Monday, December 31, 2012

Twelve Worlds charity donation for 2012

Between Nov 1, 2011 and Nov 1st, 2012, the Twelve Worlds anthology has sold approximately 120 copies, resulting in author royalties of just about $225 (author royalties are paid out 2 months later). I've decided to bump up the donation to $500, which I’ve donated to Reading is Fundamental.

In case you didn’t know, the author royalties from Twelve Worlds go to Reading is Fundamental, the nation’s largest nonprofit children’s literacy organization.

So, if you want to read 14 speculative fiction and fantasy stories from new authors, you should pick up a copy of this book. It’s only $2.99, and about $2 of that goes to charity.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Halloween Riddles!


It's October and time for some Halloween Riddles! I just published my fourth riddle book, and you can get it here for just 99 cents.

Sixty more rhyming riddles are in this book, and each one has something to do with Halloween.

Why not keep the book by the door and give a double candy serving to the trick-or-treaters who correctly answer a riddle?

Or, why not have a riddle contest after you've snagged your candy haul? Every correct answer lets you pick a piece of candy from your friend's sack!

Or, keep the riddles handy for your Halloween party! I'm sure you can come up with some appropriate prizes for that!

Here are just a few examples of the riddles you'll find in this book:


Riddle #2

You hide behind it while in plain sight

To fool your friends and give a fright


Riddle #41

Skinny as a stick

With straw in my skirt

I’m a witch's ally

But the enemy of dirt


Riddle #51

Filling corners, spanning gaps

We're lethal and beautiful traps

Wispy yet strong, we really stick around

Hanging lifeless our victims are found

A patchwork of people

Sewn up tight

Lumbering about

Causing a fright

Born of lightning

To a madman's delight

So many scars

He's an imposing sight

Returned from death

Full of fury and might

Misunderstood and despised

Suffering the outcast's plight

Rousing villagers

Wielding torches alight


You can find the answers in Halloween Riddles – Rhyming Riddles #4.
The cover art was created by Jay Brant over at Headsup Studios. He's got some great stuff, and you should check him out. He's working on updating my Christmas Riddle book cover next and I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Final Kickstarter project report

Unfortunately, my Kickstarter project to help fund the cover art for the sequel to DeadDwarves Don't Dance was not a success. I did get 14 fine folks out there to pledge $301, but that wasn't enough to meet my goal of $1350.

Don’t worry, though. I'll still publish the book, hopefully later this year in time for Christmas. But, I won't be able to print up any cool posters of the cover art. Too bad. I was looking forward to sending out Igor's great artwork to the suppporters.
(If you'd still like to help, the best way to do that is to post reviews of my books on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Goodreads, and so on.)

Anyway, I had some very good suggestions on how to create a better Kickstarter project, which you can read in the comments for this previous post.

One side effect of the project as that I was able to sell several copies of DeadDwarves Don't Dance to people who read my Kickstarter project.

The project ran from June 2 to July 2, and I used Amazon Associates links back to my Dead Dwarves Don't Dance book page in the project page. Based on the Associates report, I earned $5.21 in advertising fees over that period and also sold 9 copies of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance. That's the best free advertising I ever experienced.

So, even though I didn’t raise the money, I hopefully did get a few more fans.

Now, for those authors out there who are considering Kickstarter, here are some things I learned:

1.    Successful projects seem to have more updates. So update at least once a week to keep people's interest. I didn't do this, and it probably hurt me.

2.    Build a larger community before you setup your project. I have 172 followers here on my blog, 77 twitter followers, and 53 Facebook friends. There is probably a bunch of overlap between all these. But, still,  172 followers were not enough to garner enough pledges. So, if you're an author with fewer than a couple hundred people in your hardcore fan base, I wouldn't expect to earn more than $500, so set your Kickstarter goal appropriately.

If any other writer out there has setup a Kickstarter project and has differing opinions, go ahead and comment below! I'm just one person with one project under my belt, so I could be very wrong.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How much do e-authors make per hour/word?

Obviously, the answer to the question varies by the success of the author. But, I thought I'd relate my own experiences as a less than mid-level author with just a few novels published.

I started my self-publishing efforts back in September 2010. Back then, I planned to commit to 5 years of writing before deciding whether or not it could become my actual career. By late 2015, I hope to have 10 novels in print. The sales of those ten novels should give me a good idea if I'm successful enough to quit my day job and become a full-time novelist.

It's still a long time to 2015, but how am I doing now? Am I making good money? Could I survive on just writing novels? Not yet.

In about 20 months, I've published 3 full-length novels, 2 short story anthologies, 2 DIY books, and 3 riddle books. I've sold a total of around 15,200 units , earned gross revenue of about $15,200, with net expenses of about $7,000, resulting in about $8,000 profit (or about $400 a month).

Definitely not enough to earn a living, but it is enough to take a nice vacation each year.

But another data point you should know is how many hours I work on my novels. I do not have exact numbers for all my books, but I did keep track of my hours at the keyboard for a couple of them and I spend about 200 hours actually writing/editing per novel. This does not include thinking about the plot or outlining. I bet that adds at least another 50 hours.

So I'm going to assume 250 hours to finish each novel. How much does that earn me per hour?

For my best-selling novel, Dead Dwarves Don't Dance, I've earned a profit of about $4,300. So I'm getting paid about $17 per hour.

But that number does not count how much time I spend on marketing (blogs, facebook, twitter, forums, advertising, etc.). I have no idea how much time I spend on that, and it is spread out across all my books. So, let's say that $17/hour is the maximum I'm earning.

Dead Dwarves Don't Dance is about 74,000 words long, so it's earned me about 5.8 cents a word. Certainly not a king's ransom, but within the range of what you can get for writing for magazines and so on.

Unfortunately, not all my books sell as well as Dead Dwarves Don't Dance.

The story is not as good for my other two novels (The Elemental Odyssey and Where Magic Reigns). These are young adult adventure novels full of magical aliens and fun action. But while I think this series has lots of potential and the books are getting good reviews, they have not yet found a large audience. My profit on those two books is actually a loss of $4000. Fortunately, ebooks are forever and I have no more large expenses for these two books. So that loss will decline over the years, and hopefully become profitable at some point. All it takes is one person of influence to find it and mention it to some friends, and the series might skyrocket. (That's what I'm hoping for, anyway.;)

On the other hand, my DIY book (Format Your eBook for Kindle in One Hour) has sold very well and had very little in the way of expenses (about $7,400 profit). So, let's average all my books together and see what my totals look like.

Out of all my books, I've earned about $8,000 in profit.

With three novels and seven other shorter books, I figure I've spent at least 1,000 hours working on them, for a maximum of $8/hour.

Not enough to live on, alas. But, the good news is there's room for improvement. ;)

Now, what can YOU expect to earn? Absolutely no way to tell. You could might earn more than me or you might earn less. It depends on how good your books are. But, even more, it depends on how much luck you have. Based on the success and failure of other books I've read, luck seems to be the overriding factor.

If you have a terrible cover or blurb, or you write like a 2nd-grader, or your story is pathetic, you probably won't succeed. But if all of that is polished to an acceptable quality, your success hinges pretty much on luck. It all depends on getting discovered, and in the overcrowded ebook market, getting discovered is just luck or thousands of dollars in advertising. Not many of us have $$$$$ to spend on ads, so we rely on luck.

In almost all careers, you have to commit time and earn your way to the upper echelons. Sweat out the low pay early years hoping to improve your results in the long run. Fortunately, I have another career that can support me while I write novels.

My advice to anyone else is, don't quit your day job. Write diligently and in several years you might start earning a wage large enough to support you.

Or, you might be lucky and have a blockbuster on your first try. If that's the case, congratulations! It's kind of like winning the lottery but at least you earned it by writing a book!

If you're an author, do you have any guesses as to how much you're making per hour/word? Put it in the comments.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Crowdfunding meetups - learning about local Kickstarter projects

Last night I attend a crowdfunding meetup where nearly 20 attendees discussed their Kickstarter projects, experiences, or just watched and decided whether or not to back them.

The event was hosted by Melody Brown of Atomic Chimp games, and you can read about the meetup here. There are meetings in Seattle and the Eastside highlighting local projects. It was quite informative and lots of advice was available. If you ever get a chance to attend such a gathering, I encourage you to do so! I'd like to thank Melody for inviting me and running these events. I found it very helpful.

I thought I'd give some plugs to the Kickstarter projects that were presented:

Ever want a café where you could also play games, then if you like the game you can buy it? That's the idea behind the Gaslamp Social Games Café, which will be located somewhere in the Bellevue/Redmond area (Eastside of Seattle area). You should definitely watch the video to get a better look at this if you live in the area and want a place to play games, sip coffee, etc!

