Q&A: About “Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga”
With the recent release of the first stories in “Tales from the world of the Noble Dead Saga,” inevitable questions came up. So far, “Tales” has been a fun but sometimes confusing side venture. We did expect some puzzlement from fans and readers as well, so it’s time to share those concerns on both sides…
- Q: the titles of the “tales” are rather long, with all the parts of them shown on the ebook sites, so what’s up with that?
We understand the confusion that might cause, though in the end you can just ignore the extra information. That’s mostly about Barb and J.C. having a way to structurally organize the multiple levels of groupings in the project over the long term. But it does have a few advantages on the commercial side and for readers.
“Tales… [etc.]” is the first organizational level, the big caldron in which all short works set in that world are lumped. You won’t see the numbering for that, which only relates to the order in which tales are released. But it does help us track them within the overall project and at varied vendor sales points in an organized fashion. It also classifies / distinguishes these works from other projects like the Noble Dead Saga and Barb’s coming Mist Torn Witches series.
The next organizational level is “sequence,” which is more useful to readers. It is theme based more than anything else. You’ve seen two sequences so far: “Homeward” and “Bones of the Earth.” More will come in the future, but for now, two is enough. Again, that’s more organizational, as not all stories in a sequence are “sequential.”
The Game Piece is very much a standalone story, as will be the next story in the “Homeward” sequence; these are tales about finding one’s place in the world. Karras the Kitten is different, as it is the first of three linked but separate tales within the “Bones of the Earth” sequence, which has the overall theme of dwarven culture in a predominantly humanized fantasy world. We’ll make the description of individual “tales” clarify any relation it has to other tales, so not to worry. Just read and enjoy.
There is another grouping not noticeable as yet: cover motif. Some readers may have noticed a forest and flora motif for The Game Piece and the bit of earthy stone and metal for Karras the Kitten. Those motifs are tied to the tales focus more than the sequence supra-title. Maybe that says something to you about the characters, cultures, and/or places that are found in those two tales, regardless of their sequences.
Watch the cover motif of future tales over the next year or more, especially across differing sequences. If you have favored characters, cultures, and places, maybe a cover in another sequence might clue you in to something that you’d find appealing. And in that, here’s a peak at the cover (with a new third motif) of the next tale coming in June: “Homeward, II: The Feral Path” by Barb.
So what’s the use of all this to readers? The project and sequence supra-/sub-titles provide additional ways to search out more tales as they come available into the future. You can literally search by sequence title or by the “tales” project title at any participating vendor site.
And of course you’ll hear about any releases through wherever you heard about this article.
- Q: So far, “tales” are available through Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (Nook); when will we see something for Kobo, Sony, iPad, etc.?
That's a fair question, though the answer may not be fair to our readers. Everyone needs to understand that there are two ways for an author to independently publish a work through the standard online vendors:
- direct publishing of an actual “ebook” through a portal set up by the vendor, or
- submitting a specifically formatted “manuscript” through an “aggregator” service.
We have chosen not to deal with aggregators. These services are a place where an author with no experience in compiling e-publications can submit a manuscript directly. It is then transformed into an ebook in multiple formats required by the vendors to which that aggregator distributes. It’s utterly wonderful for those who neither know nor want to learn how to make an actual ebook, but there are two problems with this model.
First, aggregators take a cut of 15-30% of the profit for all sales of that ebook at all vendors to which it distributes. The cut is after the vendors take their cuts for their sales, and vendor royalty percentages are sometimes based on the price of the ebook; low price or too high a price sometimes equals a low royalty to the author. There are also some accessory charges that sometimes pop up; delivery and storage of a file (the ebook itself) is not free for the vendor. As an example, an ebook priced at $2.00 USD through some aggregators and from some non-USA sub-vendors in that relationship would pay as little as $0.20 in the end.
Second, since vendors of differently formatted ebooks have different limitations and requirements, aggregators limit the submitted manuscript to the lowest functional options for all formats and vendors put together. J.C. knows some of the things that can be done as extras (for future use) in coding specific to varied vendor formats. He’s an old webhead from way back in his IT days.
Neither of these limitations of aggregators are acceptable to us at this time.
In addition, only a few vendors have an adequate system for authors to directly publish (not submit) a finished ebook (not a manuscript). Amazon and B&N are two of these, and we are waiting and watching for Kobo to get its direct publishing portal online.
At present, Sony only accepts independently published ebooks through aggregators, so we won’t be publishing for that platform until that changes. Apple does accept directly published works, but after a multi-step, multi-authorization process there, only then was J.C. able to review all contracts in question. They were found to be unacceptable at this time.
If you are using an Apple product, likely you have access to a Kindle or Nook app (or both) to load onto your unit for reading. There are also free apps to be used for buying and reading ebooks on almost any operating system. We will keep an eye out for any other avenues / formats / platforms on which to make our “tales” available, and for changes in vendors we have chosen not use for now.
And we’ll wrap this up right here. If you have questions you’d like to ask, please do so. Drop by NobleDead.org and use the secured Contact page. Not all questions will make it into a Q&A, but we do try to provide answers whenever we can. We’ll be waiting to hear from you.