Communion Of Dreams

Out there … and down here.

Via Laughing Squid, a nice little animated exploration of the Fermi Paradox:

(Does not contain spoilers for Communion of Dreams. 😉 )

* * *

Been a busy week. Part of it was putting in my garden:


(That’s just the tomato plants — the super-hot peppers will go in next week.)

Part of it was a MASSIVE job converting a 16 x 16 storage space into the beginnings of a workshop:


(There’s still lots to do, but man, what a change from being hip-high in grungy boxes and scattered junk!)

And part of it was we have a new addition to the family:


(He’s just 6 weeks old, entirely too cute, bold & adventurous, and tiny. For now. No name yet, though given his grey color I suggested perhaps we should go with Dukhat … )

* * *

I’m just now finishing up the first major revision to the working copy of St Cybi’s Well. I already have a couple of people lined up to take a look at it with fresh eyes, but if anyone else is interested also having a preview, leave a comment and I’ll get in touch with you.

Lastly: for Mother’s Day weekend, the Kindle edition of Her Final Year will be available for free. Check it out, download it, share it with others!

Jim Downey

Costs of doing business.

There’s been a lot of chatter about this, and several people have mentioned it to me:

Amazon’s markup of digital delivery to indie authors is ~129,000%

It’s a good article, all in all, as it goes into some of the nuts & bolts of being an independent writer trying to make a living self-publishing in some of the different electronic formats. And yes, according to his numbers, Amazon (through their Kindle program) is making a chunk of money for the transfer of his digital files.

Because of this, as I said, a couple of people have mentioned this to me, and have wondered whether it meant we were getting screwed the same way.


The main thing is file size. I just checked again, and the cost to transfer the digital file for Communion of Dreams is a whopping 9 cents. And for Her Final Year it’s 17 cents. That’s because there are very few images in either book — they’re primarily just text.

And yeah, that does come out of our royalties for each book. But as you can see, it’s a small amount, and just a cost of doing business. I honestly haven’t given it a second thought since we set up to self publish these books, since I knew about the charges, knew they were going to be pretty small, and was used to having such expenses from having been in business for myself for 20 years now.

One more thing — we don’t have to pay these digital transfer fees for the promotional copies which are given away. Which is good, because if so I’d still be in the hole for the cost of giving away both books. All that it costs is a potential sale — but I think of this as just a form of advertising, necessary to promote awareness of the book. Yeah, sure, it’s a potential lost sale/royalty, and if that bugs you feel free to either go ahead and buy the book or send me a small donation, if it’ll make you feel better.

And speaking of free Kindle edition promotions, this Sunday — Father’s Day (here in the US, anyway) — will be another promotional day for both Communion of Dreams and Her Final Year, and both books will be free to download that day. Hey, we did it for Mother’s Day, and we don’t want to short-shrift the Dads out there. So even though we just had a successful promotion, we’re going to do it again this Sunday! If you’re someone who got a copy of either book last weekend, and you’ve been enjoying it, please tell others about this upcoming promotion!

Am I a nice guy, or what?

Jim Downey

Taking it on faith.

A couple weeks ago I quipped that I was thankful for the TSA, because they are always good fodder for a blog post when things were otherwise slow. Well, likewise, I’m glad that the big multinational banks are around to put my own mistakes in some perspective:

A billion here, a billion there

JPMORGAN, widely considered the best run of all the large banks in America, if not the world, on May 10th provided the kind of news that has become all too common in the financial industry: a $2 billion charge for errant trades. The markets responded within seconds of the opening on May 11th, sending Morgan’s share price down 9%, and its value by $14 billion. Late on May 11th, Standard & Poor’s announced it was downgrading the outlook for the company, and Fitch knocked down its ratings.

* * *

The bluntest criticism of Morgan’s failure came from the bank’s own chief executive, Jamie Dimon. He said the losses were the result of self-inflicted “sloppiness”, “poor judgment” and “stupidity”, for which “we are accountable”.

And the news this morning is that a number of the executives involved in the losses have ‘retired’. No, not in the Blade Runner sense. But in the sense that they’ll not be drawing a salary of more than a million bucks a month. Though I imagine that these people have more than a bit of savings and contractual retirement income to cushion the blow.


Yesterday’s Kindle promotion for Communion of Dreams wasn’t a huge mistake, but it also wasn’t a stunning success. A total of 1,571 copies of the book were downloaded. Chances are it wasn’t what was needed to kick us up to the next orbital level, but neither did it crash & burn.

What *was* surprising was that our care-giving memoir Her Final Year proved to be very successful, with a total of 3,112 downloads. Wow.

