A new review of "Yankee Reconstructed" appeared today. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, but I think I like the description of "disturbingly accurate." If I catch the reader's meaning, he's admitting that the story is accurate but wishes it weren't. Here's what he wrote:
"Having grown up in another state, I was concerned about some references to historic events during Reconstruction in South Carolina. After reading sections, I researched the real events (i.e., in Abbeville and Camden) and found the book disturbingly accurate in historic detail. I enjoyed the symbolism of the Sheldon Church ruins, having been there many times. This book explored some complex issues with characters of that time, including the acknowledgment of families of mixed slave and plantation owner roots and the conflict for transplanted Northerners."
That's one of the problems of writing historical fiction, of course. We tend to want to romanticize the past. The past itself, however, can be really nasty. How much of the nastiness to include is the question with which every author must struggle to some extent. For a historian turned novelist, there's just no way to ignore the follies of our ancestors.
I'm curious to hear from other readers. Do you enjoy learning about the past even if the story contradicts your long-cherished beliefs? Do you want your writer to tell you the truth even when it hurts? Or do you prefer a pleasant, sanitized version of history -- one that offers nothing more than entertainment and an escape on a rainy afternoon?
order books on Amazon, you must, of course, open an account and provide
a credit card number. Beyond that, you can simply order one book at a time
for your permanent electronic library, just as you have always done. But
if you are looking for "deals" you may want to try one of these
Amazon Prime costs $99.00 a year, but it carries valuable benefits. You
get free two-day shipping on anything you order from Amazon, and that
includes everything from appliances to groceries. You also get unlimited
access to music, unlimited cloud storage for your photos, and access to
over 800,000 Kindle books. Through KOLL (Kindle Owners Lending
Library), you can borrow one book a month with no due dates. If you are a
Prime member, seven of my books will now be available in KOLL.
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service that costs $9.99 a month.
You can subscribe one month at a time, or for various longer periods
depending on how much you want to lay out in advance. This gives you
free access to over a million books and thousands of audiobooks. And as
explained above, seven of my books will now be available in Kindle
Unlimited. You can download up to ten at a time, and once again there
are no due dates. You keep them as long as you like.
both these options, the Kindle editions remain the property of Amazon,
and you are expected to return them when you no longer want them. I get
paid based on the number of pages you actually read, so long as you read
at least 10% of the book. (Of course, you won't be able to put mine
down, so that limitation does not bother me.) And you don't have to
read the book all at once. You can start it, put it down for a month or
more, and then go back and read some more. I get paid for the total
you read, no matter how long it takes you to do it.
the other part of the deal that I get for entering my books in KDP
Select and giving Amazon exclusive rights to distribute the electronic
editions. For each book, I can run a five-day free promotion offer in
every ninety-day period. (That's something that is not allowed if the
book is available on other distribution channels.) That's obviously a
great deal for readers. But what do I get out of it? Well, it puts my
books in the hands of more readers, it encourages Amazon to do separate
promotions of books that do well when offered for free, and, with luck,
the increased readership will produce more loyal followers and more
reviews on Amazon -- which in turn brings in more readers. Here's the Free Promotion schedule for this cycle.
In March, my history books will be available:
- "The Dilemma of Arnulf of Lisieux" from March 14 through March 18.
- "A Scratch with the Rebels" from March 28 to April 1.
In April we'll do the creative biographies:
- "Beyond All Price" from April 11 to April 15
- "The Road to Frogmore" from April 25 to April 29
And in May the historical novels will be on offer:
- "Damned Yankee" from May 9 to May 13
- "Yankee Reconstructed" from May 23 to May 27"
There’s an old, old joke about how one handles an 800-pound
gorilla. The answers usually include saying “Yes, Sir!” and giving him whatever
he wants. For indie writers and self
publishers, the 800-pound gorilla has always been Amazon. It dominate today’s
book world, selling more books than anyone else, newcomer or traditional
publisher. No one seems to have exact figures because they change minute by
minute, but a safe estimate is that it has something in the range of ten
million books available on its website.
From the time I first established my little self-publishing
imprint back in 2009, I argued against allowing Amazon to gain complete control
of my work. Certainly, I published my
books on the Kindle site and used the Amazon-affiliated CreateSpace to print
and circulate my paperback editions. But I was also determined to utilize as
many sales outlets as possible. I always recommended
Smashwords for its ability to place electronic editions in the Barnes and Noble
and Apple i-Book catalogs, as well on an ever-increasing number of smaller book
distribution sites. It cost me more to
get my books formatted for different sites, but I thought it was worth it, and
for a while, it was.
I also spoke out against Amazon’s new schemes to get writers
to give them exclusivity over certain books.
The promises of more support, free days, new promotions and things like
paying lending libraries just didn’t seem worth giving one company a monopoly
over publication. However, things change quickly in the publishing world, and I
have slowly begun to realize that many of these changes are reader-driven. If
one believes in a free-market system (and I do), then we need to listen when
the market speaks.
In the past five years, the value of using multiple distribution
channels has eroded noticeably. In 2010,
I could count on selling some 500 books a year through Smashwords with
royalties of approximately $2.00 per book—well worth paying someone $50.00 to
format a new manuscript for Apple and B&N. Then—steadily—the numbers declined. In the
first two months of 2016, I have sold exactly three books (total from 18 sales
channels) through Smashwords, at a profit of $4.26. And meanwhile, formatting
charges have increased to $100.00. It is simply no longer possible to justify avoiding
What has happened? I don’t have some magic explanation, but
when i look at my Kindle sales I see steady growth; when I look at Smashwords,
steady decline. Obviously the people who read my books have made a choice, for
whatever may be their reasons, to do their book buying on Amazon. And if that’s
where my readers are, that’s where I need to be as well.
So . . (drum roll for
announcement!) . . . starting tomorrow, most of my books will be available
exclusively on Amazon. That will make
them eligible for inclusion in the Lending Library and on the list of free
books available to Prime customers. Already tonight, someone has borrowed a
copy of “Damned Yankee” and read 190 pages. For those of you who have purchased
any of my books from other sites, rest assured that the copies have been
archived there. So if the dog eats your Nook, you can download another copy of
my books from Smashwords. However, if
you want to make a new purchase, you will have to do so on Amazon. We’ll give it a
90-day trial and see how it goes.