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The Sun God's Heir: Return (Book One)
by Elliott Baker

Kindle Edition published 2017-01-02
Bestseller ranking:

Product Description
For three thousand years a hatred burns. In seventeenth century Bordeaux two souls incarnate, one born the child of a prosperous merchant, the other, steals a life determined to continue a brutal incarnation begun long ago.

Under the guidance of Pharaoh, two brothers grew strong in knowledge and power, one a physician, the other a general. With the pharaoh’s untimely death, a deep hatred blossoms. One remembers, one does not.

The year is 1671. René Gilbert’s destiny glints from the blade of a slashing rapier. To protect those he loves he must regain the power and knowledge earned in an ancient lifetime. From Bordeaux to Spain to Morocco, René is tested and with each turn of fate he gathers enemies and allies as the memory and power of a lifetime as physician to Pharaoh returns.

Determined to continue a reign of terror that once caused the Nile to run red, Horemheb takes over the life of a young man mortally wo…

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Messages - Puddleduck

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Poll - Flat rate for KU page reads
« on: June 09, 2018, 10:06:34 AM »
I'm also not seeing how this would fix the problem. If I'm understanding the suggestion correctly. Do you mean a flat rate as in: The payment per page rate is consistently, say, .0049 from month to month, so that authors reliably know how much they will make each month if they know how many pages they get? Is that what you mean by flat rate? If so, I don't see how this would cut down on scamming in the slightest. Nor would it prevent Amazon from cutting the number of page reads a book gets for no apparent reason. I just don't see how this is at all a solution.

I've never understood the AG's preoccupation with this particular issue. Every product sold on Amazon has the lowest-price pushed ahead of the higher-priced listings, whether they're books or not. This has zero impact on ebooks, only print, and the problem only exists in the first place because publishers sold books on bulk discount.

Exactly. It primarily/only affects big trad publishers and is a direct result of their selling off of books in ways that already give the purchase price to the publishers and very little to nothing to the author. The AG is basically a puppet of the big five, so it's not surprising they're pushing this and acting like it's a problem all authors should be concerned about.

Thereafter we ended up in a conversation about Star Wars. Turns out he was a huge Star Wars fan, a super-nerd on that one topic. But he didn't read sci-fi beyond Star Wars novels. He read Star Wars novels because of Star Wars, not because he liked sci-fi. In fact, he never asked me what books I wrote. He didn't care.

Personally, I firmly consider Star Wars to be space fantasy, not sci-fi, so it's not at all surprising that someone would read SW but not general sci-fi. That's funny that he didn't even ask you what books you write. Even when people don't really care, most tend to ask that much to be polite.

I'm still brand new at the whole publishing thing, so still far from being full-time myself, but I've been learning a whole lot the past couple years. Last year some time, I was talking with a friend who's a reader but not any kind of creative person and new nothing about publishing. She had loads of advice about how I should publish. Likewise, once I was describing a story idea to my brother, and while I was still giving a general idea of the fantasy world and hadn't gotten to the MCs or main plot yet, he latched onto one minor part of my worldbuilding, assumed the whole story was about that, further assumed it was a totally different type of book than it was, and rambled on for a while about what a great idea it was and how I should do it (not allowing me a word in edgewise). So yeah, even though I'm still very new at this, I've already learned to pretty much keep my mouth shut about my writing when talking with other people (who aren't writers).

Waiting until something bad actually happens before planning a course of action is usually not the best way to minimize damage from it. Worry is bad, sure. But personally, I like to take note of problems when they're on the horizon rather than when they're on my doorstep. Planning and reacting is not the same as worrying and stressing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I'm in tears. Amazon has cut my numbers for May.
« on: June 08, 2018, 12:56:12 PM »
Begin your research with Draft2Digital. They distribute to Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, and several others. They're great, and they generate terrific epubs and mobis.

Yeah, if I were in your shoes, I'd probably just put all my current books on D2D because you could cover a lot of stores at once with minimum hassle. Then maybe with later releases (and maybe gradually the back catalog) I'd see about going wide direct some places. With that many books, going wide direct at once can be overwhelming, so I think using D2D to do it would make things a lot easier on you.

