Monthly Archives: June 2013

Self-Publishing: Carnival of the Indies Issue #33

Step right up.

Step right up.

If you’re interested at all in learning about e-books, digital publishing, indie self-publishing, Kindle, Kobo and the like you REALLY ought to be following The Book Designer!

Why?

Well – for starters – once a month The Book Designer publishes what he calls THE CARNIVAL OF THE INDIES – which is a monthly run-down of EVERYTHING worth reading in the realm of e-book writing.

Doubt me?

Check it out!

If you can’t find SOMETHING in there worth reading you really ought to get your eyes looked at.

Heck – my Kobo blog is even mentioned in there.

Seventy-fifth link down, three links over and straight on until morning…

(hee-hee)

Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Chewy Speaks…

Just recently author Julie Ann Dawson made a tremendous discovery that has scientists the world over talking in hushed whispers.

Her eleven year old Doberman/Alsation – Chewy – had learned how to read.

And not only that – he was posting book reviews of his very own.

My cat Kismet assures me that cats figured out how to read LONG before dogs did – but had never bothered writing reviews. After all – what could be more important than raw fish and properly-applied ear-skritches?

Here’s what Chewy had to say about my vampire/hockey novella SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME!

Sudden Death Overtime - final art small

yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Canada Day Blog Hop 2013

Show your patriotism and your lust for free books at the CANADA DAY BLOG HOP!

Escape Through the Pages

CanadaDayHeader2013

Welcome to the Canada Day Blog Hop! Canada Day is on Monday, and what better way to celebrate the long weekend and upcoming partying than with free things? Like books! And because the fourth of July for the United States is so close after our own celebrations, I’ve decided to have two winners – one from Canada, one from the US. Prizes? Book of choice up to $10CAD from the Book Depository.

Rules
– must be thirteen years or older to enter
– open to CA/US only
– giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST Tuesday July 2, 2013
– please fill out the form

Check out the rest of the blogs hosting giveaways this weekend!

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Nine Questions with… Steve Vernon

Folks who have been following my blog might actually be getting tired of hearing me talk about myself – but just in case you aren’t, here’s a link to a brand-new interview with myself by fellow Canadian horror writer Julianne Snow.

Nine Questions with… Steve Vernon.

My experience with Kobo so far…

Back in mid-November 2012 I decided that I was going to try my hand at self-publishing.

Back then ALL of my e-books had been released through an e-book publisher – Crossroad Press.

I wasn’t unhappy with what Crossroad had done – and continues to do – for my work. I just wanted to take that big old leap into TOTAL self-publishing.

I have since gone on to produce my own e-books – first through the Kobo network and then through Kindle, Nook and Apple. I publish directly to Kobo and Kindle – but rely on D2D for accessing Nook and Apple.

As of last night I sold my 500th Kobo e-book. That’s not a big number – I know that a lot of folks here are selling five hundred or more in a month – but I am still pretty pleased with how this new direction is turning out for me. I’ve figured out a lot of secrets along the way and made up a few myself and I can see the curve is angling upwards in a hopefully happy direction.

I’ve made about $700.00 since November 2012, primarily through my Kobo sales. Kindle, Nook and Apple sales are still pretty negligible. So far I figure it is a matter of numbers. I’ve got several new e-books in the works – but I’m also about halfway through a new YA novel that I am writing with my traditional publisher in mind.

Some folks have asked me why I don’t bother just writing STRICTLY as an independent author.

It’s simple.

I still sell a WHOLE LOT more books through my traditional publisher than I have sold through my independently published works. It’s true that I net as high as seventy percent return on my independent e-book sales – as opposed to the ten or twelve percent royalty that I make from my traditionally published work – but Nimbus does a whole lot more for me than just send me royalties.

They get the books out there across Canada and world-wide. My books – as released by my traditional publisher, Nimbus – reach a heck of a lot of potential readers. They reach more than I can reach with my e-books.

Look at it this way.

I bring out a new e-book tomorrow.

First I’ll post an announcement on my blog. Might reach a couple of hundred potential customers. Then I’ll shout about it over on Facebook. Might reach a couple of thousand potential customers. I might do a couple of guest-blogs or maybe Twitter and reach a couple of thousand more potential customers – but that’s about as far as it goes.

My traditional publisher helps me get my books out into bookstores right across the country. They help me break into school libraries – without having to go through all of that trouble and expense of hiring a cat burglar.

I mean – come on – have you ever tried to get a cat to do ANYTHING you want it to do when it doesn’t really feel like it?

On top of that it was through their efforts that I managed to get to Toronto this year and took those two book tours. They – and the teachers and librarians and bookstore owners – (THANK YOU WOOZLES!) – helped get my novel SINKING DEEPER under the noses of the award committee – which in turn got the book shortlisted for both the Hackmatack and the Silver Birch Awards. Even though I did not win I met an awful lot of cool kids and sold a TREMENDOUS number of copies and I am hoping that my next YA novel will make an even bigger splash.

So far, that hasn’t happened with the e-books. I’m making money and the numbers continue to accumulate – but libraries and schools and award committees are only SLOWLY beginning to look at self-published work. I can’t blame for their reticence. Number one – librarians and schoolteachers and bookstore owners are AWFULLY busy most of the time – so they can be excused for not evolving as hastily as technology has been. And – let’s face it – there is an AWFUL lot of dreck out there in the indie world.

It is the nature of the beast.

So that’s how the numbers fall. My traditional work is STILL the backbone of my business – and that’s what a writer is, at the heart of it.

A freaking business.

So, my business is going pretty well.

I am looking forward to 2014 as being a solidly profitable year.

Let me give you some numbers.

Here’s the breakdown of my Kobo sales since November 2012.

Canada – 297 e-books
United Kingdom – 135 e-books
United States – 36 e-books
New Zealand – 17 e-books
Australia – 9 e-books
Ireland – 4 e-books
Switzerland – 2 e-books
Malaysia – 1 e-book

I don’t know who that Malaysian was – but I hope he wasn’t wearing an eye patch and a peg leg.

Crossroad has sold a few through Kobo – but they don’t show up in that tally. This is STRICTLY my Kobo independently released e-books.

In that same time I have sold about 7000 books through Nimbus.

That’s a fair bit of a difference.

Mind you – there has been some overlap. Some of my Nimbus books have begun to sell in e-book format and they play a role in the Steve Vernon machine. I am hoping – eventually – that my independently sold e-books will help in turn fuel the sales of my Nimbus e-books. I list them all at the back of EVERY one of my Kobo independent releases.

How did I do it?

Well, for starters, I refuse to panic. When the numbers get punky I just get to work on the next release and look ahead to better days. I keep trying to build on what I’ve accomplished. I look for ways to convert one-time readers into full-blown fans.

This isn’t an easy game for any of us writers. We make up the rules daily to a game that is constantly evolving. Last year the game was to throw a football while you run through a field of live alligators with raw rump roasts tied to your feet. This year we’re throwing tennis rackets and in addition to those alligators they’ve sown the field with land mines and woolly tickle-bugs and I’m not going to tell you what we’ve got strapped to our feet.

I try not to worry how this is all going to turn out. Instead I will try to make the best of how it ACTUALLY does turn out.

Anticipation is momentum. Fear is nothing but praying for hurt. Life is a giggle, learn how to grin.

Wish me luck and watch me run.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Is Happy-Ever-After Storytelling Too Old-Fashioned?

A lot of my blogs begin on other people’s pages.

I just finished reading a blog entry asking – in a roundabout fashion – if “Happy Ever After” had become out-dated.

You can read that blog right here.

Here’s my thoughts on the whole situation.

My wife and I just got through watching the first four seasons of SONS OF ANARCHY. Hard, nasty brutal storytelling – where each character is both noble and ignoble – the absolute antithesis of the “happily-ever-after storytelling”.

We loved it.

A couple of days ago I picked up a DVD set of the first season of HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN. Shmaltzy, cornball happy-ever-after storytelling – and we’re loving just as much.

Sometimes you crave a glass of sweet cool lemonade.

Sometimes nothing but a blast of strong dark whiskey is what you’re looking for.

There is equal room for the “happy-ever-after” and the “life-is-shit-so-suck-it-up-buttercup” style of tale-telling. One needn’t negate the other. One isn’t necessarily more satisfying than the other. The myth of the happy-ever-after fairy tale is exactly that – a myth – and the product of pure imagination.

As writers and storytellers we depend upon our imagination to fuel our efforts. The writer who sneers at the sweetness of a happy-ever-after as being more than fanciful foolishness is forgetting that at the root of it all even the darkest, most brutal, most realistic of reporting is built from pure imagination. We’re not just microphones – reporting brutal fact – we are harps that are meant to be plucked sweetly.

Or – to put it another way – it takes the sweetest of corn to produce the strongest moonshine.

Ask any country boy.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

An Exercise in Flash Fiction…

I’ve been busy writing this morning – so I don’t have time to put together a brand new blog entry – but I thought I’d treat you folks to a taste of my short fiction.

Me – I’ve always LOVED flash-fiction.

There’s something super-cool about telling an entire story in less than two hundred words. It’s the same kind of super-cool feeling that gets a fellow into building doll-house furniture or constructing ships in a bottle.

