Beware the Shoggoths! H. P. Lovecraft would be proud

Beware the Shoggoths! H. P. Lovecraft would be proud

Check this out, all fans of H. P. Lovecraft. Robert DeFrank has written a wonderful story told in high Lovecraftian style, a mode many have attempted and most have failed at. Robert captures that style effortlessly and transports you into a terrifically creepy story — I won’t mention any details for fear of spoilers, although the fact that it’s on should give you a hint. I buy anthologies all the time that promise Lovecraftian thrills, but very few of the stories contained in them actually deliver. This one does, and I heartily recommend it. I hope Robert has some more like this in him, because if he does I will be a happy man. If not, though, thank you, Robert, for “The Mythos Path”.

You can find the story HERE.


Changing the structure of the Atomic Sea series.

Amazon, oh Amazon. You give, then you take away.

Sigh. Amazon has instituted another one of their infamous algorithm changes, stripping away almost all of the bumps they were giving indie writers. They had helped promote indie writers in numerous ways, but now no longer. Why? Are they trying to weed out the chaff? I don’t know. The upshot is that essentially the only way Amazon is allowing indie writers to be visible these days is through the Hot New Releases section. If you publish a book and sell/give away enough copies, they’ll promote you up for up to thirty days since the release in that category (because after thirty days it’s not “new”). Writers are now calling this the 30-day Cliff. In the case of “The Atomic Sea: Part One”, that means they promoted it for two weeks. Why? Because I allowed two weeks to gather reviews before I scheduled the free promotion, so I only had two weeks left in that 30 days for Amazon to give me a boost. I sold very few copies before the promo, so Amazon didn’t give me a hand until I had.

What does this mean? It means that after those two glorious weeks “The Atomic Sea” dropped off the radar of Amazon almost entirely. Readers who had read Part One went on to buy Part Two (of course!), but since I released Part Two at the same time as Part One and did no additional promotion for it Amazon didn’t give me a boost for Part Two. So out of two massive epic fantasy / science fiction novels that I’m very proud of, Amazon only helped me sell one of them for two weeks. Two. weeks.

So I’m going to do this. Amazon seems to be forcing indie writers like myself to write in a serial format as in the old Charles Dickens days, releasing a chapter or two a month for loyal readers. I think this is pretty lame, and I don’t want to issue “The Atomic Sea” chapter by chapter. But if I don’t split it up I’m virtually committing business suicide. No one can find my books unless they’re new releases. So what do I do?

I’m going to split the difference. I’m dividing “The Atomic Sea: Part One” into two volumes, replacing what was “Part Two” with the second half of what was “Part One”. These are still hefty tomes, even divided, each at over 60,000 words, so I don’t feel too guilty about this. The volume that was Part Two is/was even more massive, reaching 155,000 words. So that’s going to be split up into thirds. I’ll release them a month or so apart, so that hopefully Amazon will give me a bump for each one.

And so on.

Ideally this way will satisfy my artistic self (refusing to release the novels a few chapters at a time and providing an entire novel (50,000 words or more is considered novel-length, and sometimes as low as 20,000) to readers while at the same time allowing Amazon to promote my new releases. I hope I don’t annoy too many readers out there who have already read the original versions of Part One and Part Two, and if so I  apologize sincerely. This was not my intention or design but only a response to Amazon making it very hard out there for indie writers. Know that you can still purchase the paperback versions of both full-length original versions, so if you want a copy for your bookshelves or to give as a gift they are available (or in the case of Part Two if you simply want to read it, as it will now be divided into three parts, the first of which will be released toward the end of February). Of course eventually I’ll provide omnibus versions that will contain the ebooks in their original (and preferred) forms.

I hope Amazon changes things up soon, as this is a lousy way of treating their writers. Perhaps they think that readers want a serial, monthly experience, where they follow a few chapters of a story over a long period of time. I don’t know. Is it? It’s not the way I prefer to read (and it’s not what I’m going to provide my readers; again, even the shorter versions of my books are novel-length manuscripts). More likely it’s simply that Amazon has determined they can make more money this way. The only good thing I can say about this is that I can keep Part One at a permanent discount now and not feel that I’m shooting myself in the foot by doing so. I love The Atomic Sea and want new readers to discover it. So go, put all this unpleasantness behind you (I’m trying, too) and dive into an adventure like no other.