Now I can make the second part of the planned announcement (from Friday's post). When my agent suggested dropping the price of books 5 and 6, since they'd been out for nearly a year, I commented that it was too bad that we couldn't drop the prices of the first four books in the series, since they've been out for years, and a lot of people won't start the series without reading the first book. My agent got in touch with Random House, and they agreed to lower the price of the e-books for the first four in the series. That price has now shown up at Amazon and Apple. Last time I checked, it wasn't yet at Barnes & Noble, and I don't know about Kobo. Because these are the Random House books, the e-books are only available in North America (but stay tuned for future news on that front), and since I'm not in control of the situation, I have no idea how long that price will last.
If you wanted to get these books on your Kindle but thought the e-book price was too high when you had the hard copy, or if you've been trying to hook friends on the series and they've balked at the price, here's your chance to get the first six books of the series, including the four Random House books, as e-books at $5.99 each. The sales rank for the first book has shot up at Amazon already, so it looks like new people may be discovering the series. Tell your friends and spread the word. I'm very excited about the fact that the publisher agreed to this, so I'd like them to see really positive results from what amounts to an experiment on their part.
I had kind of planned to start writing the new book today, but yesterday as I was playing iTunes roulette, putting it on shuffle and trying to apply each song that came up to the story or characters, I came up with something new that changes the initial approach, and now I need to think more about it. It's tough to make the judgment call and decide if this is prudence or procrastination. Am I coming up with excuses to avoid starting? But since I have no deadline and since the new idea could make things even better, I think it's prudence to do more thinking about it.
In other news, I saw Monsters University on Friday, and I thought it was really fun, possibly even better than the original. That's mostly because the theme of the movie really startled me. It's hard to talk about it without spoilers because it all came up in the way the movie ends, but I was surprised by a movie coming out of contemporary Hollywood that dared to do a couple of things that go entirely against the grain of current American culture. It's something that needs to be said but that people who dare to say it often get slapped down about. Speaking vaguely, it's about the importance of aptitude or talent to success and being willing to admit that not everyone has the same potential. It's common sense, but not something you generally see in today's kids' movies, which tend to be more about "if you want it bad enough, you should have it."
I haven't seen much discussion of the latest Pixar short that's in front of this one, but I found it to be breathtakingly lovely. I'm still not entirely sure if they started with actual photography and animated elements of it or if they managed some truly photorealistic animation. There's not a single word of dialogue, but it tells a full story, and it nearly brought me to tears over the fate of an umbrella. Bravo, Pixar. I might even get Monsters University on DVD just to get that short film.
Finally, in other sort-of book-related news, my essay on House is the current Smart Pop Books freebie, if you care to partake. This was one of the cases of my Essay Curse, in which the show I'm discussing takes a horrible turn for the worse immediately after I write an essay about it. Almost as soon as my essay was finalized, they did things on the show that negated some of my points (mostly they woobified House), and then the next season sidelined the original supporting cast, negating all my arguments. However, I think that this is a reason the show sank from that point because it was no longer doing the things I talked about with the supporting cast. The essay will be available for free reading until Sunday.