Free Short Story on Kindle

Today and Saturday you can pick up my free short story – A Night at Downers on the Kindle. After a long day at work, Ranger Devon Ardel finds her off-duty time is equally trying. This story is set on Ocherva, and features the Stellar Ranger unit seen in the novel, Starforgers.

If you enjoyed Starforgers, you’ll love this back story about Devon and her Rangers.

The Renoke Short Story

The first SF short story I ever published will be free this Friday and Saturday on Kindle. You can read it for free right here on the blog, but sometimes people like to read on their e-readers instead of their monitors. If that’s the case for you, then snag it for sure.

The above picture is a model that my buddy Ed Halbig and I made of the title starship. It was built from poster board and detailed with model paints and bits of plastic model parts. We used the model in a short film that we shot when we were in Junior High School. Yes, I said film. It was shot on Super-8 film back before you could get camcorders or digital video recorders.

The short story is about what happened when the ship was purchased by the owner, Joules Rouse. Rouse was featured in our short film, called Renegade. But the plot of the film and the plot of the short story are completely different. The Renoke is the first of series of short stories about the ship and its captain. I have not written the other stories yet. I will get back to them, eventually. But for now, enjoy this origins story.

 

February Kindle Numbers

Time once again to disclose the sales numbers for novels and shorts I have on the US market. The UK market was far less and all the other foreign markets resulted in no sales. The novels and the anthology were all selling at $2.99 and the short stories were all selling for .99 cents.

The red numbers are for free downloads from products that were listed for free for up to three days on the Kindle Select program. As you can see, nobody purchased those products when they were not free. Big goose eggs in the Sold column for those items. However, the Halo Effect did result in 3 sales of short stories that were not given away.

# Title Downloaded Sold
1 Null Pointer (novel) 667 0
2 Ocherva (short story) 86 0
3 Red Allen (short story) 94 0
4 Silicant Remorse (short story) 0 1
5 Starforgers (novel) 0 61
6 Starstrikers (novel) 0 28
7 Tales From Ocherva V1 (anthology) 0 1
8 The Outlaw (short story) 80 0
9 The Renoke (short Story) 0 1
10 Tyrmia (novel) 0 27

It was a decent month for the novels that were not on sale. Three of them sold over 20 which is some kind of record for me. Well, it ought to be anyway. Combined with the UK numbers, I was averaging about 4.5 books a day. Slightly down from the 5 per day in January.

For March, I’m changing things up again. This time I’ll be raising the prices of the novels from $2.99 to $6.99. No, I’m not crazy. I’m experimenting with pricing and a bit with marketing. I won’t be doing any free give away’s for the novels in March. The short stories are still going to be free one every weekend.

Raising prices above five US dollars is something I’ve never tried. Some people have reported increased sales with higher prices, others have report reduced sales but level income, due to higher profits. I’m using March to test the upper limit of ebook pricing for me personally. If  the market totally falls off to nothing, I’ll adjust the pricing and try again next month. I have that kind of flexibility because I’m not making enough off these things to earn a living at it. If I were, I’d be much less flexible.

I’m also considering rotating my books in and out of the Kindle Select program every three months. This will let me turn on books for the Nook market while they are out of the Kindle Select program. But they will still be for sale on the Kindle, just not in the Select program. Something tells me that this could actually work, especially for those who have three or more books out.

Come on back in April and see how I did with the higher prices.

 

Red Allen on Kindle Select

My Sci-Fi short story, Red Allen, is FREE for today and tomorrow on Kindle Select. This is one of my favorite stories about the legendary test pilot from the novel Starforgers. Set on an arctic starbase where Red must discover why a venerable starfighter is having mechanical problems.

This is also the kick off of my FREE WEEKEND series. You can get this fine short story free all weekend. Next weekend I will be offering up another short story and so on and so forth all through March. If the program is successful in bringing exposure to my novels and short stories, I’ll of course keep it going after this two month trial period.

Also of note, my Mystery novel – Null Pointer is also back on sale for this weekend. It’s about a programmer who must find a killer who strikes his victims over the internet. This one is not SF, it’s just a regular Mystery with a programmer as an amateur detective.

There is a good possibility that if you enjoy Science Fiction, you might be in the computer science field or Information Technology. Every single programmer who has read Null Pointer has enjoyed it. Some programmers say it’s one of their favorite books because it portrays them in a realistic manner. If you are a programmer, you should really check it out. How can you miss when it’s free?

If you read and enjoy Null Pointer, come back and read the short story – The Safe Cracker, featuring Detective Plait.

Writing Update

This week I’ve been busy polishing a short story that I will send to Kindling Press for their Uprising Rage Against The Machine anthology. Beta readers have been giving me input and I’ve been trying to make it as perfect as I can before submitting it.

If the story is rejected, it will appear as a digital short on Kindle. So either way, you will get your chance to read it. It’s called Stand Down and it takes place at the beginning of the Silicant Uprising in the Star Trilogy universe. Readers of Starforgers will find it very interesting.

I’ve also been getting things ready to start writing Starveyors, the final book of the Star Trilogy. At this time I’m not sure if I want to write it on the Macbook in Scrivener or just text files. It looks like I won’t be getting a new laptop until the Mac completely dies, so probably just just Scrivener this time. I just hope the Mac doesn’t die until I finish the novel. Because I won’t be replacing it with another Mac.

In other news, I’m helping a friend of mine start up an ebook formatting business. I won’t say much about it now, other than I will be using him from now on and that will let me focus more on writing. I’m excited to tell you all about him and his products when the time is right.

I also just turned in an interview with author Bryan Thomas Schmidt to be included in Ray Gun Revival magazine. You can read Bryan’s debut Space Opera book The Worker Prince, now being syndicated at RGR.

 

Writing Update

Time for a quick note to say what I’ve been working on lately. I just finished a first draft of a short story intended for a future anthology. If it does not get accepted, I’ll release it via Kindle as per my custom. The story is set in the same time frame as the new novel, Starforgers, and deals with the start of the Silicant Uprising. It’s out to beta readers now for comments and then I hope to wrap it up later this week and send it off.

I’m still working on fleshing out the outline for Starveyors, the final book in the Star Trilogy. I may hold off until January to start writing it though. Considering doing a few more short stories until the end of the year. I have a back-log of short stories that I’d like to try and get written.

Side note; I had forgotten how much of a Pantser I was when writing short stories. I always know what I want to have happen, but many of the details of how I get there are not known until I start writing it. While I love the discovery process, I could never do things that way for a whole novel.

I’ve switched back to the Ubuntu based HP Mini for my writing and composed the afore mentioned short on Bluefish. Then transfered it to LibreOffice Writer for final polish. I may just use LibreOffice Writer for composing short stories in the future. The small size of a short is well suited to an office application.

 

The Last Short Story of 2010

This morning I was looking at pictures of book shelves over on bookshelfporn.com. I started thinking of Senator Gail Constantine’s basement library and what it would look like. She’s a principle character in my WIP, Starforgers.  I have always been a bit of a bibliophile, and I knew that her character was one too. But this was a Sci-Fi story set in a time when nobody read old fashioned books anymore. Okay, maybe it was not so futuristic, but there is a sentient android in it. We don’t have those yet. Do we?

Anyway, I started to imagine Gail and her aide, a sentient android named Sumi-ness, discussing the merits of old fashioned paper books. I opened my browser to Google Docs and started a new document. Without knowing how it would end or how long it would be, I started writing. All the while, knowing that it would probably be written in the cloud and published on the web and read with browsers and e-books. In fact, this loving tribute to paper books, might never itself be printed in a book.

The story needs some cleaning up and then I get to show it to my Beta Readers next week, but eventually, it will get out to the world. It will have been the last short story I wrote in 2010 and the first new short story to appear in 2011.

Short Stories Are Up

I finished posting all the short stories set in the Starstrikers Universe to the Kindle Store this weekend. There are eleven total. I don’t have any plans to write more short stories in the near future, but you never know. In between novels, I sometimes knock one or two shorts out.

It’s kind of fun having more than one page of my work in the DTP Bookshelf. I got a bit more creative with the introductions to the final few stories. I included a picture of the Renoke starship in the story of the same name and I included a universe map/time line of sorts in another. The next logical step would be to create a Guide to the Starstrikers Universe. But I’m afraid that would be too much effort for now. I may start building it in my spare time and just release it whenever I have something useful to my readers. Considering how few actual readers I have, that may not happen for a while. ;-)

Next week I’m jumping back into the first draft of Starforgers and not thinking much about the short stories anymore. It is cool to have my entire canon available to Kindle users though. Maybe if there is sufficient interest, I could upload them all to Smashwords too.

Look for the newly published short stories to all be available in the next few days.

Short Story Collection

My first short stories are appearing on Amazon’s Kindle today. Some of you may be wondering why I’m publishing my shorts as e-books. After all, you can get a bunch of them cheaper by purchasing Tales From Ocherva, Volume One. Why would you buy them individually? Well, two reasons. One – you only want to sample my writing. And Two – you just can’t bear not having every single story I have published.

Actually, the collect-ability of the short story e-books might be something to consider. I have taken care to construct the covers so that they are unique to each Generation in the Starstrikers Universe. The First Generation stories all have light gray titles and the white marble side bar. The Second Generation stories have a darker gray for the titles and the concrete with a crack on the side bar. The Third Generation stories have the stainless steel side bar and white titles. So far only the First Generation stories are available. But in the weeks to come, I will have all my Starstrikers Universe short stories published.

I still don’t like Amazon’s Kindle icon over my book covers. All my books are written by Ken McConne. I refuse to alter my covers to make my own name visible on just Amazon’s site. The short story covers turned out pretty sweet, considering all the ideas I cycled through to get to the final version. My only regret with them is not putting numbers on them to show the order they should be read. Still pondering how to get across the universe’s time line to my readers. I may do the numbers in the next version. It’s not too hard to modify the covers. Even with so many of them released. I have eleven stories total to publish at this time. Nine of them are First Generation, and one each are Second and Third Generation.

Double the Fun

Today I finalized the look of my short story covers and then published four short stories in epub format to Amazon Kindle. They should show up for sale in the next few days. I used Sigil to create my ebooks. Sigil is open source and available cross platform. I used Gimp to build my covers and that program is open source and cross platform too. The code validation system I used is a web site called Threepress.org and is open for anyone to use.

If you know XHTM and CSS, rolling your own e-books is not that difficult. If you don’t have those skills, it becomes much more challenging. But if you use the tools mentioned above and you have some basic web design knowledge, you should be able to crank out a decent e-book.

I placed a greater effort on the covers with these short stories. The design is simple and ties in well with the Starstrikers novel. Because the only thing that changes from story to story is the title, I can also crank out lots of covers with minimum effort. I will be releasing more stories over the holiday weeks. Each will be set in the same Starstrikers Universe and will have similar covers. When a reader comes across these story covers on Amazon, it will soon be obvious that they are short stories and that they are related. It’s a great way to sample my writing if you are new to my work and a great way to collect my stories if you are a fan.

Eventually, some of these stories will be released that are not available for e-books anywhere else. That is the end goal here, get all my canon out there and available for those who own Kindles or use Amazon software on their devices. I may eventually do the same on Smashwords, but for now, I am focusing on just the Kindle audience.