Tag Archives: Kindle

DOES KINDLE SCOUT SUCK???

It is Sunday and I’ve got the day off and I intend to do some writing.

But first, let’s talk about Kindle Scout. A lot of people ask me – IS KINDLE SCOUT WORTH IT?

Well, mileage can vary, like they say in the commercials.

My book, KELPIE DREAMS, (available in audiobook later this month), won Kindle Scout back in May 2016. I got a big fat $1500 US advance, which translated to about $2000.00 up here in Canada. That’s a lot of money for this old boy. I paid some bills and even a few frills for my wife. As a direct result my local publisher matched that Kindle Scout advance on my latest regional book.

So that’s definitely worth it.

The only problem is I haven’t managed to sell off that advance yet. I have sold about a 1000 copies of KELPIE DREAMS and am still about $275.00 worth of sales away from turning this into a paying proposition.

So – Kindle Scout sucks, right?

Wrong.

I suck. Not in an oh-heck-I-might-as-well-jump-off-an-asteroid sort of suck. No, no I am talking about a whole different level of suckitude. I have had a rough couple of years losing family and dealing with other personal crisis and my fighting instincts have been dulled down a bit. So I suck. Some of you folk will want to tell me not be so hard on myself, but I don’t blame myself for this level of suckitude that I have unexpectedly acquired. I own it, I accept it and I am taking steps to rise above it. Sitting around and grumbling about the ineptitude of the folks at Kindle Scout would not serve me one little bit – so I will take on that suckitude and conquer it.

Kindle Scout works for some folks.

Let’s take Tom Swyers for example. His book, THE KILDEER CONNECTION, was released in August of 2017 and has sold over 5000 freaking copies.

Is KILDEER a BETTER book than KELPIE? Heck no, but what is true is that Tom Swyers has promoted his release in a heck of a lot more ways than I had ever thought of. Better than that, his KILDEER is #2 in a series, so a significant portion of those 5000 readers who bought a copy of KILDEER have read it and enjoyed it and have gone on to buy a copy of Tom’s first book, SAVING BABE RUTH.

Tom Swyers took what Kindle Scout gave him and made it work.

So – is Kindle Scout worth it?

You bet your sweet patootie it is worth it – but you ought to give some serious thought about what comes next. Be ready for that next move. Have your paperback version ready to hit print in a week or two after the e-book release. Have your promotional material all ready to roll. Have your guest blogs pre-written. Have your Twitter feed all HootSuited up – (or whatever freaking gadget/app/thing-a-ma-bob that you use). Get busy thinking about the next book and your next campaign.

Be ready to work at it.

As for me, I know what I need to do. I am working on that new local book for my traditional publisher. I aim to have it submitted in the next couple of weeks. I have a deadline and I am cooking.

Then I need to get busy working on my next book. I need to get back on my writing machine and start boogying. Enough of wallowing in my own personal funk.

I am NEVER going to blame the folks at Kindle Scout for my own personal suckitude. The fact is, I have worked with at least TWO of the suckiest small press publishers on the planet, over my forty years of pounding keyboards into money and BOTH of those sucky small press so-called-publishers have gone the way of the do-do, meaning that they are done-done!

So I am NOT even going to mention their names, because they are dead and gone – but the point is – I HAVE SEEN THE BEAST OF SUCKITUDE – and Kindle Scout (or Kindle Press) does NOT look a ding-dong-thing like either of them.

So YES – Kindle Scout can work, just so long as you are ready to work too. Be prepared to promote your release and be prepared to follow up your new release with a brand-freaking-new release and don’t just sit there in the funk of your office chair moaning and wondering when Kindle Scout is going to send you some brand new money.

Speaking of money – I still owe about $275.00 on my KELPIE DREAMS advance.

The good news is that KELPIE DREAMS is currently on sale from this Sunday to next Sunday (February 4 to February 11) for 99 cents.

SO – if I can only manage to sell 300 copies of KELPIE DREAMS over the next week I will burn that last bit of advance down to the ground and my book will become a paying proposition!

So please, if you can find the time, pick up a copy of my book for 99 measly cents. If you already have bought a copy, thank you very much, and could you PLEASE shout it out somewhere. On Facebook, on Twitter, even write it on the walls of your washroom at work.

As for me, I’m going to keep on writing.

I am getting down off of the soapbox now.

End of sermon.

 

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

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“Quirky, strange, weird, bizarre and filled with humor” – BookDragon Nin

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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.

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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

Back to the Grind

All right – while I sit and wait to hear from the folks at Kindle Scout let me fill you in a few interesting tidbits.


Patty Jensen Promo March 3-5

First off let me tell you about a REALLY cool promo for Scifi, fantasy and horror fans. We’ve got over ONE HUNDRED books available on Kindle AND Kobo – including a 99 cent Kindle special on my dark superhero collection, NOTHING TO LOSE. If you want to see MORE you can check this promotion out right now over at Patty Jansen’s website!

Nothing to Lose cover


And – if you want to hear some more about the inner workings of Kindle Scout – check out the SELF-PUBLISHING ROUND TABLE’S latest podcast with Kindle Scout winner Donna White Glaser. She can tell you how things work from the inside of Kindle Scout. Some awesome information!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

THIRTY DAYS OF KINDLE SCOUT – DAY 11

HEY GANG – Happy Valentine’s Day.

But enough about all of you folks – LET’S TALK ABOUT ME! I just hit my twelfth campaign day with eight straight days of Hot and Trending – that’s 197 hours of H&T and 745 campaign views and I am beginning to get a little bit nervous.

Which is stupid – but also human – so there you go.

A couple of days ago I mentioned the problem that some folks seemed to be having with HeadTalker. Some folks had been reporting that the views from HeadTalker were NOT showing up on Kindle Scout.

Well, at first I thought that made a lot of sense – but then I looked into it a little bit deeper. I contacted Nolan Thompson – one of the founders of HeadTalker and did a little bit of investigative reporting.

The way he explained it to me was this – Once a person’s HeadTalker campaign has ended and the message is shared, your clicks wouldn’t come from HeadTalker. They would come from the social networks that your message is shared on. Therefore, if someone clicks your short link on Facebook, they are considered Facebook traffic.

Which makes perfect sense to me. I just hadn’t thought of it that way in the first place. All I knew was that I was looking at my Kindle Scout Campaign page and it was listing all kinds of Facebook and WordPress and kboards views – but NO HeadTalker views.

My goof, totally.

Anyway, now that I have straightened all that out I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you wonderful folks who have shared and tweeted out this blog and who have nominated KELPIE DREAMS. Without all of your help I would be nothing more than some dude with way-too-much beard rattling out bad jokes upon an unread blog page.

Uncle Bob Author Shots 006_sharp

 


 

PLEASE HELP ME win a Kindle Scout publishing contract by nominating my book and you can earn a FREE Kindle copy of my newest novel KELPIE DREAMS if the book is selected.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

 

HARD SOUP

Bad Valentine

Every year for Valentine’s Day Maritime author A.F. Stewart hosts a BLOODY VALENTINE event gathering an assortment of slightly twisted authors who post their fiction and/or poetry all in the name of celebrating love.

This year’s theme is BAD LOVE.

I am taking part in this event and will be posting a piece of short fiction.

And a recipe…

COME and join the BLOODY VALENTINE HORROR EVENT!


Hard Soup

I have marinated the meat in the best red wine I could afford, five days now, with garlic onion and bay leaf and a little stick of cinnamon, lots of cracked black pepper, and lots of aching tears.

On the fifth day I rubbed it with olive oil and browned it well in a hot pan.  I kissed it for luck.

Crane was right, it tasted bitter.

