Kindle Unlimited, LTUE, and Other Things

KINDLE UNLIMITED

So, I actually like seeing reads for my books on Kindle Unlimited. Especially for Colony. And not just because Colony is long enough that I pretty much make the same amount of money off of a KU read as I do a purchase. Nor because I like KU—which, for the record, I do; it’s as close as we’ve gotten to “Netflix for books” so KU readers, enjoy! But because it’s one of the closest available methods I have to tracking reader’s reactions to my work short of reviews, ratings, and sales.

See, KU gives me, the author, access to the daily page count totals for each of my books. Someone read 100 pages in a day? I can see that. Not who it was, nor when save a date, but I just get to see that someone’s reading my book.

The thing is, I can sort of track someone’s engagement with my books. And I can see how, over a few days, they get sucked further and further in, until reading Colony is all they’re doing. The first day, someone will read maybe 100 pages. The next day they’ll read 100 more. Then the day after that … they’re reading 150. Following that? 300. From there it turns into a sprint to the finish—we’re talking 500 or 600 words in a single day.

I love seeing these little patterns in my KU readers. It’s a good way to tell how readers are being engaged with my books—they’re getting caught up in the action as the book moves towards the end! Granted, I still get those who read through the entire 1100+ page work in a single day, which is also good and fun to see, but it’s pretty satisfying to “see” a reader go through this progression of “Okay, this is pretty good” followed by “Okay, this is really good” to “Drop everything I need to know how this ends now!


JUNGLE

Meanwhile, I’ve been hard at work crafting that experience again for the Colony sequel, Jungle Right now the draft is sitting at 70,000 words (already over 200 pages, Sands and Storms!) and things are starting to come together for the cast. I’ll be reaching the end of PART ONE shortly (caps for the emphasis there) … which is good, but also comes with one unfortunate drawback. It means at the current pace, Jungle will probably match Colony for a six-month writing time.

Truly, I wish I could get that down to less. After all, I wrote Beyond the Borderlands, which was 300K words, in just three months. But I worked that one out very heavily beforehand, and in addition I didn’t have all the extra obligations over my head that I do now. Such as my part-time job, which is absolutely relishing tossing me all sorts of random shifts right now, usually gravitating between full-day shifts or late-night work that has me up until 3 or 4 in the morning—which isn’t great for keeping a sharp writing mind going. I wish I didn’t have to have the thing, but writing doesn’t pay the bills, so … I do what I have to in order to keep writing. It’ll just be a bit of a longer wait for you guys.


WORK AND BEING A BETTER WRITER

Speaking of work-related issues, they’ve also decided that they desperately need me all day on Monday now for the foreseeable future, which is why this last Being a Better Writer post was a day late. Which means that for the next few weeks, at least, BaBW may get bumped to Tuesday.

Again, this kind of sucks. I like leading Monday out with a BaBW post. I’ve been doing it for three years now, and upsetting my schedule doesn’t sit well with me. Unfortunately … I need the money, and at the end of the day if I can’t pay rent or the electric bill I certainly can’t be writing.

Hopefully this delay is just a temporary thing. I’d really like it to be. One day—one day!—I’ll be earning enough money from my writing that I’ll be able to kick this job to the curb (and it desperately deserves it) … but that day is not now. Barring some crazy luck that lets Colony or one of my other stories go viral, anyway.


LTUE

There is a bright spot in my future, as well as yours, however, if you happen to be near Provo, Utah this upcoming weekend. That’s because February 16th-18th is Life, The Universe, and Everything! That’s right, the writer’s convention is happening once again, and I couldn’t be looking forward to it more!

So yes, I will be there! Which means that if you’re going to be there, you can track me down! My hair’s a little shorter than it was for my picture on my author page, but other than that I still look pretty similar. Want to chat about writing, books I’ve written, or even books to come? Track me down and catch me between sessions!

Now, if you’ve been a fan of mine for a while, you’ll know that I’ve paneled at LTUE before. Unfortunately, I will not be paneling this year. In the last two years, LTUE has completely rebuilt their method of applying to be a panelist, and unfortunately at the same time not been very forthcoming in informing those who were normally on those panels “Oh, by the way, you need to do X, Y, and Z now to be a panelist.” Which may have something to do with their guest list this year being half the size it was in years prior. Not that I don’t expect most of those guests to show … it’s just that they put in their application like they had every year without any inkling that the whole system had changed.

Anyway, I’m the casualty of those sweeping changes. I went ahead and did what was normally done in the past … only to find out as I was checking up on things that while I was in the system that it had all changed and the new deadline was already past.

Which makes two years running now that they’ve done this too. I really hope they settle for a little while after this and let people get used to the changes they’ve made before upending it again.

Anyway, issues with the ever-changing system aside, LTUE is massive fun. It’s also very insightful. Think about it: You’ve got an entire convention full of authors dedicated to one thing and one thing only: Sci-Fi and Fantasy  writing. Not reading, but writing. It’s like a whole con of Being a Better Writer panels on every topic under the sun. Some are technical. Others are insightful. And others are just plain fun (The all-time highlight for me has been the panel on writing Fantasy Romance, which to this day still comes up among my circle of friends as the funniest panel we’ve ever attended, intentionally so).

So, if you’re in Utah for this upcoming weekend, February 16th-18th, consider stopping on by! I’ll be there all three days attending panels, chatting it up in the halls, and just generally being one of a hundred-plus authors lose in the halls.


PATREON

Now, onto other things … my Patreon page is seeing Patreon Rewards once more!

I know, I dropped the ball on this one over the holidays. But I caught back up. If you’re a Patreon supporter (and if you’re not, it’s never too late to start!), check your rewards page for January! There’s a sneak-peek look at something very cool: An first-draft chapter from Shadow of an Empire!

Anyway, the rewards are flowing once more, so in the coming months you can expect to see everything from early sneak peeks of works-in-progress to bonus material popping up once more.


EBOOKS ARE NOT DEAD

And last but not least …

Since the new year started, there has been a big push against ebooks from the big publishers. There was a period in January where I couldn’t go ore than a day or two without seeing some big opinion article talking about how “ebooks were dead,” or “the ebooks market is dying because pricing just isn’t realistic,” (note that these articles never discuss that the very publishers decrying this are also the ones pricing their ebooks  equally with hardcovers) or, and here’s a golden one I’ve seen a few times recently, that “reading an ebook isn’t real reading, and those who do it are just kidding themselves.”

Yup, it’s that time of year again. The big publishers have got to remind everyone that ebooks are the worst thing ever, that you shouldn’t be reading them, yadda yadda yadda.

What surprises me the most is that people actually buy this malarkey.

Don’t.

Seriously. Ebooks aren’t going anywhere. The publishers might stop selling them, sure, but the big five aren’t the only source of books in the world. So relax. Ebooks are going to be around for a long time coming. Insisting that ebooks are dead and dying is about as logical as saying the MP3 is dying because we have Pandora and Spotify. Anyone with half an ounce of sense can see it’s a ridiculous claim.


DRAGON AWARDS REMINDER

Oh, and don’t forget, nominations for the 2017 Dragon Awards are open! Keep checking this page so you know what you’re going to nominate. And yes, for the record, Colony is viable for nomination. You know, just in case that was the best Sci-Fi book you’ve read so far this year.


UNTIL NEXT TIME

Anyway, that’s all that’s on the top of my head for now. Time to run, and I’ll see you at LTUE!

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