Tag Archives: Canadian Childrens Book News

Running Madly In All Directions – E-Book Edition


This is me - squinting blindly and blithely, straight into the rising sun.

This is me – squinting blindly and blithely, straight into the rising sun.

Let me see if I can give you a final summing up here.

Over the month of October I have sold almost 300 books in total on Kindle alone – which is pretty huge for me. I haven’t EVER sold more than 200 e-books in one month before.

Specifically, that was 214 copies of TATTERDEMON and 36 copies of DEVIL TREE – as well as a smattering of other sales.

On Kobo I sold 49 copies of TATTERDEMON and 1 copy of DEVIL TREE. I am pretty certain that was primarily due to my taking part in the Kobo promotion. I’m not sure if ANY of my prom websites made ANY sort of difference to my Kobo sales.

I feel that the Kobo sales were worthwhile, over all.

On Nook and Apple I sold 4 copies of DEVIL TREE and 1 copy of TATTERDEMON.

I am really beginning to grow discouraged about my lack of action on Nook and Apple. I feel that part of that inaction might be because I reach both of those services through an aggregator, namely D2D but because I am Canadian and I do not own a Mac computer I am really hamstrung when it comes to publishing directly onto Apple or Nook.

There are ways to do it – but I am not particularly inclined to going about all that much trouble for what might be a limited reward. Nook has not been shining for a lot of e-book authors. I know some folks do really well there – but every day I hear nothing but bad news about Barnes & Noble and Nook in general.

I had been trying to decide whether or not to go all-in for KU or to continue playing it wide. Given that I am still happy with Kobo’s results I probably WON’T let go of Nook and Apple yet. Why should I? It doesn’t take any effort on my part. They are already formatted and entered. The only reason to leave Nook and Apple would be if I were ALSO leaving Kobo – so why bother?

All that remains for me to figure out is whether or not my promotion expenses were worth it or not. I am definitely going to have to take a long look at what worked and what didn’t.

I’m going to leave both books – TATTERDEMON and DEVIL TREE – on for 99 cents for the rest of the week and then bump them up to $3.99.

I sold 66 copies of TATTERDEMON yesterday, thanks to a ROBIN READS promo that is still in effect this morning. The promo spot on Robin Reads cost me $15.00 – which I made back and then some yesterday.

So – what’s going on for November?

Well – it is going to be an awfully busy month.

For starters – my e-book UNCLE BOB’S RED FLANNEL BIBLE CAMP – FROM EDEN TO THE ARK was free yesterday and is still free this morning.

Just click and grab it while you have got the chance!

Just click and grab it while you have got the chance!

I am in my last week of my Kindle Scout program and any nominations are gratefully appreciated.

The Tale of a Time Traveling Toilet.

The Tale of a Time Traveling Toilet.

And I am in my third day of NaNoWriMo – which I still have to talk about – but not today! I am 3600 words into my new novel – THE NOVA SCOTIA BROTHERHOOD OF UNITED GHOSTS – and I need to bang out 1700 more words this morning.

NaNoWriMo 2015

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Please click this link and nominate A BLURT IN TIME for the Kindle Scout program.

Please click this link and nominate A BLURT IN TIME for the Kindle Scout program.


Doors – and writing…

Copenhagen, Denmark.

“Many years later, in front of the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia would remember that distant afternoon his father took him to see ice.” –  ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Back around this time of the year in 2012 I wrote a blog entry about the importance of a good first line.

Just this morning while scrolling through my Twitter feed I came across a link that lead me to a DeMilked photo-article entitled TWENTY FIVE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DOORS AROUND THE WORLD.

That owl-door at the top of the page is one of those twenty-five magical doors.

“That’s beautiful,” I thought to myself. “I ought to put that up on my Facebook page.”

Only while I was getting set to put it up on my Facebook page I thought – “Wait a minute. I ought to write a blog entry about how your first sentence is like a doorway to your novel” – which was actually what this blog entry was going to be titled.

At first.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Only that got me to thinking that ACTUALLY the cover of the novel is your front door.

The mind works that way sometimes when you are in a creative state of existence. One door will lead to another will lead to another.

Hands up, out there. How many of you have ever seen the movie FORREST GUMP?

Now that was a fellow who never met a door that he did not try and enter.

That’s what a writer needs to do. He needs to step out into the world and begin opening doors – and if one door leads to another – well, he had better be prepared to open that door as well.

Explore the possibilities.

You might open one door and then decide to write yourself a poem but that poem will lead you to another door and you might that open that door and decide to write yourself a short story and then that short story might lead you to another door and if you have the courage to open that door you might find yourself with a whole novel hiding behind that door.

Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

So don’t be afraid to open that very next door that you come to. Keep your eyes wide open and explore the possibilities.

A blank page is an open doorway.

There is no telling WHERE it will lead you to.

If you need a little bit more inspiration why don’t you take a look at the deMilked website where all of these wonderful doors came from.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Over the last week I released THREE e-books – which sounds pretty impressive except when you stop to consider the fact that I was working on BIG HAIRY DEAL for over six to eight months, and that the three stories in BIGFOOT TRACKS were written sometime ago, and that FIGHTING WORDS was written and released on KOBO several years ago.

I’ve already told you about the first two books in my last two blog entries but let me tell you a little bit about the third book which I released in Kindle format thanks to Kindle’s new KID BOOK CREATOR.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

Scheduled for launch on Sept. 19, 2014.

I’m afraid I have done VERY little promotion for this book beyond just sticking it up out there and keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve got a lot more promotion lined up for the two Bigfoot books. But this is a very Nova Scotia kind of story that I first thought about writing when I read about a “fight club” that had been set up in rural Nova Scotia using high school kids as meat puppet moneymakers.

The fine art of getting going…

There is a foot race going on today. The Bluenose Marathon. Umpteen thousand runners and walkers going out to run a marathon or a half a marathon, or a 10k or a 5k or around the block…you name it.

Running is like writing. Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other.

Damn that’s deep. A new-born gnat could drown in such profundity.

I’ve been trying to get my act together for a month or two now. Spent a lot of time and effort finishing up SINKING DEEPER. Then finished the working draft of my next release – due out this fall – which is now in an editor’s hands.

Work like that is always easy. You know that sooner or later that editor will hand it back to me and then all I need to do is to go through what was written and fix what was broke.

For me, that’s easy.

There is a third project underway. Another collection of regional history, only a different angle than just ghost stories. I’ve got that one all mapped out – so it is just a matter of writing it – which I am doing.

That’s not as easy, but still not hard.

And then there is a fourth project that I have just got underway. A YA novel, complete unrelated to either the region or Sinking Deeper. It is necessary for me to dig a little deeper and reach a little further than just my regional books. So I have started this new project. Wrote one whole chapter yesterday and another this morning. If I can get over the hump and push it then I should have a good first draft done before the end of June.

That’s a little harder.

I’ve also just slid a pitch to another publisher of YA for a work-in-progress that really fits a new line they’re developing. That’s just a shot in the dark. The story is all roughed out – so actually writing it won’t be hard at all – but selling it – well that’s another bag of potatoes.

I am also waiting to hear from a publisher who has had a submission for a very long time. Too long, really, but they are a company I would really love to work with – so I have rattled their door handle and buzzed their door bell and have been assured that my answer is in the pipeline – any day now.

Yet another reason to remember that writing is nothing more than waiting mispelled.

Only I’m not much on waiting. I am at my best when I have got something new underway. Ideally I like to have projects laid out for a year or two ahead. I like to have them sold and written and me working on something else. That keeps my fires lit and my engines humming.

There is a couple more e-books in the works and a couple more in the planning stages.  Strictly horror genre – very different from what I do now – but all part of the plan.

A blog like this is written as much for myself as my readers.

Take it from me.

A writer, writes.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Something precious, gone forever…

Just about a month ago I recieved a note from Vikki at the Flying Dragon Bookshop in Toronto. They were ordering my book, Sinking Deeper.

I was very excited. Seeing my primarily Maritime market-base shifting slowly across Canada is just what I needed to hear about.

Now I have heard something else about the Flying Dragon Bookshop.

Something you might hear about other bookstores across this country.

They are closing.

(taken from their Facebook entry from today)
It is with heartfelt regret, that we announce today The Flying Dragon Bookshop will be closing its doors on June 30, 2011.We have in recent months explored opportunities to embrace the technological advances that have presented themselves with such rapidity in our industry. But at the end of the day we realized that for us, it was al…l about the books and the tactile, sensory experience they provide.

It is bittersweet that we have just received the 2011 Libris Award for ‘Specialty Bookseller of the Year’ from the Canadian Booksellers Association.

While we can’t imagine not being able to walk into the magical world of The Flying Dragon on a daily basis, we know that our futures hold wondrous adventures and we wish the same for all our loyal customers and our colleagues in the publishing industry.

We want to end the way we started, by talking about the books with you, our fellow booklovers. Please join us for Nina’s Summer Reads on Friday, May 27th at 9:30am.

We invite all our Flying Dragon friends, customers and colleagues to celebrate our wonderful collection of books that have been so lovingly chosen.

Until June 30th, in appreciation, we will be offering our collection at 20% off.

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
~ A. A. Milne (Winnie the Pooh)

I still remember back in 2008 when Halifax’s 169 year old bookstore, THE BOOK ROOM, closed its doors. It was like losing a close friend and I still mourn the loss of that store. I know, I am a cornball – but something is gone. Something that cannot be replaced.
I also remember watching Frog Hollow Books close its doors.
Little tiny nooks of culture and comfort – gone forever.
I am not here to rail against the 21st century.
Some of my best friends are e-books. I have written a few of them.
I am just here to tell you folks that one more monument to the love of a books is falling. They will probably put up a hair salon or a coffee shop in its place. That’s it – it’s gone.
There is only way to stop this from happening to your favorite bookstore. Get out there and buy a book. Ask the folks at Woozles, here in Halifax, about my deep-seated addiction for the written word. Ask the folks at the Bookmark and at Chapters and at any of the used bookstores in town.
I am a book-a-holic shop-fiend. I can’t walk into a bookstore without purchasing a book.
Please, catch this addiction from me. I am not talking bankruptcy. I am not talking about spending the kid’s college fund. All I am asking is to make it a weekly habit. Go to your favorite bookstore and buy a book.
Before that page finally turns.
Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Sinking Deeper

I probably ought to tell you a bit about this novel I keep referring to in my blog entries.

Sinking Deeper is the kind of book that begins with a jail break, moves into an impromptu caber toss and a subsequent dory sinking – and that’s just the first three chapters.

Sinking Deeper tells the story of Roland, a boy growing up in a town that is dying. The tourism is gone. The industry is gone. Even his family is dying. Roland’s mom and dad are divorcing. Roland hits upon the idea that the creation of a sea monster is just what the town of Deeper Harbour needs to be reborn. This is a story about the power and value of the storytelling tradition and how time and change will often wash us out into deeper waters.

In addition, Sinking Deeper has received a four-star “Highly Recommended” review in a recent issue of Canadian Materials magazine (Volume 17, Number 27).

“Whether you read Sinking Deeper as an adventure, a comedy, a story about family and relationships or as a travelogue to a small fishing community inNova Scotia, you will not be disappointed. Steve Vernon is a virtuoso storyteller whose voice takes readers to unforgettable places and introduces them to amazing people.”

 On Library Thing one Canadian librarian has this to say –

This book was a treat to read–funny, poignant and moving. The tone was reminiscent of Brian Doyle’s novels, which I read as a child. Vernon genuinely captured the atmosphere and character of small town life and I cheered for and cried with Roland throughout.

I’ve had four other books released by Nimbus Publishing – three ghost story collections (HauntedHarbours, Wicked Woods and Halifax Haunts) and one children’s picture book (Maritime Monsters). All of these books have sold very well locally, but Sinking Deeper is a book that deserves to be read right across Canada. I hope I am not being too pushy or bold but I am trying to do everything in my power to see that this book gets noticed in other provinces besides my own. Sinking Deeper is a story that needs to be read – by young and old alike – right across Canada.

So buy this book. At $12.95 it isn’t much more than a mall meal – with a whole lot less calories and cholesterol.

Sinking Deeper is available through all library wholesalers – ISBN 978-1-55109-777-0 – cover price $12.95.

If you can’t buy the book then ask for it at your local library.

Read Canada!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Woodlawn Library Reading

Last November I read in the Woodlawn Library auditorium in front of an audience of nearly 100 school kids – all about the Grade 6 level. I put on a version of my young writers workshop and met with great success. They laughed, they clapped, they called for more.

The new Woodlawn library has a wonderful auditorium with seats recovered from the old Woodlawn theatre. It is an absolutely perfect venue for any sort of presentation. So, naturally, I was very excited at the prospect of reading my new YA novel SINKING DEEPER in this venue.

Unfortunately, the timing of the event worked out poorly. The nonstop cold and wet weather we’ve been having discouraged some of the classes from attending.

Also, May is a bad time of the year for out-of-school events. Most teachers have burned up their extra-curricular days and are busy gearing the kids up for final exams and the like.

So I wound up performing for an audience of about ten people – a few adults, a few parents and a few home school children who had come specifically to hear me.

Given that I had to travel so far by bus to get there on a cold and wet Monday morning I should have been discouraged but I choose not to give in to that bad feeling. I turned up the volume and gave them a full-out presentation – telling a few tales, talking a bit on the process of writing and reading a couple of short chapters from the book. Afterwards, I handed out bookmarks and talked to anyone who had further questions.

You see, that’s how you do it. A performer – whether they are performing with music, dance or written word – must be ready to perform at the drop of a hat for any size of audience.

Any one in a similar line of business as myself must strive to wrap their head around that fact. The show must go on. I have performed in front of audiences ranging from 500 to 5 – and I bring it, every time. If you win one reader over, then it was a morning well spent.

So, if any of you find yourself in a similar situation – do not allow discouragement to seep into your existence. If somebody has come out for you give them what you have promised. Your name is on the poster – stand up and deliver.

Like the man said – just bring it.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Roses and ‘riting…

Well, this is the season, isn’t it?

I’ve been busy this weekend in my garden and backyard. I spent one evening mowing it – twice. It has been raining like Noah for the last few weeks and the grass was knee deep and rising and I cut that green stuff to a depth befitting a custom-built pool table.

And I weeded.

And weeded.

Primarily I concentrated on weeding the rose hedge.

Which has a story, naturally. I planted the rose hedge last year – digging a bed that ran the length and width of our long and skinny city lot. We are situated on the corner of three streets, directly beside two shopping mall parking lots – so our yard is a natural intersection for all manner of windblown litter. I usually end up out there bending and stooping with a pair of barbecue tongs, picking up the litter at least once a week. So the hedge was partly planted with the idea that it would trap the windblown litter and lessen my need for bending and stooping.

My back likes that idea.

As I weeded I also fertilized and dumped some splendid smelling cedar mulch on the rose bed as I went along. This pretties up the whole rose bed and also makes it less inviting for weeds and such.

As I got to the last ten feet of the rose bed – which is probably about 70 or 80 feet long in total – I noticed that the bed was getting narrower and less neat. So I dug and rooted about, cleaning up that last ten feet.

As I was doing so I thought about how much like a manuscript this rose bed was. You see, when I work on a manuscript – I usually find that I put the most effort into the beginning and first half of the work – and give short shrift to the ending because by that point I am about ready to get the heck out of Dodge and get to work on something new.

Like maybe a beer.

I often find the worst editorial criticisms – such as “you’ve made an error in tense” or “bad grammar” or “continuity issue” or “what in the hell were you thinking?” – occur in those last few chapters of the work. Just like this rose bed the whole work suffers from a lack of attention and genuine stick-to-itiveness.

So from here on out I swear that when I get to the end of a novel manuscript and I want to hurry up and be done with it and get it off to my publisher who no doubt is up all night long pacing and worrying and wondering just when his next dose of my undeniable brilliance is going to cross his desk – that I will stop and take a look out of my office window which faces that last ten feet of rose bed and I am going to be a little bit more careful about what I write.

That’s right.

I have just written an entire blog entry advising you writers to slow down and smell the roses.

Time for black coffee.

(see what those roses grew into)

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon