Monday, June 26, 2006

Another good review!

Since I've met my "once a week" goal for June, I’ll just do a small entry to mention that a relatively new site, has a particularly insightful review of Trinity on Tylos in their June reviews. This site reviews several genres of fiction, both print and eBooks, and includes books from the big New York publishers and small presses as well. Both site design and the quality of the reviews are first rate, so I encourage interested parties to read the review of Trinity and look around at some others while you are there.

Regarding reviews, during the past month I’ve been able to add four review quotes to my “ Pam’s Books” page on, three for Trinity on Tylos, and one for The Gift Horse.

Labels: ,

Monday, June 19, 2006

After SFSC

This is an update to let interested readers hear about my visit to Sci Fi Summer Con in Atlanta, my first experience as a “celebrity guest” and my first con with my kids in tow. Son liked it; daughter sat with her iPod and a book and was no trouble. Chris Jones, the con director, was everywhere, wearing a lot of hats, and leading the “Trek at 40” panel, which was a good one.

First, I really did enjoy meeting a few members of the Atlanta Science Fiction Society. They held an event called SF Jeopardy, and that was fun. Okay, I came in last place, partially due to a complete lack of knowledge of comic book anything, but it was still fun, and I did get a consolation prize.

Second, having met authors in various other genres at the writers’ conference in Athens, I was pleasantly surprised at how friendly the other authors at the con were. I spent some time last evening looking at websites belonging to those authors and in some cases, their blogs. Jana Oliver, Christina Barber, Chesya Burke, and Julie Cochrane are all fellow novelists who write speculative fiction, and although our sub genres differ a bit, I found chatting with them to be particularly helpful.

Third, I liked the free stuff, as did hubby. Flyers, brochures, and bookmarks are expected, of course, but we also got some movie posters and other memorabilia. My son really enjoyed the arcade room, with vintage video games set on “free play” for the entire weekend, and he proved that “a fool and his money are soon parted” in the dealer room on the very first day.

Finally, as a longtime Star Trek fan, I enjoyed Michael DeMerritt most of all. He was personable, knowledgeable, and really entertaining. As an assistant director on Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise, he knew lots of inside information, which he shared with the attendees, along with many photos made during production. I just wish I’d managed to attend every panel he did, but I was unable to do so.

I did not dress up in any costume, because I don’t own one, and if I did it would probably have been too hot. I did see some interesting costumes, however. I genuinely enjoyed being across from the Klingons during my time at the autograph table. They offered me dried veggies and were great folks, for Klingons....

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Reviews and Reviewing (Part II ?)

It’s been a while, but I remember writing about being a book reviewer sometime last year, at a time when I was compiling a long list of places to query about reviewing Trinity on Tylos.

That first review has, thus far, been the best one. Indeed, I can’t imagine one being any better. The second review which came in described Trinity on Tylos is “entertaining,” but I found nothing really quotable in it. Two others have come in recently, and one of them was mostly positive, while the other one had a bit too much summary. Most reviewers try to avoid spoilers, but not so with this one, so I really can’t quote much from it.

When I’ve had discussions with readers of The Gift Horse, my debut novel in the suspense genre, it is interesting that folks either love it or hate it. My reader reviews for Trinity on Tylos at Fictionwise reflect the same phenomenon— two readers said “great” and two others said “poor.” Since there are some errors in the Fictionwise version which aren’t in the print book— don’t ask me how that happened, b/c I really have no idea— I decided that those who voted “poor” were annoyed by those. I certainly was.

Rob Preece, the publisher of Books for a Buck, read Trinity on Tylos, and gave it “three stars” which is the same # he gave the latest David Weber. Now if I could just sell as many copies as Weber will!

Harriet Klausner also reviewed Trinity on Tylos, saying one plot device, which is dependent on a character’s decision making, was “inane.” Whatever. The character is loosely based on someone I once worked for, and the decision making reflects what I saw at my job on a regular basis, which is probably saying too much in a public forum. I’ll include the link to that reviewer’s archive review of Trinity for any readers who want to see what she had to say.

Recently, I reviewed a book which had been out for a while and is being rereleased by a different publisher. By following the new publisher’s links and doing a Google search, I counted twelve reviews and one interview on various websites, as well as eighteen reader reviews at Amazon. As I was trying to find something new to say, a task I found rather difficult under the circumstances, I did some real soul searching about my own efforts to get more reviews for Trinity on Tylos. Do reviews really help sell books? Perhaps, but at what point does an author reach the “overkill” mark?

I suspect that better distribution and marketing might be more helpful to increasing sales than multiple reviews, for my book or anyone else’s for that matter. With that in mind, I am off to Sci Fi Summer this weekend to autograph books and pass out flyers. Distribution is a primarily a Whiskey Creek Press matter, but publicity falls to me.

Labels: , , ,

Friday, June 09, 2006

Titles and Devices

Hopefully, some of you are interested in trying eBooks. First, how are you going to read an eBook? You’ll need a reading device, and I have experience with two of the top devices: a laptop computer and a PDA. My current computer is an iBook G4, which I’ve had for about 18 months. It replaced a 3 year old Ti Powerbook, so I’ve been in laptop land for a long time. At first, I downloaded books in html format, but with those page breaks and chapter breaks, along with much of the formatting, bite the dust. The thing I like best about this format is you can read fast, due to fairly large type and all you have to do is scroll. As I continued buying eBooks, I switched to Adobe pdf, which preserves much of the publisher’s formatting.

Several months ago, the Whiskey Creek Press author’s group had a thread going about eBook readers and PDA’s, which sounded better than a computer for reading. I did a bit of research and although the dedicated reader was interesting, I bought a “blemished” Palm Tungsten E, at, for $50.00 less than most other vendors were offering their closeouts. The Palm was a natural choice, since the software is Mac friendly, and it will do more than just display my books. The learning curve wasn’t that bad, and I have really enjoyed this device. I have downloaded some of my Adobe pdf titles to it, but I much prefer eReader or Mobipocket formats for reading on this PDA. Some of my older friends say, “How can you see that tiny thing?” but I haven’t had any problems with that aspect. Really, the screen is much brighter and more crisp than my son’s GameBoy. Of course, these same older friends live in a different time period— one where you write checks for small purchases at the local discount store, after driving up in a really long car with a big V-8 engine.

Not all titles I might want to read are available as eBooks, of course, but the selection of available titles is quite good, and the prices range from free to about what you’d pay for a hardcover at Amazon. I don’t buy those at the top end of the price range. The best freebies are found at Baen books. That publisher and many of their authors are forward thinking, and by offering free samples, they are enhancing their image as a publisher and increasing their sales of eBooks and print ones, too. Some Baen hardcover titles include a CD with other titles in eBook formats from the publisher for free. Fictionwise also has freebies, especially short fiction and samples. Another thing I love about Fictionwise is that they seem to like a sale as much as I do! Also, once you’ve purchased a book there, you can download it again, for no additional charge, even if you want a different format. I bought some books from the site in pdf for my laptop, and when I moved to the Palm, I downloaded my favorites again, as PalmDocs. Cool!

There are many sites which sell eBooks on the web, but my favorite ePublishers are Whiskey Creek Press, Wings ePress, and Baen, and I’ve bought books from their sites as well as at Fictionwise. If you can buy books at Amazon or Barnes and Noble online, then you shouldn’t have any trouble purchasing eBooks. If you’re reading this, you own a computer and are online, so you are on the way to sampling eBooks. Once you try them, I think you’ll find something to like.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why would any one be interested in ebooks?

I’ve already written about eBooks, but I’m hosting a panel on the subject for SciFi Summer in Atlanta in a couple of weeks, so I’ve been brushing up a few remarks regarding this new form of publishing. While both of my books have both eBook and trade paperback editions, I have sold far more print copies. Yet, as a book buying customer, I have gradually increased the number of eBooks I am buying. For me, three things matter most: a title I would want to read (regardless of format), a good price, and, a format that works on my Palm Tungsten E. Until I got that handy little device, I only read a few eBooks, b/c toting a laptop is worse than toting a book. However, the last time I counted, I had about 50 titles on my Palm, with room for a few more, and it takes up less space in my purse than my wallet.

As I’ve cruised around the net, I have found several articles touting ePublishing. Based on that research, here are some reasons to consider eBook purchases or having your book ePublished:

•eBooks don’t require paper or ink, so they are less costly to produce
•due to this cost-effectiveness, eBooks can be cost-effective for niche books that wouldn’t interest traditional publishing
•eBooks are more compact (hundreds can be held in a single PDA, dedicated eBook reader, or laptop)
•eBooks are more environmentally sound, with no physical product to throw away
•eBooks do provide accessibility via flexible font size
•eBooks can be updated and/or corrected more easily
•eBooks can be electronically searched
•eBooks provide instant gratification, which is just a download away. The next book in a series can be purchased instantly without the need for a trip to the bookstore or a wait for physical delivery of a paper product.

My website’s “links” page includes a link to the bestselling eBooks from 2005, and you’re going to find some familiar titles there. I’ve heard a few nay-sayers who proclaim that no one is reading, buying, or selling eBooks. Nope, these books, authors, and publishers are the only segment of the publishing industry growing in double digits, and while print books certainly still sell better, this technology will eventually change publishing.

Labels: , , ,