Sunday, April 29, 2012
Episode 201 - a time for new beginnings. And so we begin a new book on The Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast - Book Two in The Vatican Assassin Trilogy - Vatican Ambassador! The Christmas Day War of 2110 has come and gone. Those who survived have been left to rebuild. BC - Bernard Campion - a former (he assumes) assassin for the Vatican - is now the acting Ambassador, and has been rebuilding the Vatican Mission on the Moon. We begin with a look back at the war, and then catch up with BC in a bar on St. Patrick's Day during a declared holiday, as for the first time since the attacks people allow themselves to relax a little and enjoy life again.
ALL NEW INTRODUCTION! The first part of this chapter, the look back at the war and the rebuilding, has been completely rewritten - you're about to hear an all new edition of Vatican Ambassador! Reader Greg Tymn emailed asking about "mistakes" in the beginning of the chapter... only, those weren't mistakes. Grrr - listen to the podcast to hear Greg's questions and my answers - and then hear the newly rewritten chapter one! After fixing the introductory part, I decided to re-edit the rest of the chapter as well - not for content but clarity. You're about to hear a brand-new recording of a never-before-heard-or-read new edition of Vatican Ambassador! How cool is that?
Almost as cool as a new free eBook! Always want to portmanteau that into "freeBook"... I'm teaming up with Earthbound Comics to give away a free eBook - Souverain: The Kid comes out May 1st. It's already available some places - check out the Earthbound Comics facbook page for more details on how to get your free copy today: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Earthbound-Comics/97851348284
As always - more about my books at http://glowinthedarkradio.com and http://mikeluoma.com
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Can't believe I've put 200 of these together... Welcome to the 200th episode of the Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast! I'm Mike Luoma - creator, producer and host - plus writer and reader of all that you hear and have heard on these 200 episodes. Our music for the longest time has been and continues to be by artist Juan Carlos Quattordio.
Tried to put something I hope is pretty cool together for such a significantly numbered podcast episode - hope you enjoy! You'll hear the debut of Alibi Jones and The Wishing Stone - previously only available as part of the audio book The Adventures of Alibi Jones: Six Short Stories at Podiobooks and on iTunes. Other highlights:
- A clip from Episode 1 of the Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Podcast.
- EXCLUSIVE: A short piece written and read just for this 200th episode - Exhibit A: A Fragment - Devrizium Time War!
- EXCLUSIVE: The opening to a new Alibi Jones short story I've just begun writing for a Ghost Hunting Anthology.
- A brief history of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio...
- Promos and Congrats from friends
- Even a song from Synthetic Marmalade - "How To Suck Seed"
Links: http://glowinthedarkradio.com/ - http://alibijones.com/ - http://mikeluoma.com
The Adventures of Alibi Jones: Six Short Stories - at Podiobooks & iTunes
The Adventures of Alibi Jones #1 from Earthbound Comics - at Indy Planet & Drive Thru Comics:
Indy Planet: http://www.indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6027
Drive Thru Comics: http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=94851
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Oh, Graphicly. Are You With Us Or... ???
I've been giving a lot of thought to Graphicly's new business model. They made a big splash earlier this month when they shut down their apps and shifted from operating as a retail business to a distribution model.
They took a giant leap... backwards.
The change in business model bothered me immediately. It was almost a knee-jerk, gut response, my own reaction surprising enough to myself that I reigned in snarky comments I had begun to make and announced instead my intent to write a blog about it (although I was tempted to keep tweeting when whoever was tweeting for Graphicly picked up on my ire and suggested I try them out - did tweet one reply - that my books had been with them for a while now. Yeah). Needed time to think this through, figure out why it bothered me so much. Think I've figured it out. I'm disappointed, because they seemed to be on the verge of something kind of awesome. And then, they took a U-turn.
You're either with us or... you're leeching off of us. You're either helping us sell or... you're preying on us. Smashwords kept coming to mind in contrast to Graphicly, and not just because of a similar array of distribution outlets offered. Smashwords founder and CEO Mark Coker is kind of brilliant, in my opinion, and part of his brilliance is that he gets the new Social Media Reality and creating partnerships and alliances that are mutually beneficial. You're either with us or... you're a middle man, trying to make money off other people's dreams without sharing in their risk. If only Smashwords' conversion software could handle graphics better. They're not a solution for comics, at least, not yet.
I thought Graphicly was, albeit an imperfect one. It isn't anymore. In shifting from a model where Graphicly sold eComics and made money when and if you made money, to one where Graphicly ALWAYS makes money, and you're on your own... they can spin it any way they like, but Graphicly decided to change from selling WITH creators to making money OFF of creators. They're now charging creators directly starting at $150 per book for the conversion services and distribution they are offering. After that, all sales and profits after the market takes its cut accrue to you, Graphicly no longer gets a percentage. But yes, all the markets that Graphicly distribute to will take their cut, at whatever percentage they deem fair - most take around 30% of the selling price.
