Just to let everyone know — Geri and I have registered for the 2013 World Fantasy Convention in Brighton UK, October 31 – November 3, 2013. Looking forward to hanging out with a lot of folks we haven’t seen in quite a while, plus all our friends from the US and elsewhere who make it over. Should be fun.
Some information came my way, about how the webpages for Kindle ebooks can be tweaked on Amazon.com, so they’re a little more attention-grabbing and (hopefully) more commercial. It’s basically old-school HTML, but Amazon’s own proprietary version of it, so the codes are somewhat different; you can’t just put the format commands inside paired brackets and expect it to work.
I fine-tuned the pages for my Kim Oh Thriller series, with the results below. Just click on the images to go to the Amazon webpages:
I’ll be interested in any comments people have about the changes to the webpages.
Also, to combat the summer publishing doldrums, the prices of all the books in the Kim Oh Thriller series have been reduced a bit. So now’s a good time to snag any or all of them for your Kindle collection. If you just bought any of the Kim Oh books and feel a little miffed at missing out on the lower price, use the E-Mail Me! button on this blog to get in touch with me, and I’ll put you on the list for a little freebie I’m putting together.
And speaking of freebies, you can still get the first book in the series — Kim Oh 1: Real Dangerous Girl — absolutely free, no obligation; just click here for the info how.
Well worth your valuable time to read Neal Gabler’s article in the Los Angeles Times, on what he perceives — probably correctly — as a lack of interest in old movies on the part of so-called millennials and subsequent generations. By “old,” he means more than five years into the past.
His analysis as to the reason for this is a little… um… unnerving. Quote:
… MTV did conduct a study recently of how young people relate to contemporary films, which found that movies are deeply embedded in the social networking process. Young people begin tweeting about films in anticipation of their release and continue discussing them after the release so that the buzz is now more sustained than it has been. In effect, movies, new movies at least, create an occasion for an ongoing conversation.
What this points to is that movies may have become a kind of “MacGuffin” — an excuse for communication along with music, social updates, friends’ romantic complications and the other things young people use to stoke interaction and provide proof that they are in the loop. A film’s intrinsic value may matter less than its ability to be talked about. In any case, old movies clearly cannot serve this community-building function as they once did. More, the immediacy of social networking, a system in which one tweet supplants another every millisecond, militates against anything that is 10 minutes old, much less 10 years.
Not good for historic film conservation projects, is it? What struck me, however, is what the implications might be for other media, i.e. books. If you substitute the word “books” for “film” or “movies” in the quote above, you might very well have an explanation for so-called “phenomena books” (i.e., Harry Potter, Fifty Shades of Grey, etc.), which sell such incredible numbers more because of the network effect surrounding them than any other reason. (Though Rowling’s stuff is of course far superior to that E L James dreck.)
The difference with books, of course, is that they can be commercially viable at the midlist and below level, with far lower sales figures than movies’ equivalent ticket numbers. Even low-budget films have a vastly larger capital investment than just about any book you can name. Also, with the advent of indie e-publishing and the “long tail” retail effect of a writer being able to leave his or her titles up on Amazon.com and other online retailers virtually forever, books don’t have the increasingly smaller window of opportunity to earn significant money that movies are saddled with.
So in terms of marketing, yeah, maybe the way to have a megabuck-earning bestseller, especially with the younger book-reading audience, is so find some way to turn it into a social event. But at least for the time being, an indie e-publishing writer might be able to survive and even prosper without doing that.
If you’re one of my Facebook friends or Twitter followers, or you subscribe to this blog, you might be aware that I’ve just made the fourth book in my Kim Oh Thriller series — Kim Oh 4: Real Dangerous Place — available for the Kindle on Amazon.com.
I’m having a lot of fun with this series; I think they’re some of the best books I’ve ever done, and quite a few people seem to agree with me. They’re different from the sf and fantasy stuff for which I’m perhaps better known — lots of action, lots of somewhat twisted funny stuff.
If you haven’t already, I’d be happy if you got to know my gal Kim. So here’s the deal:
To download an absolutely free, no-obligation copy of the first book in the series — Kim Oh 1: Real Dangerous Girl — just click here. Then all you have to do is transfer the file to the Documents folder on your Kindle, or open the file in the free Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac program you can download from Amazon.com.
If you’d rather have the warm personal touch of having me e-mail a copy of the e-book to you, just use the E-Mail Me! button on this website, or reply to me or message me on Twitter or Facebook, and I’ll be happy to e-mail your copy to whatever e-mail address you wish. This isn’t a scheme to add your e-mail address to some spammy database; once I’ve sent the e-book to you, I’ll discard your e-mail address.
And as I said, there’s absolutely no obligation to you; I hope you enjoy the book. However –
If you do enjoy Real Dangerous Girl, or any of the other books in the series, and you feel like leaving a review on Amazon.com, or Tweeting or Facebooking about it — then you’re doing me a favor, which I’ll appreciate very much. Indie e-publishing is a new world, and it’s one in which the readers themselves have the power to make a book a success. Most e-book readers make their purchasing decisions based on the reviews and comments they see from other readers, on Amazon.com and elsewhere. Even a few sentences with your honest opinion help those other readers discover new books which they might enjoy as much as you have. You’ve got the power, as never before. When you use it, you’re bestowing a tremendous gift on the community of readers — and to writers.
But mainly, I hope you enjoy the book. Thanks!
Okay, here’s something I’ve been impatiently waiting for about five or six months to announce:
The new Kim Oh Thriller is available now.
I had to take some time off to move the vast K. W. Jeter E-Publishing Empire’s base of operations from one continent to another, but as soon as the production line was up & running again, I dived right back into chronicling my gal Kim’s adventures as a young & aspiring female hit man (Hit woman? Hit lady? Whatever.) I had missed her so much while I was away, that it’s been a real treat to get things rolling with her again.
Here’s the promo copy from the Amazon.com webpage for the new book:
No easy answers. No big international spy secret bank accounts. No superheroes or magic. Just her wits, guts…
And a very large gun.
L.A.’s a new world for Kim — until it turns just as deadly as everywhere she’s been before. Caught in a violent hostage situation — trapped on the freeway in the middle of the city, with fiery explosions in front and in back of her, surrounded by a terrorist mastermind’s assault-rifle-toting henchmen on all sides — an unarmed Kim has to fight to save both her brother Donnie and herself. And all the while, she’s unaware of how much is really at stake — a revenge-driven scheme to unleash an apocalyptic weapon, horrifying beyond description…
Hard to convey everything about a book in a few lines, but my alpha pre-release readers tell me that this might be one of the best in the series so far. I hope you enjoy Kim Oh 4: Real Dangerous Place.
Click here to purchase for your Kindle.
I was reading the liner notes to the pianist Roger Woodward’s excellent recording of Dmitri Shostakovich’s Twenty-Four Preludes & Fugues, and was struck by the following anecdote concerning the composer’s experiences under the Stalin regime:
In February 1948, Shostakovich was denounced by the Communist Party chairman, Andrei Zhdanov, for political incorrectness and although rehabilitated three months later, it was the composer’s second reprimand in just over a decade. His official standing and income was reduced and he was dismissed from the Moscow Conservatorium.
In his Testimony: The Memoirs of Dmitri Shostakovich, the composer recounts Stalin’s ensuing five-year period of terror during which Shostakovich frequently lay awake in the small hours, listening to NKVD officers knocking on doors throughout his apartment building, wondering when it might be his turn. Given the fate of neighbours and colleagues who were either deported to remote Arctic labor camps, whose careers were terminated or who simply vanished, Shostakovich spent many nights camped outside his apartment door, bag packed in readiness for the secret police to arrive, so as to avoid the impression that an impending arrest might inevitably have on his family.
(I’m aware that there’s some long-standing controversy over how much of Testimony was written by Shostakovich himself or by his biographer Solomon Volkov, but this anecdote is consistent with well-documented accounts of Shostakovich’s life, so I’m inclined to believe it’s true.)
Shostakovich’s first wife Nina Varzar didn’t die until 1954, so he would have been living with her and their two children during this period — his daughter Galina was born in 1936 and his son Maxim in 1938.
Not a physically imposing figure, Shostakovich was prevented from serving in the Russian army by his notoriously poor eyesight, though he served as a volunteer fireman during the siege of Leningrad (and was pictured on the cover of Time magazine in his fireman’s helmet and thick owlish spectacles.) We live in a world now in which cartoon supermen, steroid-toxic wrestlers and heavy-armament-toting special forces too often provide our definition of “heroes” to us. But I find something deeply moving in the mental image of this slight figure, bundled up in his overcoat against the Russian winter, sleeping outside the door of his apartment, all to spare his wife and children from the sight of him being dragged away by the secret police. Heroes do what they can, I suppose.
Another image enters my mind: Shostakovich’s oldest child, his daughter Galina, would have been twelve years old in 1948. It’s hard to believe that she didn’t know what her father was doing, sleeping outside the apartment door. Given how close oldest daughters are to their fathers, I wonder if there were nights when Galina wrapped herself in the blanket from her bed and slept on the other side of the door, the thin wood panels all that separated her from her father.
My production team and I are in the final stages of getting Kim Oh 4: Real Dangerous Place, the latest book in the Kim Oh Thriller series, ready to go live on Amazon.com. In the meantime, here’s a peek at the cover artwork:
Early word from my alpha readers is that Real Dangerous Place might be one of the best in the series so far.
Of course, if you’re not up to speed with my gal Kim yet, here’s where to start: