Tag Archives: alien life forms

A Self Publisher Markets and John Scalzi’s latest

IMG_0193This self publishing gig isn’t as easy as it’s cracked up to be.

“Tell me something I don’t know,” you mutter.

There is a world out there willing to give advice, but how good is that advice for your situation?
Who knows?

I can only tell you what works for me…and what doesn’t.

With some success last month, I once again threw myself into the marketing fray. Since I had extra funds in the marketing budget, I decided to advertise two places during my KDP Select free book week.

Robin Reads has been getting buzz lately as an upcoming site still reasonably priced. For $20, I got the number one spot. That was sweet. My criticism of Robin Reads as a reader is that I haven’t figured out how to select out the genres I prefer, so every day I get a list of all types of books which is a pain to page through. I’m not into steamy romances or zombie thrillers…but many readers are.

However, as an author and advertiser, I received fourteen hundred downloads in one day (9/19) for my anchor book, Caught in Time. Not great, but better than I expected for the price. Now usually, a program like that is immediately followed by retail sales of other books in the series.


Added to Robin Reads, I spent $70 at Freebooksy for one day (9/21) where I have had great success, so I was rubbing my hands together in excited anticipation. I got almost a thousand downloads that day. So, over two thousand plus free downloads.

Retail sales? Crickets.

April Aasheim author of The Witches of Dark Root,  reports good luck advertising on Facebook. I’ve been reluctant to try. Anyone having good luck with that?

Meanwhile, The Fussy Librarian sent this out in their newsletter. I thought it interesting. It talks about an article that claims paperback sales are picking up and Ebook sales diminishing.

Seriously? I find that hard to believe. My sales are mostly in EBooks, although paperbacks are readily available.


The End of All Things2This week I’m suggesting a favorite author. John Scalzi is deeply entrenched in traditional publishing in many forms: hardback, paperback, iBook, audio, short story serials etc. He recently came to Powell’s again to promote his new book The End of All Things.

Now there’s a catchy title. It’s available in hardback for $24.99…thank you, big publisher (TOR)…or free at the local library, no taint involved in the free price.

This science fiction soap opera takes place in The Old Man’s Universe, meaning in the universe of his John Campbell Award winning book, Old Man’s War.

True to form, Scalzi does something different. Humans have expanded into space, only to find it populated with thousands of alien species. The Colonial Union formed to protect humans but kept Earth ignorant of aliens so as to provide colonists and soldiers by using consciousness of old people in repurposed bodies.Old Man's War

Many of the alien species threatened by these superhumans formed their own alliances called the Conclave.

Then Earth found out it was being used and got angry. It stopped providing experienced conscious minds and bodies. Without Earth to provide bodies for fighting, the Colonial Union found itself in trouble.

Unbeknownst to the Colonial Union, bitter infighting and politics now threatens to tear the Conclave apart.

The first story of the book is told by the sole survivor of an ambush on the ship the Chandler. A mysterious splinter group known as the Equilibrium has been secretly pitting the Conclave and the Colonial Union against each other. This secret third faction is made up of individuals from the different groups who plan to overthrow all other contenders. While all on The Chandler and any escape pods are ruthlessly killed, Rafe Daquin, recently hired as third pilot on the Chandler, is allowed a consciousness in order to pilot the ship, but he is separated from his body and reduced to operating as a brain in a box.

So your narrator for the first section is a brain in a box who tells the events of the attack and how he thwarts his enemies working without a body.

The Last ColonyThe second part of the book tells events from the point of view of Hafte Sorvalh, the second most powerful individual in the Conclave, or the advisor to Tarsem Gau, the Conclave leader. This story is political theater at its best and Scalzi is a master of clever dialogue. Subtle nuances of behavior by politicians during a Conclave Congress reveal that this powerful body of aliens has its own problems, and act more like humans than most imagine.

The third section brings in favorite character Harry Wilson from the other books in the series who thwarts an Equilibrium attack and interrogates one of their leaders in an attempt to unravel their plans. This section reads more as a spy thriller.

Scalzi admits to frantically trying to finish writing on time and missing deadlines as he travels around for signings and marketing. It makes the book choppy. You can imagine him writing a section, dusting off his hands and sending it in.


I enjoy Scalzi’s interesting science and clever dialogue. He makes reading science fiction both fun and enlightening…

And that’s the way it should be.

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Filed under alien life forms, Alien worlds, aliens, Aliens in Science Fiction, artificial intelligence, award winning scifi, Best selling science fiction, Cutting Edge Science ideas, downloaded personalities, science fiction space opera

Digging Deep

With the increasing wealth of ebooks, I have been thinking that we need several places that focus on a specific genre where self-published authors or small publishing houses with good stories can be found. Several are popping up on the web already. SF Signal is one that comes to mind. I want to be another.

Amazon does a great job, but the new writer or struggling self-published author gets lost in the algorithms that favor the traditional best sellers or the one day marketing wonders. Often these aren’t determined by the quality of the book, either. It’s hard to sell if you’re not on the best selling list and you can’t get on the list if you aren’t selling a lot. Rather a chicken and egg thing.

In addition, there are a lot of good science fiction eBooks out there that can’t be found on bookstore shelves or in libraries. So I want to occasionally highlight a new ebook author in the field of science fiction or fantasy. Bear in mind that I am writing my own series and reading new offerings from traditional publishers also, so this will be a carefully selected occasional thing in order to maintain my sanity.

But first, I want to give you a link to an amazing site that shows two timelines, one with books that have a science fiction concept (i.e. cloning) and then shows on the right time scale the reality of that idea. Fascinating. Take a look. http://visual.ly/fiction-reality-timeline

Having said all that, I want to introduce an ex-Seattle author and occasional Orycon panelist, Stoney Compton. Stoney has published with Baen books in the past, but has recently written an ebook “Level Six”, which sounded very intriguing to me. Plus it had an amazing cover. Check out his other offerings at Amazon.

He also claims to be a friend of Eric Flint. Awesome.

Level Six by Stoney Compton

There are certain books that I particularly like. One is the story of an interesting alien culture and how humans interact with them. Level Six is such a book,

In Level Six, humans have spread out across the stars and the Coalition ship Magellan has come to the alien planet Kiana to study the current inhabitants and investigate their potential. The inhabitants appear willing enough to let the humans onto their planet, even to the extent that the humans establish a government, drive their machines all over, dig in the ground and spread their ideas and culture to the Kians.

The native Kian inhabitants are human enough, but there are differences. One is that they are covered with a pelt of short fur with unusual tattoos all over it. Otherwise, they have the usual human form, can speak and communicate and have a developed culture. They worship the goddess Ki and are amazingly docile, but intelligent. Their culture appears primitive and simple. There are no signs of an advanced civilization that contains weapons, powered vehicles or modern technology. As the story develops, it becomes apparent that they are hiding deep secrets concerning their origins, alien nature and past.

The story contains a variety of characters. From the human Danny Gordon who falls in love with a native Kian, to the arrogant ship’s captain who calls them “monkeys,” an intricate tapestry of relationships develops, both on board the starship Magellan and on planet.

Stoker Payne heads up that part of the human exploration team that tries to unearth the secrets of the past through archeology. He finds nothing until he reaches level six, and there a startling find holds the key to the history and unique powers of the Kian people.

Stoker Payne becomes romantically involved with  Melanie Frasier, an astronomer, who is  on board the Magellan. She gets kicked down to the planet’s observatory by a bad ass boss. While looking through the telescope there, she discovers an incoming comet. It turns out that every  eight hundred years, an unusual comet sweeps in and alters the planet and the people…now it’s eight hundred years later and it’s coming back.

For me the story began slow as it established the various characters, human and alien, and initiating actions. As I read, things heated up and I couldn’t put the reader down. The story line is exciting, the characters well developed and the action builds to a climactic end.

If you like science fiction, interesting alien cultures and exciting apocalyptic events…then this one’s for you.

p.s. Don’t forget to check out my new book in the Alysian Series, Cosmic Entanglement. (see right panel) Available as ebook and paperback at Amazon. You met Richard Steele as the TimeMaster in the first two books, now here’s his childhood and how he came to run the Timelab. Plus, you meet his brother Braden who also makes his own mark.

Because I joined the Kindle Select program, tomorrow and Sunday, Cosmic Entanglements is offered free. If you are a Prime Member with a Kindle, it’s offered free for 90 days from March 1. So snap it up now!

Next week for sure: 

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Filed under alien life forms, ebook science fiction, environmental issues in science fiction, first contact, gene modification, Indie Science Fiction Authors, science fiction, space ship, space travel