I carried the meat ceremoniously to a black metal roasting pan that I had beaten with a hammer into the rough shape of a coffin.  I browned a sliced onion in the pan, added more tears, and a little butter for flavor.

Then I deglazed the fry pan with a bit of the marinade, stirring and scraping the caked-on bits from the pan, swilling it into the juice for more flavor.

I poured the contents into the coffin-roaster, covering the meat just a little over half way.  I stuck the coffin-roaster into a slow oven, set to three hundred degrees.  Nice and slow, everything took time, let the hurting leak on out.

I added the insecticide last.

I served the meal in a valentine shaped bowl, bought especially for the occasion.  I set her body in her chair across the table from me.  The freezer kept her when I could not.  Her chest hung open like a secret treasure box.  She had a smile on her face. I’d placed it there, a finishing touch before placing her in the freezer.

Finishing nails.

Then I spooned it up.  Bitter, it tasted bitter, but no worse than finding your wife in bed with your best friend.

Heart meat is hard, unless you cook it properly.

I ate it up, every last drop.

I bit my lip until the gag reflex stopped working, and then I waited to die.

If I had timed it right, they would find us together before she thawed.  A frozen tableau, two hearts, one broken in my chest and one well braised in my belly.

Well done.  Well done.


This story, HARD SOUP, appears in my e-book collection of dark love stories BAD VALENTINES TWO – which is available today on Kindle for only 99 cents.

Bad Valentines - High Resolution

 

BUT – just because I love you – why don’t you pick up a free digital copy of my e-book BAD VALENTINES: THREE TWISTED LOVE STORIES today only on Kindle!

bad-valentines-smaller-cover1

PLEASE HELP ME win a Kindle Scout publishing contract by nominating my book and you can earn a FREE Kindle copy of my newest novel KELPIE DREAMS if the book is selected.

Wow – that’s three PSA’s (Public STEVE-VERNON Announcements) in a row. I think that might be a world record!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

 

Perfection is the Enemy

Perfection is the enemy.

Don’t think that you are EVER going to get a manuscript PERFECT!

It is NOT going to happen.

You will misspell. You will break tense. You will forget that your protagonist’s hair is raven black, and call it canary yellow.

Don’t sweat it.

Perfection IS the enemy!

Get your first draft finished.

Read it.

Revise it.

Get the final draft done.

Don’t freaking try to get it perfect.

Perfection IS the enemy.

Listen to your drill sergeant!

 

Drill Sergeant

I’m closing in on completing a final draft of my very next Kindle Scout campaign – KELPIE DREAMS.

Kelpie-Dreams

I get done with this one and I need to jump right into my next project, the final draft of a YA Nova Scotia ghost story novel that I want to complete for my regional publisher.

Right now, I absolutely NEED this kind of drive and motivation.

And even after 40 years of writing – this final lap still comes with difficulty.

So do not beat yourself up when you face this point yourself.

Just remember.

Perfection IS the enemy.

PERFECTION

And if I am not enough motivation for you then give a listen to this dude who REALLY knows what he is talking about!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

IF THIS BLOG ENTRY HELPED YOU – OR IF IT AT LEAST GAVE YOU A GIGGLE OR TWO – PLEASE SIGN UP FOR MY MAILING LIST TODAY.

Nanowrimo Housecleaning Blues…

Okay.

So what I want to know is WHY – if I am writing a young adult novel in NaNoWriMo – does my freaking house look like the crime scene from out of a police procedural? Housecleaning is a joke. Both my wife and I are hard at work on simultaneous NaNoWriMo projects.

It is not that I am all that fussy about keeping the house tidy. We pick up what we can. If we can see the occasional glimpse of floorboards between the dust, the dirt and the accumulated debris – we are happy. But yesterday I swear that I saw the film crew from HOARDERS walking through my living room…

🙂

So how is your day going?

chalk outline

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: Do me a favor and grab a copy of TALES FROM THE TANGLED WOODS today. It is FREE on Kindle for today only. Happy Monday, folks!