Here’s a Freebie Offer for My Friends & Readers

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18, 2014 by K. W. Jeter

I’ve been listening to the e-book marketing gurus, and what they’re telling me is that I need a mailing list, to let people know about new books and stories of mine as they become available, special promo offers, all that sort of thing. I had kinda been using this blog for that purpose, as I always post something here about new books, etc., so that anyone who subscribed to the blog would get that information automatically. But apparently that’s not really optimum for getting the word out.

So I’ve set up a K. W. Jeter Books & Stories Mailing List, with a sign-up page here. I’d like to get all the followers of this blog, my Twitter followers and Facebook friends, etc., etc., to sign up for it — and I’m not above bribery to accomplish that. So here’s the deal:

Click on the link for the sign-up page, put down your preferred e-mail address, do the little online dance with the confirmation e-mail — I expect you know the drill — and you’ll wind up on a page with a list plus links for all the Kindle e-books I’ve published so far through my personal Editions Herodiade imprint. Pick one, e-mail me the title, and I’ll send the Kindle file to you ASAP. Free, gratis; just my thanks for indicating that you’re interested in receiving news and information about my e-books as I make them available. And that’s all I’ll send out on the mailing list; I don’t feel like spamming my friends and readers and cluttering up their inboxes with a lot of useless stuff, just to remind them I still exist and how wonderful I am. So I hope you’ll sign up, and of course I hope you enjoy the free book.

Time Passes in Los Angeles

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2014 by K. W. Jeter

Going over the text of my 1987 horror novel DARK SEEKER, getting it ready to put up on Amazon as a Kindle e-book (available now here), was an occasion for some bittersweet reflections on mortality and the passage of time.

As I’ve remarked elsewhere, I loved the old Los Angeles, which is now pretty much gone, alas. I thought it was an exciting and oddly romantic city, in its own dark, twisted way. I don’t recognize the glossier and more crowded version that has replaced it. In my equally vanished youth, L.A. seemed like the place where anything could happen, and it kinda did, for better or worse. The last few times I’ve been there, it seemed dull and corporate, safe and sanitized; I doubt if there are many rough beasts, pace Didion, slouching toward it now.

The book’s protagonist Tyler is seen on the first page, taking the Melrose off-ramp from the freeway. I took the same off-ramp a couple thousand times at least. Back then, in the seventies and eighties, that stretch of Melrose would take you past the Anti-Club, a short-lived hangout where my future wife and I heard some of the first-generation L.A. punk bands, such as Fear and Nervous Gender; an oddly friendly den of iniquity. Also, heading further along Melrose, usually heading toward Aron’s Records in its original location just before Fairfax (I had a huge collection of white-label promo vinyl trolled out of Aron’s bins), you’d go past a postage-stamp front lawn, with a slowly decaying Cadillac permanently parked there — said Cadillac having been given as a tip by Elvis to a local waitress. Where’s it now? Towed away, I suppose, to make room for whatever office tower or condo building took its place. DARK SEEKER is a very car-oriented book; whole big passages take place in one vehicle or another. Re-reading it was like taking the wheel, to drive around a city whose streets only exist in my head now.

Other signs of time rushing past: in the book, phones have cords, and recording studios have reels of tape. My memory is all analogue, I suppose. I toyed with the idea of updating the personal technology the characters use, to drag the book into the digital age, but decided instead to leave everything as a shabby memorial to so much of what I loved, figuring that I haven’t really lost it if I can still remember it.

Dark Seeker for Kindle

 

My Novel DARK SEEKER Available Again

Posted in Uncategorized on June 15, 2014 by K. W. Jeter

My 1987 horror/suspense novel DARK SEEKER, full of all sorts of murder and creeping insanity back in that now-lost Los Angeles that we all used to inhabit even if we didn’t live there, is available again as a Kindle e-book: DARK SEEKER

Dark Seeker for Kindle

 

Check it out; I always felt it was one of my better horror novels, with interesting cross-genre connections to my L.A.-based sf novels such as DR. ADDER and MADLANDS.

Gassing on Locus

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2014 by K. W. Jeter

I just sent back the edits on the draft of the interview that the Locus magazine editors kindly did with me, while I was in Brighton UK last November for World Fantasy Con. Came out rather well, I think, in that I didn’t make myself sound like a complete idiot — which is perhaps due more to the editors’ skills than any great verbal accomplishment on my part.

I’m informed that the interview will appear in the July issue of Locus. I gas on at some length on topics such as the interesting rise of the new multicultural steampunk writers; some of my favorite Victorian writers, such as Harrison Ainsworth and Mrs. Humphrey Ward, and how Mrs. Ward correctly predicted that the male side of the human species would get even stupider and crueler than it already was; Phil Dick’s last circle of friends in Orange County, California; and what happened to me playing bass in a bar band in Ecuador that never happened to me as a writer. So if any of that sounds remotely interesting, you might want to keep an eye out for when the interview appears in Locus.

Amazon Should Do What’s Best for Indie Writers & Readers

Posted in Uncategorized on August 27, 2012 by K. W. Jeter

Here’s the background: Indie e-publishing phenom John Locke, famous for being the first indie writer to sell a million ebooks on Amazon.com, has been outed in the New York Times for having bought a large number, if not most, of the positive reviews that propelled his success:

The Best Reviews Money Can Buy

If this were just a scandale that concerned John Locke alone, I wouldn’t care about it, and I doubt if very many other people in the indie e-publishing scene would, either. But the problem is that it casts indie ebooks in general, along with their writers, in a bad light.

You only have to scroll through the comments to the New York Times article to find a lot of people piling on, saying that incidents such as this demonstrate that indie ebooks are crap, that authors have to pay people to say nice things about, and that’s why they don’t buy them. But not just there; Salon.com chimed in with a painfully accurate assessment:

“…employing a service that dishonest and cynical demonstrates a bizarre contempt for the reader. It casts the writer as a producer of widgets and the reader as a sucker who probably won’t complain if the product doesn’t live up to the hype, because hey, at least it was cheap. Books, in this scenario, become flea market trash…”

And how’s the Twitterverse discussing the matter? Here’s a couple of typical comments:

John Locke paid for positive reviews, according to NY Times article. Now, my question is: How many other authors pay?

and

John Locke, self publishing success, paid for over 300 reviews. I have no doubts many huge self pubs use this service.

So there you have it. Locke promoted his indie books by paying a scummy “review” mill for its services, in order to gain a commercial advantage over honest writers who didn’t pay for such fraudulent reviews. But worse, with that having come to light, readers are naturally wondering about the positive reviews for every indie writer’s ebooks. Can they be trusted? Or, cynically, how much did the writer pay for them?

And of course, Locke knew that this was dishonest behavior on his part. That’s why he left the whole arrangement of paying for fraudulent positive reviews out of his how-I-did-it book on how he became the first indie writer to sell a million copies on Amazon. If he didn’t know that there was something wrong with paying for those bogus reviews, and that people would look down on him for having done so, then why did he conceal it?

Bizarrely, some people have already attempted to come to Locke’s defense in this matter by insisting that the bogus paid-for reviews had nothing to do with his ebooks’ success, but that it was actually due to the whole “loyalty transfer” concept that Locke touts in his how-I-did-it book. That’s the bit where he wrote such a compelling blog post — on how much he loves both his mom and Joe Paterno — that people read it, decided he was such a wonderful guy for saying such nice things about Mom and JoePa, and immediately went over to Amazon.com and bought a million copies of his ebooks.

Even getting over the weirdness of Locke being perhaps the last person in the US to publicly express admiration for Joe Paterno — the blog post is still available here on Locke’s website — this whole “loyalty transfer” concept has been pretty well debunked. How likely is it that any significant percentage of a million ebook sales resulted from a blog posting that only generated 43 comments on the website? And a lot of those comments are just spam that Locke hasn’t bothered to scrape off. Here’s a couple:

I have recently installed aluminium windows and doorways in my completely new houses. It is definitely the best path to take, not only do they look nice but because I live in a high crime region I feel safe. They are the best for stability. My family unit love the new installment.

And from somebody who signs himself “Cheep Viagra Pills”:

Hi there, I found your website by way of Google at the same time as searching for a comparable matter, your web site came up, it looks great. I’ve bookmarked to favourites|added to bookmarks.

Yeah, I just bet those guys, after commenting on Locke’s admiration for Joe Paterno, hurried on over to Amazon.com to buy some of his Donovan Creed thriller novels.

In actuality, the only evidence in support of Locke’s “loyalty transfer” concept is the number of ebooks he sold. Naturally, he’s going to say that it was “loyalty transfer” that did it, and not the huge number of fraudulent positive reviews that he purchased, which he concealed from readers of his how-I-did-it book.

But that’s beside the real point. What’s actually important is the damage caused to honest indie ebook writers by Locke and other writers purchasing fraudulent reviews. There’s a battle going on right now, to demonstrate that indie ebooks are as good and even better than traditionally published print books. The battle is being won by indie writers self-publishing compelling, well-written ebooks which garner genuine positive — and unpaid — reviews from actual readers and not desperate shills recruited from Craigslist. As the comments to the New York Times article indicate, it’s going to be a long battle. We don’t need dishonest writers, willing to do anything to promote their books, raising doubts in readers’ minds about the reliability of the reviews they see on Amazon about our ebooks.

Amazon.com is, of course, a for-profit business. Amazon needs to protect the perceived integrity of the review system by which its customers decide to purchase an ebook or any other product. It would be in the interests of Amazon as well as indie ebook authors for it to come down hard on writers who make the unfortunate decision to purchase fraudulent reviews. There’s already a lot of suspicion about the validity of reviews on Amazon; it doesn’t need more fuel to be thrown on that fire by one of its big indie e-publishing success stories being outed in the New York Times, and everywhere else that picks up the story, for fraudulent paid-for reviews.

I’m personally not given to witch hunts — I wouldn’t initiate a petition addressed to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, urging him to yank the ebooks of John Locke or other dishonest writers and to permanently close their Kindle Direct Publishing accounts, and I probably wouldn’t sign such a petition if somebody else came up with one. But at the same time, I wouldn’t shed many tears if Amazon.com did take such actions. These are adults who hired the service that provided the fraudulent reviews, and they knew what they were doing.

Kim Oh in Paperback

Posted in Uncategorized on August 25, 2012 by K. W. Jeter

I’ve been made aware that some of my fans and readers prefer hard-copy books to e-books. That’s cool; in many ways, so do I.

So with that in mind, I’ve made the first four Kim Oh Thrillers available as paperback editions, available through Amazon.com. Just click on the covers below to go straight to the webpage for each one. Hope you enjoy them!

Kim Oh 1: Real Dangerous Girl

Kim Oh 2: Real Dangerous Job

Kim Oh 3: Real Dangerous People

Kim Oh 4: Real Dangerous Place

Support LendInk!

Posted in Uncategorized on August 9, 2012 by K. W. Jeter

I know I have a lot of writers among my blog followers, as well as readers, so I would hope as many as possible will leave a comment on LendInk’s Facebook page, indicating their support and encouraging the website to resume operations. As far as I and most other writers are concerned, LendInk was performing a valuable service to writers, most of whom actively seek to get their ebooks loaned from reader to reader as a promotional tool. The LendInk FB link is here:

LendInk Facebook Page

A good summary of the LendInk situation can be found at the always useful The Passive Voice blog:

Legit Ebook Lending Site Taken Down

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