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Old 10-05-2018, 04:04 PM
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My third novel (sci-fi thriller) Spindown

My earlier thread was moved to Marketplace, but the mods told me I could talk about my book in Cafe Society as long as I didn't include any links to the online stores. However, I am allowed to link to the Marketplace thread in my sig, which contains those links, so you can see that below if you'd like.

I'm really excited about my new book. I think it's my best, by far. It's a sci-fi murder mystery and thriller that takes place on a massive spaceship called Aotea, the first colony vessel to leave our solar system. Here's the back cover blurb:

Quote:
Cyrus Konami is the Chief Inspector on the first colony vessel, Aotea, to leave Earth's solar system. Deep within the machinery of the ship, a suspicious death upends the routine on board. Mysterious signals from deep space add to the confusion, along with a series of debilitating malfunctions.

Cy and Lieutenant Beatriz Mattoso dig into the deceased crewman's background. The first signs point to a tragic accident. Ship scuttlebutt points to the deep-space signals -- is a mysterious force trying to prevent humanity from spreading into deep space? Or are the radical pacifists and cultural separatists who funded the journey somehow involved?

With an increasingly uncooperative populace, a shocking assassination attempt, and a spaceship falling apart around them, Cy and Bea must unravel secrets that threaten the lives of thousands before it's too late!
The wonderful cover art is by Doper GuanoLad -- book covers are a regular gig for him, and here is his website.

I hope sci-fi fans among Dopers will give it a try and let me know what they think. I love to get feedback, and I know tough criticism is how writers improve. So let me have it, if you're interested! And thanks for reading.
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:05 PM
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For some reason, my sig didn't show in the OP. Here it is, with links for the book.
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My new novel Spindown

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 10-05-2018 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:27 PM
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I've already socked Spindown away to read later, but I have a question: Did you and GuanoLad know each other previously or is the collaboration born of "meeting" via the SDMB?
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
I've already socked Spindown away to read later, but I have a question: Did you and GuanoLad know each other previously or is the collaboration born of "meeting" via the SDMB?
We met on the board -- he noticed one of my earlier book covers and thought he could improve on it (and did!). And thus a beautiful parternship was born!

Hope you enjoy the book, and I look forward to reading your thoughts about it!

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 10-05-2018 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 10-05-2018, 04:52 PM
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Cool, I was hoping you'd say that!


It's a lovely cover; I'll have to get back to you on the book review, as I'm saving it for an upcoming trip.
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Old 10-05-2018, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Dung Beetle View Post
Cool, I was hoping you'd say that!


It's a lovely cover; I'll have to get back to you on the book review, as I'm saving it for an upcoming trip.
Looking forward to it!
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:24 AM
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I also posted Part One on Medium -- the link is in post #10 of the Marketplace thread (linked in post #2 of this thread).

Sorry for not linking here; trying to avoid breaking any rules about linking to one's own material outside of Marketplace.
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Old 10-14-2018, 07:27 PM
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Can't help but quote this wonderful review from Ann Hedonia -- thanks so much Ann!

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Originally Posted by Ann Hedonia View Post
Andy, wow! That was a really good book, it hooked me fast and I couldn’t put it down.

And I’m not just saying that. There’s a reason I didn’t post about buying it before I read it. Because I’ve had friends that self-published books that I couldn’t get through. Frequently. In which case I would’ve just not posted anything.

I decided to try it because I do like sci-fi books set on colony/generation spaceships, but a lot of those lose me especially when they go military. I certainly didn’t expect to be up until 3AM because I couldn’t put it down.

