Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Over Two-Thirds of Our Kindle Nation Sponsors Climb into the Top 3,000 Overall, and Sponsorships Are Available

By Steve Windwalker, editor of indieKindle and Kindle Nation

The peak annual period for shopping in the Kindle Store begins at around 5 pm Eastern on December 24 and continues for the next two weeks, and as it approaches we've been payng close attention to the results that Kindle Nation Daily sponsors have been getting in their efforts to connect with more Kindle readers. Our December 2010 Kindle Nation Sponsorship Results spreadsheet is available for all to see and has now been updated through December 20. Here are some of the benchmarks:
  • 14 out of 55 sponsoring titles overall have climbed into the top 1,000 in Kindle Store sales rankings
  • 29 out of 55 sponsoring titles overall have climbed into the top 2,000 in Kindle Store sales rankings
  • 37 out of 55 sponsoring titles overall have climbed into the top 3,000 in Kindle Store sales rankings, including
  • 8 out of 8 Free Kindle Nation Shorts sponsors/excerpts
  • 18 out of 21 daily Free Book Alert sponsoring titles
  • Among titles priced at $3.79 and up, 4 out of 9 have climbed into the top 5,000
  • Among titles priced at $0.99, 15 out of 17 have climbed into the top 2,100
  • Among titles priced at $1.99, 2 out of 2 have climbed into the top 1,500
  • Among titles priced at $2.99, 18 out of 29 have climbed into the top 3,000
Finally, 10 out of 18 of our newer and less expensive Ebook of the Day sponsoring titles have climbed into the top 10,000, but we're working to strengthen the presentation on this and we see progress: 3 of the last 4 have climbed into the top 5,000, 2 of them into the top 2,000.

I personally don't believe much in advertising, but I do believe in connecting, and I see these sponsorships as a way of connecting with readers who are engaged and responsive.

What might an author or publisher get from sponsoring Kindle Nation, other than a warm fuzzy feeling for helping a hard-working guy like me?

There's never a guarantee of success, and definitions of success can vary widely among authors and publishers. But if you have written or published a book of real distinction and you want to increase exposure and connect with more readers, we work hard to help you in that effort. We have over 10,000 regular readers between our several platforms, and we often refer to Kindle Nation readers as the greatest readers in the world. If I had to describe their reading habits, I couldn't do it, but I can tell you that as readers they are prolific, savvy, price-conscious, ecumenical with respect to genre, and they don't care for trashy books, trashy covers (even though I do), and trashy reviews (I know, because I've written a few!).

I hope that helps.

Currently there is availability in early March for daily Free Book Alert sponsorships and Free Kindle Nation Shorts excerpt sponsorships, and in January for eBook of the Day sponsorships. We continue to offer a Silver package that knocks $10 off the price of a combo of the daily Free Book Alert sponsorship and the Free Kindle Nation Shorts excerpt sponsorship. See our sponsorship info page for more information and sign-up.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In New Attack on Author Productivity, Amazon Announces Free Offering of Neilsen BookScan Data

Some indieKindle readers may be under the impression that Amazon is doing good things for authors and indie publishers these days, but I dunno.

The bookseller, er, ebook trailblazer, er, global behemoth, er, multi-platform international publishing company announced a new venture this morning that is likely to reduce total creative productivity among American authors by 60 to 75 per cent during the next year.

What evil has Amazon wrought?

The company announced today that "authors who use Amazon’s Author Central service (http://authorcentral.amazon.com) can now view Nielsen BookScan’s weekly geographic sales data for their print books for free."

The sordid story of author suffering in the grip of ASRS (Amazon Sales Ranking Syndrome) has, of course, been chronicled with increasing frequency on the web and was the subject of documentary coverage here at indieKindle just last week. It has been known to affect entire families and even certain neighborhoods such as Park Slope and Studio City, and now -- it appears -- the syndrome is showing an amazing resiliency and ability to fight back against antibodies, antidotes, and 12-steppers.