A 15 foot cubic piece of art that lets you interactively control 216 balls of flame!!! This is a piece of art that will be at Burning Man. So, if you you're going to attend Burning Man and want to firebend, you should definitely check out this project!

This is me! And you likely know all about this one already. If not, check it out. Looks like I got some additional pledges based on the meetup last night, so woot! One person at the event said he'd download Dead Dwarves Don't Dance, so I even got a sale! That's a 5% conversion rate, which is really good.

Kind of like a tinkertoy system for big kids. If you're an engineer you'll probably love this! The project was successful, earning triple its goal. But you should still check it out to see if you'd like to place orders Terence Tam.

Unfortunately, I missed a couple prospective project presentations because I had to leave. I hope to plug those when they go live.

I foresee crowdfunding having a significant impact on all sorts of entrepreneurial activity, manufacturing, and jobs. I think it's a great thing. If you've never checked it out before, why not do so now? You might find some project that you really like!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Getting readers to help promote your books

I've been doing something like this in my ebooks, and I thought I'd provide some similar boilerplate content that you can use in your ebooks.

Independent authors need ways to promote. I agree with David that word of mouth is the best path for us indies. This might be off-putting to some, or even sound like begging. But publishing is changing and we must adapt and persevere. Am I ashamed to ask readers for help getting the word out about my books? Not at all! And you shouldn't be either. In fact, if enough of us indies start asking, we might instill a new default behavior in readership to write reviews at a much higher rate than they do now (Dead Dwarves Don't Dance has sold about 8,000 copies and gotten 37 reviews, or about a .4% review rate).

So, feel free to use the following boilerplate in your books (I put it at the end of my books). Use it as is, edit it, take snippets, add to it. Whatever. You'll probably want to change a few bits to align with your own genre/books.

Want to read the sequels sooner?

If you loved this book (or any other book) the best thing that you can do for the author is to help promote it.

The vast majority of independent authors also have full time jobs and earn only a few thousand dollars a year from our novels. Unfortunately, we do not have enough time to promote nor enough money to advertise. We just write our books, publish them, and then hope readers find and hopefully buy them. For most of us, that doesn't mean a lot of money unless we get lucky and sell 50,000 or more books (most of us don't sell anywhere near that).

So, the best advertising for us is our fans telling their friends and family about the books.  For us, word of mouth is the best advertising. In the age of the internet, word of mouth includes reader reviews, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, forums, and so on.

Writers don't have the time to find and frequent each forum, blog, review site, and so on. But, collectively, our fans might know about a many such sites. And if you love a book, it's a great idea to mention it in one of those places.

But, why should readers shoulder the burden of promoting? Isn't that the job of the author?

Yes, it is.

But posting on forums, updating blogs, sending out emails, trying to get interviews and reviews on big websites, and so on takes a LOT of time. Every hour of promotion is one less precious hour the author has for writing the next book in the series you love.

An indie author's promotion efforts actually make it take longer for the next book to get into your hands.

Would you like the next book sooner?

Again, the very best way to help make that happen is to promote the book yourself. I'm not talking about being militant and getting into anyone's face, commanding them to buy the book. But there are a few simple things that can really help, and if enough readers do it, other people might be convinced to buy the book:

1.    Write a review for the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or wherever you bought it. Reviews don't have to be long, but you should mention a few things that you especially liked about the book so people who read your review can get a better idea of what it's like. You might say: "I really loved how this book merged magic and aliens into an exciting adventure story." See? Simple and short and it says something about the book.

2.    Mention the book on your Facebook page with a link to an appropriate website. Quick and simple like: "I read this exciting book.  Check it out:"

3.    Rate the book or post your review on Goodreads or similar sites (such as,,,,,,,

4.    Mention the book on appropriate forums where you are a member. You wouldn't post about a spy novel on a gardening forum, but you could post about a kid's outdoor adventure book on a Scout forum, for example.

5.    Post your review on your own private blog. Sure, you might only have a dozen readers, but you could be the pebble that starts the avalanche of interest that would eventually help the author sell enough books to quit their day job (or maybe even turn it into a movie).

6.    Tweet about the book.

I bet you're thinking "Sheesh! That sounds like a lot of work! I'm not going to do that!"

And, of course, you don't have to.

