Tag Archives: marketing


This year the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia was kind enough to ask me to speak at their Halifax headquarters, about the differences between traditional publishing and self-publishing.

Myself and Patrick Murphy (Managing Editor, Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press) discussed the differences between independently publishing your work versus traditionally publishing it. It was a two hour talk in which we presented for the first hour and then answered questions for the second hour. We had a good turn-out – about two dozen people – which is really almost all that the room could hold comfortably.

I thought it would be of value to offer you folks an idea of what I talked about.

So let’s charge right in, shall we?


1 – First off you need a rhino hide. You have to be absolutely bulletproof and impervious to all traces of discouragement. The good news – or the bad news – is that you need that same rhino hide for traditionally publishing as well. First thing you need to realize is that writing is NOT a game for wusses.

2. You need to be a self-starter. You are your own time clock and your own foreman and your very own kick in the pants. The same thing goes for traditional publishing as well.

This is not a lazy man’s game.

3. You need to be fast on your feet. The rules for self-publishing are changing constantly. You have to learn how to format a manuscript for Kindle, for Kobo, for Smashwords, for Apple – each one of those online book marketing franchises has their own standards and their own set of rules. You’ve got to find out the difference between an e-pub and mobi – and NO, I am not talking about great white whales.

4. You have got to have a hunger for learning. This is NOT a business for folks who hate to learn new techniques – but like I said before the rules for e-publishing are changing every week. As a matter of fact, while you were sitting there and reading this the rules just changed.

It happens that fast.


– Prestige – Let’s face it. There is something undeniably cool and prestigious about seeing a book in a bookstore or a library with your name on it – unless you are holding a magic marker in your hand. Publishing with a known traditional publisher automatically brings you an air of credibility.

– Book distribution and placement in traditional stores – The folks at Nimbus are VERY good at getting my books into bookstores right across the country. They have got a small army of representatives who visit with booksellers right across the country and make certain that they are aware of the next season of Nimbus books. A self-publisher doesn’t have that luxury. While it is possible to talk a bookstore into carrying your books it is a whole lot easier if that book is attached to an actual publisher.

– Easy access to book signings. Two or three times a year I am contacted by the marketing coordinator at Nimbus and I am asked if I would like to go and sit at a local bookstore, selling and signing my Nimbus books. This is a great opportunity to meet face-to-face with book-lovers and potential new fans. Trust me, it is a LOT harder to get a bookstore to bother setting up a table if you are self-publishing.

– When you have a traditional publisher in your corner you can count on an editor, a cover artist, possibly an illustrator and a promotions department who will work to make certain that you have the best opportunity to promote your traditionally-published book. If you want your self-published books to be properly edited you had better have deep pockets and be prepared to hire a professional editor yourself. The same thing goes with cover art.

– A publisher can also offer an advance on your royalties. Cash up front is ALWAYS a useful thing. You’ve got to be able to pay for that new laptop SOMEHOW!

– A lot of professional book reviewers will only deal with traditional publishers, preferring not to have to winnow through the chaff of self-publishing.

– A traditional publisher has a lot more capability of providing an up-and-coming author with book tours, a fully-catered book launch, guest appearances at literary conventions, book signings and other useful promotion.


Traditional Publishing takes a lot of patience. You have to learn how to put together a proper query letter and a submission package and you must be willing to wait patiently while the publisher – or publishers – get around to looking at your work. Even then there is no guarantee that they will automatically want to release your novel.

Perhaps they have just released a book similar to yours. Odds are they won’t want another. Perhaps they have had bad luck making back the advance of a book that was similar to yours. Odds are – even if your book is a huge improvement they still might be wary of trying the same trick again.

Some publishers will only look at agented material. Others insist upon authors with a proven track record. There are many variables that you have no control over.

Let us say that you have found a publisher who wants to publish your book. Then you have to deal with a long lead time for release. Your book will need to be passed before committees and scrutinized by editors and copy editors and proofreaders and the office dog. They might want to change a paragraph or an entire chapter or your title.

Keep in mind that these delays and the risk of having to change your work is NOT necessarily a bad thing. Some of my best writing came out following many laborious arm wrestling matches with editors.

Traditional publishing offers smaller and more structured royalties. Depending on who you release it with, an indie-published work can give you as much as 70% royalties on the cover price – which you get to set. Whereas most traditional publishers, depending on the contract and the nature of the release, will offer you 10 to 12% royalties on the cover price.

Some of the larger publishers will demand first refusal and exclusivity clauses and non-competition clauses – all designed to limit your future work. For example – if I sell a vampire hunter series to one publisher they might not be all that keen to see me release a second vampire hunter series with another publisher.

There are a LOT of clauses in a traditional publishing contract that an author needs to consider. A traditional publisher is going to want an AWFUL lot of subsidiary rights. They are a business, remember, and they WANT the opportunity to see your book turned into a movie, a video game, a comic book or an app. Often a traditional publisher will expect as much as 40 to 60% of any income that is derived through subsidiary sales.

An indie writer releases his book under their own flag and can keep control of ALL subsidiary rights. SO – if you manage to interest a filmmaker in selling the film rights to your novel you can expect to receive the whole share of the fee.
HOWEVER, that means that you need to be able to successfully market all of those subsidiary rights if you actually expect to receive any. A traditional publisher – depending on the size of the publishing company – will often have a person or possibly an entire department dedicated towards the sale of any and all subsidiary rights.

That includes translation rights, as well. There is huge market for French, German, Italian etc. translations of English e-books – and some traditional publishers, depending upon the nature of the book in question, will take steps towards securing a translator. If an indie author wants to put out a German/French/Italian version of his novel than he needs to hire a translator.

Translators do not come cheaply. Most will charge by either the word count or the page count and you can expect to pay several hundred or even over a thousand dollars for that translation – and even then there is no guarantee that you will receive a GOOD translation.

You think about that the next time you try to order a fancy French dish from the menu in Paris.

As I mentioned, royalties are a big plus for indie writers. I receive money every month from my indie work whereas a traditional publisher usually pays out royalties bi-annually – that is twice a year.

An author trying to decide between an indie or a traditional release must also take expense into consideration.

Traditional publishers do NOT charge you for your work. Remember that, now – no matter what you decide. If a publisher starts by asking you for money than you ought to run away as fast as possible.

HOWEVER, indie publishing can cost you. While it is possible to release as many indie published books as you want to without spending a cent – there are an awful lot of expenses that still need to be considered.

You might want your book edited – so that will cost you money. You might not have the technical ability or the skill or talent to create a nifty cover for your e-book and so you might decide to hire a cover artist – and that costs. Some folks might not feel confident enough to properly format their own work – and then they will have to hire themselves a formatter to turn the manuscript into something that is Kindle-friendly or Kobo-friendly.

Promotion is entirely the responsibility of the indie author. That means that if you want to get your book featured on various promotional websites then you have to be prepared to pay anywhere from five to five hundred dollars for that privilege.

Distribution is another factor to consider when you are choosing between a traditional publisher or independently releasing your own work. There is a HUGE variety of distribution networks to choose from.

Apple i-books
Page Foundry
Baker & Taylor

That is just a few of the top of my head. Being an indie author allows you to freely access all or most of these various networks and thus getting your books out to a whole lot of possible customers.

It is just a matter of time and research – and THAT, brothers and sisters – is the single biggest requirement to make yourself a successful indie author. You have to be ready to put the time and the effort into making and marketing and promoting your own books. It is not just a matter of handing them to your publisher and moving on to your next book.

So – the questions that you need to ask yourself about deciding between indie and traditional publishing are as follows –

Do you hate and fear change? – Stick to traditional.

Are you afraid of new things? Do you hate to learn new systems?

Then you better stick to traditional.

