Tag Archives: writing tips

Deep Discount Promotion – Part 3

Just this Sunday I spent about three hours trying to build a lawn mower with nothing but an adjustable wrench and a pair of pliers. It seems our empty-nesting son had “borrowed” my wrenches sometime ago – and I guess he has a different definition to the word “borrowed” than I do.

I got a little red-faced.

Then I walked on over to Wal-Mart and I bought a cheap set of wrenches that would have to do until the “borrowed” set came home. After that the lawn mower went right together. It was a little like watching one of those Autobot Transformers put himself together

So I hauled the lawn mower out onto the lawn and then I proceeded to make my face just a little bit redder trying to pull-start it into life. Finally my wife (whose Dad was a Department of Defense electrician) came out, tightened one cable and the big gassy beast started up with one pull. The lawn mower did as well. Which was right about the time my face discovered a couple of more shades of red.

I didn’t yell at her, you understand. I did not even yell at all – except maybe just a llittle bit inside of my ears where I did a whole lot of yelling at myself.

The truth is – I am so handy that I make Red Green look like an idiot savant.

In hindsight, I am awfully glad that I married a smart wife.


That is the thing of it, though. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try the pieces just don’t seem to come together.

Just like this promotion.

I thought I had it all figured out.

(mournful Gypsy violin tunes up in the background)

I thought I knew EXACTLY what I was doing.

(Mariachi band joins in with the Gypsy violin)

Yesterday, thanks to the promotional efforts of Booktastik and Book Deals Daily – I sold absolutely ZERO copies of Gypsy Blood.

Nada, nyet, zippo.

The big fat goose egg.

Now I cannot lay all of the blame upon Booktastik and Book Deals Daily. Maybe it was the wrong day. Maybe my cover sucks out loud. Maybe my feet smell funny. Who knows?

This is all research and all a practice run as I try to slowly find my prawny way through these murky indie waters.

I did sell two other e-books – both in the same series – one a 99 cent three story collection Bigfoot welcome mat and the other the 2.99 main course Bigfoot novel – so the day was not a total loss. That is the cool thing about being an indie author. Your books are ALWAYS out there and ALWAYS on sale right across the planet. You can passive income or you can call it reaping the rewards of my creativity or you can call it the by-product of my naive Pollyanna silver-lined-rain-cloud persistence – but however you want to call it – I am satisfied.

It is all cool by me.

That is the one thing that I want all of you writer-types out there to get from this blog entry. Some days are going to rain and some days will sunny up a smile – but either way you have REALLY got to keep on grinning.

Yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

If you are enjoying this series of Deep Discount Promotion blog entries, then I shamelessly hope that you might feel like picking up a copy of GYPSY BLOOD.  The novel usually sells for $3.99 in e-book format but I have marked the price down to 99 cents until the end of May. It is available through Kindle, Kobo, Nook,Apple,Smashwords, Googleplay and probably a couple of others that are escaping my memory.

Jigging for Cod – and other writing practices…

The Hand-Line Cod Fishery

All right, so I have been trying to figure out the best way to advance my writing career over the coming year and I’d like to spend a few minutes here on the blog letting you folks know just what I am up to.

Right off the bat I will tell you that 2015 is going to be my year of words. I want to get more e-books out there – and I also want to get another traditionally-published book out there as well.


Well, for starters it is because I am still primarily a HYBRID WRITER, not just an INDIE WRITER. Which means that I also write for a traditional publisher as well as just writing for indie publishers.  Only problem is, my last traditional release was MARITIME MURDER – which was released back in 2012 from my local publisher, Nimbus Publishing.


That was about two years and too long ago and in all honesty I have been working on a new Nimbus project for sometime now. I have bounced two or three YA novels that did not quite fit with my publisher’s needs – but over the last month I have begun work on a new project that I believe – (so far) – will really fit in the Nimbus stable.

Wish me luck.

