Category Archives for Books & Authors

Why you should buy books directly from the author

I am a science fiction author. 
Actually I am an indie science fiction author, which means that I don't have the backing of a publishing house. I have to do all of the marketing, packaging, managing, editing, …oh yeah I have to write the books too.

Suffice it to say, I wear a lot of hats.
When I first started this gig I was like almost every new author. I had delusions that I would put my books out into the wild and people would flock to buy them from Amazon, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and any other site I could imagine.  Retirement to the Mediterranean was only a few sales away. 

Well, for more reasons than one, I'm sorry to say I do not yet own a yacht, nor even a little rowboat.

I call those early times of self publishing the field of dreams diversion. You might be old enough to recall the movie; the one where Kevin Costner's character built the ball diamond in the middle of a cornfield, at the prompting of a mystical voice. The tagline from that film was, “If you build it they will come.”
Big surprise! Things didn't work out that way. Turns out if I want to sell books, I have to market them. Go figure.

The significant motivating factor for all of this is that I like money. Who doesn't? Amazon certainly likes it, which is why they make a healthy percentage from every book I sell. In real terms, if I want to offer one of my books for $0.99, Amazon’s royalty structure means I have to take a significant hit on my share of that sale.  For a $0.99 ebook, Amazon drops my royalty to 35% of the sale price. That's right, the big ol’ Zon, gives me $0.35 of every $0.99 priced book I sell through them.

While the royalty to authors jumps up to 70% on any book priced between $1.99 and $9.99, and is certainly light years ahead of royalties earned by traditionally published authors, there is one really big problem with selling through a retailer. They do not pay out my earnings on a sale for 60 days. Some of the retailers have a minimum threshold on what they will pay out on. How would you like to have your income held back for two or more months?
Until recently I was content to work with the situation because I believed it was the only available option. Then, somebody suggested I try selling my books from my website.
I guess it was a bit of an epiphany, because after some thought, I decided ‘what the heck,’ and built a bookstore on my website.

Cutting out the middle man clearly has some obvious advantages, but there is still one question to be answered. What advantage is there for my readers to buy directly from me?
I shall attempt to answer that question.

Without further ado, here are some reasons why I think you should buy my e-books directly from me.

  1. I can afford to offer you big savings by buying direct from me. Because I have cut out the middleman, I can afford to pass on savings to the reader. I can actually afford to offer my books at a discount from the Amazon price if I do it through my website.

  2. You will be able to read my new books long before they become available on the big sites, and…

  3. I will be offering products that will never be available on Amazon, like exclusive novellas, short stories, and box sets.

  4. I offer bonuses and extras along with the sale of new releases through my site; things like related short stories, character interviews, audio books, paperbacks…you name it.

  5. I can sell cool stuff ​in addition to books. Merchandise, related to my books is something that would be more difficult to do on the big sites, but quite easy through my website.

  6. I get paid immediately after the sale and do not have to wait for 60 plus days to see revenue. How is that good for the reader? The answer comes down to cash flow.
    All of my writing is self funded. That means I can't get books edited, or covers made until I have the funds available. The sooner I get paid, the sooner I can afford to put out the next book in the series. The end result is that you, the reader, will get more stuff from me, more often.

None of this means that I will stop selling my books on Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, or any other significant retail channel. It only makes sense for me to diversify my sources of income and get my books into the hands of as many readers as possible.
I appreciate that some people prefer to purchase from their favourite retailer for a number of reasons, and I respect that. My major releases will always be available on those sites, but they will always be more affordable to purchase directly from me.

Some people may be concerned they won’t be able to read books bought from my site on their particular eReader. I have that covered.
I deliver all of my books through a service called  Bookfunnel. They ensure that ePub and mobi versions of my books are readable on any computer, tablet, phone or e-reader, including a kindle. They even offer technical support if you experience difficulty loading my books to your device.

As far as payment goes, I offer secure, encrypted payment through PayPal and Stripe, meaning you can use your credit card, or PayPal account. I am looking into adding Apple Pay in the future.

​With all of that being said, I want to thank you for your support of indie ​authors. Without our readers, none of us would have a chance ​to try earning a living ​from writing. Please check out my budding store ​selection below. I will certainly be grateful for any purchase that you make, and will be adding more books regularly as I publish new material in the coming months.

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What do Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein have in common?

 

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What do Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein have in common?

Well, aside from the fact that they are science fiction icons, they knew how to write stories that kept readers engaged. They have been huge influences in my formation as a sci-fi reader and now as an author.

Of course, this was not something that I did intentionally. It just sort of happened all by itself. The only reason I discovered that my style had been so influenced by these giants was when my editor made the comment after working on my second novel. He told me that my work  “feels like a combination of classic swashbuckling Heinlein with the intellectually satisfying harder science of Clarke” A.T.

Now, that floored me. This guy reads A LOT of science fiction and is a well respected editor. Who am I to argue? At the same time, that is a heck of a lot to live up to. Talk about pressure!

Now, I really don’t know if my work will stand the test of time as Clarke’s or Heinlein’s have, but the reason I’m confessing this to you is that I wanted you to know what to expect when you read my books.

I like to write stories that engage the reader and keep them on the edge of their seat, if possible. I like to create intriguing characters that will be remembered. And as an erstwhile professional scientist, I want to honour the way the universe works by keeping things real with respect to the science. If that makes my style like a melding of some of the greats, then I am satisfied with my efforts.

I’m Hooked on The Last Kingdom

The last kingdom

I know the Netflix hit, The Last Kingdom isn’t science fiction. Hell, it isn’t even fantasy. But it’s got me hooked.

The historical drama, set in 9th century Saxon Britain has captivated me far more than George Martin’s more fanciful Game of Thrones epic.

Of course, my introduction to these tales could not have been more different. 

When Game of Thrones came out on HBO, I was at a disadvantage. I don’t subscribe to HBO. But the popularity of the series and its premise had me interested, so in 2013 I purchased all the ebooks and binge read them while on a three week trip to Europe. (You need something to occupy youself between churches and train stations)

A year later, I saw the first televised episode of the series and, frankly, was disappointed. Certainly not by the production values or acting, or even the script: all of that is amazing. My problem was that I’d read the books first and had an imagery in my head that the film production could never reproduce.

I’ve come at The Last Kingdom a little differently. Based on the historical novel series The Saxon Stories, by Bernard Cornwell, the tale follows the adventures of Uhtred, son of Uhtred, the orphaned son of a Saxon nobleman who was captured by Viking Danes and raised as one of them. The setting of the story is the late ninth century, before the separate Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were eventually united into a single kingdom by Alfred the Great. Young Uhtred grows to manhood and is forced to choose between a kingdom that shares his ancestry and the Danish invaders who raised him, his loyalties constantly tested.

The thing I like about the series is what I enjoy about hard science fiction. It is based on facts and does not stray into the realm of the fantastic. Game of Thrones, while rife with political intrigue and filled with sword play and all that fun stuff, finds ample roles for dragons, witches, zombies and other imaginary creatures. While I find nothing objectionable to Fantasy (I was and still am a great fan of Robert E. Howard), I still admire a writer who can weave a tale set in the physical world and make it worth my time.

Now, since I have approached this backwards, having watched the film adaptation first, I have every intention to read Cornwell’s books. 

The first season’s story-line roughly covers the plots of the original two novels, The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman. The second season will roughly cover the plots of the third and fourth novels, The Lords of the North and Sword Song.

After I’ve read them, I’ll report back about which medium I prefer.

How about you? Do you prefer books or film adaptations? What is your favorite film or television adaptation of a book or series?

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