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Aug 25, 2012

Restarting a Stalled (Writing) Engine

If it really existed, writer's block would be the inability to write. If we look at this idea for a moment, we begin to notice that it doesn't make much sense. Is a person with writer's block physically unable to put words on a page? If that’s really the case, it's not called "writer's block," but rather "paralysis" or "death" or "extreme drunkenness."
Luc Reid's free book The Writing Engine is a great way to rev up stalled motivation to write. It's well, researched, it's short and easy to read, it's helpful and it's hilarious.

The rest of his blog is choc full of useful advice too.

Aug 22, 2012

Welcome Readers from India!

I've been eagerly waiting for Amazon India, and it's finally available!

Yay! Now my friends in India can buy kindles and (most important of all) my books.   :D

What does this mean for indie writers?

Well, first off, it's terrific news for indie writers in India, since they can now access the US market directly. It's obviously also great news for US writers, who can access the ebook market in India. This is great news, but there are still some flags. I wouldn't call them red flags. Orange flags maybe. Not dealbreakers, but points to keep in mind.

It's often bandied about that India has a billion consumers, but this isn't quite true. India has an exploding middle class. (If any of you were among those whining about US jobs going to India, spank yourselves now. It's thanks to India opening itself up to international companies which has driven millions out of the Third World and into the First.) But not all of India is there yet.

The market will be limited to those who read English, have the budget to afford an ereader and also the books that go with it. In addition, they have to actually WANT to transition to ebooks. Right now that's less than 1% of the population. Ebook penetration is estimated to be 2% -- and that's of book buyers not of the total population.

That's for now. Although the market share is minuscule at the moment, it's pretty obvious that ebooks are the format of the 21st century, and as capitalism spreads globally, the middle class of the world is going to grow faster than bamboo. The main impediments are artificial trade blocks and taxes imposed by cartels (as we see in Europe), but even that can't hold back the tide for long. That's good news for entrepreneurs.

Now, what about the present moment? Amazon has made an interesting choice for Amazon India. Indie authors, if you look at your KDP page, you'll notice that the tab for (US) now says that it includes India.


All of the European markets--UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy--show up as seperate tabs in the drop down menu. This means you can see how your sales are doing in each country, which is great. You could be rocking it in .de (Germany) but not so hot in .sp (Spain).

At first I worried that this meant you couldn't charge different prices for India than for the US. This would be a disaster, since the Indian market can't bear as high of prices as the US. Fortunately, I was wrong.

If you go to the master page for your book, and look at the price page, you'll see that THERE, thank goodness, India is separated out from the US.

To celebrate this great news, and to welcome new readers from India, the first thing I've done is lower the prices on my epic fantasy series, The Unfinished Song, to rock bottom prices for India. And of course the first book is free for everyone.

The Unfinished Song Series on Amazon

The Unfinished Song: Wing (Sign up here to get it free on release day)

Aug 21, 2012

2 Things That Always Make Kids Giggle

What you really want to know is when Wing will be out. The answer is... Soon. Very soon.

In the meantime, I have to confess something. I have three kids, the oldest of whom just turned six. They are very good at wriggling stories out of me. Sometimes illustrated stories. What can I say? They're my kids and I spend a lot of time with them.

My kids are semi-home schooled. What that means is that I send them to a public school as a form of babysitting, so I have time to work. However, I don't really trust the public school system to educate them properly, so I also have a curriculum of homework that I do with them myself. (Half of the parents out there are shaking their heads saying, "That's hardly good enough" and the other half are shaking their heads saying, "You make your kids do homework?") So I have alphabet books and number books and fun books about turtles and cats and poop. Ewwwww! Poop? Yes, my kids find anything related to poop or farts to be HILARIOUS.

I never intended to write children's stories, but since I have them, I decided to publish them. They are available in print as well as online. So if any of you have young kids, you might enjoy them.

These picture books are aimed at infants and toddlers -- the zero to five crowd. In the future, look out for some chapter books. Every night I tell my kids a story, and each story ends on a cliffhanger, usually when I run out of things to say. By the next night, I have to figure out how to continue the story! I started recording these with a dictation app on my iPhone and I'm polishing them up. I'd like them to have nicer illustrations than I have time to paint, so I'm enlisting my sister, who is presently enrolled in Art School, to illustrate them for me. The publication schedule will probably be influenced by how heavy her class load is next semester. :)  However, hopefully, we'll get a few of those out there by Christmas.

That's all the news, except that one of my fans is getting married in two weeks, and she has hinted that the publication of Wing would be a lovely wedding present. Talk about pressure! I promise nothing yet, but I do wish her the very best and I am working hard to prepare this gift for all my fans!

Aug 6, 2012

The Heart is Sky

The heart is like the sky, a part of heaven,
but changes night and day too, like the sky;
Now o'er it clouds and thunder must be driven,
And darkness and destruction as on high:
But when it hath been scorch'd, and pierced, and riven,
Its storms expire in water-drops; the eye
pours forth at last the heart's-blood turn'd to tears,
which make the English climate of our years.