Tag Archives: e-books

Explaining Amazon Rankings…

Okay – so in the aftermath of yesterday’s big Friday 13th promotion TATTERDEMON continues to rise in the ranks.

As of this morning TATTERDEMON is:

#10,913 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#73 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror > Occult
#84 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Horror > Occult

Okay, so what does that mean exactly.

Well – if you are listed at ranking #100,000+ you are probably selling less than ONE copy a day of your e-book.

If you are listed between 70,000 and 100,000 you are averaging ONE copy a day.

If you are listed around #42,500 you are averaging TWO copies a day.

If you are listed around #32,000 you are averaging THREE copies a day.

If you are listed around #25,000 you are average FIVE copies sold in a day.

If you are listed around #12,000 you are averaging TEN copies sold in a day.

If you are listed around #7500 you are averaging FIFTEEN copies sold in a day.

So that’s basically what Amazon Ranking is looking at – is how FAST you are selling at any given point in time. Later next week, if TATTERDEMON isn’t still selling at the rate it sold during the sale – that ranking is going to drop back into the six digits and S – L – I – D – E!!!

The thing to consider is that the higher in the rankings you climb the more likely it is that you are going to picked up and spotted by Amazon’s various hot-bots.

(You like that term? I made it up)

You’ll start showing up on Amazon’s various “If you liked this you ought to try TATTERDEMON” lists.

You’ll start showing up on Amazon’s various “Top Sellers” lists.

You’ll start showing up on Amazon’s “Movers and Shakers” lists.

This ALL goes into affecting your visibility – and the MORE visible you are on Amazon the MORE likely you are to get noticed by the REAL buying crowd – the millions of readers who don’t bother reading your blog. Once THEY get excited about buying your book then you ought to stand back because your sales are going to soar!

If you want to know more about the Amazon Rankings you REALLY ought to start following David Gaughran’s blog LET’S GET VISIBLE.

The fact is – ALL of those ranking figures came DIRECTLY from his book. The gent has put several years into interviewing and tracking other author’s sales figures and his own and he has got ALL of the nitty-gritty info regarding Amazon’s ranking system.

He’s the expert – not me.

Or to put it another way – I’m the dude who is standing outside on the deck with his index finger stuck up in the wind saying that it’s probably going to rain today.


In fact if you REALLY want to know more about the rankings and how to get noticed on Amazon you ought to pick up a copy of his e-b0ok LET’S GET VISIBLE and READ that sucker.

You can pick it up on KOBO or KINDLE or APPLE or NOOK or at SMASHWORDS.

Read that sucker like it was the bible. I did. And it has helped me.

And – in the meantime – if you HAVEN’T already picked up a copy of TATTERDEMON, why not pick up a copy today and help me climb those rankings just a little bit higher. I’m leaving it at the 99 cent mark for the weekend – just to give EVERYONE a chance to check it out.

Tatterdemon New Cover

Just click that photo to order yourself a copy today.

Or, for those folks in the UK, you can order a copy HERE!

The UK has its own set of rankings – but they don’t seem to fluctuate as much as the US rankings – and TATTERDEMON is currently ranked 19,801 in the UK.

yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Why Slow is Good for E-Publishing

I like these numbers a lot.


This is a long game we self-published writers are playing.

We are spiders casting our webs. Every day we spin them a little bit further – trying to entangle a few more readers in our sticky little snares.

Keep the words flowing.

Promote a little, every day.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

How do Reviews Sell Books???

Okay – so I said I was not going to post a new blog entry tonight – but here it is anyway.I was just over at Kindleboards and somebody asked the following question.

I’m just curious. I just published my first e-book last Saturday and I really have no idea how the whole review thing works. I keep seeing on various sites how I should be encouraging people who have bought the book to write reviews.

How do reviews affect sales?


(PS: I removed the smiley – because this is a VERY serious blog – with no puns or wisecracks or smiley icons – and only the occasional fart-joke)

AND – because I was posting on Kindleboards I referred primarily to Amazon – but this holds true for e-books on Kobo, Nook and any other kind of e-book distributor – OR FOR THAT MATTER – for traditionally published books, as well.

So – how do reviews affect sales?

Reviews help in an AWFUL lot of ways.

I can think of FOUR good reasons – right off of the top of my brain pan.

Here goes –

1 – A good review is a natural encouragement. Say somebody stumbles onto your book over at Amazon and is thinking about buying it. Having a few SOLID reviews on there help encourage that “stumbling reader” to actually reach for that “BUY NOW” button.

2 – I am also told that a certain number of good reviews can help with your author ranking – depending on the vagaries of the Amazon buzz-machine.

3 – Certain promotional websites – such as Pixels of Ink – DEMAND a certain amount of reviews before they will consider publicizing your e-book on their website.

