Monthly Archives: December 2012


I finally got my author copies of
– way too late to do the launch competition/ send to reviewers thing, just on the eave of my going back to Africa for a family wedding. None-the-less I will be having an Australia only competition in roughly two weeks time, when I am back :-).


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Competition and interview

If you would like a free copy of Cuttlefish and The Steam Mole

go here

you have 8 hours 🙂


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Steam Mole launch, redux.

It would seem that I was wrong. In fact THE STEAM MOLE is launching, well, being released (out of its cage, rampaging, breaking furniture) on the 11th of December. The date on Amazon (by which they shipped, and people received copies) was merely the original date, which got changed.

It is difficult (not impossible, but difficult) to change and update listings on Amazon. I understand this. I accept this. However, not telling the author is a poor idea. I’m going to talk about THE STEAM MOLE in another paragraph, but let me explain this clearly. Of the income derived from that and any other book’s cover price 10% will go to the author. The other 90% goes to the publisher, the distributor, the retailer. If it’s a paperback, that’s 8%. That is not, of course profit. All of the stages INCLUDING AUTHORS have costs. Without turnover, those costs cannot be met. I know, now, from publishing some of my own work to raise the money to bring my dogs and cats over, and now — like almost every other author out there, dabbling in Amazon KDP (Bolg –
), Smashwords etc. that I can, if I really push hard and tell everyone, and get some excitement going, sell about 1/3 of what having it published, distributed and retailed by the usual channels does. That, if you're publisher or distributor, makes me — for that book — more valuable than your single biggest retail outlet. If you're a retailer, I could massively increase the traffic going to your store rather than Fred's store. The picture above is a link to Amazon. If you click through there Amazon pay me 6% on that sale, and on anything else you buy in the same trip to their store. They give me Bookscan figures for free and they give me a platform to promote myself and my books. A platform where they add far more traffic to me than I add to theirs. The 'cost' of my time, money and effort (and the best outcome takes a lot of all of them, more than I have to spare, unless the return is good.) has always been carried by the author, although 90% of the turnover generated goes to the rest of the chain. Firstly, this is a losing proposition from my point of view as I can invest the same time, money and effort,and keep 76% of the income by doing it myself (publish independently – 1/3 of 76 is a lot more than 10%), and secondly not helping me to do it is obviously a losing proposition from those who take 90% of the income. Naturally the more they invest, or kick back to me, the more I'll do. If I have to wait and nag to get my copies, don't get ARCs, wait and wait and nag to get paid, and am kept out of the loop… well, I've done my bit. They can work for their 90%. They, as a retailer or publisher, may be investing heavily. But if that is invisible to me… then I am inclined to think why the hell should I do more than anyone else for a lot less than anyone else? There is no way that a retailer who could sell up to 1/3 of a publisher's books would not have received their copies well before the release, and no way that communication — from retailers, distributors and publishers which could help those sales would not be done… except to authors. This is not a poke at the Steam Mole’s publishers. So far I have dealt with five and in fact they’re better than most. It’s just not something that has occurred to the industry yet, they’re so used to authors carrying the internet publicity with no thanks and little support, and the smallest part of the return, that it hasn’t got through this is worth changing. And yes, I know. It's ONE book. They sell many. Trust me on this, divide the year by the number of new books dealt with that year… most authors would be delighted at 1/10 per book of what gets put into communicating with a distributor or retailer (about the same book) who can sell much less than the author does. So far the only part of the entire publishing chain – much as I worry about them, and don't like their potential dominance – that appears to put real value on my efforts and support them, is Amazon, who give me 6% if you buy (anything) from them via my links, a platform, and sales information that would cost me $150 a year for free. So, dear readers, please buy from them. I'd love to encourage you to support your local independent bookstore, and those bookstores who contact me to tell me they're hand-selling my books will get my support and recommendation. I know that side of retail battles and I don't expect you to match Amazon in cash – I'll take it in labor :-).

