Tag Archives: humour

Mother’s Day Mow-a-ganza Madness!

lawn mower

Okay, so it’s Mother’s Day.

I have already been to two different Mother’s Day Craft Festivals, last weekend and this weekend, with my travelling book table trying to sell enough books to pay the bills.

So, in a way, Mother’s Day has been kind of going on all week long – except during the weekdays I spent my time at my day job as a cubicle dust monkey.

dust bunny 3

All right – so go ahead and sue me, because I couldn’t find a picture of a dust monkey…

But I had today off and I wasn’t scheduled to be at any public appearances and the weatherman had said it was going to be warm and the grass in my backyard was beginning to resemble the Serengeti veldt, so I decided that I was going to mow the lawn.

So I went out to my back shed – which is basically just four sheets of corrugated aluminum held together by a roof and some rust and I dragged the old lawn mower out to see if it would work again.

This is the third or fourth lawn mower that I have been through in the ten years that we have owned this house.

Well, actually we don’t really own this house, we are renting it from the bank, on a bet that we can keep up our mortgage payments long enough to actually own the damn place. I call it the Freedom 75 plan.

Don’t get me wrong. I really do love this place and I wish I’d bought it sooner – but man, this property is hard on lawn mowers. Our first mower was a push mower. I wanted to be all ecological and get some exercise and not make a lot of noise and then I hit the mutant Kentucky Fried bluegrass that is going out back, amidst the herb garden of creeping thyme that got up and walked out of the little bed that the previous owner had planted it in and proceeded to dominate the entire backyard. It really smells nice when I mow it down – kind of like the breath of a French chicken – but it is really hard to mow.

The next thing I bought was an electric mower, which turned out to not have all that much power at all. Next I bought a low-end gas power mower which lasted a whole summer before it ran over a chunk of kryptonite and lost all of its power. Then I picked up this mower which is the fourth best gas mower, second in from the third cheapest that I could afford to buy and it has lasted the last five years.

Well, I brought it out and yanked the pull cord and it roared into life for about two and a half seconds and then promptly died. I fiddled with it some, making sure all of the connections were rusted on tight enough to hold and then I jiggled the spark plug and gave it another yank. It roared and died in about three more seconds and then I frigged with it some, cursed it a little and on about the sixth good yank it roared into life and held.

At this point in time some of you more handy types are feeling the urge to drop some sort of a comment about how a real man knows how to maintain his power mower and want to talk with me about how I need to be using a better grade of gasoline and maybe changing the oil more than every three years and other such foolishness but let me head your impulse right off the bat.

Don’t do it.

You give me some sort of helpful homemaker how-to-be-a-real-man hint of a comment and I am show up at your front door tomorrow with my roaring lawn mower and mow you off at the knee caps.

I mean what I am telling you.

I don’t know a thing about a handyman, but I am awfully good at homicidal mania.

Remember, I am a horror writer.

Anyway, I got about two-thirds of the back mowed when I ran over the one single piece of litter that I had missed when I had done my initial pre-mow pick-up of the litter. The next thing I knew, the mower had coughed and gagged and made a sound like a man gargling sulfuric acid and then stopped cold.

I tipped the lawn mower on its side and carefully unwound the plastic that had wound around the hub of the blade rotor and then I tipped it back and fired it up again. Of course, tipping a gasoline mower on its side results in a lot of gasoline running around the inner workings and this great gout of black smoke gouted out of the air filter.

That’s great, I thought. All I have to do is to run inside and grab me a blanket and I can send up some smoke signals and maybe some wandering lawn mower mechanic will ride to my rescue on a ride-on mower.

I let the smoke die down and I gave the cord another yank. I hadn’t been keeping count of how many times I yanked this mower but I figured if I yanked it a few more times that mower was going to have to buy me a romantic evening out on the town.

The mower coughed up in a rattling sort of a noise that sounded a little like a jackhammer trying to dance himself an honest to Michael Flatley Irish jig.

Goofy

All of this was accompanied with more black smoke. I let it cool off and gave it another yank and there was more jack hammer death rattles and then all of a sudden the mower made a sound like a fat man farting through a tuba in an echo chamber, and a chunk of rubber flew out from out of the center of the air filter and shot halfway across the lawn. It turned out that when the mower had bumped over that plastic it had chewed off a chunk of that rubber flap that drags behind the mower to prevent you from hit by back flung debris.

