Keep These Things in Mind this NaNoWriMo

Steve Vernon:

I’m still debating about NaNoWriMo. I have signed up – but I am also hip-deep trying to finish this next novel I am working on. I expect I will use NaNoWriMo as a prop to help motivate me in my completion of the novel.

In any case, this blogger makes some AWFULLY good points!

Originally posted on Inky Tavern:

It’s only a day away until the start of NaNoWriMo, are you excited? Nervous? NaNoWriMoParticipant-2014-Square-Button can be a fun experience but also a stressful one. Trust me. But don’t fear! Here are eight things to keep in mind during your noveling quest:

1. Reading is like Oil

This is a sure fire way to keep your imagination rolling! Read your favorite author’s books and get sucked into their world. Some writers don’t agree with reading and writing at the same time because they feel that the author’s style may seep into their own. However, reading before writing isn’t a matter of imitating the craft of another writer, it’s about keeping your imagination on standby. Read for enjoyment!

2. Keep a Journal Handy

There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting a perfect scenario, idea, or conflict that would’ve brought your novel to life. Ideas have a way of popping up at times…

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Easily Connect with Authors and Readers with these 233 Hashtags!

Steve Vernon:

Yes – even old farts me know how to Twitter.
A well-placed hash tag will get your words exactly where you want them to go!

Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

Leeland Artra recently posted over at the FSFN group on Facebook a link to a list by Book Marketing Services, containing no less than 205 Author Hashtags to use on Google+, Twitter, Facebook etc. In short, you can use these hashtags to easily connect with other authors and/or readers on any social media platform. Since I added a couple of dozens more, they’re now 233!

How to use them

Hashtags are words or acronyms that serve like clusters, by allowing people with common interests to easily search for them. Some are rather esoteric, like #FF meaning #FollowFriday. This is commonly used on Twitter to suggest each Friday the people that have proven supportive in the previous week, therefore others may also benefit from following them.

Other hashtags explain what you’re doing (eg #AmWriting) or what you’re promoting (eg #FreeBook). This list allows you to select the most suitable, therefore effective, hashtag for…

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Constantine and Gotham – Television Gets it Right!

I’ve been pretty excited over at least TWO new television shows this season.

And BOTH of them are DC comics.

First off there is GOTHAM. Nice and nasty. I really enjoy Bullock and Gordon – although I keep feeling that I am watching Russell Crowe lite in Jim Gordon’s role. The Penguin is doing a great job and Catwoman is suitably feline and I am pretty certain that the last episode of the season – when we finally get there – is going to bring the Joker into the picture.

What I like most is that Gotham is dark!

Then – last night I watched CONSTANTINE.

They seem to be doing that series up good and proper as well. Constantine, the character, is both mad and bad and exactly the way I pictured him.

Now, if I could ONLY eliminate the memory of Keanu Reeves horrible take on the character in the absolutely dreadful 2005 fiasco.

(shall I tell you how I REALLY feel?)

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


If you enjoyed this blog entry why don’t you pick up one of my e-books?

Steve Vernon on Kindle!

Steve Vernon on Kobo!

Coffin Hop 2014 – October 24-31 – SMOKE SIGNALS – a hockey ghost story

Halloween is nothing more than a lantern hung high above the shadows of Autumn. It is a door that swings and beckons you into winter – the cold and lonely coffin of the year.

It is a time for stacking firewood and laying in supplies and recollecting old ghost stories that you will tell as the flames crackle and roar through the long cold winter.

In the winter ALL stories are chowder-thick with ghosts.

Chimneys puff like old men leaning against their last wall.

You feel the cold creeping into your bones.

You feel brittle.

You feel like you might snap.

So now, before the winter settles in and smothers you in a frosty blanket you put on a mask and you run from door to door, ringing the doorbells and rattling your knuckles against the oak and calling out for tricks and treats.

Every year a great group of we writers gather for what is known as a Coffin Hop and as part of this year’s Coffin Hop I would like to share with you this story that I have written about the ghosts of past glory.


SMOKE SIGNALS
There are moments when I am deep in the game.

There are moments when I hear nothing but the boom and the echo of the crowd’s slow thunder – echoing long after everyone else has stopped yelling.

He is always up there. He most likely always will be. I can see him up there – my Grandpa – high in the seats and hunkered down, hollering cheers and encouragement aimed straight at me.
But from this far away all that I can see of him is the flash of the rink lights glinting off of his eyeglasses.

All I can see of him are the smoke signals of his frozen breath and the constant Players tobacco halo mixing freely with the steam from his never-emptied cup of coffee – a Tim’s double double, every time.

He never misses a game.

He drives me to every practice.

He lugs the bag full of gear when I am beat down tired. He chucks it into the trunk of his rusted smoke-silver-gray Chevrolet Impala.

Chrome and tinges of blue steel.

He sits and he watches the NHL games on the television with me when my homework is finally done – and even sometimes when it isn’t – thumping the arm of his black leather recliner with the side of his fist – hard and steady like a tom-tom drum.

He knows who to cheer for.

He knows when to yell boo.

He can perk the television rabbit ears just right and can pop a perfect bowl of popcorn – heavy yellow butter – all without a microwave oven.

Grandpa was old school.

Nothing new will last were words he lived by constantly.

Best of all were the stories.

The nights when he would sit and spin out the old yarns of how he used to play for the Sudbury Wolves back when they used to be somebody to beat.

Sitting there listening I could hear his skates hitting the ice, I could hear his low bearish growl as he threw his hip into a heavy check. I could feel the varnished grain of his hockey stick – hand carved and hand polished by the constant wear of his grip upon the stick.

Last November he fell asleep in his black leather recliner – waiting for me to finish my homework.

Mom tried to wake him up.

I heard her call out.

Supper turned cold as we waited for the ambulance to arrive – a twenty mile drive from Sudbury, Ontario – on a wintered highway, slick with ice.

The ambulance came too late.

The tom-tom stopped its constant drumming.

Now I play for a team that IS somebody to beat. The crowds are huge and they roar and they boo and it is like listening to the waves rolling onto the shore.

Yet even now – some days when I am deep into the game and playing hard I look up to the stands where my Grandpa used to sit and I can see the semaphore flash of those heavy glasses of his looking down from so far away.

Cigarette smoke signals, haloed in the steam from his never emptied coffee cup.

Camp Coffee


If you are a Halloween sort of a person…

If you dig ghost stories and horror stories and all manner of booga-booga…

If you can smell winter in the air and you feel the urge to throw one more log on the fire…

Why don’t you check out some of the other blogs on our 2014 COFFIN HOP?

This web badge links back to the main page of Coffin Hop.

That is a wicked cool illustration.

It puts me right in the mind of my full length horror novel, TATTERDEMON, which is on sale for the month of October for a mere 99 cents. That’s over 400 pages of scarecrow horror like you have NEVER read before – for less than the price of a cheap cup of coffee.

You can order this on Amazon.com for a measly 99cents. Just click on this cover and I'll take you there.

You can order this on Amazon.com for a measly 99cents. Just click on this cover and I’ll take you there.

Or – if short fiction is more your cup of tea why don’t you check out my brand new collection, OCTOBER TALES?

Available today for $2.99 - but if you wait for October 26th I'll giving it away for free. Spread the word, you heard it here first!

Available today for $2.99 – but if you wait for October 26th I’ll giving it away for free. Spread the word, you heard it here first!


And finally – I am going to be giving away a free copy of either TATTERDEMON or my hockey-vampire novella SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME to one lucky reader who leaves a comment on this blog.

Now go forth and get hopping!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Is Amazon Skynet?

It seems like every time I turn around these days somebody is on the internet saying that AMAZON IS THE DEVIL and AMAZON IS GOING TO FATTEN US ALL UP AND EAT US FOR DINNER and AMAZON IS SKYNET!

I try not to worry about that sort of thing. Right now I write for a traditional publisher, (Nimbus Publishing), and I write independently – publishing on Kindle and Kobo on a case-by-case system.

Still, I found myself reading Joe Konrath’s latest blog, AMAZON WILL SLASH YOUR ROYALTIES! and then I found myself commenting on that blog and all of a sudden I had written a blog of my own.

Bingo!

Let me tell you what I think of the whole situation.

Aside from the whole royalty-gap difference there is another VERY telling difference between Amazon and traditional publishing.

Let’s say the worst has happen.

Tomorrow morning Amazon is found beaten to death in an alleyway outside of a Tuscaloosa Barnes & Noble outlet.

Nobody knows how it happened.

Lieutenant Columbo is baffled.

Columbo

The Big 5 Traditional Publishers (Big 6? Big 8? Who the hell is counting?) steps in and says “I will save the day!”

So – all of a sudden the Big 5/6/8 is back in the game and calling ALL the shots.

Do you think they are going to open up the gate and let ANY author publish ANY amount of ANY kind of book they want to?

Why?

They never did before.

They’re going to go back to publishing Stephen King, James Patterson and maybe the CEO’s brother-in-law who needs some sort of a break, doesn’t he?

That is a huge freaking difference.

Traditional publishing says “We will publish the books that WE want to publish, WHEN we freaking want to publish them.”

Amazon, on the other hand, says “You want to publish a novella of dinosaurs gangbanging King Kong? Sure, go ahead. Just mind the cover, would you? No naked stegausuri – them bared spinal plates are just too hard on the eyes.”

Amazon offers a river of indie writers.

Traditional publishing offers you two choices – either a straight and narrow gate where only a select few can pass through – or a chute right straight down into the abattoir.

We either publish you or we don’t publish you.

Now, I am NOT saying that traditional publishing is EVIL. Hell, I love my traditional publisher. They get my books in stores right across the country. I can’t do that. Amazon can’t do that.

My publisher does.

All that I am saying is that there is more than one way to skin a cat.

Skin a Cat

It IS theoretically possible that come tomorrow we’ll all wake up and it will be the Big 5 and Kobo and Nook and all of those others lying in that alley, clubbed to death with a volume of vanity press poetry. It is possible that one day Amazon is going to become the Skynet of the indie-writers and we are ALL going to wind up having our royalties stolen by a bunch of death-ray wielding Terminators.

But running around and trying to make an intelligent decision about your future based upon Chicken Little fear-mongering is about as sensible as somebody saying “Well, I might as well not go to work today because we’re all going to die by global warming in a year or two.”

If you are a carpenter you’re not going lose all that much sleep this weekend about the shrinking rain forest, are you?

Let me put this in perspective.

People have been talking about the end of the world since long before we ever tripped over the whole Before-Christ/Annno-Domini 50 yard line.

Don’t panic, people.

Fear IS the mind killer.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


If you enjoyed this blog entry why don’t you pick up one of my e-books?

Steve Vernon on Kindle!

Steve Vernon on Kobo!

Kindle Freebies – making money giving away free books

Okay – so WHEN is it better to give than to receive?

I’ve given away close to 3000 freebie Kindle e-books since the beginning of September.

That’s more books than I have sold for money, in a year.

So is that paying off? Am I making money, hand over fist, as a result of my masterful e-book strategy?

Well, I am making more this month than I did last month – and I made more in September than I made in August. There has been a definite improvement and I believe that some of that improvement stems directly from my freebie promotions.

In addition to the higher sales rate I have seen a solid influx of reviews.

A whopping TWENTY-TWO new Kindle reviews since September 1, 2014.

That’s a pretty good rate of return, especially because most of them were unsolicited and VERY positive.

I’ve also seen an increase in the “borrows” through the Kindle Unlimited program.

About a dozen of my e-books were borrowed and read in September. Over thirty e-books have been borrowed so far in October.

Now – as most of you folks realize – Kindle gives a a payment for each Kindle Unlimited borrow THAT IS READ TO AT LEAST THE TEN PERCENT mark. So if somebody borrows your e-book through Kindle Unlimited and doesn’t open it and read at least 10% of the content you don’t get paid.

This payment varies, month by month.

In July the payment was $1.80 per borrow.

In August that went down to $1.54 per borrow.

September was $1.52 per borrow.

As more authors become a part of the Kindle Unlimited program the payments will drop – just because there is a limited amount of funds available in the pot for each month. HOWEVER, if Kindle Unlimited continues to grow in popularity with readers – the pot will grow – theoretically.

I believe that Kindle Unlimited is a good deal for chronically addicted readers of e-books. It is – in effect – like Netflix for e-books – so I am fairly confident that Kindle Unlimited is going to continue to thrive.

So those free books that I give away through Kindle Unlimited are money in the bank for me. I am happy with the rate of the return so far – especially on my lower-priced e-books.

WHY?

Well – if somebody buys a copy of BIG HAIRY DEAL – my Bigfoot YA novel which is currently 99 cents for the month of October – I earn 35 cents, roughly.

HOWEVER – if somebody borrows and reads a copy of BIG HAIRY DEAL they pay nothing and I earn whatever the Kindle Unlimited payment is that month. For example, in September I would have earned $1.52 for that borrow.

Which beats 35 cents.

HOWEVER, in the month of November I intend to raise that 99 cent price tag up to $2.99.

At that point a sale of BIG HAIRY DEAL would net me about $2.10 while a borrow would result in a return of whatever the borrow rate is THAT month.

So – theoretically – I lose money. But as far as I am concerned that is nothing but a theoretical loss. The fact is a person who “borrows” my book through Kindle Unlimited might NOT necessarily have bought it – if Kindle Unlimited hadn’t existed in the first place.

You see – theoretical money.

So – as far as I am concerned I am happy with my rate of return whether or not it is a borrow OR a sale.

Or even a freebie.

In a year or two my mind might change. I get to selling more e-books and it becomes more of an actual business for me I might actually have to take myself seriously and pay attention to profit margins and spreadsheets and financial statements and pie charts…

Damn it.

Why did I have to say pie?

Now how the hell will I get any writing done today?


While I am talking about free e-books why don’t I tell you about my latest Kindle freebie promotion?

Pick up a copy of FIGHTING WORDS today!

FREE - on Kindle today and tomorrow. Grab a copy now. You want to read it and leave a happy review that wouldn't hurt my feelings one little bit.

FREE – on Kindle today and tomorrow. Grab a copy now. You want to read it and leave a happy review that wouldn’t hurt my feelings one little bit.

So what is the book about?

FIGHTING WORDS is based on the true story of a Nova Scotia teenage fight club. It is a tale of bullying, peer pressure and the desperation of marginalized rural youth.

Max was just a thirteen year old nobody – until the fight. He didn’t plan the fight. He didn’t even want the fight to happen – but after he stood up to Rodney freaking Hammerhead to protect his sort-of-best-friend Tommy – Max decided that fighting could be a good thing. People looked up to fighters. Girls liked fighters. Now Tommy and Max have decided to create their own personal fight club.

It seemed like a good idea – but what can I tell you?

Sometimes stupid just gets in your eyes.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

“Steve Vernon is a born storyteller.” – HALIFAX MAGAZINE

eBook success: short and sweet?

Steve Vernon:

What do you author-types out there think of this?

I tend to agree, thinking that short and sweet sometimes fills the bill nicely. On the other hand – my best seller is also my longest book – TATTERDEMON.

I’d love to hear some other opinions.

While you are at it – you might also want to take a look at Sabrina Ricci’s latest blog entry – INDIE AUTHORS AND E-SINGLES.

http://www.digitalpubbing.com/indie-authors-and-esingles/

yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Originally posted on Belinda Williams:

Shorter is sweeter in the digital world

As featured in Carnival of the Indies, Issue #36 September 13

As featured in Carnival of the Indies, Issue #36 September 13

eBook success

Is the length of your eBook all that stands between your success or failure?

Over the last twelve months or so, eBooks have been getting shorter. It could in part be attributed to the ‘series’ mentality that has come about since the worldwide success of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. These weren’t short books, mind you (at times I wondered if they’d ever end, but that’s another post!)

In the self-publishing world, you can now regularly see the first book in a series priced for free or a best-selling eBook author selling a series of novellas. Even traditionally published authors are hopping on the bandwagon. One of my favourite historical mystery/romance authors, Deanna Raybourn, released a prequel to her major release in May this year. How much did she charge…

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