Are you a fast writer? Do you six or eight or twelve manuscripts sitting on your desk waiting for a traditional publisher to accept them, one by one? Or, do you have six or eight or twelve out of print books that the rights have reverted to you and you are wondering what to do with them?

Maybe you ought to be an indie author.

Are you prepared to invest time, effort and possibly money into the making and the marketing and the promotion of your writing?

Again – think indie.

All right – not that Indy!

Are you a control freak? Do you like to think for yourself and set up your own promotions and book sales and make all the decisions about title and cover and subject matter yourself?

Well, you might want to look at indie publishing.

Are you a genre writer? Certain genres lend themselves nicely towards indie publishing. For example, a skilled and prolific romance writer can do VERY well as an indie author.

Budding romance writer…

Do you like to read series characters? Do you like to WRITE a series? Writing series novels and novellas and short stories just naturally lend themselves towards indie writing.

The Adventures of Bolt Upright – Book 23 – The Stripped Nut…

Are you a hard worker? A self-starter? Are you ready to dedicate a substantial part of your life towards making your career a reality?

Then indie writing might just be the path for you to take.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

If you enjoyed this blog entry why don’t you do one of the very best things that you can do for an indie writer and pick up one of my e-books?


Steve Vernon on Kindle!

Steve Vernon on Kobo!

Promoting Tips for Indie Writers…

The problem with e-books is that they are way too virtual. You can’t really carry them around with you and display them on tables and wave them in potential readers faces without going to the clunky bother of hauling out your e-reader and pulling the e-book out for them to see.

So a few weeks ago I ordered business cards from Vistaprint.

business card





Now I know that is a pretty basic design. In fact, at my last book signing a young graphic designer tried to pitch me with his own design. I told him that I was operating on a Kool-Aid stand budget. I told him that I was one of the last creative do-it-yourself pioneers.

I told him that I was cheap.

He was impressed by my use of the QR – that funky little square that looks a little like that television you bought from the dude in the leather jacket on the street corner outside the bowling alley, last Thursday night. If you scan that QR it will take you directly to the Kobo page that lists all of my Kobo releases.

To see what I mean just try clicking that picture of the business card for an instant demonstration.

Now – in hindsight I really should have paid the extra few dollars for a double-sided business card – and then I could have put a QR for my Kindle releases as well.

Ah well. Hindsight is really only good for looking out of that hole in the seat of your favorite blue jeans.

Now I know that some of you folks who regularly follow my blog will point out that I already mentioned this business card in an earlier blog entry – but some things bear repeating – like those cucumbers in last night’s Greek salad.

Ah, cucumbers – the gift that keeps on giving.

Another tool that indie writers should never forget is Twitter.

Yes, even old farts like me can Twitter.

Now – a lot of folks will tell you that you CAN’T sell books on Twitter.

And they’re right. Let’s face it – you can’t sell books ANYWHERE. The darned things just sit there and refuse to be bought. But what you can do on Twitter is to entertain folks, give them a giggle or two, enlighten them just a little and maybe along the way draw just a little bit of attention to your e-books.

That’s where books sell, after all.

Books sell in the imagination. You’ve got to get your potential readers thinking about your books. Plant the notion in their brain – “Hmm, I like reading Steve Vernon’s blog entries and I even like reading his Tweets – might be I might ACTUALLY enjoy reading one of his books.”

If you scatter enough of those seeds before you know it they’ll start sprouting up like so many cucumbers in the dirt.

Seriously – as all of you gardeners know – NOTHING grows faster than cucumbers – unless you’re talking radishes and I don’t think I’ve met anyone in the world who eats radishes, except for my granddad who loved those funky little red burp-factories.

Remember – don’t misspell in your tweets and blog entries. There is NOTHING that says “this dude can’t write” than misspelling and/or misusing a necessary bit of the English language.

And do not fall back on “text-speak”.

I do NOT want to see any of you folks tweeting out something like

“Seriously U ought 2 BI MY BOOKS, DUDES!”


Now - if you click THIS cartoon it will take you to an earlier blog entry I wrote - NINE RULES FOR EFFECTIVE TWEETING - IN TWEETS!

