Paul’s Blog

Paper books, electronic books

Paper books are the best. The feel of the paper, the smell of the ink, the weight of the book.

E-books are the best. My e-reader is so convenient, I can take so many book with me in one fine small device and they are ever present.

Yes, the fight is on, since a long time. Reports from show that the number of books sold in e-format outnumbers that of hardcovers and paperbacks combined. Reports here in the Netherlands show a dramatic increase in the sale of e-books and e-readers. E-books are seriously on the rise.

Will paper books disappear? I don’t know. I think it will take a long time before they do, if ever. More and more people will switch to e-books, the more as tablet-devices are becoming more mainstream. Most of them come pre-loaded with an e-book reader program, which makes the step to e-books easier. But there will always be people who favour paper and print. The whole shouting contest on what is the best is a total waste of breath and energy. Use what you prefer and enjoy it. Do not try to convert someone to change their favourite medium. Converting is useless. It is, for me, even an offense. Respect that someone can have a different opinion (and that is not just because of their reading preference). No need to agree with it.

I am an e-book reading kind of person, but I am not going to slap someone on the head with my e-reader. If they return the favour with their favourite 800 page hardcover, they will win that battle, even though there is not a war. After all, it is the joy of reading that counts. Not the medium you use for it.

And who knows. Modern technology goes fast. Maybe soon there will be e-readers that can emit the smell of ink for people who like that…

Featured quote – or…

The one thing I dislike about the writing process is the sometimes-loneliness of it all. Readers only get to see the glamour part of a bound book, not some of the agonizing moments one has while constructing it.
– Mary Rodgers

Interestingly enough this is not so for me. I venture into the story together with my characters. They set off, and I tag along, seeing and writing down what mischief they bring about, or what situations they end up in (and how they get out of them again).

My only problem sometimes is that I must work like crazy to keep up with them. (i am very glad I can type fast.)

Writing like Mary Rodgers has not hit me often. I do recall a few times that I knew where I was (in the story) and where I wanted to go, but that it took a while to find the bridge to get there. And to be honest: it is nice to have a break from all these adventures once in a while. 🙂

How does that work for you, dear reader, if you are an author as well?

A children’s witch

I’ve been contemplating reworking the first Hilda book into a child-safe version.

Basically it should not be a lot of work as the amount of strong language is rather limited. It will probably also become a much better book than the one that is out now, as I have learnt the odd thing about writing (and this is a good thing).

I see a danger though… maybe I want to rewrite the first original as well, if the children’s version comes out nicely. Interesting.

And I wonder… should I find a new name for the witch in the children’s version? I think this is a good idea, as otherwise there can be a lot of confusion around the two books about the same witch…

How To Sell Your Kindle Book Free On Amazon

Here is a very interesting article I found elsewhere. Unfortunately the original post has been taken down, so here is the text:

How To Sell Your Kindle Book Free On Amazon
by Michael Hicks.

One of the most potentially powerful promotional tools you have is to get one of your Kindle books sold for free in Amazon’s Kindle Store. I’m not sure how much this is going to really help you if you only have one book out, unless you simply want people to read your book but don’t care about making any royalties: if Amazon discounts your book to $0.00, you won’t be making any money from it (at least I’m not!). Personally, I’d recommend you keep your book at something like $2.99 (depending on a number of factors) and promote it while working on your next one, but that’s up to you.

If you have a series of books, however, selling your Kindle book free on Amazon can be a tremendous way to boost the reach of the first book of a series as a loss leader. Such a book can be used as sort of a super-sample that can help get readers interested in both your series and you as an author. And if they like what they read, they’re pretty darn likely to buy your other books! This is what happened with IN HER NAME: EMPIRE, which was dropped to $0.00 last week (as I write this) and resulted in a nice boon to sales of the other books in the series after EMPIRE “sold” over 13,000 copies in the first six days and went as high as 18 in the top 100 free books in the Kindle Store. Sweetness.

Now, what I’m about to tell you here isn’t any huge secret, and it’s really more theory than verified scientific fact, but here’s how I think you can coax Amazon into giving away your Kindle book. This assumes you have your book published to the Kindle Store via Amazon’s KDP; I don’t think this will work otherwise. You can also try to use this method to drop the price on Amazon below $2.99 while retaining a 70% royalty option (minus your book’s delivery charge, remember). To do this, instead of setting the price to $0.00 in the method below, you just substitute whatever lower price you’d like to offer (e.g., $0.99, $1.99) below the price you set in KDP. I’ve done this, and while it’s not foolproof, it seems to work most of the time.





Your genre. A round of questions and answers.

Are there any fellow-authors reading this?

I wonder… how did you choose your preferred genre? Is it something you love to read as well? Or is it something you feel competent with, or are knowledgeable about?

And what is your genre? Or do you write in several genres? Do you mix them, or do you feel better to keep them apart so you do not mess up the styles?

Oh – styles, yes, that is another one? If you write several genres, do you have a specific style in which you write a genre, or does that change with the story you intend?

My own ‘answers’ to these are: I do indeed write the genres I like to read. Not all of them, I do limit myself to fantasy, science fiction and steampunk for now. Fantasy has no limits, making it very easy to write. Sci fi does require more knowledge, about what’s possible (or an educated guess about what will be possible). Steampunk for me is the hardest to write for some reason, as I want to stick to the atmosphere, style and language as well as I can.

And that brings me to the style. The ‘style’ I try to keep up in Steampunk is what I perceive to be the spirit of that era in which my Steampunk stories play. Politeness, the fashion, the culture of the classes, and the mystery of the gears, cogs and that strange additional compound of aether, energy that comes in so handy while nobody knows exactly what it is.

My sci-fi stories vary in style, I think, as does my fantasy writing.

Finally, I am not against merging genres. My latest book, Hilda – Lycadea, has traces of sci-fi and steampunk mixed with the fantasy. Also the story I recently published, Bactine, has elements of steampunk in the sci-fi. Or is that sci-fi in the steampunk?

I am curious to learn what you have to say about this…