Anyway, back to THE STEAM MOLE. Obviously, I wrote it, it's adventure, and um, equally obviously, the good guys win. Not without cost and growth and tears of course, but hey, nothing for nothing. It is my first entirely Australian set novel, and it has been described as ‘something of a love-letter to Freer’s adopted country and a whacking good tale’

Basically it’s a story set around what I know best: survival against the elements, living by your wits off the country. Of course there is pursuit, and strange steam powered digging machines and flying wings, combat and heroism. When is there ever anything else? At stake is the Republic of Westralia’s richest mine, and probably the free country’s survival. Against the heroes, the desert, heat, greed, stupidity, and the Imperial forces, all determined to see the good guys fail. Our heroes are outnumbered, outweighed and all Tim and Clara have is their brains, courage and determination. You just have to feel bloody sorry for the enemy.


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Next Big Thing

My friend Chris McMahon asked me if I’d be prepared to do this. To help him out, I agreed. Now I just don’t do chain letters and this one has reached its end, anyway. I asked around. Everybody willing I that knew or at least could think of had done so. But by all means, volunteer.

Update: ha, a volunteer – due next Wednesday… Pam Uphoff

1) What is the working title of your next book?

‘current book’ (yes, that is what it is saved under). At the moment one is called CHANGELING’S ISLAND. The other is called Fred. Yes, two books at once. No, this is not a good thing.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book?

From my head. From that empty resounding space which should be full of folded grey muck called brain. Where do you get yours from? Those delightful people who write to you and say: ‘I’ve got a great idea for a story. You write it and we’ll split the money.’ ? Trust me on this one, this is not wise. CHANGELING’S ISLAND is the result of reading AGAINST PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, talking to an abalone diver about his one-time deckie, a person with aboriginal heritage, reading that many of the sealer-settlers here were in fact Celtic/Scots Irish islanders themselves, and that a belief in the second sight is widely held here. Put that into a fantasy-writer’s anti-computer AKA head, and the story had to come out. Fred is a result of cockatrice and a woman scorned and the unification of Italy… Okay so maybe I need to get out a bit more.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

It does not fall. It stands. Fights back. Resists to the last word. CI is probably going to be labelled as anti-urban Fantasy, and possibly as YA. Fred is Alternate history meets fantasy, have a passionate affair and Fantasy is left with a very odd love-child.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh! Should I run screaming into the night? Personally I favor Sylvester Stallone as the little grandmother, DiCaprio as my braces-on-her teeth heroine, and Julie Andrews to play my 15 year old sulky city brat boy hero, Brad Pitt ideal for the decayed corpse in a hole in chapter three, and Chuck Norris as the mermaid… Look, this is a BAD mistake. Never do this, or you tie your characters to known and narrow values, making it a lot harder for people to identify with them, and put their OWN characteristics into that frame.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Phttt! (If a book fitted into one sentence, why write a book? And yes, I am a professional, done a lot of books.)

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
One’s on contract, the other will go to my dear long-suffering Agent Mike Kabongo

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Long did I labor, and burned much midnight oil… Which manuscript? I’m still busy. It takes anything from 4 weeks to 4-5 months. Now stop bugging me.

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s like the Bride of Frankenstein meets the Eye of Argon with a dash of added Blathering Heights and a lot of the Cat-in-the-Hat! (Ergo, it isn’t. Like the crocodile, it is like itself. And the tears of it are wet. It is vaguely like other Dave Freer books, in that sense of humor and ethos are similar. If you like his books, you’ll like the next one.)

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The thought of living in a cardboard box under a bridge. I only look like a troll. Shrug. I am writing Fred for that reason, anyway. CI is a book which may well be unpublishable, in that it’s as un PC as ever I am (Yes, I did write the Bolg, PI: Wolfy Ladies (Bolg PI)
stories) Shrug. Idealism I suppose. Wanting to tell a story where being human counted not being a ‘designated victim’. Wanting to have a COUNTRY story instead yet another urban one. Wanting the values of people I considered quality, reflected as worth having.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Um. I’m sure there must be something. Really…
The author might have a sense of humor.
I think.

Anyone wishing to be tagged to answer this rather insipid lot of predictable questions… write to me. Maybe you can make your replies more entertaining than mine.

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The Steam Mole

Good grief. How time flies when you’re having fun.

THE STEAM MOLE came out today.

I hope someone who, (unlike the author) has a copy will tell me if they did a good job putting it together.


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