31 May 2015

Committing book again

So it's not April and it's not quite May, either, but I've committed book again.

Available on Google Play Books

Egalitarian heroic fantasy.  Experimental magical pedagogy, non-Euclidean ancestry, and some sort of horror from beyond the world.

Available via Google Play Books.  (Google Play Books suffering mitigation for ePub downloads.)

Also available on:
  • iBooks
  • Nook -- gave up.  Nook does not play well with EPUB3.0 without introducing horrible back-compatibility features I want to stay away from.
  • Kobo
  • Inktera/Page Foundry
  • Scribd 
  • Tolino - there's no specific link; Tolino is a European device ecosystem, it looks like you have to be inside it to do anything, and I can't read German.  So I'm just going to hope any Tolino users can find the book if they want it.
  • Oyster - Oyster claims they work with Kindle Fire. 
Yes, that is the Draft2Digital list.  Yes, I will update the links as everything percolates through.  (I'm told iBooks can take weeks, and didn't want to wait.)  No, I won't be publishing on Amazon.  Amazon's thing-like-a-contract continues to be deeply alarming, while their payment mechanisms continue troubling.

I had intended that A Succession of Bad Days not rely on having already read The March North; this is a series book, you'll get more out of it if you have read the first book in the series, but it's not a tight series, this is not the same thread of the overall story, and it ought to be able to stand alone.  Various skilled and capable persons who have already read A Succession of Bad Days have expressed views strongly at variance with this hope of mine.  I can only recommend that if you try A Succession of Bad Days and feel lost, going back and reading The March North might help.

The Google version is DRM-free; the other sources all do whatever their default is, which is not likely to lack DRM.  For those who find the Google Play Books download setup incomprehensible, you are not alone and I have produced some instructions.


Caution is advised.


Janice in GA said...

Found it on Scribd, and will also purchase a copy when I get some cash. :)

Graydon said...

I do hope that cash dearth is exceeding temporary!

(Draft2Digital claims Scribd pays the same as everybody else does, so I wouldn't worry about it too much were I you.)

James Nicoll said...

Any chance of this being sold on Smashwords?

Graydon said...

I'm sort of supposing Smashwords would be a way to get a MOBI version?

Smashwords is set up to work with Word files. I haven't got Word, and I doubt what Libreoffice saves as Word would work well when various reports suggest pure Word can be something of a struggle. I'd have to go get a Windows PC and a copy of Office, convert the book into the Smashwords Word Template, and then see how well their conversion process worked when I am by no means expert or even plausibly skilled with Word. That's not an attractive prospect.

Smashwords accepts direct upload of EPUB files, but they (say they) don't convert EPUB to any of their other formats, notably including MOBI. So using Smashwords as a way to sell MOBI starting from EPUB doesn't work. I have to suppose this is deliberate; generating MOBI from EPUB isn't hard to do. (Even if you can't use Amazon's convenient java library (and I think you can), Calibre's associated libraries do a decent job.)

Which is kind of why I picked Draft2Digital; they take EPUB with much better grace, and cover if not as many other stores then at least Kobo, Apple, and Nook. (And I don't have to fight with Kobo's really awkward direct-authoring-or-Word-please upload process again.)

Draft2Digital does convert to MOBI (and wants you to approve the converted file before publishing), though they don't have a current MOBI sales channel that I know about; there's some implication Scribd is one (they sync with Kindle devices) but I don't know for sure.

Or was there some other reason you might want Smashwords?

James Nicoll said...

I actually prefer epub and Smashword because I have an account there. And they deliver the file in a way that makes it easier for me with my limited technical skills to get it onto my Kobo.

Graydon said...

Just went and checked; for non-Americans, Smashwords pays by PayPal only. Since neither of my credit unions view PayPal with less than complete horror, that won't work. (Especially since I view PayPal with considerable suspicion.)

So, current Smashwords omens are not auspicious at all.

