Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Xavier the Grape

Just a quick post for my readers. Below is a YouTube video you have to watch. It is about the adventures of Xavier the Grape. Some friends made it recently on a trip to beautiful, sunny Puerto Rico. Hope it gives it you a good laugh!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Star Wars, John Carter is your father!

During this year's Super Bowl, I saw a commercial for a movie that intrigued me. In many ways, the movie reminded me of such films as Avatar and Star Wars. As I watched the commercial with friends, one of them mentioned that it was based on a series of books that he read as a child. I asked him the name of the series, and he said, "John Carter of Mars."

The thing is, the John Carter series is known better under other names such as The Barsoom Series, or by the individual titles of the books, the first one being A Princess of MarsIt was started in 1912 by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the popular Tarzan series.

Given that I enjoyed the movie preview and a friend testified to the books being good, I downloaded A Princess of Mars to my Kindle. As I read the first book, I loved it. It is an action story for sure and is set on the planet of Mars. Although the natives of Mars actually call the planet Barsoom. To read something that holds up well after 100 years in existence is quite a treat.

I noticed something in the books that couldn't be denied. While the movie trailer I saw reminded me of Star Wars, the book, for many reasons, solidified that in my mind. As I reached the final pages, or locations, I realized something that could not be denied. This book must have influenced George Lucas in making the Star Wars movies. It had to be then that a harsh reality came to light, one that could seem blasphemous to loyal Star Wars fans. Yes, just like Luke Skywalker finding out the true identity of Darth Vader, I knew that The Barsoom Series or John Carter of Mars, whatever you wish to call it, was the father of Star Wars!

[caption id="attachment_2404" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Nooooooooooooooooooo!!!"][/caption]

There are many reasons I believe this is the case. I'll list a few of them out here, but not all. Feel free to give your thoughts in the comments below if you see other similarities. Oh, by the way, I'm reading the second book now, and there are yet many other similarities between the two.

Reasons to believe John Carter is the father of Star Wars:

  • There are groups of martians called the Jeds and the Jeddaks. Sound familiar? It does to me. I think I know where those Jedi come from, and it ain't no special council.

  • There are fantastic ugly beasts like the white apes and John Carter's pet Woola. Wait Woola? That sounds awfully close to Wookiee if you ask me. See the picture below for an example of the horrid creatures.

  • [caption id="attachment_2405" align="aligncenter" width="600" caption="I'm gonna eat ya!"][/caption]

  • The book is filled with sword fighting with the occasional shoot-out. Remind you of any lightsaber wielding film?

  • The book has its royalty, including Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. A princess? That's right. I guess there was someone more beautiful than Princess Leia at one time.

  • The names of people and places strikes a definite cord with me. Barsoom, Tars Tarkas, and Zondangan to name a few. They remind me of such things as Tatooine, Chewbacca, and Jabba the Hut.

Like I said, there are a lot of things that make me think without a doubt that Star Wars is not the first story to have such wonderful ideas and a world full of life. Some might deny and some might agree, but I know where I stand. If Edgar Rice Burroughs never wrote The Barsoom Series, I wonder if Star Wars would ever have been made. If it had been, I wonder if it would have been the same.


B.C. Young is the author of many science fiction eBooks available on the Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other eReader devices. He also writes under the pen name Desmond Shepherd. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading,  and watching movies.

He hopes he hasn't offended too many Star Wars fans with his sacrilegious statements above.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Earning My Keep

[caption id="attachment_2391" align="alignleft" width="640" caption="Photo © Steve Johnson"][/caption]

Recently, Dean Wesley Smith posted his thoughts on a pricing structure for ebooks. The article is a great read, and explains the reasoning behind his pricing.

What I took away from it is that an author should be careful about putting ebooks up for sale at bargain bin pricing. Since I'm in this for the long haul, I completely agree. I adopted Dean's pricing structure for my books. Before I list out that pricing, I want you to understand my reasoning for it.

As you know, I'm an independent author. Some would say self-published. I'm not here to argue semantics, though. I'm here to explain why I have raised the pricing on everything from my short stories to my novels. You might think the prices are high when you read them, especially since they are not traditionally published books. But think about this:

For my latest novel, Miscorrection: Dimensions I put a lot of work into it. I can write about 1,400 words an hour. Besides that, I spent countless hours thinking about the story and how it would progress. This includes before I wrote a single word and while I wrote the book. I would spend my commute to work considering how I needed to fine tune the plot and other aspects of the story. When I completed the writing, I then went through the book four times, proofing and editing the work. I also had to create the cover and format the eBook for publication on Amazon, B&N, and Smashwords. In total, I estimate I spent in the neighborhood of 102 hours on the book.

At that point, I asked myself the questions, "How much is my time worth?" and "What would I expect to be a reasonable return on my investment?"

I pegged my worth at $20 dollars per hour. I think this is more than reasonable. If that is my hourly rate, I need to price my eBooks to earn that back. Anything I make after reaching my goal is icing on the cake. It also means I could lower my price because I have made back the money. In this case, I would need to make $2,040.

With that goal, the lower I price my eBooks, the longer it will take to earn that money back. At the same time, I don't want to price my eBooks into a range that nobody will buy them. The key is finding a happy middle ground that readers won't balk at, and that is where Dean's post came into play.

In the case of Miscorrection: Dimensions, the cost is $7.99 for the eBook. In order to make back that $2,040, I need to sell 375 copies of the novel. Now, imagine if I priced it at $3.99 under my old pricing structure. I would have to sell 750 copies! At $0.99 I would have to sell 5,828!!!

I think you get the point. My time writing and creating a story is valuable to me. Why would I want to cheapen that by starting off with a bargain bin price? I wouldn't. In some ways, this is like an employee asking for a raise. They feel they are worth more and the boss has to agree to it. As the "employee", I'm asking my "boss", the readers, to give me a raise.

When I reach my goal for each story, I will then discount the regular price. Of course, I might run promotions in the meantime. The price allows me a lot wiggle room with that, as you can see with my promotions on Smashwords for Read An E-Book Week.

Given all of the above, here is the pricing structure for all my eBooks:

Short Fiction (Under 3,000 words) $1.49

Short Fiction (3,000-6000 words) $1.99

Fiction (6,000-9,000 words) $2.99

Fiction (9,000 to 15,000 words) $3.49

Fiction (15,000 to 20,000 words) $3.99

Fiction (20,000 to 30,000 words) $4.99

Fiction (30,000 to 50,000 words) $5.99

Fiction (above 50,000 words if backlist) $6.99

Fiction (above 50,000 words if brand new) $7.99-$8.99

What do you think? Is this revised pricing fair or unfair? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


B.C. Young is the author of many science fiction eBooks available on the Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other eReader devices. He also writes under the pen name Desmond Shepherd. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading,  and watching movies.

He hopes you agree with his knew pricing structure, though he's sure a few of you will complain.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Read an E-Book Week March 4-10, 2012

[caption id="attachment_2375" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Photo © Stanislav Butygin"][/caption]

In case you haven't heard, March 4-10, 2012 is read an e-book week. If you live in Canada, it's even better because they have devoted the entire month of March to reading e-books. Wow! That's a lot of reading.

Every year, Smashwords gets in on the read-an-e-book-week-fun by allowing authors to discount their books for 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% off. I did some quick math on that last one and it turns out that means the book is free if it is 100% off. Go figure.

Last year, I was thrilled to be a part of the week by offering the few books I had at a discount. This year though is a lot more fun because I have a lot of e-books. This allows me to offer all kinds of crazy discounts for you to take advantage of. Even if one book doesn't capture your interest or your wallet's interest, another one might.

Listed below are all the books I'm discounting on Smashwords during Read an E-Book Week. They are listed in order of lowest to highest discount. If you click the title, it will take you to the product page for the book on Smashwords. Also, Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability goes multi-platform on March 8, 2012. When it does, I will add it to the list below. Fram Gage and The Infinite Ability is now available on Smashwords for 50% off during the promotion.

Please note that you will need to use the coupon code listed below in order to receive the discount!

Smashwords Read an E-Book Week Discounts
25% Off E-Books (Coupon Code REW25):

50% Off E-Books (Coupon Code REW50):

Free E-Books (Coupon Code REW75):

To see all the books available at discounted rates on Smashwords during the Read an E-Book Promotion, click here.


B.C. Young is the author of many science fiction eBooks available on the Amazon Kindle, Nook, and other eReader devices. He also writes under the pen name Desmond Shepherd. He enjoys spending time with his family, reading,  and watching movies.

He hopes you take advantage of the offers above, although he knows you most likely won't. To that he says, "The loss is yours and mine." ;)