The Reality War



A new time travel, action-adventure series begins with The Reality War Book1: The Slough of Despond, out now

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Paperback  US  | UK   *book1 free on 31 Jan 2013. Check price before purchase.

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Book 2 now available for Kindle  | and out now  in paperback and ePUB eBook format. Click here for further details.

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Fake news and eBook publishing

For a bit of lunchtime fun, I tried journalism in response to today’s press release from the Publishers’ Association, which has been widely reported in the UK press, emphasizing the story that eBook sales are in a ‘slump’.

Here’s my first ever attempt at journalism:

The Publishers Association today reported a slump in eBook fiction sales across their members after a change in strategy in which they increased eBook prices in an attempt to drive consumers back to printed books.

Commenting on the 16% sales drop, Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, said, “There is generally a sense that people are now getting screen tiredness from so many devices being used… [Printed] books provide an opportunity to step away from that.”

However, the change in pricing strategy, and the relentless traditional publishing press briefings over the past year on the alleged consumer shift back to print, is interpreted by others as a tacit admission that the members of the Publishers Association, who dominated UK publishing until only a few years ago, have now lost control of digital book publishing, where new entrants thrive in the form of micro-publishers, self-publishers and Amazon’s own imprints.

With the Publishers Association now representing only a tiny fraction of UK publishers (although most of the largest ones are members), and the dominant eBook retailer, Amazon, refusing to disclose sales figures, it is impossible to be sure of the true state of digital book publishing in the UK. Perhaps most telling is the line in Amazon’s recently released annual report in which the retail giant stated that Kindle eBook sales rose last year, as they have every year since the Kindle’s launch. Subscription services are also booming, such as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited service which reports 3 ½ billion page reads per month.

I actually found this very hard because to my mind journalists need to check facts and attempt a balanced point of view. In this case, the key fact (are eBook sales up or down) is impossible to know for sure. What is certain is that the Publishers Association does not represent the publishing industry, and neither do their statistics, but that doesn’t stop them issuing self-serving spin (which is understandable, for that is their purpose).

How could I phrase my report and stay neutral? Every phrasing I considered added nuance and tacit spin. Neutrality and balance is not easy! I came away with enhanced respect for genuine journalists.

However, genuine journalists seem to be a rarity in this era of ever-faker news.

For an example of a once-great newspaper that often seems to have abandoned journalism altogether, compare my attempt with the equivalent in the Guardian. Bonus points if you spot the Guardian’s spelling mistake. A million extra points if you can spot where the Guardian writer attempts to qualify the accuracy of the data reported by the Publisher’s Association (ie it isn’t at all meaningful when used to consider the industry), or to provide a balanced point of view (by considering the vast legion of publishers who are not in this trade body).


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Meet the Boss Man!

This gallery contains 12 photos.

Originally posted on J.R. Handley Blog:
INTRODUCTION TO THE HUMAN LEGION CREATOR: ? Hello Space Cadets, I wanted to offer you a treat in honor of the recently passed Halloween.  I’ve managed to snag an interview with the creator…

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Red Shirt Application

This is a great opportunity to be ‘onscreen’ (albeit for a short time).

J.R. Handley Blog

Image result for red shirt picture

Hello Space Cadets, today I wanted to take a second to make a call out for Red Shirt Applications!  In every military science fiction book, there are characters whose only role is to die.  Some die well, some run and are gunned down, but all must die.  I kill ‘em by the bushel!  In my childhood, I watched the original zombie show, Star Trek, where the walking dead were identified by their red shirts!  These characters, to date, are just fictional names I pulled out of a hat BUT they could be you!!  If you’re interested in becoming a red shirt in the Sleeping Legion Universe, send an email to telling me you want to be a red shirt!!  Then you can tell me as much about your character as you would like.  I will try to use them as I need…

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Giving book reviews – honest reviews – can be savage business for a writer

I’ve reviewed a few books over the last few months, partly because I enjoy reading, partly for the expanded view it gives me of other writing styles, and a little because I feel it’s a …

Source: Giving book reviews – honest reviews – can be savage business for a writer

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The Empire at War is available to buy

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Originally posted on The Human Legion:
I’ve been published in a British-themed multi-author boxed set, which is available for Kindle pre-order now at a ridiculously low price and will be available on general release on Friday 5th Feb. We’re working…

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The Martian, Rejection, and Finding Your Reader

This is a good assessment of why these days you can succeed in publishing if you can connect with readers who will love your book, even if traditional publishing tells you it won’t sell. At a smaller scale, I guess I’m proving that with my Human Legion books. A few years ago they would have been rejected by all the top publishers because ‘no one reads military sf any more’. Year-to-date I’ve sold 66,000 — hardly Andy Weir territory, but enough to live off 🙂

Annie Cardi

Recently I read The Martian. It’s been the big buzz book over the last year or two, with a new movie out. Usually I don’t dive into a lot of the best-seller adult list, but I decided to give it a try after getting recommendations from friends in the sciences who enjoyed it. Psyched by the idea of a sci-fi novel that was heavy on the sci, I requested a copy from the library and (about four months later; thanks, Matt Damon), I read it.

It was fun and exciting. Mark Watney was a clever protagonist with a good sense of humor, and the rest of the astronaut team felt real. The science was well explained to the reader and seemed feasible, like manned missions to Mars could actually happen in my lifetime. The dynamics between NASA and the media and international governments felt genuine. Reading it, I could totally imagine this as a…

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The latest science fiction bestseller charts

The Human Legion

Here’s my latest trawl through the science fiction top 20 bestseller and bestselling author charts on The point of these posts is twofold. Firstly it’s an opportunity to celebrate what’s hot right now in science fiction in books (and beyond), and secondly it also gives me a few minutes to rest my brain from my day job of writing my own science fiction books. My last trawl through the charts was here, and a long-winded mission statement here. Data was captured on 24th October 2015, but I’ve been looking in on the charts most days since my last post.

Authors who caught my eye this time include Douglas E. Richards, S. Harrison, Joshua V. Scher, Rysa Walker, Tim C. Taylor and Joshua Dalzelle. Spontaneous celebrations erupted throughout the world this week as people called Joshua welcomed the news that two authors of that name are currently in the…

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This week’s science fiction bestseller charts

My most recent trawl through the science fiction bestseller charts.

The Human Legion

Here’s my latest trawl through the science fiction top 20 bestseller and bestselling author charts on The point of these posts is twofold: it’s an opportunity to celebrate what’s hot right now in science fiction in books and beyond, and I write it in chunks to give me a few minutes at a time to rest my brain from my day job of writing my own science fiction books (and with a book launch later this week, I need that occasional break). My last trawl through the charts was here, and a long-winded mission statement here.

Authors who caught my eye this time include Andy Weir, Margaret Atwood, and Kameron Hurley. Chart positions were captured on 2nd October 2015.

Top of the bestselling books was The Martian and the bestselling author was Andy Weir. No surprise there. With the movie version of his book appearing in theaters…

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What’s really hot in science fiction: part 2

Dalek sand cats. Taken from last week. If I get a chance, I’ll do some more chart rundowns this afternoon. I’ve got a book to release, though!

The Human Legion

Welcome back to an occasional series of posts on what’s hot in science fiction, concentrating on Amazon’s science fiction bestseller charts. For a discussion of what I’m up to, and why I want to move away from bullying and arrogance and onto celebrating success, see part one.

Defending the beaches against the sandy alien horde. Defending the beaches against the sandy alien horde (that looking nothing at all like cats!).

Let’s start with the top-20 bestselling science fiction books on I scraped the data last week (I had a busy weekend building sand daleks on the beach which is why I’m posting a few days later), so if you follow the link, you will get a slightly different picture. I’m escalating a request to Amazon for permission to replicate their chart data, but for now you’ll have to click the link.

The book bestseller chart shows a view of recent unit sales for paperbacks, hardbacks, eBooks…

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What’s really hot in science fiction: part 1

My manifesto for touring through the science fiction bestseller charts. Taken from my Human Legion website.

The Human Legion

Science fiction is flourishing!

Adult SF book sales are up sharply. The past few years have witnessed an explosion of vibrant new literary talent. I believe that more science fiction authors are earning enough to support themselves and their families as a full-time writer than at any time in history. No wonder the scene is so healthy. Although I hear some traditionally published mid-list authors telling of their pain at falling sales right now, overall there’s never been a better time to be a science fiction author, or reader.

But, wait! I’m only talking about books, and that’s such a small part of the SF scene these days. If we look beyond books we can see the huge popularity of science fiction in video games, comics, tabletop miniatures, cosplay, LARP, board games, TV shows, movies, and audio dramas.

Here in the UK we saw a gaming convention last weekend (video…

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