I find it hard to explain just how happy this makes me. As I had noted previously, I was very disappointed with the response to Her Final Year. Only recently have I come to understand that it was about more than just simple sales.

See, I have been very pleased with the response to Communion of Dreams. The sales are nice, and the income helps. The reviews and ratings are rewarding. But what really makes me happy is that the book has found an audience, a home in people’s lives, a place in their imaginations.

That Her Final Year hadn’t found such a home was what bugged me. Because I have a lot of faith in the book. Faith that it can help others, if they would just read the damned thing. But that faith had been betrayed by my inability to get any attention for the book. Or, rather, I felt like I had betrayed my faith – and the book – by my inability to promote it.

Now, just because 3,112 people downloaded the book yesterday that doesn’t mean that the book will be read. But it sure as hell is a lot more likely that it’ll be read than just having the thing sit forgotten on Amazon’s servers. We’ll just have to see.

But no longer do I feel like I have betrayed the promise of the book. That gives me a happiness, and a hope, which I haven’t felt for a long time.

Thanks, everyone.

Jim Downey

(Cross posted to the HFY blog.)

And they’re off!

So, the joint Mother’s Day promotion we had planned ran into some technical problems – unfortunately, John’s novel Sync didn’t get included.

But the Kindle editions of both my novel and our memoir are available all day today for FREE! As noted before, you don’t even need a Kindle – there’s a free emulator for almost every computer/mobile device.

So, go – download both books! I would love to see another record-breaking day, because I think that it really makes a difference in overall sales.


Jim Downey

Can we reach orbit?

No, this isn’t about NASA, some secret DARPA project, the military, or even any of the private companies involved in space vehicle development. Though those are all things I pay attention to.

Rather, it’s about tomorrow’s Mother’s Day promotion, mentioned previously.


Well, I’m just extending the “book launch” metaphor, perhaps too far. But it beats comparing it to a nuclear reaction, I suppose.


Sales of Communion of Dreams have not just been steady, they’ve been slowly climbing this month, with the result that the Amazon Kindle ranking has now been hovering around 4,000 overall, and in the low 30s for a couple different categories of Science Fiction. And more people are writing reviews which are very positive.

Each time previously that I ran a free Kindle edition promotion, there was a following surge in sales, with things then leveling off. The most recent promotional day resulted in this fairly decent level of sales we’re currently seeing. And I’m really curious to see whether this push tomorrow will kick it up yet another substantial, self-sustaining level.

And of course I’m hoping that it will also do good things not just for the memoir, but also for John’s new book (which I am looking forward to reading, myself!)

Keep your fingers crossed. Better yet, help spread the word. Thanks!

Jim Downey

Hang in there, Sunday’s coming!

What’s special about that? Well, for one, it’s Mother’s Day here in the US. Yay! for all the Moms out there!

Even better, you can get THREE books for the price of NONE!

That’s right – get our care-giving memoir Her Final Year, which I co-authored with John Bourke, as well as my novel Communion of Dreams, AND ALSO John’s novel Sync, which he co-authored with J. Lee Dunn, ALL FOR FREE!

You can’t beat that. All three books in the Kindle edition for free. You don’t need a special code. You don’t even need a Kindle. All you need to do is go download them.

That’s this Sunday. Mother’s Day. Tell your Mom. Tell your friends. Hell, tell your friends’ Moms. It’s our Mother’s Day gift to you, to them, to everyone!

Remember – Sunday!

Jim Downey

(Cross posted to the HFY blog.)

“… and where the other begins?”*


So, I haven’t discussed it a lot lately, but those who have followed this blog for a bit of time may remember that before I got Communion of Dreams self-published I was also involved in this other fairly massive writing project called Her Final Year, which was the result of being a care-provider for my mother-in-law (who had Alzheimer’s).

We’ve had some modest success with promotions for the memoir, and decided to try something to see whether we could expand on that a bit: another promotion this coming Mother’s Day. But this time it’s going to be something more: the chance to get three different books, all for free in the Kindle edition.

Three books? Well, yeah. Her Final Year. And my novel. The third? Sync, a brand-new novel co-authored by John Bourke, my co-author on Her Final Year!

That’s right, we’ve decided to do a little cross promotion – give everyone who is already familiar with one of the authors involved in these different books a chance to see some new stuff which is kinda-sorta connected. And the best thing is, that it is all FREE!

More details to be coming soon!

Jim Downey

*From Poe’s “The Premature Burial“, of course. Not that the story itself really has much to do with this post, but because the boundaries from one book mentioned to the next to the next are somewhat . . . fluid. They’re certainly interconnected. And I thought the animation was quite good.