East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai


Tyrannosaurus Tex

ttexcover2smallI’m happy to announce that my somewhat steampunkish short story, Tyrannosaurus Tex, is now available, in English, through Amazon.

Because in spite of all the stuffed shirts in Harvard and Chicago and Konigsberg, the medicine men in the hills, the books and articles and all the rest of the stories, the Age of Reptiles ended on the twenty-ninth of October, 1879, when the last of the cursed beasts died in Moderation, Arizona Territory, shot in the forehead with a forty-four bullet in a regular duel.
I should know.
I was there.

The true story of how the Age of Reptiles ended – and How the West was Won – Tyrannosaurus Tex is a 20 pages, DRM-free ebook, and it goes for 99 cents – or the equivalent in your currency of choice.



New ebook out – on Kindle

kdp-amazon1Last week I published my first ebook on the Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

Now, it’s been about two years since I started distributing my stuff in ebook format through the web.
After an initial, and not completely satisfactory experience with a popular Italian publishing platform, I decided to go the full independent way – setting my own ebooks, doing my own covers, publishing my ebooks through my blog as epubs, mobi and pdf files.
Free of charge, donations welcome – wishlist gifts too!

In the last 12 months, my ebooks have been pretty successful – considering the minimum of exposition (my blog readership is not exactly huge) and the fact that the laguage factor limits my readership to Italian language readers.
All in all, a few thousand copies of my ebooks were downloaded, and I have made… well, let’s say 50 bucks with half a dozen stories and three essays.

Actually, I made much larger a “revenue” with wishlist gifts from my readers (should I call the guys “fans”? I owe them big time.)

All in all, I am pretty satisfied with my self-publishing efforts so far.

So, why KDP?

First, because it’s there.
No, really.
I’ve tried a lot of options in these two years of experimentation, and KDP/Amazon was the obvious next one on the list.

Also, realistically, because of the exposition – publishing my books through Amazon grants me the widest possible audience.

In these two years of experimentation I’ve learned a lot, and I feel now I can offer my readers books professional enough to deserve a price tag and some guarantees.
My first Kindle ebook is in Italian, and is called Avventurieri sul Crocevia del Mondo (Adventurers on the Crossroads of the World) and is the third, much expanded edition, of my most popular free/donation ebook – which is called simply Il Crocevia del Mondo.
It is a pulp-historical collection of facts about adventurers, scientists, crackpots, warlords and miscellaneous humanity on the Silk Road between the wars.

There’s some differences between the old book and the new – there’s about 40 extra pages of contents, three full chapters of material.
I used a professional editor, and a crew of beta readers.
I did a new, simpler but classier cover.

All these changes were done thinking about the KDP platform – if I want to face the whole wide world, and ask the whole wide world money, I need to clean up my act, and tighten my work.
Which I did.

Am I making tons of money?
At the moment, not.
A first review is in, and it is highly positive – but sales are still very low.
No sweat.
I like the experience so far, I’m learning a lot of new things, and it’s fun.
I’m planning a publicity push in the autumn, and I’ve got two other books almost ready for publication.

In the next few days I’ll probably do a tech-ish post about my first impact with the platform.
I guess someone might be interested.

In the meantime, back to the word processor – there’s more ideas to be turned into ebooks.

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Ghost Ships

61PY+t3T-+L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-57,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_A quick post that will have a limited interest for my English-speaking readers, but which is very close to my heart.
My good friend Alessandro Girola has made available through the Amazon Kindle store his volume Navi Fantasma (Ghosts Ships) – a collection of short essays on some of the most interesting mysteries of the sea.
Cursed vessels, haunted ships, mysterious disappearances…
Alex was so kind, he asked me to provide an extra essay as an afterword.
It was fun.

I repeat, the ebook is in Italian, and is a fast, interesting read.

Navi Fantasma in Kindle marks the next step in the development of a small little project we set up long ago as a lark.

More mystery/pulp/adventure related essays will be published.
Hopefully in English, too.

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China, Japan, Korea – a (very) quick introduction

effectsI promised a short review of Corey Walden’s The Effect Of China On Korea And Japan In Pre-Modern Asia, a short (14 pages) Kindle text that was free until a few days ago, and now goes for about one buck.
The ebook is essentially a long article describing, well, the effect(s) of China on Korea and Japan in Pre-Modern Asia.
As an introductory text on the topic, this is fine – but I find it ultimately very lightweight.
It would be nice as a magazine piece, or as the introductory chapter of a far longer and detailed text.
It’s a good starting point, it can be read in one hour.
Is it worth a buck?
Sure some pointers to further readings would have been greatly appreciated


Ebook file formats

Ok, let’s do a request.

Friend allsho wrote

Maybe in one of your next posts you might tell us why you keep your options open about mobi and epub and how you choose from time to time between them.

Nice question.

I’ll begin by saying that, as a writer, my purpose is reaching the widest audience possible among those parties that might be interested in what I write.
The last bit is – to me – essential, as I do not believe in bombing the whole world with my ebooks, as I know the whole world is not interested in what I do.
I prefer to focus my energies and meagre resources on “my readers”, while keeping my options open.

So far, it seems to work.
My ebooks have a good enough ciurculation – being in Italian and all that, I can claim a few thousand copies for a total of eight titles, four non fiction and four fiction.
Circulation depends on publicity, platform and – especially for small acts like mine – file format.

So, let’s talk formats. Continue reading


Free Ebook

In 2006 I wrote a novella, called Gli Anni del Tuono (The Years of Thunder) – Renaissance warfare in a world in which Frederic II had developed mecha or, if you like, mobile suits.
In the 16th century, chivalry means being a good mathematician and engineer, riding a fulminate-powered big robot in battle, surrounded by your peers.
But not all campaigns turn out for the best, and back at home, the serfs are restless.

thunder cover titleThe story – heavily influenced by a great “what if” article by Matthew Rossi – was published the following year in Alia Italia, a short story anthology published in Turin by Coop-Studi.
My piece – which received good reviews – was graced by a beautiful painting by my friend Dalmazio Frau, a fine artist and a well-respected illustrator.

Two years later, together with other Alia conspirators, we were offered the opportunity of having some of our works read by the editors of a Chinese SF magazine.
We picked what we thought was our best work, and I translated the stories in English.
I re-edited my Renaissance mecha story, and changed the title to Clad in Steel and Thunder, which I thought was rather fitting.

As it normally happens (I guess) when an author translates his own work, translation also meant editing.

Continue reading