Now – if you click THIS cartoon it will take you to an earlier blog entry I wrote – NINE RULES FOR EFFECTIVE TWEETING – IN TWEETS!

(Note – I borrowed the cartoon from a blog entry written by UK author/blogger Terry Tyler. You might want to check out what she has to say about the Tweeting of writers in her blog.)

Remember – at the end of the day an indie writer must learn how to channel the marketing-moxie and shameless carnival-huckster-chutzpah of William Shatner.

Now get out there and plant those cucumber seeds!

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon



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

My Big Kindle Push…part one

Okay – so for some reason I’ve done pretty well at Kobo. Now ground-shattering – but most months I make over the hundred dollar mark – so my bank account gets a little bit of a goose. I want to do better and I know that it is possible – but for me this is a long game and right now I’m happy with the way that Kobo has been selling.

However, over the summer, my Kindle sales have atrophied. I’ve been thinking about this for a while – and I have come up with a bit of a strategy. It’s a long-term strategy – like I said – this is a long game for me and I am prepared to pay my dues.

But I do want to see some sort of action with my Kindle releases.

The first thing I did over the last few weeks was to begin a line of single story releases. I’ve created a new line of stories that I call STEVE VERNON’S SEA TALES. So far I have FIVE books in the series.

The Dark and the DeepIt was Billy McTavish’s first sea voyage.

He had signed on to the serve as convoy escort on the THISTLE a Royal Canadian Navy corvette.

Through U-Boat attack and Luftwaffe bombing runs, Billy had thought he had seen all the horror that the Atlantic could offer a young Canadian sailor.

But Big Jimmy Noonan had other ideas…

Built For Hanging On

This is one of my favorites and one of my wife’s favorite as well.

In fact, this is probably the closest thing that I have written to a romance. It’s the tale of how a fifty year old marriage of two VERY stubborn Maritimers survives the apocalypse.

It hasn’t sold a copy yet – but it is early days and I am hoping that folks will discover this one.

And no – I am not hinting.

Harry's Mermaid

This story originally appeared in ON SPEC magazine a couple of years ago.

It is the tale of a group of homeless who catch something that is ALMOST like a mermaid.

If that doesn’t tell you enough to go on than just try and imagine John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row written by H.P. Lovecraft.

Now that’s a mental image that you don’t visualize everyday – now is it???

I Know Why The Waters of the Sea Taste of Salt

This is a story set in war-torn Okinawa – back in the final days of the Pacific Campaign of World War 2. The story is told from the point of view of a young Kamikaze pilot preparing to fly his fighter plane into the side of an American battleship. It is a story of guilt, loneliness, memory and the taste of the sea. It is probably the “heaviest” story in the entire series – think Yukio MIshima and you are somewhere close to the mood of the piece. Slow, thoughtful, sombre and highly symbolic.

Oh, and there’s a sea monster as well…

Finbar's Story

The last story is more of a dark fantasy tale. The best way to describe it is to start out by telling you that water is a constant liar. If you tell a story with water it cannot be trusted and it will wash away in the first hard rain or in the tears of a long good cry. And stories told in blood and stone stick longer by far.

Finbar Tanner is telling a story to his son, Isaac. It is a story of love, desire and sacrifice. It is a story of blood and water and stones. It is a story of the deeper currents that flow within a man’s heart. It is a story of the sea.

So that is the entire five sea tales – so far.

Each of them are a stand-alone story. Each of them is priced at ninety-nine cents. You don’t have to read them in any particular order. Each one is a separate unique tale – with nothing in common but a bit of salt water.

If you want more info – just click one of the pictures.

Along with these five sea tales I’ve also released two brand new novellas and a stand alone story. I’ll tell you about them tomorrow.

And on Thursday I will tell you all about my big Friday 13th promotion.

I know I’m being a stinker – but ANY good storyteller knows how to leave his audience hanging in suspense.

Yours in storytelling,
Steve Vernon

Bottom-Dwelling E-book Authors RISE UP!!!

Just tonight I came across an interesting question over at Kboards – and if you Kindle authors haven’t heard of Kboards you REALLY don’t know what you are missing.

A fellow named Frank was asking how bottom-dwelling authors – that is, the folks who have to settle for selling double-digits every month. Say like eighteen books sold in a month or twenty-three or thirteen.

(remember that number)

It seemed that Frank was major-league bummed out over the fact that his books had been selling at a pace that made a frozen road-killed snail look fast.

Well – I thought about his question and then I stepped into the thread and rattled off this answer.

Listen Frank – I have sat and watched my Kindle sales freaking PLUMMET over the summer – and even before that.

Now – just these last couple of weeks I’ve begun a renewed campaign to goose those sales up a bit.

And I have seen some results in just these last couple of weeks. Brown bars have begun to slowly disappear.

I’ve got a big Friday 13th push coming in four days. I’ve got more promotion planned over the month of October. I am already beginning to figure on Christmas.

I have just begun to fight!

The good thing about being on the bottom is it gives you a pretty good idea which direction you need to head in.

Remember this – and this is coming from a hybrid author who still has foot in the traditionally-published camp.

These aren’t the old days. This isn’t the era when books would poop around on the bookstore shelves for three or four weeks before getting their covers torn off and their pages thrown into the landfill. Brothers and sisters we are publishing freaking kowabunga e-books – tiny wonderful immortal bundles of raw data that CANNOT BE KILLED.

Sure, you may be on the bottom today. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. Roll your pennies and collect your bottles and sell your baby sister for a couple of brand new nifty covers. Plan that next big promotion – with about three more promotions after it. Write a new book – or three new books – each one of them and advertisement and a potential life line for those books of yours that are inspecting the be-barnacled belly of the Titanic.

Remember – children – the e in e-books stands for EVOLUTION – which rhymes with REVOLUTION – which bespeaks of wheels and cycles and whatever is on the freaking bottom rising up again to the top.

Get at it now. Get writing and get promoting and just forget about the numbers are telling you now. E-rase that blackboard and e-volve your product and e-something-or-other yourself the heck off that bottom and back up to the top where you belong!

So that’s what the next month or two is going to bring. I’m going to tell you folks all about my upcoming promos and strategies over the next few days and I will tell you all about the HUGE sales event I have planned for this Friday 13th – at least for you folks who read Kindle.

But for now I just want to tell you that you should never, ever surrender in this business. Your book has not sunk forever – anymore than the Loch Ness Monster has gone and drowned himself. The fact is – what has sunk can and will rise again.

Here’s somebody who says this a little better than I do.

You might also want to give a read to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s speech to the RWA – what she went through before hitting publishing success is incredible!
You just follow this blog for the next few days and see what luck I manage to pull out of my bvd’s.

If you want to read the actual Kboard thread check it out HERE!

And – if you are looking for something to read why don’t you pick up a copy of the fifth story in my collection of Sea Tales – BUILT FOR HANGING ON – which tells the story of a long-married Maritime couple and how they survive the Apocalypse.

Built For Hanging On

Just click the photo-link. I guarantee a good read. Warning, though – this made my wife cry.

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

Setting your e-book free…

All right – so let’s open this blog post with a commercial.

As of November 20, FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE ONE has been absolutely free in Kindle format.

I’ve climbed to #306 on the FREE IN KINDLE list and have moved over 937 952 TWO THOUSAND free copies – as of December.

If anyone hasn’t downloaded a copy – do me a favor and grab one today.



So, how did I do that? Did I spam all over Facebook?

Well, some. I put up a posting at several of the groups that I follow as well as many FREE E-BOOK and FREE KINDLE Facebook sites that I could possibly find.

I likewise poked a bit through several free e-book lists that I will share with you.

Beyond that I cannot be any more specific.

I’d LOVE to be able to sit guru-like upon my lop-sided office chair which is killing the heck out of my 54 year old spinal column – and tell you all of the secrets of the independent publishing universe.

