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Latest review for Jon Puckridge's ON

Blue bleeding down a white cover with ONThe Future is ON by Joel Smith

Goodreads review

I very much enjoyed this book, but it seems to me, (and maybe only me), that you have to read a "quantum-speculative-cyberfi" book differently than you would a traditional, or normal, novel. I'm a huge fan of writers like Hannu Rajaniemi, ("The Quantum Thief"), and everyone else who tries to predict the electronic, cyber and social media future and who tries to translate quantum principles and theories into "sciencey" plot points.

The basic thrust here is that humans are moving from wireless headsets connected to the grID, their current reality of choice, to neural implants that completely tie them in to a hive mentality. (This is what it means to be ON through One Network.) The question is, what will this do to any human sense of past and future, as opposed to the purely now. Additionally, what becomes of reality, individuality, free will, privacy, moral responsibility, and the like. It's a dystopian, (or utopian, depending on your point of view), variation and elaboration on where we are now. The author sweetens, and confuses, the deal with a few other lines.

In addition to humans the world is populated by rooins, who are completely sentient robots with equal civil rights. Since humans are Darwinian, (evolutionary chance), and rooins are Lamarckian, (each new generation acquires improvements made to the prior generation), there is fear that rooins are outpacing humans developmentally. (BTW, they are.)

On top of that, and this may be the bridge-too-far that has lost some readers, all of this is destabilizing the boundaries of space-time and there are disturbances at the quantum level. I like this fluffy goofy pseudo-quantum stuff, but if you don't like playing along then it could easily get old.

We also get a huge cast of characters, and a murder mystery, but that seems to be there so the main characters can go places and do things, and it would probably be a mistake to go into this thinking it's just a futuristic mystery thriller.

What it mostly is, though, is a thought experiment World's Fair. Remember those fairs and expos in the 60's and 70's, (New York, Montreal), that showed us that the future is now? Jetsons cars and color TV and Dick Tracy wristphones? Well, that's sort of what you get a tour of here. Every page, (I mean that almost literally), mentions or includes or describes some odd futuristic electronic, social, communications wrinkle. Almost none of them have anything to do with the story, but when all is said and done they really are the story. As we follow the characters, everything they eat, drink, see, hear, wear, or talk about or talk into, is next-level stuff. It's all wild but plausible. It's the next-gen extension of what we have now. And it's all just a little twisted, or dark, or dehumanizing, or pointless, or meaningless.

So, this author has a firm grasp on the world he sees. He writes, and describes, great main characters and pretty interesting supporting and incidental characters, which helps to put the vision in context. He doesn't miss the little details that sell this sort of world building. Plot and resolution? Not so much. But, as I say, it seems you have to read these novels a bit differently.

So, are you ON?

Links:

http://www.haguepublishing.com/sample/ON.html
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1973513767

Cover of ON

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Faithless - released 21 April

Welcome baCover of book showing a shadow of a man against a bridgeck to the frozen and devastated world of Shaune's Safe Harbour.

Ten years ago Rab learned the secret of the planet he calls home - and lost the young girl he'd vowed to protect; traded for a sweater, a set of gloves and a second-hand pair of boots. Since then, he's wandered the barren surface alone searching for her, returning to the tunnels only when hunger, exhaustion or the inconstant seasons offer him no choice. When a freak accident occurs during the harvest, the death of an old friend finds Rab agreeing to abandon his search and guide Fin, now a tunnel-dweller, and Cloud, a former captive of the Top-siders, back to his old village to deliver a macabre and precious cargo. Although reconciled to honouring his word, Rab is convinced that their reckless journey south will tell him nothing he doesn't already know and that the secret he has dutifully guarded all these years is in no danger of being exposed. He is wrong.

"I really enjoyed this book. Even though it's the middle one in a trilogy, it stands alone perfectly. There's always a sense of mystery in Lafferty Webb's work, a mystery that seems to be conveyed between the lines rather than in them. This sense of mystery gives an extra dimension to everything she writes. The plot has some lovely, imaginative developments, and the ending left me keen to read the last book in the series when it comes out." Danielle de Valera

Read Sample

 

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ON by Jon Puckridge was released on Friday 15 January

Blue bleeding down a white cover with ON

'ON' by Jon Puckridge was released as an ebook on the 15th of January. With the proof now approved the book will be available for purchase as a paperback on the 19th of February.

It's BLADE RUNNER meets THE WINDUP GIRL

Youren Cartouche writes advertisements for tech companies who promise to take us all into the future. But when a global corporation launches ON, a product designed to link everyone into a fully networked world, reality starts to unravel. Youren and Constantin Zann, a bio-mechanical detective must discover the truth before their world completely disappears.

Ian Wood writing in Novellum said of the book:

This felt like reading a William Gibson Novel, which in some ways was wonderful, because it was like Gibson used to be, before he lost his direction, but in other ways it was a bad thing because once you start down the road to inventing a new cool world, there's a danger you'll go too far and ruin it by rendering it in such obscure hues that it's unintelligible to the human eye. Fortunately, while parts of this world were obtuse, this author didn’t overdo it, and the story - once I settled into it - was engrossing. It’s Gibson by way of I, Robot and A.I., with a tang of Blade Runner for seasoning, and an ominous dash of 1984 that tingles like Takifugu on the tongue.

Read Ian Wood's review in full here.

