Tag Archives: amazon

Why the Resale of ebooks Isn’t Evil

Recently there have been a number of alarmist posts made on the interwebs about companies (Amazon being one of the them, but Amazon is ALWAYS one of them…) planning to allow users to sell their second-hand ebooks.

People have been really throwing their toys out of their prams over the issue. Or non-issue as I like to think of it. I know that some of you are you wondering what I’m on about here so I’ll do a quick recap on the issue:

  • All creators have the right of first sale, it’s part of copyright in that when their product is sold (for the first time) they get their cut.
  • Until recently there wasn’t the technology to allow the resale, or second hand market, for electronic goods.
  • It’s apparently a back-door for pirated copies (and we all know that piracy funds terrorism (!)).
  • The main argument, especially where DRM is used, is that the first purchaser is an “end-user” and so they are only licensing the product for their personal use, so resale is VERBOTTEN!!!!!! (yes I went over the top with the exclamation marks there, but it was for comedic effect).

Now I’m not going to go into any of those points because frankly, each of them is a choice for the individual copyright holder/publisher to decide on. Personally, I’m not going to put DRM on my future works (unless required by certain outlets…. Amazon) because I think it’s limiting and frustrating for the reader. “Surely you’re worried about piracy?” I hear you gasp. Well…. no. Not as much as I am about alienating readers in the first place.

So why am I not bothered about the re-sale of ebooks? Or more specifically, why am I not worried about the re-sale of MY ebooks? There are two reasons:

  1. I’ll have earned what I consider to be my entitlement via the ‘right of first sale’. I think it’s fairly obnoxious to expect to be paid when someone sells that book on. 
  2. I actually see the option to re-sell e-books as another revenue opportunity.

Wait! What? You heard me! Now put your brain in gear. As an reader, how many copies of an ebook do you legally own? That’s right, as many as you legally paid for. Now, as an author, how many copies of your ebook do you legally own?……. Okay, let me help you with that one. It’s somewhere between infinity and whatever comes after that.

See where I’m going with this yet?  These re-selling services operate by allowing you to sell any copies you legally own. With ebooks (as long as you haven’t stupidly sold your publishing rights), as an author you own an infinite amount of them. You can create them at will, which means that you can also sell them at will. So why should a canny author be bothered about these services when he/she can use them as another revenue stream.  Log on, see how much your book is going for in the second-hand market, put a load of copies up for sale at a competitive price. A percentage of something is better than a percentage of nothing. Simples.

I’d love to read your thoughts on the issue.

Don’t forget, ‘Lament for the Living’ is out on May 10th – get a sneak peek at the first chapter for FREE!

Currently it’s .prc (DRM free for Kindle) or .pdf only.
Kindle/.prc – Download Here
PDF – Download Here

Download, read, enjoy. Let me know what you think.

While you’re waiting for ‘Lament for the Living’ to be released the following titles are also available:
Hannibal House by David Nicol   The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol
For more information and purchasing links please visit:
www.tbfmedia.com/bibliography

The Folly of “FREE”

David NicolI thought I was the only person seeing the folly in giving your work away for literally nothing.  But then this article was linked by Self Publishing Review on Facebook.  In his article, Derek Haines argues the point that free books do nothing but help boost the sales of ereaders.  That the ploy may once have worked, but is now ineffective with the glut of free ebooks flooding the market places every day.

I’d like to expand on the issue with my own reasons for not giving my work away.  I’m in total agreement with Derek.  But for me, there is more to it.

I have done the free thing.  Not because I think it’ll lead to more sales.  To boost sales you have to be clever about your freebies, for example giving away book one in a series.  I gave my work away for free (the last time was actually yesterday) just to get a bit of exposure.

Many people (myself historically included) think that if they give their work away, they’ll receive reviews.  Others will see those reviews, they’ll be favourable, and then others will buy their books.  The reality is that the majority of copies that are downloaded for free will never be read.

People Mostly Like Free Porn
People like free.  People will take anything if it’s free, even if it’s not something that they actually want.  It happens in supermarkets and it’s happening in the ebook world.  The problem with this is that people who would not normally be your audience will be reading your work.  Sure, that can be a good thing.  In many cases it will back fire.  I write sci-fi and horror.  They are my genres.  Look at the top 100 free on Amazon at the moment and the majority is erotica/porn.  That means that the majority of downloaders are not natural sci-fi/horror readers which is not going to translate to good reviews for me.  (*note to self: add buff men, breathless busty women, and tentacle sex to my stories for instant success….)

