clhollandwriter: (poppy)
Writers would have to have been on Mars this week to miss Amazon's latest bad behaviour, but readers might not be so aware of it beyond some bizarrely long shipping times for certain books.

The short version: Hachette (a publisher) and Amazon (an evil behemoth) are in contract negotiations. Amazon wants more money from Hachette; Hachette doesn't want to give Amazon more money. Which is fair enough - businesses are there to make money so it's reasonable for both of them to want a bigger slice of the pie.

What isn't reasonable is what Amazon did next.

They started giving three week dispatch times on books by Hachette authors. That's not "we'll ship it and it'll take three weeks to get to you", that's "we'll ship it in three weeks even though it's in stock". Yes this is hitting Amazon's profits, since customers might take their custom elsewhere, but given the size and global position of Amazon this is hardly going to affect their bottom line. It's going to hit the smaller Hachette much harder.

And it's going to hit their authors.

The next thing Amazon did was remove the preorder buttons from Hachette titles - as can be seen in a screenshot in this blog post by the New York Times. This might not seem like a big deal, but it has a massive impact on authors since preorders are one of the ways in which publishers decide whether to buy more books by their authors. It's entirely possible that mid-list authors are going to lose their careers over this.

Last night I saw the following Tweet from Hachette author Nalo Hopkinson.
Which would suggest that Amazon is well aware of who's taking the brunt of their strong-arm tactics, and have decided to kick them even harder. Maybe they're hoping the authors, fearing for their careers and royalties, will pressure Hachette to cave.

That's not what's happening. Instead indie bookstores (who are also hurt by Amazon's increasing market share) are promoting that they can get readers Hachette books faster than Amazon can, and they're doing it at a discount. Authors and readers are sharing the links, and the articles condemning Amazon's practices, and asking people to shop elsewhere.

I certainly will be. Pretty much everything on my wishlist are things I can buy elsewhere. Except for the Kindle books, and I'm really regretting the Kindle as my choice of e-reader right now. I can go to Smashwords for some of the indie and self-published books, but for titles from larger publishers I'm stuck with "buy the paperback" (which I bought an e-reader to avoid doing) or "don't buy it at all" (which also hurts authors).

It also puts me in a sticky position as a self-published author. My books are currently available on Amazon. If I take them down I could be hurting myself in lost sales, and I'm denying readers the choice of where to buy in the same way that Amazon is. If I don't, I'm supporting an exploitative company that, when it's finished taking on the traditional publishers, will probably turn on indie authors too.

For the moment the books and links are still available. This may change. I'd personally rather anyone planning on buying the Kindle edition of one of my books does so through Smashwords. You can download in multiple formats, which is handy if you want to change e-reader too.

Amazon has deep pockets. It's going to take a lot to make them notice that people are upset with them. Customer experience is apparently their core ethos: what will be telling is if they continue to behave like they don't care.
clhollandwriter: (poppy)
Picture I have some free time at the moment, so I put together another ebook collection of previously published stories, Dark Ghosts and Flamingos and Other Stories. This one contains "A Celebration in Blue Silk", "Of Corn and Crows", "The Clay Men", and "Dark ghosts and Flamingos."

It's three fantasy (one dark historical), and a science fiction, so a bit of an odd mix, but I don't write enough science fiction to give it its own collection. Two of the flash stories are already in A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction, and the other ("This is the Way the World Begins") I don't have reprint rights back for yet.

At some point I'll do a print collection through Lulu, but that's a while off yet.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
It's almost time for my e-Books to start migrating over to Smashwords, so I've redone the covers:
golems          memory          primary          clockwork
The main reason for it was to bring some sort of cohesion to the reprint fiction collections. I think these look better.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)
Now that I've got your attention, shameless self-promotion first - I have a new e-book, "A World in Clockwork and Other Stories", up at Amazon today.



It's a collection of previously published works - the title story, "Mr Bad Man", "When the Harlequin Dances" and "In Search of Camanac".

And to celebrate, "A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction" is free today and tomorrow.


Yesterday, I sat down and did the first exercise of my proofreading course. It was fairly simple, only two symbols to work with (insert, and substitute), but I still made some fairly basic errors. Fortunately only one of those was something I missed. The rest were down to inexperience - forgetting to circle a marginal note, for example, and using a "close up" symbol when I didn't need to.

I really enjoyed it, even if all the mistakes in the text did make me want to grind my teeth - I kept having to remind myself they were the whole point. This weekend I intend to work my way up to the second exercise. There are four in each unit, and then a marked assignment. Lots of work, but so far enjoyable, and hopefully worth it in the end.
clhollandwriter: (moon)
It's been a lovely long weekend. I excavated my desk from beneath a pile of random stuff, and tidied up some books and CDs into the charity shop pile. Unfortunately the spare bed is now underneath most of the dumpage, but I at least have a work area again.

I also started my proofreading course, and wow it looks hard. I'm up to the first exercise, so I'm waiting for some quiet time so I can sit down and concentrate on it. It's like a whole other language, and I'm terrible at those. Still, at least no one expects me to speak it.