Both books are up on Kobo and as far as I can tell without whatever "we think that gnome was drunk" download issues were afflicting the first The March North Kobo upload. Though that might not help if you don't have a Kobo account active. (Similarly Google will hand over DRM-free EPUB but not necessarily helpful if you lack a willingness to hand Google a credit card number...)

James said...

You can get a copy from Google if you have an Android phone, I found, by purchasing on your phone account (this also requires Google account validation at the time of purchase). You can then go to the website to download the EPUB file.

Unknown said...

I suggest making the "buy at Google" link more noticeable. I bought the first one at Google (my struggles with the download were memorable but ultimately successful), but my eye is drawn more to text than to graphics, so I first found the "available at other sites" section, and only later the "buy it at Google" link.

I assume that's not actually your order of preference.

(Here via James Nicoll's review, though I did see the earlier notification.)

Graydon said...

+Beth Friedman

That's a helpful suggestion; implemented.

(Also a reminder to stick the notes in about Nook and Tolino.)


jeffy said...

Was successful in downloading the EPUB from google, but my reader of choice (OverDrive on iOS. Haven't checked the Android version yet) reports an error "Invalid EPUB File:3004 The file downloaded appears to be invalid and cannot be read." Which is typically content free.

I'll just read it in the google reader like I did with the first book, but just FYI.

Graydon said...

+jeffy Thanks for the heads up!

I don't think I can speak to what might have gone wrong with the version your instance of OverDrive has got. I'm entirely sure the content is all utf-8 and a valid EPUB 3.0 epub when it leaves my hands (and the copy google has looks fine when I got poke it just now) but what happens to it afterwards is opaque.

Sorry for the difficulty!

James said...

Cool Reader under Android has no problems with the EPUB, downloaded from Google, for another data point.

Unknown said...

So this is the only way to get to you? Compete with the bird reports? (Our hummingbirds are doing quite well, thank you. I’m glad the neighborhood vulture roost is in somebody else’s back yard.)

I became aware of ‘The March North’ through Brad Delong’s post last year. Loved the book, been recommending it to lots of people, no problems, jumped on the next novel as soon as I heard it existed. (Given the technical nature of the other comments, I report no problems whatsoever with Google Play on my miniPad.) Now, after 700 pages where the biggest explicit action is constructing a canal across difficult terrain, how the hell do I recommend ‘A Succession of Bad Days’?

Not that I don’t love me some canals. One of the reasons I like Elizabeth Moon’s ‘Paksenarion’ books is that the mule trains take up as much time as the fighting. But “it’s like Hogwarts if Hogwarts were a civil engineering school” nullifies the excitement of “two of the characters are literally (Tentacled?) Entities From Beyond!” Dragons are easy - sanitation is hard!

Plus the Power was deliberately introduced into the world 250,000 years ago (!!) designed to produce the kind of chaos that it did? I can see the research proposal to the Koch brothers now.

Well, I loved it. Perhaps I should trust my friends more.

Graydon said...

+Richard Dutcher
Glad your hummingbirds are doing well, and totally sympathetic about the vultures.

(and yes, this is one of the better ways to get to me; G+ works, too.)

I hope you don't expect *me* to be able to blurb it better than I did; not my skillset whatsoever.

I do like Damien Neil's take, over at brokenforum. It might help when explaining to friends.

It's generally accepted that the Power was deliberately introduced (no identifiable precursors, and it was abrupt as a historical event); the Commonweal scholarly tradition is relentlessly fair, so they acknowledge that there's no distinguishing between malice and incompetence at that distance.

Samuel Kleiner said...

Is there a map? I'd love to see even just a rough sketch of the topological relations between the towns, the canals, the creeks, the paingyre, and the old commonwealth.

Also, how are the howdah's 8 legs configured? Just four on each side wrapping Eustace's sides? I'm doing some fan art...

Graydon said...

