This is the first of two newsletters to head out this month and the shorter of the pair. It will be mostly be actual book news and offers, rather than my usual rambles, musings and notes. Those will come later.
Without further ado…
Let’s start things off with this.
For amazon.com, the sale period runs from today (8th March 2022) until 2300PDT, Monday, March the 14th, 2022, with Death In Harmony priced at $0.99.
For amazon.co.uk, the sale period runs from today (8th March 2022) until 2300GMT, Monday, March the 14th, 2022, with Death In Harmony priced at £0.99.
The normal price for this novel (and, of course, access to the free bonus novella, Dancing With Death) is $5.99 or £4.99, so this is a RIDICULOUS saving. Buy it, it’s rather good. (And apologies for those who use other Amazon properties; at present I can only present this sale on .com and .co.uk)
This section is positively overflowing with free books this month. Starting with:
I am taking part in three different group promos at StoryOrigin this month and have selected the order of the following randomly (very scientific method of three bits of paper with initials on, scrunched and shaken, stirred and taken…).
Dark Flights of Fantasy should be quite self-explanatory – it is for works which feature darkness, something which Only One Death most certainly does… There are lots of books to look at, so click on the link and check it out.
March to New Worlds with Free Fantasy is the second of the StoryOrigin giveaways this month. It features lots of different novels and novellas including my own Only One Death. This giveaway ends on April the 1st.
Finally, Epic & High Fantasy Free Book Giveaway has over 50 books for you to choose from, all free, all with their author’s blessing. Head on over to StoryOrigin and see if there’s something to your liking. Again, this giveaway ends on April the 1st.
There is no Kindle Unlimited group this month, for the reason below…
Publishing Path Ahead
A brief recap and what’s to come.
After this sale period for Death In Harmony ends, it shall no longer be Amazon-exclusive. The intention is to publish widely, as I have with the other Tales. I may get this done in the next month (this is the plan), but my time is a little short until after the wedding and, indeed, also moving house.
I shall publish an anthology edition of Death In Harmony and Dancing With Death — the not-surprisingly-named Tales of The Lesser Evil, Volume II.
I have two French translations ready to be published too (thanks, Aurélie!) — these have sadly taken something of a shameful back seat in the last year, mostly because it takes me a bit longer to process and upload them than it does the English editions. However, I intend to rectify this very soon.
The final novel and bonus novella have also been pushed somewhat to one side of late — and finishing these is a priority. Once they are finished, my current thinking is not to bother with a period of Amazon exclusivity — admittedly, the experiment with Death In Harmony was a little flawed, in that my plans for considerable marketing fell by the wayside, but I do not think it will be worth it for the final book. Mostly because I know I will not have time to market that as I’d like, I’m not really that keen on the Amazon domination of the market, and I’d rather move on with other projects.
There will of course be a Tales Volume III, with both the final novel and bonus novella. I am deliberately pricing these higher than the single novel, which means that, for the price of an email address and signing up for this newsletter, the reader can actually get both of these for less money than the anthology, along with the (dubious?) joy of this newsletter thrown in. Makes sense to me.
After some feedback and research, I think one thing which is putting off some readers, especially in the US, is that the covers are too minimalist, and they do not look like the covers of most other fantasy books published in the States. This seems to matter less in other parts of the world, but I do think it might be worth slightly altering the covers to reflect the expected style. I have already got a plan for this — and I might even run a poll to see which cover option you all prefer. Again, I suspect this will wait until May.
And then that is it for The Tales of The Lesser Evil. These prequels will be finished and left alone as I move on to editing the first novel in The Greater Good (The Care Industry), and working on the first novel of The Lesser Evil trilogy itself.
There are other things in the pipeline, the Mesolithic/bushcraft newsletter project is a big one, and I intend to open an Etsy shop once we have moved and I have my workshop installed. Having different income streams is something of vast importance to the freelancer — and making money from something other than words is good for my mind and soul. I also really enjoy crafting things — and have missed it in recent years. Being out in the woods and mountains will mean plenty of raw materials too, whether wood, stone, bone, or antler, for example. Watch this space.
A big warm hello to new followers — and a special hello to my old friend Rob. We lost touch for several years, but then he randomly connected with my sisters via twitter. The internet is not all a cesspool of despair and misery, is it? Hi, Rob!
