Five Things Make a Post

Well, let’s see. . .

1.  You still have time to pre-order signed copies of Carousel Sun from Uncle Hugo’s.  Here’s the link.  Uncle Hugo’s is the only bookstore offering autographed copies of Carousel Sun.  They have autographed copies of some of our other work in stock, as well.

2.  I supported Doug Thornsjo’s Kickstarter campaign, and just before Christmas, received my Majors deck of the Tarot of the Zirkus.  These cards are amazing.  Provocative art, good hand-feel and weight, slightly larger than my favorite deck, The Halloween Tarot.  Take a look at the on-going project, and buy a deck for yourself, here.

3.  Mozart continues to make gains.  He’s eating wet cat food again, not just beef baby food, is sleeping well, and taking an interest in the various projects going on around him.  Thanks to everyone for your good wishes.

4.  There’s been some question about the release dates of upcoming publications.  This is what we know:
January 7Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume 2, trade paper
January 15:  “The Gift of Music,” free to read on Baen.com
February 4: Carousel Sun, trade paper
March 7: Necessity’s Child, mass market
Early 2015Carousel Seas, trade paper

5.  I wish to report that it is not snowing!  It is, however, Pretty Darn Cold (for the purposes of this discussion, PDC is 3F/-16C).

Promise keeping

Back in, oh…October, I guess, 2012, a couple folks who are interested in the nittier-grittier part of our careers asked me to let them know if Dragon Ship earned out.  I agreed to do that, though they may have thought I’d forgotten about them by now.

In point of fact, Dragon Ship, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, published in two hardcover editions in September 2012, has earned out.  I know this because we have received the royalty reports for January-June 2013, covering sales made during the six months prior to that period, aka July-December 2012.

Y’all didn’t believe me when I told you that the Wheels of Publishing Grind Slow, did you?

While I’m here, let me address a couple of other frequent questions.

A question that we’re asked frequently, with regard to all of our books, is “Where do you make the most money, from paper sales or from esales?”

Based on this batch of royalty statements, it looks like print still has a slim sales edge, for new books.  Books that have been out for awhile (I give you Mouse and Dragon, the gift that keeps on giving) seem to have stronger esales.

The third frequent question has to do with how well our indie ebooks, offered through Pinbeam Books, sell.  This is often part of a conversation about how it’s no longer in the best interest of authors to be yoked to a trad publisher.

So, the indie sales more than pay the mortgage every month, which is pretty good for something that’s a sideline, which we don’t promote, and only update the inventory sporadically.  We have seen sales fall off since early 2011, when we first started making the chapbooks available electronically.

I think there are two reasons for that.  One is that when the Kindles and the Nooks were Hot Items that everybody had to have, all those people with their new toys tried to make sure that all their favorite books were on the toys.  There was, in a word, a Great eBook Rush.

The second reason is that Steve and I are simply not bearing down and making new eChapbooks available every month or two.  See “sideline,” above.

Regarding the larger discussion of Trad Publishing vs. Total Author Control. . .our experience has shown — since 1995, when SRM Publisher published it’s first paper chapbook, Two Tales of Korval by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller — that a hybrid approach to publishing — some trad, some self-publishing — is the path that produces the greater rewards.

Anybody have any other nitty-gritty publish-y type questions?  Now’s the time to ask.

EDITED TO ADD:  This just in, from Forbes:  How Much Money Do Self-Published Authors Make?

 

Liaden Universe® InfoDump: The Big, Crunchy Edition

Okey-dokey, then!  This is going to be chock-full of Stuff, so bear with me.  I’ll try to break things out into Subjects, to make it easier to digest.

The 2013 Liaden Universe® World Tour and Trade Secret Push!

Steve and I want to thank everyone who made our book tour a reality: Baen publisher Toni Weisskopf; Corinda Carfora, the Baen publicist; our wonderful drivers, Jim and Aileen; photographer David Decker; and most especially the intrepid indie bookstore owners and staff who put themselves out to make us feel welcome: Tyler Stewart at Pandemonium; Brian and crew at Toadstool Books in Milford NH; Patty Cryan of Annie’s Bookstop in Worcester;  Maria Perry of Flights of Fantasy; Joan Silvestro at Book Trader of Hamilton; and Thea Kotroba at the Chester County Book Company — and the PR folks at the Burlington, Worcester, Holyoke, and UPenn Barnes and Noble Bookstores —

And! Everyone who came out to meet us, listened to us talk, asked questions, and got their books signed.  It was great to meet you, live and in person!

