Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm Guilty...And I'm Ashamed

I’m so ashamed.

Yep, I’m totally guilty of not being as vocal as I should on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

I can’t help it, though…please bear with me!  There are reasons!

The biggest one is that I’ve been writing like a mad fool…of course, there are those that say that my writing has been the scribblings of a madman all along.  But, this time is different!

I recently set a goal for myself of a minimum of 1,000 words of fiction per day.  Once I hit the thousand, I try to keep going…and going…and going.  I’m so enthusiastic about this new project, and the story is flowing so well, that a day of only 1,000 words is usually because I’ve had personal errands to run, or I’ve come up with something new to add to my website.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I only wrote 1,255 words.

In reality, that’s not a bad fiction writing day.

But, it was done between eleven PM and one AM last night.

I had personal errands to run yesterday afternoon, and yesterday morning, I installed something new on my website!

I’m proud to say that I’ve installed New Story Progress Meters directly on the front page of my website, along with the cover from my latest published story.

You can follow the progress of each story as I write.  Now, please note that I have to guess as to the final word count of each story that I’m writing.  You all know how I write – I write until the story is done, no matter what the word count.  I never know for sure until I’m finished what the final word count will be.  As I’m writing, if I see that it’s going to take more words than I estimated, I will change the number of words, giving a more accurate percentage of the finished story.

Of the stories listed, you’re only going to see changes on one story – the Secret Justice Security Story - for the foreseeable future, because I need to finish it quickly.  There is a reason that I won’t elaborate on.  Once it’s done, I can go back to the other three listed there, and add a fourth.  I actually have five more that I’m working on, but I’ll only list four at a time for now.

Make sense?  Wow, I hope so!

So, please, check out my website and watch the progress meters!  I think it’s something new that you’ll enjoy.

While you’re at it, just…

Keep reading!

Michael (T. M. Bilderback) Petition

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Amazon Shows Its True Colors

If you’ve ever wondered why I continue to post a link the petition at, or preach about the importance of publishing your own work and keeping control over your Intellectual Property (IP), this statement issued by Amazon says it all.  It’s aimed at Hachette, James Patterson, Douglas Preston, and any other authors out there that want to blame Amazon for lower Hachette book sales.

Read this, then, if you haven’t signed the petition yet, click the link below my name.  Show your support for a fair share to authors for their hard work.

I’m offering the statement in its entirety, and I beg you to read it:

With this update, we're providing specific information about Amazon's objectives.

A key objective is lower e-book prices. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out-of-stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market -- e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can be and should be less expensive.

It's also important to understand that e-books are highly price-elastic. This means that when the price goes up, customers buy much less. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000.

The important thing to note here is that at the lower price, total revenue increases 16%. This is good for all the parties involved:

* The customer is paying 33% less.

* The author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. And that 74% increase in copies sold makes it much more likely that the title will make it onto the national bestseller lists. (Any author who's trying to get on one of the national bestseller lists should insist to their publisher that their e-book be priced at $9.99 or lower.)

* Likewise, the higher total revenue generated at $9.99 is also good for the publisher and the retailer. At $9.99, even though the customer is paying less, the total pie is bigger and there is more to share amongst the parties.

Keep in mind that books don't just compete against books. Books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

So, at $9.99, the total pie is bigger - how does Amazon propose to share that revenue pie? We believe 35% should go to the author, 35% to the publisher and 30% to Amazon. Is 30% reasonable? Yes. In fact, the 30% share of total revenue is what Hachette forced us to take in 2010 when they illegally colluded with their competitors to raise e-book prices. We had no problem with the 30% -- we did have a big problem with the price increases.

Is it Amazon's position that all e-books should be $9.99 or less? No, we accept that there will be legitimate reasons for a small number of specialized titles to be above $9.99.

One more note on our proposal for how the total revenue should be shared. While we believe 35% should go to the author and 35% to Hachette, the way this would actually work is that we would send 70% of the total revenue to Hachette, and they would decide how much to share with the author. We believe Hachette is sharing too small a portion with the author today, but ultimately that is not our call.

We hope this information on our objectives is helpful.

Thank you,

The Amazon Books Team

This statement from Amazon, the company that those self-absorbed authors are trying to demonize, shows just where the problem lies…and it isn’t with Amazon.

So, if you’re thinking if you should try the traditional route to publish your work, or if you should just click a couple of buttons at Amazon and publish your own, I strongly recommend that you choose the buttons at Amazon.

That’s so our distinguished fans can…

Keep reading!

Michael (T. M. Bilderback) Petition

Monday, July 28, 2014

It's A Personal Record!

I’ve never written so many words in one day.

Yesterday was such a day.

I have this writing project that I’m working on – it’s the next entry in the Justice Security series.  It’s a novel, and I’ve been working on it since the first of this month.

No, it’s not Hell’s Bells.

Yes, long-time readers of this blog will remember that I said that Hell’s Bells would be the next Justice Security novel.

But, something came up, and I can’t talk about it yet.

