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Monday, December 1, 2014

Bringing Up Mike by Mark Duncan Virtual Book Tour, Guest Post and Giveaway

Bringing Up Mike

by Mark Duncan



What happens when Joe, a teen prodigy makes drastic changes to his life and attends high school incognito with Mike, an artificial intelligence? His plans take an unexpected turn when he buys a neglected former racehorse.

Bringing Up Mike is a tapestry of intertwined stories over the course of a school year: A teen genius who has grown up too fast, a neglected former racehorse, a bereaved couple morning the death of their son, a girl struggling to attend college, and a former mobster determined to be top dog.

Bringing Up Mike is about people given a second chance at happiness and success and how they become better people and mature.


Martha walked to the barn, the shotgun stock tucked firmly against her side, then stopped fifteen feet from the back of the horse trailer.

Any reason why I shouldn’t shoot you trespassers?”

Three men who were struggling to get the stallion into the trailer froze. The fourth, a big burly man, stood in front of Martha, the horse directly behind him.

This isn’t what you think. We’re retrieving our lost stallion,” said Sly.

At dawn? Without asking permission?”

It didn’t seem polite to wake you up so early.”

Seems to me you sold him for four thousand dollars.”

It was a joke to teach the kid a lesson. That horse is worth twenty thousand, I knew the contract wasn’t valid, because he’s a minor.”

There’s no way I’d let that stallion go back to someone who starved him.”

He had plenty of pasture! Once he learned not to bite the hand that fed him, he’d get his grain.”

As they talked, Sly edged closer to Martha, then tried to grab her shotgun. Martha pivoted, pointed the gun at the wheel on the horse trailer, and shot.

There was a CRACK-BANG as a burst of birdshot exploded the tire. Startled and frightened, Comanche reared up and dragged Reuben and Sam, who had wrapped lead ropes around their hands. Martha threw herself flat on the ground, followed by the crack of a bullet that stopped Sly in mid-step.

Three Partners in Shopping

Thank you so much to author Mark Duncan for sharing this wonderful post with us today,  3 Partners in Shopping

Guest blog by Mark Duncan, author of Bringing Up Mike

What do you think of e-books? Do they help or hurt an author?

The short answer is that ebooks have allowed significant numbers of new authors to publish their books and more authors to make a living from writing. In February 2014, Hugh Howey states http://authorearnings.com/report/the-report/ that the units sales of independent authors now exceed that of the Big Five publishers.

The long answer is that there is a long tradition of authors attempting to find ways to bypass publishers and reach their readers directly. Ben Franklin owned his own printing press and Mark Twain started his own publishing company to print and distribute his work.

But the high cost of book publishing via letterpress, and later offset presses caused the publishing industry to be concentrated in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. By 1840, 92% of all books in the United States were printed in these cities. Small in number and often of questionable quality, small presses and self-published books got minimal respect and support from the publishing industry. The rare success, like the Dr. Ken Taylors Living Bible in the 1960s was a newsworthy event.

Since 1970, tremendous consolidation in the publishing industry has resulted in five big publishers, all headquartered in New York. These publishers only consider authors who submit their work through agents making it challenging for a first-time author to be published by them. (While there are 300 to 400 medium-sized publishers and 86,000 small publishers, the Big Five sell two books for each book sold by all other publishers.)

Print-on-demand printing has been particularly valuable for independent authors and small publishing companies. Selling their books online on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, they bypass the preference independent bookstores and bookstore chains give Big Five publishers.

While electronic books have been available for many years, it was the release by Amazon of its Kindle ebook reader in 2007 that caused ebooks to become an important way to sell books. But was the release of the Apple iPad in 2010 with the iBook store that forced Amazon to respond with a 70% royalty that made selling ebooks a compelling economic proposition for independent authors.

What are the advantages for an independent author to sell electronic books directly? They are:

  • Books can stay in print forever, they dont go out of print. An authors backlist is always available and can yield income for years

  • Royalties of 65% to 70% for books priced less than $10 mean that it is easier for mid-tier authors to make a living from writing.

  • Releasing new books stimulates backlist sales

  • No penalty for writing the longer books that readers prefer

  • No returns from bookstores

  • No distributor or warehousing fees, aside from the 30% charged by Amazon and Apple.

  • Available to a worldwide audience at any timereaders dont have to wait for books to be shipped

  • Books can be updated with corrections and updates

  • No waiting for offset print runs and better cash flow

The disadvantages of ebooks to an independent author:

  • Harder to discover ebooks at online sites provided by Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble. Whereas, in bookstores you can browse through books and decide to buy one.

  • Many self-published electronic books do not have the editorial- and copy-editing provided by traditional publishers. Obtaining credible reviews requires substantial fees to services such as Kirkus Reviews, Clarion, Foreword and Blue Ink.

  • The absolute number of books in print is rising dramatically providing more competition

  • Authors must spend more time and money promoting and marketing their books. They also must pay for editing of their manuscripts.

Like the impact of television on the movie industry, ebooks will not eliminate paper books. But for the fiction categories of science fiction/fantasy, murder/thriller and romance, ebooks already account for the majority of unit sales.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Mark Duncan grew up in Pasadena, not far from Caltech. In high school he spent Friday and Saturday nights at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab (SAIL) and subsequently was a member of the Homebrew Computer Club. He received his BSEE from UC Berkeley. He has worked or consulted for numerous startups in Silicon Valley. He lives in Menlo Park, near Stanford and has written extensively on emerging technology topics. He enjoys photography, movies, theater, fine dining and has visited all 50 states and much of Europe. He is the author of Bringing Up Mike, www.askmarpublishing.com, mark@askmarpublishing.com

Book and Author Links

Book Website: http://www.askmarpublishing.com/books/bringing up mike.html  

Publisher Website: http://www.askmarpublishing.com  

Author Website: http://www.askmaroublishing.com/authors/mark duncan.html     

Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/askmarpub     

Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/askmar  

Buy Links

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  1. The promo authors have to do looks so daunting!

    Trix, vitajex(at)Aol(Dot)com

  2. I really liked the guest post - lots of great info!

  3. I liked the exceprt the best this time, thanks for the great excerpt.