One of my distributors is going out of business. Pronoun was an ebook publishing site that took submissions from authors and put them up on retail publishing sites for them. It was one of the efforts I joined in their alpha and beta phases to help them get going. The others are Unglue.it, OpenBooks and BitTorrent Bundles. Unglue.it is still going strong. The other two, while still there, have dwindled to the point that their life signs are almost undetectable.
One of the options for readers is gone. At this point I don’t know whether I will submit the books to another distributor. It’s a way to get them in front of more eyeballs, which would be good, but I don’t know if it’s worth the effort.
Farewell to Pronoun. It was a good try, but I guess it didn’t work out for them.
MP3 file structure – CC-BY GFDL – If you want to read this tap for larger
When I started recording readings of these books, I chose to offer them in OGG Vorbis format because it’s a free and open standard. That meant there would be no encumberances on the audio files due to patents or any kind of imaginary property (IP.) That’s important to me. I have licensed my novels with Creative Commons enhancements to their copyright, to ensure their freedom. They are not weighted down with digital restrictions management (DRM) because I want readers and listeners to be able to enjoy my books without having to restrict themselves to any single device or place. I use Free Software to write the books, and to convert them to useful formats, which are also free and open. I use Free Software to produce the audio recordings, and I use open standards to present them. For the audio, that meant OGG Vorbis, the best choice for the lossy compression needed to make the file sizes reasonable for downloading. At the time, the more popular format, MP3, wasn’t free or open. It was locked in a proprietary web of patents. I couldn’t insult my listeners by offering them something like that. It’s possible that this choice has meant fewer downloads of the readings because many people only recognize MP3 and might be unwilling to download something with a strange name like OGG. I was willing to take that risk because freedom and openness are important to me.
Vorbis trademark – Credit xiph.org – CC-BY
Lately the patents on the MP3 format have run out. Well, as far as I can tell. There were a mess of them held by a mess of people and organizations and I don’t have the training or experience to sort that all out myself. I rely on other sources for that, and they’re all saying that, once the patents finally ran out in the US, MP3 became an open standard. They hedged a little on that, apparently unwilling to commit themselves fully in the face of the the, uh, complexities of IP. I was hesitant too, but I decided to take the plunge and accept MP3 as an open standard. This meant that I could finally offer people the readings in a format that they recognized. This is good because, even though all modern operating systems and devices should be able to handle OGG, it sometimes requires the extra step of installing some necessary software to do so. People don’t like extra steps. After paying, sometimes quite a lot, for their operating systems and devices, they shouldn’t have to take extra steps to get them to handle a simple open standard like OGG. That’s annoying, and now I can finally make it a little less annoying for them by offering my audiobooks in MP3 format.
You’ll find them on the downloads page. Along with the direct links to the OGG Vorbis-encoded files hosted at the Internet Archive, there are now links to MP3-encoded versions. Don’t hesitate. Download them now.-)
The reading of The Francesians is complete and ready for download. The link on the downloads page will connect to a torrent hosted by the Internet Archive, so be sure you have a torrent client installed. Alternatively, you could go directly to the The Francesians page at Internet Archive and download the ZIP file.
The sequel to Green Comet and Parasite Puppeteers – The Francesians – is now finished and available for download. It’s on this site in ePub, PDF and ODT formats, so download one of them, or download them all. It’s also available, along with the rest of the trilogy, at the Unglue.it and Pronoun links in the sidebar to the right.
After their conflict with the deadly Visitor, and their expedition to the moon of the ones who sent it, Elgin and Frances leave the Makers — the violently primitive species that created the apocalyptic Visitor — and head back to Green Comet, only to discover that dark forces have been active in their absence. They can turn away and avoid a confrontation with the Francesians, if they want. They don’t have to take on the responsibility of freeing Green Comet from the Francesians’ reign of repression. The people let it happen and maybe they should be allowed to get themselves out of it. They don’t have to take on the responsibility, but they will, because they didn’t save their people from annihilation only to let them live in darkness.
Those of you who have been following Elgin and Frances will find the whole story, all together and polished up at last. If you’re new to this and haven’t read Green Comet and Parasite Puppeteers yet, take all three books and get it all at once.
I’m moving on to the audio recording now and it will be out before too long. Then it’s on to another story. See you there.
Use the share buttons. Facebook? Twitter? Put out the word.-)
Parasite Puppeteers, book two in the Green Comet trilogy, has passed one thousand downloads from this website. That took approximately two years from the time I published it and made it available. It has been downloaded more than that in total, since it’s available elsewhere as well, but I thought it worthy of note that it has passed this nice round number here. There’s a little synchronicity in this event since I’m just about ready to publish book three, The Francesians.
By far the most popular format for downloading Parasite Puppeteers is ePub at 83%. PDF is second at 7.5%, with the reading and the text version bringing up the rear at 5% and 4.5% respectively. I guess it’s a good thing that I put so much effort into getting the ePub right. I wonder about the audio recording, though. Is it worth all that work when so few people take advantage of it? Maybe I should save myself the time and effort and just get started on the next book instead.
Thanks everyone for taking the time to download these novels, and a special thanks to those who read them and make the effort to give me your feedback and support. Downloads are nice but hearing from readers is what gives me the encouragement I need to continue. Thank you again.