I can say that I’ve been writing like a madman.  I can say that I’m doing something that I’ve never done before.  I also can say that it’s the next Justice Security story, and that Esteban Fernandez returns, with all of his insanity intact.  That’s about all that I can reveal.

I can also say that I believe you’re going to like it.  As usual, the story has action, adventure, humor, and a touch of romance, just like a normal Justice Security story.

Anyway, this project has actually been one of the easiest that I’ve ever written!  The words are coming to me easily, and I set a personal record for words written in one day yesterday – 2,830.  The story is 20,230 words so far.  That’s a lot of writing for me in one day!

I’m trying to finish this one as quickly as I can, so that I can put the finishing touches on Junior’s Farm – A Tale Of Sardis County.  There’s a synopsis of Junior’s Farm on my website, under “News And Events”.

Also in the pipes is another story featuring dear old British Colonel Abernathy.  It’s title is Heart Of Glass.

And, of course, Hell’s Bells.

I had to put all of those on hold for now, however, so that I could get this Justice Security story written.  If I keep setting personal records, I'll have it finished in no time!

You’ll see why everything else is on hold for now until this one is completed!

Meanwhile, the petition hit 7,500 signatures.  The people that started this petition in opposition to Hachette, and the meager pittance that they pay to traditional authors, extended the signature total to 10,000!  So, if you haven’t signed the petition yet, please do so – the link is below my name.

And, if you haven’t liked my page on Facebook, or followed me on Twitter, or visited my website, those links are below my name, too.  Go check ‘em out…buy one of my stories, and…

Keep reading!

Michael (T. M. Bilderback)

Change.Org Petition

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Words...They Flow As Water

Every writer has them.

They’re rare.

But, when they happen, you feel exhilarated.

I’m talking about the days when the words flow so smoothly, and they jump so quickly from your mind to your fingertips as you write.

Everything falls into place, and you wonder why you thought a writing project would be so difficult.

It’s a day that you wish you didn’t have to stop to eat…or pee…or do a chore…or sleep.

Yesterday was one of those days for me.

I’m writing the next story in the Justice Security series.  I’m trying something with this story that I’ve never done before, and only a handful of people know what I’m doing with it.

It’s coming together beautifully, in my opinion, and the story is flowing like water from a broken water main.

I wish I could tell you more about the story itself, but it’s a secret.

But, I think you’re gonna like it.

So, say a little prayer for me, or send positive thoughts my way, or however you wish people well, please include me.

I’d like to beat yesterday’s output today.  A hard task, but it can be done.

And I think you’ll be pleased with the results.


Keep reading!

Michael (T. M. Bilderback) Petition (almost to 7500!)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Audiobooks...And More Audiobooks

I want to focus one more time on audiobooks.

For some reason, they’re on my mind.

I can write a story.  I can provide descriptions of settings, descriptions of action taking place, descriptions of character…I can bring characters to life with words.

The one thing that I can’t do is describe a character’s voice so that you hear it when you read the story.

Audiobooks can do that.

Finding the right voice for an audiobook isn’t an easy process.  When I set up auditions for audiobooks, I usually receive several auditions.  Some voices I realize aren’t the right one as soon as I hear the audition.  Some auditions are great, and I sign that voice up to perform the story, but listeners don’t care for the voice.  Other auditions are right on target with both me and the listener, and I try to send more work to those people.

The only problem with that?  Everybody else likes them, too…then, they have trouble fitting my story into their schedules.

One of my favorite narrators is Meagan Cunningham.  She’s the narrator of the audiobook version of If You Could Read My Mind – A Nicholas Turner Novel.  Her performance is wonderful, and her characterization of Madeline is perfect.  Her quick capture of the heart of the story, and her understanding of the bittersweet feelings, longings, loneliness, and missed opportunities lurking inside Nicholas Turner, make that novel come alive in a way that no male narrator could have.

I turn to Patrick Peterson a lot now.  He’s narrated the audiobook versions of Mama Told Me Not To Come, MacArthur Park, and The Little Drummer Boy in the Justice Security series, and, let me tell you, nobody captures the character of Louie Washington and Dexter Beck like Patrick!  Patrick has also narrated my short story, The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald, and brought it to life, too!

When I opted to have an audiobook done of my short story, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, I needed a voice with a British accent to perform as Colonel Abernathy.  The first audition that I received was from Phillip J. Mather – Colonel Abernathy himself!  Phillip seemed to sense what I was looking for in the old Colonel, and I never had to hear another audition!  You should listen to the sample at Amazon, Audible, or iTunes – or simply buy the Audiobook – and check it out for yourself!

I have other narrators in the stable that I’m just as proud of – David Fischer, Jasmin Rhea, and Scott O’Neill.  They’ve all done bang-up jobs on the stories they’ve narrated.

If you are an author, audiobooks are an important part of connecting with fans of your work.  If your fans don’t have time to read the words, they might have time to listen to them, so keep audiobooks as a major part of your list of offerings!

That way, listeners can…

Keep reading!

Michael (T. M. Bilderback) Petition