Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Love Immediately Professional People

The other day we had an exterminator come over to help advise us on a critter problem we are having. You never know what you’re going to get when a service guy shows up at the house. You can have extremely competent  and professional to low class and rude or anywhere in between. The guy that showed up the other day was a member of the former class, extremely competent and professional, so much so that he might have been the club’s president. Even as I opened the door, as soon as the words “nice to meet you” finished coming out of his mouth, he was pointing out to me things I’d never noticed about my house. He basically did a preliminary inspection prior to ringing the doorbell. It felt like I was in an interview and the candidate had not only prepped but made cookies for me.

Why do I bring any of this up? Cause several people, particularly over at BookBlogs, have asked about hiring someone to run a blog tour for releasing a book. Is it worth it? What’s involved? Who should you hire?

A blog tour is basically an online promotional event designed to help generate sales of a book. Last year when I tested the waters with Toe the Line I tried to organize my own blog tour and generate my own sales. This time around I’m allowing a professional the chance to do it. So far I’ve been as happy with my choice as I was with the exterminator the other day. Already, just a few days in, Sage, the person I’ve contracted, has produced material which I think is worthwhile, professional and hopefully will be effective.

The banner above was designed by Sage and is supposed to be used by the blogs that will review On the Edge. I like it. I like mine too (see this post for comparison), but Sage’s banner has a lot going for it. First, I like the fact that she’s used the desert theme from my novel in the image. Secondly the desert floor looks like a huge puzzle which goes along with the genre of the book, a mystery/thriller. Finally, I like the fact that she used orange and blue as the primary color schemes, mostly oranges. I read about the orange/blue contrast technique years ago. Ever since I can’t stop seeing it whenever I see movie posters.

So long and short, I’ve been impressed with Sage already. I would recommend her and will continue to review the experience as it progresses.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Next First Line Starts with Impending Death

In the ever increasing, and almost becoming unmanageable, first lines category - my series dedicated to the first lines I read since so many writers, including the one referenced in last weeks posts, consider first lines of top five importance - I have another.

This one, has to fall into the very good to great category. It sure grabbed my attention.

A MAN WITH BINOCULARS. That is how it began: with a man standing by the side of the road, on a crest overlooking a small Arizona town, on a winter night. Lieutenant Roger Shawn must have found the binoculars difficult. The metal would be cold, and he would be clumsy in his fur parka and heavy gloves. His breath, hissing out into the moonlit air, would have fogged the lenses. He would be forced to pause to wipe them frequently, using a stubby gloved finger. 

He could not have known the futility of this action. Binoculars were worthless to see into that town and uncover its secrets. He would have been astonished to learn that the men who finally succeeded used instruments a million times more powerful than binoculars. 

There is something sad, foolish, and human in the image of Shawn leaning against a boulder, propping his arms on it, and holding the binoculars to his eyes. Though cumbersome, the binoculars would at least feel comfortable and familiar in his hands. It would be one of the last familiar sensations before his death. We can imagine, and

Crichton, Michael - The Andromeda Strain

I suppose anytime an author can work in that the character he's just introduced the reader to is about to die, it is going to a pretty interesting ride.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Finally . . . But the Work Continues

I am finally leaving San Jose. I am reminded of a time when I was in the Rangers when we invaded Oregon. We flew down to Oregon from Washington, parachuted in with enough gear for a week of field operations with a planned mission to attack a site on the seventh day. Ergo there was a lot of walking to do and a lot of gear on our backs.

The highlight of this training mission was that a Men's Fitness contributor was going to be accompanying us on our invasion. He met us at the drop zone and grabbed his much more stylish and well kitted out backpack, and followed along with us as we moved south. Where we were all camo'ed up, with darkened faces and hands, patrol caps, weapons and the whole magilla, he looked like a Travel Planet host.

After three days of patrol bases all day and walking through woods at night, it rained most of that time and at one point we had to sit out some hail , he had to be medivac'ed out to a hospital with suspected kidney problems as he had started pissing blood. It was all quite a let down till we read the article  I remember that he described the insertion and the movement well, and that took up a full 50% of the article. The other 50% was the history of the Ranger's and their modern day mission. The last passage described his needed to be helicoptered home and he ended by saying something like, "while I sit here hooked up to a machine to check my kidney function those guys will still be out there walking. When I go home and get my dinner, go to sleep, and wake up, they will still be out there walking. It won't be till three more full cycles of waking, eating and sleeping that those guys will finally get to their objective, and then it might get hard for them."