Secondly, I wonder if Streetlib consulted a lawyer before handing over pricing control of books to a third party without asking consent of the author/copyright holder. It seems to me they have no right to do this on an opt out basis. They should ask for specific consent first.

Remember as copyright holder you have absolute and exclusive control over commercial distribution and public performance of your works.  This is one of the things that makes copyright so powerful.

Until first sale, only you can decide how your work is priced.  Although I'm not sure if there's been any consideration of this provision under the new on-demand distribution structure, it seems to me absent some prior agreement no second or third party can unilaterally alter your book's price on their own.  They need your permission first, as any such act on their part would infringe on your exclusive distribution rights. 

It seems to me that maybe Street Lib and other companies/entities are forgetting that an indie publisher is the publisher, and Amazon (and iBooks, Nook, etc.) are only distributors. So often, I see behavior, wording, and attitudes from companies working with indies that makes it sound like they believe Amazon is a publisher to whom we've granted either exclusive or non-exclusive publishing rights. This opt out deal between Street Lib and Amazon definitely smacks of that kind of belief.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I'm in tears. Amazon has cut my numbers for May.
« on: June 08, 2018, 09:59:48 AM »
Maybe I'm cynical, but this combined with the other problems and the new "dynamic pricing" that they're testing makes me wonder if Amazon's trying to get any authors who will fight back/argue to leave Amazon, so that Amazon will be left with a still-enormous stable of authors willing to give Amazon complete control and submissively take whatever Amazon decides to give them.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do Americans say gobsmacked?
« on: June 08, 2018, 09:57:07 AM »
I'm an American, and I've known "gobsmacked" for as long as I can remember. I can't recall the last time I actually heard someone use it. I never thought of it as a Britishism. I'd assumed it was an old-fashioned southern word. *shrug*

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this name for a novel ok?
« on: June 07, 2018, 09:56:50 AM »
"The Habit of Obedience" immediately made me think of a non-fiction Christian devotional type of book or somesuch. So, different than the impression that others got, but still nowhere near epic fantasy.

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 07, 2018, 09:52:31 AM »
I think the problem is that CAN-SPAM didn't think about people like indie authors. Most of us don't have a business address per se. (We're not the only ones. My landscaper, for example, lists his home address, and the business number is another line in his house. He doesn't have a mailing list, though.)

At least you're allowed to put a PO Box on a mailing list. If you want to register a DBA, you have to put your actual physical address out there where anyone on the web can find it (via public records easily searchable database). It frustrates me how many of our laws do not at all take into account the financial/safety/privacy burden to small business owners.

This thread has been useful for me to read. I currently use D2D, but some of the books I plan to write in the future are romances which start out with the two people being involved in a not-100%-enthusiastically-consenting relationship. Given the popularity of the "man rapes the woman when they first meet and eventually they fall in love" trope in romance (not so much now, but in the past), I was surprised that they're so against any sort of potentially non-consensual sexual content. It's also strange considering that I believe most of the rape-to-romance fantasy is a response to the fact that rape or lack of choice in marriage partner has been the reality that so many women throughout history and in some places of the world today live. The fantasy isn't, "Man, I'd just love to get raped." The fantasy is, "If I'm gonna get raped, I'd love to enjoy it and secretly have the power over it." As well as, "If I'm going to be forced to marry a man I have no interest in, I'd love to imagine that it will eventually end up as the kind of loving relationship I really want." Saying that forced situations leading to desirable outcomes is prohibited is taking the fantasy of hope away from people who actually live in crappy, forced situations in their real life and ignoring the fact that people throughout all history have been forced into crappy situations and have tried to make the best of it (sometimes succeeding).

Add me to the horrified list. No way would I voluntarily allow this, and I don't care if it's supposed to be only for "publishing houses". Amazon makes it hard enough to change prices, and now they're looking into ways where they can arbitrarily (I don't believe that crap about what's selling or not, fool me once...) drop or raise a price, and I get the shaft if it's lower, and the crap from readers if it's higher. No thanks.