Well, after that the mower started working again and I finished up the lawn and the sidewalk verge and I rolled the mower back into the shed and said a small prayer of thanks to the spirit of Red Green and I went aside and phoned my mother to tell her a Happy Mothers Day and then I ran the tub and climb in for long hot soak.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Advertisements

How To Promote a Kindle Release

kelpie

In case you haven’t seen this cover enough…

Back in the spring of 2016 my novel KELPIE DREAMS was fortunate enough to be selected for Kindle Press, thanks to a successful Kindle Scout campaign. I have talked about this at length throughout my blog but now I need to talk to you folks about the ways that a writer such as myself can promote their Kindle Press release. In fact, this is going to give ALL of you indie authors out there some ideas on how to promote any sort of a Kindle e-book release, so there is something here for everybody.

Let’s start by explaining how the steps work here. When you enter an unpublished manuscript into a Kindle Scout campaign you are given thirty days to jump up and down on the internet, trying to attract some fresh hungry readers to come and take a look at your Kindle Scout campaign page and hopefully NOMINATE your book. Then, at the end of thirty days, if you have attracted enough nominations – AND (and this is WAY more important than the nomination process) if you have written a book that Kindle Scout deems salable, then you are selected for publication.

That’s what happened to me. I got enough nominations and wrote a good enough book that I was awarded a $1500.00 advance and a publication deal with Kindle Press.

Kindle Press is the publishing arm of Kindle Scout.

So, in May 2016, my book KELPIE DREAMS was published by Kindle Press and I began trying to pay back my advance. That’s the hitch, you understand. You have to sell enough books to pay that $1500 back before you can begin receiving royalty checks in your bank account.

Which kind of sucks – but hey, I am used to this. I was a traditional writer back before I became an indie writer, and actually I still publish traditionally, which makes me a HYBRID writer.

Personally, I have always felt that the term “hybrid” sounds a little bit more like some sort of supernaturally nutritional loaf of bread that you have to know the secret password to purchase at shady midnight health food bars – but I haven’t had enough coffee yet this morning to think straight – so what do I know?

Well, selling the first $1000.00 bucks worth of books turned out to be easy. The first few weeks all of the power and muscle of the Kindle Press promotional team was placed squarely behind my release, but as I squeaked past that thousand dollar point things began to peter out.

Now I can hear some of you folks out there saying “AHA!” and “I KNEW IT!”. I can hear your “This is all a freaking conspiracy!” bells going off and I can hear other folks coughing loudly into their palms and saying “SCAM!” like they were trying to scare a cat off – but it isn’t so.

The fact is, I know of quite a few Kindle Press writers who paid off their advance VERY quickly – some in the first two or three days. So this isn’t a scam and this isn’t the way that it always plays out. I just didn’t push hard enough during those first couple of sales weeks.

So – what can you do about this sort of a situation?

Well, back in January I was notified by the folks at Kindle Press that they were about to launch my book into a huge BOOK FOR A BUCK promotion. Meaning that KELPIE DREAMS, along with 99 other Kindle books, were going to marked down to a dollar for the entire month of February.

Now was the time to get out there and promote. Only problem was, I fell down with a case of Noro-Virus just as sick as I could get and I missed out on getting some of my promotional spots lined up.

I’m better now and I’ve been promoting all February long, as best as I could manage to.

The only problem is, I am on the Bataan Death March of a fiscal budget. I am so broke that all of the Krazy Glue and duct tape in the universe could not put my bank balance back together, so I could not afford some of the ritzier book promotional services.

blog-photo-001

Hands-on promotion technique

Here’s what I did.

For starters I weeded through TWO book promotion lists, looking for the cheap and the free.

(and doesn’t that sound like a kickass name for a spaghetti western – THE CHEAP AND THE FREE?)

I checked out Kindlepreneur’s list of 127 Best Book Promotion sites as well as this big fat list.

I found 18 services who offered a CHANCE at free promotion – Awesome Gangs, Pretty Hot.com, Discount Bookman, Book Pinning, Bookzio, Daily Cheap Reads, ebookasaurus, Book Circle, Free Book Listings, eBook Listen, Book Bongo, readper, Bargain Booksy, Indie Book of the Day, Ebook Booster, Reading Deals, Bookscream, Armadillo ebooks, eBookSoda, Book Pebble and eBookSkill.

Now, the thing to remember is when you sign up for FREE promotion, you are making a bet that those services MIGHT just have enough room to fit you in “pro bono” and MIGHT just think your book is salable enough that they will get behind you and promote it. They do make a bit of money through their Amazon Affiliate Connection, but it isn’t a lot. They REALLY make money by having authors PAY them to promote their books. So, if you have the money, I recommend actually spending a bit of it on promotion – but I’m broke right now, so I don’t.

