Monday, March 17, 2014

What is your favorite kind of Science Fiction? Poll Results and Anaylsis:

The results are in! 

The main thing I learned about this poll is that it was kind of impossible to make everyone happy. Some readers pointed out to me that I didn’t include all sub-genres such as…

Time Travel
Science Fiction Comedy.

There were probably some others. But with the 8 choices already in the poll, it made the numbers rather diluted and more sub-genres would’ve increased the effect. Another complaint that came up is some readers were trying to put a certain movie or book into one category and found it impossible. Star Trek for example has a lot of elements. Sometimes it can be military, other times it can be romance or even hard science fiction. In general, a lot of science fiction has a mix of sub-genres, but may lean toward one.  

Space Opera came in first place, and I was a little surprised because this genre is often criticized for not being real science fiction. Some say that usually you can take the same plot and plug it into a western setting. Yet, it can be the most character based type of science fiction with the most spectacular space battles, which are great for the big screen. I feel in general that Space Opera includes SF Romance.

Space Opera and Soft/sociological science fiction are my favorites because I like characterization. Hard Science Fiction and SF Horror are my least favorites. Believe it or not, I only made it half way through Red Mars. And with Horror…the reason I’m not that crazy about it is because you know in any kind of horror most of the characters are going to get killed. Not that I don’t kill an occasional character myself.

So here are the results:

Space Opera: 30%
Soft/Sociological SF: 20%
Science Fantasy: 16%
Hard SF: 11%
Cyberpunk: 6%
Military SF: 6%
Apocalyptic: 4%
SF/Horror: 2%

Laslty, in this poll I was surprised that Apocalyptic didn’t score higher considering hit shows like The Walking Dead and post-apocalyptic books always seem to do very well.

Happy Reading.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Books, Music and Movies: A Comparison

When I compare books to music and movies, I often find interesting similarities and differences.

1. Media formats have changed for both. Gone are the days of record player or the eight track tape. I remember taping music off the radio with a cassette, and it wasn’t even considered pirating. It was built into the record player which also had a radio. Today music is downloaded and stored on Pods, Phones or purchased as a CD’s. The funny thing is nobody questions if we will go back to the days of vinyl albums, yet they question whether or not e-books will survive. If you look at music and even movies, you can see that electronic formats are not going away. The only thing that will evolve is the devices we will read them on (or listen.)

2. Marketing: Music is the one form of art where you will easily get a free song because it’s on the radio and can be recorded. However, once a person is hooked on a particular group many will buy the entire album or better yet go to the concert. The radio is the most common way people discover new music. If only there was something like that for books, where a story could be piped right into someone’s car or home stereo. Movies use commercials and trailers. They often try to build off sequels or old TV shows. Books do the same thing as far as sequels, yet sequels never sell as much as the original. In any case, we can see from music and movies that books also need to hook the customer with samples or freebies. Out of the three, books are the hardest to market because it involves reaching a customer who is willing to read. So many people don’t read these days.

3. Cost of production: Books by far have the advantage here while music and movies require money and a studio. Publishing costs are virtually free too, which is why we so many people are publishing books.

4. But what about genre? As everyone knows, Romance is the most popular genre. This compares to popular music as the majority of songs are about love and/or sex. Movies are a bit different. There are not many popular movies that are strictly romance; however, most movies, have some sort of love interest. The truth is most of us find stories more interesting with a romance element. It’s only natural since this is how the human race goes on, so our forms of art express where we come from.

Music is a form of art that evolves with various styles. Has anyone noticed the popularity of songs that mix a male rapper with a female singer? Then in general there is always a certain style that clicks with the majority of customers (young people.) It becomes the popular trend. What if a group produces an album in the style of classic rock? Well, these days it’s not going to get much notice, except by maybe the older generation who liked it back in the day. Classical, Jazz, Blues, etc…those will always have a smaller following and they still survive. Just like science fiction and fantasy survive.

Movies are different. Science fiction and Fantasy do well as movies. Perhaps it’s the visual format and special effects that can be brought to life on the big screen. When it comes to movies, people want to see action and be taken on a ride.

Then there is one form of art that appears to be dead…poetry. Personally, I only read or write poetry when it’s required for a class. However, poetry lives in the form of music.

All thoughts appreciated! 

Please take a moment to take my poll up there, if you haven't already.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Poll Results and an Update!

Poll results are in for the question: What do you spend on your e-books?

88% = A mix of Free to 3.99
12% = Free
0% = Free or .99 cents
0% = Traditionally published books only. (They cost more, but are worth it) 

After I posted this poll, one of my writer friends told me the MIX would win. He was right. It makes sense that if you really want a book, a slight variation in price isn't going to make a difference.

The funny thing is, when I first got my Kindle about four years ago, my first thought was.."It's going to cost a lot of money loading this up." Followed by...searching for free books. I downloaded any free classic science fiction I could find that I hadn't read. Then I discovered how out-of-date the writing style was and pretty much I didn't read most of it. However, this was before discovering the wide variety of books available on Kindle and Smashwords.  

My new poll is about the sub-genres of science fiction. What is your favorite? If you could only pick one. My goal is to determine what sub-genre in SF is most likely selling the best. That is if enough people bother with my poll. I already have an idea of what is most popular, but I'm not saying anything yet. 


I have been bouncing back and forth between projects. Usually I don't do that, but I've been struggling. It's as if working drains the creativity and I've been fighting to get it back. This has lead to the idea of expanding TransShifter. I wasn't satisfied with my first attempt and almost gave up. But then I switched view points, and it's picked up again. I don't want to say anything too soon because I have been very inconsistent, but it might work this time. Since I'm going to be using different points of views, I decided to convert it to third person. 

I've also been trying to decide a few things. Should I post as a series or an entire novel? Here are the options I'm considering...

1. Four 20K parts.
2. Two 40K parts 
3. An entire novel. 80 to 100K

Then I have to decide if I will upload an entirely new version separate from the original files...or just update the original files on Kindle and Smashwords. 

And...the part that makes this whole thing difficult is that the reviews I have on it are for the first version. 

All suggestions appreciated. Of course, I have to finish it first.