Friday, January 29, 2016

Announcing the publication of One Sunny Night


Announcing the publication of
One Sunny Night
By Charon Dunn

(The Adventures of Sonny Knight, Book One of Three)



Questions I Thought Might Be Asked, Frequently

Why should I buy this book?

I knew you were going to ask that question.  *sigh*  Because it’s an exciting adventure story for immature adults, regular teenagers and precocious yet ill-supervised children. As well as anyone else with time on their hands.

How much is it?

Only three dollars and twenty-one cents for the electronic edition. Which is really cheap, because I’m new at this. EDIT: knocked down to $2.99 -- which is as cheap as they'd let me go.

For you high rollers, I have a tree killer edition. It costs a few pennies over the minimum price they’ll let me set. There are a lot of value-added steps that go into killing trees and converting their corpses into books, and printing is a highly skilled profession requiring exposure to dangerous industrial machinery. So not only am I complicit in helping you destroy our planet and endanger the lives of hardworking printshop employees, I’m barely making any profit at all. Strikes me as a suboptimal business model. But it’s there for those of you who enjoy the tactile qualities of paper. For an extra buck, you can add a copy of the e-book, in case you’d like to experiment with reading one. 

RE-AMENDED-EDIT: all issues with the Treekiller Edition have been fixed; here's a link

Why do I have to buy it from Amazon?

Because that’s where I decided to publish it, so that I can maximize creative control over the content and cover.

Do I have to buy a Kindle to read it for three bucks instead of fourteen?

Nope.

If you do not own a Kindle device, you can get a free Kindle app that will let you read e-books on any computer or smart phone or tablet, and you can make the text look as big or small or purple as you want, and the other people at Starbucks never need to know that you’re not actually reading Murakami.

Plus I’m pretty sure the DRM-free option lets you read in apps other than Kindle, such as the generic one that is probably already on your phone/tablet/computer. That means you’ll own this book even if Amazon gets bought out by alien space squid who decide to only publish books by people named Phil and proceed to delete my entire catalog.

Doesn’t that make it difficult to autograph?

It does, but my signature is pretty much illegible anyway.

Are you deliberately making things difficult for the luddite sector of your already-minimal fanbase?

Not consciously, but this is a science fiction book, and if you’re not into tech, you may find it frightening or confusing. May I recommend the Little House series, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, or the works of Jane Austen.

How about an audiobook edition?

Not yet. We’ll see what happens. I deliberately included several tongue twisters specifically to give voice actors a challenge.

Does this book have immoral things in it, and should it be banned?

Probably. If you find out where they are, maybe you could write some impassioned posts denouncing it (don’t forget to link). Remember to write some one-star reviews, and tell all your friends how bad it is. See if you can organize a boycott, and let me know if you’d like me to supply any inflammatory quotes for your press releases.  (Here’s a freebie: “People who try to ban books are dumb.”) 

I think it’s relatively wholesome. Most of the vices and murders are off camera, plus I tried to keep the gunplay minimal. The free preview contains some violence; if that’s too rugged for you, you may want to pass on the rest. 

What’s it about?

On March 20, 3748, Sonny Knight (age fifteen) had a very bad day. First, he had to stand in a really long concessions line in a stadium, in a country without air conditioning, or portable electronics.

Then he fell from the top deck, suffering many fatal injuries, but fortunately there happened to be a doctor standing right there, armed with medical nanobots, because clashball can be a very violent sport.

After that, a bunch of terrorist clones rolled up in submarines made of gigantic bioengineered jellyfish and interrupted the game, taking all the spectators hostage, including Sonny’s family and friends. 

It wasn’t a completely bad day, though. He got to meet one of his favorite sports heroes. He got a new dog. He met a girl, and he had an excellent seafood dinner. Plus he ran into this eccentric guy covered in tattoos who has a really fast ship, fast enough to get Sonny safely home in a couple of days.  Assuming they don’t run into any further complications. 

Spoiler: they do.

It’s an adventure story.

You can read excerpts here or on Amazon. 

Now it does contain a few triggers.

OMG!! It has TRIGGERS??!?!

I’m trying to max out my trigger-hitting score, so if I haven’t stroked your phobia yet it’ll probably be in one of the sequels. Terrorists, falls from great height, being shot at, sinking ships, loved ones in jeopardy, scary foreigners, primitive plumbing, animal attacks, fires, unruly mobs, evil jellyfish of death – that all happens in the first twenty pages. If you’re generally scared of things, I recommend you read an entirely different book than this one. The Wind In The Willows is nice.

Aside from all the regular mayhem, rest assured my book contains absolutely no nonconsensual sex. That’s because there isn’t any sex, except for the off-camera kind, which the hero can’t have, because he’s only fifteen, which adds to his general flotilla of triggers.

However (spoiler), when the story ends, the doggy is just fine.  Just reassuring the readers who consider that important. I know I do. You have my solemn promise as a writer – the pets will always be okay. No guarantees on the humans.

Why didn’t you get a real publisher? Afraid you’d get rejected?

I could just say “The Martian was self-pubbed” and drop the mic. But I’ll elucidate.

I was just getting started in the submission-rejection cycle when the Sad/Rabid Puppies thing happened (see previous posts and/or File 770). I went to Worldcon to check out the scene and learn about what the science fiction publishing industry is like as of 2015. 

I listened to a lot of panel discussions, and had a really good time talking to traditionally-pubbed, self-pubbed and indie-pubbed authors. I learned that at this particular moment in time, self-pubbing is very viable, especially for a newcomer.

And traditional publishing … they’re the man, man, and he appears to be going through, um, drastic changes. It seems like there’s a faction that wants their futurism to have more traditional values such as women staying in kitchens, and there’s another faction that wants revolutionary revolutions. According to a gossip I have heard, they’re all clustered together in an industry full of people who hate computers, and according to another gossip, they’re not interested in publishing women that are insufficiently hot. Plus they hate each other, and exchange much verbose vitriol online. Which is entertaining to read about, but gives one pause as far as actual interaction. Especially since interacting with humans is not one of my strengths.

So I developed opinions that I’m coloring outside the lines as far as your average corporate publisher is concerned. I’m not into book tours or giving interviews. My science fiction story has no space, aliens or dystopiae – or other categories making it easily filed next to all the others.  I have no writing resume, or body of work, or academic blessings. I haven’t been hot in several years (and I’m glad to shed that burden). I suck at marketing, making it very difficult to reach the seventy or eighty people who will actually find me entertaining.

Of all the science fiction books I’ve read lately, my favorite is The Martian.  In fact, I got involved in the Sad Puppy fiasco because I was infuriated over the lack of awards being showered upon Mr. Weir because some cheaters cheated. Like a lot of recently successful novels, it started out as self-pubbed. It went on to huge public acclaim after the publishing industry finally found out about it, and they made a movie, and the movie got Oscar nominations. We are fortunate to live in a time when people can do that. And it made me scratch my head in wonder at why The Martian didn’t fit the corporate publishing mold, but the last derivative vampire romance I saw on a shelf did.  Also, it proves that things don’t have to be that way. 

Maybe being self-pubbed will lead me to being published, maybe it won’t.  I’m mainly interested in finding other readers and writers that dance to a similar rhythm, and financing more trips to science fiction conventions so I can meet and hang out with them.  As for movie rights, I deliberately wrote my story in a way that would necessitate a prohibitively high special effects budget, so I doubt if that’ll ever happen. It might make a good videogame, though it would need a lot of save points.

One of my huge self-pubbing concerns had to do with covers. I sat through a panel on horrible book covers at Worldcon, and it scarred me for life, even though I’ve enjoyed many a book with an ugly cover.

Corporate publishers do things like slap the same mysterious hooded figure, over and over, on their covers. They’re notorious for turning black/brown characters into white ones, and most of my characters are brown.  

Self-pubbed anarchists like me can put whatever they want on their book covers. So I commissioned the most awesome cover in the world, and made sure the characters looked like they do.

Talk about that cover

I looked all over the interwebs for an artist, and I found a very gifted guy named Brian Allen.  I gave him a vague and rambling description, and sent him a massive pile of words amounting to I wanted something kinda like an old Astounding cover that spent a wild weekend in Vegas with a maritime disaster. He gave me a draft; I asked him nicely if he could make it just a wee bit more lurid. He created a masterpiece. I hope maybe he’ll draw some more pretty pictures for the sequels if I ask him nicely. You should go look at his website, it’s covered with cool pictures. 


 
Futures as in SEQUELS?

Two of them, coming up as fast as I can type them up. The next one is called Retrograde Horizon and has to do with the next four months of Sonny’s life.

Does this mean you’ll buy me a coffee if I write a five star review?

I’d appreciate a review, but my self esteem is not tied to star acquisition, so don’t lie.

Amazon cares more about quantity of reviews/sales than highness of ratings. Plus there’s a minefield to navigate, with roving gangs of one-star brigands that downrate for random reasons such as political likes on Facebook, and mafias of five-star awarders willing to shower you with accolades if only you’ll high-rate their 12-part Sasquatch NASCAR driver series. I’m not too concerned with stars. The star game is not a very good videogame, and I’m going to try to ignore it, and similar meaningless expressions of internet hostility, to the extent possible. [Notwithstanding the foregoing libelous and/or slanderous comments; direct threats of violence; stalking; harassing; brigading; copyright shenanigans; tortfeasing; monkey business; and such other and further et al. are strongly discouraged.]

What about the future of Leaping Lagomorph Books?

Ever since I bought that domain I’m suddenly getting inundated with virus-laden spam, and phone calls from people with mysterious accents. Next time I’ll have to set up a dummy company to arrange my dummy company. Plus getting an EIN was too much work, so I decided to go play Hearthstone instead. Cool logo though. Maybe I’ll use it at some future point.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Farewell, Solar Dingbat



This is my solar dingbat:

It formerly provided a visual break between scenes.

I have spent more time than I care to admit uploading the novel, then catching some formatting error, and fixing it in Word (sometimes Googling how to do that), and re-uploading it.  That's why my normal template now defaults to 1 pt between paragraphs.

At one point everything was perfect – EXCEPT the dingbat, on some versions of Kindle, had transformed into a giant letter “R.”

Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!

I decided to transform my spiky sunburst into a plain boring ● that can be found in every typeface, even Comic Sans. There are thirty-eight of them in the book. The reason I know that is because after I replaced them, they became part of the normal paragraph style (indented), which means they weren’t perfectly centered. 

Now I didn’t want to scare away any readers who would find the lack of centeredness annoying
(such as ME, because I’d be tempted to stop reading right there over a glaring lack of attention to typesetting like that, because I’m the sort of person who worries about things like italicizing the final period in etc., and I don’t want any of those sorts of amateur night shenanigans in my book)
so I fixed each of the 38 dots by hand, to make sure it was a true center just and not a center just on an indented line.

Because I care about things like that. Yet still, I miss my solar dingbat. 

EDIT: Obviously I don't care about it all the time (see Exhibit A, this typo-infested and formatting-challenged blog).  And I probably could have figured out a way to save my precious dingbat. I prefer to think of it as substituting a moon for a sun. A dark one. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Schrödinger's Book

So!  It's there.  It's on Amazon.  But!

(1) I put "free" in the title of the free cheap first chapter because they wouldn't let me give it away for free. Oh, all right. Need to fix that. UPDATE: fixed.

(2) I also uploaded the version of the cover that lacks my name. I need to wait I think up to 72 hours for the initial "burn-in" or whatever before I can swap in the good cover, so I actually have a flukey first edition. Fortunately bad print runs are much easier to fix on e-books. UPDATE: fixed.

(3) There will be a hardcopy version available, in case anyone ever wants one. I'm going to have to sub covers there too. The price is super high compared to the e-version. Because costs. UPDATE: fixed.

Once all that's fixed, I suppose I shall have to go into full blown publicity mode. Until that happens I'll just bask here in my blissful obscurity, like a lizard in the sun.


UPDATE: now I'm more like a lizard that hits refresh constantly.