Greetings from Prague! Writing

LMEEThere’s news of a monster sale and competition at the bottom of this post, but, first of all: I’m still alive!

Apologies for the prolonged radio silence, but finding an apartment in Prague proved trickier than expected. We thought we had a place twice before, only for the deal to collapse – either from the terms changing at the last moment, or other related shadiness.

But we have a place now and that’s the main thing. Internet connection should be hooked up this week, and then I can re-commence taking over the world.

While the apartment search was frustrating, all that pounding the pavement was great for getting to know the city. And what a city!

Aside from being so bloody beautiful, it’s easy to see why so many ex-pats have set up home here since the Velvet Revolution in 1989. The rent is about a quarter of London rates, beer is about fifth of the price, and the whole town is just an incredibly inspiring place for creative types. In short, I’m pumped about getting back to work.

The disruption of moving and flat-hunting has set my writing schedule back a fair bit, but hope to make up some time by, uh… typing faster? First up (and hopefully before Christmas) will be Super Tramp – a near-future, mildly dystopian, and (hopefully) darkly comic tale of two homeless guys who get roped into a twisted reality show. It was supposed to be a short story, but I had way too much fun writing it and expanded the idea as I went along. I might even turn it into a series. We’ll see how it sells, and how I feel after editing.

Following hot on the heels of Super Tramp will be the revised, expanded, and updated version of Let’s Get Digital. I’m trying to figure out a way that purchasers of the original version will get the 2nd Edition for free – or at least as many of them as possible. If you bought it from Amazon (or Smashwords), that should be relatively easy and I’m trying to see if I can do anything similar with other retailers – but more on that in a future post.

Right after that I’ll be finishing off another historical novel – Bananas for Christmas, which is set in New Orleans and Honduras at the turn of the 20th century and based on the real-life comic-book hero Lee Christmas. I actually wrote the first draft of Bananas back in February 2012, but haven’t been able to finish it for various reasons and I’m very much looking forward to diving back in.

And then it’s onto something fresh. I’ve a whole bunch of SF and HF books queued up to write, but we’ll see which nudges its way to the front once I clear my slate. In all cases, you can sign up to my mailing list to be the first to hear when anything is released. I highly recommend you do that if Super Tramp is something you might be interested in because I’m currently toying with the idea of launching it at 99c to test out a new strategy (and to reward my mailing list subscribers who usually purchase at full price).

I’ll be back to regular blogging too. On Thursday I’ll have an awesome guest post from the author of the best book on self-publishing I’ve read. I was lucky enough to get an ARC, which I devoured, and you’ll be able to read an excerpt (and purchase it yourself) in a few days. Why am I giving over my blog platform to an author with a competing book? Isn’t that just giving free advertising to the competition? Well, tune in on Thursday to find out!

Two unexpected items. First, I bumped into a blog reader in the wild, which was a first (waves to Evan). And, second, I finally discovered what all the Thanksgiving fuss is about. We don’t have an equivalent here in Europe, but after attending an awesome Thanksgiving dinner the other day, hosted by an American ex-pat, it might be my new favourite holiday. It’s like all the fun stuff of Christmas, with none of the annoying/stressful bits!

Thanksgiving also seems to have escaped a lot of the commercialization that Christmas has been subjected to, something the Americans make up for, in style, with Black Friday and its newer sibling Cyber Monday.

Reading about all the stampedes, brawls, and knife-fights on Friday made me think Cyber Monday might be more my thing too. I noticed Amazon has kicked things off with a $50 discount on two Kindle Fire models – you can buy the 16GB HD for just $119 and the higher-spec 16GB HDX for just $179. No discounts on the e-ink readers yet, but I gather they’ll be posting new offers every ten minutes to this deals page, so keep an eye on that throughout the day/week.

But Amazon don’t even have the deal of the day. I’m taking part in a sale with 24 indie authors who have all reduced their books to 99c (plenty for non-Kindle owners too).

This isn’t any old sale. Some of these books are brilliant. Pick of the bunch, for my money, is Ed Robertson’s The Cutting Room. It’s not just the best SF book of the year, it’s the best I’ve read in ages. Here’s a quote from my review back in July:

cuttingroomThe Cutting Room is a tour de force from Ed Robertson that is destined to become a modern SF classic. I really enjoyed his Breakers series, but this for me is a step up again. It’s refreshing to read such an unusual and thrilling take on time travel and its implications, as well as the possibility of multiple universes and inter-dimensional travel.

This book doesn’t just entertain, it’s food for the brain too. A white knuckle ride that will make you feel smarter at the end. Maybe Book of the Year for me so far. It’s that good.

Honestly, if you like SF and don’t pick up The Cutting Room while it’s 99c, I’ll reach through the interwebs and throttle you. Even if you don’t like SF, if you are a writer and interested in new ways of writing (this was originally released as a serial, and the whole collection is just 99c), this will make for fascinating reading.

