Freebies, Discounts and Author Benefits

libromancerI recently picked up a book that really charmed me. It’s about a librarian who has magic powers that comes from books. Now, I’ve always felt books were a little magical, so it was cool to read a book that took this idea, ran with it in a clever way, and told a good story in the bargain.

Oh yes, bargains.

I picked up the book because another author I liked mentioned that Libromancer was a Kindle Daily Deal that day, selling for a $1.99. Heck yeah, I’ll risk a couple of bucks on a book that an author I like liked recommended.

I have since bought the second book in audiobook format and am going to be treating myself to listening to it as a way to take the sting out of having to clean up the truly impressive clutterpit my house has become.*

Thing is, it’s really not unusual for me to get a freebie or serious discount on the first book in a series, really like it, then go on to buy the rest of the series.

This did start for me with using the Baen Free Library –also my intro to reading mostly in electronic format. I had a Palm Zire and got the biggest kick in the world from a library in my pocket. (This was early in the century, when smartphones weren’t as ubiquitous as they are today). I loved Oath of Swords, The Philosophical Strangler, and An Oblique Approach. They were all freebies, and parts of series I went on to buy.

I’m also an audiobook addict. I adore being read to and love to listen to stories when I am doing work that requires more hands than brain. So, when Audible offers a freebie, I usually take them up on that. This is how I got hooked on the Retrieval Artist series by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. They offered The Disappeared as a freebie and I wound up being hooked on the entire series. It’s a base canard that any of its charm is because one of the main characters is a snarky cop named Noelle. I firmly deny anything of the sort!

I get hooked on writers in other ways, of course. I got into Heinlein because of the Friday Whelan paperback cover (no, seriously. Totally did. Saw the cover and was going to get that book, but got Stranger in a Strange Land first because the library’s copies of Friday were all checked out). I got into Seanan McGuire as Mira Grant because a friend recommended Feed. I got into Margaret George because I knew a relative of hers on an online forum and she sent me a signed copy of The Memoirs of Cleopatra. (While a very good book, I liked The Autobiography of Henry VIII better). I got into Asmiov when I was a little kid because The Fun They Had, a short story about going to school online (It was written in 1951, by the way) was part of the curriculum that year. Got me excited about the concept of science fiction and I had to go to the library and check out all the books with the atomic symbol or a rocket ship on the spine. (I also got into Frank Herbert and Ray Bradbury from material I studied in school).

But the real point is that I like the freebies and discounts you often get on books in the online era. Oh, they do what they’re meant to – to attract me to buy more stuff. But I’m okay with that, because it has lead me to some great books I’ve really loved.


* I wish I could blame that on other people in the house, but in looking at all the crap around, I notice that it’s mostly my possession and projects. Ah well…

Astride the Border

I really need to buckle down and finish footofthroneAstride the Border, the end to At the Foot of the Throne. Nope, it’s not going to be a trilogy, and frankly the two “books” are really one novel. Not that I have the slightest idea what to call it as a single work. Possibly it could keep the original title, though I expect as the plot of the second story unfolds, one would question that as a good one. *grin*

I actually have the book notecarded and some 65,000 words written on it, so I’m really more than halfway there. Just a matter of getting a writing schedule and applying butt glue. Since my other big Life Goal is pretty physical, this is really a pretty good counterpoint to that. You know, the whole “healthy mind in a healthy body” thing. (And my son, yes, I’d love to read your essay on that very subject you did for school!)

Here’s the thing. I’m not in love with the characters. Oh, this is much better fiction than I usually write, being only an egg in the learning process. But no, I don’t love these characters the way I love others I have come up with, but no-one has ever seen.

This isn’t to say that the work isn’t good. The reason I don’t love the characters?

They’re too real. I frequently want to yell at them for being stupid, or knock them upside the head for being foolish and prideful, or blind and selfish. I can’t look up to or be enamored with them because they’re too real and flawed.

This isn’t to say that anything I love has to be perfect. I love plenty of people, but I know of no perfect ones. It’s just that for the most part, no, I wouldn’t really want to be close to or trust any of these characters. No, not even Marra. Seija, maybe. Sometimes. When she isn’t being thick as a yard of lard. And okay, Berat, but he’s shamelessly based on a real man I was missing at the time I came up with the characters.

So for now, I need to come up with a realistic writing schedule that takes into account the other stuff I do. I may wimp out at 500 words a day. But slow and consistent gets it done better than fits and starts of Heroic Effort.