Sunday, September 8, 2013

Ghosts in the machine, and other stuff.

Alert readers of my Facebook page will know that work has begun on the first draft of Crosswind, Book One of Land, Sea, Sky. I'm now up to almost 25,000 words, after a good 5,000-word day yesterday. The first LSS short story -- "Where Were You When?" -- came out a couple of weeks ago.  I'm thinking I'll release the second one, which is called "Change of Plans," right around the fall equinox; the third, "Prophecy," will be out in mid- to late October.

Anyway, progress has been made on the new book -- which made for an interesting morning today, when I booted up the computer and noticed my usual background was gone. Then I noticed a bunch of my desktop icons were gone. And then I tried to open my e-mail program and found all my e-mails were gone. And all my bookmarks were gone from Firefox, too. Aieee.... I spent some time doing damage control instead of writing, and then I shut the computer down and went to book club. When I got back tonight, I restarted the beast -- and everything's back where was last night: icons, e-mails, bookmarks, all fixed.

I have absolutely no idea what happened. One of life's little mysteries, I guess.  The good news is that I didn't lose any of my data files -- which means I still have all 25,000-ish words of Crosswind. Whew.

In less personal news, the Apple price-fixing case is over -- at least until Apple files an appeal. This past week, US District Judge Denise Cote handed down Apple's sentence: the company cannot enter into so-called "most favored nation" agreements with any publishers; and it is prohibited from sharing a publisher's information with a competitor, including information about promotions and pricing. The court will set up a compliance monitor to make sure Apple is toeing the line. Interestingly enough, the decision applies only to e-books; Apple's strategies in relation to music and apps were not affected. Judge Cote said she didn't want to stifle innovation in those markets.

Thanks to this whole mess, you probably received an e-mail this week from your favorite e-book retailer, outlining the terms of your refund(s) due from the publishers who were charged with price-fixing along with Apple, but which settled rather than go to trial. According to the e-mails I received, it looks like Amazon and Nook will credit your refund to your account, while Sony will send out checks. I haven't bought any e-books from Kobo, so I didn't get an e-mail from them. If you did, please leave a note in the comments; I'm interested to know what all the affected retailers are doing. I also didn't receive an e-mail from iBooks, but maybe they're waiting for the trial to conclude before they begin setting up any refund machinery.

Speaking of Amazon, it has recently instituted a program called MatchBook. If you've ever bought a hard-copy book from Amazon since it was founded in 1995, you can now buy the ebook version for no more than $2.99. Sounds like a great deal if you're interested in digitizing your whole library, right? The problem is that very few trad publishers are taking part -- according to Digital Book World, only HarperCollins has signed up thus far. Amazon's publishing imprints are playing, of course. And so is Kindle Direct Publishing, which is the platform indies use to get their books onto Amazon, so I've enrolled SwanSong and the Pipe Woman Chronicles in MatchBook. I expect I'll do the same for the LSS novels.

The vast majority of my sales are e-books, so I don't expect to see huge financial rewards from the MatchBook program. But hey, if you bought a paperback of any of my novels and you're thinking of getting a Kindle, it's nice to know that the e-books won't cost you a fortune.

This moment of calm-after-the-panic blogginess is brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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