I’d love to read a sequel, maybe one set on on Samwise. ( hint hint )

Now I’m not much of a book reviewer but I wrote one which should show up on Amazon soon. Here’s what I wrote:

************************************************
“I’m usually skeptical of books by lesser known authors, especially science fiction novels. So many of them sound good but quickly break down due to unwieldy story lines and one dimensional characters.
Happily, this one was different - once I got started I was quickly hooked and couldn’t put it down.
This book was captivating, with a suspenseful story line and compelling characters. The physical and social structure of the spaceship was beautifully imagined and easily visualized and the political intrigue added dimension to the action/adventure. It somewhat reminded me of Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Aurora” and I highly recommend it. I hope there is a sequel in the works.”
**********************************************

Nice work and thanks!
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Old 10-15-2018, 12:14 PM
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GreatBook!

I was blessed to read this book in pre-publication and made the usual round of not-very-helpful suggestions and recommendations, which, if the author has the sense of a sea-squirt, he ignored entirely...

This is a Darn Good Book! A thriller, an adventure, and some mighty good nuts-and-bolts science fiction. The characters are well-developed and believable, and the pacing is seat-of-the pants.

Also, the author is a great fellow, one of the very best, all-around, that the Straight Dope has ever known!
  #10  
Old 10-15-2018, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
I was blessed to read this book in pre-publication and made the usual round of not-very-helpful suggestions and recommendations, which, if the author has the sense of a sea-squirt, he ignored entirely...

This is a Darn Good Book! A thriller, an adventure, and some mighty good nuts-and-bolts science fiction. The characters are well-developed and believable, and the pacing is seat-of-the pants.

Also, the author is a great fellow, one of the very best, all-around, that the Straight Dope has ever known!
Wow, I'm touched by the kind words! Thanks so much, and your input really did help make the book better. Writing is usually a very lonely process, and I'm very grateful for the feedback I get both while it's in progress and when it's complete.
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Old 10-16-2018, 11:24 AM
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Started reading the Free Sample from Amazon yesterday. Bought it at the end of the sample, so there's that. So far, I'm enjoying it.
  #12  
Old 10-16-2018, 11:45 AM
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Started reading the Free Sample from Amazon yesterday. Bought it at the end of the sample, so there's that. So far, I'm enjoying it.
Wonderful! Can't wait to read your thoughts on the whole book. And thanks for giving it a try!
  #13  
Old 10-16-2018, 05:13 PM
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Definitely a page turner, I was hooked after three or four chapters (yeah later than others, I'm a hard sell ) A good solid chunk of hard SF with an agreeably intricate plot and some fine action scenes. It was quite nail bitey toward the end. And the end didn't disappoint. Good book. I liked it.
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Old 10-16-2018, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Springtime for Spacers View Post
Definitely a page turner, I was hooked after three or four chapters (yeah later than others, I'm a hard sell ) A good solid chunk of hard SF with an agreeably intricate plot and some fine action scenes. It was quite nail bitey toward the end. And the end didn't disappoint. Good book. I liked it.
Thanks so much, I'm so glad you liked it! And if you've got the time, I'd immensely appreciate it if you could put a brief review on the Amazon page (or wherever you purchased it).

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 10-16-2018 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 10-18-2018, 09:39 AM
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Finished it on the bus this morning. I like the final resolution, which dealt with some issues I've seen in other works, that cropped up here:

SPOILER:
Why are the Fanatics doing what they're doing? It seemed obvious that the plan was to kill off everybody, which makes me wonder why the minion-class fanatics are on board with the plan. As it turns out, the minions are just as much in the dark as everyone else about the Real real plan.

But it also highlights the flaws in these sorts of conspiracies. Something always goes wrong that ends up making you have to start winging it, which makes all your planning completely unravel.
  #16  
Old 10-18-2018, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
Finished it on the bus this morning. I like the final resolution, which dealt with some issues I've seen in other works, that cropped up here:

SPOILER:
Why are the Fanatics doing what they're doing? It seemed obvious that the plan was to kill off everybody, which makes me wonder why the minion-class fanatics are on board with the plan. As it turns out, the minions are just as much in the dark as everyone else about the Real real plan.

