A recent article over at Dear author got me thinking about my book buying habits.
Unlike the author of this article, I keep a virtual TBR pile and only purchase the next book when I get close to the end of the one I’m currently (unless they have already been gifted to me in the interim). To put that another way, I do not purchase a new book until I know it is time. As such, I cannot remember a time when I ever felt burnt because the price of my new book changed a few days later. I bought at a price I considered fair at the time of purchase and really don’t care what the author or seller decided to do with the pricing now that I own a copy.
To make matters worse, unless we’re talking about a Specialty or Hard Cover version, even full price House Published books are generally a deal for what I get out of them. While the kind of price differentials referenced in the Dear Author article would have felt nice to my pocket book, they are well within the range of my personal discretionary spending allowance and could just as easily have disappeared into an unplanned Hot Chocolate. What it won’t do is make me sweat over any perceived I’ve Been Cheated moments.
Okay, I have been known the break down and buy a book early because I did find it on sale, but I have never held off buyiing a book because it might come on sale later.
So there you have it, my very different view of Promotional Pricing policies.
A recent newspaper article discussing the Nissan Leaf EV got me thinking once again about the way such vehicles are viewed by driving professionals.
The writer of this article made a point of saying the limited range of the Leaf relegated it to the roll of expensive second car because it couldn’t handle the distances involve in heading out of town. My reaction: Most drivers spend very little time on such extended trips. As such, many of them could get along just fine owning a Leaf as their primary car and renting on those rare occasions when they do need the additional range. I know that’s what I would, and might just, do for my next car.
Then the article ended with the age old whine that EV and their cousin Hybrid cars are still too expensive. A somewhat valid point if you leave it at that.
A quick analysis will show that the available EV cars are actually placed in the mid-range of modern auto prices. Especially when you start adding on the acessories. Take into account potential fuel savings and they begin to look like real deals in the long run.
Then there’s the issue of marketing. The plaques that say EV or Hybrid are a form of statement. A way of saying I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is.
People willingly spend big dollars to make a statement. From clothes to addresses to the kind of car they’re seen driving, money is often the last thing on their mind (unless it’s for bragging rights). EV manufacturers should look for ways to capitise on this little truth, and we the forward looking public should support them to the best of our ability.
In sitting through so many panels during this weekends Vancouver Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention I found myself faced with a variety of questions that reflect where my writing needs to go next.
One point that has stayed fresh in mind due to it’s arrival near the end of my third day, is the question of what having a manuscript House-Published gives you over going the Self-published route. Or more importantly, the answer: To get the attention of a House-Publisher, you must present a piece with sufficient polish to rise above the noise.
People like to throw out stats such as the number of Self-Published authors who never sell more than X dollars over the life of their book(s) to show how bad self-publishing is. Unfortunately, such stats ignore the difference between the earnings of an SP author who has made the effort to polish their work and one who simply throws up their first (or even second) draft. I mean, what would the numbers for House-Publishing look like if they were required to include rejected manuscripts in their stats? Or even every book for which they hold a licence regardless of In Print status?
Thus I’ve reached my main point: Is it possible to build a reliable system that would help readers differentiate between Self-Published books that have been polished to a standard at least equal to that of a House-Published book and those that have not? I honestly don’t know if the answer is yes.
Last week I gave my thoughts on the question of whether I write Science Fiction or Speculative Fiction based upon the criteria of how hard my science is.This raises a question many writers from all genres may face: How hard should I make the science in this story?
Do I go into detail on how the blaster my space pirate is pointing at the hapless pilot of the ship they’re taking over works?
How much detail does a fantasy writer need to include about the magic system their main character is learning works?
What about the why and wherefores that underly the poison used to kill the victim in that murder mystery?
I’ve enjoyed many books that went into exquisite detail on minute points, and many others that glossed over anything more than the bare facts.
Likewise, I’ve had trouble with many books that contained so much detail I lost track of the story, and many books that contained so little of anything I couldn’t get my head around what was happening.
What I do know is there is a market for books across the spectrum.
I tend toward the soft end of the spectrum even when I have detailed knowledge of the underlying tech. My goal is to showcase the characters involved, not the tools they are using to achieve their aims. Some readers will get their backs up because I haven’t explained what that critical part does, and others will say their eyes glossed over because the same description contained too much detail for their tastes.
As with the Science versus Speculative question, that is an aspect of writing I choose to accept, then move on.
As a writer of Science Fiction adventures I often find myself butting up against debates about Hard Science Fiction versus Speculative Science Fiction. The argument usually goes something like: If it violates science as we know it now, it can’t be Science Fiction. By this definition, most of the Science Fiction I’ve read over the years is, in fact, Speculative Fiction.
Truth be said, I usually tune out at this point. Real science involves a level of speculation, the generation of theory, the testing thereof, often over an extended period of time, and often after many rabbit trails have been explored.
I write Science Fiction Adventure that leans towards Space Opera in scope in a universe where core technology is based upon a simple speculative premise: What if gravity (or, at least, the forces we now think of as gravity) has a bigger effect on things such as the speed of light than our science now believes.
In my universe, the Voyager probes would even now be sending us material that will one day leave scientists open mouthed at what it’s done to their notions of how the universe works in much the same way Relativity blew a hole in Newtonian physics by adding whole new dimentions to our understanding.
This is all part of the fun and allure of being a Science Fiction writer, and I am not about to give it up to conform to some present day idea of what constitutes real Science Fiction.
To be blunt, the very idea of Fan Fiction makes me shiver. It’s walking over someone else’s dream, imposing your dreams onto that persons creation. I’ve never written Fan Fiction myself, and I’ve never knowingly read Fan Fiction in any form.
A few of you have just responded to my opening paragraph by thinking of the large body of works based on Star Trek, Star Wars, AD&D, and other such institutions. The vast majority of those works are not, in fact, Fan Fiction, they are Works for Hire commissioned by and with the full permission of the Copyright holders of those worlds.
This brings us to the confusion that often lies between separating Fan Fiction from inspiration. We are all inspired by something, and that inspiration will of necessity affect our future creations. I will take that a step further, without inspiration, there is no creation.
I will not go into the question of taking Fan Fiction a step further by engaging in plagiarism. At their core, the two are not synonymous, and should not be treated as such.
One of the reasons we chose to live where we do is it’s location on the northern most point that development is allowed. Beyond that is park and the dedicated hydro preserve around Buntzen Lake. 100m from our door is the road that allows hydro vehicles access to the west side of the lake, and the public a vast array of hiking, biking, and horse trails.
Over the years, I have allowed my schedule to get so cluttered that the option to enjoy this bounty had been stripped from me. This year, I changed all that, and find myself once again free to build the odd walk into my day.
Today, I decided to photo journal the stretch closest to my home, and post a few of those shots here to let my readers have yet another peak into who I am.
People who have followed me on twitter know that I claim to write on the move. While I do take full advantage of busier places to walk, this makes for a perfect environment to get away from all the noise and collect my thoughts. Except in the middle of summer, at most, I will meet the odd person, or person walking their dog. Even in summer, this side of the lake attracts far less people than the main beach and adjoining trails on the east.
The trails include this little diversion across the south arm of the lake. The very middle of this walkway is a short section of floating bridge that brings you right down to the level of the water.
I’ve never seen the water this low before. As a hydro lake that also acts as the overflow from the even larger Coquitlam lake to the east, I can only assume they have lowered the level in preparation for the coming spring runoff.