Along with Ed’s book, there are top titles from stellar writers like J. Carson Black, Scott Nicholson, Jennifer Blake, Deanna Chase, Alexendra Sokoloff, Donna Fasano, and many, many more. You can see all the titles, and enter a competition to win $200 of Amazon vouchers, at the sale site: Love, Murder & Everything Else.

These deals expire tomorrow so don’t dilly-dally (and a huge thank you to Matt Iden for putting together such a great sale). This promo put A S
torm Hits Valparaiso
into the (overall) Top 20 on Kobo US. I’ve no idea what that translates to in sales terms, as KWL reporting is screwy at the moment, but it’s always nice to hit a chart.

That’s all for now, back to unpacking for me…

David Gaughran

Born in Ireland, he now lives in a little fishing village in Portugal, although this hasn’t increased the time he spends outside. He writes fiction under another name, has helped thousands of authors build a readership, and has created marketing campaigns for some of the biggest self-publishers on the planet. Friend to all dogs.

36 Replies to “Greetings from Prague!”

  1. (Salutes.)

    My Czech family and friends all love American Thanksgiving (aka “den díkůvzdání”). Not having a single Walmart in the country makes it even better — no need for a death-match with the neighbors over a cheap TV.

  2. David! Welcome back to blogville! We missed you. All the new writing sounds great. And don’t give us TOO good a deal on your updated book. It’s worth its weight in gold, and we’ll gladly pay the original reasonable price again. As a matter of fact, why don’t you have a donation button on your blog?

    I’m interested in hearing your year-end wrap-up, assuming you’re doing that this year. I’ve had a stellar year writing short sci-fi stories.

    Congrats on the Prague digs… finally! Visited that city last year and loved it. Are the charming Christmas markets open by now.

    1. I’m trying something a little different with Digital 2. I’m planning to upload it directly over Digital 1, thus keeping the reviews, sales history, and also boughts etc. Then I’m going to ask Amazon to push an email to owners of the first edition, notifying them they can download the second edition for free. The alternative was to upload it as a fresh book, and have to start from scratch without all those reviews etc.

      The idea is that I:

      (a) reward original readers of Digital 1 who were instrumental in its success by spreading word and reviewing etc.
      (b) don’t screw any purchasers of Digital 1 who buy it just before Digital 2 comes out.
      (c) remind all those purchasers (or free downloaders) of Digital 1 who haven’t read it yet that it’s sitting on their Kindles and that (with the new, free update) they should bump it up their TBR.

      I’m hoping that the (a) guys enjoy the free copy of Digital 2 and spread the word again, the (b) guys don’t get annoyed at missing out, and the (c) guys enjoy the book, review it or spread the word, and maybe pick up Visible and/or gift Digital 2 to a friend.

      And I’ll put Digital 2 as free in Matchbook for a while, so p-back purchasers of Digital 1 don’t miss out either.

      Plus it’s always fun to try something new!

        1. Yeah, we’ll see. I’m hoping the fact it’s a genuine (and clearly marked) 2nd edition will do the trick. Plan B is to just blog and tweet about it, and put a note at the top of the blurb to let previous purchasers know. Hopefully Amazon will see the value in what I’m trying to do, but I’ll blog about it either way!

  3. Hi David

    As an ex-foreign correspondent, I visited Prague briefly during the Prague Spring of 1968. It proved an all too brief respite from the suffocating oppression of communism. My 1995 thriller, Schreiber’s Secret, was inspired by a visit to Theresienstadt. Now that I’m retired (although not from writing), I’d love to live there for, say, six months with my good lady. Can you give me any idea of the rental cost of a one or two-bedroom furnished flat in a good area. Does the rent usually include council taxes and utilities? Are there reputable letting agents? Can it all be arranged from the UK, etc?

    Many thanks, Roger Radford

    1. Hi Roger, standard rent for a one-bedroom flat in a good area is about 10,000 – 12,000 Kc and bills vary depending on lots of things but will probably be around 2,000 KC. In total, you should be able to bring it in at under GBP£400 for the month for a decent-sized one-bed (about 60 sq metres). Maybe GBP£500 or GBP£600 for a 2-bed, depending on how much space you want. That will cover rent, electricity, gas, and bin charges etc. There will probably be another surcharge rent-wise for a shorter let, but I think 6 months is more than doable. As for reputable letting agents, they are very few and far between. Lots of sharks here, and we could easily have been screwed if my partner wasn’t Czech, and we weren’t here on the ground to check places out properly. So be careful!

  4. Lucky chap. Prague is a beautiful city. I was there weeks after it opened up to the west. I still remember how cheerful the border guards were, and glad to see us.- a bit of a contrast to my earlier visits to the east.It was a fascinating mixture of relics of communism, such as surly and useless service in state-owned restaurants and signs of what was happening, such as the new places that were opening up.I expect it’s great now.
    And Happy Thanksgiving! Scot living in the USA, I endorse all your comments about this holiday.

    1. I’d imagine it has changed quite a bit since you were last here, but still retains a lot of the old spirit. I see a lot of changes since I spent a summer here in 2009 but it still has the same magic.

  5. Prague…hmm, haven’t been there since I was a kid. I remember beautiful old buildings, lots of snow, and riding on a tram. Good luck with this new adventure. Sounds like fun!

  6. David,

    Re: Thanksgiving and its continuing expansion of commercialization by greedy, money-grubbing retailers… In addition to Black Friday (a good day to totally avoid malls) and the new Cyber Monday, this year in the States we have two new twists: 1) stores opening ON Thanksgiving Day (always the 4th Thursday in November) and 2) Small Business Saturday.

    There’s been much criticism about opening on Thanksgiving Day, shafting retail employees by requiring them to work on a holiday that’s traditionally been about relaxing, eating massive quantities, and spending time with family and friends.

    Small Business Saturday is also new, and an attempt to counter Cyber Monday by pushing guilt buttons on people who’ve abandoned mom ‘n’ pop and brick-and-mortar stores for Big Box retailers and the Internet.

    Your comment about Thannksgiving being less commercialized than Christmas is quickly becoming dated.

    Congrats on your move to Prague. Rents a quarter of London’s are not to be sneezed at. But I’m sure you find beer prices a fifth of the UK’s to be an even bigger benefit!

  7. On your recommendation/threat I went out and grabbed The Cutting Room (good timing too, I just finished The Sundered by Ruthanne Reid, which I recommend–the final twist was awesome, didn’t see it coming at all, but it made perfect sense).

  8. btw I’d be interested in hearing your experiences with Amazon’s two new promo wheezes: Countdown and Matchbook. I have nothing in Select right now, so haven’t played with Countdown yet (and have heard very mixed reports). As for Matchbook, I had enrolled my three p-backs, and made the e-book available for 99c. I dropped it to free for December to encourage gift-buyers. Anyone doing anything similar? I could also see the argument for permanently leaving the Matchbook e-book at free, if your margins on p-backs are healthy (I get roughly $4 per for Storm, $5 for Digital and $5.50 for Visible, all are listed at $14.95, with the usual 10% knocked off after Amazon price-matches B&N).

    1. I signed up for a Countdown promo for one of my books that was supposed to start yesterday. Unfortunately, Amazon cancelled it on me, claiming that the book is available elsewhere (which it’s not) and thus violated the exclusivity they require. Once I get that sorted out, I hope to run the promo and will report back with my experiences.

  9. David: Thank you for “digital” and “visible”….great. Technical question if you have time. I have a WP blog and am told I can’t link to my books….say I have to go to Your post is from .com so am I getting run around? Thanks, David.

    1. Yeah you got some bad information there, you are totally allowed link to your books. have a policy against people solely using blogs for overtly commercial purposes – this is language covering them so they can ban people who just grab the free blog to use as a storefront for something like Amazon affiliate links, without providing any real blog/website content. If you are blogging and linking to your books though, that’s totally fine. I’ve had this confirmed by directly, and they have featured my blog (with fairly obvious buy links!) on their homepage numerous times, and run an interview with me on their own news site, so it really is totally fine.

  10. Thanks David. Have just purchased “Cutting Room” and look forward to reading it. My husband is due to launch his SF/Action Adventure book “Blood Prize” at the end of January, so it will be interesting to read a recommended book in the same genre.
    I am glad you are enjoying Prague. It is one of my favourite cities. We spent 10 days there in 2008 and loved it. Enjoy settling in.

  11. By the way, thanks for the word on the Antisocial program, which locks a writer trying to avoid writing out of Facebook and Twitter (and wherever else they choose). I am finding this VERY helpful. 🙂

  12. Prague sounds amazing! What a fantastic place to write.

    I look forward to Digital. I’ve just read Visible and it’s excellent. Great to hear new stories are on the way. I loved “Transfection” – it was so much better than the rather pricier sci-fi short I bought by a mainstream publisher. More thrillers and sci-fi please 🙂

  13. Prague is is beautiful city, especially the old town. I usually stay in an apartment there when visiting family. How could you not be inspired to write while being surrounded by such history and style? Thanks for another fabulous and helpful blog post, David. My debut novel just came out, and I’m building relationships rather than urging people to, “buy my book, buy my book.” That doesn’t work. Those who’ve read it, tell others and it spread by word of mouth. Those happy readers are now my friends and they’re doing the work for me.

  14. As an American living in the Caribbean who just returned from the States for the anual Thanksgiviing trek my response is: Thank God it’s done until next year. I am a bit envious of you cause Prague is a place I have never been and you’re there.

  15. Praha is a wonderful place for “creative types.” Having been fortunate enough to have spent a semester abroad in Prague, one of the few Europeans cities that was not bombed to oblivion during WWII, I still think of the ancient cobblestone and quirky cafes when I’m in a rut. Enjoy your stay David. – Adam

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