That's the way I feel now. As I mentioned a few posts ago when I discussed coming up with novel ideas from real world experiences, I just spent the last four days onsite in California trying to help an electrical plant deal with the release of thousands and thousands of gallons of mineral oil onto the ground and into surrounding properties after an incident a few nights ago. Each affected area has to be scraped up, dug up to a depth of 6 inches minimum, and in some cases several feet, then hauled off and disposed and the site remade. It's a huge amount of work. And while I'm flying back to see the fam, those guys are still out there digging.

the only bright spot is that we eventually took over Oregon and won the war. I'm sure we can do the same for Northern California. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Can someone please explain this to me?

I don’t get this. What I hope is that this is a great set up for a sequel, but I don’t know that for sure so as it is it is just an enigma. Halfway through the latest book I’m reading, The OdessaFile, Forsyth describes a tank and tank commander crossing a road in the middle of West Germany. The snippet has nothing to do with the story, the tank is not a part of the plot, and then Forsyth drops that angle and dives back into the meat of the story.

Then, at the end of the story, the last passage, he hits the reader with this:

And last, Top Sergeant Ulrich Frank, the tank commander who crossed Miller’s path on the road to Vienna. He was wrong about the fate of his tank, the Dragon Rock. It did not go to the scrap heap. It was taken away on a low-loader, and he never saw it again. Forty months later he would not have recognized it anyway.

The steel-gray of its body had been painted out and covered with paint the color of dust-brown to merge with the landscape of the desert. The black cross of the German Army was gone from the turret and replaced by the pale blue six-pointed Star of David. The name he had given it was gone too, and it had been renamed The Spirit of Masada.

It was still commanded by a top sergeant, a hawk-nosed, black-bearded man called Nathan Levy. On June 5, 1967, the M-48 began its first and only week of combat since it had rolled from the workshops of Detroit, Michigan, ten years before. It was one of those tanks that General Israel Tal hurled into the battle for the Mitla Pass two days later, and at noon on Saturday, June 10, caked with dust and oil, scored by bullets, its tracks worn to wafers by the rocks of Sinai, the old Patton rolled to a stop on the eastern bank of the Suez Canal.

Forsyth, Frederick - The Odessa File

Again, if this is a set up for a sequel, then great. If this is a reference to a historical moment, then I’m a bit lost. If it’s an analogy than I am way out of my depth cause I don’t get it. 

All in all it was a great book and like his others, The Dogs of War notably, it reads like a treatise on how to manage a project. Fun to read these older thrillers to see where the foundations for today's were made. I can't wait to read more. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why I'm Not Updating As Much This Week

I’m amazed the more I work for these different companies how many opportunities for writing creep up. I wrote in a couple of past posts some ideas that came up when I have either done job visits or through meetings and such. One regarded a murder of a state trooper in Oklahoma. The other was a murder in a tank on a refinery. Both are based on true stories. I’ve come across another. The fact that I haven’t been posting is directly attributable to this story.

This one is also on the West Coast, near the bay area, and although I think this story is by far the most indepth and has the most potential, at this point I’ve been asked not to discuss it in too many details. Needless to say I will eventually bring it up in this forum, and I will eventually write it all into a story. Truth stranger than fiction?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Never Before

I might never have agreed with a post as much as I agree with James Scott Bell's post over at The Kill Zone entitled How to Make Money Self-Publishing Fiction. Now, I don't actually make money (yet) on anything I've published. Hope to, sure, but as of now it's just and expensive, time consuming hobby.

One of the things I really like about this post is that the author turns the idea of success on its head.

Last week's post on publishing options drew some spirited responses, especially from one of TKZ's erstwhile contributors. In his opinion, "self-publishing is an exercise in frustration and a path to near-assured failure for first-time authors."

Now, I have great affection and respect for said commenter, who argues well for his point of view. But I was nonetheless discomfited by that "near-assured failure." Been thinking about it all week. What does "failure" even mean? Who sets the standard? If a new author finds a way to make steady but not huge income, is that "failure"? If a new author keeps working and growing as a writer, is that "failure"? On the other hand, might it possibly be said that self-publishing, done consistently and skillfully, can actually lead to near-assured success? What is "success"? Is it a loyal readership, even if it pales in comparison to Dean Koontz's (well, every readership pales in comparison to Dean Koontz's)? Is it the happiness that comes from writing and publishing more, faster, being in control of one's destiny and, yes, making some money at it?

Then, as a person who loves lists for success he provides five bullet points and passages on how to be successful at self-publishing.

Treat it like a job.
Treat it like a craft.
Treat it like a sacrifice.
Treat it like a mad passion.
Treat it like an adventure right up to the end. 

There's a lot more to each of the points, but basically what this tell me is that I'm two for five. Need to improve a bit if I hope to turn the hobby into a business.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Detour to Aliens

I was all set to write more about and expand on the post from yesterday about the e-publicist route I'm taking in respect to my next novel. Then I saw this, a post on VA Viper a guide on what to do if are the first person to make contact with an alien species.

I just love stuff like this. This, in contrast to the post and the link about porcupines being allergic to raisins, is what I consider a truly original idea. A handbill about what to do if you're the first to meet an alien? That's original. That's someone having thought about saying something fresh and new.

Yesterday I picked up a book on writing novels, The Nighttime Novelist. I flipped through it thinking I might want to buy it. I landed on the page that addressed how so many authors struggle with the belief that before they can start writing they first have to have an original idea. This author said that this was bunk. It's not the original idea that writers need, its the original take. Maybe that's why this hand bill speaks to me. It's a new take on an old idea.

The handbill is worth a look if only cause it helps break down how to communicate, what to do, and what to say from a new perspective. How would you first begin to communicate? I don't know. Well, I didn't. Then I read the handbill. How can I provide a fresh perspective to my own writing? Thought provoking? I say yep . . . sure was.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

To e-Publicist or Not

I have a series of posts, most of them from last year, that I've labeled AAR, for After Action Review. Whenever we do a piece of work in the field for our training program I try to grab everyone together to discuss what went right and what went wrong. It's an AAR. Last year I started an AAR for my release of Toe the Line.

For that book I tried to do it all myself. I scheduled my own interviews, got my own reviews, that sort of thing. It wasn't necessarily hard work, Book Blogs made most of it quite easy, but it was long work. This time around, for the release of my next novel, On the Edge, I'm hiring a professional to do all the leg work for me.

A couple of years ago I was asked in an interview for a job whether or not I change my own tires, change my own oil, update my own computer operating system, do my own gardening, and to what degree I work on my house. I felt at that moment it was an odd series of questions. Afterward I realized that my potential boss was trying to determine how much I value my own time verse allowing a professional to do the work. I see the value of contractors. Why spend time and money doing something that you could pay to have someone, someone who has done it many times before, do for you. Now, we shall see if an online publicist is worthwhile.

I intend to run and AAR on this event as well. Tomorrow I'll give the details of the plan I'm purchasing and some more specifics. My biggest concern? What if both releases yield negative revenue streams and no results. The only conclusion then would be poor writing, right? Nope . . . never mind . . . not even going to consider that outcome.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Titles Come First

In one of my first writing workshops after college, a class on how to write a short story, I came to a class with a story that I had yet to find a title for. During the critique portion of the workshop one of the other members of the class castigated me about not having a title. It wasn't just a tick on a long worksheet of problems with the story, it was a thesis on why titles were so important. I didn't bite. I argued back that I just hadn't thought of a title, that the group should instead focus on the content of the story. Based on P.J. Parrish's post in The Kill Zone yesterday, my fellow writer had a very good point.

Miss Parrish's article, When Titles Go Bad, is a worthwhile article to read for anyone writing or trying to write a book. Among the many things she says is this:

How important? I found a marketing survey that asked readers what was the element that most influenced why they bought a book. Excluding Gigantoid Author Name (ie James Patterson can put his name on an Altoid can and it would sell) here is the order:

1. Title
2. Cover
3. Back copy
4. Opening paragraphs
5. Price

Now, none of what she wrote could be called original (reminds me of this post I wrote on there being no more truly original thoughts), but seeing it listed out like that sure does set ones mind to pondering, particularly when one has a book he'd like to release soon.

1. Title - On the Edge - Not too terribly prosaic, kinda run of the mill, but definitely fitting for a thriller cum mystery. Secondly, once a reader gets into the novel they'll see the double meaning that the title has for the story.

