End of the Amazon Rush?

Friday, September 26th, 2008
The Amazon rush is dead. I don’t think we’ll see authors getting the same kind of lift from it going forward.

Chris Miller1 shared his thoughts on the Amazon Rush2 , and how they’re getting to be old hat.

I’m glad this discussion is happening, because it’s been on my mind, but I haven’t really taken the time to form any coherent thoughts. Other people have, so be sure to go and read the comments, even if you don’t care to read what I have to say.

I think folks who listen to podiobooks may be approaching a saturation point for this type of thing. Amongst the subset of those folks who are on twitter and follow their favorite podcast authors it’s even more likely. If that’s as far as the message is getting, then I think authors have to beware of fan burnout.

As a consumer who primarily listens to audiobooks, the product that I want has already been delivered to me for free. Now I’m exceptionally appreciative of that fact, which has led me to buy many of these book (which I have no intention of reading in print form) to support the authors. In the perfect world I’d be able to buy the audiobook versions, but so far that’s only been possible for Scott Sigler’s Infected3 .

But really I bought the books for selfish reasons. I want to see these authors succeed because I want them to keep producing content4 . I want to know what happens to Perry Dawsey and Keepsie Branson next. So while I can support these authors by spreading the word, writing reviews, or even just giving them money, I want to support their careers as writers, so they’ll keep writing. While I’m sure the love and adoration of their readers keep some of these folks going, I’m not sure it’s sustainable in the long term.

I have more to say about this, but I never intended to go on this long, so I’m going to let my thoughts roll around a bit more.

  1. Didn’t I just say he was everywhere? And note that his post was spawned by a comment from Kris Johnson. I’ve seen this before. These two may be working together in some capacity []
  2. “Amazon Rush” refers to a concerted effort by an author with an established fan-base to get into the Amazon charts by mobilizing said fan-base into purchasing their latest book all on the same day. []
  3. which is finally available from audible.com, although I was impatient and bought the CD version and converted it. []
  4. And being brutally honest there’s an even more selfish (and perhaps self-delusional) reason: If they can make it, maybe I can too. []

Double Trouble: Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris Rush Amazon.com

Friday, August 8th, 2008

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Double Trouble

Authors Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris are attempting to make a splash on Amazon.com with their new novels, both sequels to award nominated novel. You can help by buying their new books today (08/08/08) at 8am PDT1 . An event they are referring to as Double Trouble.

Digital Magic by Phillipa Ballentine

The Fey are gone… and with them, magic. At least, that is how things seem at the conclusion of the award-nominated novel Chasing the Bard. ~ Lord what fools these mortals be. ~ Penherem is a quaint, sleepy English village where people go to escape the 21st Century. Hiding from the world of laptop computers, the Internet, and wireless communication, is Ella. A writer, now barren of ideas and drive, she resigns herself to a quiet life of solitude. Everything changes with the arrival of a shapeshifting thief. Suddenly, everyone begins to change–from the local librarian to the lady of the manor–revealing their true natures and dangerous secrets. Something in this sleepy English village is awakening… something that might be better left alone.

Digital Magic is the sequel to Chasing the Bard, which is available in paperback, or as a free audiobook.

The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant by Tee Morris

Chicago, 1930, and following the financial calamity of Black Thursday, Billi is doing everything he can to keep his business afloat. The change in seasons, though, brings him a case that appears to be a true blessing from The Fates. Chicago Cubs Manager Joe McCarthy suspects something fishy with the Baltimore Mariners, a new team in the league, and he’s hiring Billi to look into it.

What appears to be the dream job – being paid to research and attend baseball games – turns out to be a nightmare as he discovers one of the Nine Talismans of Acryonis somewhere in play at Wrigley.

And wouldn’t you know it – with two outs and bases loaded, the heavy hitter of the Underworld “Big Al” gets early parole from The Big Dugout and is swinging two in the Batter’s Circle.

The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant is the sequel to Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword available in paperback and as a free audiobook.

  1. I checked with Tee and no matter what’s been said, he meant Pacific Daylight Time []

“Brave Men Run” Web-a-Thon Followup

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

In case you’re curious, Matthew Wayne Selznick posted a two part followup to his Sovereign Summer Sunday Event: Part 1, Part 2.

Links of Interest (June 25th 2008 Through July 16th 2008)

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008
Digital Dickens: How Scott Sigler is changing the way we read
The Independent (UK) covers the upcoming UK release of Scott Sigler’s “Infected”.
Leo Laporte Does 24 Hours of iPhone to Over a Quarter Million Viewers
I always find Leo entertaining. I tuned into this a few times and was amazed at how even with numerous technical faults and no sleep he kept things interesting.
Human Mirror
Improve Everwhere fills a subway with identical twins creating a human mirror, and messing with peoples minds.
Interview: Gaiman, Zelazny and More Coming To Your iPod
An interview with Steve Feldberg, content director for Audible’s science-fiction/fantasy line Audible Frontiers who have been releasing some very exciting audiobooks (including the upcoming release of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories)
Story of a Peanut: The TiVo Remote’s Untold Past, Present and Future
Fascinating history of the TiVo remote.