Writing-wise, I haven't done much lately. I'm supposed to be working on a project, but that's sort of fallen by the wayside while I putter with shorts. I'm trying to come up with something to submit to Cucurbital 3, and also kick-start some unfinished projects, since I appear to have run out of finished stories that aren't either sold or trunked. (Seriously, I've got one left.)

Of course, the amount of books I'm reading probably doesn't help. It's been almost non-stop since I bought my Kindle - I don't remember enjoying books this much since I was about 15. It's nice not to have the pressure of wondering if I have the room or will have to get rid of something else to fit it in. In fact, my book-buying seems to have polarised into fiction on the Kindle and non-fiction in real-book form. At least that's my excuse for buying Food in History, and a copy of The Book of English Magic to replace the one I dropped in the bath.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I've collected together a selecton of flash stories and published them at Amazon: A Primary Function and Other Flash Fiction.



I'm working on a short story collection next.



Cross-posted from Conversations With Dragons.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I have to admit, I'm becoming addicted to e-books. Not only for reading, because I love the scope the Kindle gives me, but creating them too. I've already got a collection of flash stories ready to go up on Amazon, and last week I started working on "The Reflection of Memory" as a standalone novella. There's a lot of work to do on that though, as the PDF to Word conversion did some very strange things to the formatting. I've probably got enough short stories out of contract now to do a couple of mini collections too.

Of course when I run out of back catalogue I might have to start writing again....
clhollandwriter: (lucifer)
After a weekend of wrangling with the formatting options in Word, I now have a book published on the Kindle - Golems, Vampires and Wanderers: Essays in Gothc Fiction. As I mentioned in my last post, fairly niche! It was a great learning experience and, although there are things I'd do differently in hindsight, overall I'm happy with it.





Cross-posted from Conversations with Dragons.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
"Child of the Pact" is reprinted at Sorcerous Signals today, and I've recently found out my poem "Meeting Before Breakfast" will be published at Every Day Poets on 30th April.

It's been a productive weekend, even though I spent precisely none of it writing. I finished setting up my website. It came down to a choice between Weebly and Moonfruit, but Moonfruit's website seemed slow and clunky so I went with Weebly instead. It's free, so I don't have my own domain, but I present to you Conversations with Dragons. Now that I have a dedicated website I hope to be a bit more focussed on writing-based content, which I can cross-post while still spamming about cats here.

The other thing I did instead of writing was teach myself about e-book publishing on the Kindle. It's taken most of the weekend, which should indicated how desperately I was procrastinating. Getting all the formatting right in Word is a pig, especially as you can't see what it's hiding until you upload the preview. It was worth it for the experience though, and I experimented on turning my Masters essays and dissertation into an e-book since the content was already there and I wasn't invested in getting it out. Although by the end of it, I'd made so many tweaks and changed I might as well get the thing up, so it's due out sometime tomorrow. It's fairly niche though, so I doubt it will be a bestseller!
clhollandwriter: (block)
For some reason Livejournal didn't want to cross-post my last entry to Facebook, because it had a picture in, and told me it disconnected me. So now I'm not sure if this will cross-post at al, since FB isn't checked at the bottom of the post, but it, irreversibly, in the settings. Oh well, I guess I'll find out whan I post this.

Things have been quiet lately because I've been off getting to know my Kindle better. I may have put a few too many books on it, but most of them were free. I've also started collecting a series, Phil Rickman's Merrily Watkins books (about a female exorcist in the Church of England), because I already own the first four but they're scattered all over the place (I only actually have books one and four with me for some reason). For a while I stopped buying them because I could never remember which ones I had, and now there are eleven so it seemed easier just to start again, especially as the first two were £1 each.

The only bummer is the battery life - it's going to last me a two weeks max, as long as i don't download much. Amazon's "month long battery life" is based on half an hour of reading a day, but honestly ho many people who read that little are going to need a Kindle anyway?

The weather here has been screwy lately. Just a week ago I was out reading in the sunshine, and this week we had snow. I'm not sure what's going on there, if I wrote a story with that sort of thing going on no one would believe it unless it was an apocalyptic thriller.

The cats have been put on a new diet, because we're trying to tackle the fact that Lucifer doesn't eat much and then Gabriel hoovers everything up while n one's looking. Gabriel's starting to look like a rugby ball with legs. So now instead of giving them two meals a day and leaving them to it, we're giving them three smaller meals and taking the bowls up when we go out and overnight. It seems to be working - Lucifer's eating more, they're actually eating more of the food between them, but Gabriel's grazing a lot less because there's nothing there to graze. They complained a lot the first coupld of days, but seem to be used to it now.

I started a new project recently, currently titled "That Novel." I'm not sure where it's going, but I had fun working on it this evening, even if progress is a bit slow. I'm not going to post up any goals yet though, because I'm very good at failing in public.
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)

And that's why I finally cracked and bought a Kindle. I hope it arrives soon, my Amazon Wish List is already three pages long.

It wasn't just the free books that swung it, although it helps. It was more that I can fit 1400 books on the thing and I'm sick of not buying paperbacks because we don't have the space, or because they're small press and I can't afford to import them. The BF is not a fan, he thinks they're evil and soulless, but as I pointed out it allows me to have a library without actually having a library.

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