Books By People I Actually Know

I know. I’ve heard your sighs in the dark before the dawn, when you thought no one was listening. I’ve seen your eyes slip over the bookstore windows, your fingers brush the keys as you open a browser to Amazon. It’s okay. You can tell me.

You nod. “I don’t mean to complain, Laura, but…. It’s just that, well, I keep reading all of these amazing household-name authors — people like Patrick Rothfuss and Neil Gaiman and Stephen King and George R. R. Martin and other superstars. And don’t get me wrong, I love superstars, but….” You sigh wistfully. “What I really want is some recommendations for mid-list or less known authors. Ones I can brag on having read early on, you know, before. And — I know it’s too much to dream, but if they could be writers who you actually know, Laura, that would just be perfect.”

Well, grab your hipster glasses, because here are some recommendations for 2013 titles by authors I know, and you’ve probably never heard of them. Yet. Continue reading

The 8-Hour Challenge follow-up: Smoke and Fears

Smoke and Fears, a gaslight fantasyRemember the 8-Hour Book Challenge I described a few days ago? Today Konrath posted the achievers, and you can find them here. (Check them out; you might find something fun!)

Even before Konrath’s post went live, however, Smoke and Fears somehow started climbing the chart, and it’s reached #13 on Amazon’s Free Historical Fantasy list. Which is pretty cool, even if temporary. Continue reading

The 8-Hour Book Challenge

Oh gosh. Hold on a sec and let me catch my breath.

Okay, author J.A. Konrath wrote a post on (among other things) maintaining the joy of creating without fussing over commercialism or perfectionism, and he ended with a challenge to create an entire book in just 8 hours.

That’s the entire book project. Writing, revising, formatting, creating a cover, and publishing. Complete.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. Continue reading

Achievement Unlocked! Goals Met (And Some I Didn’t Know I Had)

Freak Out

This is how I feel, but in a GOOD way, because I’m so excited. (Photo credit: Frau Shizzle)

A while back I wrote a humorous post about goals which would let me know I’d “made it” (whatever that means) in my writing career. Since then I’ve passed some pretty impressive personal milestones, and while I wrote that post primarily for my fiction writing, it would be wholly ungrateful of me not to acknowledge the great things which have come my way thus far in my non-fiction work as well.

Sometimes we achieve goals we didn’t even mean to set, and it’s good to find the joys of these surprise achievements. So here are some awesome things which have really happened, some of which I hadn’t even thought of as goals until I was delighted by them. Continue reading

Twelve Days of Kitsune!

VA Tag: KITSUNE

VA Tag: KITSUNE (Photo credit: shawnblog)

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays — but it wasn’t exactly popular during Heian and Kamakura eras in Japan, for obvious reasons. So here on the blog we’re going to celebrate Twelve Days of Kitsune, and each post we’ll discover a new folk tale, period foods, or other fun surprises related to Kitsune-Tsuki and Kitsune-Mochi.

Watch for the first post in the series on Monday!

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Self-Publishing, Royalties, and Self-Worth

So I just got an email notifying me of my first Kitsune-Tsuki royalties. So of course I had to tweet about it.

Of course, I knew that I wasn’t putting out Kitsune-Tsuki for money. That’s good, because all single-digit humor aside, percentages on a 99¢ ebook ($4.99 in paperback) are not exactly going to pay for a trip to a warmer climate. Continue reading

Your Sample Should Include a Sample.

ebook reader with book image

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Okay, I am pretty equal-opportunity when it comes to paper books and ebooks. I have minor preferences — I like paper books for plane trips (no obligatory power-down!) and ebooks for reference material (I have no guilt highlighting and annotating a ebook, while defacing a paper book even in the name of education feels wrong) — but I feel fairly egalitarian about the whole thing.

I can flip through a paper book in a store and get my own free sample; I can’t with an ebook. Both types, however, offer (or suffer from) electronic sampling. Amazon automatically provides peeks of a book’s first 10%, while other sites allow the publisher to set a sample (my Smashwords account is set to show at least 20%, for example). Publishers (and self-publishing authors) need to consider this when laying out their books. Continue reading