“Brave Men Run” Web-a-Thon Tomorrow

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

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Sovereign Summer Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tomorrow, Sunday July 13th, Matthew Wayne Selznick‘s Novel Brave Men Run — A Novel of the Sovereign Era is being released in a all new paperback from Swarm Press, and he’s asking everyone who can to buy the book this Sunday from Amazon.com. To promote the occasion Matthew will be streaming live video throughout the day tracking the books progress on the Amazon.com charts.

A Teen Movie / Comic Book Mash-up

Brave Men Run is the story of Nate Charters. Born different, unsure of his origins, he’s an outcast at Abbeque Valley High School, a self-proclaimed “boy freak” with few friends and low self-esteem. When the Sovereign Era dramatically dawns, Nate finds himself in a quest to discover the truth: is he more than he seems, a misfit in a miraculous and powerful new minority… or something else entirely?

All New, All Free Sovereign Era Content

Every hour on the hour from 10am Eastern until 5pm Eastern Matthew will be reading brand new short stories set in the universe of Brave Men Run by J.C. Hutchins, Mur Lafferty, Nathan Lowell, Matt Wallace, J.R. Blackwell, P.G. Holyfield, and Jared Axelrod.

You can find more information about the the web-a-thon and what Matthew hopes to achieve here. I will be there! Will you?

Links of Interest (January 31st 2008 Through February 19th 2008)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008
Crime podcast novel gets HUGE boost in advertising
Video of a digital billboard advertising for Seth Harwood’s “Jack Wakes Up”
The parseInt gotcha
I’m pretty sure once you’ve been hit by this parseInt() behavior in javascript you never forget it, but if you haven’t you should learn about it now before you do.
CSS Tools: Reset CSS
Eric Meyer’s Reset style-sheet (now in its permanent home, with versions numbers). Including this should reduce browser inconsistencies, and help you not to rely on undefined default behaviors.
CSS Tools: Diagnostic CSS
Eric Meyer’s diagnostic.css (now in its permanent home). Including this stylesheet will highlight elements that are incomplete and may be degrading the user experience.
Jason Bateman Confirms “Arrested Development” Movie Talks
I cannot begin to express how much I hope this comes to pass.
Amazon acquires Audible for $300 million
This caught be by surprise. Hopefully it will remain mostly unchanged, although adding stereo support to all the stereo BBC programs they carry would be nice.

Links of Interest (November 27th 2007 Through January 3rd 2008)

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
How to rewrite
A detailed post on rewriting, and how to do it.
Podiobooks.com Community
Online community based around Podiobooks.com. A place for listeners, authors, producers, etc. to communicate and help improve Podiobooks.com
Issue #1 of Sci Phi is available
The first issue of Sci Phi (The Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy) is now available. The download version ($7) contains all stories and articles in various ebook formats as well as MP3.
GTD: Free Bundle of GTD Articles Written By David Allen
Lifehacker has a link to a collection of 17 articles available for free download from the David Allen Company.
Infamous IE hasLayout is toast
This “feature” of the IE rendering engine has caused me more headaches than I care to remember. I’m not at all sorry to see it go.
Kindles in libraries – the importance of ebook standards
DRM, lack of e-book standards, and related issues are even bigger issues for libraries.
AICN: 12th Episode will air!
SaveJourneman.net brings word that episode 12 of Journeyman will air. Journeyman is my favorite show of the new season, and I hope it comes back, but at least it will get to finish it’s run.
Tags: , ,
Doug Morris, Old Person
Jonathan Coulton posted this summary of the New York Magazine blog’s summary or Wired’s profile of Doug Morris, CEO of Universal Music Group. I’m not going to further summarize, just read and be enlightened.

J.C. Hutchins’ “7th Son” Goes to Print

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

It’s been a big day for J.C. Hutchins. Earlier today he finished recording the last episode of 7th Son: Destruction, the final book in his 7th Son trilogy. More recently he posted a press release stating that the first book, 7th Son: Descent (previously reviewed) will be available in print from Saint Martin’s Press in 2009.

Congratulations, Hutch!