4 – A good review on an independent blog/website/magazine is – basically – an unpaid for advertisement. I’ve bought quite a few books in the past just because I read a good review in my favorite magazine. Every good review published anywhere else other than Amazon represents another chance for your book to be discovered by a hungry reader.

Word-of-mouth is one of the single greatest factors towards creating more sales.

The best way to think about it is that every single review is basically one more person – other than yourself – standing up in the middle of the internet telling the world to go buy your book!

If you want to read the WHOLE thread over at Kindleboards just click right here!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Why e-authors still need to get their work in print…

Back on cyber-Monday I purchased myself and my wife a brand-new Kobo Mini.

Kobo Mini




It’s a $79.99 device and was offered that one day for $49.99. So I ordered two of them. And I ordered the cases for them. We’ll open them up at Christmas and I will finally embrace the new e-age.

I figure that it is about time I did.  I’ve been writing e-books for over a year – with nearly two dozen e-books out in “print”.

So I darn well better own me an e-reader.

But not everybody uses the e-reader they get.

I know several people who have bought e-readers and just haven’t found the time nor need nor desire to use them more than once or twice. Some of them can’t figure out how to use the device. Others find it simpler to just pick up a book. And then others never read in the first place – and are given e-books by concerned relatives under the mistaken that simply having a battery attached to the device is going to turn a non-reader into a reader-gone-wild.

There’s probably a dirty joke in their somewhere – but let’s rise above that shall we???

This failure-to-adapt is not an uncommon phenomenon.

According to a recent survey – over a third of the e-readers that are given at Christmas are only used once.

That is an interesting statistic.

Let’s face it – some of us deal with change a little slower than others.

Heck, it took me this long to realize that I should be spelling it eReader rather than e-reader.

The truth of it is – a lot of us want to OWN an eReader, but that doesn’t mean we will use it!

Having a hard time swallowing that? Just think of that last treadmill/exercisebike/Bowflex that you bought on New Years Day three years ago. You know, that thing that you use as a coat rack?

You had to own that, too – now didn’t you?

So – this is why all of us indie e-book authors need to NOT forget about paperback format.

The fact is – the paperback still continues to sell. The publishing world is being modified by the assault of the digital – but that doesn’t mean that we can all start relegating our paperbacks to granddaddy’s dustified attic.

No sir, no ma’m.

People STILL want to read paperbacks.

I know that.

You ought to know that too!

So my next step throughout 2013 is going to be getting more e-books out there – but likewise getting those e-books into paperback format.

Which brings me to CreateSpace. This, as far as I can see – is the best way of getting your paperbacks in print and in distribution.

So how is it done?

Well – I haven’t done it yet – haven’t even started learning – but I wanted to hand you over to a blog entry I found that was VERY VERY interesting and informative.

Check out Lynne Cantwell’s My Journey To The Center of CreateSpace.

This will give you some important information on how to go about getting your e-books into paperback format.

I’ll let you know by the end of January how my journey into CreateSpace works out. I’m backed up with all kinds of demands and obligations – but I intend to see at least ONE of my e-books into paperback format at that time.

In the meanwhile – here are a couple of more really informative blogs that you might want to read.

Writing Like It’s 2009!

How To Get Started Selling Fiction in 2013!

The Five Stages of a Writer’s Growth!

That’s all for now.

Don’t neglect your eReaders…

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


How NOT to market your latest e-book…

As mentioned – I am the guest blog over at D.D. Scott’s READER’S GUIDE TO E-BOOKS!


Hit that link and click on over to RG2E and leave a comment for an opportunity to win yourself a gifted free e-book of SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME!


RG2E Featured Author Steve Vernon talks about Writing “Buy My Books” on Bathroom Stall Walls.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Scheduling Secrets – Or How Not To Pose Like a Wannabe Bruce Lee…

This morning, I rolled out of bed and fell into a blog post.

It happens that way sometimes. As I’ll go on to explain – I like to check my e-mail and the first e-mail I opened lead to me to a blog posting over at THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO E-PUBLISHING.

This particular post dealt with a writer’s schedule.

While I was crafting a reply-comment to that blog post it got to me thinking that I ought to use this reply-comment as the basis for my next blog entry.

That’s right. Writing that innocent little reply-comment awoke my innate writerly thieving instincts and I decided that I was going to steal that reply-comment that I was writing – which is a little like stealing from yourself, I suppose – and use it as a blog post on my own blog.

Or, to put it another way –

“Immature artists imitate. Mature artists steal.” – Lionel Trilling.

To which I might add:

“Long-past-their-stale-date artists steal from themselves.” – Steve Vernon



Because I am one of those poor goomers who must still put up with a day job – and because my day job hours are rarely predictable – (I really think they use a dart board to write up our monthly work schedules) – I find it hard to set anything that even resembles a work schedule.

In fact, when I Google “work schedule”, Wikipedia says “That ain’t you.”

However, I’m fortunate enough to be an early riser. I had three paper routes when I was a kid and I had to be up at about five am to get breakfast into me – (I’m big on eating) – and get those papers sorted and delivered before going to school. As a result I am programmed to wake up before the crows have even started scratching themselves.

First off, I’ve got to make my way to the bathroom, where I sit for a while – (it’s safer than trying to aim in the dark) – and pet our black cat Kismet, who usually wants to know why the hell I haven’t fed her yet. I don’t know what her problem is – I fed her all yesterday – but she’s just funny that way.

I just looked up “patient and reasonable” on the Google and it told me “That ain’t cats”.

And here’s a picture of Kismet, sniffing the hell out of the inside spine of one of my books.

Then I sit down at the computer. I like to futz around on the internet for an hour or so before I begin dawdling which sometimes leads to a bout of full-out procrastination. I mean, why wait to put off what needs putting off to? I’m ambitious and I like to plunge boldly into my pre-writing procrastination.

I was going to look up “organized” on Google but I couldn’t find the to-do list that I’d wrote that down on to remind myself with.

You see, I like to start with checking my e-mail – which is what lead me to this blog entry here on THE WRITER’S TO E-PUBLISHING – before I begin. I’m pretty certain that one of these mornings I’m going to find myself something important in all that spam.

If possible, I like to warm up with something that requires some fast and creative free-range writing – such as this comment – (which I have already decided that I am going to steal on myself after I get commenting and use it in my own blog) – and to rattle some sort of a blog reply or a blog entry or to answer somebody’s question on the two or three message board forums I like to poke it.

(and I know that last sentence has most likely peeved the heck out of my Strunk and White’s Elements of Style – but me and Strunk/White haven’t been talking in years)

You see – I find that writing a blog entry or a thread reply like this – before I begin my actual work on whatever manuscript I am working on – is a really great warm-up. It’s a little like stretching yourself before a session at the gym – or shadow-boxing in the locker room before you walk into the arena and step into a boxing ring.

It isn’t anything like prancing around ten feet away from the fellow you’re supposed to be fighting – striking imaginary Bruce Lee poses and making kee-yii sounds like that blue jay outside my window is making. Striking poses like that in a fight doesn’t impress anybody – not even your Mom – and you’re most likely going to give yourself a charley-horse while trying to snap-kick a fist full of mid-air nothing.

Usually sometime around a half an hour into that hour long warm-up I’ll make my way downstairs and butter up a couple of slices of toast. I used to peanut butter and honey them but my wife says that has something to do with my belt shrinking on me so I just smear a little butter and then scoop out a bowl of cottage cheese. I pepper the cottage cheese – even though I’d much rather dump a couple of dollops of maple syrup onto the cottage cheese – but again, apparently that has something to do with my belt shrinking.

I’ll Twitter a bit and run through my e-mail and get all of my ducks lined up.

Then, I sip my coffee and get to work.

So, I guess that I have established three undeniable facts with this comment.

Number one – I like to take a poke at the social media side of things before I get to work on what really needs doing.

Number two – I really need an internal editor when commenting on other people’s blog entries.

Number three – If I worked for myself all day I’d most likely fire myself, sooner or later.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Here’s a link to that blog where this whole thing started. Folks who are interested in learning more about the craft from successful e-book writers really ought to be following this blog – THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO E-PUBLISHING.



Just this morning I was reading a post on a message board forum. Somebody was wondering aloud – (can you do that on a message board forum?) – just what was the secret behind the HUGE success of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY.

So I threw in my two bits – which started my mind to thinking and elaborating further.

I didn’t even have to move my lips while I was doing that – although I am mumbling now as I type this into my blog.

Here’s my two bits.


I have been feeding the birds outside of my house for many years. I have a system. I put a few peanuts out on the sill of my dining room window. The blue jays come there. The crows – who also like the peanuts – are too big for the window sill – so this way the jays get to eat in peace.

(why is this dude talking about birds?)

Then, I put peanuts on the railing of the deck. That’s where the crows come to eat. I’ve always liked feeding crows. I consider them a kind of personal good luck totem. Their existence speaks to me of a wily kind of hanging-on existence – a worthwhile quality for an indie writer.

(Okay, so why is he talking about crows? Is this some kind of a flash-mob thing?)

Then I feed the smaller birds – the starlings and the grackles. I always save the heels and the last few slices of bread in a loaf for these birds – as well as the last few crackers and cookies that go stale at the bottom of every cookie and cracker box in the known universe.

(Okay, so now he’s back to talking about birds again. Has he gone crackers? Should someone call security?)

There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs at this point in time. While I am scattering the pieces of bread the birds all line up on the wires that run above our house. They sit and they tweet and they twitter and more birds come to sit upon the wire. That’s the time that I like best – because each bird sits and sings in it’s own way. It is like God never taught the starlings any one particular song – so they just make it up as they go. I sometimes like to sing back to them – just humming to myself. It is my own kind of personal meditation and I probably ought to feel embarrassed about it – but every man is entitled to his own particular dam-fool practice.

(All right, that does it, you make a noise to distract this guy and I’m running for the door)

About two-thirds of the way through the scattering of the bread one bird works up the nerve to light down at my feet and grab him some bread crumbs. The other birds see that bird lighting and grabbing and they begin to land and do their own lighting and grabbing of the bread crumbs at my feet.

More birds come.

By the time I go back to my deck chair and sip my coffee the entire front lawn is awash with feathered twittering.

That’s what is happening with such fad books as FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. One bird sitting and twittering draws another and another and before you know the whole damn lawn is filled with FIFTY SHADES OF GREY fans.

These people aren’t necessarily buying a book. They are buying acceptance. They are buying comfort. They are buying a whole herd of like-minded companionship. They are buying a conversation-starter. They are buying a piece of the status quo.

You give a listen to the next person you hear talking about FIFTY SHADES…

Odds are, they won’t talk about plot or character or story structure.

Odds are they will say something along the lines of “Everybody is reading this. EVERYBODY!”

We are all herd animals at the deep-down root of things. And we all are susceptible – to one degree or another – to this phenomenon.

Don’t believe me?

Just think back to your childhood when your Mom or Dad would see you picking up a cigarette or some-such bad habit and then you’d say something like – “But everybody is doing it. EVERYBODY!”

And then they’d say something like – “If everybody was jumping off a bridge would you do it too?”

And then you’d say “YEAH!”

Or if you didn’t say it, you’d most likely think it.



So, am I saying that the popularity of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is a bad thing?


Am I even remotely looking down my nose at FIFTY SHADES OF GREY?


I am saying that the popularity can sometimes be a by-product of communal hype.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is a “bad” book.

It’s got a cover and it’s got words and most of those words even make a sentence.

I have read the first chapter and it did not make me want to grab it and read it. I didn’t read TWILIGHT and I didn’t read THE DAVINCI CODE either.

I did read THE HUNGER GAMES and enjoyed it. Even watched the movie, just last week – and that’ll be a blog for the near future. So I’m not saying that the hype-machine that is in motion around such phenomenon-releases are necessarily a sign of a poorly written story.

However, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY was not a story to my liking. Doesn’t make it a bad book. Just one I don’t care to read.

I would however love to figure out how to generate that kind of book-buying hype that FIFTY SHADES OF GREY has demonstrated for something of my own – say like maybe SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME?

Let’s get those birds twittering about that!


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Publishing is Broken, we’re drowning in Indie Books – And That’s A Good Thing

All right, all right – so I haven’t written a fresh new blog for a while. I promise something new come this weekend.

But for now I picked this up through THE DIGITAL READER http://www.the-digital-reader.com/ – which is a website that you really ought to be following on your own rather than reading it filtered through my hairy brain.

Still, I felt strongly enough to post this here. It’s an article on the indie publishing phenomenon.


The Digital Reader picked it up from Forbes.

I feel it’s a solid article that really hits the mark.



And, speaking of phenomenon, why don’t you sing along with this – using the word “phenomenon” instead of ma-na-ma-na???



yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


The writing is on the wall…can you read it?



Hey folks.

I came across a blog entry today – thanks to my subscription to THE PASSIVE VOICE (http://www.thepassivevoice.com/)

See, that’s country manners. Not only do I provide a little in-blog entertainment – but I also attribute my source material.

In any case the blog entry that THE PASSIVE VOICE referred to was on a so-called “country boy’s” opinion of e-books and e-publishing in general. It started me thinking about how I used to have take an hour long bus ride to get myself to a book store – riding a very old and very uncomfortable bus from Capreol, Ontario to the city of Sudbury.

Living in Halifax now I don’t have that problem. There is a bookstore in the mall across the street from my home. A dozen more within easy transit.

It worries me a little that online bookstores and e-books are putting brick and mortar bookstores in danger of extinction. Still, I am attempting to become a successful e-book author so I cannot dwell upon such a possibility.

And I will in all honesty admit that I could EASILY become addicted to ordering books online. The possibility for grazing and window-shopping is undeniable. I just have to click my way into Amazon and it is the Sears Christmas catalogue all over again. Do you remember that? When the Christmas would be delivered – and I actually delivered it in my town – every kid I knew had to sit down and write themselves out a gi-normous Christmas list.

I’d write a little more on this – but I have to go shopping for a new shirt and pants. I have a wedding to attend next weekend – and I need me some new duds.

So – in lieu of my fine articulate ponderings why don’t you have a look at what Stant Litore has to say in his blog entry.


Yours in Storytelling,

Steve Vernon