Prior to Amazon's launch of the Kindle in November 2007, it was widely believed that there was, roughly speaking, a 50:50 ratio between the time that professional authors spent writing and the time they spent checking their Amazon Sales Rankings. Post-Kindle, the ratio, at least in the U.S., has exceeded 2:1 in favor of time sapped from writing by ASRS. 

Amazon's "free" offering of Neilsen BookScan data to individual authors will, in all likelihood, be the final tipping point for ASRS, after which few new books, if any, will ever be finished.

Amazon's news release follows:

Weekly Nielsen BookScan Data for Print Book Sales Now Available for Free to Authors in Amazon’s Author Central Service

For the first time, authors can track their books’ weekly print sales, including geographical distribution, as recorded by Nielsen BookScan (widely regarded as the best source for industry print book sales)

Author Central also launches tracking of historical Amazon bestsellers rank for each of an author’s books

SEATTLE–Dec. 9, 2010 –Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced that authors who use Amazon’s Author Central service can now view Nielsen BookScan’s weekly geographic sales data for their print books for free.  Author Central is a free service provided by Amazon that helps authors promote their books and reach more readers. Also announced today, Author Central has added a feature that shows authors past history on the Amazon bestsellers rank for their books.
“Authors are an important community for us,” said Russ Grandinetti, Vice President, Amazon. “We’re really happy to make it easy and free for them to see geographical BookScan data updated weekly, as well as historical Amazon bestsellers rank, for their books.  We hope this creates an improved feedback loop for authors and enables them to develop more effective methods for reaching the widest possible audience.”

For the first time anywhere, authors can access timely geographic sales trends aggregated across retailers by Nielsen BookScan, widely regarded as the best source for industry print book sales.  The new “Sales by Geography” feature displays a map of the continental United States, highlighting the areas where copies of authors’ books have been sold. The new “Sales by Week” feature displays a bar chart of an author’s sales recorded over the trailing four weeks. Authors can also see how many copies of each title were sold by print-edition type, e.g. hardcover or paperback. Digital book sales are not included in BookScan data.  Nielsen BookScan estimates that it tracks 75 percent of print trade books sold in the United States, collected at more than 10,000 online and offline locations.

“I love the new sales information features on Author Central, especially the interactive sales map,” said Sarah Mlynowski, author of “Gimme a Call.” “Seeing retail sales by city allows me to effectively target my offline and online promotional efforts—and track their impact.”

The new Amazon Bestsellers Rank History enables authors to see their bestseller rank over time, without needing to frequently refresh their books’ pages on Amazon.com.

“Authors hate to admit it, but checking our Amazon bestsellers rank can become nearly addictive,” said Karen McQuestion, bestselling author of “A Scattered Life.” “Author Central has made it easier for me to track my rankings over time. This feature, along with others on Amazon Central, saves me time which is better used for writing.”

In addition to these new features, authors who use Author Central have the opportunity to share the most up-to-date information about themselves and their work with readers. Authors can view and edit their bibliography, add a photo and biography to a personal profile, upload missing book cover images, add video, information about speaking events, and use a blog to connect with readers. Authors only need a book listed in Amazon’s catalog to be eligible to join Author Central. The Author Central service is also available in the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan.

Authors can learn more about Author Central and these new features at http://authorcentral.amazon.com.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Of course this look into the dark side of Amazon Sales Rankings won't fit you ... but perhaps you have an author friend who feel the slightest tinge of recognition???

Thanks to past Kindle Nation featured author John Yunker for sending in this absolutely hilarious, spot-on video that he and his talented wife, short story author Midge Raymond, created for the relentlessly growing fellowship for those of us who are powerless over our need to check our Amazon sales rankings....

