My dark little corner of the internet has become, well, dark. I'm still in there, however, and if you squint, you can even see movement. Most of that movement is from doing research and typing, as I make school report after school report.
Some of that movement, however? Machinations. Conspiracies. Plots and, dare I say it, plans.
I am going to be making some personal appearences, each related to my writing, at not one, but three upcoming events.
It occurs to me that some people do not appreciate the finer points of digital skullduggery. Sure, I made a fine piracy edition of my eBook, where one can have the full book, free of charge, provided that one knows how BitTorrent works. Or that BitTorrent exists. This will allow people who can afford the book to get it through the proper channels, and for people who cannot to have means of getting it, provided they know how to install a program from the internet, and then download and open a file from that very same internet.
This was too much to presume, and I am sorry.
I am actually pretty happy with sales of the book: I have successfully covered the cost of producing it; I.E., the front cover, the back cover, the illustration inside, and the shield logo on the spine (talking about the print edition, here; the ebook has only the front cover and illustration). This without any advertising (well, maybe a little), and without having submitted it to any review sites. But I do actually want people to read it, as profit doesn't matter to me at this point (it's all up from here, baby). And you can't get a much more appealing price than free.
So for one month, the month of May, Mister Mercury is free on all eBook channels (except Amazon. I can't make it free without enrolling it in KDP select, which I can only do if I take it down from everywhere else. Since Amazon is the closest thing we have to pure and distilled evil, I will not play their game).
The print book of course can't be free, since Lulu does not use magic Giving Trees (which, as we all know, gleefully give up their wood for no money other than the price of a child's smile) to print their books. I can lower the price there, however. So I'll do that.
So if you haven't gotten the eBook yet and have a device with which to read it and no working knowledge of BitTorrent, now is your chance.
You can find all the necessary links here.
Warning: Spoilers for Game of Thrones or whatever.
Last week on a fictional medieval magical fantasy TV show, someone got raped.
The scene was the closest thing one can come to a perfect visual depiction of what a rape looks like: It showed a man forcing himself on a woman, it showed her protesting and saying “No!,” it showed him saying “I don’t care” and forcing himself on her anyway, it showed him holding her wrists and forcing her to the floor, and to top it all off he tore her dress in the process. If in the not-too-distant future we invent electric dictionaries that can play videos and embed interactive media (imagine that), that scene can go right under the dictionary definition of the word rape.
It ignited a fierce debate on the Internet that I will not get into now, because I will be addressing it later.
It’s been rehashed over and over again. If you want to learn about it, go anywhere on the Internet (wired’s good) and you will find it.
Instead I will do something new.
I will explain the worst thing the show can possibly do with this.
Ladies and people-who-should-have-been-banned-from-polite-society-centuries-ago, the time has come for me to make the declaration that the world of E-Reading kind of sucks.
The eBooks themselves are not at fault. Their file sizes are incredibly small, they easily transfer over the internet, and the majority of them are public domain, allowing millions of people without means to own and read digital copies of their favorite classics without having to pay a dime.
I worked hard on the Mister Mercury ebook. I made dang sure it was good and validated, that it had all its type fonts embedded, that its margins were hunky-dory, that its images were included, and that its cover was high-resolution. I was so pleased with it, I made a second, scallywag-themed version expressly for the purpose of allowing my readers to steal it if they so choose. And it paid off! It’s easy to navigate and looks beautiful on most any device it’s viewed on, unless that device happens to be a Kindle and therefore stupid.
So, the eBooks on their own are not inherently bad.
Everything else surrounding eBooks, however, is a clusterfuck.
The polite thing to do (and the common thing, in fact), would be to explain my absence from the Internet.
That is an expected behavior that infrequent bloggers such as myself.
To vanish without a trace with no explanation and then come back months later, palms to the air, and say, "Come on guys, life happened."
A paltry excuse is offered; infrequent blog posts resume, only to stop again a few months later. Life, in short, continues.
I will not do that.
Instead I will say that there is this thing called Read an Ebook Week on Smashwords, and Mister Mercury is part of it.
From March 2-8, Mister Mercury is free on Smashwords. You can purchase it (for nothing) here. All you have to do is enter the coupon code "RW100" at checkout and it is yours!
Of course, I could mention that Mister Mercury is always free consididering that I myself have released a special piracy editon for the exact purpose of allowing people to read it for nothing, because I would rather have them read it and not pay than to not read it at all.
But I will not do that.
That would be silly.
There's a promotion going on after all.
I wrote a book.
Perhaps I shouldn't say it was written, more like it was... forged. Molded. I took a chunk of raw material and beat it into shape over a long period of time-- too long.
I wrote my book in break rooms. I wrote it in restrooms. I wrote it when I was supposed to be spending time with other people. I stole time from work so I could work on it. I sat on it for a while. Some people threatened bodily harm if I didn't share it with the world. So I worked on it some more.
Let us say that you, like me, have spent a great deal of your life very poor.
Let us also say that you, like me, like to read, because it opens your mind, increases your vocabulary, and just generally is a lot of fun.
And let us also say that you happened upon a book reading device of some kind, perhaps a smartphone, or a tablet, or an $80 Sony Reader you found in your favorite used bookstore in Flagstaff.
Well, friend, I have been there. I understand.
Let us also say that for whatever reason, you wish to read Mister Mercury: A Modern Greek Myth, my eight year Herculean labor about Greek gods, super heroes, and religious satire-- but you do not have four dollars to spend.
However, because of your aforementioned poverty, you are not above downloading the occasional movie, TV show, ebook, or other piece of media. Maybe you've got a list that you keep, of all the things you may have downloaded, and maybe, when you've got a little more money, you will start purchasing those things legitimately to finally contribute to the people who brought you all this entertainment. Or maybe you won't.
My friend, I understand. Like I said, I have been there.
And I have something for you.
I've been working on Mister Mercury for almost a decade, which is a little excessive for a first novel, assuredly, but I felt it was worth it. It was a good story that needed a LOT of love for it to finally shine through. I have read countless articles and blog posts by smart, serious, bespectacled authors who each smugly attested that if you find yourself slaving away at your first novel for x number of years, then maybe it's because it's not working, and maybe it's time for you to let it go.
Well, Mister Mercury was not one of those novels. It wasn't a broken, immature concept that was clever on the surface and tiresome in execution (as those articles eloquently assured me it was). It was a good story, albeit a complicated one, one with many characters and many events and was maybe a little too ambitious for a first novel.
It was working. It just needed some oiling, and for a few of its parts to be taken out, spit-polished, and put back in places that wouldn't break everything when you turned it back on.