+Samuel Kleiner

There is not a map. Maps are massive time sinks even if one is a cartographer, and I'm not. Maps would also not be completely stable in this context.

The Folded Hills run roughly west of North to east of South; they're narrowest (at about 120 km) through the hills high road, and wider to the north and eventually rather wider to the south. (Fold a sheet of stiff paper into four even peaks; pinch it three-fifths of the way up so it's half the width at the bottom and maybe two thirds the width at the top; voila, topological representation.) The Paingyre -- which is the territory that has Dread River hell-things standing on it -- is to the west (and a bit south) of the Folded Hills, in the continuation of the valley of the large river the first Commonweal called the Main. (the Main turns into the Dread at, traditionally, a certain distance from the Iron Bridge.) The Iron Bridge was a couple hundred kilometres south of where the continued east-west line of the Hills High Road crossed the Main River.

The Creeks, the four principal Creek-we-named-a-province watercourses, run roughly north-south from the Northern Hills -- which run as near East-West as makes no matter, and which run from about the Folded Hills to the distant sea. There's more mountains to the west, but as far as anyone knows those aren't anything more than geology. The land generally rises east-to-west, and there's a large amount of desert to the east of Edge Creek.

That may not help at all; I will hope that telling you that the Howdah's legs are arranged two to a side, on all four sides, but that the side legs are set forward or back and the front and back legs are about a fifth in from the side, so there's sort of a cluster of two legs toward each of the four lower corners, does help.

The long, five-jointed, arms look like they're on the corners but are associated with the short sides; the short, three-jointed, arms are roughly two-fifths of the way in from the front and rear and a fifth of the distance apart each. The hands are clusters of eight tapering four-jointed fingers that are mutually opposing and can also shift to being flat, four-opposing-four, in which position they interdigitate so they can curl around things, four and four to the *outside* (or all eight to the inside).

Charlie Stross said...

Bought both books and binged on them -- this is James Nicoll's fault for reviewing them -- and now resigned to waiting a long time for more, because it's much faster to read than to write.

Out of curiousity: why did you opt to self-publish rather than go trad?

Graydon said...

Hi Charlie!

(and Yay! James' reviews)

Third one is expected around March of 2016. (Various disasters being found in abeyance, sign against evil, may no ill thing arise, etc.)

I self-published because no traditional publisher's acquiring editor has ever had the least interest in acquiring anything I write; when I've got actual feedback as distinct from the flat thanks-for-your-interest letter they've said positive things about it as writing, but "I do doubt me an it be commercial" is the strong common theme in the responses.

This seems like good judgement on their part; the people who like these give every evidence of really liking them, but that's not (at least as yet) very many people. A lot more people than if I hadn't self-published, so it's some sort of win.

(It's not like I have the meaningful option of writing some other way; you write with the neurons you've got, not the neurons you want, sort of thing.)

James said...

Verily, 'tis a charming roundelay ...

Anonymous said...

I loved the March North. Interesting characters, writing style, and having to pay attention when reading. :)
I will pick up A Succession of Bad Days soon.

I ran across this and thought of the March North:
Asabiyah that must be coerced is not asabiyah at all

Again, looking forward to the bad days, and the third novel!!

Hans said...

I loved The March North. Great characters, interesting writing style, and having to pay attention when reading. :)

I will pick up a succession of bad days soon.

I ran across this a little while ago and thought of The March North.

Asabiyah that must be coerced is not asabiyah at all.

Graydon said...

Hi Hans --

Asabiyah that must be coerced is indeed not asabiyah at all. Many sorcerers in the Bad Old Days recognize this, and re-write peoples' brains so they want to do what makes the sorcerer happy.

I will eventually have to show some place like that in a Commonweal book, but every time I try to imagine "Koch brother with real mind control and fewer scruples", my brain sort of locks up.

Samuel Kleiner said...

@Graydon that no maps thing seemed like a challenge to me... :)


Graydon said...

+Samuel Kleiner --


The Creeks are on the *east* side of the Folded Hills, and the Main River runs a bit south of east north of the Lily Swamps -- there's a big bend in the river to turn south above the escarpment/Lily Swamps -- so the South-West Hills are in the inside of that (substantial!) bend.

But very good, in general! Gives a sense of the relationships.

Samuel Kleiner said...

You know, I was wondering about Westcreek's name, but on the other hand, Creeks' favorite hobby after tea seems to be to name things un-intuitively. I'll see if it's fixable.

By the way, I just remembered- I found a spelling nit-pick while making judicious use of my ebook reader search function. In The March North, you spell kilometre two different ways.

Anyway, thanks again for some unusually awesome books.

Unknown said...

"Third one is expected around March of 2016. (Various disasters being found in abeyance, sign against evil, may no ill thing arise, etc.)"

God willing and the creek don't rise?


What do grauls actually look like? Demonic/undeadish covers a lot of possibilities when the Creeks thinking it aren't what we would consider mainline human either. Do you know if there is any fanart of the characters out there?

Graydon said...

There's a big difference between the hydrological "Creeks rise" and the social "Creeks rise". :)

So far as I'm aware, there isn't any character fanart.

Graul, well, you know those posters of the young and very wiry Bruce Lee? The Captain looks rather like that, build-wise, but there are two important differences so far as the Captain's appearance goes.

One is not having teeth; there's continuous wavy strips of some sort of very hard, dull, grey material, and two is that graul eyes, well, let me quote my notes: "no sclera, as such; a diversity of pin-point pupils scattered over the surface of the eye, all with irises, iris colour variable shades of reds and yellows". (Think "dead leaves in the fall" for the reds and the yellows.)

We'd notice that the Captain's skin tone has a lot of grey in it, where a mainline human's pigments are all tones and shades of brown, graul skin pigments are degrees of black. (Creek pigments are shades of brown and green; they otherwise look sort of polynesianish, allowing for allometric scaling.)

The "demon or undead?" question is not so much appearance as behaviour. Creeks are generally rather easy-going, affable people. The Captain has an extremely goal-driven personality; nothing outside the bounds of politeness, but anybody the least bit Power-sensitive is likely to notice that there's _something_ odd about graul and seek to explain the goal-directedness in terms of the oddness. So the "some kind of bound entity in a body" faction used "demon" as a sort of shorthand for "matter possessed by spirit", since they don't know about demons in either the professional sense the Captain does or the comprehensive sense Halt does; they're using a much looser folkloric sense.

The undead faction, on the other hand, haven't noticed that the Captain doesn't know it's a Creek custom to plant roses over graves and memorials (and not many other places); when someone tells the Captain that Tankard is "from a regular trade that involves growing roses" they're using a (to a Creek) universal euphemism for "undertaker; graveyard keeper; officiant of memorial rituals" and the Captain just misses it completely. So the Captain's fondness for rose stems as a snack is, depending the specific Creek, anywhere from a bit unsettling to deeply creepy. The troopers over on the "deeply creepy" end are where the "undead" theory comes from.

Both are obviously wrong if you know how the battle-standards work in detail, but at that point in time, none of the Creeks involved have that knowledge.

ctate said...

I love that there is such richness of detail in the story, hiding in the wings, directing traffic, and otherwise informing the story! The bit about eating roses, Tankard, and "deeply creepy" just made my day.

I also hope that a teensy bit more of it leaks into the actual pages at some point... ;)

Graydon said...

+ctate -- it leaks in. When the particular viewpoint knows about it and considers it relevant. :)

You may be interested to know that at least some of #4 is in (first person present) omniscient and occasionally involves explanations.

Danny Sichel said...

You may be pleased to know that I've nominated ASoBD for best novel in both the Auroras and the Hugos.

Or you may not, whichever.

Graydon said...

+Danny Sichel --

It would be difficult to be other than pleased when someone likes something I've written that much!

thank you!