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

For those interested, there are pictures of the tour here.  We’ll add more, as soon as we get them off Steve’s camera.  Also!  If you have a picture from the tour that you’d like to see added to the album, email it to me at rolanniATGmailDOTcom, with your name and where it was taken.

We also want to thank PhilCon, for adding us to the list of panelists at what amounted to the Last Possible Second; especially Todd and Joanie Dashoff, and programming chair Hugh Casey.  We had a blast.

And we’d especially like to thank Robert the Red Cap at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, who sorted us out, got us to the train on time, made sure we were sitting on the right side, and wished us a safe trip back to Maine.

Also — is that one badass angel overlooking that train station, or what?

One more stop on the Trade Secret tour

Steve and I will be talking sci-fi and signing books at Books-a-Million in South Portland, Maine, this Sunday, November 17, from 2-4 pm.  Here’s a map, with phone number and address.  Hope to see you there!

Signed Trade Secrets on-hand at Uncle Hugos!

Uncle has fulfilled all preorders; and still has a few signed copies of Trade Secret in-hand, so if you missed getting a signed copy — or if you’d like to give a signed copy as a Yule gift (books make wonderful presents!) — you can still order from Uncle Hugo.  Here’s the link.

Carousel Sun news!

For them what partakes, the eArc of Carousel Sun, sequel to Carousel Tides, is now available from Baen.  Here’s the link.

The tradepaper edition of Carousel Sun will hit the shelves of your favorite bookstore in February 2014; the ebook, a few weeks earlier.  At this point, I have no news of an audio edition.

Now!  Don Blyly of Uncle Hugo’s and I are working out a system that will allow me to sign and personalize pre-ordered copies of Carousel Sun.  As soon as we have the bugs worked out, I’ll give you the link, and instructions.  So, watch the skies.  Or the waves.  Or, yanno, both.

The Tomorrow Log coming from Audible!

Lee and Miller’s The Tomorrow Log will be available from Audible.com on December 3, 2013, narrated By Kevin T. Collins.

Speaking of Audible. . .

You are of course aware that Every! Liaden Universe®! Novel! in existence can be downloaded as audiobooks from Audible.com.   Here’s a link to the whole series.

News for Antipodeans

Amazon.com.au is now carrying Kindle editions of Every! Liaden Universe®! Novel! and! Pinbeam eChapbooks!

Publication Schedule

The publication schedule (aka When Things Are Available for Purchase/Reading) now looks like this:

November 2013 Trade Secret hardcover, ebook, and audiobook
December 3, 2013The Tomorrow Log audiobook
January 2014A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume 2 tradepaper
January 15, 2014:  “The Gift of Music,” free short story, Baen website
February 2014Carousel Sun tradepaper, ebook
March 2014Necessity’s Child mmp
January 2015Carousel Seas tradepaper, ebook

Here is the delivery schedule for the next five Liaden Universe® novels (aka the date that each novel is due in Madame the Editor’s hands):

May 15, 2014:  First of Five
February 15, 2015:  Second of Five
November 15, 2015:  Third of Five
August 15, 2016:  Fourth of Five
May 15, 2017:  Fifth of Five

#SFWAPro

Regarding scheduling and the “next REAL book”

Good morning.

I hope everyone’s weekend is going well.

Here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, we’re shredding and cleaning, and getting ready for the book tour — you’ve heard about the Trade Secret Book Tour, right?  Here’s the link.   Hope to see you at one or more of our stops!

So, last week the ebook edition of Trade Secret hit virtual bookshelves at Baen, BN, Amazon &c.  This means that a number of people have read the novel; and that, of that number of people, a smaller, but very eager, number have written to me wondering when they can read (choose one) the sequel/the next Theo book/the next book in the REAL timeline/what happens to Daav/fill in the blank.

I’m answering those questions here in part because I don’t want to have to answer every single one of those emails individually, and also in the hope that all the rest of the people who are wondering these same things will read this before they feel compelled to shoot off an email.

Regarding the title of the new next book to be published by an Author of the Confusion Factory — that will be, to the best of my knowledge, Carousel Sun, in February 2014.  (Yes, I do realize, as a couple folks have pointed out, that Carousel Sun is not listed on the Baen website as an upcoming book; UPDATE:  A kind friend points out that Carousel Sun is, indeed, on the Baen Publication Schedule.  Here’s the link.  I take the word of the young man who told me that it was not listed as being part of any “bundle,” since the ways and means of “bundles” are obscure to me.  I don’t know why any of these things are so — or not so.  My information is this:  Carousel Sun is listed on Amazon and BN as a February book.  Further, I’m told by Baen that the galleys will possibly be ready for me to read when we return home from the book tour.  That’s all I got.)

OK, so:  Carousel Sun, February 2014 is the next “new” book; after that — perhaps Carousel Seas (which was turned in in August, so it could possibly appear in the Spring of 2014 — this is, please note, pure speculation on my part; I don’t make the Baen publishing schedule.)

After that?  I dunno.  The next book set in the Liaden Universe® is due on Madame the Editor’s desk in May 2014.  Again, pure speculation, and assuming such variables as a very clean manuscript and space in the schedule, it could, maybe, appear at the very end of 2014.  Could.  Maybe. See above re my involvement in making the publishing schedule.

For those who are “turned off,” as one correspondent put it this morning, by the Carousel books — you’ve got, yes, a long wait before you.  While I know you may be disappointed, I will ask that you please keep your disappointment to yourself — done is done.  The particular set of delivery schedules that created this inconvenience for yourselves was set years ago, ‘k?  And I happen to like the Carousel books, and hearing how they’re minor, or disappointing, or whatever, makes me sad.  It’s far more difficult for me to write anything when I’m sad.  Just sayin’.

So, moving onward, what can the longtime readers of the Liaden Universe® expect?

You can expect, eventually, five books.  I can say with complete confidence at this point that NONE of those five books concerns the doings of Jethri Gobelyn ven’Deelin, so those of you who are jonesing for a third (!) Jethri novel are going to have to find solace elsewhere.

Will any of those five books be in the REAL storyline?  Well, that’s more difficult to say, there being a number of definitions of what, exactly, the REAL storyline is.  Steve says all of them are in the REAL storyline (he can say so, if he likes; after all, he was there at the beginning), but some readers interpret the series differently than he (and I).

Let’s put it this way:  The books — as pitched, and purchased — concern the ongoing adventures encountered by members of Clan Korval as the Clan tries to settle into its new role, on Surebleak, and in the wider Galaxy.  The next book — the book we’ve started work on just recently, is not a Theo book, by which I mean that Theo is not the main character.

Those of you who have been with us since September 2012, at least, will recall that these five books — The Five-Book Dash, as we’ve been calling it — are, in their entirety, the “sequel” to Dragon Ship.  I am made to realize, from email, and other comments, that this is, in essence, “pulling a Wheel of Time.”  Which is apparently a Bad Thing.  Whatever*.

The way we look at is that the five books coming are sequels to all the books preceding them:  Agent of Change, Crystal Soldier, Fledgling, and all the etceteras of them — every one of the seventeen prior Liaden novels feed into the action of the melded storylines you’ll be seeing.  Remember how we say, over and over again, that the Liaden Universe® is not a straight-line series?  We really mean that.

Think of it this way:  The Books of  Before are a short road that intersects and flows along with another little street, The Space Regencies.  That combined street makes a slight bend and suddenly we’re on the main thoroughfare of the Agent of Change Sequence, down which we proceed for quite a number of blocks until it crosses The Theo Waitley Sequence, with which it runs parallel for a time, eventually merging with it onto the interstate — The Five-Book Dash.

If this seems unnecessarily complicated to you — well. . .it’s the way our shared mind-space works, so we’re all sorta stuck with it.

Now!  Not to belabor the point, but in the interests of Absolute Clarity, I offer here the publication schedule as it is known As Of This Moment:

November 2013 Trade Secret
January 2014A Liaden Universe® Constellation Volume 2
January 15, 2014:  “The Gift of Music,” free short story, Baen website
February 2014Carousel Sun; Necessity’s Child mmp
March 2014Necessity’s Child mmp

Here is the delivery schedule for the next five Liaden Universe® novels (aka the date that each novel is due in Madame the Editor’s hands):

May 15, 2014:  First of Five
February 15, 2015:  Second of Five
November 15, 2015:  Third of Five
August 15, 2016:  Fourth of Five
May 15, 2017:  Fifth of Five

* * *

OK.  Who has questions?

________________

*The published Liaden Universe® is almost exactly two years older than the Wheel of Time.  Just so you know.

Reminder, Explanation, Tour Schedule Update

Frequent auditors of this journal will recall that Lee and Miller will be embarking in the near future on a book tour.  The complete tour schedule is reproduced at the end of this blog entry, for your convenience.