This new approach may make fine sense as a business model for Graphicly, but it's not one I'm interested in participating in going forward, and it's a step backwards in the ongoing internet creative and business revolution. It's also stepping away from offering individual comic book issues in favor of graphic novels and collections - it's doubtful publishers will use Graphicly to distribute individual issues when the cost begins at $150 per book. Doubtful for smaller publishers, anyway.
Some of Graphicly's justification for this also strikes me as disingenuous. Micah Baldwin writes in emails to publishers that this change now lets Graphicly help everyone more fairly. You see, now Graphicly treats publishers the same as they help get their goods into different markets where publishers can do their own marketing, where as before, as a retail store/app motivated by percentage of sales, Graphicly tended to promote and favor big-selling, big name titles from major publishers, as this is how they'd make their money. Now they won't have that profit motive driving their work, or so he writes. The suggestion that taking the profit motive out of the equation helps seems obviously counter-intuitive. The rather cavalier admission that in the past they under-served their smaller clients irritates me. And it also makes it sound like they didn't know what they were doing as retailers, while all the while insisting that they did.
Smashwords leads the way into the future, where Graphicly is stepping backwards into the past. The internet has been eliminating the need for middle-men. Seems a step backwards to me to decide to become one. Smashwords takes a percentage of your sales in exchange for converting and distributing your eBooks to Barnes and Noble, the SONY bookstore, Apple's iBookstore, Kobo, and several other marketplaces. Smashwords also has it's own network of sites, different storefronts to put ebooks in front of consumers and searchers in a number of different ways. Look up "Cheap eBooks" or "Science Fiction eBooks" and chances are you'll come across at least one side channel site run by Smashwords. Smashwords empowers publishers and creators, and makes its money by doing so.
Have had some of my self-published books offered through Graphicly, in the interest of trying to make my books available in as many places as possible. Won't be adding any new books through Graphicly, but I will continue to offer the ones currently available through Graphicly in whatever markets they place them, so long as they don't start charging me for that “privilege”. Will admit to some disappointment and frustration with Graphicly when I used them in the past. There was no real sales reporting interface to be found, and it seemed my own books disappeared from my publishers' account – when I could log into it. When Graphicly began to change their interface earlier this year, I was hopeful. But wary, due to my frustrations.
Had a good long talk with Josh Flanagan from Graphicly about some of this. I had been encouraged when they began to offer the kind of inventory control and sales reporting I had been hoping for from them. Glad to see a new uploading and conversion interface, although it was not working right in beta testing. But then they announced the shift to their $150 per book distribution model. Josh tried to explain it to me. This was shortly before the announcement that the apps were going away. Josh talked around instead of answering some of my questions, saying the marketplace was still going to be there for now. After the announcement I could see why he couldn't make himself clearer.
Bottom line, Graphicly no longer serves the purpose for which I'd been using them - they can't put out individual issues of my comic books on an app for smartphones and tablets. Considering that alone, it's no wonder Graphicly's big announcement so disappointed and underwhelmed me. But beyond that, the change from sharing risk and sharing in profits to collecting fees shows an old-fashioned business philosophy at work that I'd hoped we were moving past - this change from selling WITH creators to making money OFF of creators feels exploitative. If you're not with us...
Saturday, April 14, 2012
Meet the woman who works for the U.S. Army by day but who strikes out on her own at night as the vigilante SOUVERAIN! She's assigned to Iraq as Lieutenant Lane, but has been going above and beyond for the victimized women and children of Baghdad as our story "Souverain: The Kid" opens. You'll find "Souverain: The Kid" in print - with beautiful illustrations by Kitae Kim - in Earthbound Comics' Souverain #1 - available as a 99 cent download from Drive Thru Comics or actually in print for $2.99 from Indy Planet - links below.
Episode 199 of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio - next week brings episode 200!
Souverain #1 at Drive Thru Comics - .99 cent download: http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/product/96675/
Souverain #1 at Indy Planet - $2.99 print: http://indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6337
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Old lovers, Time-travel and threatening Aliens in mysterious armor - are you ready for the short science fiction story "Alibi Jones: About Time"? It's a done-in-one adventure on this episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Alibi's old high school flame Shirra - last seen in Blind Eye - returns with a mysterious little package... and a whole lot of trouble!
After the story there's a rundown of Alibi's timeline - what story takes place when - and included in that is the revelation of some previously unnanounced new stories and novels! Plus you'll hear a little from the Chronicles of Devrizium - the writings of Madone of the Devrizium - on the nature of time and its "passes". Lots of juicy bonus material!
The Adventures of Alibi Jones #1 - Print: http://www.indyplanet.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6027
The Adventures of Alibi Jones #1 - Digital: http://comics.drivethrustuff.com/product_info.php?products_id=94851
Audio - The Adventures of Alibi Jones: Six Short Stories - Podiobooks: http://www.podiobooks.com/title/alibi-jones-six-short-stories
Audio - The Adventures of Alibi Jones: Six Short Stories - iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/adventures-alibi-jones-six/id491954546
My Turn on Silencing Dissent: http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120401/OPINION02/120331024/My-Turn-Silencing-dissent-not-Progressive-value-
Guest Post on The Contradictions of Creativity: http://www.chocolatescotch.com/2012/04/74-mike-luoma/