The Review Issue
When you look at the cold statistics it allows you to understand some of the low star reviews on Amazon for books that are really not that bad.  They usually have a statement similar to the following in them “I got this for free, and I didn’t like it, but it’s not the sort of thing I would normally read….”  It’s like being lactose intolerant, going to the supermarket and getting a load of yoghurt because they had free samples, then complaining because it made you ill.  The point I made first about most free downloads NOT being read probably works in most authors favour (unless you’re in the erotic genre, in which case you need to add more buff men, breathless busty women, and tentacle sex to your stories for instant success).

The Maths Issue.
If I sell 10 ebooks for $1 each, earning 35% royalties, how much will I earn?  Enough for a Big Mac.  If I don’t sell any, then I earn nothing.  If I “sell” 2,500 ebooks for free, how much will I earn?  The answer is also nothing (but I could laughingly call myself a “best-selling author”).  Once your book is written and uploaded it costs you nothing, only your time in publicising it.  The idea is that you make money from your passion, if you’re continually giving your work away and getting nowhere then you’re teetering on the abyss of the vanity press.

Try Before You Buy
And lastly.  If people want to check out your work before they buy, there’s the ‘Look Inside’ option on Amazon (or samples on your site).  It’s fantastic.  Before I download anything for free (because there are some good works out there that are remarkably free), I take a look inside to see if contents are worth reading.  Look Inside.  Like what you see?  Buy the book then.

As authors I think we need to be pimping that option more.  After all, we don’t go to the library or bookstore and just pick up a load of random books on the “Take Me I’m Free” shelf.  No, we read the blurb on the back and most of us also read the first couple of paragraphs.  Let’s encourage others to do more of that in the ebook world.

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK

 

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Self-publishing Ponderings

David Nicol I’ve read many posts by authors defending their decision to self publish.  This isn’t one of those posts.  I don’t see the need to defend that decision, rather I think people should consider why they would want to go down the traditional publishing route.

I’m proud to stand up and say “Yes, I’m an independent author, yes, I self publish.”  Why wouldn’t I be?

Historically there’s been a stigma attached to self publishing due to vanity presses.  If you’re not familiar with the term, in a nutshell, vanity publishing allowed people to publish their books, for a fee.  However, the costs involved meant that a book published via a vanity press had a higher unit cost than a traditionally published book.  If an author wanted to make any money, or break even after using a vanity press, they would need to charge more for their tome than a mainstream, established book (plus they also had to source their own outlets for their books).

Chances are, if you’re an aspiring author, when you see the likes of Twilight, The Hunger Games, or *shudder* Fifty Shades of Grey getting the top spots, and featured everywhere you think “that could be me”.  It could be, and why shouldn’t it be?  After all, your work is probably more original, less cliched and better written than those titles that languish in the popular consciousness.

The traditional wisdom is that to be successful you can’t be a good author, you have to be a great author.  You have to live and breathe your passion and then, once you’ve emotionally exhausted yourself you have to lie prostrate at the feet of a publisher/agent and beg for a chance to be heard.

What a load of crap.

Excuse my French, but Fifty Shades of Grey has shown that any old shit can be a best seller.  Reading parts of that book makes me feel like a Nobel Laureate.  And maybe that’s the problem that many new authors have.  They create works of literature rather than pulp fiction.

Publishers want to sell units.  Publishing houses are businesses, they want authors who write profit making commodities, not literature.  Publishing is going the way of the music and film industries where it’s the smaller indie providers who produce the majority of the works of value, the works that touch you, that live with you, that make you think.  At the same time, the large powerhouses try to beat down and pour scorn on the indies while pushing their own watered down insipid rubbish to the masses.

Now this seems like I’m being a big fat Negative Nancy about publishing.  That’s not where I’m going with this.  To be honest, if a publisher offered me a deal that was agreeable then I’d probably take it.  Publishers allow a minority of authors to break in to the mainstream, and if that’s your goal, then good luck to you.

What I’m saying is that if you choose to be an independent author, to self publish, then you shouldn’t spend your time justifying your decision. Instead, spend your time writing, honing your craft.  Build your following, create the best work you can and be a success on your own terms.

