Book reupholstery needed

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Book Designer Gold Star awardA new publishing contact mentioned to me recently that he thought my novel covers should be redone; he told me that they were okay, technically, but they weren’t great novel sellers.

I couldn’t argue with him… it’s not like my novels are flying off the (digital) shelves, after all.  I’ve gotten some decent ratings from my books, but never compliments on my covers… and very few sales overall.  I have to consider that the quality of my covers may be a major stumbling block in selling my work. Continue reading

Cowboy BeBop: We need more sci-fi like this

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Cowboy BeBopWhat do an ex-cop with an artificial arm, an ex-hitman with a mean martial-arts gift, an amnesiac con artist with a gambling problem, a slightly wacko hacker and an artificially-intelligence-enhanced dog have in common?  These characters—Jet Black, Spike Spiegel, Faye Valentine, “Radical” Edward and Einstein the Welsh Corgi—all fly together on a ship called the BeBop, traveling about the occupied areas of the Solar System chasing down bounties in order to pay for their next meal.

On the surface, Cowboy BeBop looks like most sci-fi anime, with stylized characters, futuristic tech, spaceships and settlements on other planets; but not, as those settlements tend to look like third world countries, the ships look very used and ugly, billboards hang in space and the heroes are as likely to fight their bounties with fists as with guns.  And for a program about futuristic bounty hunters, an awful lot of strange and funny things that have nothing to do with bounties tend to happen to them… they’re not the most successful at their trade, and they eat a lot of cheap noodles for sustenance.  In other words, the crew of the BeBop seem a lot like normal people.

And maybe science fiction needs more people like them. Continue reading

Ebooks: Scarcity, abundance and economy

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A recently revived subject by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Scarcity and Abundance, examines the ebook industry in terms of the shift from a “scarcity” economy, in which things are valued and priced due to their limited availability, to “abundance,” in which items are available in effectively unlimited supply, turning the old economic model upside-down or destroying it entirely. Continue reading

No more OCR excuses: Here’s how to do it RIGHT

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I am, to put in simple words, sick and tired of hearing the same lame excuses for the state of quality of old and backlist books that are scanned and converted via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software into ebooks.  All of us ebook readers are painfully familiar with the ridiculous text errors, the “a”s turned to “o”s, the “p”s turned to “q”s, the lost punctuations, the nonsense words and phrases, the missing lines, paragraphs and entire sections, etc, etc, that turn up in these ebooks.  And we are also painfully familiar with the publishers’ excuses for this state, which usually boils down to: “We work hard… it’s the hardware/software’s fault!”

BULL.  It’s how you’re using the hardware/software; in other words, WRONG.

So, I’m going to tell you how to do it… the way we did it over a decade ago, and got less than .1% errors in our work.  PAY ATTENTION. Continue reading