InConJunction XXIX panel schedule

I’ve got four events at InConJunction this weekend, all on Saturday the 6th. I will be in the vendor room for the rest of the time. For those of you who support me on Patreon, I am very likely to bring a recorder and post these to the site over the next couple of weeks. Remember: just $1 a month gets you access to almost everything on the site, and $2 a month gets you a whole novel!

Independent Publishers on Indie Publishing: 10:00-12:00, Indianapolis Ballroom A

Reading: Favorite Fun Chapters: Sometime during 3-4:00 PM, Indianapolis Ballroom B. I don’t know exactly when and I haven’t decided what to read yet. I think something from Tales but we’ll see.

The Challenges and Joys of Microfiction: 4:00-5:00, Indianapolis Ballroom A.

World Building for Authors and Game Designers, 6:00-7:00, Indianapolis Ballroom B.

I’m hoping for my reading to be near the end of that section, so that I don’t have to be away from my booth for that whole time, and I did end up cancelling one event where I got double-booked by accident and another where I just wanted another hour in the vendor room. Six hours of programming spread over three days would have been okay; six hours of what is usually the biggest day of the con … eh.

One way or another, if you’re going to be at the show, come see me!

This Book is Good and This Book is Also Bad: a #review of Autumn Christian’s CROOKED GOD MACHINE

41rQ16mZceLA quick programming note: my wife is in Boston all week for a work thing; I drove her to the train station at midnight last night, so while I am technically on vacation for a week  once my shift ends at 6 tonight, I’m also on solo daddy duty all next week and I have a couple of full-day training things for my new job, plus at least one other life-related excursion for each day next week.  So I’m gonna be kind of busy!  I’ll be using my spare time to work on Book Stuff but it’s gonna be an interesting week and there may not be a ton of time for bloggery.

Which means a 2000-word post every day, obviously.

Anyway.  I’m on Warren Ellis’ newsletter, and he pointed out this little indie-published (!!!) novel called Crooked God Machine, and I’m tempted to just quote his entire brief review because he’s Warren Ellis and he’s better at this than me but instead I’ll just link to it.  At any rate, the review doesn’t need to be complicated: in some ways this book is one of the most fucked-up things I’ve ever read in a deliciously good way; it’s about a world that is ending but is not in any hurry to do so, and what growing up in a world like that is like, and God yelling from you inside of a television, and people deliberately turning themselves into brain-spider zombies so that they don’t have to deal with their own existence any longer– the sales pitch for the brain-spiders is literally you don’t have to experience the next ten years.  The writing is uniformly gorgeous throughout– Autumn Christian wrote this between the ages of 19 and 21, which is unbelievable– this is A Confederacy of Dunces-level Evil Young Genius writing going on here.  If you are a fan of dark and really creepy horror I recommend it unreservedly.  If you aren’t, be aware that the subject matter is deeply fucked up throughout– a dead infant gets fed to a monster in a swamp at one point, and the monster torments the main character for the rest of the book, and that’s just that one thing, so maybe assume a trigger warning?  Ellis calls it “young, raw work” in his review and he’s absolutely right– there is a certain immaturity here, and it’s very clearly the product of a preternaturally talented young person who is very, very angry with the world she has been handed, and that’s something you probably need to be aware of about it, but it’s definitely worth reading and is gonna stick with me for a while.

That said.  I bought this book in print because I try to buy everything in print, and also honestly the cover is compelling as hell and I wanted it on my shelf.  Notice how the title on the cover omits the definite article?  The name of the book is The Crooked God Machine, according to everything on Amazon and everything inside the book.  It is perhaps a sign of how carefully the print manuscript is edited that the book gets the title wrong on the cover.  You will look at this and know immediately that it is an indy title, unfortunately– everything from the print size to the font choices to little things like chapters starting on the left-hand page once in a while screams that this was put together by someone who 1) had no experience in book design and 2) did not take the time to carefully look through the books in their possession and pay careful attention.  It is also, unfortunately, riddled with the types of errors you get when you are depending on spellcheck as your primary source of editing– in other words, there are next to no misspelled words, but there are lots of errors– nearly every chapter– of omitted words, autocorrecty sorts of errors where the word used is a real word so spellcheck won’t catch it but it is nonetheless completely the wrong word, and sentences where some editing took place but the editing itself introduced a second error that didn’t get caught.