But it also highlights the flaws in these sorts of conspiracies. Something always goes wrong that ends up making you have to start winging it, which makes all your planning completely unravel.
I'm so glad you liked it, and I appreciate the feedback. And if you have the time, I'd be extremely grateful if you could write a review online. A spoiler response below:

SPOILER:
The "fanatical secret plan to kill everyone" is of course pretty common trope in sci-fi and thrillers, but I hope the ostensibly ultra-pacificistic nature of the ringleader of this plan made it a bit more suprising and original than others. I also meant to include a perverse logic in it -- if everything had gone according to the villain's plan, she really would have been able to create a whole new human society, and perhaps it would have even been free of the violence and dark elements she was trying to escape.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 10-18-2018 at 10:20 AM.
  #17  
Old 10-28-2018, 12:37 PM
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Got my third 5 star review! Kind of short, but still nice:

"Takes place a couple hundred years in the future on the spaceship "Aotea" en route to the moon Samwise. The ship is elaborately imagined. I like the sparks between the characters Konami and Madani. Eventually this takes a violent turn."

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HVWCFFJ#customerReviews

Also, the book is available in paperback now -- see the Marketplace thread for links.
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My new novel Spindown

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  #18  
Old 11-01-2018, 12:43 PM
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Congrats on your book. I will try to give it a go as there is a ton of things I am working on. It does check my major category - Sci Fi.

I came to this thread from the marketplace thread. I honestly hadn't noticed that it was a marketplace thread, as I just click new posts, and read the ones that are interesting to me. So I wouldn't worry about that too much.

I will also make an effort to get back to Amazon and give you a five star review once I have read a bit. I would encourage other Dopers to do the same, for all the good that will do, lol.
  #19  
Old 11-01-2018, 12:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikemike2 View Post
Congrats on your book. I will try to give it a go as there is a ton of things I am working on. It does check my major category - Sci Fi.

I came to this thread from the marketplace thread. I honestly hadn't noticed that it was a marketplace thread, as I just click new posts, and read the ones that are interesting to me. So I wouldn't worry about that too much.

I will also make an effort to get back to Amazon and give you a five star review once I have read a bit. I would encourage other Dopers to do the same, for all the good that will do, lol.
Thanks so much for giving it a chance! And hopefully my 5 star reviews are earned. While I hope I don't get any 1 star reviews, I know that not every book is everyone's cup of tea, and I have no problem with thoughtful critical reviews. If you think it deserves 3 or 4 stars, by all means be honest.

If you think it deserves 1 or 2, maybe just be a teeny-tiny bit dishonest.
  #20  
Old 11-01-2018, 12:56 PM
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And yeah, maybe I'm too hung up on the Marketplace vs Cafe Society thread. I'm just glad so many Dopers are giving it a try!
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:55 PM
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Hey, congrats on this Andy! Wishing you the best.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trinopus View Post
I was blessed to read this book in pre-publication and made the usual round of not-very-helpful suggestions and recommendations, which, if the author has the sense of a sea-squirt, he ignored entirely...

This is a Darn Good Book! A thriller, an adventure, and some mighty good nuts-and-bolts science fiction. The characters are well-developed and believable, and the pacing is seat-of-the pants.

Also, the author is a great fellow, one of the very best, all-around, that the Straight Dope has ever known!
He's kinda dangerous, though.
  #22  
Old 11-01-2018, 01:59 PM
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Hey, congrats on this Andy! Wishing you the best.



He's kinda dangerous, though.
Thanks very much! If you're a sci-fi fan, I hope you give the book a try.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 11-01-2018 at 01:59 PM.
  #23  
Old 11-01-2018, 03:03 PM
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... and I have no problem with thoughtful critical reviews. If you think it deserves 3 or 4 stars, by all means be honest.

If you think it deserves 1 or 2, maybe just be a teeny-tiny bit dishonest.


I know when I'm looking for new books, the 3 star reviews tend to be the most useful. 5 starts are often shills or fanboys, whose opinions are unreliable, and 1 stars are usually the people who hate it for some reason unrelated to its actual quality, like they don't like violence, or gay people, or swearing, or something.

