essays

Essay--Amazon And Goodreads

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 Essay about the recent purchase of Goodreads.com by Amazon.

 

 

This essay is copyright 2013 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Essay--When The Story Ends

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Just a few thoughts on what happens when a story ends.

 

This essay is copyright 2011 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Methinks the Amazonasaurus Doth Monopolize Too Much

A while ago, I released an essay about "The Dreaded Amazonasaurus." Since then, KDP Select has not only gone live, but many of my fellow authors have capitalized greatly on its "benefits."

If you've forgotten, KDP Select is the new program that Amazon has instituted for authors. Basically it amounts to this: give Amazon exclusivity on your ebooks, and they help you market your wares by making them available in the vaunted lending library. But, of course, exclusive means you shut out smashwords.com, diesel, BN, iBooks, etc.

I made the decision to keep myself out of this madness, preferring instead of maintain some of my ideals. One of my ideals is fair competition. KDP Select, my friends, is anything but. Regardless, I have noticed an interesting trend. As KDP Select grows in popularity, my sales on Amazon.com have dwindled.

Why? Can't say. As far as I can tell, my books still show up in the same searches and etc. However, they do show up LOWER in the search results than they used to. Is Amazon.com fiddling with their search algorithm to favor books by authors that have enrolled? Yes, it sounds like a conspiracy theory and perhaps it is. I

haven't had much luck on the sales front with BN.com, yet I'm now selling more there than on Amazon. This is both troubling and perplexing since the majority of my writing income (pathetic as it is) was attributable to my Amazon sales. Tomorrow, February 14th, I'm releasing Garaaga's Children: Lovers on all the e-book outlets. If you're an Amazon customer, get it there. If you're a BN customer, get it there. I don't really care, so long as you let me know what you think of the story.

If I get enough sales tomorrow, perhaps we'll see an uptick in my search results for the other books. Maybe not. I'm a pretty tiny fish in a HUGE pond, but I figure if 20 or 30 of you purchase a copy of Lovers, I should be able to see some kind of impact in the metrics. But we'll see. Again, maybe my conspiracy theory is utter bollocks and I'm just paranoid.

I bash Amazon for its recent predatory policies and perhaps that's unfair. But you, the reader, need to know what's going on in the business of books. You'll continue using your Kindle, continue purchasing from the monster, and that's okay. If you like them, continue using them. It's your choice.

But I'd love to hear your thoughts on the recent changes. Do you think they're good for you? For the author? For the industry? What will a world with Amazon as the sole e-book outlet look like?

I shudder to imagine it.

Demons

What does the word "demon" mean? For those of us brought up in a Christian household, going to church and such, the word probably conjures up visions of a fork-tailed, fork-tongued, red menace know as Satan, or Beelzebub, or some other creature from our collective unconscious. Or perhaps it drags up images we've all seen in horror movies.

But what does the word "mean?"

A demon can mean many things to many different cultures. The Jinn from Mesopotomian/Arab folklore means an evil spirit that is bound to earth and is very pissed about it. The Jinn trick humans, play with people like a cat toying with a roach, and then squash them like the mortal refuse they are. But are they demons?

The original Greek etymology of the word daemon didn't have a connotation of evil ascribed to it. That was co-opted, because any spirit not from heaven had to be evil. Dante's Divine Comedy further muddied the waters by presenting a view of hell that contained all sorts of miscreant and troublesome spirits that existed to torment people in the firey place. 

Essay--Science Versus Magic

 

This essay is copyright 2011 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Lessons from the book launch

I did a book launch. Yes, Blue Moose Press is my publisher, but it's essentially an author co-op. They provided fantastic resources and experience in getting a book from editing phase into layout, graphics, and the like. Basically, without their help, Fiends: Vol1 would never have happened.

Now, I was absolutely certain I was going to screw this up big time, and I did. Just not in the way I thought. So here's some lessons if you're going to self-publish.

1.  Have an on-going work to keep your fans interested.

One of the biggest problems with this book launch has been getting the word out. Since I've had no new fiction out there on the podiobook circuit, much of my listening public has taken a vacation from my podcast feed. That vacation from the feed has really been detrimental to building interest and excitement for the book.

Without a new title streaming through the internet, folks have little reason to even pay attention. Although I've been fairly good about providing infocasts, essays, interviews, and even some guest content, it's simply not enough to keep listeners involved, except, of course, for the die hards (and I LOVE you folks).

So if you're a podcast author and you have a book release coming up, make sure you TIME it with the release of another novel or story collection. I feel this is key to keeping things going.

2. Coordinate with your social media buddies.  COORDINATE DAMMIT!

I have been a guest on many many podcasts over the past year. However, I didn't time this properly with the book release. Instead of being on a massive PR run on the circuit, as well as getting folks tuned in to the promo, I sought those resources at the last moment. In fact, I didn't go out of my way to ask the big folk for help. That's assistance they were willing to give, I was just too bashful to ask. This too put a nail in the coffin for good results.

3. Pre-sales are tough...and when you're niche player, they're even tougher

As a writer of psychological horror, my audience is quite a bit smaller than say a Scott Sigler or a Phil Rossi. And that's fine. I don't have a problem with that. But that also means that with that many less listeners, there are that many less buyers out there for a $35 hardcover. I believe I greatly over-estimated the demand for the book. Also, I have had a lot of my die-hard fans tell me they just couldn't afford a $35 book. I completely understand that and I'm not disappointed, per se. This was a learning experience dammit.

If you're a niche player like myself, it might make more sense to learn to crawl before you go to a full run. If I was smart I would have known this and only done maybe a 100 copy run for the hardcover. They'll selll out eventually, but I had convinced myself they would sell out more quickly. Mea culpa.

I priced the book according to the fact it's a limited edition and that it also comes with the free e-book. I thought that was a pretty good deal. Next time? I'll make it more affordable and print fewer of 'em.

4. Have the ebook ready to go...

If I had really done this right, I would have had the ebook ready to ship immediately. In other words, you buy the book on pre-sale, and you get the ebook via email same day. This would have given people the feeling of instant gratification. I had talked myself out of doing the ebook formatting myself (although I know how) and I believe that hurt me. Again. If you are going to use a service like Ebook Architects or similar, check well ahead of time to see how long it will take them to format and make your book available. If you don't you're going to have problems.

5. Have an actual damned store

We used the paypal store for this run. We shant be doing that again. Calculating shipping (expecially for intl) is a mess. The paypal system is slow, clunky, and a bitch and a half to use. I can't tell you how many hours I spent trying to get the damned thing working properly. If you're using it for digital items, it's perfect. But anything that has to be shipped? Well, if you have plenty of time on your hands, it'll work. If not, it's a serious pain in the ass.

 

Those are the big lessons I've learned. I have a long way to go in selling the hardcovers. The con circuit is coming up, so I'm hopeful I'll be able to move a few of those as well as the trade paperbacks at impromptu and formal book signings. Also, I have another revenue method up my sleeve, but we'll talk about that when it's ready.

The idea for this was not to make a whole lot of money. If I manage to break even on everything, I'll be damned happy. We have a ways to go before that happens, but we'll get there. I made all this happen because my fans wanted books. And I wanted to give 'em to you. On that, we were successful.

Once Garaaga's Children starts up, hopefully more listeners will travel to my site and take a chance on purchasing the book. If so, then we'll clear things out in a hurry and all will be well. If not? Well, there's going to be some serious bundling opportunities in the future.

Pay attention, oh fellow authors. These are the lessons I learned. Please make sure you heed them so you're more successful than I and suffer a LOT less stress.

 

Cheers.

Magic versus Science

I dropped a bomb on twitter yesterday when I said "I find magic systems to be the most f'ing annoying thing about fantasy. I mean, why do I care? Keep it consistent and it doesn't matter."

As you might imagine, there were, um, quite a few people who took issue with the statement. The funny thing is that the conversation ended up straying into science fiction and even thriller fiction.

Essay--Subtlety

Quick discussion on choosing language and the subtlety of writing horror and sex.

This essay is copyright 2011 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Essay--Another Lesson and Rant About Publishing

A little lesson in publishing, a disconnected rant/essay about the latest screwed-uppedness from the major chains and the publishers.
This essay is copyright 2010 by Paul Elard Cooley performed by the author, and is protected under a creative commons, attribute, non-commercial, no derivatives 3.5 license. Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album, the Slip. Please visit their site.

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.

Essay--The Subconscious and Dean Corll

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Fiendlings! A little essay for your earhole, guaranteed to give you a shiver. Links:

This essay was written and read by Paul Elard Cooley and is protected under a creative commons, non-commercial, attribution, no derivatives 3.5 license.  Music by nine inch nails from their album ghosts.  Please visit their site

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.. 

Essay--Mythos

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Mythos:

An analysis of JM Barrie's Peter Pan, Peter Shaffer's play "Equus" and the destruction of mythos.

Music by Nine Inch Nails from their album "The Slip".  Please visit their site.

This is a presentation of Shadowpublications.com and is protected under a Creative Commons, Attribution, non-Commercial, no Derivatives 3.5 license.

Flying Island Press: Abattoir magazine

 Flying Island Press has started a new imprint:  "Abattoir."  Abattoir is an e-zine focusing on psychological horror.  I was asked to contribute for the first "issue" and therefore sent them my essay "On Psychological Horror."  This essay was originally podcasted near the beginning of the Shadowpublications.com reboot period, but I thought you fiendlings might like to go read the original.

Please help Scott Roche and crew get Abattoir off to a good start-- go visit, leave comments, and read what the other contributors have to offer. With so few good horror outlets out there, it's important we support this one.

 

Cheers.

Essay--The Scope of Conflict

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A few thoughts on the scope of conflict in stories.

Essay inspired by this episode of The Dead Robots' Society.

This essay was written and read by Paul Elard Cooley and is protected under a creative commons, non-commercial, attribution, no derivatives 3.5 license.  Music by nine inch nails from their album ghosts.  Please visit their site.

 

Essay--The Intricacies of Time

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A little essay about the temporal considerations of storytelling...

This essay was written and read by Paul Elard Cooley and is protected under a creative commons, non-commercial, attribution, no derivatives 3.5 license.  Music by nine inch nails from their album ghosts.  Please visit their site

This has been a presentation of shadowpublications.com, where we don't believe in happy endings.. 

 

 

Rant--Bookstores and the Publishing Industry

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 I visited the local Barnes and Noble today and this led to the following rant.  Warning: definitely NSFW!

Essay--On Endings

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 A few thoughts on stories and their endings.

Essay-- No Happy Endings

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Ever wonder why the Shadowpublications.com motto is "We don't believe in happy endings"?  Well here ya go.

I'll be in San Antonio on June 26th for the Scott Sigler Ancestor reading.  Please come join me, meet Scott, and buy a book.  Oh, and then get hammered with us.

BORDERS BOOKS & MUSIC

255 East Basse, Suite 350

2pm - 4pm

 

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