2. Cover - A blatant rip off of Dick Francis' style that looks far more amateurish (see here). Should I go with a professional designer? Sure. My goal however is to hold off on doing that till my hobby actually turns a profit. Based on the fact that cover is number 2 on the list I'm beginning to wonder if I'm not working myself into a Catch-22.

3. Back Copy -  None yet.

4. Opening Paragraphs - Personally I like em. I've got the series on opening lines (see here) and I have made sure that mine is not in the "not good" sub-catagory. Stay tuned for a snippet coming to this space in the next few weeks.

5. Price - $0.99 introductory price, $2.99 regular price. Can't beat that unless it's free and at that pricing level no one takes the work seriously.

Based on the above list of my own work, understanding that I need to update #3 so that I have some back copy to judge, it looks like I'm in trouble. Mayhaps I should spend some dough on a professional cover design before I release On the Edge. Thanks to Miss Parrish for setting me straight.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In the Past . . .

In the past I've tried to focus most of my posts on the changes in the publishing industry, the changes in the way we read and in snippets that I've gleaned about writing, what I think constitutes good writing and things of that nature. Based on this story that was embedded in the most recent Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter, I need to get a bit more personal.

Richard Ridley writes and interesting, albeit brief, article about how to create buzz around a new novel or story by bringing the blog reader into the writing process.

"... take that journey with your readers by talking about the ups and downs on your website, blog, or social media. Those who follow your path likely will be anxious to reach the destination and read the published product. Plus, the journey might be something they share with their friends and family, which can lead to even more readers awaiting your book."

Then he gives this little warning.

"Keep in mind, however, that there is a danger of saturating your readers with too much inside information, so you want to be careful and not bury them with details. Give them just enough to keep them interested. For the most part, you want to give them a peek inside without giving them a full-fledged tour."

It goes along with a post I read yesterday by Clare Langley-Hawthorne at The Kill Zone. In How Self Publishing Changed the Industry she writes about how things have changed for writer and authors over the last few years, mostly the positive changes. This is another positive change. The ability to connect, prior to the release of a book, with the audience that will be reading the book.

So in the coming months I think I just might provide some glimpses into my writing process. I already try to give some insight into the self-e-publishing world, like these posts, but now I can do the same for writing. Will it create buzz or silence. Don't know. Should be fun to find out.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Details Abound but Still Quite Good

Despite a weak first few passages (which by the way became engrossing by page 3) and a less than thrilling ending line, Bob Mayer's Eyes of the Hammer was really quite good. It reminded me of a Tom Clancy with a tad less technical detail, a modern days Frederick Forsyth and a more sober and realistic WEB Griffen. I think I've found a go-to author for when I want a decent military style thriller and I'm tired of Clancy.

Despite having liked the plot and the characters I found the pacing a tad arduous at times to take. I've said many times that reading a Frederick Forsyth book like The Day of the Jackal  and especially The Dogs of Wars more like reading a treatise on project management techniques. Mayer goes into significant, sometimes painfully excruciating detail about the planning that goes into the missions his character's undergo. I would have rather had more details about the mission and less about the planning. But, as a former military guy, it did bring back fond memories of Ranger School operation's orders.

I look forward to the next Bob Mayer novel.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Two for One

Savvy readers of this blog know that I run a series on the importance of first lines and last lines. It was due to these series that I started to recognize the need for a series on passages about mornings. It seemed as though every author loved to say things about the morning. Today we have a first line (one that should probably be in the "good first line" subcategory) combined with line that should also be in the series on the morning.

There was a thin robin’s-egg-blue dawn coming up over Tel Aviv when the intelligence analyst finished typing his report.

Forsyth, Frederick - The Odessa File

Perhaps not the most exciting first line, but it does make me anxious to see what else the author has to offer.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Latest Last . . . Not Much Better than the First

Although there was plenty inbetween that I liked about this book, the first and last lines did not make the list of fun to read parts. A few days ago I posted about this first line, now, done too soon, the last line comes up.

Carlos smiled back at his brother. They were back in business again. 

Bob Mayer - Eyes of the Hammer

So, if the first lines set the scene and the last line closes it, I'm thinking that both of these need to be in the "needs improvement" sub-catagory.

That being said, in a couple days I hope to have my review posted, the book probably won't be in the "needs improvement" sub. Go figure.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kbuuk Starts Up

The name not-withstanding, and even that is growing on me, I read in the local paper about a new ebook publishing company called Kbuuk. It's an interesting name from outset and they describe it in the article as:

That's "K" for "cloud," which is where e-books are hosted, and "buuk" for, well, "book."

