Available eBook Formats

There are two main formats in use for eBooks. The first – MOBI – is used by Amazon and the second – EPUB – is used by pretty much everyone else.

I made Newton’s Ark available in EPUB format via Barnes and Noble, Apple and Sony using Smashwords as the intermediary. I haven’t been entirely satisfied with that arrangement for a number of reasons, the most important being that it gives me very little control over the information that appears in those online bookstores.

I’m going to try a different approach with Fullers Mine. If you want a copy in EPUB format to use with your Nook or Sony Reader or Apple’s iBooks app, just send proof that you purchased the paperback or Kindle version to contact@dahillauthor.com and I’ll send you the file.

Almost Here!

Fuller’s Mine, the sequel to Newton’s Ark is finally finished, with all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed (I hope!) and is within a week of being released on Kindle and two weeks in paperback.

In the end it was a little longer than I expected, weighing in at 111,000 words (compared to 77,000 for Newton’s Ark) or 350 pages, but there is an awful lot going on so I think it’s all worthwhile.

Here’s the blurb from the paperback cover (warning mild spoilers for Newton’s Ark – come back after you’ve read the first book):

Surviving the end of the world is one thing.
Retaining your humanity is another.

A small group led by Tyra Martin survives the asteroid in an underground hideout, waiting for the murderous fight over dwindling food supplies to end. Just as they begin considering a return to a normal life on the surface, a tragic encounter drives them back into hiding.

Aboard Newton’s Ark, Cyrus Jones discovers that their virtual world may not be the utopia James Newton envisaged. As he and his brilliant son work tirelessly to find a way to return to the surface and the physical world, oppression grows unchecked, tearing his family apart.

Hell-bent on re-population, the leaders of what remains of the United States steadily sacrifice basic rights and freedoms, especially for women, to achieve their goal.

When these three groups cross paths, Cyrus and his family confront difficult choices about love, revenge, and belonging, and he is forced to decide just how willing he is to wield the almost unlimited power at his disposal in order to protect the people he cares about.

Fuller’s Mine, the sequel to Newton’s Ark, explores the challenges of rebuilding society after modern civilization is destroyed.

Kindle MatchBook

Amazon have just announced a new program known as Kindle MatchBook which allows publishers to offer Kindle versions at a discounted price to customers who have purchased a hard copy version of the book.

For past and future buyers of the paperback edition of Newton’s Ark, the Kindle edition will be available for free.

The same deal will apply to the sequel, Fuller’s Mine, due to be released this month.

Computerized minds

For anyone interested in the scientific basis of the concept of computers that emulate human minds that is so central to the story in Newton’s Ark, this article might be interesting.

The lede is that a computer has simulated 1% of the human mind. But for me the takeaway is the following quote (emphasis mine):

“If peta-scale computers like the K computer are capable of representing 1% of the network of a human brain today, then we know that simulating the whole brain at the level of the individual nerve cell and its synapses will be possible with exa-scale computers hopefully available within the next decade.”

In the Newton’s Ark timeline, Emulated Minds first appear somewhere in the mid-2020s.

Awards

The Colorado Independent Publishers Association held their annual EVVY awards this past weekend.

While Newton’s Ark did not win a major prize, it did win a Merit Award.

It is always pleasing to have strangers who have no reason to tell me anything other than the truth say that my first novel is actually worth reading. I’ve always thought so (although my writing has continued to develop as I complete the sequel and I can now see a number of ways in which Newton’s Ark could be improved), but it’s hard to judge  your own work objectively when you have invested so much time and effort and are so close to it.

100,000 words

I’ve just passed 100,000 words on the first draft of Fuller’s Mine. I’m guessing that by the time I finish the story and then edit, the final length will be about that. For comparison, Newton’s Ark is 76,000 words.

One of the questions I asked when I set out to write my first novel, was how how many words are required to be considered a novel?

I soon discovered there’s no hard and fast answer, but 70,000 – 100,000 words is considered typical, to the extent there can be any such thing as typical when there are famous novels of less than 50,000 words (e.g. Fahrenheit 451) and more than 500,000 words (e.g. War and Peace).

The right answer of course is it needs to be as long as it needs to be and no longer.

Angela’s Choice

I’m 90% done on the first draft of Fuller’s Mine, but I have one unresolved story line.

At the end of the story Angela Faraday, who we met as a child in book one but is now an adult, has to make a difficult choice about her future. She has three options, none of them appealing. I’ve written versions of the scene where she decides with each of the choices and still can’t decide, partly because she can’t really decide. All the choices really suck. At this point I’m even thinking of leaving it unresolved, which  in some ways rings true, although her inaction would be a choice in herself. Perhaps that is the right solution. She chooses by not choosing which is something people do all the time.

Any thoughts appreciated.

A Review, A Review, My Kingdom for a Review

If Richard III had been an author, I’m sure that would have been his most famous line, uttered moments before they killed him and buried him under a future car park.

There are now more than one thousand copies of Newton’s Ark in the hands of readers. That’s good news.

The bad news is that a grand total of 11 people have left a review on Amazon.com (but with a gratifying average rating of 4.6 stars).

At 99 cents a copy I’m not doing this for the money, I’m doing it because I want to share something I’ve created with other people. Fortunately I’m fairly sure most of those thousand copies have been read, so I suspect the real problem is that people really, really don’t like writing book reviews. Who would have thought, huh? I read recently of an author who offered his book at a significantly discounted price in return for a promise to leave a review. Turns out only 9% of those who promised to do so actually did.

Did I mention that people don’t like writing book reviews? So I know I’m swimming upstream here, but if you’ve read Newton’s Ark and enjoyed it and haven’t left a review, please, please do. I would love to know what you thought of it.

In fact even if you didn’t like it please leave a review. Even if you hated it. I mean that sincerely.

Ideally, be specific about what you did or didn’t like. That’s important for two reasons. First, if gives me something to work on for those things you didn’t like or to keep doing for those you did and second, what didn’t appeal to you might not be a big deal to someone else and vice versa.