Tag Archives: ghosts

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 Рwhich 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.

 

My Latest Review!

A big thanks to Angela Crawford for reviewing my novella NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY on Amazon.

You can read the review right here!

If you click this cover it will take you directly to the Amazon listing for NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY...

If you click this cover it will take you directly to the Amazon listing for NOT JUST ANY OLD GHOST STORY…

Remember folks – on September 1st my novella will be available in Kindle format for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! ūüôā

AND – if you can promise a Kindle review by the end of August I will be happy to send you a free review copy for your Kindle right away!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

Want to read a free Steve Vernon Bigfoot story?

Just raise your hands!

Just raise your hands!

Everybody loves a free story, right?

Then just click on over to THE JERSEY DEVIL PRESS and read their 57th issue today!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

The Ghost Story Gala of Annapolis Royal

I’d promised to write a blog entry on my trip to Annapolis Royal – and I intend to keep that promise.

It was actually two trips in one.

The first trip took place on October 18th. My host’s daughter – who lives in Halifax – picked me up after I’d finished my shift at work and drove me to Wolfville, where my host’s husband Chick – (his nickname) – was waiting to drive me the rest of the way. Wound up being about a three and a half hour drive – and I am still amazed that they went to this effort to bring me down there. I feel more than a little honored by all of the trouble they went to.

Here’s a picture of my good hosts, Sherry and Chick.

I spent the night at my host Sherry’s home. Basically went to bed as soon as I got there.

The next morning I was up bright and early and we walked over to the school – the Annapolis West Education Centre where I spoke and told stories to two large groups of high school kids ranging from grade 10 to 12. It was a little strange given that two days ago I had been presenting my stories to a large group of Halifax Grammar School students from pre-primary to Grade 2 – but I adjusted fairly quickly.

These kids were awfully keen on learning and were an absolute pleasure to teach.

Then I had dinner and hopped into a third vehicle owned by a couple who had volunteered to drive me home to Halifax.

PART TWO

October 27, 2012 was the Ghost Story Gala itself.

Getting down there was a lot simpler. Belinda had taken that Saturday off to drive me down. The scenery was positively intoxicating and to help add a little intellectual content to our drive Belinda created a Road Kill Statistical Countdown Sheet.

Yes – my wife found something to keep me entertained – and out of her hair.

It was my job to keep a tally on the roadkill we spotted along the way. I was diligent in my task – although there were a couple of critters that were sadly unidentifiable. I didn’t want to guess at what they were. A good statistics man NEVER falsifies his data.

That’s one dead bunny, five dead porcupines, one dead crow, nine dead raccoon, one dead skunk, seven dead tires and one dead badger. I want to be clear with you folks and let you know that the bunny and the badger were both write-in candidates – and the sloppy drawing of both bunny and badger belong to me. I am a writer – NOT a visual artist.

We left at about seven in the morning and drove into Annapolis Royal at about eleven in the morning. We parked outside of the bed and breakfast we were to be billeted at and strolled the town, having coffee and fancy German pastries at a really wonderful GERMAN BAKERY AND CAFE.

http://www.germanbakery.ca/

The pastries were heavenly and the coffee stood up on the table and barked – just the way I like it.

Then we strolled down St. George Street and stopped to poke around through the FAR-FETCHED ANTIQUES AND ART GALLERY – where we were amazed by some Asian curios and had a fine old talk with the owners Tom and Cindy.

http://www.nslocal.ca/results.php?hide_id=2951&hide_stylesheet=4#.UJeXl8VZV-Y

By that time I had a book signing scheduled at MAD HATTER BOOKS.

http://www.baintons.ca/books.htm

This was a really cool little bookstore and leather shop. Belinda browsed for a bit and found herself a pair of really slick driving gloves that she fell in love with. Her hands do not like the winter chill and these gloves will DEFINITELY be a godsend for her. Then she took a stroll while I sat and signed. It was a quiet time of year for the town but we sold a few books and I had a great time meeting some of Annapolis Royal’s citizens.

Following the signing Belinda and I walked back to our Bed and Breakfast. We decided to have dinner before checking in and we ate our dinner at the German Bakery and Cafe. I was dying to try some of their sauerkraut and their schnitzel. The meal was great and we bought a bagful of German pastries to take home with us to Halifax the next day.