3 star reviews usually actually put some thought into it, and point out both what you might like and dislike about the book, making the decision to try it more effective.

Last edited by Horatius; 11-01-2018 at 03:04 PM.
  #24  
Old 11-01-2018, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
I know when I'm looking for new books, the 3 star reviews tend to be the most useful. 5 starts are often shills or fanboys, whose opinions are unreliable, and 1 stars are usually the people who hate it for some reason unrelated to its actual quality, like they don't like violence, or gay people, or swearing, or something.

3 star reviews usually actually put some thought into it, and point out both what you might like and dislike about the book, making the decision to try it more effective.
Very good point. I think any sort of thoughtful reviews, whether positive or critical or a combination, can only help an author, as well as helping help potential readers.

Hint hint...
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Old 11-07-2018, 02:26 PM
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Just finished Spindown Andy, and I thought it was a good read. Well written overall, nice plotting, nice nod to somewhat 'realistic' space travel without getting too bogged down in ultra-hard scifi.

If I had to come up with any criticism, I found a small handful of times where your turn of phrase was a bit awkward to my ear. Could just be me, and it was nothing of major substance anyway.

The key to me was it held my interest more than enough to keep reading, and any book that can do that is a plus.

Curious as to how you envisage Aotea is pronounced?
  #26  
Old 11-07-2018, 04:11 PM
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Just finished Spindown Andy, and I thought it was a good read. Well written overall, nice plotting, nice nod to somewhat 'realistic' space travel without getting too bogged down in ultra-hard scifi.

If I had to come up with any criticism, I found a small handful of times where your turn of phrase was a bit awkward to my ear. Could just be me, and it was nothing of major substance anyway.

The key to me was it held my interest more than enough to keep reading, and any book that can do that is a plus.

Curious as to how you envisage Aotea is pronounced?
Fantastic! Thanks so much for giving it a read, and I'm very glad you enjoyed it.

Aotea
is actually a mythical seagoing vessel in Maori mythology -- the canoe that supposedly brought the Maori's ancestors to New Zealand. I've always assumed it's pronounced "ay-oh-tay-uh", but I'm not a Kiwi.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 11-07-2018 at 04:12 PM.
  #27  
Old 11-08-2018, 04:03 PM
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I've always assumed it's pronounced "ay-oh-tay-uh", but I'm not a Kiwi.
Your assumption looks like a pretty good approximation to this Pakeha (European ancestry) Kiwi.

I think the Maori pronunciation is a bit more "ow-a-tay-uh".
"ow" as in how, now, or cow, followed by a very short "a"... almost swallowed... a bit like the "u" in up.

(Sorry, I'm sure someone with some linguistics experience could explain that much better.)
  #28  
Old 11-08-2018, 05:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollyon View Post
Your assumption looks like a pretty good approximation to this Pakeha (European ancestry) Kiwi.

I think the Maori pronunciation is a bit more "ow-a-tay-uh".
"ow" as in how, now, or cow, followed by a very short "a"... almost swallowed... a bit like the "u" in up.

(Sorry, I'm sure someone with some linguistics experience could explain that much better.)
Thanks for the info!
  #29  
Old 11-24-2018, 06:35 PM
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Indie book blog "Tome Tender" did a feature on Spindown with a fantastic (and positive!) write-up and review! http://tometender.blogspot.com/2018/...-crawford.html
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:14 PM
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Congratulations on your new novel. Curious, how long did it take you to write it?
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Old 11-24-2018, 07:45 PM
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Congratulations on your new novel. Curious, how long did it take you to write it?
Thanks! This one took me about a year to write, and nearly another year to revise and edit.
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Old 11-24-2018, 10:53 PM
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Thanks! This one took me about a year to write, and nearly another year to revise and edit.
Do you plot out your books or do you write "by the seat of your pants?"
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:02 PM
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Do you plot out your books or do you write "by the seat of your pants?"
Sorry I missed this question! I plot out my books in advance (aside from my first book... and not plotting that one before writing was a mistake), though sometimes I run into things that I end up changing while I'm writing.
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Old 12-27-2018, 10:05 PM
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A really lovely and very thoughtful (and bilingual! French and English) new review was just posted on the book blog "One More Fantasy Blog..." (the blogger is based in Benin, which is pretty cool): https://onemorefantasyblog.wordpress...ford/#more-149

