Do You Like Reading Bountiful Books? Welcome!

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Masterpiece Marketplace

We’re glad to meet you here. We’re a band of people who read bountiful books – and write them, too!

If you’re like us, you’ve been frustrated by how hard it is to find the kind of reading material you like: bigger-than-life books in the grand tradition of the Literary Fiction classics, and ambitious Fusion Fiction that pushes the envelope of modern publishing by crossing several genre lines.

We all love reading language that paints pictures inside our heads, and we’re not bothered if we occasionally have to pick up a thesaurus or dictionary, to learn some new vocabulary we found in a great book.

We want to read stories that make us think and feel: to laugh, cry, get mad, have hope, be happy, surprised, satisfied.

We’ve often been so disappointed by modern fiction, that we’ve thought, “I could write better than that!”

And many of us felt driven to do so – but you don’t…

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New Free Cooperative Book Listing Site.

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IRISH FIREBRANDS: A Novel ~ and Other Works by Christine Plouvier, Indie Author

Announcing MasterpieceMarketplace, dedicated to serving the writers and readers of Literary Fiction and Fusion Fiction.

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Genre or Commercial Fiction doesn’t need much help getting seen and getting sold; that’s why it’s the bread-and-butter book for many authors to write. However, some authors also yearn to find an audience for their magnum opus: the lavish Literary or Fusion Fiction (multi-genre) novel they spent many loving years writing, but which may be hard to classify, and thus can’t be located amid the torrent of novellas and novelettes that flood the modern market.

There are also many readers who search for stories in which they can lose themselves for longer than a weekend afternoon. They’re the big-book fans of historical novels, family sagas, and multi-genre works that paint pictures inside their heads while portraying the intricacies of the human condition, in the literary classic writing style that can be hard to find on the virtual shelves of online retailers.

Masterpiece Marketplace exists to help bring together these writers and readers. It’s…

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Once upon a time…

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Choosing a book from library stacks or bookstore shelves used to be a simple and satisfying voyage of discovery. The options were Fiction or Nonfiction. If the reader’s choice was Nonfiction, there was the Dewey Decimal System to help locate a topic. If the choice was Fiction, there was the division between Adult and Juvenile. Within these categories, authors were ranged alphabetically, enabling readers to browse without borders. If readers wanted fiction subject guidance, Dewey could help with that, too.

Photo by Stuart Cale, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo by Stuart Cale, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Many readers seem to have lost faith in their ability to find fiction they’d like to read, at the level of meaning that’s important to them. Responsibility for this sad state lies with the BISAC marketing category codes, which were invented over lunch at a trade show in the 1970s, by a few marketing people who didn’t like the Dewey Decimal System. The people who wrote the BISAC acknowledge that any number of codes could be assigned to a book, but they recommend using no more than three. CreateSpace print-on-demand permits only one, and Smashwords e-book aggregator allows two.

This conveys to readers two unfortunate misunderstandings: first, that fiction can only be “about” one thing (meaning, it can be written in only one genre); and second, that a novel which strays from a single topic or genre is not a well-written book. In addition, when a BISAC marketing category is discontinued (an arbitrary decision based on fluctuating sales trends), the books that are tagged with that category also disappear (unless their authors become aware of the change and re-categorize the books).

Indiana State Library system catalog entry for Irish Firebrands. Click image to view full entry.

All of these factors make good books hard to find, as well as constituting  a stranglehold on creativity, as writers strive to make their works conform to unrealistic, ephemeral marketing expectations. Dewey Decimal System classifications are also retired as the system is refined, but the affected books migrate into new, related classifications, thus remaining findable; and because Dewey classification is made after publication by people who are educated in library science (not by an author, nor by a traditional publisher’s marketing department), it does not adversely affect the creative process.

Helping Readers Find FUSION FICTION

Life is not lived in only one genre. Works that cross genre lines tend to stand the test of time, because of their broader applicability to the human condition. This makes FUSION FICTION the category of classic literature. Modern digital technology also makes it possible for books never to go out of print. Writers need to build reader recognition for the unique and lasting value of stories that synthesize multiple genres.

It’s important for independent author-publishers to mention the category of FUSION FICTION in synopses, blurbs and other promotional materials, in addition to picking from several applicable genres, when classifying their cross-genre works.