If there's any justice in the world, this video will sell them more books than a dozen "book trailers."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tip or Treat for Authors and Indie Publishers: How to Create a "Kindle for the Web" Sample of Your Kindle Book on Any Blog or Website

By Steve Windwalker


Here's a great tool to help any indie author or publisher connect with readers by sharing free samples of their work.  All you need is a website or a blog, a Kindle edition of your book, and the patience to follow some very basic instructions.

What's it all about? Earlier this Fall Amazon launched the beta version of "Kindle for the Web," a new feature that should be a tremendous benefit for indie authors and publishers in their efforts to introduce ebook readers to their books, but unfortunately the company has been rather coy when it comes to sharing information to help embed "Kindle for the Web" samples on author and publisher websites and blogs. In fact, the specifics of the way the company has rolled out "Kindle for the Web" have led many authors to a mistaken conclusion that their books are somehow not eligible for the program.

Au contraire.
The beta "Kindle for the Web" program works for just about any book in the U.S. Kindle Store, except for free public domain books, based on my entirely anecdotal and unscientific research. 

So let's see if we can use this post to help open an important door for our readers and for anyone else with whom you would like to share this information. (We have to begin by sending you to another web page to copy the "script" for this tool, because if we simply pasted the script here you would see the tool rather than the script).

Here are the steps:
  1. Go to this web page -- HTML SCRIPT TO EMBED "KINDLE FOR THE WEB" SAMPLE  ON YOUR BLOG OR WEBSITE -- and copy the HTML script from that page into a blog post or onto your website. (Be sure set your blog post or other environment to "Edit HTML" rather than "Compose" mode before you paste the script.
  2. Select the Kindle edition for which you would like to provide a free sample, and isolate and copy its 10-digit ASIN (this stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number, and you can think of it as Amazon's version of an ISBN) to replace the ASIN in your script.
  3. Add your own material or copy before and/or after the script to make the most of the sample feature.
Good luck! And please feel free to share your comments or email them to hppress@gmail.com. Naturally, as with anything else, getting this feature to work on your blog or website is only half the battle. The other half, or more, is attracting readers to see the feature on your blog or website.

Here's an unadorned example of how the "Kindle for the Web" Sample script looks in a blog post:

Note: You may substitute the 10-digit ASIN of your choosing within the single quotes for “asin:” and you may also experiment with and change the values for width and height to make “Kindle for the Web” reader fit your blog. Of course, we hope you will keep the ‘ebest’ value for “assoctag:” which supports the Kindle Nation Daily and indieKindle blogs.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tips from Bestselling Author Scott Nicholson for Authors and Publishers: Maximizing Your Movin’ & Shakin’

(Ed. Note: Please welcome bestselling author Scott Nicholson to indieKindle for this guest post this morning. I would be happy to consider similar pieces from other authors, but Scott is a shining example of a successful author who possesses some real wisdom and is willing to share it. And just to underline how important his overall approach has been, let me note that Disintegration remains firmly in the top 50 in the Kindle Store sales rankings more than three weeks after its Kindle Nation sponsorship. --S.W.)

By Scott Nicholson
, Guest Author

I’ve worked with Stephen Windwalker and Kindle Nation Daily several times this year, my first year as an indie author. And I can tell you from a career in media and as a New York author, marketing is a real crapshoot. The fact that I spend my marketing money here is a testament to my faith.

Windwalker has that thing called “target audience.” If you’re a Kindle author, he can introduce you to a Kindle audience better than anyone on the Internet except Amazon itself. KND subscribers are voluntary—they want the message. And you’re part of the message. (Ed. Note: When Scott refers to KND throughout this article, he is referring to the Kindle Nation Daily sponsorship program, which is described on this info page.)

But it’s not fair or realistic to expect KND to be the magic bullet. To maximize the impact of an instant audience, you should already have a platform firmly in place. So take the time to build your business from the ground up, starting by writing the best book you can, revising it, getting some proofreading or peer editing, and then seeking out professional cover artists (I use Neil at Ghostwriter Publications) and formatting (I use Ted at Dellaster Design).

