LEX TALIONIS is Top Twenty in Holland on the American Book Center’s Staff Recommendation List!

Just realised I’m No. 16 on the list of 43 staff recommended scifi and fantasy books at The American Book Centre in Holland!

They carry over 7 million books, so I think being top twenty is something worth celebrating.

I also think it matters a lot when bookstore staff likes you. Those are the guys who really love books and readers and their support means a lot to me.

I sure hope people use the lists. They have some good books on there. I’m in great company!

Author Interview – R.S.A. Garcia

RSAGARCIA:

Oh, looky here! A very INTERESTING PERSON has new review up on Rachel Carrera’s blog.

If you want to learn the secrets of the universe, feel free to read it.

If you just want to live a boring life with no love or prospects, you can certainly choose not to read it.

But I’d recommend you do the opposite. For your sake, of course.

*Whistles with her hands in her pockets while rocking back and forth on her heels.*

Originally posted on Rachel Carrera, Novelist:

I recently posted a Call to Writers, asking those of you who write to allow me to interview you for a guest spot in my blog.  I was astounded by the response (and if any of you still want to participate, please contact me for details). I asked thirty-five questions and gave the interviewee the freedom to answer only what they wanted.  My friend and fellow-blogger, R.S.A. Garcia, had some very clever responses which I’m sure you will find as humorous as I did.  When you’re done reading the interview, please go on over to her blog and make sure you follow her for more charming stories.  And now, I present for your pleasure, R.S.A. Garcia…

*.*.*

ABOUT YOU::

1. Please tell us your name (or pen name) and a little bit about yourself:

I’m R.S.A. Garcia and I have journeyed across an ocean of stars to reach you. For some…

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What’s Your Favourite Scifi Book or Movie?

Here’s an awesome article about 15 real scientists and their favourite scifi books and movies.

An great reminder that if we want to nurture tomorrow, we have to inspire today.

I have a million scifi books and movies I loved. I can’t name just one. I mean, there was Contact (book and movie, though they’re very different), The Andromeda Strain, Dune, Jurassic Park, anything by Phillip K Dick and so many others.

But it’s so fun to see that even scientists loved the same cool stuff you did.

What’s your favourite scifi book or movie? Better yet, name all you can think of off the top of your head. I’m no good naming just one so feel free to fill up the comments!

THE GUILD OF ASSASSINS blog tour day 4

RSAGARCIA:

A good friend of mine, Anna Kashina, has a blog tour for her new book “Guild of Assassins”. You could win free copies of two books in her series if you comment on the websites she’s visiting. So get to know her, have fun and go win something!

Originally posted on Anna Kashina:

The-Guild-of-Assassins-Anna-Kashina

Today’s stops:

An interview at Two Ends of the Pen:

http://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.com/2014/08/interview-with-anna-kashina.html

A feature at Books with Leti Del Mar, which also has a link to a giveaway for print copies of both installments in the series:

http://bookswithletidelmar.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-guild-of-assassins-by-anna-kashina.html?showComment=1407517682970#c5607668263428394314

Both sites have also published wonderful reviews of the Guild of Assassins a few days ago:

Debra Martin at Two Ends of the Pen starts her review by saying “what a fantastic book it is.” Read the full review here: http://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.com/2014/08/review-guild-of-assassins-by-anna.html

Leti Del Mar characterizes THE GUILD OF ASSASSINS as “Hands down one of the best fantasy reads I’ve come across in many moons”. Read the full review here: http://bookswithletidelmar.blogspot.com/2014/08/anna-kashina.html

And don’t forget to stop by and leave comments at these blogs to win my print book of your choice!

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Disability in Speculative Fiction by Rose B. Fischer

RSAGARCIA:

Every spec fic writer should think seriously about representation in their literature and how they want to go about it. This post discusses an often overlooked point of view–that of disabled characters.

Originally posted on SIGNAL+:

Speculative fiction is a playground for writers and readers who enjoy “playing” with societal norms, pushing boundaries, and asking “What if…?”

I love that it allows me to break apart and examine social constructs like race and gender, to create societies where cultural norms and mores are vastly different from mine. It helps me stay open minded — helps me remember that my way of thinking and my perceptions may be faulty. Even if they are sound, my approach to a situation may not be the only valid one.

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Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Amazon

Really, Amazon, really? This is what we’ve come to?

I won’t even bother to talk about the absurdity of trying to rope indie and self-publishers into your argument with a publisher they have NOTHING TO DO WITH. Smarter people than I have already done that.

And this is a reader’s perspective on this. If you have problems with the profane, you may want to avert your eyes, but she makes some really salient points.

I will say one thing. One last thing about this silly, never-ending story of two big companies throwing tantrums all over the book world.

Amazon, if you really believe that books will sell best at $9.99 and Hachette doesn’t want to give you the prices you need to do that, you should pick one of the two choices you have and run with it.

Let them swing by their own petard–after all, they’ll sell less if they price the book higher, according to the figures you won’t provide the metadata for. This will work out great for you as you will get all the sales they so foolishly left behind.

Or stop selling Hachette’s books. Since they won’t play ball with you, exercise the Walmart option and just take your business to the cheapest bidder.

Aside from these two options, I really don’t see what else you hope to achieve. Dragging indie authors into this mess is stupid. And I would add, I would LOVE for Hachette to keep selling at a premium. Readers will pay more for JK Rowling anyway. But my book might get their attention on the day they only have seven bucks to play with, and I’d like that to continue.

One thing I know for certain. As an indie author, I’m not interested in letting ANYONE set my prices for me. Nope, not even you and not even if you gave me the metadata to prove their figures. As the content provider, I will set my prices and let the customers decide what they want to pay, and they speak very clearly without any help just by walking on by when they don’t approve, thank you very much.

So put your money where your mouth is, Amazon. After all, if you’re sure you make more money at $9.99, then let Hachette eat cake. What do you care? You make 30% either way. And we’ll see the truth of it in the lowered profit reports next year, right?

Yeah, I probably won’t hold my breath on that one.

Popcorn dis gon b gud reaction gifs

Recommendations

RSAGARCIA:

Reblogging this because, man, I’m in some awesome company here…

Originally posted on Stuff and/or Junk:

So I’m sure that small cadre of frequent readers knows that I’ve shifted away from entire posts devoted to each book I read. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of having a job, a two-year-old and a novel to write. I still love talking about great books. Today, I’ve already buttoned up a chapter on the novel-in-pogress and my kiddo is happily munching on Cheerios so I am expanding beyond the 140 characters of twitter so I can pontificate about a bunch of books I’ve recently thought were pretty kick ass.

shatteringtheleyShattering the Ley by Joshua Palmatier

You already saw me talk about anticipating Shattering the Ley by Joshua Palmatier in the last To Read Pile post I wrote. (psst, a lot of those books are still in the pile, it was large and I’ve been reading slow) I added Palmatier to my Shelf of Honor with Well of Sorrow written under…

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What Everyone Who Loves Books Needs to Know

This is your writer speaking.

And what indie writer Ninie Hammon has to say is what EVERY writer–famous our not–would love to say if they weren’t worried about coming off as pushy, demanding, ungrateful or off-putting.

In today’s world, your open and vocal support has become something we cannot do without.

Once upon a time, a writer could just leave it up to the Fates whether their book caught on or not after the usual period of publisher hype. Now, there IS no hype–particularly for indie authors like myself–without the help of readers who like our work. If those readers don’t talk about us on Facebook, add us on Goodreads, review us on Amazon or rave about us on Twitter, we will most likely go nowhere very fast.

I didn’t realise just how much things had changed until my publisher recently informed me that without more reviews on Amazon, I could not ‘unlock’ better promotional support from Amazon itself.

Most people indie or self-publishing now don’t even realise the game changed last year, six months ago, even last month.

Think you’ll get traction by joining Goodreads? Maybe. If you give away a lot of books you might get a few reviews back, and thank your luck stars for those. Now let’s just hope they liked it.

Twitter freak who can charm anyone in 140 characters? Guess what? There are more writers following those writing/reading/publishing accounts on Twitter than readers. Yup. You’re mostly likely trying to sell your book to someone else who’s trying to sell you their book too. And in any case, are you really more charming than Neil Gaiman or Chuck Wendig? ‘Cause they’re your real competition.

Great blog you worked on for years? See Chuck Wendig’s site. Then go cry in a corner. Oh, and don’t be surprised if your blog followers are interested in…you know, your blog. People don’t usually follow other people just to buy stuff from them. In other words, be grateful if your followers love you enough to give your book a read. Be over the moon if they review it. A blog isn’t a marketing tool to readers and just talking about your stuff is no guarantee anyone will buy it.

Think you can join Wattpad and get more attention that way? Traditional authors are already way ahead of you. If you weren’t there already, building up a loyal fan base and adding friends and getting down with the community, prepare to roll up your sleeves before you see any real results. And if you do adult scifi like I do, then you run into the wall of YA love that puts every paranormal, urban fantasy or contemporary YA a la John Greene way ahead of you in the queue. Don’t expect millions of readers no matter how good you are. Do expect to compete for attention with long established writers like Cory Doctrow.

Facebook master? Good for you. I hope you have a lot of friends. Because whatever that number is, divide it by 1000 and that’s how many will actually share your writing updates or requests for reviews. And the writers groups are usually about supporting and critiquing and not cool with promotion, so you make a nuisance of yourself and end up getting kicked out if you try the hard sell. And if you do join a group that’s cool with promotion–you’ve most likely just entered the same game that Twitter has going.

Giving your manuscript away for free on NetGalley and LibraryThing so you can get more reviews and buzz? Even if you book is amazing, the number of reviews is usually quite low because EVERYONE is doing the same thing, and overwhelming the good-hearted readers on those sites. While we’re at it, sending off requests to people who joined sites and offered honest reviews in return for free books no longer works either. They’re even more overwhelmed than the NetGalley guys.

What about paying to get reviews from sites like Kirkus or sending your book to Publishers’ Weekly? Standard practice. For everyone. Kirkus reviews do nothing for most people in terms of sales. And even if Publishers’ Weekly likes you, that doesn’t reach readers as much as it reaches the industry.  Readers see those tags on the backs of every book they pick up–and their eyes go right over it.

So spend a little and pay to get on a email list like BookBub then, right? Nope. BookBub has so many people banging on their doors, they’ve become very select and more traditionally published books are on their lists than indie books now because traditional publishers usually have the Goodreads and Amazon ratings needed to meet their high standards and they have the cash to take the big deals too. Indie books generally get on if they have hundreds of good ratings–and they’re offering the book for free. Which sort of defeats every purpose except maybe hoping to get a review back. But since these lists operate to give readers cheap new books, not authors new reviews, a review is a possible and hoped for by-product, not a guarantee.

Well, the great God Amazon will be your saviour.

Wrong. Amazon is in business to make money. And if you’re not part of their imprints, you are a distant second. So those ‘recommended’ listings you see, those ‘people who bought X also bought Y’ ratings, even your place in the rankings after sales–they can all be paid for by traditional publishers. Indie and self-publishers can’t depend on that. And remember how you could just put out a good book with a nice cover, get a bunch of high ratings, climb the charts and reap the extra attention all the way to Hugh Howey sized success?

No longer.

Amazon changes their formulas regularly just to make sure they can’t be gamed again like they were in the past by those guys who sell review packages. It’s a constant battle between unethical authors, shady review providers and Amazon that has led to draconian measures like not letting authors review for other authors, and even deleting reviews from close family, usually the only guaranteed reviews authors can count on. Thanks a lot, RJ Ellory and friends.

I could go on and on. As a recently published author, I can tell you I’ve tried just about everything in terms of marketing and promotion. Some things worked okay, some things not at all. Nothing has been a sure-fire winner. And the advice other authors and sites give about how to market is already outdated or has been taken by every other author out there competing with me, so by the time I try to follow it, the paradigm has changed and it’s no longer effective.

Only one thing hasn’t changed. The power of the reader and word of mouth.

If you love a book, if you think it was good, if you enjoyed something recently, then help a writer out. Talk about it. Leave reviews if you can. Follow a blog. A twitter feed. A Goodreads account. Tell your friends. Pass the book on. Say a few words on Amazon or Goodreads. Whatever little you do, it multiples for that writer a thousand-fold and it will be appreciated so much you won’t even understand.

Readers, your casual mention is the difference between us being able to write the next novel, and having to give up so we can work another job. We authors understand that like us, you have busy lives with your own concerns. We don’t expect reviews or social media campaigns. We know it’s not even realistic for most people. But just walking into a Barnes and Noble and asking for a book can make a difference. Passing your copy on to a friend makes a difference. Dropping a rating on Goodreads makes a difference.

On behalf of Ninie and other authors out there, I want to say thank you to all those who have done these things and more for their favourite authors. You are helping deserving writers keep their heads above water in a world inundated with books, good and bad. And what I want to leave you with is the idea that if you want to see more work from someone you read recently, consider lending a helping hand in some way.

Because it’s a new world and the rules are different every day and the only thing that hasn’t changed is that readers and writers both want more good stories out there.

Earth to Comet!! Hello, Comet!!

Today the European Space Agency probe, Rosetta, finally caught up with the comet it had been chasing for years.

This is big.

Really big.

After ten years and billions of miles and tons of complex code and navigational feats I can’t wrap my mind around, we have actual pictures of an actual comet in space.

Soon, if it all works out, we’ll have plenty more than that. Next is landing on it and really probing that sucker!

So after all these years, one small part of Armageddon is officially no longer impossible. Take a bow, Bruce Willis.

And maybe now we can figure out how to stop running planets into these things…

Rad reaction gifs

 

Well That’s Just Stupid…

Apparently, when we teach people English, we will have to stop referring to homophones just in case they think you’re trying to push a gay agenda.

Seriously?

This is what we’ve come to? The prefix ‘homo’ makes people freak out?

As if we needed any more evidence that the world is currently tilted on it’s freaking axis and some intellectually challenged people seem to hold sway over large portions of it.

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