The pastries were awesome. Just awesome. Apparently, the German Bakery has an outlet here in Halifax, at the Farmer’s Market. I’ll definitely have to get down there soon to hunt me up some sweet treats. Leave the diet book at home, brother!

We stayed in the Cottage Room at THE TURRET BED AND BREAKFAST – a lovely looking house with a pair of very friendly Border Terriers, Simon and Posy. It was a lovely home, very convenient to the downtown area – and the breakfast was truly splendid.

Then I had to walk down to the KING’S THEATRE, where the Ghost Story Gala was going to be held, for a short sound check – while Belinda had a much-needed nap.

http://www.kingstheatre.ca/

The theatre was a grand little venue and the acoustics of the place were sound.

We ate supper at YE OLD TOWNE PUB, just across the street from the King’s Theatre – where I plowed into a heap of poutine – although in hindsight I wish I’d tried the Potachos – a plate of deep fried lattice potato chips covered with melted cheese, tomatoes, green peppers, and onions.¬† These are served with sour cream and a zesty salsa.

http://yeoldetownepub.wordpress.com/

And then – The Gala!

GHOST STORY GALA

I’ve spent a lot more time on this blog entry than I usually give to it – but I wanted to hit every single detail.

The Gala opened with Daniel Froese, violinist and fiddler, strolling gypsy-like through the auditorium serenading the audience with his finest fiddle playing.

Following that, Shalan Joudry entertained the crowd with wonderful Mi’kmaq stories.

Guitarist Caleb Miles sung a wonderfully haunting ballad that I actually knew the story behind – a tale of a Halifax serving girl who was hanged for the theft of a single silver spoon.

Following that they had some guy up there telling ghost stories. I think his name was Steve Vernon. He was pretty good, I guess…

All kidding aside, I had a wonderful time up there and I really feel I was at the peak of my story-telling form. It felt wonderful to be standing up there and telling stories, knowing that the love of my life – Belinda – was sitting there in the audience listening. I told two stories and might have told a third – but somebody went and called security to escort me off of the stage.

(grin)

Following a brief intermission Daurene Lewis, past mayor of Annapolis Royal, both entertained and educated us all with a brief talk about Rose Fortune.

You want to learn a little more about Rose. It is a heck of a story.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_Fortune

Following this, Halifax storyteller Cindy Campbell – whom I’ve worked with many times before – told a bone-chilling tale about a man who met himself. Cindy was definitely at her best for this event as well. Unfortunately, I couldn’t track down any photos of Cindy from the event but here’s here listing at the Storytellers of Canada.

http://www.storytellers-conteurs.ca/directory-pages/campbell-cindy.html

Finally, the torch singing Jazzette brought the house down with an absolutely smashing entrance and their cool swinging musicality.

I could spend the rest of the morning yacking to you all about what a wonderful time I had – but I just want to end this blog entry on this note.

This is the real reason that I enjoy working in rural areas. There is a real sense of community that goes on just as soon as you step outside of the city. There is nothing with living and working here in Halifax – but it was great to see how this little community bonded together to create this wonderful event. The local folk helped raise the funds, decorate the theatre, opened up their doors and their hearts to the entertainers who travelled here. They came out and filled the crowd and were all truly in the spirit of the festivities.

So – the next time you are wondering what to do with your weekend – you’d be well-advised to take a drive down along the shore to Annapolis Royal. Spend a night in one of their many wonderful bed and breakfasts. Take a tour of the town and find yourself some good eating.

Heck. I can’t be poetic about everything.

I just had a wonderful time.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Coming Soon…Canadian Creeps!

Coming later in June…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But not my next release…

Details to follow, next week.

 

yours in storytelling,

 

Steve Vernon

Is Amazon in league with the Devil???

This morning I came across a blog post that basically asked the question – “Is Amazon in league with demonic forces?”

http://thewritersguidetoepublishing.com/they-eat-small-children

The blog took a look at the notion that traditional publishers are some¬†how the “good guys” while the folks at Amazon go to work every morning leaning on pitchforks and might very likely be sporting cloven hooves beneath their highly-polished black Oxfords.

It got me thinking about whether or not Amazon is in league with the devil.

Which got me to thinking about a blog of my own that I have been intending to write for sometime now. I’ve been wanting to address the fact that I am basically two completely different writers. I write two VERY different lines of books and the two don’t necessarily mix.

