Subscription Based Serial Fiction: The Technical Problems

bluefirereaderWhen it comes to delivering serial fiction directly to the reader, Amazon has set the bar high. By operating the Kindle Serial Store, creating the Kindle device and rendering their branded ereading app ubiquitous across multiple platforms (iOS, Droid, etc.), they can take your money and deliver the product to your reading device of choice with one click. Booyah. And they will continue to deliver the serial installments every two weeks until the story has run its course. (Pay once, ie. subscribe, and the rest takes care of itself.)

If any storyteller is serious about monetizing serial fiction outside of the Kindle Serial Store, this high bar has to be the goal. Readers will demand it.

One Click Must Do it All! (But How?)

How does an indie writer attempt such a monumental technical and organizational feat? The most obvious solution to me was also the least practical: Create a specialized app of my own that will bridge my fiction onto every smartphone and tablet out there with access to Droid, Windows, or iOS app stores.

Since this requires a chunk of change upfront, as well as the determination to update the application continuously across all platforms… I quickly crossed this off the list of personal options. I don’t want to go into app development. I want to write stories from which I generate a living wage.

That leaves the indie writer/entrepreneur shopping for go-between services and trying to piece together a network to mimic the one Amazon has built. Let’s break down the necessary pieces: (and my preferences so far) [Read more...]

Aurora’s Gamble: Video Gaming and the Written Word

AErena, Clash of Champions

I’ve recently flown a sortie into the gaming realm and given the medium my best shot. The result is Aurora’s Gamble, a short story now being parceled out as part of the release build up for AErena: Clash of Champions by Cliffhanger Productions.

While I’m by no means a hardcore gamer, I’ve had my addictions over the years. The one I’ve never been able to completely kick is the turn based game, Civilization. Not a lot of great backstory to be written there (other than our world’s history, which has already been written about a fair amount from what I’ve been told). The other game I enjoyed for several years was StarCraft. (If you haven’t googled “zerg rush” give it a try. Hilarious.) That game always had the greatest backstory worked into game play via video clips, etc. Since then, I’ve been enamored with the idea of mining video game backstory.

But as a yet-to-be-famous schmuck writer, I was overlooked for the Halo contract which was handed to Greg Bear instead (Sure, he’s okay, I guess.) Since I’ve never lasted longer than like 5 seconds in a round of Halo, I suppose that’s fair. (I’m always the guy running around with his gun pointing at the ground and his POV at the sky.)

Due to my multiple dips into the stylish world of dieselpunk, my writing came to the attention of Cliffhanger Productions. In turn, they contracted me to help bring their cleverly imagined backstory into focus. I had a blast doing it. It’s a great world to explore, even if you aren’t a gamer.

Is Fiction Within a Game’s Universe Limited to Gamers?

And there in lies the gambit. When writing backstory within a gaming universe that has already breached the consciousness of pop culture, there are a few clear advantages: 1.) established readership 2.) some defined boundaries 3.) jargon, terms and culture built up among the fans. 4.) even non-gamers know about the game and its universe.

But when writing within a gaming universe yet to see the light of day, bold risks must be taken upfront. [Read more...]

Video

Voice Actor of Edna Krabapple Dies

Marcia Wallace died on October 26th at the age of 70. May she rest in peace. The Simpsons plan on retiring the character of Edna Krabapple, the only woman to have danced with the “devil in the blue shorts and survived.”

Audio

My New Favorite Writing Music


 

Celldweller! I love these guys. They cover everything from soundtrack to DJ to electronic to drum and bass. Nothing says “I can kill you with my mind” like this stuff.

Vin Diesel’s Cunning Revives Riddick

riddick international posterNext to Firefly and it’s spacefaring crew, Riddick has long been the science fiction character I’ve most wanted to see resurrected. That dream has come to pass thanks to a clever play by Vin Diesel himself. The Hollywood Reporter revealed on September 4th that Vin Diesel managed to swap Riddick rights for his cameo appearance in Tokyo Drift back in 2006.

Pitch Black, released in 2000, enthralled me instantly. I absolutely loved the character of Riddick and couldn’t believe there weren’t reams of books or comics or something. This first Riddick movie did well enough for The Chronicles of Riddick to come along in 2004 and queer the deal. The larger budget follow-up only managed $16 million in profit. That would have been enough of a flop to kill the character if Diesel hadn’t acquired it.

Now the actor has staked his pocketbook (and then some) on the third entry into the life and times of Riddick. [Read more...]

Official DMB Day, August 3rd, 2013

DMB in his writing garb outside of his vacation home.

DMB in his writing garb outside of his vacation home.

The less informed among you may not be aware that this Saturday is DMB Day. It’s an international holiday (celebrated both in Nampa, ID and Surinam). Nampa festivities marking the celebration will include the downtown farmers’ market, the closing of the library, the opening of grocery stores and shops all over town!

People Idaho-wide will celebrate the event with such traditional activities as walking, eating and abstaining from showers. As if that weren’t enough! There will also be a book signing and reading in downtown Nampa (Down Nampa Town, or DNT as I like to call it).

Don’t miss the Nampa book signing event this Saturday!

Saturday (Aug. 3rd), 9:30am to 2:00pm, I will be in front of Pearson’s Twice Sold Tales in downtown Nampa selling and signing books and ebooks. If you are local to the area you won’t want to miss the specially themed farmers’ market that will be selling vegetables to celebrate the event.

A signed book or (ebook voucher) will get you half off a slice of pizza at Messenger’s Pizza where I will be doing a noontime reading!! This whole event has gone legit! (I’m even giving out candy!)

Those who aren’t local to Nampa, don’t fret! (post a review!)

For all you non-local schmucks clamoring to participate in DMB Day 2013, you have options. Always anxious to service my fans, I have made it possible for anyone anywhere in the world to get a signed and personalized ebook. Just click here and follow the instructions.

It is also considered traditional on DMB Day to post reviews of anything you have read by DMB. Click here to jump to my author page on Amazon and post away to your heart’s content. I would especially love some reviews on all my Lost DMB Files.

On that note…

I think I’ll put on some Dave Matthews Band, pour me a sweet tea and write another global sensation of a book in celebration of my freakish talent. Happy DMB Day!

 

Kobo Store Changes: What the #$&*!

koboFor the many of you who may not have noticed, Kobo books (an entity I have much praised in the past) has made some bizarre changes to their online book store that have me stumped (and hopeful that they are merely hallucinations). No one else online seems to be talking about the chances, so I thought I should. I sent the below letter to feedback@kobo.com and now post it here. I’ll let you know if I hear anything in response!
To Whom it May Concern,
I’m curious as to the recent changes from kobobooks.com to the store.kobobooks.com.
As a reader, the new site has lost considerable usefulness in helping me find and decide upon books to read.
As an author and self-publisher, I’m baffled by several changes that seem to be taking Kobo Books in full reverse. I’m hoping these changes are some sort of temporary stop-gap (or a sick joke). Several things have me stumped:
  1. The disappearance of reviews. I realize Amazon purchased Goodreads. I’m hoping this has not forced Goodreads reviews to be removed. This was one advantage Kobo had over Amazon as many people consider GR reviews more reputable than Amazon ones.
  2. The disappearance of star ratings. Even if the Goodreads reviews had to be dropped, why the star ratings?
  3. The disappearance of most of the curated reading lists. The Indie Next list is still around (even though I’ve never been able to figure out what it means, or what the definition of indie is supposed to be for this list), but the rest of them are gone. Reason?
  4. Lastly, the Free list is gone! And so recently after some positive changes to help more free books to be discoverable on Kobo. Seriously? Now the only way to find free books is to do a search and sort by price? Even if I can find one, there are no reviews, star ratings or even rankings (since free books are put at the bottom) for me to use in deciding whether to read the book or not.
I’m still struggling to establish myself firmly as one of the new generation ebook mid-list authors able to make a living entirely from writing novels. But I’m getting there. [Read more...]