In the meantime I have been working away on building my indie-writer career. Things have been progressing slowly but steadily. When I first got into writing for the indie market I was averaging about twenty to thirty dollars a month income – which isn’t really much at all.

These last couple of months I have been averaging about two hundred dollars a month income from my indie releases. That is still not much as far as indie writers go. I know a lot of folks who are making one or two or three thousand dollars a month at this racket – but that is not me.

Not yet, anyway.


Every month I sell a few more copies and every month I make a few more dollars and no one ever said that this going to be an easy way to make a living.

In 2015 I have decided to back off a little bit on the promoting side of the business and try and work on just getting a few more books out there.

Currently I have independently published THIRTY-NINE e-books through Kobo and a similar amount through Kindle. I intend to release my 40th Kobo independent release later this coming week.

So, as I have mentioned before, I am going to be concentrating on making 2015 a year of full-tilt production.

I have already written about this in an earlier blog entry – ACHIEVING PULP SPEED.

As a result I am going to be spending a little less time on Twitter, Facebook, the blog and similar pastimes. I want to concentrate more this year on actual writing.

HOWEVER – I do not intend to leave my loyal blog-followers hanging high and dry. That is why I have begun to step up my reblogging, sharing important and/or interesting articles that I come across in the run of the day.

Today I would like to share with you folks some of the good words that I have come across over my morning coffee.

Please check out this article on creating MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME from well-known blogger and author Joanna F. Penn. Here Joanna talks about how she has managed to create multiple streams of income out of her talent – which is exactly why I try to mix and match my Kobo, my Kindle and my traditionally-published work.

Basically, every month I make a bit from my Kobo releases and I make a bit from my Kindle releases and I make a bit from my traditionally-published releases. I also make a bit from my public appearances and my Writers In The School appearances and the workshops that I give – and, of course, my day job.

NONE of these streams of income are full-time pay – not even my day job. But when you look at them together they add up nicely. That sort of diversity is KEY for any of you writer-types out there. You get a little bit of money coming from a few more directions and all those little bits are going to start combining to create a powerful stream or income.

This is one of the reasons that I have backed right out of the Kindle Unlimited program. I was pleased with the initial pay-outs – but over the last few months the KU pay-outs have continually decreased and I have decided that it is not worth giving up my full range of marketing opportunities. To fall back on a cliche I did NOT want to place all of my eggs in one single basket – that is Kindle Select and Kindle Unlimited.

The fact is, I still make most of my indie money from Kobo – considered the back-runner in the indie publishing field.

So I like to keep my options open.

I like to think about it like an old-time fisherman, jigging for cod. A fellow who wanted to catch a lot of fish would have more than one line hanging out of his dory. He’d pull up one fish, rebait and drop the line back in and then turn around to the other side of the dory and pull another codfish in from his other line.

May the wind run with you, the fish run for you and trouble in the other direction!

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 a writer and pick up one of my e-books?

If you like the book then you get to do one of the second-best things that you can do for a writer and review it on Goodreads or Kobo or Kindle or even on your own blog.

Steve Vernon on Kindle!

Steve Vernon on Kobo!

Kindle Unlimited – Is it worth it?

Is it really worth it?

Right from the get-go let me warn you that this is only ONE author’s opinion.

I’m not a marketing genius.

I am not a business analyst.

But let me tell you how it has worked out for me.

First month I was in it – September – the KU paid out $1.52 per borrow; which means that for every e-book of mine that somebody grabbed through Kindle Unlimited and READ MORE THAN 10% of the book – I earned $1.52.

Back then it was easy money.

In October the KU payout has dropped down to $1.33.

Now, I have had MORE borrows in October than I had in September – so it is still a good thing for me – but that trend is definitely worrisome.

Now – if I somehow manage to get a lot more people worked up and excited about borrowing my books through KU – then even if it drops further I will still do all right.

The big trick is getting folks to borrow me through KU.

That isn’t exactly easy.