PLEASE NOTE that we have added one more stop, in Maine, at the end of the tour.  We’ll be signing, reading, talking and doing who knows what other crazy things at Books-a-Million on Sunday, November 17, from 2-4 p.m.

Please feel free to distribute the schedule below wherever it may be of interest.

* * *

I’d like to take just a moment to clarify something about the book tour.  The tour is in support of a few things: Lee & Miller, the Liaden Universe®, Baen — but it is in Direct Support of Trade Secret, the 17th novel in the Liaden Universe® which, yes, is scheduled to be “published” on November 5.

There seems to be a little bit of confusion regarding this word “published,”  which more correctly ought to be rendered, “available in bookstores.”

See, the books have already been “published,” which in this usage means “printed.”  We know this because Steve and I received our authors’ copies a week or so ago.  This means that, even now, there are Trade Secrets in the S&S warehouse, and Trade Secrets on their way to distributors, and Trade Secrets directly on their way to bookstores. . .

. . .and Trade Secrets on their way, via the Sekrit Publicist Underground, directly to all of the stores where we will be signing, and! to the nice folks who will be escorting us during the various stages of our tour.

Which is the long way of saying that, Yes, Trade Secret will be on hand at our signings — even those signings that happen before November 5 — and if you come to one of our signings, you will be able to buy a book and see us sign it for you in front of your very eyes.

Which, you gotta admit, is kind of cool.

* * *

One more reminder — “Out of True,” a Liaden Universe® short story will be available to read for! free! on the Baen front page, starting. . .call it mid-day, Eastern Daylight Time, on Tuesday, October 15.  You will have to scroll down a bit (fiction on the Baen front page is published, as we used to say in the newspaper biz, “below the fold”) to find it.

* * *

The Official Lee and Miller Book Tour Schedule

Thursday, October 31, 7-9 pm
Pandemonium Books and Games, 4 Pleasant Street, Cambridge MA

 Friday, November 1, 7-9 pm
The Toadstool Bookstore, 586 Nashua Street (Lorden Plaza), Milford NH

Saturday, November 2, 2-4 pm
Barnes and Noble, 98 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington MA

Sunday, November 3, 1-4 pm
Annie’s Bookstop of Worcester, 65 James Street, Worcester MA

Monday, November 4, 7-9 pm
Barnes and Noble, 7 Holyoke Street, Holyoke MA

Tuesday, November 5, 7-9 pm
Flights of Fantasy, 381 Sand Creek Road, Albany NY

Wednesday, November 6, 7-9 pm
Book Trader of Hamilton, 2421 Nottingham Way, Mercerville NJ

Thursday, November 7 (be careful! there are two events today)

Noon-2 pm : 
University of Pennsylvania Bookstore, 3601 Walnut at 36th Street, Philadelphia

7-9 pm:
Chester County Book Company, 967 Paoli Pike, West Chester PA

Friday, November 8 — Sunday, November 10
PhilCon, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Cherry Hill, NJ     

Sunday, November 17, 2-4 p.m.
Books-a-Million, South Portland, Maine

#SFWAPro

 

Trade Secret reminder

Signed copies of Trade Secret, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, the sequel to 2004’s smash Liaden hit, Balance of Trade are now available for pre-order from Uncle Hugo’s.

Here’s the synopsis:

Jethri Gobelyn is unique; he’s a Terran adopted into a Liaden trading clan. Under the tutelage of Master Trader ven’Deelin, he has achieved his license to trade in Liaden space. Not all Liadens are thrilled by this, or convinced by Master ven’Deelin’s insistence that Liadens and Terrans must learn to trade together.

But, Jethri isn’t only unique because of his adoption and penchant for trade; he’s also the son of a far-seeing Terran trader, now deceased, the author of a secret Envidaria — a plan that could change the face of galactic trade, forever. Ruthless people are willing to kill to obtain the Envidaria, in order to suppress it, or to use it for their own profit.

And it’s up to Jethri Gobelyn, a man who is both Liaden and Terran, to protect the Envidaria, and to decide how — or if — to use the information it contains.

Trade Secret cover.  Art by Sam Kennedy
Trade Secret cover.
Art by Sam Kennedy

#SFWAPro

Regarding Carousel Sun

Asyouknowbob, Carousel Sun, the eagerly-awaited  sequel to 2010’s smash hit Carousel Tides, will be published in February 2014.

Now, asyouALSOknowbob, Carousel Sun will, like its prequel before it, be published as a trade paperback.  Which is perfectly fine; I like trade paperbacks.  Especially when they have my name on the front cover.  In fact, the only thing wrong with trade paperbacks is that they do not enjoy the “signed edition” status currently bestowed upon Baen hardcovers.  Doesn’t seem fair, somehow. I said as much to Don Blyly of Uncle Hugo’s, and —

He agreed.

So, here’s the deal.  Don and I are working on a way to provide those who want them with signed copies of Carousel Sun.

But that’s not all!  We’re trying to figure out a system that will allow me to personalize copies of Carousel Sun pre-ordered from Uncle Hugo’s (and only from Uncle Hugo’s).  Which, if we can pull it off, would be very cool indeed.

Watch this space for details.  This has been a Distant Early Warning; the pre-order page will in no case go up on Uncle Hugo’s website before mid-November.

. . .and there you have it.  Is that exciting or what?

Though I lie in your arms, I’m a thousand miles away/On the waves sailing fast, sailing free

Been a little busy here at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory.  I will Sum Up.

1.  Sadly — and I do very much mean that — young Whiskers has been returned to the Waterville Humane Society.  He was loving, playful, and a perfect gentleman to Steve and to me — and an unremitting, ferocious warrior to Mozart and Trooper.  The good news is that, now, the shelter knows that he needs to be an only cat, and will be able to place him more appropriately next time.  We gave him a good character when we returned him, and saw him placed back in the room from which we adopted him before we left him.

1a. Whiskers did manage to land a solid hit on Mozart’s eye.  I took Mo to the vet yesterday afternoon — no scratches, thank goodness, but swollen and very angry.  We have Ointment to apply.

2.  Steve’s oral surgery yesterday morning went well.  He’s already bored with eating “soft foods,” so I’m calling a Successful Procedure.

3.  In between It All, I’ve been making eChapbooks.  Right now, Surfside (including “Emancipated Child,” and “How Nathan Archer Came to be a Prince of the Land of the Flowers,” both of which were previously published on Splinter Universe, and an Author’s Foreword original to the volume) and Moon’s Honor (previously published on Splinter Universe, plus an Authors’ Foreword original to the volume) are available for sale at the Nook and Kindle Stores.  Sometime today, barring interruptions, I will upload Technical Details (including “Landed Alien” and “Eleutherios,” previously published to the Baen website, and an Authors’ Foreword original to the volume) to BN and Amazon.

PLEASE NOTE:  We do not place DRM on Pinbeam Books; both BN and Amazon offer publishers the choice of DRM or  NO DRM, and we always choose NO DRM.

3a.  No, there will not be paper editions of these chapbooks.  We no longer publish paper chapbooks.  We continue to be very sorry about that, but asking for paper chapbooks will not make paper chapbooks happen.

3b.  Yes, we’re aware that some people prefer to buy from iTunes, Kobo, in mobi format &c, &c.  We have previously taken care of this demand by uploading files to Smashwords, which then distributes to all the rest of the formats/store/whatever that people like.  I had stopped doing that because preparing a book for Smashwords took twice as long as preparing  the same book for the other vendors, and because Smashwords would, months after accepting a book, suddenly delist books for “formatting errors,” the solution to which was “the nuclear option” — i.e. Starting All Over Again.

All THAT said, we have a kind reader offering to format these three books for Smashwords for us.  If/When those books are in the Smashwords catalog, I’ll let y’all know.

3c.  We don’t know when-or-if these stories will “go to  Baen.”  It is not an immutable law of the universe that they will go to Baen.  Much depends, for instance, on how well the two Constellation volumes (Liaden Universe® Constellation, Volume One on sale now in paper from the bookseller of your choice; Volume Two coming in January; eEditions available from Baen in all formats known to God and Man; from Amazon; Blio; ITunes, and I forget where-all else) sell.

3d.  Yes, we know we’re “asking people to pay” for short stories that we gave away in the past.  No, we don’t think that’s unreasonable, or that we’re ripping anyone off, or that this is a valid excuse to pirate the books because The Tyranny of Copyright.  Thank you.

4.  If you do buy the eChapbooks, and you have a few extra minutes, please consider writing reader reviews for Amazon, BN, Goodreads.  Reader reviews do apparently help bring attention to ebooks, especially self-published ebooks.

5.  Cael the Wolf, who lives in the Archers Beachverse, has convinced me to write a story.  With luck and a tailwind, I’ll have that done this week.  Then, I can get to work.

Here ends the Summing Up.