This is why we can’t have nice Kindle Unlimited things.

According to Amazon, “Kindle Unlimited is a subscription that allows you to access a large selection of titles from the Kindle Store. You can keep up to ten titles to read on any Amazon device or Kindle reading app and there are no due dates.” It’s meant to give readers incentive to try new things, […]

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Should more authors go “audio only”?

Last month, this BBC article was all over my social media, talking about authors moving to an audio-only model.

I get it. I do. Seems super appealing for several reasons:

  1. Goodness is it a lot of work to make an audiobook.
  2. Audiobooks are enjoying a surge in popularity.
  3. Streamlining your formats makes more time for more writing.
  4. More writing makes more product for the now-self-streamlined marketplace.

And, ultimately, choosing an audio-only release format also has less competition than the ebook-only marketplace AND you have more control with less gatekeepers.

Audiobooks are far and away the biggest revenue generator for Empty Set, so much so that we are already discussing options for Scott’s next contract with Big Publishing — will we be allowed to keep the audio rights? Who knows, but as the marketshare grows, that likelihood diminishes.

Here’s the thing, though: I can’t understand why you’d limit yourself unless you had to do so. In the article I mentioned above, several authors participated in what was specifically an audio-only project. That makes sense to me as an interesting undertaking for the writer and a format-exploring treat. I could see writers flexing their minds differently given an audio-only format and it sure seems like it would be fun for everyone, writers and readers alike.

But only audio when the world’s readers love to endlessly debate the best format for consumption?  When we still have legions of folks who consider the treeware option to be the only true option?  When so many folks have smart phones and could read your work anywhere, even if it’s too loud to listen to the audiobook?  Just doesn’t make sense for a small business, which is just what a self-published author is at the end of the day.

I talk all the time about how Empty Set is a small business. A very small business. We work very hard to be successful at our job of making cool things for cool people. And I can’t think of a single reason to take away avenues to get those cool things to the aforementioned cool people. More is more. Simple as that.

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Mastadon finally hits — the next next big thing?

This week Mastodon hit the interwebs hard. Hard like an extinct elephant! Haven’t yet heard of it? It’s a new social media platform, and contender for Twitter-killer. And based on the very little I’ve seen so far, I’m hopeful they might make it big. I think it would probably be a boon to the socmed landscape. That’s about as much as I can tell you about it specifically, because I haven’t had the chance to get in there and play. (I did sign up though! I’m @arealgirl@mastadon.social and Scott is @scottsigler@mastadon.social)

But the rise of the toothsome (see what I did there?) new social media site has me thinking back to all the other socmed sites that have come and gone. I understand this kinda makes me seem like an old fogey, but it’s a little breathtaking. For a medium that ostensibly started less than 25 years ago, there is so much stratification and fade it’s pretty dizzying.

I started with MySpace, although I know some of my more techy friends were all about Six Degrees. I signed up for a LinkedIn account early on, and that one is amazingly still active, although I’m still not sure what good it does me. (Note: that’s fair to say about all my social media accounts in a way, especially these days!)

In my life, I am fairly sure I’ve held accounts (in no particular order) at MySpace, YouTube, Joost, LinkedIn, Flickr, Tumblr, Imgur, Digg, FourSquare, Pinterest, Friendster, PhotoBucket, Orkut, SecondLife, Picasa, Facebook, TikTak, SnapChat, Ello, Tsu, GroupMe, Signal, Skype, Reddit, FriendFeed, Untappd, Kik, Vine, Google + and, of course, Twitter and Instagram. And those are the ones I am remembering as I write this post — without looking at the internets to jar my memory.

I have no idea if these have added value to my life or not. Some gray area exists, obviously. Facebook is currently a tar pit, akin to and yet not nearly as bad (for me) as Twitter; yet there was a time it let me connect with a long lost friend and make amends that had stayed with me for over a decade.

I do know that these days I approach most open social media as a time suck I probably can’t afford and do not want. So if you’re bringing something new to the table, I might never get far enough into your new platform to be happily surprised. And that’s too bad for me, but still the way it has to be if I want to remain productive in my life, which I desperately want to do.

If you’d like to learn more about Mastadon, this article was helpful for me.

 

 

This episode sponsored in part by our Audible Free Trial page.  

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Rules for business (and life) sometimes stink

Adults make choices, choices have consequences. This is the way of things.

When you are an adult that owns your own business, like me, sometimes you’d prefer to make bad choices. In my case, sometimes when a vendor or timeline or potential deal goes wonky, I want to yell and scream obscenities, and tell some people they smell of elderberries.

It’s understandable, I think. As adults, we lose our right to pout and ugly cry when things don’t go our way. There’s no whining and refusing to eat your dinner until the universe course corrects your way. And there shouldn’t be, honestly. We have those outlets when we’re children precisely because we don’t have ownership of our actions. We’re not making our own choices, and that can be frustrating,

Even so, some days I want my pout back. I don’t want to give up all the other things I have and gain as an adult, but if I could get some kind of add-on package so I could stamp my feet and meltdown?  Some days I’d be inclined to do so.