If you write FUSION FICTION, please sign up to join this blog. See menu for details.

A Public Service Announcement:

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Slide1Piracy and plagiarism have always been with us: one of the earliest cases is said to have been adjudicated by the 6th-century Irish High King Diarmait mac Cearbhaill, who pronounced, “To every cow its calf, and to every book its copy.” This started a war that resulted in the exile of the culprit, who repented for causing so many deaths, turned over a new leaf, and became Saint Columba.

There are writers out there who are on the record dismissing the importance of book piracy, and likening it to “free publicity.” But why encourage criminals? Others have compared piracy to borrowing books from a public library. This opinion is mistaken. Libraries purchase their inventory from reputable sources, so authors have been paid for each book libraries acquire. Libraries then lend their own property to their registered patrons. This is fair use. Readers may later purchase books that they borrowed from a library. I have often done so.

Piracy undoubtedly is exacerbated by the reluctance of many Indie Authors to obtain copyright registration. What should thieves fear, when their victims will have difficulty proving ownership without legal documentation of copyright? In the USA, copyright registration is easy, inexpensive, and should not be omitted.

A retailer giveaway may boost an author’s “sales ranking,” but such figures are deceptive: something that is given for free has not been sold. Assertions of popularity that are based on such misrepresentations destroy an author’s credibility. These promotionals benefit only retailers, who make claims to have “best-selling” authors in their stables. Participating authors may be disappointed when such promos neither improve nor maintain their incomes.

The distribution of free e-books also has made it simple and cost-effective for criminals to steal intellectual property. I believe that the pirates who advertise new paper books “in stock” are lying about their inventory. If they do get an order, they can easily download a cheap or free e-book and print from that copy. It’s not hard to reverse-engineer most digital documents, especially those which lack DRM.

It’s sad that so few people have read Irish Firebrands, but sometimes it helps to have published a sleeper, because I can account for every known legal copy:

  • Only one e-book was sold (at $9.99 USD), and that was almost 2 years ago. I do not know who bought it, although it’s possible it could have been an investment made by a pirate who then made back the cost by selling copies to two of the three persons who left star-ratings (but no written reviews) at Goodreads. (I know the third person, who owns a paperback.)
  • Only once did I do an e-book promotion for $1.99 USD, but none sold.
  • I have never done a promotional giveaway.
  • More than 100 people have downloaded the 51% e-book preview.
  • I’ve given one ARC to a reviewer, and it was a PDF of a special edition that’s easily identifiable if it shows up elsewhere. The POD sold one print copy before I took it off the market, and I know who bought it.
  • I have exchanged paperbacks with two authors.
  • I have given two paperbacks as charitable donations to registered facilities.
  • The POD has sold very few paperbacks. One was purchased via library distribution, and I know who all of the other buyers were. No paperback sales were made outside the USA. It has been more than a year since the last paperback sale.
  • I sent an e-copy of the manuscript to a small publisher in the UK, who declined publication.
  • I sent one paperback to a self-published author competition, so that one may be in circulation as a used book.
  • About half of the chapters of the audiobook Beta edition are in the hands of a half-dozen identified listeners. Beta listener feedback is resulting in changes to the recording, so any recordings made from the Beta chapters would be pirate copies, and I’d know who did it. The audiobook text is also different to any of the others, so any e-book or paper copy that turns up and matches the audiobook text would be a stolen copy, taken from audiobook “dictation.”

My copyright was officially registered from the beginning of my book’s publication. I’ve seen my book on one of those dodgy “free e-book” distribution sites, but it’s accompanied by a copyright warning. If people are buying and reading pirate copies, nobody is reviewing the book anywhere (not even trolls).

I commend Indie Authors who register their copyrights. In addition, I encourage all to end free e-book distribution, and to set prices for their works that are commensurate with their value. Feel free to add the CAP IT! Badge to your blog’s sidebar or footer.

 Slide2

If you are one of those who have downloaded the 51% preview of Irish Firebrands, be aware that the Smashwords e-book price returned to the original publication price of $9.99 on March 1. Amazon runs its own sales on the paperback (the latest was discounted 19%).