Tag Archives: publications

Chameleon in a Mirror now available for Kindle!

My big update of the week is that I finally managed to get another book published! I uploaded Chameleon in a Mirror to KDP yesterday, and today it is live!

I want to thank all my beta readers and critique partners over the years for all their help. Feedback is so essential! I may not always take the advice I get, but I do address problems — I might resolve them in a different way than is suggested in the critiques, though. 🙂

I also have a question for you all. The only “time travel” category on Amazon that I could find is in the romance genre. CIAM has a strong romance subplot, but it’s not HEA, which romance readers expect. On the other hand, The Time Traveler’s Wife is also listed in the same category, and that’s not HEA either. Do you guys think it’s a mistake for me to list it under romance? I’m a little afraid I will end up with negative reviews for not making Billie give up everything she’s ever known for the sake of a married man. What do you guys think?

For now, the book is only available on Amazon. I’m still considering entering it in KDP Select for a while and trying a Countdown Deal with it to get more exposure before I publish it elsewhere. (But not free. I don’t believe in free anymore, with the exception of permafree.) My sales on other platforms are pretty pathetic, though, so I wouldn’t be giving much up, if anything. Amazon is where I make most of my money. If you are an ereader owner, where to you buy your ebooks?

Also, if anyone would like a review copy, please let me know!

As to my other goals, they’ve largely been on hold while I was concentrating on getting this book out. I did, however, get another short story submitted to a traditional market. That’s three so far this round! Not what I was aiming for, but still. I also continue to make progress on the translation. Now that CIAM is published, I will have to do a big push on that.

This is like a stone off my chest, I have to admit. The book may sell squat, but it’s a big item I can cross off my to-do list, and it makes me feel so much better. 🙂

Hope everyone else is happy with their progress!

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Publishing to multiple stores through Draft2Digital: Almost All the Way Home From the Stars

A while back, I promised to blog about the process of formatting a book for all sales channels offered by Draft2Digital, including CreateSpace. Before I published this collection of stories I wrote with Jay Lake, Almost All the Way Home From the Stars, I only used D2D for B&N, Kobo, and the Apple bookstore. For that, I could upload the EPUB file that I compiled with Scrivener. For this collection, however, I also wanted hard copy, and in order to generate the PDF for CreateSpace, D2D requires a DOC file.

So I made a clean doc file of the book, (I talk more about that here), uploaded it to D2D, and waited to see what would happen.

I had a couple of problems with the upload that writers who use the service in the future will not have, at least according to a recent email I received listing some of the improvements they’ve made. I knew, for example, that the generation procedures used by Draft2Digital at the time of my upload stripped away all the scene break symbols, like “#” or “* * *”. On the Kindle Boards, I’d read the recommendation to use a graphic to indicate scene breaks in order to get around that “feature”. So I found a dingbat I thought fit in a science fiction book and replaced all the scene breaks with that.

Unfortunately, the D2D generators didn’t understand it, it defaulted to something else, and I ended up with a random letter between scenes.

Next try, I found a symbol native to Word in the hopes that it would stick, a simple diamond, and replaced all the scene breaks in my DOC file with that. That worked for the ebook venues, and I approved the ebook for publication.

Next step, CreateSpace. I wasn’t completely happy with the PDF that was to be the basis for the print copy, for several reasons. The most important was that it didn’t have a Table of Contents. That’s perfectly fine for a novel, but a short story collection really needs a TOC. So the wonderful Draft2Digital folks decided to use our book to test a new and improved PDF generation.

Now, after a lot of PDFs sent by D2D support and suggestions for improvement made by me, not only does the print version of Almost All the Way Home have a TOC, it also has running headers. You can take a look at how it turned out here.

Once I approved the PDF, I had to make the wraparound cover for the paperback. This is what it looks like:

The disadvantage of publishing to CreateSpace through D2D, I discovered, is that I don’t get a discount as an author, boo hoo. But now that it’s live, I think I’ll manage to buy myself a copy anyway. 🙂 (If you’re interested in other stores carrying the ebook, I listed them here.)

As to writing, rather than formatting and publishing, I finished the new version of Island of Glass last week. It is now 23,000 words, 7,000 words more than the last incarnation. Most of that is through adding Chiara’s step-sister Minerva as foil for the protagonist, as well as more detail where I had skipped it. Right now, I’m going through a printed copy before sending it to my niece, who will be my first reader.

Anyway, never a dull moment. And now, the winter that never wanted to end is finally showing signs of ending, and we have SO much to catch up on in the garden! That has taken a lot of my free time the last few days, I have to admit. 🙂

Wishing everyone a great week and much success with whatever you undertake!