This particular story came to my on a factory table saw while I was pushing my four thousandth board of the morning through the whirling blades.

I wrote it down on a scrap of particle board. I had just watched the movie HALLOWEEN, and had the vision of those opening credits burning in my brain. I sent the story to twenty four magazines. Twenty four rejections quickly followed. The twenty fifth magazine TERROR TIME AGAIN, bought and paid for the story. It went on to be republished in SPWAO’s “best of” anthology ALPHA GALLERY; and David Kubicek’s original anthology OCTOBER DREAMS. I use the story all the time in my high school writing workshops to demonstrate the use of multiple voices in a story.

Enjoy.

Tatterdemon Omnibus
(and no – this story doesn’t have a thing to do with my novel TATTERDEMON – but hey, there’s pumpkins on the cover and I didn’t have the time to hunt for a pumpkin photo that I could use without being sued)

    BEAT WELL

Let’s play a trick…
DONTCALLME…
on old punkinhead.
THAT.
nyah nyah punkinhead
YOU BROKE IT.
nyah nyah pun…
I GOT YOU NOW.
letgoletgoletgo
I’LL SHOW YOU A TRICK, I’ll SHOW YOU

* * *

(I remember poppy, he showed me how, he showed me first. First you slice opent the top. Dig out the pulp, thank god no seeds. Gouge out eyes, nose, and mouth. There. Oh. One more thing. There. Jack o’ lanterns.)

* * *

Old John lived way up on Carpenter’s Hill, so it wasn’t until morning when they found them. Propped against old John’s freshly whitewashed fence, staring sightlessly down upon the town below. The town where they had lived. The three boys still wore the costumes their folks bought at the five and dime. Shattered upon the ground was the remains of a broken jackolantern. The boys were dead. Hidden within the skull of each boy was a tiny candle, flickering quietly, where once only childish dreams burned. They found old John in the kitchen, making pumpkin pie.

THE END

Kobo Goes For Economy…

Okay – so let’s start with the big news.

From now – until July 18 – Kobo is selling its Kobo Mini for $39.99!


Okay – so the Kobo Mini is the bargain basement economy car of the Kobo Family.

Who cares?

I’ve been using my Kobo Mini since Christmas and I haven’t had a cause to complain. The e-reader is solid, lightweight and I can read it on the bus on my way to work. I read it over my breakfast. I have even read it in the bathroom.

But you didn’t really need to know that last bit of information, now did you?

The Kobo Mini works like a dream.

And at $39.99 e-book reading has NEVER been so cheap before.

***

Now – while I’ve got your attention and you are thinking about how much money you can save by buying a Kobo Mini – why don’t I talk a little bit more about saving money through e-reading.

Let me tell you about FLASH VIRUS OMNIBUS.

(oh shoot, you are saying, I knew I wasn’t getting through this blog entry without a commercial SOMEWHERE along the way)

And you’d be right.

Flash Virus Omnibus

Let’s get one thing clear. It is in incredibly poor form for an author to review their own work – so this is NOT a review.

This is just me, saying “Hey”.

I wanted to mention that I’ve been releasing this novel – episode by episode – for the last half a year or so. This omnibus is a complete stand-alone novel.

Each episode – on it’s own – sells for $2.49 on the Kobo site.

That price will be going up to $2.99 in July.

Right now – as I write this “not-a-review” (it’s June 21, 2013) – you can buy this Omnibus – which is five complete episodes – for a mere $4.99.

In July this price will go up to $6.99.

For those folks out there who use a Kindle – I’ve got it there too. And the same price change is GOING to happen in July.

I’ve got it on Nook – but it’s already $6.99 there.

It’s also available for i-tunes through Apple.

So – in simple math right now if you pick up the first episode (which is ALWAYS free) and the following four episodes separately – you will spend $9.96.

If you pick up the Omnibus – which is ALL FIVE EPISODES IN ONE – you will spend $4.99.

You wait until July and that will tally up as $11.96 for the five separate episodes or $6.99 for the Omnibus.

Thus endeth the arithmetic lesson.

yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Hey fans of Kobo!!!

Want a chance to win discounts for your next Kobo purchase?

Want a chance to win a FREE KOBO!!!

Check this out NOW!

Kobo Roars Past Nook in the UK!

I’ve had a LOT more luck with my Kobo e-books – and the UK is #2 in my purchase-by-region demograph.

I sell more e-books in Canada than anywhere else. The United Kingdom is #2. The US comes in at #3 and New Zealand comes in at #4 with Australia trailing behind at #5.

So I’m really excited to see that Kobo is forging ahead in the UK.

You can read more about this HERE!

Now the big trick is to learn how to market my e-books more effectively to the UK readers.

I might find me a few tips HERE.

yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon