Weekend News – Gym Djinni on Patreon, Doctorow on Audible, and more!

Hey there folks! It’s only Thursday, I know, but I’m kicking off this weekend’s news post a little early because, plainly put, there’s news to be discussed! And we’re just going to dive right into it.

First up, there’s a new short story on Patreon for supporters! This one was a lot of fun to write, and it’s definitely going in the next Unusual Events book. Which I do have a decent pile of shorts for at this point. I should get on that. Though give how poorly the last one did, it’s not exactly a red-hot-right-now push.

Anyway, this story is titled Gym Djinni, and it sees a young museum worker at the gym spy something … quite extraordinary. Things only get stranger from there. It’s 7,000 words (actually short, I know) and was an absolute blast to write. Supporters, I hope you enjoy this one. Everyone else will have to wait until a little later. Or … you can just become a Patreon Supporter. It’s not exactly bank-breaking to do so (at least, I hope).

Either way, enjoy the story. I had fun writing it, and I think you’ll have a good time reading it.

Now, on to other news! I awoke this morning to an interesting post in my feed: A guest post on Brandon Sanderson’s site from Cory Doctorow regarding Audible and the unwelcome state—from an author’s perspective—of audiobooks.

And frankly, I think he’s got some very solid points. He echoes a few concerns and gripes I’ve noted with Amazon (and in my case, other places) in my posts about their advertising practices, but also discusses some less-than-savory ongoing problems with Audible that you may or may not have heard of.

Now, I get that people love audiobooks. But I can also see how it’s being abused, and badly, with royalties that are badly out of proportion for the author and worse, some downright nasty dirty moves from Audible (such as outright encouraging people to return audiobooks within a generous window, even after it has been finished, and then taking 100% of the refund straight from the author royalty, whilst keeping the money Audible had made for itself).

You can check it out here. I do recommend it. Especially if you’re a heavy audibook listener, you might want to be aware what’s going on behind the scenes and why that habit might not be helping the author the way you think.

Myself? I still don’t have audiobooks. Though stuff like this makes that less likely, not more, since it seems like it’d be all but impossible to recoup the costs without some sort of external marketing.

Like I said, give it a look. More news after the jump.

In other news, the rain of mystery ratings on Amazon continues. Last night Colony jumped by over thirty ratings in a single blitz, and unlike with One Drink, this actually did boost the overall rating a bit, moving it into 4.5 territory with rounding. At this point it would appear that wherever these are coming from, Amazon’s fine with it, and so I’m lending more credence to the idea that Amazon realized something was backlogged somewhere and not applying ratings after they’d been received.

But it is nice to see a bunch of high ratings drop in. One Drink, Dead Silver, Unusual Events, and Colony have all received a sudden boom in their numbers as of today, and things seem to be following the date of release. Which means Shadow of an Empire should be next. Again, I don’t know where these ratings are coming from, but I guess if some server wasn’t reporting in …

Like I said, I emailed Amazon about this, and their response was to shrug. Since they take rating boosting so seriously (that’s not sarcasm, by the way), the only remaining conclusion is that these are genuine, and the theory amid the community about a specific region’s ratings not being uploaded may very well be accurate. Said region was European, for the curious.

None of these are reviews, but it’s still nice to see. One Drink is now six away from a hundred, and Colony isn’t far behind. At this point it’s like watching a race for me, because something is going to break that ceiling before long, and if it isn’t One Drink or Colony, it’s definitely going to be everyone’s favorite banking dragon, Axtara.

You can check out the new ratings over on the Amazon page if you’re curious. It’s not required. But it is interesting.

Now, the last bit of news for today is actually a substantial one. You know those off-the-grid Alaska trips I do every so often? Well, it looks like this year that may start halfway through April. And last five weeks. Minimum.

I know, it’s kind of short notice. Rest assured that I’ll get every Being a Better Writer article for that period done before I go. Scheduled and set up.

Granted, there won’t be any of the links on the Discord channel, unless I can figure out how to automate that. Twitter’s already dead, since I’m not willing to shell out a bunch of money, so I don’t have to worry about that.

But there’s one other thing that’s worth noting about this: I won’t be back until after the closing of submissions for Dog Save the King. Which means I need to figure out my entry for that collection ASAP and get it written and submitted.

Plus a million other smaller things will have to be taken care of. So I’ll be rushing a bit over the next few weeks as I gear up for this. However, I may use the trip as a chance to plot out several books at once. Including a long-awaited project.

But outside of that news, I do have one last little thing to bring up. This year, so far, the planned projects are to write and publish the Jacob Rocke novel, plus another Axtara book, with the third writing project decided by Patreon Poll.

But I do need to set aside some time for looking at paperbacks for the UNSEC Space Trilogy. And, while on that note … Who would be interested in the Fireteam Freelance series getting polished up and published. I personally would kind of like to get a box set made up of it. Four smaller paperbacks, each one with a quarter of the episodes and some of the extra content, such as the censored and uncensored interviews.

Any thoughts on that? Leave ’em in the comments!

Anyway, that’s it for the news, at least for the moment. I’m sure more will follow. Leave your thoughts and comments below!

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