In the event that a publisher does come knocking, remember that you’re doing them a favour by allowing them to exploit your work.  It’s not the other way around, and YOU should be the one benefiting from YOUR work.

My indie writer manifesto

I will –

  1. Produce the most professional work I can
  2. Fully develop my characters and plot
  3. Ensure that my work is proofread, spellchecked and edited
  4. Not compromise my vision to please a specific market

Available now:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Long after a cataclysm that destroyed humanity had been forgotten, the descendants of the original survivors live in a protected Dome governed by a set of rules known as ‘The Orders’.

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon US

The Deluge of Elias from Amazon UK

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, Troy comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Hannibal House from Amazon US

Hannibal House from Amazon UK
 
 
 
 
Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

‘Hannibal House’ is now available

Today, ‘Hannibal House’ launched on Amazon. Before we launch in to the blurb that goes with it I’d like to thank those who have been involved in helping tweak the story to the finished version. I received some fantastic feedback from those involved in the beta so thank you to all involved.

Those who provided feedback will be receiving a personalised copy of ‘Hannibal House’ via email.

And now, on to the main event:

Hannibal House by David Nicol

‘Sometimes you don’t choose the house, the house chooses you’.

The supernatural story of a house that attracts lost souls. Set in South West Wales, Hannibal House tells the story of Troy who leaves Seattle in search of his roots.

Unsure of what he’s really looking for, he comes across Hannibal House. Immediately infatuated with the building he sets out to possess it, or is the house aiming to possess him…

Available on Amazon:

(UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hannibal-House-ebook/dp/B008LDK2PG

(US) http://www.amazon.com/Hannibal-House-ebook/dp/B008LDK2PG

 

And the futuristic dystopian short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is also available:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

(US) http://www.amazon.com/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU

(UK) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Deluge-of-Elias-ebook/dp/B0082FRKNU

Deluge of Elias – New Cover

I decided that ‘The Deluge of Elias’ needed a new and totally original cover. This cover needed to have three elements to it: a figure, moisture, and decay/rust. Those elements are prevalent in the story and so the image began forming in my head.

Stock images wouldn’t cut the mustard this time, although they’d make an appearance for the background. I needed a model for the face. Hmm, where can I get a model from at this time of night? I thought, looking in the mirror. OH! Hey there handsome. You’ve got the look of a man with the world on his shoulders.

The problem with me being the model is that I’m usually the one behind the camera. That’s what I trained as, and that’s where I’m comfortable. I also have no illusions about ever being a model (let’s get that straight right now). Enter stage right: the wife.

Imagine the conversation went like this: So honey… after covering me in vaseline you get to throw water in my face while taking photographs.

Sounds like something out of Fifty Shades of Suburbia, and it could have been, but it wasn’t. Anyway, my other half seemed keen on the idea of potentially waterboarding me for some twisted reason so we got to work.

I think that Wifey dearest enjoyed chucking water in my face as the photo shoot took a lot longer than seemed strictly necessary to get the image I was looking for. Some editing time later and here we have the new cover for ‘The Deluge of Elias’:

The Deluge of Elias by David Nicol

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

Hannibal House: Release Date 14th July

The beta reading event for ‘Hannibal House’ is under way. Feedback received so far has confirmed that the story holds up and has the desired effect. Other than a handful of minor edits ‘Hannibal House’ only requires formatting to ebook.

The release date for the final commercial version will be July 14th 2012.

Hannibal House is the tale of a young American who heads to Wales after the death of his father to get in touch with his heritage. He doesn’t quite find what he’s looking for until he heads off the beaten track and comes across Hannibal House, a place that attracts lost souls.

Look out for it on the Amazon Kindle Market.

Hannibal House by David Nicol

Sometimes you don’t choose the house,

the house chooses you

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk

The Deluge of Elias – updated

I’ve just spent the best part of the day re-editing ‘The Deluge of Elias’ (the dystopian sci-fi short story in case you’re new here).  During the conversion from straight .doc format to HTML I was able to pick up and correct a number of errors, and expand on some sections to give it more depth.

It’s been a while since I worked in pure HTML so it was quite enjoyable to ‘get my hands dirty’ again.

Some additions to the original version are an encoded version of the cover, a note from me and then an introduction to ease the reader in to the world of Elias.  I did this as some readers felt the story was lacking some background information relating to The Dome.  Although I had intended to convey one of the main themes of the story (the control of information) by alluding to a total black out of everything that precedes the present; it was obvious that it didn’t come across as clearly as I hoped.