Only I can’t.

The truth is I am just figuring this out as I go – and, as I am NOT a particularly organized fellow I haven’t kept enough careful records to be able to tell you just WHICH free Kindle website brought on the deluge of free downloads – but I haven’t done that either.

Basically, I applied the shotgun pasta technique. I fired a whole lot of pasta at the wallboards and waited to see which one stayed stuck.

(which is one heck of a seriously mangled metaphor)

So, without further ado, let me offer up to you a list of some of the freebie sites that I hit.

I didn’t hit all of them. I don’t have that much time to apply to that sort of dedicated marketing. And, not all of them fit my needs.

Pick through and find the website that suits you. Submit your next freebie to it for publicity. Some of them will ask for a bit of money. Use your judgement. Don’t spend any more money than you can afford to squander – because there is NO telling which particular bit of advertising is going to work for you.

Try poking through these lists.

Try here

Or here.


And finally, try here!


Try all that and see what helps. There are a lot more free books out there than ever and a new indie writer is going to have a hard time rising through all that clutter and getting anywhere close to the top ten – where a LOT more people will notice your work and (hopefully) begin buying some of it.

Anybody come across other helpful pages let me know and I’ll post them on up here. These four were taken from a VERY helpful Kindle Boards thread.

(and if you are trying to peddle Kindle e-books and HAVEN’T joined up with Kindle Boards – kindly tell me what the heck you are thinking – and/or drinking???)


It those links help then download a copy of FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE ONE – http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Virus-Episode-One-ebook/dp/B009UD51DY/ref=pd_ybh_4

if they REALLY helped – or if you’re just feeling sorry for my fifty-four year old spinal column and the tilted office chair it must sit upon – then why not shell out ninety-nine cents on FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE TWO – http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Virus-Episode-Two-ebook/dp/B009YW6X7O/ref=pd_ybh_9

Episode Two is sitting at the 59,711 Paid Kindle List rank. I’ve actually moved a few copies during those five days but I’m hoping that some of these almost 1000 readers who picked up a free copy of Flash Virus: Episode One will feel interested enough in the storyline to go and pick up Episode Two.

Episode Three is also available – http://www.amazon.com/Flash-Virus-Episode-Three-ebook/dp/B00A8OB7IC/ref=pd_ybh_7 – and is currently ranked at 116,044 in the Paid Kindle List rank.

For those of you folks who are unfamiliar with that ranking system – try and think of it as a top million bestselling list. Basically, right now Episode Two is the 59,711th bestselling Kindle e-book in the Amazon system.

I’ll be interested in seeing if the rankings change much in the next few days – but I won’t waste too much time sitting and wondering. Right now I am getting back to work on Episode Four.

Interestingly enough I have moved 11 more copies of FLASH VIRUS: EPISODE ONE in the fifteen minutes or so that it took me to write this blog entry.

Just remember, we’re in all the same boat together.

Here’s to deeper water and fatter fish.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon


Okay, so yesterday my hockey/vampire novellete SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME appeared as the KINDLE BOOK OF THE DAY at the KINDLE FIRE DEPARTMENT – http://fireapps.blogspot.ca/2012/09/sudden-death-overtime-kindle-book-of.html.

Since I started this blog as an attempt to keep a record of how my e-publishing is progressing I thought I’d fill you folks in on the results of this promotion.

First off – the KFD gave SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME a GREAT review.

A delicious blend of dark humor, horror, hockey, and vampires, author Steve Vernon‘s highly rated Sudden Death Overtime is a fun read, plain and simple. With a vibe that reminds me of the movie Sean of the Dead, this is a story that will surprise you and carry you off to places you had no idea you wanted to go. And if you haven’t read anything by Vernon yet, get ready to have a new favorite author. Start with this one! – Kindle Fire Department

That’s a solid review and it’s hard to argue with that.

