Friday, August 24, 2012

Fill Your Weekend with Sci-Fi Adventure: Sullivan's War

Sullivan's War is still going strong! In fact, when I released it in July, Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure quickly overtook all of my other titles, becoming my best-seller. If you'd like to check it out, eBook copies are available from:

Links to the other international Kindle stores--and my web store, if you would like a signed print edition--can be found here.

See what reviewers are saying about Sullivan's War :

"Michael K. Rose nailed it with nonstop action, great characters, and an enticing plot line."

"Michael K. Rose has renewed my interest in science fiction with Sullivan's War."

"A sci-fi thriller that definitely delivers!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is Your Novel "Too Long?"

"Wait just a tick," you've just said to yourself. "Didn't he recently write a blog post entitled 'Is Your Novel "Long Enough?"'" Yes, that elaborately-punctuated query is correct. I did, and it is here. But I have been perusing the book blog Book Riot (which is fantastic, by the way) and came across these two posts: "Every Book I Read Needs to be at Least 50 Pages Shorter"and "The Problem with 500-Page Books." These are two readers who, generally speaking, do not like long books. They find them fluffy and meandering. The comments to those posts consisted of those who agreed whole-heartedly and those who felt it was their duty to berate the authors for not having attention spans of steel. Comments from my post "Is Your Novel 'Long Enough'" also came down on both sides of the argument, which is to be expected.

So I'd like to ask those of you who prefer novels over novellas and short stories: How long is too long? Does it depend on the story, or will you simply pass on a book that has too many pages, no matter how good it looks? I have Stephen King's expanded edition of The Stand sitting on my shelf, which comes in at a  doorstop-ian 1150 pages. And I do have to admit, I'm reluctant to begin it. I also notice that the three books that make up The Lord of the Rings are about the same combined length. 

A question for all readers: If an author has a 1000-plus-page tale in the works, do you prefer it to be broken up into three or more books, or would you rather sit down with a tome in your lap? Discuss.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why I Won't Follow You on Twitter (with Lame Jokes)

A while back I wrote "My Twitter Manifesto (with Jokes)." I had to append that with "A Difficult Decision Regarding Twitter," which explains why I don't personally thank you for retweeting me. It's not because I'm a narcissistic jerk, either. I am, but that has nothing to do with it. Well today, I release the third installment in my never-ending quest to figure out how to most effectively use Twitter without going mad in the process.

First of all, I have to admit that the title is a bit of lie. (No, not that part. The jokes are lame). But if you're reading my blog, chances are I will follow you on Twitter. But when one gets a certain number of followers, a lot of the leeches come out to play. So for them (and for your amusement) here are the reasons why I won't follow you (but probably not you) on Twitter.

1.You do not have a profile photo. I realize that not everyone wants to reveal their mugs to the anonymous world, but put something in there, a picture, a cartoon, something. I don't follow eggs.

2. You have no information in your bio. You need not tell me where you live, where you work, what your children's names are or what debilitating diseases you're suffering from, but give me something that indicates you're a person I want to connect with. Something likeoh, I don't know"I like books." Or "I am a sci-fi nerd." 

3. You lead off your bio with a sentence containing any of the following words: marketer, marketing, entrepreneur, consultant, optimization, mentor, coach, e-commerce or followers. I reserve the right to add words to this list.

4. You call yourself a "guru."

5. You are the Twitter account of a business completely unrelated to what I do or in a location that is not easily accessible to me (sorry, dry goods store in Topeka, Kansas).

6. Any other damn reason I want. Seriously, though, I'll probably end up following back most of those who follow me. If you're into writing, books, sci-fi or speculative fiction in general or anything else in the realm of nerd-dom, I'll probably want to connect with you. If I have not followed you back, send me a Tweet and I'll rectify the situation. I would also suggest that if you think I'm an interesting person to follow, check out the people I follow myself. I don't go through and just follow random people, I try to find those who I would genuinely be interested in talking with. I think it's only fair that if I will not follow back those who have nothing to do with my interests, I shouldn't follow someone who mentions, oh, nothing but chainsaw sculpture in their bio just to increase the number of my Followers. Actually, chainsaw sculpture is kind of cool. I probably would follow that person. But I think my point is clear. I hope that together we can make our Twitter community a community of value. I'd also like to make a quick plug for the #BuyIndie hashtag. It's the brainchild of Benjamin X. Wretlind; search for it if you like to support other indie writers.

Michael K. Rose

Friday, August 17, 2012

Signed Copies of Sullivan's War Now Available!

Yesterday, I received my shipment of Sullivan's War. If you head over to my web store you can order a signed copy. I also have a cool new bookmark design and each book ordered comes with a Collector's Pack (which includes three different bookmarks and a signed card featuring the cover of the book). You'll also see that Sullivan's War and my collection Short Stories are available together at a discount. Order this weekend and your book(s) will be mailed out on Monday.

Please do check it out: Michael K. Rose's Web Store.

And for those of you who prefer eBooks, you can get a copy for the Kindle or the Nook. Links to all stores can be found here.

Thank you to all who have supported me thus far! Without my readers, none of this would be possible.

Best Wishes,
Michael K. Rose

Sullivan's War with Collector's Pack
Short Stories with Collector's Pack

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Bad, Amazon Reviewer! BAD!

No! You cannot leave a 1-star review on a book you have not read. I said "no!" Stop it... stop! I had to firmly make this point to a reviewer recently who admitted, in her three-sentence review, that she did not get through the first chapter of a book (not mine) because she encountered the word "anyways." Her unpithy review:
I couldnt even gt through one chapter. Someone please tell this author that "anyways" is not a word. Enough said.
No, gentle reviewer, enough certainly has not been said. Quite the opposite, actually. My pithy response:
I searched my copy for use of the word "anyways" and found only one, in a bit of dialogue. It may not be an official word, but it is slang that is used by teenagers--who are the main characters in this book--so this complaint is a bit ridiculous. If one doesn't approve of the way teenagers speak, perhaps one shouldn't read YA paranormal fantasy.
That should have shut her up, no? No. Her most unpithy reply:
I will stick with the YA authors who leave the usage of slang to dialog, where slang is appropriate. Books like Harry Potter and the Twilight series.
And, after I recovered from an exploded brain, my most excellent, pithier remark:
I suppose I didn't make the first statement in my reply clear enough. The only instance of the word you objected to, "anyways," is in a line of dialogue. I find it odd that you encountered this single use of the word and it stopped you cold, made you put the book down and upset you so much that you decided to leave a three-sentence, one-star review that gives potential readers absolutely no information about the book. Perhaps the forty-eight positive reviews indicate that you should read past the first chapter before deciding that the entire effort deserves only one star. I do not wish to pick on you specifically, but it is reviews like this that make me suspicious of all of a given person's reviews. It is an abuse of the ratings system to review a book you have not read, and it is highly unfair. As I said, I do not wish to pick on you, but I see far too many reviews like this on Amazon. Would you review an album after listening to part of a single song? Would you review a movie after watching the first few minutes? I'm sorry, but unless you can actually make intelligent, informed comments about a book, you have no business reviewing it. If you don't like the writing style and decide not to read further, that is fine. But you cannot, in good conscience, review a book which you have not read.
And that, for those of you who are keeping track, is "enough said." She has yet to reply. How much do you believe one should read before leaving a review? 25%? 50%? 100%?

Addendum: Some people think this is a review left on one of my books and have advised me against interacting with negative reviewers. This is not the case. It is a review I came across on another book. I of course know that it is not wise to respond to negative reviews on one's own work, but in my capacity as a reader who buys books on Amazon, it is fully justifiable to take other reviewers to task when their reviews are pointless and unfair to the author.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another Scam "Marketing" Deal

We've all seen the firms offering to promote and advertise your book for a "modest" or "nominal" fee. That "nominal" fee is usually in the range of $500 or more. But now they're calling me on my cell phone! Yes, earlier today I received a call from someone at BookWhirl. I never answer unfamiliar numbers, but the message assured me that the caller had some "important questions" about my book. It only took a brief internet search to find out that all they seem to do is send out spam emails to thousands of people. Tell me, have any of you ever bought something because of an unsolicited spam email that was sent to you? If you have, I have some timeshare properties on Mars for sale, along the south rim of the Valles Marineris:

Stay vigilant, fellow authors. If you do decide to buy advertising, do your homework, know exactly what you're getting for your money and, if possible, talk to other authors who've used the service before. As in anything in life, there is a troglodytic, sub-human race of creatures who subsist only on the naivety of those who are new to the game. Please spread the word about them. There is no reason any new author should fall prey to their schemes. We, as a community, need to stand together and ensure that we offer new authors a hand up before these creeps reach a hand into their pockets. Again, please help spread the word about not only this particular company but all who seek to earn their living by taking advantage of others.

Michael K. Rose

Monday, August 6, 2012

SULLIVAN'S WAR Signed Print Editions

Hello, all! I released Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure as an eBook around the middle of July, and the response has been phenomenal! Sales of this book, combined with sales of my other titles, gave me my highest-grossing month ever. My work also continues to attract glowing 4- and 5-star reviews.

To all who have bought and read my books, thank you for helping me toward my goal of being able to support myself as a writer. I still have over a year to accomplish that goal, and I can already see it on the horizon.

Today, I'm pleased to announce that signed print editions of Sullivan's War are now available for preorder. You can buy it alone for regular price ($12.99 + S&H) or in combination with my collection Short Stories for just $18 + S&H, a discount of $5 off the combined price of the books. Short Stories is also available individually and is currently on sale as well.

Each order also comes with signed postcards featuring the covers of the books and a selection of bookmarks. All options can be viewed at my web store, here

If you prefer an eBook edition of Sullivan's War, it can be purchased for the Kindle or the Nook. Links to all eBook stores can be found here. EBook links for Short Stories can be found here.

Thank you again to all my readers. Your support has been overwhelming, and the only way I know how to repay it is by writing books that you'll hopefully enjoy. Up next is a novel called Chrysopteron, followed by the sequel to Sullivan's War, Sullivan's Wrath. Look for Chrysopteron in October and Sullivan's Wrath near Christmas.

Michael K. Rose

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Is Your Novel "Long Enough?"

Books of Varying Lengths
As you may know, I've recently released Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure. It collects three novellas (called Sullivan's War: Books I, II and III) which were released individually but make up one story line. Those novellas, usually priced at $2.99 apiece, have been selling fairly well. But The Complete Adventure's sales have been fantastic, selling in twelve days nearly as many copies as Book I, even though Book I's price was reduced to 99 cents near the beginning of the month.

I had suspected that I would see an increase in sales once I released The Complete Adventure, and here's why: I'd read long ago that many readers prefer to read only novels. They do not particularly care for short stories, and novellas? What the hell is a novella? The unimpressive sales of my collection Short Stories seems to support this idea. Even though Short Stories has a good number of positive reviews and I promoted it as heavily (if not more heavily) than Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure, I sold nearly 7 times as many copies of Sullivan's War as Short Stories during July. And remember, Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure was only available for the last twelve days of the month.

Now, I'm one who has always been a champion for short stories. I write them, obviously, and I even wrote a blog post called "Why I Love Short Stories." Another post I wrote as a guest on ME Franco's blog is called "Short Fiction is Dead?" In it, I propose that the eBook revolution will see a reemergence of shorter fiction. One thought is that a short story or novella can be published without the concern of making sure a "book" is of a profitable length. Now that printing costs are not a factor, any length can be a profitable length, assuming the story is sufficiently attractive to readers. Well, the three Sullivan's War novellas have been profitable, as have a few of the short stories I released individually. But my experience these past two weeks with Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure has convinced me that full-length novels are going to be even more profitable. And while profit should not be a writer's sole consideration, it is unavoidable if one wishes, as I do, to make a living at it.

So is your novel long enough? What is long enough? The dividing line between novels and novellas ranges from 40,000 words to 60,000 words or higher. Will readers be "unsatisfied" with a 40,000-word novel? Does the word novella scare some people away? And what can one reasonably charge for short stories, novellas, short novels, long novels? I've been publishing my fiction for less than a year, and I'm still trying to work all of this out. But the sales of Sullivan's War: The Complete Adventure have convinced me that, for now at least, I should probably not focus on writing short stories quite as much. Novels are what readers want, and I have about a dozen novels waiting to be written. I just hope I can make them long enough.

What do you consider to be a minimum length for a novel? If you prefer novels over novellas or short stories, why? I'd love to hear any thoughts on this topic; just leave a comment below.

Michael K. Rose

Edit: Please read the followup to this post here.