As I intend to continue write about The Dome I have deliberately avoided giving any details about how it came about, so hopefully the information presented in the new introduction will plug some of the holes, but leave the reader still wanting more.

At the conclusion of the story I’ve also included a teaser to the next short story that I’ll be producing.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk

Sneaky Peeky

I’m in the processing of writing a full length book. It’s set three years after what can only be described as a zombie apocalypse. Although there are zombies in it, I wouldn’t classify it as the typical zombie story. It’s more about the societies that continue, and get destroyed. The people who live, and die. And how people develop.

Here is the opening scene:

The early evening light pierced through the pine forest. As the dark shadows edged away from the sun on the thick carpet of pine needles two sets of feet made their way through the half-light. One set, oblivious; the other, fixated. One pair of feet wearing tired and muddy shoes, the other wrapped in sack cloth. The shoes clumsy and slow, the sack clad feet swift and sure. At one time the shoes had obviously been expensive; the type worn by a banker, accountant or other office dwelling professional. The feet wrapped in sack cloth would, in the past, have indicated desperation; someone with no alternative way of protecting their feet from the elements. Today, the sack cloth was worn for another reason: stealth.

Shoes stumbled over the uneven ground, splashing in staggered steps through shallow puddles of rain water and rotting pine needles. He stopped, as if unsure which way to go. Sacks continued silently through the carpet of bracken and mud, halting when she saw that Shoes had stopped. Crouching down she pulled her hood back, her raven hair shorn on one side almost to the scalp so it wouldn’t impede her sight or the drawing of her bow. Shoes remained oblivious to her presence. She removed the bow from her back, its lightweight composite recurve design betraying its previous life as the choice of champions; a Rolls Royce in the world of target archery now pressed in to service against a different kind of target. Sacks narrowed her hazel eyes, gauging the distance to Shoes, looking for signs of any breeze that could affect her shot. She nocked an arrow. The carbon fibre shaft slid back noiselessly as Sacks drew the bow, taking aim at Shoes. The distance was about twenty metres, half the effective range of the bow, a straightforward shot. Sacks slowed her breathing, eyes concentrating on the distance from the end of the arrow to Shoes. She made minute adjustments as she finely tuned her aim. Centre mass? Vital organs, heart and lungs: a nice large target, but not good enough this time. The neck and spinal column? A good kill zone, but too tricky under these conditions. The head? Perfect.

Sacks breathed in, drawing back the bowstring to full extension. Finessed the aim and let the arrow fly. She felt the bowstring brush the short hair at the side of her head, the sensation sent a shiver of excitement down her spine. In the Before Times, before the outbreak, before life had changed, Sacks had never shot an arrow. Never killed anything. She had enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle in a comfortable suburban home, eating pre-packed foods that were as far removed from the animals from which they originated as you could get. Spending her time watching inane television shows that concentrated on the shallow existence of celebrities. Whenever the Before Times crossed Sacks’s mind it was like watching a film of someone else. That person was gone. She watched the arrow arc through the air, flashing as it crossed shafts of sunlight that broke through the gloom of the forest. The arrow hit its mark a little high and to the left of where Sacks was aiming, there must have been a breeze after all, but the outcome was not affected. The arrow smashed through the back of Shoes’s skull, destroying what was left of the brain with a mixture of steel tipped arrow and shards of cranium. The arrow partially exited below the right supraorbital foramen, the eyeball already partially decayed, popped from the socket like a horror mask. What remained of the life of Shoes was extinguished before his body splashed down on to the muddy ground. The noise of Shoes hitting the ground was louder than Sacks expected. She frantically looked around her to check that nothing else was coming to investigate the sound.

