Thursday, December 30, 2010

Great review and top 1% at B&N.com - Playing the Baseball Card


Great timing, and great review. First off, Playing the Baseball Card is now well into the top 1% at Barnes and Noble (B&N.com). Review calls it very inspiring, a great book.

Now only 2 days until Aiden's Arrival arrives. In the meantime, have a good look at the Dave Murray Downhill at this New York Times interactive show. It really gives a great sense of the course.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Aiden's Arrival arrives in 3 days - right now read great article about Whistler's Dave Murray Downhill course


Aiden's Arrival arrives in only 3 days, on January 1, 2011. It will be available as a multi-format eBook on Smashwords, and as a print book on Lulu.com. The first four chapters are still available on this blog.

In the meantime, you can read this great Seattle Times article by Ron Judd, about the Dave Murray Downhill course at Whistler. The article was one of a series about the 2010 Olympic Games, and was published on February 12, 2010. The article mentions the crazy Canucks of the late 1970s and early 1980s, including Steve Podborski, Ken Read, Dave Irwin, and Dave Murray. The article also includes an interview with 2010 Canadian Ski Team member Julia Murray, Olympic torch bearer at Whistler in the lead up to the Games, and daughter of the late Dave Murray.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Prices for eBooks too high in comparison with print Books

As an author, I have become much more aware of the extraordinarily high prices that some retailers are charging for eBooks. Both as an author and as a reader myself, I am not happy about the high prices!

In order to pursue marketing ideas for my own books, I frequently review various retailers’ sites. I have noticed, with the increasingly popularity of eBooks, that more online retailers are establishing good online shopping opportunities for eBooks. Certainly Smashwords, my primary online retailer, is pursuing business relationships with an ever increasing number of very good retailers, currently including Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, Apple and others. That is all good.

eBooks priced higher than print Books

What is bothering me is the prices being set for eBooks. It is frequently almost as much as the price for a print Book. In fact, I recently saw some new release eBooks priced at higher than the hardcover print Books! I was shocked and stunned. I simply cannot understand how a retailer can charge more for an eBook, that requires only the cost of miniscule space on a server, versus the cost of printing, shipping and storing a hardcover print Book. How can that possibly make sense? How can a retailer possibly justify charging more for an eBook than the same title in a print Book?

High prices negatively affect reviews and ratings

One of the things that has bothered me most was seeing reviews and ratings for some books actually being affected by the very high prices for eBooks. A rating and review should be based on the content of the book, including perhaps how well it is written, and how imaginative the plot line is, and other considerations related to the writing. In one case I saw online recently, a very good book was being badly down-rated because of pricing issues. Imagine the poor author having his very good work hit with bad ratings because of the retailer’s and/or publisher’s greed.

In my humble opinion, the price of eBooks should reflect the minimal cost of production compared to the higher costs involved in print Books. Of course, an author should gets compensation for his or her hard work, but eBooks need to be cheaper than print Books.

What do you think? Do you agree?

I don’t know what we can do about these terrible pricing practices at this point, but we can certainly start talking about it.

Join me, and comment.

Wil

Friday, December 10, 2010

What has Smashwords done for me? What can Smashwords do for authors?

Smashwords: Smashwords Author Brian S. Pratt to Earn over $100,000 in 2011

This is a Smashwords Blog interview with Brian S. Pratt, a very successful author publishing on Smashwords.

I personally certainly don't expect that kind of success, but even a small part of that would be nice. I can say, however, that many thousands of my books have been downloaded through my publishing on Smashwords.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

69th Anniversary of attack on Pearl Harbor

I am posting this almost exactly to the hour of the 69th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Just looking at the reality of 69 years makes a person realize that there are now dramatically fewer living survivors of that day, December 7th, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked and the United States consequently went to war. Of course, for those in Europe, the Second World War started in September 1939, and many Americans actively or more quietly supported the allied effort.

I have recently been actively researching that interval of September 1939 to December 1941. The reason? Why else does an author do research? For a book, of course. Perhaps even a series of books.

The Courage of Combat: Volume 1 – The Flying Fighters

This new fiction book, very much a departure from my previous efforts and genre, will introduce some characters that I will follow from 1938 to 1941. In possible further books in the series, I hope and intend to follow the characters from 1941 right through to the end of the war in 1945, and perhaps beyond. The book(s), while fiction, will be based on historical fact, and I hope to introduce readers to some lesser known facts, situations, and locations that formed part of the overall fighting in WWII.

Some of the characters will include accurately portray Americans who traveled to Canada and to England, to join up with the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Royal Air Force in order to get into the war and fight. After the US went to war in December 1941, many of them returned home to join the US Army Air Corps, but many stayed with the RCAF and RAF until 1945.

I hope I will be able to bring that dramatic period of history to life for my readers.

The planned release date for the first book in the series, The Courage of Combat: Volume 1 – The Flying Fighters, will be December 7th, 2011. Of course, that date will also be very significant; the 70th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

What can kids do? You'd be surprised!

The adults might be surprised, but the kids won't be. If you give them half a chance, kids will astound the adults around them with what they're capable of.

One of the reactions I get from my books is something like: 'Yes, but your character is awfully young to do what you've got them doing.' That reaction is usually muted and subtle, as in: 'Well, I like the story, but...'

So, I tell those adults who have read my stories that I've based my youthful characters on real kids. Maybe kids I know today, or kids I grew up with, or, just perhaps, a tiny bit out of my own past. I also find, much more frequently than I expect, news stories about youthful characters, real ones, who are doing amazing things at young ages.

I have started to Tweet about those young people, when I spot a story that supports my point of view.

A 10-year-old who wrote a book to help other kids deal with their feelings when dealing with a personal tragedy. A 12-year-old running his own company (okay... I posted about him). A 13-year-old baseball player in the Baseball Hall of Fame (yes, I posted about her, too). The 13-year-old who climbed Mount Everest. 14, 15, and 16-year-olds sailing around the world. 14 and 15-year-olds who survive 50 days lost at sea drifting in an open 12-foot boat. A 16-year-old hero who risks his life to save a 10-year-old boy from a partially frozen, rapidly flowing river. The list goes on.

Ask any young person, and many of them will tell you what they could do, if only given a chance, if only the adults in their lives would let them and support them. The next question is: Do the adults support them? Or, perhaps, do the adults say something like, 'Oh, you'll have to wait to do that' or 'You really think you're ready for that?'

So, what's your point of view on this? Do you think I'm exaggerating? Do you think my youthful characters are doing too much, or am I feeding back what is really happening?

I absolutely and firmly believe my youthful characters are fully capable of the feats, successes and actions that I've put into my stories. I believe it because I know it. I hope you agree. If you don't, then I welcome the challenge. Do you agree?

Wil

Monday, November 22, 2010

What about this "Smashwords?"

Smashwords is the secret to my success, or at least the secret to my books being read. I have posted about Smashwords a lot over the last year, since I first published with Smashwords on 12/12/2009. In that time, my books have been downloaded/purchased many thousands of times.

Smashords is the reason. Smashwords is the answer to authors who ask: How can I get my books out there?

How does this happen? Here's a Smashwords presentation, by the founder, Mark Coker. Have a look at this Smashwords slideshow (below), and,

Happy Reading.

Wil

Thursday, November 11, 2010

12-year-olds running their own companies

Yup, that's right. 12-year-olds running their own companies.

In real life, have a look at the CNN story about a 21-year-old hi-tech CEO who started running his first company when he was just 12.

Another 12-year-old running his own company is Cameron Connors, the hero of my fiction story SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE. Cameron also becomes CEO of a large hi-tech company at a young age.

Interesting.

Now FREE for a very limited time: fiction title SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE at Smashwords is FREE by entering coupon code AQ88L at the checkout.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Author's Day

Oh, no. This is an oops. I missed "National Author's Day" on November 1st. Actually, it's a great idea, and it started over 80 years ago, when it was adopted by the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. In 1949 the US Department of Commerce awarded the observance a place on its list of special days, making it official.
Resolution
“By celebrating an Authors’ Day as a nation, we would not only show patriotism, loyalty, and appreciation of the men and women who have made American literature possible, but would also encourage and inspire others to give of themselves in making a better America…”

So, a belated happy Author's Day. I think I feel inspired to carry on writing.

Wil

Monday, November 1, 2010

Aiden's Arrival


Here it is! As promised, the first four chapters of AIDEN'S ARRIVAL are now posted as a sneak preview. The book will be published on Smashwords near the end of December.

Please have a look, and enjoy. As always, feedback is welcome.

Wil

Friday, October 22, 2010

ONE Billion Words for Smashwords - in more than 22,000 eBooks

Smashwords, the leading eBook distributor, has hit 1,000,000,000 words, in more than 22,000 eBooks by almost 10,000 authors. It was just April this year when Smashwords hit 500 million, and the speed at which the Billion word mark has been hit surprised even Smashword's founder Mark Coker, with the originally predicted date near the end of 2010.

My five... soon to be six... books are just a small part of the Smashwords numbers, but all the attention drawn to Smashwords has helped me. Thanks to Smashwords, my YA Book A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS hit the top 1% sales rank at BarnesandNoble.com, but my other titles have also done extremely well. There have been many thousands of downloads and sales of my books, and the numbers continue to increase. Look for my newest book, AIDEN'S ARRIVAL, on Smashwords, late in December.

All in all, I'm very happy with my own success, and very pleased for Smashwords!

Wil

Friday, October 1, 2010

AIDEN'S ARRIVAL - new release in December


I'm working towards getting Aiden's Arrival ready for release by the end of the year. The story has the Winter Games as a backdrop, and I hope that it will be released about the time people start thinking about skiing this winter. The way things are going, it might just be released on Smashwords just about the time Smashwords hits the one-billion word mark.

I plan to post the first four chapters on this blog around the end of October, so stay tuned!

Wil

Monday, September 20, 2010

Smashwords hits 20,000 Titles

Back in March and April, I posted about Smashwords success, and how that success was helping me. Well, Smashwords has hit 20,000 titles, double what they had less than six months ago. The success of Smashwords it still helping me, as my downloads/sales have doubled just since April. With Smashwords' help, I've most one of my titles into the top 1% of sales at BarnesandNoble.com, and two of my other titles are in the top 5%.

I currently have 5 titles available at Smashwords, and I intend to increase that to 6 titles by the end of the year, when I release my newest book. Just about that time, I expect Smashwords will hit the one-billion words mark. Yes, that's 1,000,000,000.

Things are looking good!

Wil

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Looking up on Barnes&Noble.com


A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS is moving up to the top 1% in sales rank at Barnes and Noble.com.

Incredible. Amazing. Awesome. Wonderful.

In other words, it's great to see that book doing so well. It almost makes me want to keep writing... in fact, I am. Stay tuned for news about a new release before the end of the year.

Wil



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All summer at top 2%


It's the end of the month, and guess what? A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS has spent the summer in the top 2% sales rank at Barnes and Noble.com. Have to say I'm really happy about that. Oh; and by the way, it's still FREE in multiple eBook formats at Smashwords, where it has been on the TOP TEN page for YA fiction downloads for SIX MONTHS.

A couple of other very positive stats: Playing the Baseball Card has continued to stay in the top 2% and Playing the 'Son' Card is keeping will above the 5% mark at Barnes and Noble.com

Happy reading, Wil

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Truth vs. Fiction in Baseball


I just ran across a story on CNN about a 13-year-old little league pitcher and her incredible pitching of two perfect games. She is being recognized by the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, NY and has donated one of perfect-game jerseys.

My fiction version of a 13-year-old pitcher is detailed in the pages of Playing the Baseball Card. This eBook is has been holding a top 2% sales rank at B&N.com for more than a month now, but is still free at Smashwords. Earlier this month, I completed an author’s reading of the entire story (over a few days), and I’m just as happy with the story line today as when I wrote it. I think the audience liked it, too.

Happy reading,

Wil

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Still top 2% at Barnes and Noble.com + other listings

Playing the Baseball Card is now my top book at BarnesandNoble.com, but Playing the 'Son' Card and A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS are close behind, and all three have continued to stay in the TOP 2% of best sellers.

My books are also available at Apple's iBookstore, Sony books, Kobo, Smashwords, and now at Diesel eBooks. One of my books, Sons and Brothers in Seattle, is also available at Amazon.com and the others will soon join that title.

All in all, pretty good availability and not bad sales results, either. I am still working on sequels and new titles, so more titles will be added to my lists.

Happy reading,

Wil

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Top 2% sales rank at Barnes and Noble.com - "A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS"


I was very recently pleased to see "Playing the 'Son' Card" hit the top 5% sales rank at B&N.com but this is even better; now "A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS" is well into the top 2% Sales Rank at Barnes and Noble.com.

For the last four months, "A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS" has consistently stayed in the top ten for downloads at Smashwords young adult fiction, but I am extraordinarily happy to see the latest figures from Barnes and Noble. I sincerely hope it is being enjoyed.

Wil

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PLAYING THE 'SON' CARD hits Top 5% at Barnes and Noble.com


Top 5% at Barnes and Noble.com! That's the sales rank for PLAYING THE 'SON' CARD. I was very pleased to see that rank when I reviewed my 'barnesandnoble.com' listings. The book is free right now on Smashwords, so it's easy to have a look. Don't forget the great sale on now at Smashwords, until the end of July.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Great eBook SALE at Smashwords...

Smashwords is at it again: A SALE for a whole month, starting July 1st. A few months ago, in March, they helped to sponsor "Read an eBook Week," and during that sale, my books hit all kinds of high numbers for daily downloads (and sales). I am really excited about this latest SALE.

Here's what Smashwords has to say about their latest SALE: Here in the Northern hemisphere, it's mid-summer. Readers everywhere are loading up their e-reading devices for summer beach reading and vacations. But what about the good people South of the equator, who are now in the middle of winter? They deserve to curl up in front of the fireplace and enjoy a good read too! Therefore, we're kicking off the second annual Smashwords Summer/Winter Promotion!

Sale eBooks will receive placement within a special sale catalog within the native Smashwords stores on Stanza on the iPhone/iPod Touch, and on Aldiko for Android phones. These popular e-reading apps used by millions of readers to sample, discover and purchase eBooks. Smashwords will also promote the event on the Smashwords blog.

There will be a lot of really good books to chose from, including mine, of course, so...

Happy Reading,

Wil

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Friday, May 28, 2010

Celebrating 2 more weeks at #1 for "SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE"


As we start the Memorial Day weekend, I'm celebrating 2 more weeks at #1 on the Fiction-Drama best sellers list at Smashwords for SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE. This book has been holding in the top number one or number two spot since late March.

This is my special Smashwords second edition, with bonus chapters from the sequel, Sons and Brothers Sail into Danger. The success of this book (and my four others) at Smashwords is the reason I can say that there have been thousands of downloads/sales of my fiction titles.

I'm offering this eBook for FREE for the Memorial Day weekend. Just enter TC77W at the Smashwords checkout (actually good thru 6/6/10).

The 'star' of SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE, Cameron Connors, is a young father trying to deal with a mother who likes the idea of children, but otherwise appears not to like her own. Cameron has managed to get his own two young sons away from his mother, but now he needs to rescue Brendan, his younger brother.

As Cameron has learned over the years, his mother can be quite two-faced, and heaven help anyone who crosses Mrs. Rachael Connors. Cameron and his mother are currently in a state of cease-fire, but that could change dramatically based on what Cameron has planned for the next few weeks in order to challenge his parents for custody of Brendan.

Will Cameron succeed in creating a new family of four, or will he lose? The stakes are high, and Cameron stands to lose custody of his own two sons if he is not careful. Follow the saga of Cameron as he struggles to do what he knows he must do, and what is right.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I review "Kendall's Storm" - great new book


For only the second time, I am going to blog about a book that I did not write. I'd seen the book on Smashwords, and I finally found some time to read it.

It was a good thing I started reading this book on a Sunday morning, because once I started I could not stop. This narrative absolutely kept me riveted right to the end. Kendall’s Storm was truly a great read, even as it kept me on the edge of my seat and took me places I didn’t always want to go.

This book may be fiction, but it has a sincerity and ring of truth throughout. Through the characters’ eyes and personal experiences, one learns (again) just how badly we, as a society, treat our youngest and weakest members. Through the empathetic storytelling of Janet Muirhead Hill, we also experience a coming of age with the certainty that love, affection and attention can make a profound and positive difference in a child’s life.

This is a companion book to Kyleah's Tree, and I understand that the author is currently writing the third book in this series that will bring the two young protagonists together. I can't wait.

Kendall's Storm was a wonderful, thought-provoking, and intense book, and I sincerely recommend it.

Happy Reading,

Wil

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New York Times says more authors doing what I'm doing

Yes, the New York Times has confirmed that my method of publishing books is now more popular than ever. The NYT says more than three-quarters of a million books were published by 'microniche' publishers in 2009; by comparison, Random House published less than a third of that number.

I agree with the idea that using a microniche publisher, as I do, makes it possible and easy to get stories into print (and onto eReader screens). In fact, I use Lulu to get my books into print, and Smashwords to get my books onto screens. It's a great combination. I've now published eight fiction titles in the Adult Drama and Young Adult genres, and I was pleasantly shocked when one of my books spent some time at the top of the Smashwords best sellers list.