I’m either mult-talented, flexible or seriously f****d up.

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Still, being active in both traditional and regional as well as near-independent e-publishing offers me a unique position for looking at both sides of the situation. 

The books I release through my regional publisher Nimbus aren’t exactly “Big Six” material – but they turn up in bookstores all over the maritimes. I’ve sold thousands of copies and they’ve done miraculously with and I am very happy with the results of my¬†Nimbus releases. I’ve got another book coming out with them this fall and I have at least two other books in¬†various stages of completion.

They look like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s HAUNTED HARBOURS. It is available as a traditionally-published book that you can pick up or order in any local bookstore.

It’s also available in Kobo format – http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Haunted-Harbours-Ghost-Stories-Old/book-T1PoKGZ4Sk6QcsR5w27bIA/page1.html.

It’s also available in Nook format – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haunted-harbours-steve-vernon/1100085326?cm_mmc=affiliates-_-linkshare-_-je6nubpobpq-_-10%3a1&ean=9781551098081&itm=8&usri=steve+vernon

And I’ve just found out that it is available in iTunes for your iPhone, iPod, or iTouch – http://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/haunted-harbours/id430596808?mt=11

Aye-yi-yie!

The same holds true for my books THE LUNENBURG WEREWOLF or WICKED WOODS.

However, my middle-grade novel SINKING DEEPER and my children’s picture book MARITIME MONSTERS are still only available in traditional format – which is a shame because I am awfully, awfully proud of that book SINKING DEEPER.

(There is a secret easter egg link in that cover that will bring up a chapter one excerpt)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before I yield completely to the compelling lure of self-promotional spam allow me to refocus my thinking.

I’m happy with how these traditional releases continue to¬†work for me. They bring me a lot of local reknown which in turn brings me a lot of local appearances.

Paying appearances. Signings. Radio and television gigs.

All of which contribute to my perpetually inflating ego and my likewise perpetually deflating bank account.

A lot of the more radical sorts of e-book writers would no doubt tell me that I am wasting my time staying with traditional publishing – but it still suits my own business plan.

My e-books are currently released through Crossroad Books – which means they do most of the gruntwork. They convert the manuscripts I write into the various formats. They take care of the distribution, the conversion and up until the last couple of books the artwork. So I am not exactly what you call a typical writer of e-books. So far that suits me. I haven’t had to learn any new ways of doing my work. I just put together a manuscript and they take care of all of the various clockwork details.

Which is why I think of myself as a “near-independent” writer of e-books, rather than a true indie.

So far I have kept my e-books and my traditionally published works completely segrated. I’m that dude with a wife and kids in one town who takes periodic “business trips” to visit a wife and kids in another town. I am Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde – living a totally split life. I do not encourage my traditional fans to hunt up my e-books because they are COMPLETELY different animals.

 

Now, if I had been a smarter fellow I might have explored the possibility of releasing my e-books under a psuedonym – they are that different in focus from my traditional releases. My e-books, so far, have all been written in the horror genre – suitable for adults and folks who are less than easily offended.

It’s scary.

I live in constant fear that a few of my more conservative regional fans is going to stumble across some of my more radical and/or graphic works of horror. I worry that they are going to rise up and lead a crowd of pitchfork-bearing villagers to my front lawn where they would burn me on a heap of flaming e-books.

All right, so I have a pretty good imagination. I am a writer, after all.

**********

To make matters worse I am currently looking at further complicating the situation by pursuing my work in a third direction. Admittedly I am hoping that this third direction will somehow bring the two other facets of my writing career into more perfect harmony.

So, being as immersed as I am in both ends of this business I feel I’d like to throw in my two bits into the argument – is Amazon in league with the Devil???

 

Currently, traditional Big Six style publishers are trying to use e-books as if they were nothing more than just another form of traditional product – that is, one to be milked for the lion’s share of profit – with the author settling for whatever pittance they care to pass their way.

They are, in effect, trying to use the e-book as if it were nothing more than a variation of the traditional hardback and softcover. This is further complicated by the fact that a great deal of the smaller publishers are leaning on larger conversion-based companies to turn their back catalogue into e-books. They are jobbing the clockwork details out-of-house.