Read sample 

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Lesley Truffle's first novel 'Hotel Du Barry' to be released by Harper Collins

Cover of the Hotel Du Barry
 
Lesley Truffle signed a two book deal with Harper Collins in April 2015 - this is her first novel. Lesley is a fantastic author who we are hoping to publish in 2017. I've just finished reading the first three chapter and I can't recommend her enough.
 
About the book:
 
London's luxurious HOTEL DU BARRY has been left unscathed by WW1 and the party has just begun: tainted love, murderous desires and gin. It's THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL with a dash of Gatsby.
 
When a laughing baby is found amongst the Hotel du Barry's billowing sheets, tucked up in an expensive pair of ladies' bloomers and neatly pegged to the laundry line, the hotel staff resolve to keep the child. The hotel's owner, Daniel du Barry, still mourning the loss of his lover in an automobile accident, adopts the little girl, names her after his favourite champagne and seeks consolation in fatherhood. Cat du Barry grows up beloved by both hotel staff and guests, equally at home in the ninth floor premium suite as she is in the labyrinth below stairs. Years later when Daniel du Barry dies in sinister circumstances, Cat determines to solve the mystery with the assistance of her extended hotel family.
 
From hotel detective to roguish Irish gigolo, from compassionate housekeeper to foxy chamber maid, each will play their wicked part in this novel that will charm, amuse and delight.

 

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Our November update (newsletter) is now available

Nov2015webpagethumbnailOur second newsletter for the year is now available. The newsletter includes information on:

  • Coming soon
    • ON by Jon Puckridge
  • Recent releases
  • Other news
    • The latest book trailer for ON by Jon Puckridge
    • The latest book trailer for Cold Faith by Shaune Lafferty Webb
    • Artwork reveal for Frontier Defiant, the last in the Frontier series by Leonie Rogers
    • Lesley Truffle's Hotel Du Barry to be released by Harper Collins in January
    • Hague Publishing on Social Media.

For the complete newsletter see here.

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'ON' is now available for pre-order

Blue bleeding down a white cover with ON

'ON' by Jon Puckridge (to be released in January 2016) is now available for pre-order from:

and soon from all other reputable eBook distributors.

OneWorld is a planet orbited by thousands of satellite cities, and home to 23 billion humans. A place where governments, police forces and law courts compete for business within a wholly privatised system; where murder, rape and torture are merely extra items on your insurance policy; where a corporation owns the license for time; and where scientific fact has been replaced by ‘consumer information’. In OneWorld, every product wirelessly links to the ‘grID’, and people spend most of their scheduled ‘waketime’ moving through various overlapping realities via their grID visors.

But now the precarious balance of OneWorld is tipping as the largest of the global corporations launches the next phase of networking: One Network, or ‘ON’. By the time Youren Cartouche, a copywriter working on the advertising campaign for ON, and Constantin Zann, an advanced bio-mechanical detective investigating the strange murder of a human girl, both uncover the truth, they will be fighting for their very existence within a reality disintegrating around them.

Read sample

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Does online advertising work for books?

Cover of IBPA's The Independent showing computer keyboard

For a recent article in IBPA's The Independent, Linda Carlson put the question of which advertising works to independent publishers and got some interesting, and insightful answers.

Linda's questions focussed on:

  • Print Media Coverage
  • Paid Reviews
  • Giveaways and Deep Discounts
  • Public Relations, and
  • Online Ads

The consensus from those responding were were singularly unenthusiastic about online ads. An example being Devorah Fox's comments, president of Mike Byrnes & Associates in Port Aransas, TX, who reported:

“When we hit 100 likes on our Facebook author page we received $50 in free Facebook advertising. We used it to advertise our book The Lost King with an ad that—per Facebook—could be seen by 22 million people and a Sponsored Story that targeted 940 users. There wasn’t a single click-through, and we can’t attribute a single sale to it.”

The full report is available at: IBPA online - Marketing whatever you have to market - promotion opportunities and issues - part 2

Back in November 2013 I wrote about a recent poll  conducted for USAToday and Bookish, a website designed to help people find and buy books, which asked readers what factors created interest in a particular book for them. The poll got the following responses:

  • 57% - their own opinion of the writer's previous work;
  • 43% - opinions of a relative and friend (ie "word of mouth");
  • 17% - professional reviewers and other writers;
  • 16% - the book cover; and
  • 10% - internet opinions by non-professionals (10%).

In short, people are interested in a book based on previous knowledge of the author's work, word of mouth, or professional reviewers. Advertising simply doesn't get a look in. And if you don't believe that then you need to consider the click-through rates we get on our own adverts:

  • Click Through Rate = 0.05%, i.e. for every 2000 views of an advertisement, we expect to get 1 person clicking the advertisement to visit our site; and
  • Click Rate = 2%, i.e. for every 50 people visiting our site we expect to get 1 sale.

Back in May 2014, for a series of blog-ad designed to be viewed 86,000 times we were paying $330. That probably gave us 43 click-throughs, and some where between one and two sales. It simply doesn't make financial sense. For more information you can read my previous post on this (Marketing for authors: what to expect from click-through and conversion rates).

So does online advertising work for eBooks work? In a word - no.


If, however, given this information you still want to undertake some social marketing then you may want to check out the article in the same edition of The Independent:
IBPA online - A practical guide to social media advertising part 1

For more information about the USAToday poll, and another poll conducted by ebookfairies you can read my previous posts concerning them at:

 

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