There have been a lot of hot takes about the recent Kickstarter created by Brandon Sanderson, currently sitting at a shade under $26 million, or £20 million, with only a week gone. The biggest Kickstarter of all time. I don’t want to spend too much time or space adding to these thoughts, other than to say a couple of things (okay, three and a bit).
Firstly, I have never actually read any of this books. As I mentioned recently, I do fully intend to one day finish The Wheel of Time and, perhaps, I shall also try one of his Cosmere novels.
Secondly, there seems some confusion amongst certain factions on, for example, Twitter — in that they expect other authors to be jealous of Sanderson’s success. I have no idea why people think this would be the case — the man works very hard indeed, which should definitely be rewarded but, even more simply, why would an author wish another author ill? It’s not like we are perhaps local plumbing firms, all vying for the same business — instead, we have the whole world to share our works with and not everyone has the same tastes (see point one above). One rarely has tastes in plumbing or plumbers, right (feel free to correct me if you do)? To me, pipes are pipes. Books, however, are ALL to be celebrated, as is reading in general. I used to be a book snob when I was younger and more stupid but, thankfully, I grew out of that. Now I’m just happy when someone reads anything. Sanderson is not taking readers away from someone else — I know he writes vast tomes, and publishes regularly, but most readers will very quickly run out of his works and then need to find something else… Which is where the rest of us come in.
Thirdly, and finally, there have also been some amusing and horrifically inaccurate takes in the mainstream press. An overnight success Sanderson really is not, but apparently that is how this Kickstarter is seen by some. No writer, ever, is an overnight success. It’s just not feasible — writing is a long process, even when it goes remarkably well. To call one of the biggest selling fantasy writers an overnight success is simply ridiculous. Sanderson writes fast, he is effective in what he does, has a process which works well, and has a team to support him. What this does also show is that perhaps The Normal needs to change.
Perhaps the time and energy many writers spend on travel and promotion could be used to write more? It is a difficult balancing act for many, I suspect — meeting fans, creating that sense of rapport, and actually getting the books out. I fall firmly into the latter camp. One of the big bonuses of leaving the UK for what essentially amounts to potentially never-ending travels, is that I know I won’t be available to tour widely. I might head to the occasional convention (I have yet to visit a single convention, on any subject or fandom), but I know how my brain works — and, if people want to read my words, then it is best I have time to create them, without expanding all my energy through meeting folk. I only recharge alone and, much as I love being with people and meeting new friends and old, I likewise only have so much energy to spend upon this. This is not a flaw, but for many years I thought it was. It is simply how my brain chemistry works.
Publishing has utterly changed over the last decade or so. And the dust is still in the air — the big houses have not recovered from these changes and, I suspect, they never will. Change is good, it brings new things, new ideas, new ways to share words. Perhaps the biggest thing is this — owning your own content and words is possible and, with creativity and hard work, you can actually make a better living than the big publishing houses would normally provide. You can also choose how to publish and how to share ideas. Print on demand options are also kinder to the planet, without expensive and potentially risky large print runs. Overheads are kept down, fewer people in a chain need to take a slice of the pie. In short, all is still in flux.
And Sanderson has done many of these things with this Kickstarter — and that is definitely to be celebrated, shaking things up is good. (Special mention for the YouTube video he released to sneakily announce this, a bit of showmanship is a good thing from time to time.)
More soon, take care of one another, and try and escape the endless rolling news cycle as often as you can. Not looking all the time does not lessen the bravery, honour, and sheer determination of those men and women defending Ukraine. Not looking all the time does not mean worse things will happen. Not looking (or listening) does, however, give you time to recharge and work out how to fight the good fight in your own way. Stay sharp, don’t get sucked into that cloud of darkness, we are all stronger than we realise, and that includes you and me.
For this newsletter, something different for the images. Apart from the banner images and the cover of Death In Harmony, all the hugely atmospheric images in this newsletter are by Walter Licínio and licensed under CC BY 4.0. The internet, as I said above, is not just horror and misery and cruelty, it is also full of people who essentially give things away, just to make others happy. I do it with Only One Death, and this artist, Walter Licínio, who I discovered via Twitter, does it with his art. (He and his wife are a Brazilian couple of Tabletop RPG designers, whose focus is in making awesome, streamlined games at accessible pricing.) We should celebrate things like this and remind ourselves of the ways the internet can be so very special.