BEYOND THESE WOODS | Mark Roger Bailey

It is a pleasure to announce the release of my new novel and an exciting new character: Beyond These Woods -- featuring epidemiologist and rogue scientific gadfly, Dr. Lotte Keene.

Beyond These Woods

Lotte has fought and won many virus battles, yet after witnessing the death of her closest friend, Charley, in a horrific Brazilian disease outbreak, she has put the Centers for Disease Control and her high stakes war against pathogens in dangerous hot zones behind her.

Her skeptical relationship with authority and inconvenient habit of being right have stunted her career and undermined her professional reputation. Now, as she struggles to come to terms with life without Charley, she glimpses a telltale repetition of the symptomology of Charley’s sudden death … this time in California’s High Sierra Thunder Peak Wilderness. This clue to the cause of her greatest loss ignites an obsessive need to eradicate the killer. She breaks protocol and goes to Longwood, CA on a mission to confront her darkest fear.

To the CDC, Lotte’s breach of protocol is insubordination. To the environmental activist, Gabriel Fox, she is a complication of his master plan. For America’s elite intelligence apparatus, she is a threat to the nation’s security. For Longwood doctor Ben McCandle, Lotte challenges everything he thinks he knows about medical science.

Lotte Keene must identify the killer in the Sierra old-growth forest, determine if the ‘Ahwahnee Stroke’, as locals call it, is a corruption of Natural Law or a criminal act, and she must stop it before it spreads beyond the Thunder Peak Wilderness. Local suspicions of her motives mount, calculating corporate interests grow more sinister, dark operatives from Washington move against her work… and time is running out.

Dr. Lotte Keene is about to rewrite the rules of biogenetic science and cross the thin red, white and blue line between American principle and power.

BEYOND THESE WOODS is currently available for the Amazon Kindle and desktops, laptops, tablets, iPhone, Android and all handheld devices with the Kindle App available free from your favorite App Store.

Amazon KINDLE

gadfly -- a person who upsets the status quo by posing upsetting or novel questions.

The term 'gadfly' was used by Plato in the Apology[2] to describe Socrates' relationship of uncomfortable goad to the Athenian political scene, which he compared to a slow and dimwitted horse. (source: Wikipedia)

 

 

Mission: The Best Reading Experience

Recently, I learned that the edition of SAINT available on-line at Amazon contained formatting errors that diminished the quality experience I strive to achieve for every reader. In response, I have thoroughly reviewed SAINT's .mobi file, resolved formatting issues and added new features to enhance your reading experience.

New Features

  • Formatting refinements
  • Table of Contents
  • Improved chapter layouts
  • Titles

Thank you for your patience and enthusiasm for this novel. Please check out the newly improved SAINT (v1.1) at:

      Saint - Mark Bailey      

Readers Rule

...if the writer has the energy, determination and persistence to develop more stories, and is open to learning and perfecting his or her craft, then s/he can offer another story, and maybe get a second date, and a third, and perhaps become a couple. How great is that?

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Tablet and E-Reader Sales Soar

On a recent flight across the country, at least one in every 12 passengers were either reading or watching entertainment on tablets or smartphones. About 40% of these were reading books. About 1 in every 25 passengers were reading traditional books. This personal observation is anecdotal, of course, but it made an impression. That e-readers are becoming the new norm as personal digital devices become more intuitive, adaptive to personal needs, reliable and affordable is no longer news. Then, a report from Pew Research and the American Life Project was released yesterday. The take-away from the NYTimes article: tablet and e-reader sales doubled over the last year.  Adult users increased from 10% of adults in Dec 2011 to 19% of adults in December 2012.  Increased ownership of tablets is especially pronounced among highly educated users with household incomes exceeding $75,000. In fact, nearly one third of people with college degrees own tablets.

As a writer, I'm pleased to see that many people are choosing to read when they have the opportunity. How they choose to read helps inform my thinking about how my stories should read on the page vs. screen, and how to focus my efforts to improve the reader experience.

Related Article

Table and E-Reader Sales Soar  |  NYTimes

 

Read SAINT On KINDLE

The experiment 2,000 years in the making...

SAINT - The novel of intrigue - e-Book edition

 

Biogeneticist Andrew Shepard resurrects the memory of an ancient in a living human subject. Simon Peter is reborn.

For the faithful, it is a miracle. For the world’s political and spiritual leaders, it is a crisis. For humankind, it changes everything.

Peter escapes from the BioGenera lab in a desperate attempt to return to Rome and to confront the Pontiff, while being stalked by an assassin intent on silencing him once and for all.

First e-book edition

 

SAINT, my novel about the resurrection of human memory via biogenetics and neuroscience, is now available for download to the Kindle and Kindle-friendly devices including the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Droid and PC.

Read SAINT on Kindle 

 

Related Links

Kindle & The Evolution of a Writer

 

Authors Are Bound to Publish

Literary Entrepreneurs

Self-publishing is leveling what has been a uneven field of competition for authors, for readers, and for book sellers.  Writers still write books on spec, but now they can manage rights, take responsibility for when and how their work is published, participate more fully as equal partners in their work's publication, connect more directly with readers, and be better literary citizens.

Book Publishing is Becoming Self-publishing

The Internet has made every individual a potential publisher. And technology is making every idea, story, and work of art marketable. Even the business side of the transaction is returning to a one-to-one exchange.

JA Konrath has six books in print and thirteen e-books available from Amazon. He has projected that he will earn up to $100,000 this year on sales of his e-books alone. Each sale is initiated by an interested reader who decides to download one of his novels to their Kindle, iPad, PC, Mac, iPhone, iTouch, Droid, or any other of an expanding universe of personal e-reading options. Amazon's online Kindle Store (or Apple's iBook and others) completes the transaction within seconds. No shipping. No waiting. From JA Konrath directly to Ima Reader wherever she is on the planet.

After iPad

There are thirty-nine e-readers on the market. Considering the quantum leap forward in quality of the user experience, it is tempting to rephrase that device snapshot to something more like: the Apple iPad and thirty-eight others.

The iPad provides an excellent, even transformational e-reading experience. It feels good cradled in your hands, on your lap or propped up against your thighs for those middle of the night reads. It has a high resolution color screen that is easy on eyes, especially aging eyes. It responds instantly, enthusiastically to any impulse. Turning the page is almost as satisfying as leafing pages in that 600-page Dickens anthology you've had since Lit 101. And you can look up words in the dictionary without getting up to go find it. Plug in some ear buds and you can even listen to the voice of your choice read your book to you.

The iPad will dash the ambitions of many early e-readers and the field will inevitably narrow to a select few devices. Sony and other quality device manufacturers will accept iPad's challenge and up their game. All for the better. Whatever makes the author's work available in a high integrity transaction, on an enjoyable-to-use device, and to more people is good.

Opportunity is Calling

When in your lifetime did obstacles to getting your work published actually diminish in number? If you have a good book, some appealing cover art, a compelling description and the ambition to grow your audience, now would be a good time to get out there and share your work.

Related:

The Rise of Self Publishing (NYT  26 April 2010)

Which e-readers will the iPad crush? (CNET, 1 April 2010)

e-Publishing Opens Doors for Authors

Good Times

Just as when the IBM personal computer arrived (1981), Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh with GUI (1984), the venerable Selectric and Selectric II became obsolete, and a universe of entrepreneurial and artistic opportunities opened to writers, the Kindle, Sony Readers, iRex, Lexcycle's Stanza and other downloadable readers have opened doors to a new world of publishing possibilities. While the major players sort out the e-Publishing landscape, engineer the infrastructure, and build the new e-pub world, we writers are exploring, beta testing, and blazing new entrepreneurial paths ... all while continuing to write, write, write. This is a good time to be a writer, don't you think?

Kindle UPDATE - Kindle vs. B&N Free eReader:  See David Pogue's PERSONAL TECH column, "New Entry in E-Books a Paper Tiger," in the August 6th edition of the New York Times.  Barnes & Noble's new e-reader offers PC access to e-books.  The eReader tablet itself is promised for later.

100 Best Novels – Clues for the Novelist

Comparing The Modern Library Board's List of the Top 100 Novels 1900 - 1999 to the Readers' List gives me some reasons for hope.  Looking at the top 10, for example:

Board's List

1.  Ulysses, James Joyce

2.  The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

3.  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce

4.  Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov

5.  Brave New World, Aldous Huxley

6.  The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner

7.  Catch-22, Joseph Heller

8.  Darkness At Noon, Arthur Koestler

9.  Sons and Lovers, D.H. Lawrence

10. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

Reader's List

1.  Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand

2.  The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

3.  Battlefield Earth, L. Ron Hubbard

4.  The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

5.  To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee

6.  1984, George Orwell

7.  Anthem, Ayn Rand

8. We The Living, Ayn Rand

9.  Mission Earth, L. Ron Hubbard

10.  Fear, L. Ron Hubbard

This 1990's poll continues to generate discussion about the most popular books vs. best literature of the 20th century.  The Modern Library's talking points are just the beginning.  For example:

Is it possible to compare books as different as Ulysses, The Great Gatsby, and Brave New World? Are there any features that unite these three books? More widely, are there any literary features that unite the best books as a whole?