I've gone to the site and tooled around a bit, and it's not too bad. I plan on using it as a channel for my books, although from the article it sounds as though they'd rather have me as a reader than an author.

Although the Kbuuk website went live in March 2012, the company is still in that sand- papering stage. The site has some 460 registered users, with the ratio of authors to readers about 3-to-1. 

The article did start me to thinking. How many other channels will be out there in the future for authors to use to publish ebooks. Already I've got mine on Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace, and more. So far I fine Smashwords to be the most aggressive and the best experience, but will more Kbuuks come along in the near future? What will that mean for e-publishing? What is the benefiet for Kbuuks over Smashwords?

One benefit leaps to mind immediately, not being lost in the shuffle. At Amazon there seems to be so many books that newer, less well known authors can't be seen as readily. With Smashwords the area is so overwhelmed with writers of less renown that no one stands out. Also, the categorization and display of works is a tad unweildy. Is Kbuuks the first of the "specialization" publishers? Will we soon see e-publishing sites that specialize in thrillers, others in Christian books, others in non-fiction etc.

You heard it hear first folks.

Monday, April 8, 2013

First Line Right Now

Anyone who has been paying attention should have realized when I posted this entry on pricing of ebooks that the next book in the "to be read list" would be this Bob Mayer book.

This series on first lines was started when I was continually being told how important first lines were. There are quite a few first lines posted as a part of the series which can be accessed by clicking on the link to the right or clicking here. Now that there are over 100 I'm beginning to wonder if I should create subsets so that I can group the first lines into "bad first lines" and "good first lines." But, there's a reason I haven't made this change, and part of that reason can be read below:

The convoy was caught in the tail end of the morning traffic crush pouring out of the suburbs and cascading into Washington D.C. The three four-door Chevys with tinted windows were sandwiched in a long string of cars rolling east along Keene Mill Road. Another mile and half along the two-lane road that bisected Springfield, Virginia, and they'd reach the Beltway girdling the nation's capitol.

Bob Mayer - Eyes of the Hammer

The first passage is not good, but the sense of impending doom for that little convoy doesn't necessarily put it in the bad category. Maybe there should be three sub-categories, "bad first lines," "good first lines" and "could be better."

Friday, April 5, 2013

Not Cottoning to Sacketts

As any even less than savvy reading could tell by the two previous posts on the subject (here and here) I did not like Lando by Louis L'Amour.

It wasn't like I was going into the book with pre-conceived notions of greatness. I've read enough Louis L'Amour books to know exactly what I'm getting into, the problem was that this one took quite a while to get into what it needed to. It was as if the entire first half or two thirds of the novel was all just a build up for the last third. That's okay if the first portion can stand on it's own, I don't think this one did. It was weak all the way up to the very end then it became trite and silly.

I never read The Sacketts. I like the fact that L'Amour was able to build an entire family from which to jump off on many stories throughout many eras, but I just never cottoned to em. This, . . . Lando . . . my first foray into The Sacketts did little to compel me to read more about em. Like I said, maybe there's a reason I always eschewed The Sacketts.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

All That Middle Stuff

Although the first and last lines weren't bad, it was all that stuff in the middle that made me not like the book.

Looking down at them, I thought it was a strange trail they had followed, those three, and how in the end it had only come to this, to death in a dusty street, nobody caring; and by and by nobody even remembering, except by gossip over a bar in a saloon. 

Seemed it was just as well a man did not know where he was headed when he was to come only to this—a packet of empty flesh and clothes to end it all. In the end their hatred had bought them only this … only this, and the bitter years between. 

It always seemed that for me something waited in those western lands, something of riches in the way of land and living, and maybe a woman. And when I found her, I wanted her to be like Gin. 

Younger, of course, as would be fitting, but like her. 

Somebody likely to have no more sense than to fall in love with a Tennessee boy with nothing but his two hands and a racing mule.

L'Amour, Louis - Lando (The Sacketts)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Not At All Surprised I Liked It

What I like about reading a Barry Eisler novel is that he always has a good story, fun characters, and without fail I learn a new word or two.

The Last Assassin, although it has many of the same characters from the previous novels (see here), but there was one significant difference which frankly I didn't care for. My first three novels have all been written in first person POV. I liked that all of the John Rain novels were written in that same POV. Eisler is one of the few thriller writers who uses first person. In this novel I noticed that he changed.

In the last assassin Eisler switches back and forth from first person POV with Rain then third person for the two female characters, Midori and Delialah. It was off-putting to say the least. J.A. Konrath uses the same technique in his Jack Daniels series and I didn't like it when he did it. Eisler did not make me change my views on the technique.

One good thing, . . . I think the series has seen the last of Midori, and I say "Glad to see her gone." Never liked her.

As for the words I learned, there were two:

Vertiginous - characterized by or suffering from vertigo or dizziness - inclined to frequent and often pointless change : inconstant - causing or tending to cause dizziness
: marked by turning : rotary

Eponymous - (of a person) being the person after whom a literary work, film, etc., is named the eponymous heroine in the film of Jane Eyre - (of a literary work, film, etc.) named after its central character or creator The Stooges' eponymous debut album - giving one's name to something, as a tribe or place.

Both great to know. I hope I can remember them.

There were also some compelling passages. Not sure what it was about this line, but I found myself nodding my head agreeing with the sentiment:

She stood up and gave me a long, tight hug. I caught a hint of the perfume she wore, a scent I’ve encountered nowhere else and that I will always equate with her. There were people around, but we were suddenly kissing passionately.

It was always like this when we’d been apart for a while, and sometimes even when we hadn’t been. There was just something about the two of us that wouldn’t let us keep our hands off each other. Whatever it was, sometimes it was overpowering.

I wasn't going to highlight this passage but the last line really got me. It made me bust out in a smile.

She leaned over and straddled me and then I was inside her and I’d never felt anything so good. I thought, Fuck, not again, not without a condom, and it was the most fleeting and inconsequential thought I’ve ever had in my life.

Finally, other than the words, the great writing, the exciting story and the compelling characters I got to remember the blurb I read on Schrodinger's Cat. If you are not familiar with the experiement, it's worth knowing about.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

First Line Today

I know that I said it'd be thriller's all year, but I tried to rationalize reading a western by Louis L'Amour by saying to myself that these were the progentitor of the modern thriller. Sadly, Lando might not have been the best foundation for a successful thriller. That being said here is the first line.

We Sacketts were a mountain folk who ran long on boy children and gun-shooting, but not many of us were traveled men. And that was why I envied the Tinker. 

When first I caught sight of him he was so far off I couldn’t make him out, so I taken my rifle and hunkered down behind the woodpile, all set to get in the first shot if it proved to be a Higgins. 

Soon as I realized who it was, I turned again to tightening my mill, for I was fresh out of meal and feeling hunger. 

Everybody in the mountains knew the Tinker. He was a wandering man who tinkered with everything that needed fixing. He could repair a clock, sharpen a saw, make a wagon wheel, or shoe a horse.

L'Amour, Louis - Lando (The Sacketts)

I read a lot of L'Amour books when I was a teen, but eschewed the Sackett's. I think it's an interesting range of characters that L'Amour invented, but I just never glomed onto them. I should have stayed away.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cheaper in my Dotage

I had just about given up on Amazon. I don't know, I guess it occurred when my wife talked about how much she wanted a new book to read but didn't want to pay so much. That was the seed, the kernel, that grew and germinated until it flowered this afternoon when I finished my most recent book and went to buy another.

A sampling:

$14.99 - Tom Clancy's Threat Vector

$12.74 -  David Baldacci's The Hit

$19.99 - Ken Follett's Winter of the World

I know I've discussed this issue before, but it irks me to no end that by buying and e-book we are saving the distributor on printing, delivery etc, so I'm surprised there isn't a bigger bargain market out there. $19.99? Really?

Don't get me wrong, I know there are some diamonds in the rough out there for just $0.99, but they're hard to find. That's why I went to Smashwords and found a couple, specifically this one by Bob Mayer, Eyes of the Hammer. I was surprised there was only one book on Smashwords by Mayer and doubly surprised it only came in epub format. Then I saw this . . . his works on Amazon.

$0.99 - Eyes of the Hammer on Smashwords
$2.99 - Eyes of the Hammer on Amazon

Having published my own books on both of these sites I know why Mayer has different pricing, but it sure reinforces in me the desire to start with Smashwords and only revert to Amazon when I find nothing better.

Maybe I'm just becoming cheaper in my old age.