AND, I am pretty sure that the KU payout is going to continue to trend downwards.


Well, for starters that has DEFINITELY been the trend.

  • $2.00 per borrow or thereabouts prior to July, 2014
  • $1.81 per borrow for July, 2014
  • $1.54 per borrow for August, 2014
  • $1.52 per borrow for September, 2014
  • $1.33 per borrow for October, 2014

If you want to read those figures in MORE detail, you ought to definitely check out Chris McMullen’s blog.

Bear in mind that this downward trend has continued relentlessly – IN SPITE of Amazon’s regular cash injections into the KU pay-out fund.


Well – just take a look at how many indie authors out there have climbed on board of the KU program. Especially those folks who specialize in 99 cent releases.

That is a lot more soup spoons scooping out of the same old pot.

AND furthermore, I am beginning to wonder just how many readers are getting all excited about the KU program.

When KU first came out it was billed as NETFLIX for readers.

Now that, in itself, is a pretty cool concept. Even I was excited at first glance. “Cool,” I thought. “I pay a monthly fee and I get to read all the books that I want to.”

BUT how many books can one fellow read in a month?

I mean I can watch an awful lot of movies and television programs in a single month – but I am apt to read maybe one or two books in that same month.

I’m not dumb. I’m not lazy. I am just a slow reader – and I generally only read before bedtime and on my way to or from work on the bus. And that bus reading can get interrupted if I happen to be on the bus with someone I want to talk to – or if I am sitting in front of someone who wants to tell their neighbour about the uber-cool mac-and-cheese they had for dinner thirteen times.

The more that I think about it the more I have to wonder just how big of a market is there for a Netflix for books?

So – as I mentioned in a previous blog – I am going to be pulling some – if not all of my KU releases as their enrollment period winds down.

TROLLING LURES and HAMMURABI ROAD are both ending their KU membership as of December 4, 2014 – so, if you have been thinking about borrowing them through KU don’t wait for too much longer.

BIGFOOT TRACKS , my collection of Bigfoot short stories, is going to stay in to the KU program until December 9, 2014.

BIG HAIRY DEAL, my full-length Bigfoot novel, is going to stay in the KU program until December 29.

I am going to be rolling each of these e-books into the Kobo system throughout December.

Kindle Unlimited does NOT seem to be working for me.

Now – in all fairness – two months isn’t a lot of time to make this sort of a judgement call – but that is exactly what I am doing. I am the captain of my own ship – not your ship.


Some folks are still making out with KU like crazy love-starved baboons.

You have to remember that. In indie-publishing what works for one writer might NOT work for another – or vice-versa.

So, is KU going to crash and burn?

How the heck should I know?

Is KU the right answer for your e-publishing needs?

How the heck should I know?

William Goldman said it best.

“Nobody knows nothing!”

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

If you enjoyed this blog entry why don’t you pick up one of my e-books?

Steve Vernon on Kindle!

Steve Vernon on Kobo!

Thinking About Writing? Think Again.


This is funny – because it’s true!




Turning over a field in your mind isn’t the same as just getting up off of your butt and putting a hand to the plow.

Crack that whip, buddy.

Get on it.

Get writing, right?

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

PS: If you haven’t read much of DORK TOWER you really ought to start – especially if you are a fantasy gamer or if you KNOW a fantasy gamer or if you are RELATED to a fantasy gamer or if you get most of the jokes on BIG BANG THEORY!

Oh heck – just go ahead and start following DORK TOWER, would you? I guarantee a giggle.

Writing Blindly – When You Don’t Know Where A Story Is Going


We’ve all been there.

That point in the story where you are NOT sure where you are going.

That’s when doubt creeps in.

That’s when you begin to second-guess yourself.

“I’m no good,” you say.

“I don’t know what I am doing,” you say.

“I ought to rewrite. I ought to give up. I ought to take up needlepoint or knitting or counting itches at the flea circus.”


Remember the first line (roughly translated) in Dante’s Inferno?

