Two days ago I released my sci-fi story The Information Monster as a Kindle ebook and wrote about it in this post. I was very happy with the cover, created by myself and my regular cover designer Alex Nereuta, but then I decided to run an Amazon ad campaign for the first time and noticed that the cool font we chose didn’t show up at all when reduced to a thumbnail. Not only that, but the “monster” made of stars also disappeared at a smaller scale. The upshot was that I was asking Amazon visitors to basically click on a black rectangle! I’m guessing that rule 101 of ebook marketing is that you should actually be able to see the cover, so changing it was an easy decision to make.
Although the original would have made a lovely print cover, Alex and I are very happy with the new one and it certainly a) stands out more, and b) is creepier. What do you think?
So here’s the beauty of epublishing: if this was a traditionally published print book and I needed to change the cover, I’d be screwed. With Amazon, all it took was a couple of hours and the new version was proudly online.
Oh, and before I forget, please leave a rating and/or review on Amazon if you read The Information Monster. Stars for stars!
Chile’s Atacama Desert, 2053. The universe’s dark energy is increasing and only a former MIT astrophysicist knows what it means. As his worst nightmare becomes a reality, he flees Santiago with his young daughter to the peaceful safety of the decommissioned ALMA radio-telescope. But what if they were followed…
That’s the blurb for The Information Monster, a previous version of which was published in 2013 as part of an anthology called Disrupted Worlds. Now it’s available as a standalone Amazon Kindle book.
At over 10,000 words, The Information Monster has more meat to it than a typical short story, so if you’re ready to spend an hour (and a buck!) navigating the tortured mind of our hero Sigi, click right here to go to Amazon.com, or here for Amazon.ca and here for Amazon.co.uk.
I’m sure those aren’t the only F-words that pop into the minds of honest authors and publishers when they read about their less scrupulous competitors’ mendacious review-buying activities. Now Amazon is taking fake reviewers to court in the US. I’m no legal scholar, but I bet that not only is review-buying cheating, it’s also criminal fraud. Personally, I’d rather a fan illegally download my book than have another author boost their Amazon rating by purchasing fake reviews.
Here’s what real reviews look like, in this screenshot from Silent Symmetry’s Amazon.com page:
Clearly this wasn’t the right book for the 1-star reviewer, and that’s the way it should be for any work, whether lowbrow or highbrow. But I’m proud to have taken the True Review Pledge and encourage other authors to do so.
Amazon isn’t altruistically taking a legal stand on behalf of honest authors, the company also has to protect its brand, and fake reviews make it harder for book lovers to judge before they buy, therefore tarnishing the trust they have in the platform.
Fiction authors lie for a living. But they don’t have to cheat.
Up until now I’ve used Amazon’s CreateSpace print on demand (POD) service for paperback editions of my books. It’s great for indie authors because there’s zero upfront cost, formats are very flexible, and the books are printed and shipped quickly. The final product is trade paperback quality and although ebooks have always been my primary focus, there are many readers who prefer the old-fashioned dead tree experience. Personally, I’m on the dead tree fence. Some books I read on my Kindle, others “in person”.
The only issue I ever had with CreateSpace was that the books were printed in the US or UK. That meant that Canadian readers had to pay international shipping rates, making my books very expensive for friends here in Canada. Well, NO LONGER! As of October 8, CreateSpace books are available directly on the amazon.ca store.
Here are the amazon.ca links for books 1 and 2 of the Embodied trilogy: Silent Symmetry and Starley’s Rust.
And here’s where my fellow Canadians can purchase a weighty paperback tome of my psychological mystery (set in Montreal), The New Sense.
It’ll be a rainy fall day in Montreal tomorrow – the perfect occasion to snuggle up with a good book. Happy reading!
Starley’s Rust, book 2 of the Embodied trilogy, is in online stores today and has received a glowing review from author Nikki Bennett:
To mark the launch, book 1 of the trilogy, Silent Symmetry, is now priced under a dollar/pound for the ebook edition.
Cyber Monday is half over and I’m very disappointed that no travelling Cybermen have turned up at my door offering their cyber wares. I could really do with a nice new cybermat to wipe my shoes on. Oh well, I guess I’ll do my bit for the economy instead. It’s the last day of the Silent Symmetry Kindle ebook Holiday sale. You can give ebooks as gifts, you know. Just saying…
It’s an exciting week, and not just because millions of turkeys are running for their little lives (good luck with that) but because Starley’s Rust, book 2 in the Embodied trilogy, is finally, utterly and completely finished. DONE! Like, totes, as its main character Kari might say. The publication date is January 15, chosen for the simple reason that 15.1.15 looks so cool. It’s a tiny bit less cool in the US, where it’s written 1.15.15, but either way it’s a cool number because if you add up the digits they total 13 and if you add up the numbers they total 31, which is 13 backwards (like, obvi, as Kari might say).
Whichever way you write it doesn’t matter, since you can pre-order Starley’s Rust right now from Amazon! All you have to do is click on the cover photo right here, then do whatever Amazon tells you to do.
The other cool thing that’s happening to Starley’s Rust is that it’s now available on NetGalley, a service used by publicists to get review copies of upcoming books into the hands of reviewers. For independently published authors, reviews are the lifeblood of the marketing process, so I’m praying harder than a pre-Thanksgiving turkey that Starley’s Rust will get the coverage I think it deserves.
And now… drum roll… it’s time to take down the Starley’s Rust scene cards from the wall of my office. They’ve been there for months and it’s going to seem strange to hold them in a tiny stack in my hand, but once the book is a book, sayonara my little friends! Besides, right next to them are dozens of scene cards for the final book in the Embodied trilogy. It’s been nice knowing you, Starley’s Rust. But we’ll be hanging out for a little while longer anyway.
On that note (or stack of them), here’s wishing all my American readers a Happy Thanksgiving!