Book covers

At first I was a little leery of the “cute” illustration my publisher picked for my book Roger Mantis. They explained the appeal to the target readers, and after a while, it grew on me, too.


I’m feeling even better about it now that I’ve seen the new Kindle cover for Robert A. Heinlein’s Have Space Suit–Will Travel.


This is the cover I grew up with:


Strange world facts

I got another flag from Google search on my book Castle Falcon. As is often the case, it’s someone out there putting my book online without my permission.

In this case, the website had the country code location “.tk”

That was an unfamiliar code, so out of general curiosity and boredom, I looked it up.

It’s the “nation” of Tokelau, a tiny atoll in the south seas, technically a self-governing state in association with New Zealand. It’s official head of state is still the Queen of England.

Apparently, about a sixth of its entire economy involves handing out internet domains on favorable terms, which makes it very attractive to outfits like bookleggers. It’s almost like the Pirate Kingdom of the Internet, largely because of third-party abuse, not the islanders themselves.

Additional fun fact: Tokelau is the only nation on Earth which is 100 percent renewable energy, with 93 percent photovoltaic, and the rest from burning coconut oil. They need the oil from around 200 coconuts for this every day.

Below, Tolekau, and the Tokelau solar farm. I don’t know where they burn the coconut oil. I wonder if there’s a scientist there somewhere working on a Q-Bomb.

“Pirate” booksellers

There are a number of websites out there that have been selling digital versions of my self-published book, Castle Falcon.

I discover these because I have a general Google tracker set up for the book title, in the fond hope that some review or other reader response will someday show up. What usually shows up is some obscure website that is selling my book in PDF or ebook form.

The most recent one is a site called KissLibrary, which is more sophisticated than most. My book, nicely presented, was for sale for five bucks. I did a quick check to make sure it wasn’t one of the Smashwords channels (it’s not).

I dithered over how to deal with it. The site has a DMCA form available, which at least shows a willingness to be corrected on their placement. I wondered: should I leave the book site up? It’s no real skin off my nose since the book hasn’t been selling anyway, and if someone buys it, at least it might get read.

I finally decided to file the DMCA form. I’m no legal expert, but it seems to me that if you let too many of these “bootleggers” go, it might actually put a legal crimp in your own copyright. Kind of like brand names that aren’t aggressive enough about other people using them generically, and then wake up one morning to find out that their brand actually has become legally generic.

I’m not sure how these books get into the “wild.” Smashwords is the only distributor I use that routinely offers a PDF format for books sold by them. I suspect it would be easy for someone to buy it legally from Smashwords and then reproduce it at will.

So I did this signing in Wisconsin …

On a trip to visit family in the Midwest, my wife suggested setting up a signing at her sister-in-law’s drugstore that also sells some books. So on June 14, I did. The store ordered some books and I set up a table with free bookmarks and trading cards.

Got several customers, including one (1) Actual Child.


L. Poster for signing (address added later)  R. Table setup, with free bookmarks and Roger Mantis baseball cards



L. Okay, it’s not a bookstore, but it’s a good start.  R. Customers. Ben Gavin, in the black shirt, helped me set it all up.


The swag. A bookmark and a Roger Mantis baseball card.