Tag Archives: writing

Bon Voyager

10 Dec

The Voyager space probes, launched from Earth in 1977 to study and photograph the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune – a task they completed in 1989 have both now left our Solar System. Voyager 1 left in 2012 and Voyager 2 has just done so.

The probe’s present location is some 18 billion km (11 billion miles) from Earth and is moving at roughly 54,000km/h (34,000mph). Voyager 1 is even further away and travelling faster still, at 22 billion km and 61,000km/h.

Both spacecraft will continue transmitting signals and data until their plutonium power packs run out – perhaps in another 10 years time. After that, they will continue on their voyage through interstellar space until finally reaching the next closest star, in about 40,000 years!

According to Space.com website, here are some of the Voyager program’s probes achievements;

  • Examined Jupiter’s atmosphere, including its hurricanes.
  • Found active volcanoes on Io, a moon of Jupiter, as well as a “torus” (a ring of sulfur and oxygen that Io is shedding).
  • Saw evidence of an ocean beneath Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter.
  • Looked in detail at Saturn’s rings; observed waves, structure and “shepherd moons” that influence the shape of its F-ring.
  • Saw evidence of an atmosphere around Titan, a moon of Saturn, which scientists correctly identified as being composed largely of methane.
  • Discovered a Great Dark Spot on Neptune, which is a large storm.
  • Saw active geysers on Triton, an icy moon of Neptune

Both Voyager spacecraft carry recorded messages from Earth on golden phonograph records — 12-inch, gold-plated copper disks. A committee chaired by the late astronomer Carl Sagan selected the contents of the records for NASA. The “Golden Records,” as these records are called, are cultural time capsules that the Voyagers bear with them to other star systems. They contain images and natural sounds, spoken greetings in 55 languages and musical selections from different cultures and eras.

So, as we say bye bye to these little space probes, we must hail this amazing human technological achievement and NASA’s 40 year space mission, which is heading for a half century space mission, provided signals are still being beamed back in 9 years time…

This brings me on to another signal. Will the probes, or any Earth-based detection system pick up any alien signals from outer space? Perhaps we already have picked up a signal and just didn’t know it. If you’d like to know how things might unfold, then check out my recent Science Fiction thriller – SALIENT, by clicking the link below or visit my website for more information.

 

Salient

 

 

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Kindle Direct Publishing: Kindle Book Promotion

17 Apr

KDP Select is a relatively new promotional tool offered by Amazon to their Kindle authors who sign up to a 3 month exclusivity deal when you publish your ebook. You must agree to only publish your ebook on the Amazon Kindle platform to the exclusion of all other e-readers during the 3 month period. In return you get 5 days when you can offer your hard written book for free, and get the benefit of Amazon’s Kindle lending library. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?

You might be thinking? If your book is only available on the Kindle, what about all the lost sales from the other reading devices, The Nook, Sony or I-Pads that you probably service though your Smashwords account? Well, those sales will be lost, but how many sales were you really getting from those sources anyway?

I had 2 books selling via Smashwords and Kindle before I joined KDP Select. THE A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING (UK) and TIPPING POINT (UK). Combined sales for both on Smashwords were about 10 a month. Sales via Kindle were a combined 30-40 a month. No big deal, but still sales. So, I decided to go exclusively with Amazon’s KDP Select programme and started by giving away Tipping Point for free for two days during the last weekend of January 2012.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Well, I was amazed to say the least. By Sunday evening, 4,500 copies of TIPPING POINT (USA) had been downloaded. Around 2500 in the UK and 2000 in the USA, not forgetting about 75 in Germany! So what’s the benefit of that You might ask? Well, 4,500 readers – hopefully they read and enjoyed the book –  are now aware of me and my other two books, THE A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING (USA)  and recently released Robert Spire thriller number 2 – IMPACT POINT. (UK)

Since then I’ve used all my 5 free giveaway days on both TIPPING POINT and IMPACT POINT (USA). I’ve a few left for the A-Z OF GLOBAL WARMING and I admit the subsequent giveaways weren’t downloaded at anywhere close to the level of the first 2 day giveaway of TIPPING POINT, but still a few hundred readers downloaded my books each time.

EFFECT ON GENERAL SALES

After the first free promotion ended, actual paid for sales of TIPPING POINT continued and I sold around 80 by the Monday morning and sales reached 360 for all 3 books in the month of February. That’s up from 30 sales for 2 books the month before joining KDP Select.

Since then sales have remained constant at the post KDP levels

This translates to a quadrupling of sales following the free downloads after signing up for KDP Select.

AMAZON PRIME

Amazon Prime provides a free Kindle book lending service to Amazon customers. For an annual fee, Prime members receive free delivery of all Amazon products and can borrow one book a month from the lending library – you the author get paid however from money set aside by Amazon. The payment varies depending upon how many people have borrowed your books and how many other authors have lent theirs out. This month Amazon set aside $600,000.   “Every time a customer borrowed an independently-published book in March, the author earned $2.18. That’s more than many authors earn when their books are sold,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President of Kindle Content. 

CONCLUSION

KDP Select increases your sales simply because the free downloads increase the visibility of your book both on Amazon’s rankings as the free books are downloaded and via the “Customers who bought this item also bought,” promotion. This has the overall effect of helping with your book sales as more and more readers become aware of it and the important part – hopefully enjoy reading it!

Well done Amazon!

                                                           

Spiders and Conkers!

22 Sep

Whilst writing my next Robert Spire thriller Impact Point, I noticed a large fluffy spider run across the lounge floor. I usually catch them and put them out, but this was a big critter, and worse, it disappeared into the shadows!

 With Northern Hemisphere Autumn now in full swing, anyone afraid of our hairy eight-legged friends might be starting to get a little bit nervous. Yes, spiders in all shapes and sizes will be invading our homes through open windows, bath plugs cracks and crevices. In the UK alone there are some 600 different species of spider. Even though our eight legged friends are harmless (Unless you happen to live in the USA, Australia or the Jungle) they are great for getting rid of insects and flies, but it doesn’t stop people being afraid of them.

 So, do conkers drive them bonkers? Well my dad swears by it! According to folklore, leaving strategically placed conkers around the house, on window sills, corners of the room and other places where you spot the creepy crawlies will scare the living daylights out of them, but is there any scientific basis for this?

 The Royal Society of Chemistry has carried out some experiments to try and find the answers. The most likely explanation is that the conkers may contain some kind of chemical repellent. Spiders it seems have conkerphopia!

 However, a junior school in Cornwall carried out a simple experiment which appears to dispel the spider-conker theory, so those strategically placed conkers may be a total waste of time, just eat them instead.

 So, if you have arachnophobia, place your conkers around the house, get the Kindle out, sit back, make yourself your favourite drink and relax on the sofa with a good book – an eco-adventure thriller like TIPPING POINT would be a good start.

 If you’ve purchased the paperback version and the conkers don’t do their job, you can always whack the hairy critter with it during a chapter break! Enjoy!