April Fool

Not quite April, but past time for me to leave an update.

Milk Run is in my word processor. It’s being difficult but I think I might be at that point where I have to write to get it out of my head.

Many of you are anxious for the next Ishmael book – which will be To Fire Called. I can’t write that one until I get Milk Run out. I need Milk Run so I have a better handle on what Ishmael is sailing into. It’s sort of like building a house. I can’t put on the walls on the second floor until I’ve got the foundation poured.

In other news, Podium has told me they’ve finished initial production on Quarter Share and are looking for a release in April. They’ve started production on the audiobook for In Ashes Born. I’m not sure when they might have that one out but I’m hoping it’s not too much longer.

Speaking of Ashes, I’ve got to get the paperback of that done before the end of May or there will be Consequences.

Fingers crossed 🙂

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Happy New Year

I just realized I haven’t posted here in a long time.

Sorry about that.

I’ve just finished a new story that’s going into an anthology next month. I’ll let you know when the anthology get published.

I signed with Podium to create the audiobooks for the Ishmael Wang stories starting with Quarter Share up to By Darkness Forged (the last Seeker’s novel on the board at the moment). Jeffrey Kafer – an award winning voice artist – will be doing the narration. No, I’m not doing it. No, it wasn’t an option. The point of letting Podium do it was to let me focus on writing new books instead of taking the time away from writing to do the recording and production.

There’s fun stuff in the pipe. I’ll try to do better at keeping you all informed as we go.

Carry on.

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NaNoWriMo Is Upon Us

01-In_Ashes_BornB_ebookIt’s just past midnight and National Novel Writing Month is here again. Last year I didn’t play because I was busily editing paperbacks, but this year I’m raring to go.

In Ashes Born has been an incredible success thanks to all of you fans inhaling it and telling everybody about it. Between Ashes and putting all the books into Kindle Unlimited at once, the page-reads for the month might be enough for me to get a Kindle All-Star bonus. I’m not sure when Amazon notifies people, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

The new book has been so successful that it’s attracted outside attention from agents and publishers — most notably an audiobook publisher with a track record of producing excellent audiobooks. They’ve won several awards already and are in the running for many, many more. They convinced me to sign up Ishmael Wang for audiobook production. That’s a good news/bad news thing because it’s an exclusive contract and they don’t really understand the difference between serialized audio fiction and an audiobook. So while those of you who’ve been looking for an audiobook version of the Shares will be able to get it, the podcasts will have to come down. From a business standpoint, I needed to do it in order to clear the way to write more books without feeling the burden of having to get back into the booth. Yes, that also means somebody else will be the voice of Ishmael Wang. Podium – the company producing the works – wasn’t interested in having me read. On balance, it’s probably for the best because audiofiles follow favorite narrators and – with any luck – Ishmael will be introduced to a whole new audience. It’s also one less thing between me and my keyboard.

Speaking of keyboard…

Book one of the Smuggler’s Tales (Milk Run) is up for NaNoWriMo and Book two of Seeker’s (To Fire Called) is right behind it. My goal is to see if I can get them both done this month. I’ve got an editor waiting in the wings for December, January, and February, so there’s a bit of incentive there to move things along.

Yes, if you’re watching, the book I was supposed to write in October didn’t happen, which means the December release of Milk Run is unlikely right now. I have to finish that book before I can get into Darkness, but once I’ve got it behind me, I think Seeker’s book 2 should potter along fairly well.

Thanks for all your support and understanding. The Podium news is bittersweet, even for me, but it’s a step I needed to take in order to focus on what’s most important right now — getting more stories written for you all to read. It’s been too long and I owe ya.

Safe voyage.

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New Ishmael

I’m just waiting for the cover artist now, but there’s new Ishmael on the way.

The three Seeker’s titles will probably be:

In Ashes Born
To Fire Called
By Darkness Forged

I’ve gotten Ashes back from the beta readers and editor. All I need is a cover. I’m hoping for an October 1 release.

The new series – Smuggler’s Tales – is underway. I’m still sketching the universe as it looks from the Darkside, but that series – featuring new crews, ships, and stations – is underway and I’m hoping for a release there in December. Making a December release will require all the planets aligning so it’ll probably be more like January before that one comes out.

Some fans formed a Facebook group and they’re pretty active on a daily basis. If you’d like to be part of that conversation, you can find it at:

See you ’round the docks.

Posted in Books, News | 71 Comments

Oh, Hai.

Yes. I’m climbing back on the horse. Sorry for the long delay in posting. Even the podcast fell off the cliff for the month of July.

Medically, I had a problem with one of my meds that crippled me – physically and emotionally. I’ve got that sorted out and I’m back on the road again. I’ve managed to get my walk in for the last few days, which means I’ve also gotten my podcast recorded and posted over on Talking On My Morning Walk. We’re counting down to Day 1000 which will represent 2,000 miles walking. I’ve already walked the equivalent distance from here in Greeley to BaltiCon at Hunt Valley, MD. I’m not sure where I’m walking now, but you know what? The trip is it’s own reward.

I’m writing again. While I’m sure you’re all pleased to hear that, you cannot imagine how much it means to me. Short version: I’m 11,000 words into the next Ishmael Wang book. I have no idea how long it’ll be, when it’ll be done, or when you can get it. It’ll all depend on things I have little control over so I’m not promising anything. Just that I’ll get it out as soon as I can.

For details on what else I’ve been writing, you can check out today’s post over on nathanlowell.com. I’m not going to repost all that here.

Today I got a message from a reader who believes my books cost too much. I wanted to address that for those who might not follow the market, or my marketing, closely enough to understand.

Here’s the message (with names redacted to protect the innocent):
Email Subject:
Kindle e-book pricing
Leave Your Message Here:
For the length of your books (the Trader’s Tale series) I believe your Amazon Kindle e-book pricing is way too high. I bought 1/2 share and was disappointed at how fast a read it was compared to the quarter-share books included in an anthology I’d bought before. My honest opinion is that these should be $199 or $2.99 books, not your current $4.95 price on Amazon. Either that or 1/2 share, full share and double share should be combined at the $4.95 price. You’re good – but not THAT good. Many other Kindle authors are quite happy with the lower prices which they make up for in higher volume. I don’t think I’ll be purchasing the rest of the series – it’s just not a good value in my opinion. I have endless choices and they’re all cheaper than yours.

Please don’t dogpile on this person. In the first place, he or she doesn’t read this blog so it won’t matter. In the second place, I’ve already sent a reply via email.

But here’s the thing I wanted to share.

This is really high praise for me. Quarter Share is barely 80,000 words long. Half Share comes in at nearly 90,000. Given that it’s 10% longer, this reader found the story to be so engaging that it felt shorter. So much shorter that the price point became problematic. Wow. That’s pretty cool and I’ve already thanked the reader for that. I can understand that getting Quarter Share as part of a ten book bundle for 99-cents might have made the $4.95 price point seem high by comparison, but that bundle isn’t going to last forever (or much longer) so that’s a factor.

I’ve pointed this reader to the free audio and to BookBub and BookGorilla for other books with promotional pricing. There are some excellent values to be had there.

But I want to go back to the $4.95 price point.

I didn’t pick that price because I thought it was what my work is worth. While there’s a rationale behind it, I picked it for completely emotional reasons.

I’ve been a sf/f reader for decades. I lived for mass market paperbacks and devoured them by the hundreds over my life so far. I see ebooks as the new mass market. But a funny thing happened in mass market publishing. They used to be really cheap. Even a guy who had trouble buying groceries could scrape up a few coins at the end of the month to buy a book. I still have my 95 cent edition of Dune. But sometime in the 90s, publishers pushed the prices of mass market paperbacks into $6.99 and then up to $8.99 and even higher. The last price point I remember saying “Okay. I can buy this” without feeling guilty was at $4.95. While I remember the 95 cent days, I’m also aware that I could have bought a gallon of gas for that then, too. Times change.

So $4.95 represents a kind of “golden age” of science fiction for me. Maybe even a golden age of reading because that’s when I read a lot of different books, too. Yeah, it’s more than a gallon of gas right now, but not by much. When I started back with Ridan, $4.95 was on the high end of the scale. Now Amazon data indicates that I’m actually leaving money on the table by not moving up to $6.99.

I don’t care. It’s not about pennies per word here. If it were, then the ebook of Owner’s would be three times the ebook of Quarter. It’s also not about selling the most books possible. While I love having my readership grow, the reality is that my stories don’t appeal to everybody. The one-star reviews are proof enough of that. I don’t really want people to pick up my books because they show up on a “bargain books under $3” list (although they will occasionally). I want people to grab a sample of my books because folks like you, dear readers, have recommended it. You know what the stories are and what your friends like. That’s the important part for me.

So thanks for hanging in with me. There are new books in the pipeline.

It will just take a while for them to dribble out the other end. 🙂

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