My interest here is less intellectual or academic.  What I see is the state of literary art in 1999, not just from writer's and publishers' perspectives, but from the reader's perspective. What moved readers sufficiently that they were willing to take time to vote, and write, and talk about it?  Aside from the fact that we are wired to be social creatures, inclined to exchange ideas, count and make lists, what is it that makes these novels in particular list-worthy?

These measures of popular appeal and perceived importance can be a source of information. Of course, they also can be a time sink amounting to nothing more than another set of questionably useful information.  Still, writers appreciate the hunt, the mystery, pulling back the layers of the story, even when it's their own.

So what can we learn from the Lists? If the Modern Library's Top 100 Novel List provides any lessons that are useful to the novelist, these might include the following:

Screenwriters tend to write novels that appeal to everyday readers more than to cultural leaders.

It's true. Ayn Rand (a.k.a. Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum), Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter, holds four places in the Readers' Top Ten List for her novels, Atlas Shrugged (1), The Fountainhead (2), Anthem (7) and We The Living (8). Ayn Rand was a screenwriter?!  Yes.  Her first literary success was the sale of her screenplay, Red Pawn, to Universal in 1932. Rand's aforementioned publications are novels, not screenplays; yet her initial success as a screenwriter suggests her creative instincts began in the language of showing rather than telling her stories.

By the way, the fact that L. Ron Hubbard comes second after Rand with three novels in the top ten almost made me toss this post-in-progress. But that's another entry.

Everyday readers buy more novels than the cultural elite buy novels.

There are more readers than cultural leaders and scholar-readers, hence more demand and larger market. Unless you are writing scholarly theses, which is good too, focusing your energies on the significantly larger market of novel readers increases the odds that your agent will succeed in closing a deal with a publisher who, after all, is very much in a numbers game.  If he/she can't sell it to at least 5,000 readers, it's D.O.A.

The top-twenty most popular novels in both lists, Board's and Readers', are dense with screen adaptations.

What, if anything, does this tell us?  Consider all channels as you develop your concept.  Popular sentiment has the printed book on the mat and down for the count.  That may or may not be true; only time will tell.  What is clear is that the story, the tale, the CONTENT is king. Demand for story/content is greater than ever before.  So it makes sense to adapt your material to your reader's/viewer's/listener's preferences.

On another front, a glance at Publishers Marketplace offers even more to confuse the muse...

> Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Books Editor Geeta Sharman-Jensen Takes Buyout

Is the book review market so deflated that early retirement, unemployment or part-time teaching at the community college look like reasonable career choices?

> Teen Sues Amazon for Deleted Kindle Homework Notes

What can the U.S. justice system possibly make of this 'dog ate my homework' story? Intellectual property and privacy issues notwithstanding, I'm following this case for what it reveals about the game changing ramifications of epublishing, wireless downloading, and even cloud-based computing for writers, publishers, and service providers.

> Supermarkets Responsible for One in Five UK Book Sales

That's bad news, right? No, that's good news; supermarkets are one of the sectors least damaged by the economic downturn. Rising paperback sales there suggest a market opportunity for novels - procedurals, romances, mysteries, conspiracies, religion - novellas, and self-help.

What's your view on the physics of successful publication?  What is the role of technology ... of publicity and exposure ... of representation ... of literary merit ... of perception as a genre master ... what differentiates the published from the unpublished ... is it any different in its end result than the old model?

Kindle Posting 1: Most Systems 'Go'

Tuesday 1:40 pm: Pilot-tested Kindle publishing with a short story.  Katey Hoagland runs 1,200 words/seven pages, and seems like the best candidate for a test in which I was prepared to load the file, fail, reload, refine HTML, unload and reload again many times according to almost every blog post I read.  Found Amazon's Digital Text Platform (DTP) to be intuitive and easy-to-use. KH lg 2

I completed the title, product description, tags, and uploaded the story manuscript (MsWord.doc file/Mac OS X (10.5)/Firefox).  DTP's conversion tool churned for about 40 seconds and notified me that Katey Hoagland was successfully converted. Reviewed the file, noticed that paragraph indents were uniformly eliminated, but that was the only revision to the manuscript.

DTP Dashboard displayed the message: 'Publishing Katey Hoagland. Your content is being published. Most titles take between 1 to 2 hours to become buyable.'

Tues. 3:20 pm: Katey Hoagland appears in the Kindle Store online, without product description, but otherwise as expected.

Wed. 9:00 am: DTP Dashboard still displays 'Publishing Katey Hoagland. Your content is being published...' message.   As a result, I'm unable to access the file for this upload so that I can learn more about what is happening (or not happening).  Not sure if I should wait longer for DTP to come around or if I should simply repost.   e-Mailed dtp-feedback@amazon.com request for assistance.

Wed. 9:00 pm: Dashboard remains unresponsive.  dtp-feedback@amazon.com just responded and confirmed that my upload is active, they will be adding my product description, and they will follow-up to confirm again in 1-2 business days.

Thurs. 10:30 am: Received e-mail from dtp-feedback@amazon.com confirming active account status, and intention to post product description.

Fri. 07:30 am: Product description displays on listing in Kindle Store.  Dashboard functioning properly.

2010-01-14  Thurs.  20:15: Katey Hoagland has turned the head of at least one acquiring editor.  So, Katey is coming back home for now.  I de-listed her story from Amazon's Kindle offerings.

Kindle & The Evolution of a Writer

1d8de03ae7a0967b140bf110Big Bangs

In the hyper-paced evolution of consumer technologies, there are few developments that equal the transformative effects of e-publishing.

Traditional publishing is now adapting to the reality of the Kindle, Sony e-reader, iPod Touch, and iPhone, which are being adopted by consumers at a rate not seen since the invention of the wheel. I wasn't present during that paradigm shift, but it is reasonable to assume that the Mesopotamians in the 5th millenium BC 'got it' and didn't look back wistfully to the old, pre-wheel, pre-personal empowerment days.  Now, once again in humankind's evolution, we have a better idea that has authors and readers leapfrogging industry.  Publishers have cultivated content and fed readers' appetites.  But they have become a little too comfortable with the perquisites of the traditional corporate model, like Detroit automakers, the Big Three television networks, and the music industry.  In each case, we the people have found our way to a better idea, a better way.

Now Amazon's Jeff Bezos is betting on the Kindle as a market maker, and if the rapidly increasing sales of the e-book tablet keep growing at the pace they have in the last year, he may be the man we credit with a Steve Jobs-like vision that changed the way we consume media content.

Heads Up: Prices Falling

Publishers see the change happening, know that their traditional print business model is struggling and have apparently decided to profit from the chaos in the book selling market by charging similar prices for hardcover and e-books. Today at Borders, I overheard a salesperson explaining e-books to a middle-aged couple at the Sony E-Reader display this way.

"E-books are coming down in price to roughly half the cost of a hardcover, from $15 to $17."

The couple were eager for the convenience offered by the E-Reader and when they heard about the cost-savings on titles, they decided to purchase the Sony.

Maybe I should have intervened and told them about $9.99 titles at Amazon.  You don't criticize someone's family when you're a guest in their living room; and I won't disrupt Borders' business when I am in theirs.  The couple are happily curled up on their couch now with Dan Brown's Lost Symbol on the E-Reader.  Everyone is happy.  As for the pricing, publishers will hang on to their profit margins and will change only when their business infrastructure collapses around them.

Meanwhile, over at Amazon, Jeff Bezos is offering e-books for download to the Kindle for $9.99.  Amazon may lose on the margin in the near term, but it is establishing the $9.99 price point for books much in the same way that Steve Jobs established .99 cents as the single unit price point on iTunes, which is now the worldwide standard. More rapid adoption by more consumers will more than make up the difference.

More significantly to me, e-publishing redefines the business model.  Suddenly, the artist and writer can, if they wish, become their own publishers.  No more expenses like printing, shipping, trucking, warehousing, distribution, freight, fuel.  It's irresistible and, as Adam Penenberg says in his article "The Evolution of Amazon" in the July/August edition of Fast Company, "it's irreversible."   Literary agent Richard Curtis, who is also founder of E-Reads, an independent book publisher, asks,

why would "anybody need a traditional book publisher when you can essentially make Amazon your buyer and your seller in one stroke?"

iPublish

After years of playing by Publishing's rules - willingly, loyally, and with respect for its professionalism - the time has come to try other approaches to connect with my readers.  I am going to try posting a story or two in Amazon's Kindle Store and see if I can reconnect with former readers and meet some new readers.  I'll let you know how it goes.