The Canadian Who Won’t be Returning From the Stars

Ooof. I finally got the first collection of SF stories I’ve written with Jay Lake up to Draft2Digital tonight, Almost All the Way Home From the Stars. Here’s the blurb:

“Almost All the Way Home From the Stars” contains seven science fiction short stories by award winning writers Jay Lake and Ruth Nestvold. The settings range from distant worlds, to the near future, to an alternate US where slavery was never abolished. Here a sampling:

“Rivers of Eden”: In a world transformed by a virus affecting faith, one lone scientist wants to set loose a cure for fanaticism.

“The Big Ice”: On Hutchinson’s World, Vega and Mox are trying to unravel the mystery of the Big Ice — until the family responsibilities Vega has been trying to escape come back to haunt her.

“The Canadian Who Came Almost All the Way Home From the Stars”: An NSA agent is assigned to look after a Canadian scientist whose husband has left Earth to visit the stars — and the strange dimple in the lake that she is watching, while waiting for his return.

Five of the stories have been previously published elsewhere, in various online and print markets, including Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction. Two stories are new with this collection.

No links as yet, since it takes a while for books to go up on the various markets, but I will pass them along when I have them. I’m going straight D2D this time, since I’m passing all the profits on to Jay (what little there will be, given how notoriously hard short story collections are to sell). But it will make it a lot easier for me to keep track of profits for this book if everything is in one place. AND D2D will also do all the Createspace work for me. I wasn’t completely happy with the PDF that will be the basis for the print copy of the book, but doing all the Createspace formatting on my own for Yseult was a huge amount of work, and I don’t feel like tackling that again this week. I want this done and out of here. 🙂

And Jay needs to concentrate on his bucket list.

Speaking of Yseult, Createspace has finally approved the files I sent for the print version, but I would rather wait until the light of day to ok them for publication. *g*

In other news, my daughter and I created an amazing cover for Chameleon in a Mirror, but it’s late here in Central Europe, and I can’t figure out how to upload the image from the Facebook page, where I first asked for feedback. When I have a new version, I’ll upload it here!

Haven’t gotten very far in the New Words department in the last few days. I’m hoping that with a couple of these bigger projects off my list (see above), I can spend more time on plain old creation again.

Announcing a new anthology with one of my stories – and a reminder of free ebooks

I just got the news this week that an anthology I sold a story to some time ago has finally come out in ebook, with print to follow:

The theme of the book, Times of Trouble, is the much-maligned genre of time travel. A lot of people say it’s been done to death, and maybe they’re right, but reading A Wrinkle in Time when I was a kid was a mind-blowing revelation, and I’ve had a fondness for time travel ever since. Here’s the description of the book:

TIME TRAVEL IS THE ULTIMATE DO-OVER.

It’s funny how second chances usually wind up being just another opportunity to make the same mistakes, though.

The authors represented in the collection you now hold were tasked to create grim and gritty tales of time travel gone horribly wrong.

They have done so, in some wildly varied ways.

There are stories of rare and exceptional beauty; stories of dark, otherworldly horror; stories of white-knuckle thrills and even some that will make you laugh out loud.

In fact, if you pay close attention, in at least one of these adventures, you’ll realize that no time travel at all ever takes place.

All of them will take you places–and times–you’ve yet to be, and make you think about the experience.

I also want to remind everyone that two of my ebooks are free today, Beyond the Waters of the World and “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife.” In addition, Shadow of Stone will be on sale this weekend for 2.99.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Considering a new title: Playing with Lulu’s Titlescorer

I’ve been considering changing the title of “City of Glass” for some time now, but I recently bought a premade cover for the book, so now it is definitely time for me to make up my mind. By the way, here’s the cover I bought:

While I like the title “City of Glass,” there is a YA book now in the top 100 on Amazon also called “City of Glass.” I wrote my short story “City of Glass” years ago, long before the novel of the same name came out, but it might still look like I was using the title to try and capitalize on someone else’s success. Even though it wouldn’t be true, I don’t much like the idea.

So I started playing with titles today, and to increase the fun factor, I sent them through the Lulu Titlescorer. I’m not quite sure how the Lulu app rates things, but it is based on 700 published titles. The most important element seems to be “grammar type,” and I’ve noticed the app seems to like “___ of ___” titles — like “City of Glass,” which promptly landed a 69% chance of being a bestseller. 🙂

Anyway, here are some of the alternate titles I sent through the Titlescorer, along with their respective rankings:

Empire of Glass – 64.8

Making Glass for a Prince – 55.4

Glass for a Prince – 10.2

Gifts of Glass – 41.4

Glass Magic – 63.7

The Glass Prison – 63.7

Prison of Glass – 69

Facets of Glass – 69

I would love some feedback on the titles! A little background: Chiara is a glassmaker on Murano in an alternate 17th century, at the height of the demand for Venetian glass. It is forbidden for glassmakers to leave Venice, for fear that they will sell trade secrets, and the Venetian monopoly will crumble. (This was true, by the way — just not the magic and princes in my story …)

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time the last couple of days to work on the novella, whatever it will end up being called. I completed the edits of From Earth to Mars and Beyond and got it uploaded again. I also had some formatting concerns I had to address for the Apple store version. I started putting together the ebook version of my story “The Leaving Sweater” and my short collection “Story Hunger.” To sum up, recently I have been concentrating on the marketing side of my career. This doesn’t fit with my goals, which had been to complete at least some writing each day before tackling marketing tasks. That plan doesn’t seem to be working for me, so now I’m considering alternating writing days and business days. Perhaps I will be more efficient if I can concentrate on one aspect of my writing career at a time.

Wishing everyone a great week!

A new book for a new year: From Earth to Mars and Beyond

Happy new year, everyone!

To celebrate 2013, I got my new collection of stories, From Earth to Mars and Beyond, finished and uploaded to Amazon:

This one won’t be going into KDP Select, since several of the stories are available online, and that would violate the rules of Select. We’ll see what success I have marketing it without. I don’t have the new book up in other stores yet, but I will try to do that in the next few days.

As I already mentioned over on Facebook, I’ve been a bit frustrated recently by reviews from readers who apparently never read the description before they read the book, (e.g. complaining about the ending of Yseult, even though the description makes it obvious it’s a tragedy; or people complaining about the length of short stories in a short story collection). So to let off some steam, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek blurb for this collection, and I actually ended up using it:

From Earth to Mars and Beyond is a collection eight previously published science fiction stories by award-winning author Ruth Nestvold. But reader be warned: The stories in this collection do not depict an ideal future world. Most of these stories do not end happily, and many of them are on the bleak side. Main characters die. If you only like happy endings, this is not the book for you.

On the positive side, “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide,” was nominated for a Nebula Award. “Troy and the Aliens” may not portray a particularly rosy view of the earth as we know it, but for a change, no one dies, and several characters get the chance to drive fast on the Autobahn. “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Monkey,” based on a poem by Wallace Stevens, is blessedly short, and shouldn’t cause the reader too much pain. And at least there’s a story about whores in space, “The Far Side of the Moon.” Enjoy the interstellar darkness!

What do folks think? Should I keep it or go with a description more positive and conventional?

Wishing everyone a happy and successful 2013!

Announcing “Beyond the Waters of the World” (“Looking Through Lace” Book 2)

As I mentioned in my last post, I finally finished and published Beyond the Waters of the World, Book 2 of Looking Through Lace:

Beyond the Waters of the World on Amazon

Coming up with the description was a bit difficult, because I don’t want to provide any spoilers regarding the events of the first book. I would love some feedback on it, if anyone is so inclined:

The Allied Interstellar Community first contact team on the planet Kailazh is faced with even more challenges than most. But dealing with an alien culture is not only difficult for those who arrive on a foreign world. What of the inhabitants of the planet, who now have to deal with realities so strange to their way of thinking, it will have an impact on everything they believe?

Kislan is a factor in his family’s shipping company, a man who has seen many ships arrive at the docks of Edaru from many different cities, who deals with foreign goods from all over the known world. But the ship that arrives from the stars brings more than exotic innovations, it brings ideas that will change his life.

And it brings the beautiful ambassador from the stars, Toni Donato.

Beyond the Waters of the World is a science fiction novella of approximately 23,000 words, or about 60 pages. It is the second book in the Looking Through Lace series.

Even though the book is already published, it’s still causing me a fair amount of work. I’ve contacted potential reviewers, listed the book on Goodreads, started editing the back matter on my other books to include this one, and other marketing tasks. Nonetheless, I have managed to get back to Chameleon in a Mirror, and have gotten another 2,000 words done.

On the sales front, Yseult and Shadow of Stone are still doing quite well after the recent successful promotion. So far this month, the two books in The Pendragon Chronicles alone have sold 48 copies and had 60 borrows. That’s a very good run for me, seeing as we’re only five days into the month. 🙂

And before I forget, a reminder: The Future, Imperfect, a collection of dystopian short stories, is FREE today and tomorrow, Sept. 5-6. If you don’t already have it, be my guest and grab yourself a copy! And if you are so inclined, please pass the word along!

Going indie and writing morale

I’ve been at this writing business for a long time now — and if you count all the years I was writing without any success getting published even longer. I sold my first short story to Asimov’s in 2000, and it came out 2001. And that, of course, was far from the first work of fiction I wrote. I think I definitely put in my proverbial 1,000,000 word apprenticeship.

Despite the fact that a big part of my self-definition is that I’m a writer, some developments in the last couple of years were making the writing harder and harder for me, to the point where on occasion I was even considering whether I might not be happier just quitting. I had a fair amount of success with traditional publishing, with one novel and several dozen short stories published, but frustration was outweighing success.

That was when I decided to go it alone with my Arthurian novel, Yseult. And what a liberating journey it has been.

Those who read this blog on a more regular basis know that I like to complain about how much time you have to spend on marketing as an indie. For me, that is the big disadvantage. But even with the time spent marketing, I’m producing more now than before I started self-publishing. I think it’s because I’m more focused, I know there’s a potential audience out there that I can reach, I’m not dependent on agents or editors (who know that Arthurian fiction doesn’t sell, that a novel about Aphra Behn should be literary, not time travel, etc. etc.). I can take a shot on my passions, things that don’t fit into the market as the experts see it, I can reach readers who actually want more and don’t just reject me out of hand. To quote a couple of recent reviews I’ve gotten for Shadow of Stone and Looking Through Lace:

I have to give this novella 5 stars, although I’d like to rate it lower because I want a full-length book! Alas, it was clear when I bought it that it was a novella, even though I’d really like to read more about this world! (Did I make it clear I’d like to read more?!)

As a linguist myself, I was intrigued from the start of the synopsis! Nestvold’s storytelling and use of linguistic terms (and anecdotes)were not disappointing. 🙂 Her story was well-written and left me wanting to hear more tales about Dr. Toni Donato and her work!

… the twists and turns of the plot kept me wanting more. I was truly captivated with these stories, and am hoping she’ll continue the series following the lives of not only Yseult, Cador and their companions, but that of Kustennin and Riona as well.

What writer wouldn’t be inspired by feedback like that? It gives me so much more enthusiasm for the projects at hand, makes me impatient to finish them so that I can get on to the next one. Yes, I am once again behind in my own goals for myself. I had hoped to have a new version of Chameleon in a Mirror completed by the end of the month; instead, I am only 28,000 words into the novel, which means I still have two-thirds to go. But I’m pursuing the project with more joy than I have brought to my writing life in years. I’m brainstorming new ideas and making lists of novels and stories I need to write, and none of it feels like a chore. My dear fellow writers at the last Villa Diodati workshop tried to persuade me that I should market Chameleon in a Mirror to traditional publishers — I just said no. Never say never, but for the moment at least I am not going there anymore.

It’s been a good round of words. 🙂

A reminder: As part of the Summer Solstice Free Fantasy, I have FOUR books free today:

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur

Shadow of Stone (The Pendragon Chronicles, Book 2)

Dragon Time and Other Stories

Never Ever After: Three Short Stories

They still aren’t showing up free for me on Amazon.com (they are on .de and .uk), but I assume in the course of the day it will still happen. If you don’t have the books yet, please, be my guest!

Great review of Shadow of Stone!

Just a short note: Shadow of Stone (The Pendragon Chronicles) got its first review today, and a very enthusiastic one it is. 🙂 You can read it here.

Given that wonderful endorsement, I would like to remind you that Shadow of Stone is free today for the Kindle!

Those of you who subscribe to Daily Science Fiction, the story in your mailbox today is my flash piece, “The Magician of Words.” I hope you enjoy it!

Three free ebooks and “The Magician of Words”

The free ebook promotion I have going right now has been getting some nice attention from other blog sites. The latest is a listing on Free Kindle Books and Tips for Looking Through Lace. Yesterday, all three freebies (Looking Through Lace, Dragon Time and Other Stories, and The Future, Imperfect) were listed on SF Signal and Upcoming4.Me. Here’s hoping that will up my numbers enough to help Shadow of Stone when I publish it!

I also learned the publication date for my flash fiction piece “The Magician of Words.” It will be sent to Daily Science Fiction subscribers on June 14. A week after that, it will appear on the DSF site.