A snippet:
Quote:
Despite all the questions that are brought to the attention of attentive readers, Spindown is a fast-paced book. From the first chapters, the stage is set. The first big change is not unexpected. But from that point on, things escalate quickly. Events are introduced in quick succession, and new depth is brought to light as the plot advances.

The author manages to plant the answers on the reader’s path. And even though some of the chain of events may seem clichéd, there are still a lot of surprises. Surprises that you won’t see coming.

All things considered, Spindown could be described as a crime novel set a few lightyears from Earth. One that will make you think of Agatha Christie’s Orient Express, without being limited by that single comparison.
  #35  
Old 12-30-2018, 02:34 PM
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Just finished it and left a 5* review on Kobo. Great classical SF and full of surprises. Some questions.

SPOILER:
How many of the 20,000 did you imagine died in the war? Does the fact that these people selected as pacifists were perfectly willing to engage in warfare not show the flaw in the original premise? Does this show--I think it does--that the violent nature of humanity is baked in to our genes? How did anyone expect that the gene pool, selected much more randomly than the actual travelers, would grow up less prone to force and violence than the actual inhabitants?
  #36  
Old 12-30-2018, 04:38 PM
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Just finished it and left a 5* review on Kobo. Great classical SF and full of surprises. Some questions.
Thank you so very much! Reader reviews are so, so important to any chance of success for indie books like mine. I couldn't find the review so it may not have posted yet, but I'll check back and I look forward to reading it. If at all possible, I'd greatly appreciate if you could also copy the review to any other ebook sites you have an account with (especially Amazon, and Goodreads too if possible).

Quote:
SPOILER:
How many of the 20,000 did you imagine died in the war? Does the fact that these people selected as pacifists were perfectly willing to engage in warfare not show the flaw in the original premise? Does this show--I think it does--that the violent nature of humanity is baked in to our genes? How did anyone expect that the gene pool, selected much more randomly than the actual travelers, would grow up less prone to force and violence than the actual inhabitants?
SPOILER:
Taking into account all of the violence and "accidental" deaths, I think the death toll was well into the thousands -- perhaps as many as a quarter of the total compliment. And yes, I think that the mission of the conspirators was a fool's errand -- there's no way to eliminate the violent nature of humanity, IMO. They were true believers in a long line of true believers who were willing to do violence and even things they knew were evil in service of what they fanatically believed was a greater good, unaware that this "greater good" was impossible.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 12-30-2018 at 04:41 PM.
  #37  
Old 12-30-2018, 08:56 PM
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Yeah, about what I expected. Will there be a sequel?

Sorry kobo is the only site I belong to.
  #38  
Old 12-30-2018, 09:11 PM
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Yeah, about what I expected. Will there be a sequel?

Sorry kobo is the only site I belong to.
Not sure yet about a sequel. If it becomes a big hit (still hoping!), then probably; if not, then maybe not. Do you have a link to your review? I still haven't been able to find it.
  #39  
Old 12-31-2018, 06:13 PM
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I don't understand it either. I wrote a review three times, but the Kobo site still shows no reviews. I must be doing something wrong, but the boxes for the reviewers are unclear. "Title" is title of what? The review, the book; I've tried both. "Display name" is whose name? Yours, mine, the man in the moon. Anyway, nothing works.

SPOILER:
The cover is great, but doesn't seem to have much to do with the story. No one goes out in space in a space suit.
  #40  
Old 12-31-2018, 07:16 PM
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I don't understand it either. I wrote a review three times, but the Kobo site still shows no reviews. I must be doing something wrong, but the boxes for the reviewers are unclear. "Title" is title of what? The review, the book; I've tried both. "Display name" is whose name? Yours, mine, the man in the moon. Anyway, nothing works.
Well thanks for trying! I appreciate your efforts, and hopefully it will eventually show up. I'd love it if you could post it here in the meantime, if you don't mind.

Quote:
SPOILER:
The cover is great, but doesn't seem to have much to do with the story. No one goes out in space in a space suit.
SPOILER:
Yep. The artist had a few ideas and this was by far the best one once it was drawn. I think it does a very good job of representing the tone of the story, even if there's no scene that it matches.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 12-31-2018 at 07:17 PM.
  #41  
Old 01-01-2019, 10:13 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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This isn't the review I tried to post, but here is what I might have said after reflecting more.

Well-known SF author Steve Brust recently posted a blog saying that every story he wrote was the result he was wondering about and wanted to explore through fiction. Spindown is a masterly exploration of the nature vs. nurture debate, especially in the context of war and violence. Are our violent tendencies the result of our genetic inheritance or they result of our being raised in a violent social system. This page-turner (I finished it the day after I started it) makes you think seriously on that question.
  #42  
Old 01-01-2019, 10:57 AM
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iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hari Seldon View Post
This isn't the review I tried to post, but here is what I might have said after reflecting more.

Well-known SF author Steve Brust recently posted a blog saying that every story he wrote was the result he was wondering about and wanted to explore through fiction. Spindown is a masterly exploration of the nature vs. nurture debate, especially in the context of war and violence. Are our violent tendencies the result of our genetic inheritance or they result of our being raised in a violent social system. This page-turner (I finished it the day after I started it) makes you think seriously on that question.
Thanks so much! I'm sure I'm repeating myself, but I'm very grateful for thoughtful reviews like this. I really hope it will eventually show up on Kobo (or anywhere else!).
  #43  
Old 01-04-2019, 06:13 PM
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iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is offline
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Today is the day of my very first promotion on Bookbub (they accepted me for UK and CA, but not the US) -- I'm happy to say that sales are through the roof for me on Amazon UK and CA. Spindown is the #1 sci-fi novel on all of Amazon Canada, and the #23 book overall! So I can't help but share a bit of my excitement. My best single day of sales for any of my books ever, by far.

Last edited by iiandyiiii; 01-04-2019 at 06:13 PM.
  #44  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:51 AM
RikWriter RikWriter is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iiandyiiii View Post
Today is the day of my very first promotion on Bookbub (they accepted me for UK and CA, but not the US) -- I'm happy to say that sales are through the roof for me on Amazon UK and CA. Spindown is the #1 sci-fi novel on all of Amazon Canada, and the #23 book overall! So I can't help but share a bit of my excitement. My best single day of sales for any of my books ever, by far.
Yeah, BookBubs are the shizznit. I've applied about 75 times and got two US features and three international-only, which usually means CA, UK, AU and IN. These are all 99 cents specials, I don't think it's worth it for a free promotion. The ones in the US always have a very long tail, the international ones at least pay for themselves. I always run ads on BargainBooksy and other places when I'm doing an International-only BookBub to try to get the sales up in the US as well.
  #45  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:59 AM
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iiandyiiii iiandyiiii is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RikWriter View Post
Yeah, BookBubs are the shizznit. I've applied about 75 times and got two US features and three international-only, which usually means CA, UK, AU and IN. These are all 99 cents specials, I don't think it's worth it for a free promotion. The ones in the US always have a very long tail, the international ones at least pay for themselves. I always run ads on BargainBooksy and other places when I'm doing an International-only BookBub to try to get the sales up in the US as well.
Thanks for the info! I'm definitely going to apply for BookBub again, and I'll take a look at BargainBooksy too.
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