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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Status Update • 11/28/2018

We have a lot of new developments to report, so I’m going to put on my serious business face and cut right to the chase.

» Print Editions: I’m delighted to report that we’ve finally solved the problem of how to generate ebooks and print books from common source files. (And no, Henry, the solution was not, “Buy a Mac.”) Ergo, next week we’ll be releasing Stupefying Stories 22 in trade paperback format, and by the end of December we should have our entire current catalog out in print. If you’re an author with a story in one of the books listed in the right column, we’ll contact you when your book is ready, to confirm your mailing address and then send you your contributor’s copies. If you missed last Monday’s free ebook promotion, be advised that going forward, we’ll be making the Kindle editions free—with the purchase of a print copy. We’ll see how that works out.

» HART’S WAR: If you like Henry Vogel’s Scout’s Honor series, you owe it to yourself to check out HART’S WAR, which is in development editing right now. If you’ve ever wanted to get a look at a novel before it’s released and give the author your personal feedback, here’s your opportunity, as Henry has posted the entire rough draft on his web site. Check it out!

» THE WOLFLING WAR: Since I last mentioned it, Henry has posted two more chapters of his new novel-in-progress, THE WOLFLING WAR, on his web site. If you’ve ever wanted to influence the course of a novel while the author was writing it, you really need to check out THE WOLFLING WAR. The author is listening!

» THE MIDNIGHT GROUND: We’re still looking for a few more beta readers willing to read Eric Dontigney’s upcoming novel, The Midnight Ground. If this jacket blurb interests you and you have time to read and comment on an ARC, email me at
“As middleman to the magical community at large, Adrian Hartworth never sticks around. His nomadic lifestyle keeps him a step ahead of friends, enemies, and all too often, law enforcement. Then he saves Abby Simmons and her grandfather, only to find himself unofficially adopted into their unlucky family. Years of experience tell him that the cancer killing Abby is anything but natural. His instincts say flee.

“Driven by the guilt of a past filled with bad choices, Hartworth delves into Abby’s misfortunes and the town’s dark past. What he discovers lands him at the heart of a century-old battle against an evil he knows he cannot defeat. The man who never sticks around will face a choice: take a stand against a power that will crush him, or a leave a young girl to die and damn thousands in the process.”
» Kindle Unlimited and Other Platforms: A couple of years back we decided to pull our ebooks off all the other non-Kindle platforms, as dealing with the Apple iTunes store, Barnes & Noble, etc., was a royal pain in  the @$$ and to be blunt, a good week’s sales on all the other platforms combined was a slow day on Amazon. Besides, signing up for Kindle Unlimited gave us access to a host of promotional opportunities that Amazon would provide only if we gave Amazon exclusive rights.

Things change. The tracking data suggests that while Kindle Unlimited still helps us sell novels (although not as well as it once did), it actually inhibits sales of Stupefying Stories. Just as people don’t buy albums anymore but rather download individual songs, KU users appear to be cherry-picking just the stories they want to read and ignoring the rest of the issue. This has resulted in a drastic drop in unit sales, and given that our business model is built on selling entire issues, not just a few pages here and there...

Ergo, as books come up for renewal, we’ll be pulling them from Kindle Unlimited and releasing them on other platforms. It’s going to take at least three months to do this, as Amazon requires a 90-day lock on exclusive rights, but by next April we should have our entire catalog out on Kobo, Nook, iTunes, Google Play, and whatever else seems like a good idea.

» Finally, on the Cult of Personality front: While checking the Stupefying Stories 22 listing to make sure it looked okay, I noticed that if I clicked on my name in the list of contributors, I got this list of results—which came as something of a surprise, as I’d spent quite a bit of time pulling together my Amazon Author’s Central publication list. (Amazon at first only wanted to list books I’d written, and not include those I’d merely edited.) When I contacted Amazon customer service to ask about the difference, their answer wasn’t quite, “That’s nice, pops, but what have you done lately?” but it came damned close.

Sigh. A 40-year writing career, down the memory hole.

Looking at the listing again today, I see that Amazon has been gracious enough to allow customers to choose to follow me, if they so desire, but still, mysterious are the ways of the Amazon. (And sad to see that according to their algorithms, Rebel Moon was my most successful book. I guess books that were bestsellers in the years BA {Before Amazon} don’t count.)

Shrug. Enough worrying about Amazon for one day. Back to work.

Kind regards,


Unknown said...

Shocking. But, as you say-Amazon. And you don't want to piss off the Amazon gods.

Mark Keigley said...


Mark Keigley said...

I feel your pain on the writer memory front. In other news, some years ago I self-published a couple of stories through Amazon Kindle that I "should" have given you guys a first look at. I know this now because shortly after I published them, my e-mail got hacked and I could no longer access the stories to delete them, collect payment, yada-yada, so I've never gotten anything for them but the knwoledge that I SELF-PUBLISHED. Recently, I've been in contact with Kindle and the convincing I have to do with them that I AM who I say I am and yes, I DO want to migrate the two stories to my new e-mail account so that I can ACTUALLY reap some benefits for myself from them, are astounding. Pretty much a blood test of my first born kinda stuff. If you EVER, EVER start doing selected reprints, they would be strong candidates. (the one crappy review notwithstanding, and yes, THAT is another story.)

Robert W. Hobson said...

Dalton Starkiller, what a name.

~brb said...

As I vaguely recall, the joke was that his name was Totschlagenstern but he changed it when he emigrated. I don't remember if that survived into the final cut of the book.