Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Edit, Edit, Edit

I'm over at Judy Croome's blog today, chatting about the editing process. Please come on by and chat

Monday, 30 May 2011

Geo-Restrictions & Piracy

I've never kept quiet about my frustrations on geo-restrictions. Yes, I do understand that there must be financial reasons behind everything, but that doesn't make me feel any better when I really want to read a book that's being buzzed about town and I can't get my hands on it for love or money.

However, the link between geo-restrictions and piracy that's being mentioned around the web of late makes me feel kind of iffy. There seems to be a sentiment that, while piracy is not condoned, it's *more* understandable if the readers cannot get hold of a legitimate copy due to geo-restrictions.


So, if your friend returns from a jaunt to Paris with the cutest little bag she bought at a boutique there, a bag you just have to have, you'd sell your soul for one just like that... BUT, it's not available at any local stores and you can't just up and hop over to Paris to get yourself one... is it okay to steal that bag from her?

No, not really.

I do actually understand the frustrations of readers. I'm a reader. I've gone on at length on the topic in previous posts. I even have an audible version of my own book that I've never been able to listen to because of geo-restrictions. But I've not once been tempted to go and download a pirate copy of it.

And then there's the other side of the argument. The author/publisher isn't actually losing a sale because the product wasn't available to buy. Does this justify piracy? Well, is it okay to steal something that you couldn't afford to buy? Because you're not costing the retailer a sale, you would never have bought it anyway. Huh.

Whew, I think that was just a mini-rant, but it's off my chest now :)

Sunday, 22 May 2011

How much fact do you want in your historical fiction?

I'm over at Romancing the Past today chatting about writing historical and blending fact in fiction. Please stop by and add your opinion

Thursday, 19 May 2011

2011 Steampunk Reading List

I've only been reading Steampunk for a couple of months, but I've got through quite a few already. I'm loving this genre and thought I'd share my list so far (I'm always looking for more to add)

Read in 2011
Soulless, Blameless, Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate) - Gail Carriger
The Iron Duke - Meljean Brook
Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices) - Cassandra Clare
Steam & Sorcery, Photographs & Phantoms - Cindy Spencer-Pape
Like Clockwork - Bonnie Dee
Badlands - Seleste deLaney

To Read and/or Coming Soon
Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate) - Gail Carriger
Leviathan, Behemoth - Scott Westerfield
Sapphique - Catherine Fisher
Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices) - Cassandra Clare
The Court of the Air - Stephen Hunt
Warrior (The Baldes of the Rose) - Zoe Archer
The Girl in the Steel Corset - Kady Cross
Cold Magic - Kate Elliot
The Twisted Tale of Stomry Gale - Christine Bell

Waiting for these to come to Kindle
The Strange Affair of the Spring Heeled Jack - Mark Hodder
BoneShaker - Cherie Priest
Clockwork Heart - Dru Pagliassotti
Immortal Engines - Philip Reeve

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

The Thin Line of Freedom

Over the last few years, I've been reading a lot of YA Dystopian. There's something so appealing about a world gone mad, to all ages, I've even got my 11yr boys hooked now.

As varied as the characters and plots are, in general there appears to be one defining characterisation of the Dystopian model - loss of freedom. The government is in control, there are groups "inside" and "outside" the wall/fence and everyone's scared of the "outside" wildlings - until we find out that they're actually the good guys.

Now, I'm not complaining. I love the storyline, can't get enough. But this does seem to highlight that our biggest fear, our worst nightmare, is the loss of freedom ie A world gone mad must be a world in which free will has been lost.

The other side of the coin is what's been on my mind lately. So, okay, the governments always end up corrupt, go crazy and lose the plot and our hero/heroine has to break the people free from their control. But, in the beginning, before the story usually starts, the implication is that in order to survive whatever disaster struck earth, freedom and control had to be taken away from the masses, because the mass human population was not deemed capable of surviving/correcting the catastrophe if left to their own devices (read free will)

And that's the question on my mind, lol, although I have no answer for myself yet. Will humanity one day need a select few to 'save' us from ourselves, or will be all take up the responsibility?

Monday, 2 May 2011

How long should a Buy Excerpt be?

Since I got my Kindle, I no longer buy books outright. Even autobuys get the 'Send Sample' treatment...the equivalent of my TBR list. The samples are all there on my Kindle, waiting for me to sample/buy/read at my leisure. I'm totally reckless, new authors, books I've never heard about, books I'm not sure I ever want to hear about, I 'Send Samples' of everything that catches my interest, because you never know...

Just before leaving on holiday, I sent 10 samples to my kindle in preparation for my vacation reading. Two of those were autobuy books I'd been waiting for, so the samples didn't make much difference either way to my purchase. But the other 8 were completely new to me authors, some there'd been some hype about but not enough for me to commit to, others I'd got from random blog lists of new releases. Of the samples, I bought 4 of the books, I deleted 3 of the samples without buying and 1 sample still remains on my kindle while I decide.

Being on holiday for 2 weeks with nothing more pressing to do than sunbathe and read, I had a lot of time on my hands. A lot of time for thinking. So I started thinking about these samples and why I hadn't bought some of them.

Of the 4 I bought, obviously the samples, whatever length, managed to grab me. Some were shorter than others, but there was enought to grab my interest enough for me to press the buy button. I'm happy to say that I enjoyed all those books.

Of the 2 I deleted, they were just not for me, neither the story nor the writing got to a point where I had to know what came next.

Of the other one I deleted and the one I'm still not sure of: I'm still not sure. I wanted to read more of the book, but wouldn't commit the money to buy without seeing a little more. If the sample had been longer, I might have been persuaded.

This made me curious, though, and I went back to the samples of the books I had bought to check the sample lengths. In two of the books I'd bought, I realised that if the samples had stopped earlier (round about where some of the other samples had stopped) I wouldn't have bought it, I'd not yet decided at that point. The longer samples definitely made the sale.

Well, this got me thinking about samples in general. Some books give a good couple of chapters, other only a couple of pages. (I'm not talking about novellas here) Why? As far as I'm concerned, you could give most of the book as a sample and I'll still go and buy just to read the last chapter to see how it ends. Few people have the time to waste reading books without finding out the ending - that's where most of the joy of the reading experience culminates.

Now sure, there are some books that start off well and go downhill by the middle, where the reader is lost, throwing the book (or kindle) against the wall in disgust and berating themselves for spending their money. But isn't it better in the end that these readers don't buy the book to start off with? Perhaps, if they'd had a chance to read a longer sample and ended up disappointed in the book and not buying it, they'd be more inclinded to try other books by that author, to give the author a second/third chance.

So, in conclusion, I really think that samples on the Buy pages should be a good couple of chapters, perhaps even up to 1/4 of the book. I, for one, would possibly end up buying many more new authors if this were so.