It’s the way that big businesses think. It is the same reason why you go to your local grocery store and pay big bucks for a hunk of beef that was raised in Argentina while local beef farmers are giving up the ghost left, right and centre.

I put it to you that Big Six Publishers need to learn how to handle the clockwork details themselves – just the same that local grocery stores ought to rethink their dependence on foreign-grown product and build up the network to support local food producers.

Amazon has figured out a model that works. Traditional publishers need to put on their crow-eating shoes and try to emulate Amazon’s plan. The fact is – creating an e-book OUGHT to be a whole lot cheaper than creating a traditional book – ESPECIALLY when that e-book is nothing more than a recreation of a traditional release.

Traditional publishers need to re-think and re-evolve their way of doing business and they need to do it FAST! Simply bumping up the price of their e-books isn’t going to cut it. They need to come up with a way of doing business that is more compatible with the Amazon way of doing business.

I think they can do it.

To bring us back to my original metaphor the fellow with a wife and kids in one town and a wife and kids in another town needs to Brady Bunch the situation and bring both wives and both kids into the same town and live in complete harmony.

All right. So I have a lot of imagination. I’m a writer after all!

**************************

So, tell me what you guys think. Is there a way that traditional publishers can pull up their socks and compete with the Amazon model? Does it naturally have to be “us” against “them”?

Why can’t we all just get along?

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Titles are everything…

I was just talking about my friend Jim Mcleod. He runs a blog that specializes in horror. He’s been working on it for nearly three years now and he enjoys recieving anywhere from 200 to 1000 hits a day on that blog. Just last month – (January) – he recieved a total of 6783 hits – and he tells me that he was somewhat disappointed in those numbers.

What’s his secret?

Well, for one thing he has been working on it for three years. Consistency is important in this business. If you doubt it, just scroll back and read the blog I wrote on just that subject.

For another, Jim lives in Edinburgh Рand everyone knows that people with Edinburgh accents just naturally go further in this world.

Finally, though – I believe it’s the name of his blog.

He calls it “The Ginger Nuts of Horror”.

If you don’t believe me you can take a look at his site to prove it to yourself. http://thegingernutcase.blogspot.com/

I remember when Jim first told me he was calling his blog site “The Ginger Nuts of Horror” I informed that he was a few crackers short of soup. I mean, you would have to be absolutely foolish to name a blog something as numb-nutsian – (pronounced so it rhymes with run-putts-CN) as “The Ginger Nuts of Horror”.

What the hell do I know anyway?

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I do know about titles.

I put a lot of thought into the titles of my stories, novellas and novels. I mean – just take a look at the title “Long Horn, Big Shaggy: A Tale of Wild West Terror and Reanimated Buffalo”. It just sort of rolls off your tongue, doesn’t it?

Or what about my story “Nailgun Glissando” – a story that was written from the title out?

I stumbled across the word “glissando”. I had to look in a dictionary to find out what it meant. I loved the sound of the word “glissando”. And then, when I added “nailgun” to the front of it I came up with a title that stood up off of the page and grabbed me by my throat and shook me hard until a suitable story fell out.

That story sold to Dark Discoveries magazine. Then it was reprinted in my collection Do-Overs and Detours (Dark Regions Press). And I’ve just found out that it has been selected for an upcoming Best of Dark Discoveries collection – due out sometime further down the road.

All of that mileage, all of that money earned – from that two word title.

Don’t believe that titles are important?

Well, let me tell you about my first ghost story collection.

When I pitched it my working title was A CHOWDER OF GHOSTS.

How numbnutsian can you get?

Thank god my editor, Sandra McIntyre had the foresight to kick me upside the head several times until I saw the light.

In fact, she asked me “How numbnutsian do you have to be to think that naming your ghost story collection after soup is going to get you readers?”

So we batted around about sixteen or twenty different titles before finally settling on one particular title. I wish that I had kept all those titles but they are locked up in an old crashed computer that is undoubtedly been recycled to death some time ago.

We called the collection Haunted Harbours.

As a result this book has sold about 8000 or more copies since its release in 2006. That is huge for a Canadian book and it is FREAKING huge for a regional ghost story collection.

And you know what? The book is still selling. When I sit outside a bookstore for a signing – and you really ought to scroll back to my blog entry on book signing techniques if you want to learn something – I always make sure that I have a supply of Haunted Harbours on hand.

Why?