“In the middle of my life I found myself in a dark wood for the right way was lost.”

Keep on writing. Remember, your words are nothing more than steps in the wilderness. You might feel lost – but keep on going – and step by step you’ll find out that you were right where you needed be the whole time.

Write blindly.

Let your pen be your compass needle.

Have faith that your story knows where you are going.

Remember the words of my Uncle Bob – “When you are waist-deep in alligator it is important to remember that you set out to drain the swamp.”

What does that mean?

You set to write the first draft of a story.

Don’t let that second-thought alligator talk you out of completing that first draft.

So never mind that gator.

Keep on draining the swamp – one Solo cup at a time.

Remember – it is AWFULLY hard to revise a blank page.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon





Won’t be no Bubba…

Sometimes you just need to prioritize.

Say you’re a hero in an action movie.

Okay, so hypothetically.

You’re a hero and you’re supposed to save the day. You need to run down to the airport and single-handedly bodyslam an attack bomber that is targeted upon your favorite girlfriend’s beauty salon.

I made it a girlfriend because it’s important that a good story should have some “personal motivation”. I mean, let’s face it – if Bruce Willis was to come up against a skyscraper full of bad guys, odds are he would just dial 911 and then walk down the street out of pistol range and maybe get himself a bacon double cheese burger.

I don’t know, but Bruce Willis just seems to me to be a sort of a bacon double cheese kind of dude. Not in the first place, you understand. When he was doing Moonlighting he was more of a crab dip and olive spread kind of fellow – but he’s evolved over the years – which is how us old guys say that “He got old.”

But then he finds out his wife is being held hostage by those bad guys and all of a sudden he’s got himself a case of deeply seated personal diehard motivation. There is just no way that he is going to let old Hans and his boogey-boys get away with that kind of foolishment.

No how.

So let’s say that it is your favorite girlfriend’s beauty salon that is in jeapordy – and no, I’m not talking Alex Trebek – I’m not talking deep-fried danger. To make matters worse you had an appointment with her for a body perm – no, scratch that – way too metrosexual for an action hero – let’s say she was going to hew you high and tight like the god of all marine attack squads. Only, if that bomber drops it’s payload on the salon you are probably going to have to fall back on some sort of cheap barber – on account of action heroics just don’t pay like they used to – and he’ll mess up the haircut on account of he’s holding his mouth wrong when he wields his barber shears – on account of you probably punched him in the mouth after he good morning-ed you on account of your favourite girlfriend just got attack bombed to death.

Call it a mood swing.

So there you are – racing to save the day – and you’re running down the freeway towards the landing strip where the attack bomber is about to take off and then – out of the corner of your eye – you see a brand new reconditioned mint class Pac Man machine with one game already paid for.

Well heck.

You just have to stop and play that one game. I mean, this is Pac Man we’re talking about. You always rocked at Pac Man. Nobody could beat you. You were the freaking Pac Man King.

So you stop and you play that game and you get in that ghost-gobbling groove, acing up level after level, rolling and smoking that Pac Man machine like it has never tasted tobacco in its life.

Free game.

Free game.

Multi-free game.

And while you’re doing that the attack bomber takes off and drops its payload which brings you right back to that cheap barbershop where you are probably going to get yourself arrested for assaulting that poor hapless barber who just happened to good morning you at the wrong time of existence.

Next thing you know you’ve got a jail sentence and some three hundred pound bald one-eyed three-toothed dude named Bubba Chumsicle Gruntlebee is bringing you posies and smiling at you hopefully.

All because you let yourself get distracted.

Focus on what you are doing.

If you are trying to finish a story or a novel or a limerick about a three legged man named O’Reilly – then don’t stop in the middle of it and run off and write yourself a ninja opus.

Start something.

Finish something.

Won’t be no Bubba Chumsicle Gruntlebee.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

Rhino Hide – Dealing With Rejection

I started writing back in the mid-eighties. I sold short stories, poetry, articles and book reviews to small press magazines all across the country. Magazines with names like City Slab, The Horror Show, Flesh & Blood, Cemetery Dance, Red Scream, Lunatic Chameleon, Terror Time Again, Doppleganger, Four Stix, Gas, After Hours, Not One of Us, Midnight Zoo, Horror Garage – and a lot more that I can’t readily remember.

People are always asking me how many stories I sold. I never really kept track. Sometimes I say it was seventy-five stories, other times I say a hundred. The fact is – there are writers out there who have sold twice as many stories. Numbers don’t mean diddly-squat.

Wait a minute. I heard that back there. I heard somebody saying that if I sold that many stories I must be freaking brilliant.

Well, my Mom thinks I am but the truth of it is that I’m really just persistent, is all.

A writer needs to be if he wants to sell at all.

Okay, so I know all about indie self-publishing. I’m hip-deep in that direction myself. But there are still an awful lot of anthologies and magazines and markets that are well worth submitting too. The fact is – you get a story accepted in a certain magazine or a certain anthology and it might just draw you enough attention to sell another few hundred self-published e-books – not to mention the cheque that you’ll recieve for your story.

Don’t ever write for anyone else if there isn’t a cheque. That’s a whole other blog entry – and I’m not going to start explaining myself – but writers who want to make it ought to always be aiming at some sort of financial compensation.

Meaning money.

But I’m not here today to beat that particular wardrum. What I want to talk about today is persistence. I can’t tell you how many “writers” I’ve spoken with who have told me how they submitted a story once or twice – was badly rejected – and then tucked that story away in the cellar and only dragged it out to reread when the rum bottle was damn near bottomed out and the lonely what-if’s had become to crawl out of the empty bookshelves and niggle at their ears.

“I could not deal with the rejection,” some would tell me.

“If two editors rejected it,” another said. “Then it must stink. I just can’t fucking write.”

And then there’s those who tell me that “Publication is really over-rated. I’d much rather read my work in coffee houses and at writer critique clubs.”


If you don’t have the skin of a rhino you’d better grow it if you want to make it as a writer these days. Rejection is nothing more than a condition of creativity. I have sold stories that were rejected over two dozen times.

Rejection doesn’t mean you stink!

Think of it this way. Rejection is nothing more than one editor’s opinion on one particular day. Maybe he had a headache. Maybe he was backlogged and needed to clear his desk. Maybe his slush heap was threatening to swamp over into the cesspool. Maybe he never even read it.

All that rejection really means is that one editor said “no thanks” on one day of the week.

Or to put it another way – I don’t particularly care for the work of Stephanie Meyers. I read the first chapter of her first novel and just could not get into it. I found it boring.

Well gee – some people might say. Steve Vernon is an honest-to-freaking writer. He ought to know what he is talking about, right?


The fact is I didn’t care for the book. Thousands of readers thought differently. Doesn’t make them any more right than I was. Reading will always come down to a matter of taste. What turns one reader’s crank might totally sicken another.

The same thing goes for editors. It’s nothing more than a matter of taste.

Sometimes it comes down to timing. Say you send a story and he’s just filled his magazine for the next three issues. Chances are he is going to fire your story right back at you, just because he doesn’t need it at that point in time. It doesn’t mean your story stunk. It just means, whoops, the gods of bad timing have frowned upon you today.

That is something very few authors can control.

It might come down to luck. You send him a story on a vampiric phone booth and it turns out he’s just accepted two other vampiric phone booth stories last week. Bad luck. Bad timing.

Doesn’t mean you stink.

A writer who wants to see his work in magazines and anthologies needs to send his work out. If a story comes back, send it right back out to somewhere else. A writer is juggler – he needs to keep those balls in the air. Sitting on the ground mildew will result.

So if you want to follow the dream of of submitting and selling – then you need to grow yourself some diehard blue steel rhino hide.


yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon