eBook Review: The Color of Magic

The Colour Of Magic (Discworld, #1)

The Colour Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I heard about this series long ago, but never attempted to read the books. I’m not really sure why, maybe it’s because my sense of humour is different to most people’s.

Recently, I found myself in a situation where I was able to purchase the ebook at a very reasonable price. I decided to go with the flow. I purchased the book and put it at the top of my “to read” list.

My only expectation from the series was built around the word ‘funny’. I’m not sure I would use that word to describe the book, but it was amusing and it did make me smile a lot. That’s good enough for me.

I was surprised to find the book actually consisted of four stories, not totally related. The two main characters were delightful and they were the reason I read the book to the end. Unfortunately, the ebook was not ideally formatted and I found it difficult to keep track of where the scenes stopped and started. This caused problems with knowing whose point of view I was reading, which was confusing and distracting.

I liked reading the book but wasn’t as impressed as I thought I’d be. I’m not sure I’d be willing to purchase the second ebook to see how things go from here.

Free eBooks for Summer/Winter

I’ve heard that some people only read in the summer and others love to read in front of a warm fire during winter, so it seemed appropriate for me to add my ebooks to the Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale July 1-31 because as Smashwords have so rightly acknowledged, “It’s summer in the Northern Hemiphere, and winter for our friends in the Southern Hemisphere.”

And if people really love to read then why not give the ebooks away for free!

So that is what I’ve done. You can get a copy of Cat’s Eyes and/or Speculative Realms: Where there’s a will, there’s a way right now for free. But this deal is only valid until 31 July 2011.

Click on the book covers above to be taken to the ebook of your choice. Or, grab a copy of them both. Membership to the Smashwords website is free, so it will cost you exactly nothing but a few minutes of your time.

If you enjoy the ebooks, please take a moment or two to write a quick review. It would be much appreciated.

Grab your free download now at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/540030

eBook Review: Write the Fight Right

Write The Fight Right

Write The Fight Right by Alan Baxter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There’s a lot to be said about the common writing tip, ‘write what you know’, and Write the Fight Right by Alan Baxter is testament to that. Alan is a writer, but his passion for the martial arts truly comes through in this book. His knowledge and understanding on the subject makes this book a resource I’m grateful to have purchased.

All writers have to face a confrontation at some time, or their characters do at least. I find it one of the hardest things to write, so when I found out about this ebook I was quick to get a copy because I need all the help I can get. Also, in a fight or flight situation, I’m the ‘flight’ type of person. I’ve never been in a punch up of any kind…except with my younger brother when we were kids, but that doesn’t really count as those ‘confrontations’ were never serious. I’ve never had any self-defence classes either, so I have no experience to draw from. If faced with a precarious situation my first option would be to flee, if that wasn’t possible I’d probably die of fright.

Write the Fight Right is written in a way that kept me enthralled. Honestly, the words flow so nicely and I was pleased to see little examples which reinforced what the author was trying to get across. He touches on things that a novice to fighting wouldn’t even consider when writing a fight scene. And most importantly, he brings the fight alive on the page and made me believe I could do the same!

If you are a writer, then I highly recommend this book. It’s a resource you cannot be without, especially writers who are not fighters.

June Special: Cat’s Eyes Ebook for $0.99

It’s winter in Australia and most people I know love to sit and read in a comfy chair in a warm room, while the weather struts its stuff outside.

With this in mind, I figured it would be a good time to offer the digital version of Cat’s Eyes at a special price. For the entire month of June 2011, the ebook can be purchased from the Cat’s Eyes Smashwords page for only $0.99 (US dollars). Aussie readers should remember that with the strong Australian dollar, the ebook will be even less for you.

Use the coupon code below at the checkout to get the discount:

Promotional price: $0.99
Coupon Code: EW56D
Expires: June 30, 2011

Happy reading!

Digital Rights Contracts

Personally, this is something I haven’t had to think about as I have not sold digital rights to a publisher. However, Michael A Stackpole has something to say about it in his post 9 Must-have Clauses for Digital Rights Contracts and I found his comments interesting.

It wasn’t too long ago that publishers didn’t have to worry about anything other than printing rights. From what I’ve heard, very little royalty was given to the author. I remember one author saying, this was about 10 years ago, she received less than $1 for every book sold. At the time I was shocked by this news as plainly the amount of work that goes into a manuscript was surely worth more than that. Yet thinking about it now, I can see that she didn’t write for the money, she wrote to be read.

Anyway, ebooks made an appearance and it would seem that publishers still didn’t bother with digital rights because who’s going to buy them anyway? This left an opening for the authors to step in and take control of their own ebook sales. I have no idea if this opportunity was grabbed by authors or not but they would have been crazy not to.

Now publishers are realising their mistake and have started to include digital rights in the contracts. Why? Because it’s more money for them. And the author will continue to get some meagre royalty for all their hard work. However, that’s beside the point. My problem with this is that the ebooks will be sold for the same price as the paperback, or perhaps slightly less.

To me this is outrageous. I feel strongly about this. Ebooks should be at least half the price of the printed version. For heavens sake, there’s no paper, no ink, no postage, no storage. And don’t give me all that rubbish about the amount of work that goes into setting up an ebook. That’s crap. There’s no more work setting up an ebook than there is a paper version. I know. I’ve done both.