Ratings wise, the promotion gave a big bump to the little book. One day earlier the book had bottomed out at an Amazon Rating of 455,291. This morning SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME is sitting at 23,224.

(for those of you who do not know – Amazon ratings are a little like golf scores – the lower the number the better it is selling. Think of it as your ranking in sales. On Tuesday the book was ranked the 455,291th top selling e-book on Amazon – and this morning it is the 23,224th best selling e-book.)

That’s still a long way away from the top 100 – which is REALLY where a book or an e-book wants to be at Amazon. Books in the top 100 show up on the radar a lot more – and as a result are seen by more new readers – and hopefully sold to new readers.

So – on the face of it – this promotion was a good investment – especially when you couple it with tomorrow’s upcoming promotion – a REALLY entertaining guest blog appearance at the RG2E, (The Reader’s Guide to E-Publishing) complete with a giveaway – will hopefully bump that Amazon rating a little higher.

(and here’s a link to the RG2E – http://thereadersguidetoepublishing.wordpress.com/)

However – when I look at the number of copies that the promotion created it is a little less positive.

In conclusion I believe the KINDLE FIRE DEPARTMENT is a really great place to advertise your freebie promotions – but possibly less desirable a location to place your regular book promotions. A regular book might be lost among all of the freebies that are regularly advertised at the KFD. I’ll definitely use them again – although I might want to approach it differently next time.

A lot will depend on how far up the ladder I can push this little book. You see, the Amazon sales rating is basically a speedometer of books. The more books you sell in a short amount of time the farther up in the rankings you will climb. I sold some books yesterday. I need to sell some more today and some more tomorrow to really make a difference in the sales ratings.

That’s why it is important for an indie writer such as myself to create a promotional strategy. It isn’t all just about ONE promotional appearance. The key is to link these promotions together to create a momentum in sales. So, when you – as an indie self-published writer – are setting up advertising and/or promotion – keep the timing in mind. Try to clump them together so that each little oomph of momentum builds upon itself.

Lastly, I made a rash promise yesterday to my followers.

Let me quote this –

I promise to do a Snoopy Happy Dance on my front lawn in my pajamas for every copy sold today.

So – without further ado –

Since I began typing this blog entry SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME has climbed to 21,716 in the Amazon Ratings. Hopefully I will sell a few more copies today before the neighbours manage to dig out their pitchforks and flaming torches.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

E-Book Marketing Today – An Author’s Guide

Like a lot of you folks out there, I am new to this whole e-book business. I am working away just as industriously as I can trying to get a better handle on e-books – and more specifically how to sell the freaking things.

I’ve written over a dozen of them. You can see some of them lined up temptingly along the right hand side of this blog – and you can even buy yourself one of those e-books just by clicking the cover.

But blatant self-promotion isn’t the real reason I’m blogging today.

Today I want to tell you about a new e-book (released June 20, 2012) written to help publicize and support the Kindle Fire Department.

I picked up a copy today for 99 whole cents. Undoubtedly the stock market and world banks felt the resulting financial repercussions – but Donald Trump has refused to comment.

The book is a useful quick read that will give any indie e-book writers – (gee, I love that term – makes me want to wear a beret and take up smoking and maybe start wearing sunglasses at night) – an abundance of ideas of better, slicker and more sophisticated ways to market their e-book once you’ve written it. There are a lot of useful links and tips for expanding your market and raising your authorial profile.

The most useful feature I found were the helpful and inspirational anecdotes from successful e-book authors such as Scott Nicholson, Jason Letts, David Dalglish, Sibel Hodge, Susan Kaye Quinn, Ernie Lindsey and Addison Moore.

It is a thin read and a lot of topics are somewhat glossed over but the author definitely goes out of their way to point you in all the right directions – so that if you spot a particular marketing strategy you want to employ this handy little guide will definitely point you to where you can find out just exactly what you need to know.

So – if you are an e-book author in general – or a Kindle author in particular – you might definitely grab a copy of this e-book – especially while it is priced so cheaply.


Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon