I’ve been worried about Indie Bookstores and eBooks for a while. I work with independent bookstores across the Midwest, and many of them started feeling the sting of Amazon’s growing market share even before the meteoric rise of eBook sales. But as the Kindles rolled out and eBook sales started to pick up, Indies were left in a lurch.
Then came Google, a sometimes-not-evil tech giant, partnering with the American Booksellers Association to allow Indies to sign up and get access to the Google eBooks store — for a fee of $200-300 a month, per store if the business has multiple stores. This meant that several notable independent chains, including Joseph-Beth Booksellers, decided not to opt-in to the program, leaving them without an eBook selling solution.
When Google announced it was ending the bookstore affiliate program, I got worried. The idea of Indies being shut out of the eBook sales market was troubling. There’s no reason that people who are loyal to independent bookstores but like reading eBooks shouldn’t be able to make sure their friendly local gets a cut of eBook revenue if they want.
It seems like the folks at Zola have a well-developed plan for building the company up as a comparable alternative to Amazon or BN.com’s online stores, and the partnership with authors could be a cool feature. I hope that they’ll be able to deliver, that Indies will be able to opt-in with much less overhead costs, and that they grow into a strong alternative to the established online eBooksellers. Amazon has a very sophisticated system that they’ve streamlined over years, and a lot of their success comes from aggressive and smart business practices. But I’m wary of any one company getting too much control of an industry, and Zola might help spread the market around a bit more.
The release week whirlwind continues! I’ll try to round up some of the greatest hits here for folk that haven’t been glued to their Twitter streams (you know, sane and normal people living their lives and not obsessing over their first book release, natch.)
For any readers out there — the more reviews the book the has, the easier it is for readers to know if they’re likely to enjoy the book. So if you’ve read Geekomancy and feel like reviewing it on BN.com, Amazon, iBooks, Google, Goodreads, etc., I would be very appreciative.
In order to keep the great excitement around Geekomancy rolling, I’m rolling out a fun Twitter meme called #Geekomancy101.
Step one will be figuring out our stats and class levels.
The first thing you do in almost any RPG is figure out the character’s stats. Ree Reyes, my lead in Geekomancy, has stat blocks and class levels she assigns to herself and her friends. I’m inviting people to make up their own stat blocks and classes for themselves — life-like accuracy takes a back-seat to hilarity.
These stats are done ala Dungeons & Dragons, so 3 is human minimum, 18 is human maximum, and 10-11 are average.
Anton Strout, gentleman and scholar and host of the Once & Future Podcast, has posted his latest episode, where he and I talk about Geekomancy, our shared love of GenCon, why he and Patrick Rothfuss should fight like Pokemon in the writing arena, and much more.
For those of you who don’t know, I attended the Clarion West Writers Workshop in 2007, and it was a huge boost to my writing career. Clarion West allows writers to focus on craft and critiquing for six weeks. Most writers are urged to write a story each of the six weeks as well as critiquing 3-5 short stories by their classmates each day during the week. It’s often described as Boot Camp for writers, and while I haven’t done a military boot camp, my Clarion West experience was certainly a crucible. I’m still applying and re-interpreting lessons learned at the workshop, and Clarion West also gave me a community of peers, most of whom I’m still in touch with and some of whom I see once or twice a year at conventions, keeping up and basking in one another’s successes.
Digression for plugs — Success like Cassie Alexander’s NIGHTSHIFTED, first a three book (and counting!) series about a nurse that works in the paranormal ward of her local hospital; David Constantine’s PILLARS OF HERCULES, a Roman Steampunk action-adventure novel that includes Steam Engines, a Possibly-Divine Alexander, and the secrets of Atlantis; Melinda Thielbar’s MANGA MATH series of manga about kids in a dojo that have to use math and martial arts to solve mysteries; and others!
I wrote my first salable novel after Clarion West (though it hasn’t sold yet), and I’ve tried to keep some connection to the workshop by participating in the Write-a-Thon most of the summers since.
One of this week’s offerings from the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel is a music video for a song called “Gamer Girl, Country Boy” by Felicia Day and Jason Charles Miller.
Watching the video, in addition to being amused, I found myself thinking that this would probably become a theme for the GEEKOMANCY readers who ship Ree and Eastwood (of which I know there are more than one).
My friend Cassie Alexander’s debut novel, a kick-ass urban fantasy titled Nightshifted, is out in stores now!
The awesome cover:
And the scoop on the novel:
Welcome to the secret wing of County Hospital—where vampires get transfusions, werewolves have silver allergies, and one nurse is in way over her head…
Nursing school prepared Edie Spence for a lot of things. Burn victims? No problem. Severed limbs? Piece of cake. Vampires? No way in hell. But as the newest nurse on Y4, the secret ward hidden in the bowels of County Hospital, Edie has her hands full with every paranormal patient you can imagine—from vamps and were-things to zombies and beyond…
Edie’s just trying to learn the ropes so she can get through her latest shift unscathed. But when a vampire servant turns to dust under her watch, all hell breaks loose. Now she’s haunted by the man’s dying words—Save Anna—and before she knows it, she’s on a mission to rescue some poor girl from the undead. Which involves crashing a vampire den, falling for a zombie, and fighting for her soul.
I cannot express how happy I am for Cassie, and how impressed I was when I started reading Nightshifted. Cassie is also a RN in California, so all of the medical talk comes from expertise…except the stuff about treating dragons. It is fiction, after all.
This site puts forward a call to elect delegates from each congressional district and any other U.S. territories for people to represent the 99% at a National General Assembly in Philadelphia on July 4, 2012. Those delegates will meet to draft a formal Petition for Redress of Grievances to present to the president, Congress, and Supreme Court. There is a preliminary list of grievances/resolutions on the site, and while almost impossibly ambitious, I find the list very much in line with my own thoughts.
This is the kind of forward momentum that I think OWS needs to achieve real change in the U.S.A. The structure strikes me as very pie-in-the-sky idealistic, which I find commendable, if probably challenging. Th list of resolutions is large, tremendously ambitious, but calls for steps which I think, for the most part, should be taken. Any two or three of the resolutions could sit and be argued for an entire session of Congress, but for now I think showing organization and cohesion, but maintaining the flexibility (this list is subject to change, etc.) is a very good move. It’ll be interesting to see how wide this part of the message is spread, whether it is echoed by the other local Occupy communities, and whether the National General Assembly comes together. I will be watching with great attention.
I’m quoted in a story at Publisher’s Weekly — talking about being a second-generation bookseller (I’m at the end of the story). It’s interesting for me to see what quotes and topics were chosen out of an hour-long interview. It was a fun process, and of course my grand ambitions are to be quoted there many times in my life, including more as a writer.