Yes, in the next month, all my novels will be leaving the Kindle Unlimited program. The numbers are in, and it’s obvious that there’s little sense in my remaining in the program. My sales last month came to $750, and my pages borrowed totaled $900… So in exchange for exclusivity with Amazon, locking out the increasingly lucrative iTunes/iStore market as well as other international platforms, I’m making less and less on borrows. I got $1500 in borrowbux in July, the first “ha’penny month,” followed by $1700 in August, then $900 in September, and I’m on track this month to make about $800 on borrows…

So let’s break it down. If I make $2.80 in royalties on a $3.99 book, all I have to do is sell another 300 copies of all novels over all platforms, including Amazon, to make up the “loss” in borrowbux. And some of these novels have never been offered anywhere but Amazon. I’m sorry to do this to those who are on a fixed income and rely on that $10/month sub to get their books, but…I’m swirling the drain here. We’ve seen that the ‘zon is pretty set on paying that ha’penny a page for the long term, so it’s clear who it’s going to benefit and who it’s not…

Really, I have nothing left to lose now by trying something new. So…if you’re a KU subscriber, here’s your “last call” sheet. You have to borrow the book by the following dates (you have forever to read it, I’ve seen with previously exited titles):


“Scarcity,” Adam’s title, just came out today, and I just missed the deadline for the erotica shorts…I’m not sure if we can still request exits now or not, since we’re out of the grace period we had in the first 90 days of the new program. And there’s no point in taking the “Steps” out because I tried that and they were blocked everywhere :)

So…if you’re an iPhone/iTunes user, or still have a Nook, or just hate Amazon, get ready, cuz here I come!


You know the drill! 50% of royalties to IAVA and Puppies Behind Bars! TODAY ONLY! Order now!

So yeah! I saw the first showing yesterday, I was so excited. And yes, it’s a five star movie. I’d read the book and I remember being more than occasionally baffled by the science, TBH, being a Humanities guy myself.

But the way they handled it in the script, I mean, perfecto: they didn’t dumb anything down, and yet, I understood what was going on at all times. They didn’t convert meters to feet for an American audience, and as long as you know a meter’s three feet or so, and a kilometer’s half a mile or so, well…in the vast depths of space, close enough.

It was really a master class for me, when I think about my WIP. How to balance technical accuracy with comprehensibility. For instance, they had a dude place people around a room as if they were planets, and use a stapler and a pen to represent ship and rocket, to visualize a solution to a problem. They didn’t get deep into the math of how a slingshot effect works or anything like that. They didn’t need to.

Popularizing science is a toughie. You don’t want that Michael Crichton “Gee, Mr. Wizard, how does that work exactly?” scene, with The Professor/Expert explaining to a table full of students/bureaucrats How It Works. That scene that stops the action dead in its tracks. This movie handled it perfectly.

Recently, Aaron Sorkin talked about writing movies about Facebook or Steve Jobs, and he said that sometimes he’s writing things into his scripts that experts tell him is correct, that he doesn’t understand himself. But, I think he doth protest too much – you may not understand the coding that “Mark” is doing in The Social Network, but you know what’s going on. You know what he’s up to when he hacks the face book databases around campus, even if you’re not clear exactly how…which is fine. Because you don’t need to know exactly how. You just have to know that someone who wrote this knows, and that they’re not snowing you.

And Sorkin knows, I’d say intuitively, just how much of the content that the experts give him needs to go into the script. It makes me feel better about the crypto/Bitcoin stuff in my book – my experts are, of course, The Whole Interweb, not a paid consultant, but…I think I can figure it out :)


Yeah, I like to see that two year total, especially when September was only good for $35 to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. September was a pretty bad month for Vancedelay Industries in the book sellin’ division. This is the first month since going full time that I only “made parity” with my monthly bills thanks to my editing income.

Now, that said, here’s the deal for October. “A Little Too Broken” will be a BookBub featured book next week, at .99. However…it cost me $170 to list it. So, because my income is total shit right now, I’m going to have to cut that $170 off the total income from ALTB before I donate the 50% royalty for the month. So if it brings in $500 in royalties with the promo (that randomly assumes 1500 .99 sales), I have to recoup that $170 first. Because that was about 10% of my writing income last month…

Y’all know I’ve had a lot of months where I’ve donated 100% of the royalties from this book to IAVA, Puppies Behind Bars and (previously) Wounded Warrior Project. Total income on this book has been $6,100, $4,330 of which has been donated… It’s Hard Times in Bezosistan right now…


(Note bigger pictures from now on because, duh, nobody but me reads on a computer anymore, and previous pix were tiny on a phone.)

Yeah, so, the development of “Strength in Numbers” still isn’t at the usual speed of Mach Brad, but I’ve settled on Tokyo and Buenos Aires as my adventure/pursuit destinations for Marc and Jesse and Chip and Walt. (And Ryan, who, being a top escort, is of course always flying around the world, and whose travels therefore excite no undue attention from data sniffers…)

I picked Tokyo, because so much shit has gone down there around Bitcoin, and of course they’re following the trail laid down by Bitcoin founder “Satoshi” – who’s probably not even Japanese, but still. The Divine Right of Novelists means that if a person conceals himself that thoroughly, I can make up a plausible version of him based on the record. Hey, if Newsweek (which, if you’ve never heard of it, used to be a news magazine, before it started putting up cover stories like “HEAVEN IS REAL!”) can publish a generally discredited story about some hapless dude who probably wasn’t the real Satoshi, I the humble fictionalizer certainly have license to do a better job at concocting a more likely suspect.

And I picked Buenos Aires, Argentina, because its currency and economy have such a calamitous history of hyperinflation, that it makes it a place where a “cryptocurrency” like Bitcoin could easily replace the semi-defunct local currency.

Also? Tokyo and Buenos Aires are really cool cities, and they will be really bitchin’ setting for some chase scenes.

It’s a basic rule of fiction that you can’t have a “static pursuit.” In other words, however realistic it might be to have, say, a dude in a control center solving a puzzle by racing a drone around the world, or tapping satellites, or hacking computers – in other world, the way most cybershit gets done – it makes for boring fiction. This, alas, is why really, really stupid Hollywood movies by really, really technically illiterate groups of people, resort to that old chestnut:

“I can’t hack in, so we’re going to have to invade the building and of course I’ve got the Gandalfian ability to wave my laptop at security features and disable them all, then I’ll run through a forest of identical looking blade servers till I magically plop myself down in front of the right one with a laptop that has a DOWNLOADING X% status bar that, unlike every fucking download status bar in the world, is actually correct. Meanwhile you’ll fend off the guards with your Kung Fu Fighting, but of course like the bomb that always gets defused with one second to go, my arrival at 100% download status will happen just in time for us to make our escape because the back door is never covered by the swarms of dudes coming through the front door.”

Sigh. No, we’ll be having none of that.

Which of course is why it’s taking me a while to figure shit out for the plot. I need to build a fucking clock here – the crypto puzzles they have to solve have to be easy enough to understand that even I, Algebra Failer, can explain them, but not so easy that they’re implausible creations from a Crypto Master like “Satoshi” & Co.

My solution, for my own benefit and that of my readers, is to make them more “Grail Questy,” in that they won’t just be tests of raw mathematical ability (of which I have none). The solvers will need ingenuity, creative thinking, and an immersion in the Humanities to solve the puzzles, and not just pure technocratic power.

Then there’s that action driver – the clues have to be located in cool places Our Heroes (and Villains) can dash about stylishly, the way James Bond ended up chasing someone through Carnival, or got chased down a ski slope. And these clues (or most of them) have to be physical objects. (Enigma-like machines, a PROM chip hidden on a laptop, something geocached in a Buddhist temple or something, that’s all I got so far…)

I’ve ordered the Lonely Planet guides for BA and Tokyo, having discovered as I prep for my Berlin trip next year that…wow! Their books are great! “Lonely Planet: It’s Not Just For Dirty Hippies Anymore(TM)!” Hey, don’t knock it as a research tool: it was a DK travel guide that gave me the idea for Nick and Kyle’s one minute funicular ride in Switzerland :0.

So yeah. I’m fucked, financially, by the amount of time it’s taking. Thank the FSM for editing work! Maybe I should mad-dash out a book for $$$, after taking a profitless month to work on my “Adam Vance” passion project. Something I could write while the well is slowly filling on this one, something…simpler. Not necessarily research-free, but not as complex…just let this one bake in the EZ Bake Oven till it’s ready. (Hey! Where’s my Genius Grant! I also write novels few people read, what’s the holdup?)

I started to reread Neal Stephenson’s doorstopper novel Cryptonomicon, the Gold Standard of cyberthrillers. And I found myself stymied a few pages in, by an imaginary and fairly technical conversation involving Alan Turing. Was I smarter ten years ago, before I spent so much time on the Internet? Did I have more patience? I am really trying to rein in my mad-dashing tendencies (“no time to read all that, no time!”), but it sure is more lucrative than the slow road.

I read The Code Book as my intro to crypto, which was wonderful – lots of simple examples for a layman like me. But now for some reason, I’ve just cracked the Mother Of All Doorstoppers, David Kahn’s The Codebreakers. Wish me luck! Not that I intend to read it word for word, cover to cover, but…I need more ideas. I guess I was partly provoked by reading an interview with Nic Pizzolatto, the Only Writer in the Writer’s Room of True Detective. As part of his prep, he read the entire 1,300 page textbook, Practical Homicide Investigation. Now that’s Method Writing! (Of course, maybe he should have spent more time last season on plotting than researching…see, that’s the quandary…)

StrengthEarly December looks like the pub window. Yes, Marc and Jesse have a wild ride ahead of them. I’m just not quite sure where yet. They’ll be pursuing the “Satoshi Hoard,” worth $234,000,000 as of today, staying one step ahead (and sometimes one step behind) Walt and Chip. The quest will take them from Andorra to Barcelona for starters, and then…hmm. Not sure yet. Lots of Da Vinci Code style running around, only, not in pursuit of a bunch of made-up cockamamie clues. Well, made-up, but not cockamamie.

I’ve got the essential Bitcoin research done, from the Bitcoin history Digital Gold, along with plenty of articles on Bitcoin, Silk Road, Dark Web, Silicon Valley/Wall Street interest in the “blockchain” technology, government regulation/suppression of the currency, server farm mining operations, the $2.3 million pizza (at today’s rates), and much more. And yes, I’ve made my own little purchases of Bitcoin as a very long term investment, and it makes the research more fun and engaging now that “it’s personal.”

I’ve got a pretty good amount of cryptography/cryptanalysis info from The Code Book – at least, as much as I can comprehend myself. When he got to the secret recipe for RSA encryption, I got totally lost in the math, and realized I’d hit my personal comprehension limit on that. I’m a Humanities guy, which is fortunate for the book, I think – a math dude could easily get carried away and cram in some really plot-stopping info.

I’ve got the hot sexin’ planned out, and the overall structure (and YES, Ryan returns in this book!). But the “chase” is the hardest part – creating the pieces of the puzzles that Marc and Jesse must solve in a way that’s A, interesting, B, convincing, and C, not overwhelming. Which also requires researching the various places they land around the world, at least at a high level. And TBH I’m taking my time. I know! Me, Mr. Mad Dash! What the fuck!

Well, shit, “Adam Vance” did just publish a 30k story less than two weeks ago. And I’m doing more paid editing work, which is great – it’s really taking the edge off that knife that Amazon’s been holding to my throat since mid-June. The more I make from other ventures, the less tense I am about run run running to publish another book because money wolf door. Which means not only that the book can be better, but that writing might be…omigod…really fun again.

As for Bradiobooks…well, they’ve been on hold. I’ve come to realize that I can only partly avoid The Evil Empire on audiobooks. People are addicted to ease – pick up phone, click app, click Buy. Whether that’s books, audiobooks, scented candles…you can’t fight it. My only option long term appears to be a non-exclusive deal with Audible/Amazon, which at least gives me the freedom to sell them elsewhere. Otherwise…Amazon has them exclusively for…Seven. Years. Yeah, right. Things can completely upend in the digital content business in six months. Imagine creating a MySpace profile, and then Facebook comes along, but you have a contract with MySpace not to move to Facebook for seven years…

The ads I did on Facebook for Werewolves of Brooklyn were useful if only for the data – about 90% of people “reached” by the ads were on tablets/phones…only 10% on desktop. And they’re probably fucking around at work :). Seriously. 8 to 5 is the prime viewing time for most of my author page posts… So, ZIP files are right out as far as creating audiobooks that way, since that only works on a PC.

There are tools to create actual audiobook files, and I need to get on that. But TBH, right now, I’m overwhelmed with what’s already on my plate. #1 priority is paid editing work, #2 is writing more content, and that makes audiobooks #3 because it’s a long term and uncertain investment, and it’s incredibly time-intensive to record and edit content.

It’s one of those Catch-22 situations – I could do so much more if I could hire a little helper, but I need to do more to afford a little helper, which I can’t do without a little helper… Also, for a certain amount of time, that would give me *less* time – I’d have to train him/her, and then I’d have to check their work so thoroughly for so long, to see if they’re doing it right, that I might as well be doing it myself…

At any rate. Things are movin’ and I’m not stressin’. Well, not too much.

This MS Word template for a 5×8 book has all the formatting done for you, along with complete instructions on how to insert your content and make your very own CreateSpace-ready interior content. (Or, as always, you can pay me to do it!)

When I can, now that I’ve finally figured out how to do it, I’ll be putting up a screencast on how to do a *very basic* (i.e., what you see on my own ebook titles) CS cover in GIMP, a free graphics program.