Friday, August 26, 2011

John Locke Strikes Deal With Simon & Schuster

Yet another interesting event has taken place in this ever-changing world of publishing.  In the past week, million-plus ebook selling indie author John Locke has signed an agreement with Simon & Schuster to put out the print versions of his Donovan Creed series (and possibly others).  This is the same publisher that also has a partnership with ebook sensation Amanda Hocking.  What's going on over at S&S?

This deal is very interesting, to say the least.  For comparison, a traditional publishing contract would deal with virtually all aspects of a book: the pricing, the versions (hardback, paperback, ebook, etc.), where to distribute (U.S. only, North America, World, etc.), and so on.  Amanda Hocking's deal is mostly similar to this deal, as she is having S&S take over the heavy lifting of a small set of her successful books.  Locke's deal, on the other hand, is really a major departure from the traditional publishing model.

Possibly the biggest part of the deal is the fact that S&S is going to be starting a whole new imprint, John Locke Books, to release the Donovan Creed books under.  Talk about negotiation skills!  This imprint will only release the print versions of his books - the ebook rights Locke himself retained, and will presumably continue to sell.  Pricing of his ebooks may or may not remain where they have been, but that's his call, since he kept those rights.  His books are anticipated to start going on sale in February of 2012.

What seems to be the biggest question, and probably the most important, especially for S&S, is:  what will the print versions be priced at?  Some thoughts out there are that they will need to be as cheap as possible in order to have chance at competing with the ebook versions, which presently sell for $.99 each (U.S. currency).  I'm wondering if S&S hasn't decided that it will treat the print version as a separate entity, wholly different and distinct from the ebook version, and therefore will price them as they usually price paperbacks.  Either way, this is a unique deal that will be watched closely in the coming months, by publishers, traditionally published authors, and indie/self-published authors alike.

I know I'd like to fend off deals like this with a stick, so I best get writing.  And you should too!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Reading Variety

Hey gang!  I wanted to spend just a little time talking about what I see as an important aspect to a writer.  Not only does a writer need to write, but a writer needs to READ as well.  And not just those genres that you enjoy, either.  You need to read a variety of books, from all kinds of genres, both fiction and non-fiction.

Seriously?!  Why would I advocate reading something that you don't enjoy?  Am I nuts?  Well, we can take that up at another time, but think about this for a few minutes.  You already enjoy your particular genre, let's say that's Science Fiction.  You've read a lot in that genre, probably a lot of Asimov, plenty of the Star Trek novels (they just keep coming!), etc., etc.  And you know what these people like - they like SciFi!

But, what about reading a western?  What, you ask, would be the benefit of reading a western?  Well, think about this for a minute.  If you read a few westerns, you might suddenly conjure up a new SciFi story with elements of old westerns.  Maybe there is a unique melding of the 2 disparate ideas that you could form, making a unique world that is all your own.  How cool would that be, to start your own unique series?

What about reading romance?  Do you think that you might be able to learn a few things to make your relationships more believable, more real, more true-to-life?  And what about non-fiction books?  Using my SciFi example, have you kept up with what is actually happening with the space program for the United States?  What about China?  Europe?  Private space companies?  These can spark a lot of new and different ideas that you could incorporate into a new world or your existing world.

Perhaps there is a biography that you've been wanting to read about.  So, read it!  You never know, you might find some character details that are interesting and that you could devise a new character, or a new villian.  Maybe the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of a dictator comes on the scene, but he is now the dictator of a whole planet!

This is what makes writing fiction so much fun!  There are plenty of ideas out there to keep people busy for years; even more so when some of these ideas are put together in new and interesting ways.  And humanity's progress on a variety of different fronts suddenly changes our understanding of how things work and provides new fodder to exploit.  So, read, read, and read some more - in a variety of different genres.  You'll find plenty of new ideas to exploit and make your own.  Cheers!

Friday, August 19, 2011

So Much For My Next Bestseller...