I have seen from reviews that the ebook is not prone to this, but the print version will drive you crazy if you are the type to notice this.  It’s still absolutely worth reading but it cost the book a star in my Goodreads review because indie authors have to be better than this.  Then again, Warren fucking Ellis reviewed her book positively so maybe what the hell do I know.  Warren Ellis sure as hell isn’t reading The Benevolence Archives, right?



Speaking of Amazon…

20111004144517I got an email about their Kindle Scout program the other day; does anybody know anything about it?  It appears to be a crowdsourced approach to publication, only Amazon is your publisher and not just a distributor.  (Note to non-indie writers.  There’s a big difference.  I publish my books.  Amazon’s my distributor.)

Anyway, it appears that the program’s been around for a while– I got the impression from the email that it was a new thing– so I’m surprised that I’ve never heard of it prior to getting the email last week.  Have any of you fiddled around with this at all, either as a reader or a writer?  Anybody have a book out there that could use a nomination?

What it seems to be to me is less a control on quality of the work and more a test of which authors already possess a long enough arm online to drive “nominators” to the site– which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I doubt I can compete even if I had a book at the moment I wanted to nominate, which I don’t.  We’ll see what happens when the Skylights sequel comes out, sometime next spring.

As of about twenty minutes ago, I’m entirely Amazon exclusive.  It may be that the other retailers haven’t realized that the plug is pulled for a day or two, but I’ve pulled everything down this evening other than Amazon.  I have some ideas for promotions that I’ll be letting y’all know about in the next few days.  I’m hopeful that things will work out the way I want them to.

Meanwhile, Malumba is easily outpacing Sanctum in terms of pre-orders so far.  I’m starting to hear from alpha readers already and so far the response has been impressively positive.  I didn’t have super high hopes for this one to do much, but I’d love to be proved wrong.  Check it out!  Just $4.95!

Author nerd post!

bacover3dSo this has happened– Amazon has introduced a new program called “Kindle Unlimited,” where for a flat fee of $9.99 a month you can download and read as many books as you want on your Kindle and keep them for as long as you’d like, so long as you keep paying the $9.99 a month.

I’m not sure what kind of deal they worked out with the actual publishing companies, but apparently us lowly independent folk get paid the same way we did for the Kindle Lending Library– if you’re enrolled in Kindle Select, you’re in, and you get a portion of the money they set aside for KS people every month each time your book gets borrowed.  Which, I should point out, isn’t a bad deal at all, or at least it doesn’t sound like one on paper.


The Benevolence Archives has moved nearly 500 copies– significantly more as a free book than paid, but that’s still not nothing– and has never once been downloaded by someone on the lending library.  So this is not really a thing that appeals to me as an author, although as a reader I’m thinking about checking it out.

Here’s the interesting thing, though: since they’ve altered the terms of the Kindle Select deal by creating this program, they’re allowing anyone currently involved in Kindle Select to remove their book from the program even if they’re not through with their 90 days yet.  Mine don’t run out for a few more weeks, but I’d already decided that I didn’t see the advantage of the program, so I’m gonna pull it early.  Which means that 1) I can make it available at the various other online services (Barnes and Noble! Smashwords! Apple!) and 2) I have a bit more flexibility about price.

I’ll let y’all know what ends up happening with that as soon as it’s happened.

REBLOG: Self-Publishing is Reactionary? How about Transformative?

(Note that technically I’m reblogging this without permission.  I don’t think Emery will mind, but if I’m wrong and the post goes away that’s why.  I’ve been spending a fair amount of time lately thinking about these sorts of things, and there’s probably a post of my own coming in the near future.  For now, read this:)


At lunch I was checking Twitter and came across this tweet:

I read the article, and couldn’t disagree more. But simply disagreeing is something internet trolls do. I want to lay out why I disagree.

(Again, read the rest here.)