Channillo: A Serial Reading Service Good For Authors and Readers

channillo logoAuthor’s Note: If you read an earlier version of this article, I had some inaccurate information. and I’ve made major revisions to correct them.

Last year, I received an invitation via Twitter to join Channillo, a serial reading service, as an author. I was intrigued and decided to check them out.

Basically how it works is that you upload either individual book chapters or short stories on a schedule that you, as an author, decide upon. I opted for weekly chapter updates on my books, starting with The Case of the Haunted Vampire. I’m up to The Case of the Reincarnated Lover now, so I still have a way to go before I run out of content to upload. Hopefully I’ll finish my next book in time.

You retain all rights to your content, and you don’t need to be exclusive to Channillo. Obviously, Kindle Select authors wouldn’t be able to enter their exclusive books, but they could upload any which were on wide distribution. Although many Channillo authors upload works in progress, previously published books are welcome. Having previously published content does reduce the stress of having to stick to an upload schedule.

For every subscriber you have to your series, each month you receive a small amount. It’s been running about 72 cents per subscriber per month for me, and I assume that number is basically the same for all authors. When you accumulate $50 in your account, Channillo pays you via PayPal.

As an author, you  can also be a subscriber, but it’s not required. That’s a change from when I joined, where you did need to have at least a Bronze membership, which costs $4.99 a month and allows you to subscribe to 10 series at a time. You can unsubscribe to a series, but you can’t resubscribe for, I think it’s three months.

As long as you don’t mind the wait to accumulate $50 in your account, I think it’s not a bad deal for authors. The interface to upload does have one inconvenience. When you cut and paste your story into the upload field, you lose all formatting, which means I have to go back and add back all the italics. I’m so glad I don’t write high fantasy!

As for readers, I think it’s a pretty good deal. In my experience so far as a subscriber, the quality of writing has varied wildly, but I’ve generally enjoyed what I’ve read. You can’t download content, at least not without jumping through more hoops than I’m willing to jump through, and you can only read in your browser. No dedicated app. The reading interface is functional but not much more than that.

That said, I’m planning to stick with it for a while. I’ve received two very nice reviews, and I see this as another way to introduce people to my writing. My number of subscribers has grown steadily. I haven’t read as many other serials as I’d like, but I’ve enjoyed most of what I’ve read so far.

If you’d like to try it out, I’ve got one code for a free three-month Bronze membership. If you want it, let me know in the comments, and I’ll send it to you. First come. First served. Oh, and you’ll be nice and subscribe to my series, right? 😉

The iPhone 6S+ As a Reading Device

iPhone portraitAnd to think I used to read on a Handspring Visor and then on a Blackberry Curve. At one point, screen size was obviously not an issue for me. That has changed, and I stopped reading on phones when I got my first Kindle.

A couple of months ago, I replaced my glitchy HTC One M8 with an iPhone 6S+, and I have rediscovered the possibilities of reading on my phone. It’s not going to replace my iPad Mini 4, but for reading on the go, it’s not bad at all.

I gave it a good workout a couple of weeks ago when we were at Disney World, land of the long lines. We only had one brutally long line (over 90 minutes), and I spent most of that wait reading on my phone (when I wasn’t playing Candy Crush Saga), which worked quite well. My main ereading app is Marvin, which uses Dropbox to sync locations, so it was easy to stop reading on my iPad in the hotel room and pick up again in the park.

My biggest problems with previous phones has been the aspect ratio. Phone screens are just to narrow for me to comfortably read on. The iPhone 6S+ is still a bit narrow, but the entire device is large enough that I can forget about it as soon as I am lost in the book.

My secondary reading app is Scribd, which doesn’t sync as smoothly as Marvin, but I can make it work. Where Scribd comes in handy is with audiobooks. They were buggy on my HTC, but the app works fairly reliably on my phone. If you are a heavy audiobook reader, their service isn’t for you, but I’m fine with spreading my listening around. I mostly subscribe to Scribd for the ebooks, so any audiobooks I listen to are an added bonus.

iPhone landscapeOne of my great delights in life is reading while eating. I used to take my Kindle and later my iPad with me to a restaurant, but the case I purchased for my phone turns into a stand. It’s a wallet case as well, so most of the time when I leave the house, all I take is my phone, with a credit card and my driver’s license. Handy!

Yes, it is a big phone, and I thought that was going to be a problem, but so far it hasn’t been. I barely notice when I’m carrying it around the house. It fits well in all my bags, and with the sturdy case, I can just carry it in my hand. I wasn’t able to use my HTC one-handed, so I’m accustomed to two-handed use.

I love the phone, not just as an ereader, but for everything else. I won’t watch an entire movie on it, nor will I curl up with it on the couch to read a book, but for almost everything else, it meets my needs. My iPad stays home, and my iPhone goes with me everywhere.

If you have any specific questions about the iPhone 6S+, and what it’s like to carry around a brick masquerading as a phone, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments. I love geeking out over my tech and answering questions.

Audiobook Review: Hard Magic by Larry Correia

8643407When I wrote my post on books like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, I said I would be reviewing one of the books, Hard Magic by Larry Correia. As with my previous book review, this is both a review of the book and the audio version.

Hard Magic is the first book in the Grimnoir Chronicles, and it’s a fun urban fantasy set in the time of Prohibition. Although it follows most of the urban fantast tropes, the time frame made it feel original, and Correia’s magic system feels unique. It has a few similarities to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn magic series, so if you enjoy those books, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

In the world of the Grimnoir, certain people have a magical ability focused in one area: manipulation of fire, affecting gravity, strengthening the body or teleportation, to name a few. Some people have just a minor ability-one character can produce a flame roughly equivalent to a cigarette lighter, while others, known as Actives, have more control or mastery of their powers.

The main character, Jake Sullivan, is an ex-con private eye who was released from prison on the condition that he perform a few jobs for the FBI. This story begins with what Jake thinks is the last of his required jobs. As you can imagine, it doesn’t go quite as he expected. Throughout the book, he discovers there is more to magic than he had thought and that there is an epic battle going on between the forces of good and those of evil. While that sounds cliched, trust me, it works.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book, as did my husband, who listened to it on a two-day drive to and from North Carolina on business. He was so grateful for the book that he made me brownies, which I think says something about how much he enjoyed it and how much easier it made the long drive. 🙂

Bronson Pinchot, the reader, made this book. His voices were superb. I found his voice for Jake to be distracting for a few minutes, but as I learned more about the character’s personality, I realized the voice was a perfect fit.  His voice for Faye, one of the other important characters, fixed her personality firmly in my mind, and it was a joy to listen to her scenes. While she was a great character, I don’t think I would have enjoyed her as much if I had read instead of listened to the book.

Faye, however, is my one criticism. While I loved the book and am looking forward to listening to the rest of the series, I did think that Faye ended up having too large a role. The book was supposed to be about Jake, and he was important, but some of the major plot points were resolved by Faye, and I felt like she was a character who kind of took over the story. Fortunately, she’s a fantastic character, and I can mostly forgive Correia for letting her get away with so much of the plot.

Definitely a solid 4 stars. It might even be worth 4 1/2.