25 July 2015


Journey came out some time ago, to great acclaim, but it was Playstation 3 exclusive, and I had an X-Box.  It's now been released for Playstation 4, and I have one of those, so I've finally had a chance to try it.

And, yes, it is just as wonderful as all the reviews claim.

You start as a cloaked figure in a desert.  On the horizon you can see a mountain with a light.  And so, with bare instruction and no understanding, you start toward it.

Journey is a combination of evocative music and visual beauty and a story stripped of any language that you understand.  It is very short, but I think is the sort of precious jewel of a game that you keep by for the grey days, when you want to be uplifted.

Well recommended.

10 July 2015

Five-year financial report

I've been doing my taxes!  What fun!  Since it's my fifth tax return that features an entry (somewhat erroneously) called "royalties", I figure this is a good time to share some stats.

In December 2010, I published Champion of the Rose and The Silence of Medair on Smashwords.  I didn't tell anyone I knew, or do anything particularly resembling meaningful advertising.  Stained Glass Monsters followed in January 2011, Stray in March 2011 and Lab Rat One in June 2011.  My gross earnings up to 30 June 2011 were $76.24 AUD:

It's important to note that Smashwords pays quarterly and Amazon after 3 months, so the above doesn't reflect royalties earned in this period, but royalties paid.  [Smashwords also covers Barnes & Noble, Apple, and a myriad smaller vendors.]

In the 2011-2012 financial year I published Voice of the Lost, Caszandra, and Gratuitous Epilogue.  My gross earnings between 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012 were $10,160.67 AUD:

In the 2012-2013 financial year I published And All the Stars and Hunting. My gross earnings between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2013 were $16,645.97 AUD:

In the 2013-2014 financial year I published Bones of the Fair.   I also put a stop on my payments from Amazon for a while so that I would have more money for my overseas holiday (putting off my tax payments).  My gross earnings between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014 were $9,300.89 AUD:

You can see that the non-Amazon percentage is creeping up (though a little distorted by my deferring some of the Amazon payment).  This in turn distorts the next year of earnings.

In the 2014-2015 financial year I published The Pyramids of London  My gross earnings between 1 July 2014 and 30 June 2015 were $57,204.78 AUD:

My tax bill this year is going to be hefty.

As you can see the number of vendors has increased (Popcorn Press is the fee for the Touchstone RPG Source Book), but the bulk is still by far coming from Amazon (and by far coming from the Touchstone Trilogy, for that matter, with two rather successful Bookbub promos further distorting this year's royalties).  A further point of distortion is the plunging Australian dollar, which means I get more AUD for any USD these days (and very nice that is from my POV too).

Overall, my earnings look like this:

And, really, woohoo!  That's a lot of money!  A pity it's going to drop by about $20,000 in the current financial year (gauging from current sales/publication rates), but this is still a good deal better than I expected from my five-year check-in on the state of my self-publishing career.

If I were all about the money I'd just spend my time publishing Touchstone sequels, but as ever I'm writing what has my attention at the moment, dividing my time between the quiet and very unlikely to be very profitable The Sleeping Life and the tremendously entertaining and likely to get me my first hate mail Snug Ship.  (Gaming is such a touchy area.)  There are some mild similarities between Snug Ship and Stray (first person voice for a start, though Taia is more mildly snarky rather than self-deprecating and consistently humorous), but it doesn't have a strong romantic plotline, so it will be interesting to see how it's received.

Anyway, this is a post for the stat-collectors.  Sooner or later I will have to get around to the more formidible task of doing charts for the sales numbers.

Touchstone Trilogy - French Edition

Some news for the Touchstone fans. The wonderful Justine of Seraminda Editions has faced down the truly daunting task of translating Cass...