Friday, May 31, 2013

Why Book Groups Might Want to Read Wander Home

I've only just joined my first book group -- but my parents have been in book groups for years, and I have friends and acquaintances who belong to such groups. When I find Discussion Guides in the backs of books, I read them, and imagine the discussions they might provoke. And I believe my novel Wander Home would make for some interesting talk around a book club circle. (I'm using "book group" and "book club" interchangeably, and hope I'm not tripping carelessly into some mine field of disputed terminology.)

To begin with, Wander Home is set in an afterlife. Who doesn't have ideas or fantasies about what an afterlife might involve? My father the unshakeable atheist, perhaps -- but I would guess that most people have at some time imagined, or hoped, or feared, what might happen in a life after this one. Members of the group could discuss their own ideas, and express their opinions on the plausibility, desirability or utility of the features I've included.

There's also the question of just what kind of afterlife these characters are inhabiting. Does it fit into the structure of any established religion -- and if so, where?

Wander Home explores several themes that use, but do not depend upon, its unearthly setting. Forgiveness is one. Readers could ask themselves, and each other: if you were Cassidy, what would have to happen for you to forgive your mother? If you were Eleanor's parents, or her grandmother, how hard would it be to forgive what Eleanor did to you, or to Cassidy? If you were Eleanor, could you forgive yourself?

The critically minded could ask whether the plot device that eventually explains Eleanor's actions "works." Is it successful? Forced? Satisfying, or the reverse?

The characters have the chance to revisit old haunts. Where would you go, if you could? Whom would you want to take with you?

This afterlife allows you to relive, and to share, the memories of life. Are there memories you long to relive? Are some memories too painful to revisit? Is there anything to be gained by experiencing that pain?

These questions only scratch the surface of where the discussions could go. So -- am I right? Is this a book for book groups, or what? J

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Hadn't Anastasia Steele Ever . . .

And now for something completely different. The following has absolutely nothing to do with my new book (*cough* Twin-Bred sequel *cough*). It just occurred to me. In the shower (where several scenes in Fifty Shades of Grey take place).

How the heck did Anastasia Steele go through childhood, adolescence, and the first years of adulthood without masturbating?

Virginity, I can understand. Her fellow undergraduates lacked the qualities that turned out to attract her. (I could, however, imagine her falling for the right kind of English professor. Hmmm . . . the chain of fan fiction could continue . . . .) But she's sexually responsive -- unusually so. She has no psychological inhibitions against experiencing sexual pleasure. Her family history might render her cautious about unprotected premarital sex, but there's nothing about it that would make her actually puritanical. Which, in fact, she isn't.

And she has a certain tendency toward curiosity.

It makes no sense that she would never have investigated her own body's capacity for pleasure -- or even discovered the same, accidentally, while exploring her developing body.

Certainly, her utter sexual ignorance fits with the more simplistic aspects of the romance formula. But it's the least plausible aspect of her character.

You may now resume thinking about other contemporary literature. :-)

Release Day -- and where I've been

So if you're keeping track, you may have wondered why, after all the talk about releasing my book today, I haven't posted yet.

Well, I've been busy on Facebook, SheWrites, Goodreads, Book Blogs, etc., etc. So to get a snapshot of just part of my frenetic day, head over to my Facebook author page and scroll, scroll, scroll.

And if you'd like to see the new book in situ, stop by the Amazon page for Reach: a Twin-Bred novel.

In closing, I'll quote the particularly appropriate first line of Reach:

"And so they were underway."

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I Mess Up, You Get the Benefit -- or, Now I Know

Well, I've figured something out. It's just a little too late for me to use that knowledge, this time around. But at least you all can learn from my mistake.

Whenever I've considered a possible book title, I've searched for it on Amazon. I assumed, for some reason, that the first results to come up in such a search would be books with that exact title. If the title consisted of only one word, I assumed that every book with that word and no other in its title would be listed first. So if, for example, I did not find many books, and hardly any novels, with the simple title of Reach, I figured there weren't many out there. I also assumed, without even thinking about it, that any reader trying to find my book would be able to find it fairly easily.

Through dumb luck, I decided to add a subtitle to my latest novel, the sequel to Twin-Bred -- because there was a video game called Reach, and I preferred to avoid any confusion. But I figured that if anyone searched Amazon or B&N with the main title by itself, there it would be.

Well, guess what? Whatever algorithms govern search results on these sites, they don't favor an exact match -- or not enough to prevent many, many other titles with overlapping words, or even sound-alike words, from coming first, based on popularity or some other factor(s).

I had reasons for choosing Reach as my primary title. Both its meanings -- to attempt to grasp, and to arrive -- suited the book nicely. But if I'd known how hard it would be for would-be buyers to track down the book, I'd have tried harder to find an utterly unique title. Ironically, I would not have known how well I'd succeeded until the book was published with a particular title -- because only then could I examine the search results and see how far down in the list the book appeared.

So maybe you won't gain all that much from my frustrating experience . . . except the knowledge that if you want to find any of my books, and you can't, try searching for my name. Use my full name, Karen A. Wyle. That works like a charm.

Well, on Amazon, searching for Reach: a Twin-Bred novel works just fine. I just have to hope my would-be readers aren't lazy.

And to give credit where credit is due: Reach by itself works on Smashwords! Nook readers, head there!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Just to Clarify, Only Partially Succumbing to Forces of Darkness (aka Kindle Select)

As I posted yesterday, I'll be pulling Twin-Bred from Smashwords and the places to which Smashwords distributes, so as to give KDP Select another try as I publish the sequel. In fact, I've been advised to do so ASAP, given the sequel's May 23rd release date -- so today is the last day the .epub of Twin-Bred will be available for some time. (And to repeat, it's free while it's available at all.)

BUT: I am not currently planning to put Reach: a Twin-Bred novel into Select. Not now, and not any time in the foreseeable future. I'm reluctantly accepting the restrictions of Select in order to distribute the first book far and wide, in the hope that the book (and the teaser chapter of Reach at the back of the book) will lure people to the sequel. The sequel itself is going to stay available in as many formats as possible. And it probably won't be free very often. As I've said here and there, $2.99 is around (or less than) the price of a latte, and I hope the book will linger longer.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

For one brief shining moment, Twin-Bred is free on Smashwords

I originally planned to make the ebook of Twin-Bred free, on as many sites as possible, once its sequel, Reach: a Twin-Bred novel, came out. Reach isn't officially "released," although it's actually available on Smashwords already (so Smashwords has time to distribute it to various other booksellers by the release date of May 23rd). However, as I mentioned yesterday, I've reluctantly decided (if I don't change my mind) to put Twin-Bred in the KDP Select program for at least one term, as a way to promote Reach.

So to make it up to you folks -- especially those who can only read .epub or PDF ebooks -- I've made Twin-Bred free on Smashwords for the few days before it disappears into the black hole of KDP Select. Whether Smashwords will manage to change the price on B&N, Kobobooks and/or iBookstore before I have to pull it, I don't know.

Here's the link:

Friday, May 10, 2013

Meanwhile, on Facebook and Twitter: random lines from Reach

A couple of weeks ago, in one of the articles I've been reading about promoting one's book release, I found an intriguing suggestion: tweeting lines from the book. I liked that idea and started tweeting random lines from Reach: a Twin-Bred novel, with the (appropriate if unimaginative) hashtag #randomline. However, I soon realized the problem: many of my tweets are political, and potential readers shouldn't have to wade or weed through those. So I moved the posts to my Facebook author page -- which also posts to Twitter.

If you'd like to catch up, amble on over to, and scroll down to the May 5th entry, which included the lines I'd previously tweeted.

I'm moving more or less chronologically. Today's line was from Chapter 5.

Happy bite-sized reading!

Window of Opportunity Before I Join the Dark Side (for Ninety Days)

I had an enlightening email exchange this morning with a blogger whose day job is book publicity. She told me that it's their Standard Operating Procedure to put a book into the KDP Select program before its sequel is released, and to do a giveaway just before that release.

I'd been planning to make the ebook of Twin-Bred free -- on my website and via various online vendors, and in multiple formats -- as soon as the sequel, Reach: a Twin-Bred novel, comes out on May 23rd. But I hadn't considered the advantages of having the Amazon machine pushing the freebie with all its mighty algorithms. I believe I need to pursue those advantages. So a few days before May 23rd, I'll be yanking Twin-Bred from Smashwords, through which it's distributed to the Nook Store, iBookstore, Kobobooks, etc., and putting it in KDP Select. (That's assuming Amazon will let me. I had Twin-Bred in Select once before and withdrew it. I believe one can do so once and be forgiven. Do it twice, rumor has it, and that book is barred thenceforth.)

Which means: if you don't have the ebook of Twin-Bred, and you want the ebook, and you need the .epub or you don't like buying from Amazon, then it's time to head to the non-Amazon ebook vendor of your choice -- before the ebook vanishes beyond the Select event horizon for at least ninety days.

Can I Tempt Your Book Group?...

If anyone reading this post belongs to a book group, allow me to dangle some temptation before you.

I'll happily provide a discussion guide for any of my books. I can customize such a guide, depending upon what sort of discussions you prefer. I can also Skype with your group, or -- if you happen to be within an hour or so of Bloomington, IN -- show up in person to chat.

Also, if any member(s) can't conveniently read ebooks, I can arrange for a substantial discount on one or more paperback copies.

Books currently available: Twin-Bred and Wander Home. As of May 23rd, Reach: a Twin-Bred novel (the sequel to Twin-Bred) will be available as well.

Nu? (That's Yiddish for: well? so? waiting on you. . . .)

Monday, May 06, 2013

Cover reveal: Reach, the Twin-Bred sequel

As promised, here's the cover for Reach, the sequel to Twin-Bred. (As I mentioned in my last post, the full official title is Reach: a Twin-Bred novel, not to be confused with the "Reach" associated with the Halo video game.)

There have been some pre-publication snafus, mostly due to my absent-mindedness, but I'm still hoping to make the May 23rd release date.

Friday, May 03, 2013

New cover for Twin-Bred, with original cover art incorporated

It's cover reveal time! :-)

Later this month, I'll be publishing the sequel to my SF novel Twin-Bred. One of the sequel's beta readers, David Leek, used to do graphic design professionally, and offered to design the cover for the sequel, since the cover artist for Twin-Bred (my busy college student daughter) wouldn't be available. David's beautiful design, which I'll feature in my next post, didn't have much in common with the Twin-Bred cover. I asked him if he could incorporate the cover art from Twin-Bred into a revised Twin-Bred cover that would match the look of the sequel -- and this is the glorious (IMHO) result.

I tweaked and fiddled and came up with this ebook version:

(I'm not sure why the color is different. I'll have to see what I can do about that.)

The new cover is already on Smashwords, and will be on B&N once Smashwords distributes to them. (I pulled the book from PubIt so as to more easily make it free, as I'll be doing for at least a while when the sequel comes out.)

(OK, I'll stop being coy. The sequel's title is Reach: a Twin-Bred novel. I added the subtitle because there's a video game called Reach, and I don't want any confusion.)

Tune in next time to see the Reach cover!