But if you don't, the book you love might not sell well. For us independent authors who don't get any advances or have publishers backing us, we have to pay attention to sales. Most of us aren't rich. If a book doesn't sell well, the author probably won't write any more like it. Instead, the author will write a different storyline or genre to see if those sell better. Or the author might stop writing books.

If there are a lot of sales of a book, an author is encouraged to write more like it.

So, if you love a book and have some spare time, write a review. And if you have more time, tweet or blog or like or Facebook or chat or whatever you feel comfortable with.

Who knows? If enough readers do that, authors might be able to quit their day jobs and write novels full time. You could get the next novel in your favorite series two to three times sooner!
Let me know what you think of this, and if you use it. And if it works!

PS: Don't forget about my Kickstarter project where you can get a signed poster of the cover to Dead Dwarves Don't Dance!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Amazon sales rank = how many books sold?

The Passive Guy over at the Passive Voice asked some questions, including these:

So, here’s question #1: Is this a fair way of evaluating how well an ebook-only or mostly-ebook publisher performs for authors?

Question #2: While we’re discussing Amazon Best Sellers Rank, has anyone seen any credible discussions concerning how sales rank translates into dollars for indie authors? If you’re at 20,000 with a $2.99 ebook, are you making $500 per month from that book?

Or is Amazon’s algorithm too volatile to make it a useful gauge of the dollars coming in the door?

Question #3: Everybody knows that lots of ebooks have experienced sales spikes immediately after Christmas as new ereaders and tablets are packed with ebooks. What about other sales patterns? For example, do sales go up on the weekend when many people have more leisure time to read?

I've never had a publisher, so I don’t have any information to answer the first question. However, I do have 18 months of daily sales and rank data to address the second two questions.

So, first off, how many books sold does a given Amazon sales rank indicate?

Unfortunately, due to the hourly fluctuation of Amazon sales rank, we can't pin it down precisely. But I have enough data to make some generalizations for ranks between #333 and #100,000.

All the following data is for Amazon US sales rank only. Also, Amazon changes the ranking algorithms, so my results from six months or a year ago might not equate to what is happening today. I don't sell enough books in other markets or through B&N to have a sufficient data set.

Here's a chart of my Amazon Sales rank for my best selling novel, Dead Dwarves Don'tDance:

And here's a spreadsheet with sales and rank data for each month:

What can we determine from this data? Here's a table with some guesses:

Again, this is based on historical data over the last 18 months. Other author's results might be different.

Also, the estimates for months that showed a lot of fluctuation aren't as reliable as my months where my rank range was smaller.

As for Passive Guy's 3rd question about sales patterns, I have not detected any daily patterns. The only yearly pattern I've seen is better sales around Christmas and a slump in Summer. I have not been able to identify any sales increases from any paid or free advertising, such as reviews, articles, and such.

Do my numbers align with yours? Do you have any other information about rank to sales and patterns?  Comment below if you do!

PS: And don't forget my Kickstarter project. If you want a signed poster of the cover of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance, please check it out. You'll be helping me commission another great cover for the sequel.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kickstarter experiment to fund cover for sequel: poster for you

One of the biggest hurdles for a self-publishing author is the initial monetary investment to get an ebook published. I’m talking about cover art and editing. Costs for these range from $50 to $2,000 or more. But you can often tell the difference between the cheap path and the expensive path.

My costs are $500 for cover and about $1000 for editing. That's $1500 per book up front, and it can take months to recoup that (at least for me).

One of the best things about getting a publisher is that they foot those bills instead of the author.

But what about us self-publishing authors? What if we don't have a couple grand laying around. That means we have to cut corners, and maybe settle for a cover that we don't really like.

Well, I'm going to conduct an experiment for my next book. I just started a Kickstarter project for the sequel to my cyberpunk novel, Dead Dwarves Don't Dance. I want to see if Kickstarter is an effective way to get some upfront funding without having a publisher.

The goal of the campaign is to raise $1,350 to get the cover art for the sequel. That amount includes $500 for the cover and $850 for the reward fulfillment. Any pledges above the goal go toward paying for the editing. If there's even more than that, I'll try some advertising maybe.

Anyone who pledges $1 or more will get a reward. There are different rewards for different pledge levels, including $1, $5, $10, $25, $30, $50, $100, and $200. Each reward level includes the rewards from the lower reward levels.

The primary reward in my project is at the $25 and is for a signed poster of the cover of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance. If the project succeeds, I'll get 250 of these printed up. That'll most likely leave me with a bunch to use at any conventions I go to.

But there are several more rewards available.

$1 - Computer wallpaper
$5 - Your name in the sequel's acknowledgments
$10 - 8.5"x11" signed print of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance cover
$25 - 19"x27" signed poster of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance cover
$30 - Nook or Kindle version of sequel
$50 - Signed paperback of sequel
$100 - Your name in the sequel's dedication page
$200 - Your name used as the name of a character in the sequel

Each reward includes all the previous rewards.

If 54 people pledge $25, the project is a success!

You can get more details on my Kickstarter project page.
This project lasts until July 2, and you'll only be charged if it is 100% funded. IF the total pledges do not meet or exceed the $1,350 goal, then no one is charged and I receive no money.

So, if you're interested in Noose the genetically engineered dwarf mercenary, cyberpunk, science fiction, or this Kickstarter experiment, you should go check it out!

Click here to visit my Kickstarter page, see a video of me and some of the rewards, and maybe even make a pledge!

And I certainly won't mind if you retweet or link to this blog or my Kickstarter project page. I'll need all the help I can get to make sure this is a success. Thanks!

After the project is over I'll blog about the results.


If you haven't heard about Kickstarter, it's a crowd-sourcing service for almost any kind of project. There are projects for music videos, films, board games, video games, festivals, and all sorts of other products like (lucid dreaming masks, made in America underwear, wine racks, wristwatch ipod controllers, etc.)

There have been some really amazing success stories on Kickstarter., for example:

The Pebble, a wristwatch to control your iPad/Pod, had a goal of $100,000. But so many people loved the idea that it raised over $10 million from 68,929 backers!

The Flint and Tinder men's underwear project, which promises to product made in America quality underwear, and create 1 new job for every 1000 pair they sell a month, they hire an additional factory worker (they asked for $30k and got over $290k in pledges from 5,578 backers).

The Shadowrun Returns turn based video game, which I unfortunately missed out supporting. They asked for $400,000 and got $1.8 million from 32,276 backers.

Lots of successes up there on Kickstarter. So much, in fact, that I foresee crowd-sourcing services like it will have a significant impact on product development and manufacturing in the future. Entrepreneurs and inventors won't have to go find some rich person or company to fund their project. Instead, they'll get thousands of ordinary folk to pledge money.

A Kickstarter project is an all or nothing deal. That is, each project has a monetary goal (mine is $1,350). If the total pledges do not equal or exceed that goal by the deadline (usually a month or so), then no pledge money is given, no money is charged, and the project owner gets nothing. It's either 0% funded or 100%+ funded.

That's right. The pledges can exceed the goal, and for most projects this unlocks stretch goals or additional rewards.

But what do you get if you pledge money and back a project?

All projects have "rewards" that will receive based on how much you pledge. Higher pledges usually get you better rewards.

If this sounds like a cool deal to you, please check out my project, especially if you want a signed poster of the cover of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance. And, tell all your friends! I just need 54 people to pledge $25, and with your help I can reach that.

Monday, May 21, 2012

April sales report

April was my 19th month selling ebooks. I haven't posted a sales report in a few months. Work has been very busy, and I've been trying to concentrate on writing more. Plus, my sales declining quite a bit, which doesn't make reporting on them any fun. ;)

As you can see from the graphs below, my sales are dropping down to about the same level as February of last year. What's causing this decline? It might be my infrequent publishing schedule, a different Amazon ranking algorithm, increased competition, or some other cause. Whatever the case, I'm hoping that it turns around when I publish the sequel to Dead Dwarves Don't Dance later this year. Until then, I expect to have a pretty lean year, as sales will probably decline even more during the summer months.

How about you? How are your sales doing compared to last year? Am I the only one seeing these declines? Let me know in the comments.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dead Dwarves Don't Dance now available in paperback

Want a paperback edition of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance? Just click here for the $9.99 trade paperback!

Noose, a genetically engineered dwarf mercenary, barely survives a terrorist attack on a neohuman dance club. Injured and alone, he embarks on a brutal quest for vengeance into the squalid underbelly of the Regional Atlanta Metroplex, through the desert wasteland of the not-so-pristine wilderness, and to the peerless towers of elite society.

The year is 2134. The nations of previous centuries are gone, consumed by the United Globe government. Citizens are confined to vast metroplexes while the rest of Earth is restored to wilderness. Neohumans are grown in vats, each type genetically engineered to serve humanity – flawless pleasers for gratification and ecstasy, hulking goons for war and violence, accidental psykers wreaking havoc, and more of any shape and size imaginable.

An action-packed, hard-boiled science fiction novel of redemption and revenge.

Praise for Dead Dwarves Don't Dance:

"cyberpunk action worth reading"

"Louis L'Amour meets Philip K. Dick"

"of the style of a Schwarzenegger or Stallone movie"

"excellent characters in a riveting world"

"difficult to put down"

"very fun and quick read"

"Fantastic action!"
"Action at it's best"

Monday, May 14, 2012

Where Magic Reigns now in paperback!

Where Magic Reigns, book 2 of the Tales of Zura is now available in paperback!

You can buy it here.

After their harrowing adventures in The Elemental Odyssey, four twelve-year-olds find themselves on a strange alien world. No grown-ups, no park rangers, no policemen, no soldiers. They are utterly alone and at the mercy of the furious perils that teem in the jungles of Zura.

As they flee across soaring islands in the sky, Kyle Morgan, Jürgen Schmidt, Susie Five Eagles, and Veeksha Das meet several different kinds of Zurans. But these aren’t the familiar and furry creatures that invaded Earth. These are scaly reptiles, small and large, but all hungry.

Unfortunately for the kids, on Zura humans are made out of food.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dead Dwarves sequel writing report

Despite getting a cold today, I managed to write another 10,000 words on the sequel to Dead Dwarves Don't Dance this weekend. Looks like I'm finally back in the groove.

Hopefully, I can get 1,000 words each day after work, and around 10,000 on the weekends. Maybe I can get a first draft done in a month or two.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Expendables 2 trailer = WOW!

2012 is going to get a whole fistful of the 1980s!!!

I'm a huge 80s action film fan, and this Expendables 2 trailer is, to quote Margaret Thatcher, "HOLY FREAKING AWESOME!"

Van Damme

August 17

Be there!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Where Magic Reigns paperback cover

Here's the cover design for the paperback version of Where Magic Reigns. It'll be available on Amazon in a few weeks.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dead Dwarves Don't Dance paperback cover

I just finished the cover design for the paperback version of Dead Dwarves Don't Dance. What do you think?

Paperback version should be available in a few weeks.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The keys to epublishing success 2012

Last year I blogged about the keys to epublishing success and there was lots of interest in my analysis. So, I thought I do another post about it this year.

This time, my data consists of 78 epublishing authors who have sold more than 50,000 ebooks. This accounts for more than 16 million ebook sales (claimed by the authors).
Selling 50,000 ebooks can give you a nice income, depending on your cover price. If you sell at $2.99, your 70% royalty would get you over $100,000. That's some real dough!
I based this data on the list created over on Self-Publishing Success Stories, a blog which frequently has interesting and enlightening posts. You should check them out. I also researched the authors' Kindle books on Amazon to come up with the following data points:
  • Number of ebooks sold (as claimed by the author)
  • Number of etitles available (as listed on the author's Kindle page)
  • Average sales per title (calculated)
  • Primary genre (as estimated by me)

I then put all this data into a nifty Excel spreadsheet and generated some charts and graphs. Which you can see below.

Disclaimers: This data is not complete. I only have data for authors who have publicly claimed 50,000+ sales. There are no doubt more authors who have that many sales but don't publicize it. So, consider this analysis a subset of the actual data. As such, my analysis should be taken with a grain of salt.

Also, these sales numbers are as claimed by the author. I have no way to verify these numbers.


Anything interesting in this chart? Well, first of all, romance has eaten up a larger piece of the pie, going from 16% last year to 31% this year. Thrillers went from 12% to 23%. That's 54% of the pie for those two genres!

Even so, the top sellers pretty much remained the same.

2011 Top 5 - Romance, Paranormal, Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy.

2012 Top 5 – Romance, Thriller, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young adult.

But what's more telling (though not surprising) is that number of titles is even more important for the 50,000 club.

75% of the 78 authors who have sold more than 50,000 ebooks have 6 or more titles available.

Only 12% of those authors have only 1 or 2 titles available.

So, once again, the same as last year, it seems that the keys to epublishing success are:

1.    More titles, more titles, more titles

2.    Write in romance or thriller genres.

 So, get to writing, authors!

Another interesting chart:

As you can see in the chart, of the 78 authors who have sold 50,000 or more ebooks, 71% started their ebook publishing in 2010 or later. Obviously, epublishing opportunities are flourishing.

 In case you didn't notice, the table above shows that some of these authors have an average of as low as 1100 sales per ebook. It's just that they ahve so many titles that it all adds up. This should be very heartening to any aspiring authors out there with any books selling 1000 or more copies.
For example, one of my novels, Dead Dwarves Don't Dance, has sold nearly 8000 copies in 17 months (about 5600 a year). I'm looking forward to the day when I have 10 such novels out there. I should be able to sell around 50,000 books a year and make enough to be a full-time novelist!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Emerald City Comicon 2012

My wife and I went to the Emerald City Comicon this past weekend in Seattle. I commissioned a few sketches of Bozabrozy, from The Elemental Odyssey, by some cool artists. We saw a lot of nerds (like me) and quite a few costumes. The 501st were there, of course, and a trooper arrested Shari, as you can see below.

We also got autographs from a few celebrities (Wil Wheaton, Christopher Judge, Jason Momoa, James & Oliver Phelps, and Eddie McClintock), who were all most kind and gracious. Eddie McClintock from Warehouse 13 was totally into the event, wooting at other celebs' entrances and working to make sure everyone had a good time. He did a short Farnsworth message for someone's Farnsworth emulator on their smartphone. How cool is that? And he designed his own W13 tshirt!

Here are some images:

Bozabrozy - a quick sketch by Tony Dela Cruz of The Sketch Crew. Tony is a local Seattle comic book artist. He created this sketch of Bozabrozy in less than an hour. Awesome work!

Here's Tony Dela Cruz himself.

A bit more aggressive Bozabrozy by DJ Welch. DJ does some really cool work!

A quick sketch by Travis Hanson that he did literally in 1 minute. And for free! Travis writes a cool webcomic called The Bean, about a kid who finds a sick sword that he seeks to cure. I really like the artwork and he's won some awards for it. You should check it out (sample below:)

Shari and I with Jason Momoa (Conan, Ronon Dex from Stargate Atlantis) and Christopher Judge (Teal'c from Stargate SG1).

Shari is apprehended by a trooper.

The Empire is recruiting from daycare, apparently.

A mob of Mandalorians.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

John Carter: great movie!

My wife and I saw John Carter at the Crossroads theater on Friday. We both thought it was an excellent movie. The special effects were great, action was great, right amount of humor. We'd love to see a sequel.

And, thankfully, there is no shaky cam, rapid zoom, or lens flare. Plus, the fight sequences are not chopped into quarter-second shots.

Unfortunately, John Carter isn't doing too well at the box office. We can't figure out why. There's no reason all the Star Wars fans wouldn't like this movie.

Anyway, if you like aliens, special effects, extraterrestrial vistas and cities, action, and cool sky ships, you should go see this movie!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NOOK formatting guide now available!!

If you liked my Kindle formatting book, you should check out my new Nook formatting book:

Format Your eBook for Nook in Four Hours

73 chapters and 4 appendices! Check out the full table of contents below.

Yep, it takes a lot longer than formatting for Kindle, and is much more annoying. But if you've got the guts you can do it yourself and save $75-$150 that you might otherwise spend on professional formatting.

Plus, the intermediate NovelCleanup.docx file that you create in this guide is compatible with Format Your eBook for Kindle in One Hour 2012 Edition. So, you can do a bunch of work once that works for each platform. Of course, there is more work that you must do for each.

The guidebook includes a link to a zip file that contains a bunch of template files for the following ePUB files:

·         mimetype

·         \META-INF\container.xml

·         \OEBPS\Abouttheauthor.html

·         \OEBPS\Acknowledgments.html

·         \OEBPS\Books.html

·         \OEBPS\ChapterTemplate.html

·         \OEBPS\content.opf

·         \OEBPS\CoverPage.html

·         \OEBPS\DedicationPage.html

·         \OEBPS\stylesheet.css

·         \OEBPS\TableofContents.html

·         \OEBPS\TitlePage.html

·         \OEBPS\toc.ncx

With the debut of this new guide, I've also created a forum where you can ask questions about each of my formatting books:

Format Your eBook for Nook in Four Hours is currently available on Kindle. I'll be publishing it for Nook within a couple weeks.

One annoying thing about the conversion tools for Nook is that they often mess up the page breaks. My formatting book fixes that problem. Each one of your chapters will start on a fresh new page with nice white space above the title.

If you use this guide, your novel will be formatted for Nook like my novels, The Elemental Odyssey and Where Magic Reigns.

Here's what your pages will look like:

Here's the table of contents:

Chapter 1: Do not buy this book if...
Chapter 2: Why you should buy this book
Chapter 3: Introduction
Chapter 4: Isn’t this book the same as Derek’s other formatting book?
Chapter 5: Why not just sell both sets of instructions in one guidebook?
Chapter 6: Contacting Derek
Chapter 7: What your book will look like
Chapter 8: How long will this really take?
Chapter 9: Tools and files you’ll need
Chapter 10: What else you’ll need – patience!
Chapter 11: Instructions and conventions
Chapter 12: Overview of the entire process
Chapter 13: Show file extensions in Windows Explorer
Chapter 14: Overview of the ePUB file structure
Chapter 15: Download the template files to your computer
Chapter 16: Save your novel file to the working folder
Chapter 17: Save your cover image
Chapter 18: Overview of the OPF file
Chapter 19: Update the <metadata> section of the OPF file
Chapter 20: Update the ID line of the <metadata> section of the OPF file
Chapter 21: Update the <manifest> section of the OPF file
Chapter 22: Optional: Add more images to the OPF file manifest section
Chapter 23: Update the <spine> section of the OPF file
Chapter 24: Done editing the OPF file
Chapter 25: Overview of the NCX file
Chapter 26: Update the <head> section of the NCX file
Chapter 27: Update the title and author sections of the NCX file
Chapter 28: Overview of the <navMap> section of the NCX file
Chapter 29: Delete extra chapters from the <navMap> section of the NCX file
Chapter 30: Add extra chapters to the <navMap> section of the NCX file
Chapter 31: Fix the end matter sections in the <navPoint> sections of the NCX file
Chapter 32: Edit chapter titles in the <navMap> section of the NCX file
Chapter 33: Done editing the NCX file
Chapter 34: Take a break!
Chapter 35: Overview of updating the front matter files
Chapter 36: Edit the cover page
Chapter 37: Edit the title page
Chapter 38: Edit the dedication page
Chapter 39: Edit the table of contents page
Chapter 40: Overview of cleaning up your Word document
Chapter 41: Delete the front matter from your Word document
Chapter 42: Remove double spaces from your Word document
Chapter 43: Remove blank lines from your Word document
Chapter 44: Clean up italics leaking between paragraphs
Chapter 45: Clean up bold text leaking between paragraphs
Chapter 46: Clean up underlined text leaking between paragraphs
Chapter 47: Overview of replacing Word formatting with code tags
Chapter 48: Replace the & (ampersand) character with XML code
Chapter 49: Replace greater than and less than characters with code in your Word document
Chapter 50: Add paragraph tags to your Word document
Chapter 51: Fix problems with bulleted lists
Chapter 52: Fix problems with numbered lists
Chapter 53: Tell Word to use straight quotes instead of curly quotes
Chapter 54: Fix lonely paragraph close tags in your Word document
Chapter 55: Delete extra paragraph tags from your Word document
Chapter 56: Add code for centered paragraphs in your Word document
Chapter 57: Optional: Add carriage returns
Chapter 58: Add tags for all the italic text in your Word document
Chapter 59: Add tags for all the bold text in your Word document
Chapter 60: Add tags for all the underlined text in your Word document
Chapter 61: Replace other special characters with code
Chapter 62: Optional: Add more images to your novel
Chapter 63: Tell Word to go back to using curly quotes
Chapter 64: Done editing the Word doc
Chapter 65: Copy chapters from Word document into HTML files
Chapter 66: Edit Acknowledgments page
Chapter 67: Edit the About the Author page
Chapter 68: Create the Books By page
Chapter 69: Done formatting your ebook!
Chapter 70: Compress your source files into an ePUB file
Chapter 71: Validate your EPUB file
Chapter 72: Fix validation errors
Chapter 73: Review your novel in PubIt’s review window and Publish!
Appendix A: Efficiency shortcuts in Windows
Appendix B: Efficiency shortcuts in Word
Appendix C: Troubleshooting
Appendix D: Nook formatting resources on the web

So, don't wait! Go see what all the excitement is about! Buy Format Your eBook for Nook in Four Hours now and get your novel up on Barnes and Noble!