A great way to start a trilogy

From now until the end of November, book 1 of the Embodied trilogy of Young Adult fantasy-sci-fi novels, Silent Symmetry, is priced at only 99 cents or 99 pence for the Kindle ebook. (Due to international currency shenanigans, the book is $1.32 in Canada.)

But there’s more! This weekend, subscribers to my eNewsletter will be receiving a special coupon code for 33% off the second ebook in the series, Starley’s Rust. So sign up by clicking here – it takes about 15 seconds – and you’ll receive hot-off-the-press news about my upcoming work in your inbox every couple of months, plus exclusive offers like this.

Silent Symmetry has received some great independent reviews, with people saying things like, “I’ve never read about such mysterious creatures before and this book had that and more,” “I loved the natural way the author wove the tale, interlaced with questions resolving and mysteries uncovered. Even the ending left questions begging for a sequel,” and “I would recommend it, not only to my young adult friends, but my adult friends as well.”

Silent Symmetry photo

The paperback version of Silent Symmetry. Click on the image to go to the ebook’s Amazon.com page.

Starley’s Rust has received acclaim from Broken Pencil Magazine:  “Dutton is in his element crafting together a sci-fi adventure with a good blend of sincerity and humour that, without such a fine balance, can be the downfall of any YA fiction,” and CM Magazine: “Imaginative concepts, and well-written … this trilogy should appeal to readers looking for an unusual thriller. Four stars out of four.”

The mysteriously untitled final novel in the trilogy is with my editor right now and will be out in early 2016.

Pronoun. Finally a truly author-centric publishing entity?

Last week saw the launch of Pronoun, with a promise to provide authors with book creation tools and distribution to all major ebook retail channels. For free. Sounds like Smashwords, right? Yes, except that not only is ebook creation free, Pronoun doesn’t even take a cut! Authors will earn all of the remaining revenue after retail discounts. Taking zero (as in $00.00) profit from an author’s ebook sales, Pronoun will instead generate revenue from its existing publishing and data tracking businesses.

pronoun_logo_512x160

“The publishing industry treats authors like cogs in its machine – not as the creative foundation upon which their long-standing businesses are built,” said Josh Brody, Chief Executive Officer, Pronoun. “With Pronoun, we put authors at the heart of every decision we make as we invest in the power of technology to transform this market. Digital platforms are paving the way for creators across every media industry. We believe books are next.”

At launch, Pronoun lets authors:

  • Create Beautiful Digital Books: Convert an edited manuscript to a professionally designed ebook that is compatible with every e-reader and mobile device. Manage cover art, layout, book descriptions, and keywords in a step-by-step interface.
  • Sell Everywhere: Instantly distribute to all major retail channels: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks, Google Play, and Kobo. Make unlimited, free updates to Metadata.
  • Market With Analytics: Access the largest proprietary dataset on the digital book market and see relevant, real-time data on books, categories, and market trends.
  • Receive customized suggestions on pricing, categories, keywords, and more – all based on hard data, not guesswork. Track sales, marketing activities, and milestones through a single platform.
  • Get Live Notifications: Opt in to get proactive alerts on daily sales, new book reviews, when books enter a bestseller list, or when an action can improve a book’s position on retailers’ sites.
  • Receive Consolidated Monthly Payments: Get convenient electronic payments for sales across all retailers in a single monthly deposit.
  • Free ISBN: Get a free ISBN for every book published on Pronoun.
  • Build a Publishing Team: Access Pronoun’s network of vetted professional service providers, including editors, cover designers, copy editors, and publicists.

“We’re clearing away more than a hundred years of dust that has settled on the publishing industry and its business model. Over the past few years, our team built a platform that respects everything we love about books, but embraces the new reality of how people discover, purchase, and read them,” said Ben Zhuk, Chief Product Officer, Pronoun. “With Pronoun, authors get the control and support they need so they can spend more time doing what they love – writing.”

Too good to be true? I think not.

Mark Coker’s pearls of wisdom on Oyster

Mark Coker, founder of indie publishing platform Smashwords, wrote an interesting blog post last week on the demise (or “sunsetting” in their own wonderful euphemism) of ebook subscription service Oyster after its buyout by Google. The comments following the post are also interesting. Let’s face it, authors and publishers are living in interesting times…

Oyster

Oyster, just prior to being slurped up by Google.

Photo credit: Basenisa / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Literary selfies growing almost as fast as the photo ones

Statistics reported by The Guardian today that self-published books’ share of the UK market expanded by 79% in 2013 can only be good news for self-published authors and people who like the number 79.

A perfect example of the literary selfie from waaaay back in 2008 (not me in the photo).

A perfect example of the literary selfie from waaaay back in 2008 (not me in the photo).

Although the overall market it still small compared to ebooks from mainstream publishers, not only is the increase impressive and encouraging, but the price charged per book also appears to be slowly but surely approaching that of mainstream authors as indie scribes continue to build a solid base of committed readers.

Here’s another link to the article in case you missed the one above. Who says bad stuff happens on Friday the thirteenth?

 

Photo credit: Kaptain Kobold / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 

Targeting the right readers

I’m currently running a final 3-day Amazon KDP Select free promotion for The New Sense before setting the ebook loose on Apple, Nook, and Kobo. This is my last chance to gain “internet airplay” before making the book full price for the foreseeable future, and on day two the targeting seems to be working! This is a distinctly female-oriented book. Hold on, there’s already a shorter phrase that encapsulates that concept: Chick Lit. Whatever you call it, The New Sense is currently sitting at number 3 in Amazon Kindle’s Free Women’s Literary Fiction chart:

Amazon Women's Literary Fiction screenshot 30-10-13 10am

This is cool, but what’s also great is that the book is ranked number 2 on Amazon Kindle’s Free Mystery, Thriller & Suspense chart:

Amazon Mystery Thriller Suspense screenshot 30-10-13 10am

I shall now continue tweeting and facebooking. It seems to work.

Vacation over, work begun…

Things have been quiet on this blog recently. A little too quiet.

That’s because I was away on vacation in a land where the internet is almost non-existent. And while I was there I made a ton of notes for the second and third books that follow Silent Symmetry in the Embodied trilogy. “What kind of notes?” I hear you ask. (Yes, I sometimes listen to the voices in my head!) Well, a lot of backstory. Character progressions. Some plot. And a new race of beings that I hadn’t anticipated creating but who may turn out to be more fascinating than the Embodied themselves.

I already outlined my new writing strategy in a recent post. Now that I’m back at my desk, I’m undertaking the planning process for Book 2, Starley’s Rust and Book 3 (whose name won’t be revealed until after the publication of Book 2). That means that I’ll be spending a bit less time writing this blog. Fun though it is to connect with friends and readers, I need to get the work done. It’s going to be a long process and it may be another year before Starley’s Rust sees the digital light of day. There may be some teases and excerpts along the way. That’s the advantage of having the skeleton of both books mapped out ahead of the actual writing – I can rely on the fact that the parts I’ve already written are 99.9% sure to end up in the final version.

In the meantime, here’s a photo as a clue to where I went on vacation. Is it symmetrical? Good question…

Jasmine flower

Can a flower with five petals be symmetrical?

Photo credit: John B. Dutton