Anyone have an app for that?

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The best worst thing ever? Still sometimes good.

In the summer of 2014, my husband and I went on a Baltic Sea adventure. We were going to visit several countries, cruise the Baltic Sea, and general have a lovely summer vacation.

It was the best worst trip ever.

What do I mean by the best worst? Let’s back up: it was the worst vacation ever.

I acquired my 14th (yes, 14th) head/chest cold of 2014 just the week before we left, while I was at BEA in New York City. I’d gone to the doctor, and was on three antibiotic meds: systemic capsules, eye drops and ear drops. I was feeling well, and no longer contagious, the day before we were set to leave for London, so I was pretty thrilled. (As an aside, this illness led directly to me having my tonsils removed that year, and I’ve only been sick twice since!)

On the flight, my husband’s ears clogged up, as ears sometimes do.

We spent three days in London, visit all the things you visit in London when you’ve been there a bunch, and only have a few days. We visited several lovely pubs, and the Tate Modern. At the Tate, I noticed I had a prickly red rash on my arms and neck. I thought I was sensitive to the hotel soap.

We took the train to Dover the next day, and boarded our ship. By then, Peter (the husband) was dizzy due to still-clogged ears, and feverish. He visited the ship’s doctor while we were still in port to treat this nascent ear infection. As a bonus, while I waited for him to be treated, the ship’s doc *also* diagnosed my Amoxicillin Rash, and I learned I was: 1) allergic to the amoxicillin, and 2) going to have this increasing irritating rash for 10 to 13 days. At that moment there were 14 more day on our vacation.

We visited Oslo, Norway; Bruges, Belgium; Tallin, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Copenhagen, Denmark. We were essentially sick and tired the whole time. The worst trip ever.

We had to sleep in shifts because I snored so loudly due to my cold, and he couldn’t wear ear plugs due to his ear thing. We hardly saw each other on board, honestly.

And yet? It was pretty fun. We didn’t see a lot of any of these cities, but we did laugh a lot at our terrible luck. We also marveled at the audacity of the crew to choose only shipwreck movies for the entirety of the cruise — All is Lost, Cast Away and Titanic. No, really. There was a bartender who thought I looked just like his sister, so poured us many very lovely drinks native to his Greek home. We delighted in rearranging pieces on the in-progress puzzles that people left abandoned each evening in the library.

We drank great beer in a dozen great pubs in those coastal cities, and I read nine books in 14 days, including Myke Cole’s Shadow Ops series which I love so much.

So, it was a terrible vacation. The worst I’ve ever had.  And yet today I laughed and laughed and laughed thinking of the ludicrousness. So it is also good. Not the best vacation I’ve ever had, for sure, but the best worst one.

I’m sure life has more worst times in store for me. That’s the way of things. But I’m hoping to make the best of those too.

 

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Purple Rain on the big screen — once more with feeling!

Oh my goodness, last week Scott and I went to see Purple Rain on the big screen. It was as awesome and wonderful and a crazy springtime sing-a-long on a Wednesday night.

As you know, Prince died last week. As a celebration, Purple Rain came back to theatres for a short run. Tickets were inexpensive, and part of the ticket price went to charity.

We had a fantastic time, and we did a podcast about it when we got back from the theatre.  Check it out if you’re so inclined.

While I’m not a Creative, I am a nostalgic Gen-Xer, and sitting in that jam-packed, sold out theater, singing along with dozens of other people, I was happy to remember and celebrate such a great talent gone too soon.

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Everyone’s human. Even me, dammit.

Convention season kicked off with Scott being a Special Guest at WonderCon this year. It was in Los Angeles, which was a nice, short hop, but it was still a working weekend for both Scott and myself. That means all the guest duties for Scott, plus writing every day in his room in between con […]

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Our 2015 download numbers: 6.2 million

There’s a great quote by BuzzFeed’s Jonathan Perelman that reads, “Content is king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.” That’s too-clever-for-our-own-good techie speak meaning: “you can have the best stuff going, but if you can’t get it in front of people, then your quality doesn’t matter.” We think our quality is pretty dang […]

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Dear NaNoWriMos: first drafts suck

Reposted from a 2013 article on scottsigler.com. The details on what Scott’s currently writing are a bit out-of-whack, but the rest bears repeating. Good luck for a strong finish NaNos! This month, thousands of working and aspiring writers are banging out a 50,000-word novel as part of National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo.” The challenge […]

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Why Community Matters: a Reflection on SiglerFest2k15

This year we at Empty Set celebrated our fifth SiglerFest, the annual gathering of Scott Sigler’s fans. For the last few days we were hooting and hollering in Las Vegas — bowling and singing and card games oh my! — and now we’re overtired, overstimulated, and headed back to the grind. Fatigue be damned, we start recording […]

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