When all was clear Sacks retrieved the arrow before searching Shoes’s pockets. Before she reached his body the familiar odour of the infection almost overwhelmed her sense of smell, it was something she knew she would never get used to. His suit had been ‘off-the-peg’, he had probably been some sort of middle manager. There was an open packet of chewing gum, a wallet, a mobile phone with a broken screen, and a set of house keys. Sacks looked through the wallet, discarding the money and the credit cards. There was a photo folded in half. Sacks unfolded it carefully and looked at the family smiling back at her. A man who was probably Shoes at one time, a woman and a child. They stood smiling in the sun, the background showing some tourist destination near a beach. The woman smiling down at what must have been their daughter as Shoes grinned towards the camera. A happy family. In a side pocket was a driving license. The driving license named Shoes as “Anthony Redfern”. Sacks looked at both the family photo and the drivers licence for a while before pocketing them. “Sorry Tony” Sacks said quietly. As she got up she pulled the hood back over her head before moving off silently.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk

First Sale of The Deluge of Elias

Today I discovered that ‘The Deluge of Elias’ had made a sale on Amazon.com. On the day of release I made the story free for 24 hours and the reports showed 123 downloads.

A number of the people who downloaded it then were known to me so this is the first “wild card” reader so it will be interesting to see what feedback, if any, they leave.

To the mystery purchaser: thank you, and please, let me know your thoughts.

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com
Available from Amazon.co.uk

The Deluge of Elias

‘The Deluge of Elias’ can be found exclusively on Amazon.com here, or Amazon.co.uk here

The rigid enforcement of The Orders now threatens the people they were designed to protect. Elias has a solution, except it puts him on a course of action that is at odds with the rules that he has been charged to rigorously uphold. On top of every thing else, the solution came to him in the form of a dream; in a time and place where no one dreams.

Can he save the last vestiges of humanity, or even himself?

‘The Deluge of Elias’ touches on multiple themes including the formation of religion, the social control it creates and the self destructive nature of totalitarian regimes. Do you dare to dream of another way?

*This is a short story, not a short book. The story and world described here is the introduction to a series of full length books that tell the story to the point of The Deluge of Elias, and what happens next.

Inspiration

The inspiration for ‘The Deluge of Elias’ comes from the many flood, or deluge, stories that exist in many cultures across the world. The version that is most familiar to me is that of Noah from the Christian Bible and Mulsim Koran. If you’re familiar with the story then skip to the next paragraph. In the tale, God is unhappy with humanity and so decides to wipe out all living things with a mighty flood. The only people deemed worthy of survival are Noah and his close family (and two of every animal). In the Biblical story Noah is given instructions directly from God about how to survive the coming deluge.

In ‘The Deluge of Elias’ all semblance of religion has been replaced by The Orders and the existence of any god or gods is forgotten by the populace by design. When constructing the story I considered how, if there was a god, a message of salvation could be relayed. Angels, visions, signs in the heavens, even the gooey mess made by the livers of animals have all been used as ways of gods delivering messages to humanity in literature and oral traditions, but none of those were practical to the environment of Elias. With everything so tightly controlled the most appropriate method of conveying a message would be through dreams. Of course, things are never really that simple and so the removal of the ability to dream was introduced.

The Dome

Like many myths and oral traditions the story relates to a tiny geographical area. In this case the Dome in which about 1000 people live. The origin of the Dome is deliberately made unclear in the story to reinforce the theme of lost knowledge. The Orders have effectively wiped out history in favour of its own totalitarian rules for existence which the inhabitants of the Dome obey without question. The Orders efficiently maintain the status quo in the Dome although, like many things, their original function was to teach the adherents how to live and survive. This concept comes from the similarities of many religions that specify things like what to eat, how to be clean and how to treat one another. These similarities and ultimate disparities are mentioned in the story.

Ultimately, like the rules that The Orders have superceded, parts become less relevant over time; when rigidly enforced inhibit the growth of humanity as a whole.

Construction

The themes of ‘The Deluge of Elias’ dictated the emphasis on the the imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks between what was written, what was implied, and what was left unwritten. The origin of the Dome is never mentioned, the events that led up to the totalitarianism of The Orders are also omitted to reinforce the feeling that the Dome is a microcosm of its own existence where you don’t question why things are they way they are, you accept it and that is how, to living memory, it has always been.

As a short story, the idea was to tell the tale, provide the framework of the workings of the world of Elias and then have the reader fill in the blanks as per their interpretation. So far no two readers have had the same experience of the story. That pleases me.

‘The Deluge of Elias’ can be found exclusively on Amazon.com here, or Amazon.co.uk here

Catch me on twitter: @davidxnicol
Check me out on Amazon: David Nicol Author Page
See what I’m up to on GoodReads.com: David Nicol on GoodReads

Sci-Fi short story ‘The Deluge of Elias’ is available now on Kindle:

Available from Amazon.com

Available from Amazon.co.uk