A 400-Download Day

[This entry is a repost from my earlier, Goodreads blog.]

Well, so much for Amazon KDP Select being a waste of time.

I was skeptical of the program which lets you promote your book for free for five days if you commit to sell it exclusively through Amazon (at least in digital format). So far, it’s turned out to be a good deal.

My new novel, The Library of Lost Books, was downloaded by 423 people in one day last week during a special KDP promotion on Amazon. Here’s how it broke down across their stores:

US 358 downloads
United Kingdom 51 downloads
Germany 12 downloads
France 2 downloads

Of course, the book was FREE, but I still can’t believe it. In fact, for about an hour or so in the afternoon, it was in the Top 100 in the Amazon Kindle “Free” store in both genres I submitted it under: Literary Fiction and Fantasy Fiction.

Crazy. I was hoping to get the novel to 50 people total, over the book’s launch and lifetime. Now, it’s closer to 500. It peaked at 1,212 in the Kindle Free store which doesn’t sound impressive, until you realize that the store has a million titles. We’re talking almost the top one-tenth of one percent, if I’m doing the math right (and as a writer, I’m usually not). Needless to say it was great seeing my book up there with War and Peace, even if it was only for a day.

Now, the key is getting all you busy people out there to write reviews. I want to make this as easy as possible. You can post yours on the Amazon Kindle page for the book or here on Goodreads. A review doesn’t have to be long, just a star rating and a few words.

Also, don’t forget to “Friend” or “Fan” me on Goodreads or Facebook.

And thanks to all of you out there that were brave enough to click on a book from an independent author you’ve never heard of before and give him a shot. I can’t thank all of you have bought or downloaded my book enough. You really made my day.

Keep Spreading the Word,


PS I’ll give the last word to the musicians. Why is it that they’re so often better at capturing emotions than us writers?

Velvet Morning by the Verve. Live at Wigan, 1998.


The FAQs of Life

[This entry is a repost from my earlier, Goodreads blog.]

I provide the FAQs below to answer some of the most common questions I have heard about the novel I’ve just published, The Library of Lost Books, now available exclusively on Amazon’s Kindle store.

I don’t have a Kindle, can I still buy it?

Yes, all you have to do is download the Kindle app. It works with any PC, Mac, iPad, or any other device on the planet.

I have a Nook. Can I buy it on Barnes & Noble?

Not yet. I have decided to enroll the book in Amazon’s KDP for promotional purposes. In doing so, you agree not to publish the work anywhere else online for 3 months. When this period is over, I will post the book to the Nook store.

How and where can I leave a review?

You can leave a review on the Amazon page or on Goodreads.

How do you feel about people leaving reviews?

Great. Right now, a review is more important than even buying the book. Reviews will pique people’s interest and drive more readers to the book. Also, positive or negative, a review is the only way—besides practice—one can improve as a writer.

Do you plan to write more stuff?

I already have. Right now, I’m working on a series of short stories. I have already finished one and am shopping it around to magazines. I will post any major breakthroughs or defeats here.

This looks fun. Can I publish my own novel online?

Yes. E-publishing is the biggest breakthrough in publishing in a long time. It will make publishing a much more transparent, democratic process. The only challenge is that the author must be editor, publisher and agent rolled into one. I still have not mastered these arts.

That being said, you retain complete creative control and work to your own deadlines. But the greatest challenge is in creating a compelling manuscript that is polished. It’s the same old standard, but now with much less interaction from publishing industry middlemen. Which is both good and bad.

Would you recommend publishing your first novel online?

It depends. In my case, yes. On the other hand, if you were a more established writer and had built up a portfolio of short stories or had done time in a prominent workshop or creative writing program, you might want to shop around the manuscript to publishing houses first. They would be much more open to considering a manuscript from someone with such a background. In my case, I knew I didn’t have those things and my chances of getting published via the normal route were slim. I opted to write what I liked, skip the whole novel submittal process and do it myself.

I’m very happy with the result.

So, now that you’re a writer, you must be rich. How much in royalties have you made?


Sorry to disappoint, but I haven’t seen a single royalty check yet. You must have a minimum in sales of $10 before Amazon or Barnes and Noble sends you a check. You get between 35-40% royalties on each sale. I sold about 15 copies of my first story, the Truck Stop, which I choose to sell at $0.99. You can do the math, but it doesn’t add up to $10. Especially, when you divide it between two publishing houses.

But, as has often been said, good writing is its own reward.