Because if I’ve got all of my collections on that table and the person has to choose between them and doesn’t know me or my books from a hole in Blackburn, Lancashire – they will most likely choose Haunted Harbours.

Partly because of the cover – which is brilliant – and someday I will really have to post one of the original designs for the cover¬†– which wasn’t brilliant.

And partly because of that name.

It sings.

I’ve heard so many people whisper that title to themselves as they stood there in front of my signing table – while I gestured hypnotically and whispered that all-powerful mantra “buy-my-book-buy-my-book” over and over and over to myself – right before they picked up Haunted Harbours and said “This title sounds cool and absolutely un-numbnutsian.”

Right before they bought it.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Last chance spasmatic death twitch…

I was going to call this blog entry – A NEW BOOK REVIEW FOR DEVIL TREE

Then I thought better of it.

For one thing, the book review that I am posting a link to is actually a week or so old – and I’ve already mentioned it in a few of my Twitters and on several Facebook pages.

That doesn’t matter. Reviews, like household chores, can be played more than once.

For example: You drive your wife’s car into that brand new rose bush you planted – that’s a great time to say – “But I did the dishes this weekend, dear.”

It won’t help, but it might deflect a few death blows.

A better use of that particular househould chore might have been – “But I was racing home because I couldn’t wait to do the dishes, dear.”

However, speaking of races, I have to get some breakfast into me so that I can get my sorry butt out there for another two and a half mile walk to work.

So the blog entry I was going to write on the art of choosing a really cool title is going to have to wait until I get home tonight.

I promise it’ll be a doozy.

For now, check out this review!

http://hellboundtimes.blogspot.com/2012/01/devil-tree-by-steve-vernon.html

Talk to you tonight!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

Never go shopping in Wal Mart…

Okay. I was just out to Walmart. Stopped to browse the DVD rack. I’d just been glancing at it for a half a minute when this old guy walked up to me. Looked like a gone-to-seed old school kind of wrestler – like maybe Killer Kowalski or Gene Kaniski.

“Mooo-vieees?” he says, in this incredulous voice. “You know what they lead to, don’t you? They’re just trying to get you young guys hooked on watching moooviees on your computer screen – and then what’s going to happen to the cable television companies, hey?”

He got this victorious look on his face, like he’d just said something absolutely brilliant.

And then he stalked off.

I saw him later at the cash register check-out, telling some girl at the cash register that “Those machines are going to give you cancer, don’t you know?”

Walmart.

I swear to god.

Why do I shop there?

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Send For R.E.M….

Hello. My name is Steve Vernon and I am an old fart.I wasn’t terribily keen on the notion of electronic books in the first place. Shoot, what if I give myself a shock turning the pages???

I love “real” books. I’ve got bookshelves in every room in the house except for the laundry room – and I keep trying to convince my wife that clean clothes are really overrated…

That’s where some of the conversion began. I’m running out of bookshelf space. With a Kindle I can store a couple of hundred books in the space of a single skinny pocket book.

Cool.

My back is starting to go, as well – which means I can’t read hardcovers on the bus to work because I have to tote the darned things back and forth – and they get heavy. With a Kindle I can finally read Stephen King’s Under the Dome without aggravating my lumbar.

Ain’t nothing worse than aggravated lumbar…

Not to mention the whole eyestrain issue that’s already been mentioned by a few folks. There are certain books in my collection that I just can’t read anymore because the teeny-tiny font is beyond the grasp of my failing old fart eyes.

Speaking as a writer, I’ve also become a great Kindle fan. My publisher, Crossroad Press, has helped bring out a lot of my older, out-of-print works in e-book format – for Kindle and all other formats – (insert self-serving commercial right here) – so, thanks to the Kindle and other e-reading-devices I am reaching a whole whack of new readers.

Even my regional publisher has begun to step into the game.  Haunted Harbours is available for both the Nook and the Kobo reading devices.

I still don’t own a Kindle or a Kobo – but only because I’m suffering from a severe case of chronic broke. But I have sworn to purchase a Kindle a Kobo before the end of 2012.

Unless the Mayans turn out to be right.

It’s the end of the world as we know it – but I feel fine!

Bring on the future. Bring on the Kindle. Print books aren’t dead so long as I’ve got a bookshelf in my house – and there’s still lots of room for e-books!

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon