on Amazon, out of nowhere; it quickly became obvious that the author had used a clickfarm to gatecrash the charts.

The Kindle Store is officially broken.

This is not the first time this has happened and Amazon’s continued inaction is increasingly baffling. Last Sunday, a clickfarmed title also hit #1 in the Kindle Store. And Amazon took no action.

Over the last six weeks, one particularly brazen author has put four separate titles in the Top 10, and Amazon did nothing whatsoever. There are many such examples.

I wrote at the start of June about how scammers were taking over Amazon’s free charts. That post led to a phone conversation with KDP’s Executive Customer Relations.

Repeated assurances were given that the entire leadership team at Amazon was taking the scammer problem very seriously indeed. But it was also stressed that the…

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What I do when I take a break from writing

The beginning of this month, I sent Ygerna off to beta readers. If you follow this blog, you know that it ended up WAY longer than I intended, and I decided to reward myself with a short “vacation.”

I did some sewing.

Our place isn’t big enough that I can have a dedicated craft room — or it might be if I tossed half my books, I guess, but I’m not to that point yet. 🙂 Anyway, to do any sewing I have to haul out the machine and take over the dining room table. A bunch of mending had piled up that I couldn’t do by hand, so I got that finished first.

Then I started on the fun stuff.

For a while now, I’ve been collecting ideas on on Pinterest for upcycling projects — making new out of old. I’ve also been saving favorite garments with tears and holes rather than throwing them away, hoping I might be able to find the time to play with them a bit and possibly give them a new life. I’m pretty pleased with the results. Here’s a jeans skirt that had a serious tear combined with a VERY old maternity dress I couldn’t throw away because I loved the material so much:

Upcycled jeans skirt

And matching top:

Upcycled t-shirt

A couple more where the pictures turned out *g*:

Upcycled long shirt

Upcycled t-shirt

I also taught myself how to make roses out of fabric, and attached one to a skirt I made my granddaughter out of pants she’d grown out of:

silk rose

I also made a set of Barbie dresses for my girls out of a thrift store top, and saved a couple more t-shirts by sacrificing others and adding a bit of lace here and there. It was huge fun. I think I have come up with a suitable reward for myself for getting a book ready to kick out of the door.

I couldn’t leave off writing completely while I was concentrating on sewing — I managed that for about two days before I had to get back to something, even if it was only brainstorming.

But more on that in my next blog post. 🙂

I’m at #55 in the Kindle Store! (Not alone, unfortunately *g*)

As of this writing, the awesome anthology Galactic Empires, edited by Neil Clarke and containing my novella “Looking Through Lace” — alongside such greats as Greg Egan, John Barnes, Robert Reed, and Ian McDonald — is #55 overall in the Kindle Store!

Galactic Empires

Here’s the description and the complete lineup:

Neil Clarke, publisher of the award-winning Clarkesworld magazine, presents a collection of thought-provoking and galaxy-spanning array of galactic short science fiction.

From E. E. “Doc” Smith’s Lensman, to George Lucas’ Star Wars, the politics and process of Empire have been a major subject of science fiction’s galaxy-spanning fictions. The idiom of the Galactic Empire allows science fiction writers to ask (and answer) questions that are shorn of contemporary political ideologies and allegiances. This simple narrative slight of hand allows readers and writers to see questions and answers from new and different perspectives.

The stories in this book do just that. What social, political, and economic issues do the organizing structure of “empire” address? Often the size, shape, and fates of empires are determined not only by individuals, but by geography, natural forces, and technology. As the speed of travel and rates of effective communication increase, so too does the size and reach of an Imperial bureaucracy.Sic itur ad astra—“Thus one journeys to the stars.”

At the beginning of the twentieth century, writers such as Kipling and Twain were at the forefront of these kinds of narrative observations, but as the century drew to a close, it was writers like Iain M. Banks who helped make science fiction relevant. That tradition continues today, with award-winning writers like Ann Leckie, whose 2013 debut novel Ancillary Justice hinges upon questions of imperialism and empire.

Here then is a diverse collection of stories that asks the questions that science fiction asks best. Empire: How? Why? And to what effect?

Table of Contents:
– “Winning Peace” by Paul J. McAuley
– “Night’s Slow Poison” by Ann Leckie
– “All the Painted Stars” by Gwendolyn Clare
– “Firstborn” by Brandon Sanderson
– “Riding the Crocodile” by Greg Egan
– “The Lost Princess Man” by John Barnes
– “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard
– “Alien Archeology” by Neal Asher
– “The Muse of Empires Lost” by Paul Berger
– “Ghostweight” by Yoon Ha Lee
– “A Cold Heart” by Tobias S. Buckell
– “The Colonel Returns to the Stars” by Robert Silverberg
– “The Impossibles” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
– “Utriusque Cosmi” by Robert Charles Wilson
– “Section Seven” by John G. Hemry
– “The Invisible Empire of Ascending Light” by Ken Scholes
– “The Man with the Golden Balloon” by Robert Reed
– “Looking Through Lace” by Ruth Nestvold
– “A Letter from the Emperor” by Steve Rasnic Tem
– “The Wayfarer’s Advice” by Melinda M. Snodgrass
– “Seven Years from Home” by Naomi Novik
– “Verthandi’s Ring” by Ian McDonald

It is currently on sale for only $1.99, but since I’m not the one in charge here, I have absolutely no idea how long you can get it for that price.

I actually hadn’t even been aware that the book was already published — it was only the announcement by Bookbub that one of my books was on sale that clued me in. 🙂

In any case, looks to me like you can hardly go wrong if you like stories of far flung, future worlds.

Lots of free and 99c SFF eBooks for June!

After a bit of a lull in my promotional activities, I’m participating in several group promos this month, for Looking Through Lace, Chameleon in a Mirror, and Mars: A Traveler’s Guide. Here’s the breakdown for you:

Big 99c Science Fiction and Fantasy Sale: over 70 books to chose from, many of them boxed sets!

http://sffbookbonanza.com/99c-books/

I’m in this one with my award-winning novella, Looking Through Lace, about a xenolinguist who finds herself having to decipher more than just the language on a foreign planet.

But if 99c is too much for you, I’m also in a free promo via Instafreebie.

http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks/

My book in that one is my short story, Mars: A Traveler’s Guide, which was nominated for the Nebula Award. It used to be free on a number of sites, but that wasn’t resulting in sales of the collection it’s in, so I stopped giving it away — except for promos like this where I can entice a few more readers to sign up for my mailing list with it. 🙂

Finally, we have a special promo for readers who are subscribed to Kindle Unlimited. You can check out some titles available for free through KU here:

http://sffbookbonanza.com/kindle-unlimited/

This promo includes my time travel, Chameleon in a Mirror. Some of you might remember that a few months back I pulled all my books from KDP Select because pages read weren’t being counted anymore. But folks on Kboards are reporting that this has improved, so I decided to test the waters again.

Hope you find something you enjoy!

World Reading Habits

The reading data here is quite fascinating!

One Writer's Journey

As of Wednesday afternoon, I was half way through my rewrite – 4 chapters done and 4 to go.  Woo-hoo!

I took some time off to read a few blogs and found this oh-so interesting info-graphic.  What did I find interesting?  That 40% of American readers read print only.  I have to admit that when it comes to relaxation, I read print and only print.  I work on a screen so I’m not really very interested reading on it.

Then there was the list of best-selling books world-wide.  How many of them have you read?  I’ve read 13 of the 21.  Not bad but there are definitely a few on that list that I should pick up.  Like Don Quixote.

I was also pleasantry surprised to see that books have a larger share of the US media market than games.  Not what I expected, but an oh so pleasant surprise.

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Ygerna is done! (Almost)

I finally finished the “fill in the blanks” draft of Ygerna, my prequel novel for The Pendragon Chronicles! It took me a lot longer than I expected, since I apparently left more blanks than I had thought. :/ The last draft had about 85,000 words; this one has 117,000. I have created another monster …

Anyway, I was looking at the two versions of the cover I have from my cover artist, and I’m wondering now which one I should go with:

What do you guys think?

I already have several beta readers lined up, but if anyone else is interested, let me know in the comments. I won’t be sending Ygerna out right away. I want to let this draft sit for a couple of days and then do a complete read-through in hard copy. Here’s the book description:

Uthyr destroyed her life. Now she wants revenge.

When young Ygerna first meets Uthyr, Pendragon of Britain, she is dazzled by the handsome and famous warrior. But when Uthyr interprets admiration as consent and takes her by force, Ygerna’s hero worship turns to hatred.
And she will do anything to get revenge on the man who got her with child and ruined her life.

Next: finish the “fill in the blank” drafts of the other two books in The Glassmakers Trilogy. I’m trying to make this year the “Year of Completion” — as opposed to my usual, starting so many new projects I never get any of them done. 🙂

Amazon Has A Fake Book Problem

Despite all the things real authors have to put up with from Ama, they still haven’t solved the problem of scam authors out to get page clicks. Sigh.

David Gaughran

Fake books – powered by clickfarms – are gatecrashing Amazon’s charts. And despite being aware of the issue for well over a year, Amazon has failed to resolve it.

If you look at the Kindle Store Best Seller charts right now, and click over to Free Books, you will see that the Top 20 currently has five suspicious-looking titles.

None of them have reviews. All were published in the last week. They have no Also Boughts – meaning they have had very few sales. Each of these titles are around 2,500 pages long, seem to have duplicated content, and are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.

What is going on here?

For over fifteen months now, scammers have been raiding the Kindle Unlimited pot using a well-worn trick. They usually pilfer the content first of all – often by stealing an author’s original work and running it through a synonymizer – and…

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An Initial Attempt at Rebranding: A New Cover for Yseult

As much as I like the cover I already have for Yseult, the conversion rate for my ads is going from quite respectable to abysmal. Not completely understandable, since I haven’t changed the book description or cover for a long time, but given how many clicks I’ve been getting recently without sales, I decided it was time to experiment again. So without further ado, here is the first cover experiment for Yseult:

Yseult

The idea for this cover is that it maybe / hopefully fits the epic fantasy conventions better, which often have one decisive image rather than an illustration, like the original cover had. The other consideration is that the first cover might be too romantic in tone to draw the right readers. While Yseult is based on a tragic love story, there is a lot of political intrigue and loads of battles. A bad-ass sword just might be the better image for that than a gal and a moon, even if there is a sword on that cover too. But most people don’t notice it until I point it out to them.

Anyway, wish me luck. This may not be the first, since I’m determined to work on this until I get a better conversion rate for my ads. 🙂

Please Don’t Buy My Book

David Gaughran is back, with an interesting case study on also-boughts.

David Gaughran

I’m just back from The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. I won’t try and capture the magic of the event – Kobo Mark does an excellent job – but I would like to talk about the big takeaway: the dangers of Also Bought pollution.

Also Boughts are probably the most important aspect of the entire Amazon recommendation ecostructure. And also the least understood.

They are much more than a little strip under your book’s description – they power a huge chunk of the recommendations that Amazon serves to readers.

The Also Boughts are what tells Amazon that the readers of my non-fiction also like reading Susan Kaye Quinn, Sean Platt and Johnny Truant. Amazon uses this data to decide who to recommend books to – because Amazon is always seeking to show readers the books they are most likely to purchase.

For this reason, it’s important to monitor your…

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