I write for myself and not necessarily to sell, but the notion that thousands of copies of my books are now in the hands of readers heartens me. I hope what I've written brings happiness to at least a few readers, but this could never happen in the old, traditional publishing model.

If you're interested, read the full New York Times article as it appeared in the Sunday Magazine on May 2, 2010.

Writing is now a grand adventure!

Wil

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Kobo has new $149 eReader - and my books


A new entrant on the eReader market is being made available by Kobo. It's now for sale in Canada at Chapters and Indigo and is expected to be available in the US, at Borders, as early as May, but maybe not until June.

The really good thing from my perspective, is that my fiction titles are available on Kobo Books, including my Free eBooks, so now my books will be conveniently available on one more new eReader. I was really pleased that my titles were available at Apple's iBookstore on the day of launch for the iPad.

Don't forget, there's still a good way to read books on your computer, with mobipocket reader. See my April 1st blog post for details.

So, lots of ways to read. Hope you enjoy,

Wil

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What would you say to your younger self - if you could?

I saw an interesting blog post by YA author Sarah Mlynowski. Her new novel, Gimme a Call, due out this week, is about a high school senior who accidentally drops her cell phone in a fountain. When she fishes it out, she discovers the only call she can make is to herself—as a high school freshman, at age 14.

Sarah went to twitter, and asked others what they would tell their younger selves if they had a magic phone. The responses are certainly interesting, and worth a look.

I responded with: Hey, 14-year-old self... That dream? Now a book http://bit.ly/AFL-TWW about a kid who made a difference! It's dedicated to you.

The book I'm referring to is A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS (The eBook is now Free). That was my first published book, and the ideas and dreams that have followed are the inspiration for my other books. So... now you know.

Hope you read, and enjoy.

Wil


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Boating (and other activities) on the British Columbia south coast


Today, for the first time, I'm blogging about someone else's books. I'm doing so because I discovered a series of books, including Up the Strait, that Wayne J. Lutz has just released on Smashwords. They are a collection of books about boating, kayaking, other outdoor activities and living on the south coast of British Columbia.

This area, the Strait of Georgia and Desolation Sound and adjacent coastal BC and the Pacific Northwest, is one of the locations in my books, SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE, and the soon-to-be released sequel, SONS and BROTHERS Sail Into DANGER. It is an amazing part of the world for natural scenery, and it makes a great backdrop for the characters in my books. (The current Smashwords special second edition of SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE includes bonus chapters from the sequel.)

Wayne Lutz and his wife also keep a blog about their current activities on the south coast of BC, and it's certainly worth a look.

So, lots more to read,

Wil

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Thousands of Downloads and Sales of the Books of Wilson James

Thousands of downloads and sales of fiction titles by Wilson James. That’s an incredible statement to be able to make, and excited does not even begin to describe the emotions I feel about that reality. My five multi-format eBooks can be found at Smashwords, and are now also available for the iPad at the iBookstore. When I decided to make my books widely available less then four months ago, I could never have dreamed or imagined that they would be so well received, and I'm thrilled by that.

Two of my titles have made it to the top of the best sellers list for young adult fiction and one has made it to #1 on adult fiction in the drama genre. I’m amazed and humbled by that, and I’d like to share my work even more. Three of my titles are still FREE on Smashwords, one is ‘set-your-price,’ and I’m going to offer my #1 Best Seller FREE for a limited time. Here’s the lineup:

PLAYING THE ‘SON’ CARD – still free. (A 5-star rating, and top 15 on the most downloads list for YA fiction at Smashwords)

A Family Legacy: THE WATSON WORKS – still free. (At #8 on the most downloads list for YA fiction at Smashwords)

PLAYING THE BASEBALL CARD – still free. (In the top 5% on most downloads list for YA fiction at Smashwords)

ROBERT’S RIDE – ‘set-your-price’ from zero to any amount. (Made it to #1 on YA Best Seller list at Smashwords after only 6 weeks)

SONS and BROTHERS in SEATTLE. (Made it to #1 on YA Best Seller list and to #1 on adult fiction (drama) Best Seller list at Smashwords. Normally $4.99, but use code GV22M and GET IT FREE until April 30th

Hope you have a look, and

Happy Reading,

Wil

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