Tag Archives: sci-fi

Free Reading Challenge: How much is too much?

Finding Free

I’ve spoken before about how I’ve found books to read for my free reading challenge. I’ve surfed Amazon (not a brilliant success), found books from e-mail promotion companies, and from recommendations on Facebook and Twitter and signed up to blog tours (much more successful). Just lately, I’ve also signed up to several author newsletters to get the free book they’re offering (usually the first in series offered to make you fall in love with the series world and characters). As a writer myself, I’m also using this as research to see what other people are doing with and for their subscribers.

Most authors mail periodically, and it’s clearly the recommended approach to send other free stuff to those who’ve signed up (I’m not sure if there’s some kind of a rule – give people so much for free, then ask them to buy a book, maybe?). To a degree I understand this; keep your customers reading and pleased to hear from you. However, in the past week or two I’ve had a newsletter inviting me to enter a draw to win sixty two physical books (how much shelf space?) and other offering fifty free ebooks to download to my Kindle. This morning came the pinnacle of current offers: a hundred ebooks to choose from.

Too much choice?

Am I the only one who finds offers like that a bit overwhelming? I spend a lot of time reading, but – sixty two? All at once? I was bad enough when I got a boxed set of twenty ebooks for 99p last year. I think I read one in its entirety, and about five more I read for long enough to know they weren’t my thing (the quality was REALLY variable). The rest faded into the depths of my Kindle. They might one day resurface, but personally I wouldn’t bet on it. And that’s the thing. I don’t want books to languish, unread. Books aren’t real until they’ve stepped into the imagination of the reader and been given new life. So I really only want to get 3 or 4 books at once, and then replenish once I’ve read them or decided I’m not going to read them.

A cornucopia of sci-fi and fantasy books. Click to check them out.
A cornucopia of sci-fi and fantasy books. Click to check them out.

However, just in case this works as an approach (I’d hate to miss the next big idea) I’ve joined an Instafreebie giveaway with lots of other sci-fi and fantasy authors. If you’re interested, check it out: there are more than a hundred books to choose from, but you can be as picky as you like and just take one or two. Of course, if you aren’t overwhelmed by too much choice you’re free to grab them all!

My free reading challenge: I bought a book – but I can’t read it yet

This week I have something a little different to report because I have pre-ordered a book which costs actual, real money. It comes out before Christmas (so, while my free reading challenge is on-going), but it also comes under my exception of buying a book by a friend to support their launch.

Unbearable suspense

It also comes under “I couldn’t bear to wait for this one”. It’s out on 31st October and, frankly, even that’s an unbearable level of suspense. Especially since I’ve now read the start. I should know better (I deliberately didn’t pick up a preview of Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo when I was at YALC, because what was it going to do other than drive me mad over a book I already know I want to read?), but I couldn’t resist.

Snark-filled prose

As is always the case with Kate Johnson, it’s a stunner. My favourite snort-aloud line was:

“Hell of a day to have fallen out the window with no clothes on.”

Now I’ve just got to wait to read the rest of it, which is tedious in the extreme, and I feel definitely sufficient punishment for anyone who feels I’ve broken the terms of my free reading commitment.

Cover of Kate Johnson's Max Seventeen
Click to pre-order

Take your pick

If you want to pre-order Max Seventeen just click on the cover. If you want the preview (you masochist, you), you can get hold of one by signing up to Kate’s newsletter. If you can’t wait to read something by her, I’d suggest starting with The Untied Kingdom, which is my favourite.

Disclaimer: they aren’t YA books, so if your eyes are likely to bleed at bad language, sex and violence you may need to walk on by – but do come back when you feel strong enough for some of the best fiction you’re going to find anywhere.

The Comfort of Old Friends

I got book vouchers for my birthday in November, and more for Christmas. Whilst the days have been filled with lazy holiday vibes I’ve been checking Twitter recommendations and I now have a well-stuffed Kindle.

The newest additions to my Kindle
Some lovely books lined up to start the year…

So why do I find myself dipping back into my battered paperback of Steven Gould’s Jumper, which I must have read 8 or more times, when I have new books beckoning and time is as pressing as ever?

I think it boils down to reliability. I love reading and I love discovering new books and new authors, but the other side of that is I hate being disappointed by picking up a book that ought to push all my buttons but doesn’t manage to live up either to its hype from others, or to my own expectations. I know what I’m going to get with an already-read story so there’s no chance of a let-down.

A picture of Steven Gould's sci-fi classic, Jumper
My much-loved and (for me) battered copy of Jumper, one of my all-time favourite reads.

A more positive interpretation is that book worlds genuinely become places I know, and their characters are friends. I wouldn’t ignore old friends just for the sake of gaining more, newer friends, so maybe it’s a good thing that I like to check in now and then and make sure old books are doing okay in between saying hello to new ones.