The other problem is that you don’t always hear about when your book is being promoted by any of these free services – IF they promote it at all.

I was helped out by Awesome Gang, BookScream, and readper for free.

Actually, my readper promotion just went live today. The company is being set up by indie author, Jaxon Reed, and you really might want to get in on the bottom floor of this promotional service. I have been VERY impressed with his service so far.

In addition, I have taken part in several multi-author cross-promotions during the month of February, one of which got me up to the 12250 Amazon ranking, which is an all-time high for this month, so far.

Thanks, Roz Marshall!

For those folks who are wondering, a multi-author cross-promotion happens when a group of authors get together and set up a master-page with one or two of each of their sales books listed at a bargain price, and then they promote that master-page through each of their personal fan newsletters. It can work out really well if you have a good book with a good cover and get yourself in with a good group of authors. And, best of all, it is often free, although some cross-promotions ask for money, primarily so that they can offer a cool gift to folks who visit the cross-promotion, like a free Kindle or an Amazon gift certificate.

That’s something for another blog entry, though.

I also used HeadTalker and CoPromote and group Retweets to get the word out about my KELPIE DREAMS sale through Twitter. Now understand, it is a foolish game to go and try to sell your e-books on Twitter. There is just too damn much white noise and chatter. Folks tend to avoid your BUY MY BOOK tweets. But, as I said, I am broke and desperate and I have no pride what-so-ever.

Besides, I do see a little bounce from this strategy. It isn’t the best way to go about promoting your e-book, but if you are financially-challenged, it is better than nothing.

On February 15th I paid five dollars for a Book Pebble promotion, and I have to say that the pebble didn’t make too much of a splash. I’m not sure if it sold ANY copies at all.

So far, throughout the month of February I have balanced at around an Amazon ranking of 30000 to 50000, meaning that I am selling about 10 books a day. As I mentioned, at one point I was up to about 12000, which is about 15 books per day. This morning I started out at about 29000 and have moved up to 27300, which is about 11 books per day so far.

(for those folks who are wondering just WHERE I am pulling these numbers out, I use the Kindlepreneur Calculator, which gives me a rough estimate of how many books I need to sell in a day to hit a certain ranking. It isn’t accurate, but it seems to be pretty close to the mark.

Today, as I mentioned, my readper promotion is going live and my eBookSoda is also going live. So I am hoping that this one-two promotion will bump up my rankings enough that folks will begin to notice KELPIE DREAMS and maybe I will sell a few more copies.

I hope you folks will cheer me some good luck as I head towards the end of February!

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Am I Happy With Kindle Scout?

So, it is Tuesday and I have been busy all morning pushing digital doorbells and banging on virtual doors attempting to stir up a little more interest in Kelpie Dreams and the rest of my February promotions.

Kelpie Dreams, my Kindle Scout winning shoot-em-up paranormal romance involving the love story between a suddenly-mermaid and a two hundred year old kelpie is marked down from the usual $3.49 price down to a lowly $1.00 price tag in the North American market. Which means that you can purchase a digital copy for single greenback at Amazon.com or a well-thumbed loonie at Amazon.ca OR you can grab it for free if you are a member of Kindle Unlimited.

kelpie

So – how have I been doing?

Let me tell you how things are going for me.

Kelpie Dreams was released by Kindle Press (the folks who publish Kindle Scout winning works) and it has been hovering around the 40000 to 50000 Amazon ranking all February long, meaning that it is selling at an approximate rate of about 8-10 copies per day, during this February one dollar promotion. I’d like to see that number improve, but so far at least I’m holding steady. I was hoping for enough Kelpie Dream sales to pay off the last few hundred dollars of my original advance, so that I can start putting some of these royalties into my bank account.

SO – I repeat – am I happy with Kindle Scout so far?

Yes I am, actually.

This is me, doing my Happy Dance!

I’m ten months in and I’d like to pay off the advance before the end of May, if not sooner – but I am still happy with the results.

Why?

Let me tell you.

The thing to remember is that the Kindle Scout program is still fairly young, as is Kindle Press. I know that a few authors are disgruntled because most of us haven’t seen the kind of returns that the Kindle Press contract originally promised. Nevertheless, I’ve sold more copies of Kelpie Dreams than any of my books. Which means two things. Number one – I am still happy with my results at Kindle Press, even though I am still a few hundred dollars short of paying off my advance. Number two – I really suck at selling books by myself – so I am REALLY easy to please.
🙂

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