Jonny Nexus

Writing, life, politics

Month: June 2011

An Interesting Benefit Of Having A Paper Version

At some point in the future, I’m going to write a post explaining the steps I had to follow to get my novel Game Night available on Amazon’s Kindle platform. (It was already available in the traditional “paper” format). But did just want to mention something that I realised / noticed today.

When you publish your book to Kindle, you can’t specify that it is the Kindle version of an existing paper book. Instead, you’re supposed to wait and allow the Amazon database to figure this out and link them together.  In my case, that didn’t seem to happen, resulting in me having to contact them, supply the details of the paper and Kindle versions, and ask them to do it – which they did.

The process takes several days and isn’t yet complete. When it is, reviews written about the paper version should appear on the Kindle version’s page (which is currently reviewless), and when going to the paper version’s page, you will be offered the option of purchasing the book on Kindle.

But there’s a third benefit, which didn’t occur to me until I was looking at the (now partially linked) Kindle page, and seeing how the price is displayed now that it is lined to the print version (click to make bigger):

Now I’m not an expert in the psychology of prices and pricing. But I think that might be quite cool.

See, if I had only a Kindle version, the price would be £0.70. A browser might come across this and conclude that it is “cheap”. But they might also conclude that it’s clearly not worth much. But now, they see that the price is £0.70 compared with a price for the print version of £7.99 – a saving of 91%. It’s no longer £0.70 for something worth £0.70, but £0.70 for something worth £7.99. I’m hoping that the word that will come to mind now will be “bargain” rather than “cheap”. (There is a proper name for this “price expectation” effect, but I can’t remember it now).

Well here’s hoping, anyhow.

Game Night on Kindle – How You Can Help Me

My novel Game Night is now out on the Kindle, priced at what I’d consider to be a bargain launch price of just 99c (or 70p in the UK). I’m not sure what to expect or hope of this. It might prove to be a runaway success, going viral in the way that the paper version just didn’t quite manage, and selling tens of thousands of copies.

Or it might fizzle out and die, taking my hope and dreams with it.

There isn’t so much I can do to determine which of those two outcomes occur. But there is something that you can do. Two things in particular. It’s really quite cheeky for me to ask you to do them, but it’s really important to me, and I’m hoping you won’t mind.

Firstly, you can buy the Kindle version of Game Night, even if you’ve already got the paper version. You don’t need a Kindle. Amazon do free Kindle applications for Windows PC, Mac OS X, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android. These allow you to purchase and read Kindle books just as if you had an actual Kindle. (It’s pretty straight-forward, but I’ve put some instructions at the end).

During this initial launch period, it will only cost you 99c in the US, or 70p in the UK, which I’d like to feel is a small enough amount that I can ask you to do as a favour to me, albeit a rather considerable one for which I will owe you a drink. (In case you’re interested, the amount of money I’ll get out of that is 35c, but it will be worth far, far more than that to me).

Buying Game Night is pretty crucial. At present, if you type “Game Night” into Amazon you get a long list of books with Game Night in the title, not one of which is my one. If enough of you buy Game Night I’ll be at the top of that list. Sales will also give it a high Amazon ranking, which gives the book credibility with readers and will help it get into Amazon’s crucial recommendation system.

Secondly, assuming you’ve enjoyed reading Game Night, you can recommend it to people who follow you on social networks like Twitter and Facebook as well as the many forum sites out there. I’ll be doing tweets about Game Night. If you’re a twitter user and could retweet one of them (or even better do your own tweet), I’d be very grateful. When it comes to making Game Night really take off, I can light the fire, but it’s those around me who have to blow on the flames.

The best links to use are:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

Finally, as always, if you liked Game Night then I would be very happy if you did a short review, either on Amazon or your own blog, saying so. Alternatively, you can go to the Amazon pages for the book (the above links) and click on the “Like” button, to say that you like the book. (Assuming you do, or course!)

And it would be especially nice if you comment here, or on Twitter or Facebook, to say that you’ve bought or retweeted or posted.

I know this entire post is just a tad cheeky, but I really will be grateful for any and all help. Thank you. I really appreciate it.

HOW TO BUY A KINDLE BOOK (IF YOU DON’T ALREADY HAVE A KINDLE)

1) Download and install the appropriate app. If you have a Windows PC, you can download it here. If you have an Apple Mac, you can download it here (it will only work Macs bought within the last five years, as you need an Intel one and it needs to be running at least OS X 10.5 Leopard). Otherwise, if you have an iPad, an iPhone, a BlackBerry, or some kind of Android phone or tablet, you should download the “Kindle” app from whichever app store you normally use. In all case, it’s free.

2) Enter your Amazon account details into the app (i.e. you log in). US customers can enter their Amazon.com account details. UK customers can enter their Amazon.co.uk details.

3) Click on the “Kindle Store” button. This will take you to the Kindle Store. (Which is basically the Amazon website, but showing only Kindle titles).

4) Search for “Jonny Nexus”. Pick Game Night from the resulting list. (It should be either 99c or 70p, depending on whether you’re on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).  Click that you want to buy it.

That’s it. It should then be automatically downloaded to whichever app you’re using to make the purchase. If you have multiple Kindle apps (on both your iPad and iPhone say, or Windows PC and Android phone) you can download it to the “other” app by going into the “Archived” section and selecting Game Night. (You only pay once, even if you read it on multiple devices).

Game Night on Kindle: It’s Here!

I tweeted about this early this morning, but my novel Game Night is now available on the Kindle for a time-limited launch price of 99c in the US and 70p in the UK. Here’s where you can find it:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-ebook…

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Night-ebook…

As part of his I’ve done a press release, reproduced below. Please feel free to grab any or all of it if you want to post something up on a blog, on Facebook, or on a forum.

PRESS RELEASE

Game Night, Jonny Nexus’s 2007 ENnie-nominated novel of roleplaying gods, is now available on Amazon’s Kindle platform, with versions available both for standard Kindles as well as the Kindle apps for PC, iPhone, iPad and Android. To celebrate this event, it will initially be sold at a bargain launch rate of just 99 cents in the US (Amazon.com) and 70 pence in the UK (Amazon.co.uk).

As well as achieving the prestigious ENnie nomination, Game Night was widely lauded in reviews. Cartoonist and writer John Kovalic said:

“A Pratchet-esque debut novel of gods, roleplaying, and game-night kerfuffles … Buy Game Night. It’s a fun, fresh, irreverent read that’ll ring true to any gamer even if, unlike the protagonists, you happen not to be a god.”

And on RPGNet, RPG writer and reviewer Steve Darlington declared:

“The best novel ever written about gaming. One of the funniest novels ever written about anything.”

The novel’s author, Jonny Nexus, says: “Launching Game Night on the Kindle is a big thrill for me. The paper version of Game Night got a better response than I’d ever hoped for. People really enjoyed it, both gamers and non-gamers. It really seemed to strike a chord, and I can’t wait for a whole new group of people to read it.”

Game Night on the Kindle can be found on Amazon at:

US: http://www.amazon.com/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Night-ebook/dp/B0057JPZSG

204 words

ABOUT JONNY NEXUS

Jonny Nexus lives in Brighton with his wife, their dog, and an array of chew toys that the dog invariably leaves on the top-most step but one.

He is the editor, co-founder, and chief-writer of the cult gaming webzine Critical Miss. He wrote The Slayer’s Guide to Games Masters for leading roleplaying publisher Mongoose Publishing, as well as writing a monthly column for their magazine Signs & Portents.

His debut novel Game Night, published by Magnum Opus Press in 2007, was shortlisted for a Gen Con EN World Award (an “Ennie”). This August, Mongoose Publishing will publish “The NeXus Files”, a compilation of Jonny’s Signs & Portents articles. And a short story of his (“On Her Majesty’s Deep Space Service”) will be appearing in a forthcoming anthology from new publisher Stone Skin Press.

Copyright: Should Is Not Is

There’s something that annoys me about the behaviour of some (not all!) of the anti-copyright rent-a-mob found in many corners of the Internet that I can best explain through analogy.

Imagine you have a man who thinks that motorways (freeways) should have no speed limit, as used to be the case in the UK until 1965, and is still the case in Germany. And imagine that he then goes for a drive up the M1 at 85 mph per hour, 15 mph above the speed limit, and gets fined by the police.

I would expect his reaction to be something like:

“I accept that I broke the law. The limit is 70 and I was doing 85. But it’s a stupid law. The road was empty, the weather was good, my car is well-maintained and designed to drive fast, and I’m a skilled and careful driver. I don’t believe I was putting anyone in any danger.”

But I wouldn’t expect him to say something like: 

“I don’t understand why the police stopped me and fined me. I don’t see how they can argue that I was breaking any law. They said I was breaking the “speed limit” but surely the speed limit is the limit within which your speed is safe, and that is dependent on the weather conditions, the traffic conditions, the nature of the car, and the skill of the driver? Given those, I don’t think I was exceeding the limit, and the fact that they still fined me shows that this is a corrupt system!”

To which, of course, the answer is: “No, the limit is 70 mph and you were doing 85!” 

The point is that there is a very big distinction between what you think the law should be, and what the law is, and if you think a law is wrong or unfair it ill-serves your cause to totally blur the two. Now I know that copyright law is confusing, with many grey areas – but some people still manage to stand way beyond the grey and yet still argue that black is white or white black. If something is illegal and you don’t think it should be then complain about its illegality. Don’t instead try to argue that it’s legal, when it isn’t.

I came across a classic example of this yesterday, when reading some comments about the takedown of http://peanutweeter.com. This was a site that took Peanuts cartoons (minus the speech bubbles) and put in tweets that the author had come across (for humorous effect). Unfortunately/inevitably the lawyers for the Iconix Brand Group who own the Peanuts estate found out about it and sent in a DCMA takedown notice.

Many of the responses stated that this was an abuse of copyright law, in that PeanutTweeter should have been protected by two aspects of the “Fair Use” provision:

a) Because it’s parody.

b) Because it’s non-commercial.

Now I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that neither of these apply.

Firstly, I’d say it’s not a parody. A parody is something that takes the piss out of the thing it is copying. While that might perhaps be true of Garfield Minus Garfield, I can’t see that it’s true here. It’s not taking the piss out of the Peanuts cartoons. It’s simply using the Peanuts cartoons as a building block of a new piece of art. That makes it a derivative work, and derivative works need the permission of both artists to make a copy. (If I take a painting you painted and digitally manipulate it in Photoshop, the resulting piece is part mine and part yours, and not 100% mine).

And secondly, it doesn’t matter how often people say “but they’re not making any money”, because that’s pretty much based on a myth. If you don’t have the right to copy something then you don’t have the right. Whether or not you intend to sell it is irrelevant. In fact, I believe that making copyright only apply to commercial copying is one of the things that Cory Doctorow et al want to change about copyright law.

Copyright is a hugely complex and emotive subject. I don’t myself fully agree with either copyright law as currently written nor how it is currently applied. And I very much enjoy things like Darth and Droids which are, strictly speaking, in breach of copyright. But I think the debate would be much more productive if people would distinguish between what is and what they think should be.

And at that point, having probably alienated half the Internet, I’ll shut up.  🙂

On Lies To Children

There are many things that annoy me, but one of them is when people tell lies to children. I don’t mean actual, “Of course Uncle Gary isn’t your daddy!” type lies. I’m talking about lazy, false, over- simplified and dumbed-down answers given in response to a child’s curiosity about the world. I think children are often cleverer than we give them credit for, and I think they deserve to have the adults who care for and raise them attempt to explain the world as fully, and as accurately, as they can.

I witnessed a grotesque failure to do this just last weekend. My wife and I had gone for a ride on the Swanage railway, a preserved steam-railway in Dorset. While waiting for the passenger train to take us into Swanage, we saw a short freight train draw up, pulled by this locomotive:

As you can see, it’s a medium-sized engine that is technically described as a 2-6-4, meaning that it has two small, un-powered wheels at the front, six large driving wheels in the middle, and then four small un-powered wheels at the back. We got talking to the guys who were driving it, and found out that they were on a “drive a steam train” experience that had been a gift from the sister and brother-in- law of one of them.

A few minutes later the passenger train pulled up. This was a much bigger, grander affair, a 4-6-2 with a separate tender, and was of the sort that would once have pulled main-line trains. Unlike the smaller freight engine, this one had a nameplate on its side: “Eddystone”.

We travelled into Swanage, spent some time there sheltering from the rain in a rather nice dog-friendly cafe, and then got on the train to head back. A little way down the carriage from us were a man and a woman and their small daughter. A few minutes after the train set off, I heard the man utter the following line to his daughter:

“This is a real-life Thomas train.”

Consider that line for a moment.

“This is a real-life Thomas train.”

Here he is, with a young mind before him just waiting to be filled with facts and understanding, and that’s what he comes up with.

“This is a real-life Thomas train.”

I leaned forward and whispered, perhaps just a tad too loudly, at my wife. “That’s not right!” She shot me a warning glance but I wasn’t to be halted. “It’s not a Thomas train at all. Thomas was a tank engine. That’s why they call him Thomas the Tank Engine. This is more like a Gordon, or a James or something!”

You tell me. Does this 4-6-2 tender locomotive:

…look anything whatsoever like this 0-6-0 tank locomative:

I think not!

A few minutes later the train stopped, and I heard the man telling his daughter that, “…the train has to stop until the red light turns green.”

Don’t even get me started on that.

Game Night – Coming Soon On Kindle At Special Launch Offer Price

I’m very pleased to announce that after getting various issues out of the way, my ENnie nominated fantasy humour novel Game Night will be arriving on the Kindle within a couple of weeks. It will be available not only for the standard Kindle, but for Kindle on Android, iPhone and iPad also.

Game Night front cover A ten-thousand-year quest is about to be completed. Prophecies will be fulfilled, ancient riddles answered, legendary evils bested, and the nature of the universe revealed. All that’s needed is a band of mighty heroes to do the completing.

Unfortunately for the locals, some of the gods have taken a personal interest in the chronicle of these heroes’ adventures. Now they are each guiding one of the characters towards the conclusion of their epic journey. That is, when they’re not squabbling, backstabbing each other, blowing things up by accident, refusing to play by the rules, and turning the AllFather’s creation into a mess of petty arguments, fantasy cliché, gratuitous combat and unnecessary dice-rolls.

If you thought your games group couldn’t be any worse, Game Night shows just how bad things can get when a bunch of unruly deities decide they want to play. And may the heavens help us all.

“The best novel ever written about gaming. One of the funniest novels ever written about anything.” —RPGNet review (rating 5/5) by Steve Darlington

But wait, there’s more!

Sorry, appear to be channelling the inner QVC I wasn’t aware I had.

But there is more. While I’m not necessarily aiming for world domination, it’s important to me that Game Night does well. Not just on a personal level, but because I need something to show agents and publishers that, contrary to what they might think, there is actually a market for humour fantasy/SF, and that just maybe I’m someone who can write it. So far, it’s done okay in terms of sales (probably around 1800 copies sold so far), and very well in terms of how well people liked it. But it seems I need more if I want it to be something that causes agents to sniff at my door.

So the second bit of news is that Game Night will launch on the Kindle at a special launch price of 99 cents (and a similar amount in the UK). Yes, that’s $0.99. This isn’t what I think my novel is worth – I think it’s worth a lot more. But it is an amount that I’m hoping will provoke curiosity, interest, and those all-import re-tweets.

At some point the price will go up to what I think the novel is worth (I haven’t yet determined what that is, but I know it’s more than the price of a small bottle of cola). So if you’ve got access to a Kindle device or app, and you haven’t yet read Game Night then I’d suggest you buy it when you can.

Actually, you know what? I’d just ask you to buy it.

And if you have another device, I will be trying to get Game Night out in other formats just as soon as I get this out of the way.

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