Sorry, I’m going off on a tangent. I believe ebooks in the hands of traditional publishers is a bad thing. Yes, sell publishing rights, but all authors should hold on to their own digital rights and, for a change, start making some decent money from the sales of their work.

Read an Ebook Week 2011

Did you know ebooks have been around for 40 years? I didn’t. In fact, I find that piece of news fascinating because in my own mind ebooks were invented only a few short years ago. However, when I think about it for a while, I clearly see the flaw in my thinking because I used to make pdf versions of my manuscripts years before I became aware of the actual “ebook”.

These days ebooks are becoming quite well known and in some circles they are focused on and being watched very carefully. At some time in the future, ebooks will be mainstream and paper books will be for the wealthy. It will have nothing to do with what we like or prefer, it will be totally due to environmental issues. At the moment, we have a choice and I don’t expect that to change in the near future, but it will change.

Anyway, this coming week is “Read an Ebook Week” and I encourage everyone who hasn’t tried reading an ebook to rectify that over the next seven days. Ebooks can be read on your computer using applications made by Kindle, Stanza and other companies promoting digital printing. You can also read them on your iPhone, iPod Touch and of course the iPad. I believe other phones also have the ability to read ebooks too. And of course you can purchase ebook readers of all sizes as well. So, with all this in mind, there are plenty of options and no excuses. Read an ebook this week and see what you think.

If I haven’t sold you on the idea yet, here’s an added bonus. Ebooks are generally sold cheaper than their paperback equivalent. In fact, it’s through purchasing cheap ebooks that I’ve discovered some excellent new authors. This week Smashwords is having a “sale”. Hundreds of authors are slashing their prices, some are even offering their books for free, but the sale is only happening this week to celebrate “Read an Ebook Week”.

My book, The Land of Miu, is FREE!

Whether you grab a copy of The Land of Miu or not isn’t relevant. Of course, I’d be thrilled if you do and would be forever grateful if you also wrote a quick review over at Smashwords too 😀 (OK, I’ve finished with the shameless self-promotion stuff now). What I’d really like to see (and hear about) is more people trying ebooks and letting me know what you think. What I’d also like to hear about is have your opinions changed towards ebooks over the years. I know mine have!

Read an ebook this week. I think you’ll be glad you did. 🙂

Cat’s Eyes: The Book Depositary

Honestly, I was ultra excited when I saw Cat’s Eyes on The Book Depositary. I don’t know how they do it, but their prices are awesome compared to other online bookstores. They have Cat’s Eyes listed for $17.32. But what makes this price fantastic is that they offer free delivery worldwide. Yes, that’s right, worldwide. Sorry, the book mentioned is now out of print. However, why don’t you grab the free ebook instead.

This means you only pay $17.32 no matter where you are in the world. No wonder I’m excited. This opens the doors for anyone, anywhere to purchase the paperback book at a reasonable price and read it.

I know, before you go off on a tangent and tell me that it’s listed for $14.99 at Amazon so what’s the big deal? Let me explain why this means a lot to me. I live in Australia and purchasing books online is a real problem, not because of the book price or the wait time in receiving it, but because the postage is often so expensive, it’s not uncommon for the postage charges to be higher than what the book cost in the first place. Maybe I’m stingy but I honestly don’t see the sense in purchase books online if the postage is going to put me into serious debt. That’s why I became hooked on ebooks.

Yet as great and convenient as ebooks are, I actually prefer the old fashioned way of reading and WANT to hold a book in my hands when I’m reading. The Book Depositary will help me and other dedicated readers to do that for a while longer yet.

So, please, if you haven’t read Cat’s Eyes because it was too difficult to get a copy of the paperback, head over to The Book Depositary and take advantage of their generous offer.

eBook Review: Heidi

Heidi (Kingfisher Classics)

Heidi by Johanna Spyri

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like most females, I loved this story as a child. However, recently, I realised that I’d only ever seen various movie versions of it (the one I remember most was the one with Shirley Temple playing the role of Heidi) and had never actually read the book. With this in mind, I decided it was time to fix that oversight.

Heidi by Johanna Spyri was written around 1880 and for this reason the wording is very old fashion and stiff to read. Yet, knowing the era the story is set in suits the formal writing. I found it easy to accept and even to ignore.

Heidi is about a young girl who lives in the Swiss mountains. Everyone who meets her falls under her spell as she is a girl of innocence and loves helping people. Her loving nature and giving heart result in people depending on her more than they should.

[pullquote align=”left”]Give with a willing heart.

Remember God in all that you do and the reward will be greater than your wish.[/pullquote]

The story is well known by most people, as it was to me. What I didn’t know was that the book is heavily religious orientated. These days, a writer is warned to be subtle in the messages they wish to share with their audience. The messages within Heidi were not subtle! The messages are clear and strong, sometimes even a bit overpowering, but I didn’t allow that to ruin the story.

I’m glad I read the ebook for no other reason than the fact that I can now say I’ve read it. It was good to revisit a childhood story and discover new things within it.