Are the machines taking over?

The publishing industry is reeling today after news broke this morning about Kindle Author, Amazon's new service that  generates high-quality fiction using complex software algorithms.

It’s like Build-A-Bear for ebooks. The reader tells Kindle Author what they want in a story, and then Kindle Author automatically generates the book .

In this post, I’ll explain how Kindle Author works and I'll share never-before-seen screenshots of the service.  I’ll explain the science that made this breakthrough possible, and then I'll wrap by discussing what this means for Smashwords authors and the future of publishing.

How Kindle Author Works

Kindle Author is a new option for purchasing ebooks in the Kindle store.  It's receiving heavy promotion on the Amazon home page, which tells me Amazon is making the service a strategic priority for their business.

Amazon is also advertising Kindle Author directly on the book listings pages of all books in their store.  A customer visits the listing page for a book written by a real author, and Amazon encourages the reader to create and read a free Kindle Author book instead.

Read the rest at Smashwords Blog

Author Solutions and Bay Area Book Festival

I just ran across this at David Gaughran's site Let's Get Digital and wanted to share it with my visitors. If you've read my By the Numbers: Authorhouse vs Createspace post you'll understand how I feel about Author Solutions, the parent company for Authorhouse, as well as a bunch of other vanity publishers whose business model is based on the sole purpose of separating new authors from their hard earned cash in exchange for services anyone can get for a lot less than what they want.

Without further delay let's see what he had to say. 

I discovered yesterday that Author Solutions was sponsoring the inaugural Bay Area Book Festival – something at odds with the breathless verbiage on the event’s site:
The event doesn’t take place until June, so I thought it was a good time to try and stage an intervention.

Read the rest at Let's Get Digital

Fridays 5 with Ej Fisch

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Welcome to Fridays 5 this week I'm featuring Sci-Fi junkie turned author Ej Fisch. Say hello everybody.

EJ Fisch is a long-time fan of the science fiction genre. She'll readily admit that she has a vivid imagination, which can be both a blessing and a curse. She has been writing as a hobby since junior high and has completed two novels during her late high school and college years.

When she's not busy working toward her degree in information technology, she enjoys listening to music, working on concept art, playing video games, and spending time with her animals. She currently resides in southern Oregon with her family.

1.) When did first get serious about writing?

A.) I started trying to develop characters and write structured stories during late junior high and early high school, and I really started putting effort into creating novel-length stories during my later high school years. But back then, I was just writing for fun and had no intention of publishing. I finally decided to publish in March of 2014 and I think that has partially changed the way I write. It's more than just a hobby now; there's a purpose behind it.

2.) What is the hardest part for you about writing?

A.) Probably planning. While immeasurably useful, I tend to find outlining extremely boring (unless I have nothing better to do). But if I don't have my scenes planned out, I often end up getting stuck and have to pause in the middle of the story while I figure out how to fix my problems. Sometimes that's not such a bad thing - regardless of how well you plan ahead, you're not going to have every single detail nailed down. Sometimes you need a little bit of freedom to just "wing it" every so often. But I often spend more time trying to plan in the middle of the story than actually writing, and it ends up taking longer than it needs to.

Both of my sci fi novels, Dakiti: Ziva Payvan Book 1 and Nexus: Ziva Payvan Book 2, are available in paperback and Kindle formats through Amazon

3.) How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

A.) It was mind-boggling. And it still is. For me in particular, it was kind of scary because I'd never planned on publishing and I'd always been very picky about who I allowed to read my stuff. When you publish, you're basically throwing yourself out there and you're at the mercy of your readers. You're letting them inside your head. I'm still at a point where I look at the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and can't comprehend that there are actually people out there (all over the world, for that matter) who are reading - and enjoying - my books. In the days leading up to the publication of my first novel, there were definitely some moments when I second-guessed myself and wondered if I really wanted to do this, because once it was done, there was obviously no turning back. I sometimes still can't believe that all those stories and characters that were locked up inside my head are now out there for the whole world to see, but I don't regret publishing at all. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made.

4.) What is more important to you, story, or character? Why?

A.) I've always hated this question because it's kind of a chicken-and-egg scenario. Characters obviously need a story in order to function, but the story needs characters too. I think when it comes down to it, I have to go with characters. A lot of the time, well-written characters are what bring me back to a story, especially when I'm dealing with a series. They start to seem like old friends, and they're what make the story meaningful. You can have a book with a super interesting premise, but if the characters are flat, you're not going to care what happens to them and thus you won't care about the plot. Characters are lot more fun to write than plot, too. I feel like they don't require quite as much planning, because they partially evolve on their own and you end up just kind of writing what comes naturally.

5.) What is a typical day like in your world?

A.)  Wake up. Mess around on the computer for a bit. Maybe get a little writing or editing done. Go to whatever classes I have that day. Write down plot notes instead of lecture notes. Go to the gym. Brainstorm while working out (prime brainstorming time!). Clean up and go get lunch. Read or write while eating lunch. Go to other classes. Write more plot notes, if able. Come home. Write all evening instead of doing homework. Feel anxious about not doing homework. Write some more anyway. Regret nothing. Go to bed. Lie awake thinking about characters and plot points. Record voice memos with phone since I've taught Siri to pronounce all my characters' names. Finally fall asleep. Repeat.

Ej is all over the web:

Goodreads series page:








New Eroitic Horror short story release.

My erotic horror short story is now available at Amazon for $0.99, free to kindle unlimited and prime members.

Peter had it all.

A thriving Tattoo business in the city, a beautiful wife, and two well behaved boys. He had everything he could ever hope for until she came in for a tattoo.

Captivated by her unnatural beauty, he became obsessed, throwing away everything he had. Only to discover that beauty was merely skin deep.