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.