Books written by Ray Sullivan

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Get Parallel Lives For Free

Since the beginning of October I've been posting my first novel, Parallel Lives, three chapters a week.  Some of you have clearly been following it week by week, others have dipped in and out of the story.  Some chapters have been stumbled upon more than others - Chapter 8 in particular - to the point that I started reading and re-reading the chapter in case there was a howler of a typo circulating the internet.  I haven't found one - although anyone who writes and is honest with themselves will concede that although we know what we think we wrote, on reading, we'll often read what we thought we wrote, not what we wrote.  If you get my drift.

Anyway, Parallel Lives was started one lunchtime in my last job in the RAF.  I wrote a short story that had a paradox at its culmination.  In itself it was OK, in my opinion, but lacking in resolution.  However, lunch over, I got back to work and promptly forgot about the short story.  At the time I was writing a comedic TV drama loosely based on the X Files, which was still popular back then.  Once I'd finished the comedy I looked around for something to write and the background to Parallel Lives occurred to me.  I started writing the book in my last few months of military service and continued it as I started my civilian career. Consequently the book forms a tangible link between my military career and my civilian one, and I guess anybody who has spent a significant part of their lives in a career like the military will appreciate that it's good to have something that links the past with the present.

So I have a soft spot for the book and I've enjoyed sharing it with you all.  Now I realise that reading a book serialised on a blog isn't the best way to enjoy it - that's why we all have eReaders and tablet computers these days, so that we can read eBooks at a pace and duration of our choosing, not at the pace dictated by some blogger.  Consequently, for a limited period, I'm setting the price of Parallel Lives at almost all eBook-sellers to zero.

Those of you who self publish your own books on Amazon will know that they don't make it easy to list your books for free.  They do if you sign up for KDP select, which requires the author to give Amazon exclusive rights to publish your book.  In return they make it easier for the author to give it away a few days a months, which is an acknowledged successful promotional tool.  They also are pushing shovel loads of money to get authors to sign up exclusively with them, to exclude Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony and all the other eBook-sellers out there.  Potentially I could make a little more money by signing up for KDP Select, by tapping into the Amazon slush fund.  But as I've mentioned once or twice before I'm morally against the concept so I keep my books available at multiple sellers, including Amazon, and have to offer alternative ways for Kindle users to get my books for free when I run a promotion like this.

Right, for those not tied to Amazon, pop along to your favourite eBook retailer and check out Parallel Lives there.  If it isn't listed for free and you're reading this posting somewhere around the second of May then try again later - it can take a few days for the instruction to propagate through the various eBook retailers.  If, however, you've stumbled across this posting a while after that date and the book isn't free, then I guess you've missed this boat.

For those who use a Kindle or the Kindle App, then you've got a couple of options.  First, consider getting your copy from Smashwords.  Smashwords is the bookstore that distributes my books to everyone who isn't Amazon, but they do have Kindle compatible versions available.  Unfortunately you won't have the benefit of Whispersync to pop the book into your Kindle, it will simply load onto your PC and you'll have to drag it across to your Kindle over the USB cable you use to charge it with.  It isn't rocket science, but not everyone who uses an eReader wants to be a computer geek, so there's an alternative method you can use.

Complain.  Not to me, I'm pretty impervious to that sort of thing.  To Amazon.  Although they won't give me the tools to list for free, they'll let you have a free copy if you can prove I'm listing Parallel Lives on one of their competitors' sites for free.  I've never tried it myself, but I've been on the receiving end when I've listed books for free previously.  Certainly in the US they appear to be pretty good about it - I haven't seen it used on UK or other Amazon sites, but you'll see a link on the Amazon page asking you to 'tell us about a lower price'.  Use that and I reckon they'll price match - they don't guarantee they will, but hey, it's an electronic file.  Incidentally they tend to leave it on zero long after the promotion has finished - maybe to punish me - so if  you have stumbled across this posting after I've restored the price of the eBook across the field you may still find it for free on Amazon.  It's the wrong format for most dedicated eReaders, but tablet users can download the Kindle App for free.  Just a thought.

So please do take the opportunity to download Parallel Lives for free - it won't last for long, so don't delay.  If you've enjoyed some or all of the book then why not tell your friends - post a link to this entry to them.


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