Go Listen: Lafferty, Sigler, and a Barrel of Monkeys

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps

Playing for Keeps […] tells the story of Keepsie Branson, a bar owner in the shining metropolis of Seventh City: birthplace of super powers. Keepsie and her friends live among egotistical heroes and manipulative villains, and manage to fall directly in the middle as people with powers, but who just aren’t strong enough to make a difference. Or that’s what they’ve been told. As the city begins to melt down, it’s hard to tell who are the good guys and who are the bad.

Mur Lafferty’s latest podiobook officially launches tomorrow (although you can hear the first chapter right now). If you’ve ever listened to I Should be Writing you’ve probably heard of it (although perhaps under the title Keppsie’s Bar). It looks like Mur is trying out some new things with the Playing for Keeps Experience feed which will feature a host of additional content, including PDFs of the chapters and Stories of the Third Wave, a supplemental podcast.

Listen to the Promo and subscribe.

Scott Sigler’s Nocturnal

Something lives deep beneath the streets of San Francsico. Something that has been there for centuries, something that comes out at night … to feed on the dregs of society. A sub-culture, with its own myths, its own legends of leader named The King that will lead them out of bondage, and their own demon, a hunting shadow known only as Savior.

But the legends of Savior’s brutality have faded, the fear passed into stories told to frighten the young ones. When The King finally appears, just as foretold, the Nocturnals know their time has time — the time to come out from under the streets and hunt humanity in the open.

Scott Sigler’s newest podiobook thriller launches tonight at midnight EST. As usual it sounds like quite the ride. If you’ve heard Scott’s stuff you already know what to expect, if you haven’t you can head on over to Podiobooks.com and grab Earthcore and Ancestor at any time.

The print version of Nocturnal is currently scheduled for 2010, but the podcast launches tonight, so why not listen to the promo and subscribe.

The NanoMonkeys

NanoMonkeys Coverart

Hosted by PG Holyfield, Chris Miller, and Kris Johnson, the NanoMonkeys aim to help get you through the madness that is NaNoWriMo.

For those of you, like me, that are participating in NaNoWriMo, and thinking “Gah! Who has time for new podcast novels?”, I’ve got just the thing for you. The NanoMonkeys is a daily podcast (approximately five minutes per episode) that runs throughout November offering writing advice and encouragement. This year the line up features a number of guest authors (including me on November 3rd). I made listening to this part of my daily routine last year, and I recommend you do the same.

This year’s welcome episode is available now. What are you waiting for, subscribe?

Audiobooks Are Not Cheating

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

GalleyCat pointed out The New York Times article Your Cheatin’ Listenin’ Ways (also mentioned on TeleRead this morning). It’s not the first time an article about audiobooks in The New York Times has set me off. I continue to be dumbfounded by peoples reactions. I’m even more disturbed by the people in the article who listen to audiobooks an feel guilty about it. What’s wrong with people?

In general I don’t feel the need to defend myself on this, but it seems many audiobooks listeners feel some sort of shame, so I guess I will. Listening to an unabridged audiobook is not cheating. Listening to an unabridged audiobook is reading a book. The majority of books I consume are in audio form. When reading paper book I sometimes find that I don’t remember the last few pages and have to reread them. This happens much less often when listening to audiobooks (and when it does I do backtrack and listen again). I also don’t have the luxury of doing just one thing at a time. I have responsibilities to my family, my writing, and my job. I was only getting six hours of sleep before the new baby. When am I supposed to read? I do have a number of print books I want to read but they have a long waiting period before I can get to them. Even once I do it often takes months for me to get through them. I’ve had John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War in my queue for a while and I’m elated to find out yesterday that it will be available on audio soon.

Most importantly, I’m thirty and my eyes are not in good shape. They aren’t going to get any better. I already have separate reading/computer glasses and my eyes have basically shut down due to eye strain multiple times.

The reality is, there’s very little difference between listening and reading. According to The New York Times article:

“If the goal is to appreciate the aesthetic of the writing and understand the story,” said Daniel T. Willingham, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Virginia, then there won’t be much difference between listening and reading. “The basic architecture of how we understand language is much more similar between reading and listening than it is different.”

I know this is true. When I’ve re-listened to audiobooks I’ve been amazed at how much of the story I remember word for word.

My wife and I have been listening to Harry Potter on audio since before book three. Listening together is tougher now then it was then, so it’ll probably take a year to get through the new one, but it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy books with my wife in this way. Currently I’m working to instill a love of audiobooks in my children. I’ve found some great stuff for them on Audible.com (which is where I get most of my stuff as well). I love reading to my kids, but I also enjoy experiencing a story with them, and just enjoying it. I feel no shame in any of this.

Ron McLarty wasn’t able to get The Memory of Running published in print until after the audiobook was available and people heard it. Numerous authors are releasing free serialized audiobooks, many for otherwise unavailable works. I assume they consider the medium valid. Feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree. I’d like to hear what others think.