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Sorry, DragonCon…no free books from me

When you try to organize events at a con with 50,000 people, something is bound to slip. Unfortunately, my books are that “something” at this DragonCon.

I had hoped to have a couple dozen copies of The Daedalus Incident and The Enceladus Crisis to sign and give away at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America booth today.

But…dude, where are my books?!

Sadly, we can’t find them. Don’t know if they left the warehouse, got lost in transit, eaten by woodchucks, whatever. Not here.

So. I’ll still be at the SFWA booth at 3 pm today, and I’m happy to say hi. My books are on sale at Missing Volume and Larry Smith Books in the vendor hall, and I know some of them are signed. If you didn’t get a signed one, or want it personalized, you can still find me.

Sorry gang. I might do a giveaway online in lieu of this…especially if all those extra books ever show up.

Meantime, DragonCon is wonderful. I’ll do a wrap up later on, but suffice to say, I’m enjoying the heck out of it. Except for the missing books.

#SFWApro

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Food for thought: This blog’s book vendor clicks

I’m a big fan of WordPress, which is the engine behind this site. For a pretty low annual fee, I get a custom design package, web hosting and URL registration, and I get an intuitive, easy-to-use blogging system. And as it happens, I also get some interesting stats on my site traffic.  I have a good idea of where folks are coming from and what they click on when they leave — including the links to vendors selling my books.

Overall, the top-most “click-out” on my blog was for Amazon’s sites (both domestic and international), and it’s not even a close game. Now, I’m pretty good about making sure I link to a wide variety of book vendors whenever I blog, and you can see all the purchase links to the right of this post. I do my best to give readers a wide variety of choices, and thanks to WordPress, I know how they’ve chosen.

Here’s the breakdown of all my book vendor clicks. Note that these are strictly sales links, ones that will take you directly to a book’s sales page on the below sites. The vast majority of these are for my books and novella, with less than 5% going to books by other authors I’ve mentioned or hosted on the site. The figures don’t add up to 100% because of rounding.

  • Amazon: 66.5%
  • Barnes & Noble: 9.6%
  • IndieBound: 5.6%
  • Kobo: 4.5%
  • Audible: 3.5%
  • iTunes: 2.6%
  • Google Play: 1.9%
  • All others (including international): 5.3%

So basically, when people click on a sales link, 70% of them go to Amazon or Amazon-owned Audible, either here or abroad. That’s a lot. I thought B&N would’ve had more fans, frankly. I’d love to see IndieBound and Kobo (an e-book vendor that works with many indie booksellers) get more clicks, but their results were better than I expected. As for iTunes and Google, that’s not too surprising, as some users may be more likely to open the relevant app and search.

Those “all others” vendors, by the way, include Books-A-Million (BAM) as well as a smattering of Canadian, U.K., Australian and German booksellers.

My takeaway, both with these stats and in general: Amazon pretty much owns bookselling right now. Authors and publishers are (rightfully, I believe) peeved at Amazon for the whole Hatchette thing, but consumers are still voting with clicks and, presumably, wallets. Changing that, if that’s what folks want to do, is going to be really tough.

Finally, for those interested in the efficacy of book links on author blogs (an undoubtedly compelling topic, amirite?), I have a click-through rate to a sales page of about 2.2%. In other words, for every hundred page-views I get, I get 2.2 clicks to a book vendor. Considering that the average banner ad typically boasts a click-through rate of 0.2% to 0.3%, I consider those vendor links highly effective.

In fact, you could click on one right now if you wanted. Just saying.

#SFWApro

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NFL: Wild Card picks

The NFL regular season wrapped up in particularly plot-twistery fashion, with playoff contenders Baltimore and Miami both faltering, and the San Diego Chargers winning the last AFC wild-card playoff spot in a tight game with a bit of controversy. And the Sunday night showdown between Philadelphia and Dallas was pretty cool, especially if you’re not a Cowboys fan.

If you were a Cowboys fan, well…sorry. Seems your team’s a bit snake-bit this past decade or so.

But there’s no looking back now. Twelve teams are in the playoffs. Two make it to the Super Snow Bowl in Jersey. (I really, really want there to be snow on Super Bowl Sunday. Play it in the elements! Make them work for that trophy!)

Here’s your breakdown of each of this weekend’s four wild-card contests:

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Happy Holidays

I don’t really have anything super-profound to say tonight on Christmas Eve, other than to wish everyone a peaceful, happy holiday. I recognize some of the folks reading this might not celebrate Christmas, so if that’s the case I hope you just have a great day off.  After all, when the days are short and the weather’s cold, it’s a pretty good time to huddle up, spend some time with loved ones and be thankful for what you have.

And that’s what I’m gonna go do now. Peace, everyone.

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Signing next Thursday (9/12) at Singularity & Co. in Brooklyn

Ever been to Singularity & Co.? It’s an outstanding SF/F bookstore in the DUMBO area of Brooklyn, packed to the rafters with decades’ worth of science fiction and fantasy books. It’s a veritable geek Shangri-La.

And I’m going to be doing an event there next Thursday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. This brings me joy.

So come on out and say hi. I’ll be doing a reading from The Daedalus Incident and talking about the forthcoming The Enceladus Crisis (due out next spring), my most excellent experience at WorldCon,  and whatever else folks want to hear.

The store is at 18 Bridge St. in Brooklyn. See you there!

#SFWApro

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Preorder the audiobook of The Daedalus Incident from Audible!

The folks over at Audible.com move fast!

I’m proud to say that The Daedalus Incident audiobook is now available for pre-order at Audible. And if you’re in the U.K., you can pre-order the audiobook from Audible.co.uk.

The unabridged reading is performed by Bernard Clark and Kristin Kalbli, and clocks in at an impressive 16 hours and 5 minutes. I didn’t realize I wrote that much, but then, I never thought to sit down and read it aloud from beginning to end, either.

I was talking with fellow scribe Mike Underwood at BEA yesterday about audiobooks, and he said it’s quite a surreal experience to have someone read your writing back to you. I’ve no doubt that Bernard and Kristin did a fantastic job exploring the worlds of Weatherby and Jain, but I imagine I’ll either sit completely still for 16 hours as I revel in someone reading my work…or quit after 10 minutes because, well, the voices don’t match the ones in my head.

That sounds bad. You know what I mean, right?

Either way, if you’re into audiobooks, click and pre-order. And if you’re still waiting for The Daedalus Incident to come out in print and pixels…well, between you and me, stay tuned. There may be some good news soon…! So if you want to pre-order the print version, click here and scroll down for a list of online booksellers. Or go to your local bookstore, ask them to pre-order it and support small business!

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A new look for the site

It’s been a few years, so I figured it was well and truly time for this site to get a face lift and spring cleaning. The awesome header and background images are courtesy of Arvin Concepcion of Concepcion Design Studio. Arvin also helped me wrap my head around the new fonts you see here, as well as the new drop-down menus. Arvin’s a very talented designer and all around computer genius, and this won’t be the last you see of his work, I can promise you.

Both The Daedalus Incident and The Gravity of the Affair have their own pages under the “Writing” tab, and my media section got a little more managable after I split it up into different pages. I’m still working on better integrating The Beer Fridge into the rest of the site so that it looks like it belongs, while still providing a separate blog for all things beer. And there may be some busted links and 404 errors here and there. I’m hunting those down as well.

Anyway, click around and enjoy! And as a reminder, I start publishing excerpts of Gravity on Tuesday, so be sure to come back then for your first peek at the Known Worlds setting and the trials and tribulations of a young Horatio Nelson.

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On writing, my publisher and travel

So before I get to the big news, I wanted to point out that I’ve got a new post up on the Night Bazaar, talking about breaking the rules of writing. It’s been an interesting discussion over there, so go check it out.

All right. If you follow SF/F books and publishing on line, you’ve likely heard that my publisher, Night Shade Books, is in the process of having its assets acquired by a larger company, Skyhorse Publishing. Yes, The Daedalus Incident is an asset. (Probably better than being considered a liability, I suppose.)

The deal is contingent on a majority of Night Shade authors agreeing to Skyhorse’s acquisition terms for their individual books. If the deal falls through, Night Shade is likely to declare bankruptcy. If that happens, all operations would freeze and no books would be published, and nobody would get any money. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (man, that membership fee has already paid for itself) has supported the deal, and worked incredibly hard to ride herd on everything. I’m very grateful to them.

As for me, all I’m willing to say is that my incredibly talented and hard-working agent, Sara Megibow, is reviewing everything with her usual diligence. Right now, I’m going to assume The Daedalus Incident will hit stores as scheduled on May 7. Reviewers have their copies, I have a full slate of guest blogs, interviews and promotional efforts, and I’m hopeful you’ll all have a chance to enjoy the adventures of HMS Daedalus and the McAuliffe Base mining colony on Mars in about a month.

In the meantime, I’m going to be off on a very different adventure. I’m heading to Japan for a vacation with the family, something we’ve wanted to do for a while now. I’m sure I’ll be tweeting some thoughts and pics while I’m there, and I’ll try to keep up with the blog as well. The real expert on travel is my wife Kate, so if you want to see what we’re up to, you should follow her blog and her Twitter for all the details!

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Live podcast Monday night at 10 p.m. Eastern!

I must’ve done a decent job my first time out, because Jay and the SupaFi64 guys are having me back on the podcast. In fact, this is a live show that starts at 10 p.m. Eastern on Monday night; you can listen in live at www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SupaFi64. If for whatever reason you have something better to do on a Monday night (but really, what would that even be?), you can download the podcast via iTunes as usual, or check out the archives on their site.

I’ll obviously be talking about The Daedalus Incident, and may have some hits about another project in the works. This is a great show with smart and enthusiastic hosts, so tune in or download!

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Double Feature: SFSignal and Night Bazaar

Got a couple of guest blogs to point you to today. First up, I’m participating in another Mind Meld over at SFSignal. This time, we’re talking about food in science fiction and fantasy. While the question posits that fantasy treats food better than sci-fi, I think neither really does a great job of developing unique foods, and cultures around food, as part of their settings. Think I’m wrong? Post a comment! And many thanks to everyone at SFSignal for asking me back. It’s a great site. You should totally read it.

Also, I’m back on the Night Bazaar, Night Shade Books’ author blog. This week, we’re tackling politics because, you know, they don’t like to make it easy on us. When can we debate the merits of Internet cat videos? (John Scalzi found this one, which my entire family can’t stop watching.)

While I’m at it, I want to thank to Con or Bust auction winner Daryl Maxwell, who paid a whopping $40 for a signed galley of The Daedalus Incident. I say whopping because it lists for $15.99, nobody’s read or reviewed it yet, and I’m a debut author with zero track record. So that was a lovely leap of faith on Daryl’s part, and it’s for a good cause. Plus, I got to sign my first-ever copy of the book, which was a pretty cool thing to do.

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