Tag Archives: kindle direct publishing

Now for Kindle! Mousewings: a post-apocalyptic urban fairy tale

“If you were three mice in a cage, one of you would be the weakest mouse. When the other two mice got hungry enough they would eat the weakest mouse. Eat it until its tumors were lying exposed on its back, or till someone from the lab came in and gave it a shot. Put it out of its misery. We’d do it for a mouse…”

It’s the end of the world. A disease decimates the population. A cancer-researcher’s home is invaded by two escapees from a housing project, making their way to the coast. A giant bird-turned-man haunts her memories. Mice turn cannibal under pressure; are human beings any different?

Over the last two years, I’ve uploaded my produced plays to Amazon. First POST, then Playing it Cool, then Stuck Up A Tree.

Now it’s time for Mousewings.

Bird behind Rin

Rob Flett and Catriona Grozier in Mousewings.

Mousewings was produced in Edinburgh during the 2007 Fringe – my last Fringe in Scotland (for the time being). Written in response to a call for work from the Bedlam theater, a venue run by Edinburgh University, it was also the first play I wrote for a specific commission. As part of the Traverse Young Writer’s Group, I received an email letting me know about the opportunity, and a short while later was sat opposite the venue manager and publicity manager in a pub near Edinburgh Uni, describing two possible plays they might be interested in staging. When I finished, the venue manager nodded and asked, “Which one are you more interested in writing?”


Alastair Gillies and Rachel O’Conner in Mousewings.

Thus began production work on Mousewings. I contacted Emma Taylor, the director I’d worked with on Stuck Up A Tree, and asked if she’d be interested in working on this one. We held a casting call and found our Bird, Sylvie, Rin and Kyle, and the adventure began in earnest. I reached out to graphic design companies, and Definitely Red created a creepy, haunting graphic for our posters, postcards and program. Rehearsals were held in the Edinburgh Playhouse’s event space, discussions of the play’s relationship to pop culture introduced me to The Walking Dead (the graphic novels) for the first time, and I got to watch Emma and the cast bring this eerie twilight horror tale to life. It was nothing short of thrilling. The play hit its mark, earning reviews that proved it from a number of publications during the Fringe.

After many months and a few false starts, I’m thrilled to announce that Mousewings is now available on Amazon, exclusively for Kindle.

I hope you enjoy the play.

Buy or borrow Mousewings on Amazon.

DraftCover2 copy

The Buying Habits of the Paying Readers of Self-Published Authors

A week or so ago, I had a conversation with a friend who reads a lot of e-books. While though her preferred genre – supernatural YA fiction – isn’t one where I’ve yet published, it was still great to hear her opinion on what worked and what had changed in the field since she had started reading e-books, particularly the self-published ones.

She’s noticed a couple of different trends:

– Where books used to be 400-600 pages, now they usually topped out around 250.

– Prices went up as series built their readership – and while she found this frustrating, she also acknowledged that it was a self-perpetuating system.

She also told me that every week, she gets a selection of free books, and those are the ones she reads – before she reads anything else. Which brought to mind something I had seen discussed a week or two ago, about how Kindle Select and its and free loans might be degrading the market for paying fiction readers. What my friend was telling me was exactly the opposite: the writers finding financial success were the ones whose stories were of a quality compelling enough to make people keep reading them. While the first book might be free, the second, third or fourth could rise as much as a dollar per volume in cost.

A while ago, I talked about why I wasn’t feeling particularly gung-ho about Kindle Select; for authors in specific genres, such as coming-of-age YA fiction, though, I suddenly understand where the impetus could come in to offer a short sample of work – but a whole novel?

My friend said that one of her frustrations with the indie market was a lack of well-edited work. By this, she was talking not just about proofreading, but about actual editing: someone who has gotten down in the trenches with the writer and helped them make their story as strong as possible.

I can understand why a reader might want to go on a short trip with an author, a setting, and a group of characters before setting out on a longer journey. But isn’t that what sample chapters are for? Is free, Kindle-Select-Accessible material a requirement for self-published authors who want to make an impact? If so, how might that impact writing trends overall? Is it just a YA thing? Just a genre thing? What about in literary fiction; what’s going on in those self-publishing circles? Is the tendency to read free books first part of why Smashwords and B&N sales are abysmal, because their platforms don’t provide options for free sampels?

HOT MESS: speculative fiction about climate change, is available for Kindle, Nook, on Smashwords and in print.. Cover design by Sarah Hartley.

Now, some of this is navel-gazing – after all, Hot Mess: speculative fiction about climate change is still selling steadily, and we neither used Kindle Select nor did I have other offerings for sale when the book was published.

But I do have other work in the pipeline. Haiku Of The Living Dead, for example, which is a Zombie Haiku compilation I’m putting together with Miranda Doerfler, which will likely not be eligible for Kindle Select because we’re allowing submissions to be made in public forums (including in the comments to this blog entry) accepting submissions throughout the week

So many questions. Clearly I have some reading up to do. But if any of my readers want to talk about their self-published-fiction-buying habits in the comments, your perspective would be appreciated.