Sunday, November 15, 2009

ICE, WIND AND FIRE ... the ebook is launching now!

At last! You might have wondered what the *&@! was going on behind the scenes, and you'd have been right to wonder. All hell has been busting loose, and several times "Mephistopheles skated to work" (as in, the day did arrive when hell actually froze over, and whatever wasn't supposed to happen before the great ice age down there ... happened).

However, we all survived, we've almost dug ourselves out from under, and we're launching the ebook version of the novel on the blog right here, right now.

It will eventually be at Kindle, but don't wait for that: it'll also be $2 more expensive at Kindle ... and *our* prices have NOT risen. Amazon whacked 20% on the price of Kindle books recently, at the same time as still paying the publishers only $3.50, and paying affiliates zip. Zero. Nada. However (and this should interest you strangely), they also have a free file conversion service. You can send a PDF to them, and they'll convert it the the Kindle format, and then you download it again, directly to your Kindle.

Whenever you do this with a book published by an indie press, the publisher gets the full price to divvy up between press, writer, editors, cover artist, advertising, review copies ...

On the other hand, whenever you buy an $11.99 direct from the Kindle store, the publisher receives just $3.50 to divvy up among the above.

Is it any wonder indie publishing is having a bloody rough time? Is it any wonder writers and artists have to work part time jobs to keep the lights on?

So do us all a favor, folks, next time you're thinking about downloading books for your Kindle: buy the PDF direct from the publisher, and use the free file conversion process --

And to get you started on this new habit, here are the buy-now buttons for ICE, WIND AND FIRE, as PDF:

EBOOK DESIGNED FOR PC & MAC: $9.99  Add to Cart


This mini-launch is actually intended for my newsletter members who know all about this book, and have known about it for a very, very long time indeed. The general book launch will be happening in a few weeks, when the paperback comes along.

The book is celebrating its own 20th Anniversary at this time! Here's the back cover material from the original edition:

"A raunchy gay adventure with a Caribbean setting..."

Alex Connor and Greg Farris are investigative journalists on holiday in Jamaica to escape their usual hectic schedule of worldwide assignments. But their tranquility is shattered by their discovery of a skeleton in the wreck of a light aircraft which went down in shallow waters just off the coast. Reporting the incident to local officials only marks the start of their troubles, and they are soon caught up in car chases, kidnapping, drug smuggling and murder, with events complicated by a hurricane and a bushfire raging across the island. Cover notes from the original printing: "Ice, Wind and Fire introduces the work of an exciting new Australian writer, in a fast-moving and colourful thriller set against the skillfully evoked background of the Caribbean."

REVIEWS: "This rip-roaring and colourful new gay thriller zooms along with a breathless enthusiasm that never flags" — Time Out.

Now, sample chapters are not available yet, but if you've been waiting to get your hands on the ebook for eons, you don't need to read the first 10% ... you've been hanging on for this moment!

If you're not a member of the above party -- bookmark this page and come back in about 48 hours. I'll be out of the office tomorrow, but on Tuesday I'll be making the pages on my own site and at the wiki, and the sample readings will be right there, in both places.

Suffice to say, the new cover looks fantastic ... this is what I imagined when I wrote the book 20 long years ago. Imagine my joy when I saw the new cover proof a few weeks ago. Jade has come to the rescue again. The book is absolutely the same, interior-wise, but the packaging (which left a lot to be desired in the original) is astonishing.

Incidentally, if you want ICE WIND AND FIRE for your Blackberry, iPhone, smartphone ... Tuesday. It's also going to Smashwords, where these formats are provided.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Further updates from the Keegan Zone

At last! The post you thought would never actually appear here ...

GROUND ZERO has finally, and I mean finally, shown up in the Amazon engine, as a paperback. It's been month getting there. The proof was delivered and approved weeks ago, and ... well, it's probably that Amazon is fairly overwhelmed with the volume of prep work for Christmas that's going on behind the scenes. Because we've never seen them take so long to process a book through from proof to "buy it here."

Anyway --

...there is it, on PAPER. At last.

I'd intended to have a booklaunch for this one, but the fact is, the book has been out for so long now, and the ebook has been announced, advertised, tweeted, promoted, reviewed, massaged -- it's actually too late to have a booklaunch for GROUND ZERO, so ... we'll have a book punt. That is to say, the book is already out there, floating in mid-stream. It drifted off from its moorings almost unnoticed, and now is gently dragging its anchor in midwater. So let's give it a punt.

Consider it punted. If you've been waiting for the paperback, this is your chance to give yourself a Christmas gift!

So much is happening behind the scenes, one hardly knows where to begin. GLBT Bookshelf is still growing ... I just wish it would grow faster. Why? Because when it's twice the size there will be enough members to raise enough funding to hire a professional programmer and get the whole thing automated! Right now, we're in a kind of twilight zone, with about 500 members, *all* of whom would have to put up a ten-spot to get together the five grand to get the programming done. Not going to happen.

So, as the wiki sloooooowly grows, the amount of work involved in nurturing it, keeping it running smoothly, continues to increase, and increase, yet at the same time the growth curve (the rate of acceleration ... if you know anything about logarithmic curves?? No?? Don't worry about it) has flattened right out. We're riding a plateau right now, with about 10 new members per week. That's not bad at all, but it means another YEAR to get to the 1,000 member mark.

Now, what would make the wiki grow faster? Advertising! But that would also cost more funding than can be raised at this moment, so -- nose to the grindstone, Keegan! Stop being daft, get your head down and do some work. And in fact -- am doing. Am doing.

My apologies if I sound a little "out there" today. The weather is not cooperating. It's 141 degrees Fahrenheit in the courtyard at the side of the house, and if you step away from the a/c, you're swiftly reduced to a slurpy, blubbery mass of semi-congealed goo. This doesn't tend to contribute to sanity and clarity of thought.

Meanwhile, we've FINISHED the new design for the GLBT Bookshelf bookstore. It's part-way based on the Diesel Ebooks model, but with a greater depth of content, and a lot of "free listings," as well as numerous "sponsored ad" spots, with various rates of "oomph factor." They range from a big leaderboard ad which will grab anyone's attention, to "micro-ads" which give a cover and a slogan. Prices will range between $2/month (with a minimum "spend" of $4 ... now, there's a hardship...) and about $12/month for the leaderboard

Here's the plan: funds raised through the advertising on the bookstore are pumped into advertising FOR the bookstore. And we might even register a new domain for this, something like (!), or, something that even Google, in its infinite density, couldn't fail to understand.

More about this in due course. Right now, we've hit a wrinkle with the OpenX code which handles the actual content placement for the page ... this is a plug-in from an external server and something got stuffed up when we set up the account. It could take a few days to sort it out, but then we'll be off and running.

Right now, I want to thank everyone who's been helping with the Bookshelf -- there's a couple of dozen people whom I'm calling "angels," and they've been amazing, indispensable. THANK YOU!

And I must give a plug to one of my favorite new blogs: Adventures In 3D. If you're missing this, you need to skedaddle over there and check it out. Here's enough to get you interested --!

...all of which brings you about halfway up to date with what's been going on in the Keegan Zone. We're getting there ... slowly but surely. My most fervent wish is for a sudden rush in memberships on the Bookshelf, and then a really, really successful fund-raising campaign, enabling us to hire a programmer, automate the whole shebang ... and I can get back to doing what I used to do. I, uh, used to be a novelist! Really.

I all seriousness, I would like to get back to writing, but I'm also completely committed to GLBT Bookshelf. This project WILL work, even if I have to get out and push.