I agree 100%. This definitely looks like something that Amazon is testing with the hopes of eventually forcing it on everyone, having full control over what they pay to suppliers for our products. If they make it mandatory (which I feel like they definitely want to), I'll stop selling on Amazon before I go along with it.

The fact that Street Lib is doing this as "opt out" instead of "opt in" is enough to make me wary of every using Street Lib. And the company asked for feedback from those who try it out. Maybe they should also consider the feedback from those of us who are horrified and in the "never in a million years" camp as well. I don't have to try heroin to know I don't want to do it.

That makes sense. I mean, we have an insight into this business that someone else wouldn't ... or wouldn't need to.  It's like walking into a widget factory and someone describing their widgets to us and then saying "I thought everyone knew this stuff".   We can't assume it's common knowledge.

Which is understandable to a point. But you'd think that when you're a government agency whose actions have significant legal implications for pretty much all industries, when people who do know a bit more about a certain industry express a concern, you might listen, even a little bit. But their tone was very much, "Let me explain to you," and not at all, "We're hearing your concerns."

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 05, 2018, 09:04:17 AM »
And I need those bonuses too. 

If you truly need them, I'd recommend coming up with a business plan that doesn't rely on one company continuing to hand out perks which they may discontinue or hand out to other people at any time.

I agree that if they're going to hand them out, they should hand them out to people who didn't cheat the system, but it's right there in the name: bonuses. They're not your wages or rightful earnings.

Edited.  Let's not make personal comments, thanks  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod

Maybe someone would like to answer the question fully?  ;D

Based on the response I got from the trademark office when I emailed them about this, I honestly believe it's because no one there understands why allowing trademarks for common words for books is a problem. They said that common words are trademarked all the time and actually used Apple as an example (as if I weren't aware of it). I had made the (admittedly imperfect, but the closest I could come) analogy of it being like allowing a tech company to trademark a random number, and they pointed out that "409" is trademarked for use as a cleaning product. I really think they just don't grasp the problem.

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 05, 2018, 07:16:27 AM »
Whether your personal opinion is different is no matter to this situation. Right now, the only thing that matters is how Amazon interprets it. However, Dragovian brought up some interesting concerns. Instead of dismissing them as not worthy, the discussion that could have happened instead might have helped others make better and wiser publishing decisions.

But I tried to engage by responding to the example she provided, and she brushed all my comments off as irrelevant because she didn't want anyone else analyzing the example she'd provided to make her point.

See, and for me 'bonus content' is pretty obvious, too. But in my brain, relevant backmatter -- glossaries, family trees, notes on the history, etc. is NOT Bonus content. It's all something relevant to the book I just read. And it could be somewhat substantial, depending on the type of book. I see stuff like this all the time in historicals.

What's NOT relevant is a whole 'nother story, or the first few chapters of the next book, or a letter begging me to join a mailing list. To me, that is "Bonus Content". And for me, it's a bug, not a feature. ::)

AND . . . . therein lies the problem. :)

I certainly agree that if Amazon is going to enforce a 10% rule on bonus content, they should give more clarification on what they mean by bonus content. However, I think that as soon as they define it, the scammers will just find some way to fill up the extra pages with stuff that isn't on the 'bonus content' definition list--or simply rename things until they do--and the same problem will still exist. If the stuffing is to stop, there needs to be a hard line on bonus content being anything that isn't the story itself (and, preferably, not front or back matter, though as I said, that shouldn't take up very many pages eve if it is counted). I think 10% is a very reasonable percentage for "anything that's not the story" in a book--for the vast majority of books.

Now, if Amazon is going to apply this 10% rule store-wide and not just for KU, then yes, I think that would be a problem, because it would mean that authors who have extensive appendices and whatnot would have to artificially cut their books down just to sell on Amazon. But if it's only for KU, I don't see the problem--because, as I've said before--you don't have to be in KU.

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 05, 2018, 06:54:50 AM »
You can focus on the specifics of my example, but my larger point was that

I always get so confused when people present an example to illustrate their point, then don't want that example responded to and act as if it's irrelevant whenever anyone does.

To me, "what is bonus content" seems pretty obvious. Bonus content is anything that's not the book. Appendices, previews, a bonus short story, a glossary--these all seem pretty obviously like bonus content. Epilogues and prologues are part of the story--duh--so they're not bonus. (I can understand readers skipping these because they don't think they're relevant. I can't understand anyone trying to claim they're not part of the story.) Front and back matter shouldn't take up more than a few pages. If you've got more than a links page and maybe a newsletter sign up at the back, then whatever else you've added is probably bonus content. Copyright info, dedications, author notes--usually all accepted as part of the front/back matter. But even if Amazon wanted to count everything that's not between Prologue/Chapter One and Epilogue/last chapter as bonus content, that still shouldn't amount to more than a handful of pages, so the difference is pretty irrelevant.

Well done.  ;D

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 04, 2018, 03:06:45 PM »
Amazon has a new ToS that bans the use of bonus content.

No, it doesn't. It has new TOS which limits bonus content to something that any rational person-on-the-street would consider bonus content. That's a very, very far cry from "banning" it.

An author with an extensive glossary or appendices in their fantasy novel, for example, could get dinged over Amazon counting those things as "bonus material" while the author considers them an integral part of their novel.

I have a hard time thinking that any book long and complex enough to need an extensive glossary would not also be long enough to offset the length of the glossary such that the glossary does not make up more than 10% of the book. And in the very unlikely event that that happened, the author would need to make a decision whether or not to put that book in KU (put it in KU without the glossary or take it out to keep the glossary in). They're not saying these books can't be sold in the Amazon store. Unless there was some part of this that I missed. It just seems like some people treat KU like it's the only way to publish your books and anything that KU doesn't allow means you can't publish your books, which is not true at all. There's not ever going to be a perfect solution that works for every single legitimate book under any conceivable circumstance. The goal is to find something that works the best for legit authors and de-incentivizes cheating. If the KU rules are such that your book isn't right for KU, then your book isn't right for KU. That doesn't mean you have no other publishing options.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Amazon trolling us to sour Createspace?
« on: June 04, 2018, 06:03:58 AM »
Yes, I think that's exactly what they're doing. They seem to think that by driving people away from CS, they'll drive people to Kindle Print. Personally, having not set up yet with CS but previously having been planning to, I've decided to skip all that nonsense and go with IS when the time comes.

My newsletter is strictly for book-related news, like new releases. I may include a blog on my website at some point, but maybe not. Whenever I've tried that in the past, it usually ends up being a place to randomly dump thoughts which no one else seems to find particularly interesting. Unless you actually have something interesting going on in your life (which I don't currently), people don't really care. I'd say the exception would be if you need to explain why you're taking longer than usual to get the next book out or something like that, and then only share what you're comfortable with. Always remember that anything you share online may get spread around the internet in ways you can't control.

It's sweet that you think that. My bet is that the new file will be a collection and the only thing changed will be a very slightly different title and cover and no link to a review contest within the text.

That's my assumption as well. He'll just take out the link to the contest that he posted after the third chapter, and that'll be it.

Amazon have stopped selling it.

It says it's under review and will be available once they get a corrected file. Looks like they're giving him a chance to change the file and keep selling. Given the nature of the problem, one might have hoped they'd take a stronger action.

(I know this is OT, but I looked at the book's page and ... it always cracks me up when I see "customer images" that are just awkward selfies taken by the reviewer, like Amazon asked for a pic and they didn't understand what it wanted. It's just darling.)

I think the problem with prequels, speaking as a reader, is that unless I'm super interested in the series, I often don't care about stuff that happened in the past, since I already know the ending. Maybe that's the problem.

As an author, I do have an anthology of short prequel stories planned to go along with a series. Not because I think it'll be a big seller but because I had a bunch of backstory I wanted to share and it wouldn't fit well in the main story. (So, more for myself and whatever readers are interested in it than for the money, I guess.) I'm not sure if I'll try to put it as part of the series on Amazon or just let it be a standalone.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Anyone bust into a school library?
« on: June 03, 2018, 03:05:57 PM »
You could always do IS for hardcovers if you're worried paperbacks won't sell like you want.

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