While you’re doing that, grow your newsletter and meet Twitter and Facebook friends. Don’t worry about “numbers.” Better to have 10 people who share your enthusiasm than 1,000 “followers” who ignore you. Cultivate people who believe in your message and contribute to their lives as you can. Then, when your KND sponsorship is scheduled, mobilize your friend base. Try to get your book up a little early if you can, as a “soft opening.” That will give you time for sales, reviews, and a chance to work out any kinks. Then inspire your friends to amplify the sponsorship with freebies or other unique opportunities.

In my case, giving away Kindles as prizes on my blog tour was a natural fit. Even people without Kindles who participate will probably buy kindles later and maybe buy my books. If not, we had fun meeting and learning about the new digital era. It’s like giving away seeds to your gardening neighbors—it’s likely to come back in the form of tomatoes and zucchinis.

Price low, as Stephen recommends. I fared much better dropping to 99 cents for a limited time, because even after a number of books, there are plenty of people who don’t know me and won’t spend $6 or $9 on an author that’s new to them. I want people to try me because I believe they’ll want my other books, too.

I’ve done very well with my KND sponsorships. My crime thriller Disintegration hit #44 overall on the Kindle list the day after my sponsorship Oct. 31, partly because I already had the launch in place through my newsletter, with the stated goal of hitting the Top 100 (because then I’d give away an extra Kindle, so it was not only a team effort, it also carried personal incentive for participants). Disintegration was also a #1 Kindle Mover & Shaker, proof of its rapid rise up the charts.

The Red Church hit #144 after a Scary Short feature on KND a month ago and has stayed highly ranked in “Ghosts” ever since. Drummer Boy hit the 300s during a one-day blitz. On Saturday, Nov. 6, I ran a mini-campaign built around As I Die Lying and hit #317.  The only time I didn’t get big success was when I released my YA paranormal romance October Girls under a pen name. There were only two reviews at Amazon at the time, few sales, and no one knew who “L.C. Glazebrook” was. That to me showed the stark difference a foundation makes.

But don’t get hung up on rankings. Books have a natural rise and fall in the Kindle era, so don’t panic when you slip. You’re going to slip. Every writer in history eventually slips. You can always come back by staying positive, staying consistent, and staying visible without exhausting your social capital. And your next KND sponsorship will build on the previous effort. It’s a long-term investment in your business, not just a quick buzz.

Most importantly, think of your readers as “friends.” I’m uncomfortable with the words “followers” and “fans.” It implies a note of smug superiority. But you are nothing without your readers. Treat them like gold, and treat them like equals. So treat yourself like gold. That’s the true secret to success.

Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the thrillers Speed Dating with the Dead, Forever Never Ends, The Skull Ring, Burial to Follow, and Cursed! With J.R. Rain. His revised novels for the U.K. Kindle are Creative Spirit, Troubled, and Solom. He’s also written four comic series, six screenplays, and more than 60 short stories. His story collections include Ashes, The First, Murdermouth: Zombie Bits, and Flowers.

Join his Kindle giveaway blog tour at http://www.hauntedcomputer.com/blogtour.htm.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Planet iPad Blog Editor Tom Dulaney weighs in on the "Pedophile eBook" flap

By Tom Dulaney
Editor, Planet iPad

How utterly appropriate the an ebook published on October 28 has triggered a massive online debate about our freedom of speech. The internet is afire with arguments, citizen to citizen in open net forums, just in time for Veteran's Day. We honor the men and women who gave their lives, their limbs, their health and—at the very least—years of their lives to protect that freedom. We argue the shape and care of that freedom vigorously.

Two things are abominable and totally repugnant in America: pedophilia and restrictions on our freedom of speech.

The two clashed with a self-published ebook in the Kindle Store titled “The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure,” purporting to be a how to guide. The book appeared in Amazon's Kindle Store on October 28. It was removed yesterday during the firestorm of web protest. That fire ignited another: A rousing, heated, passionate debate of free speech, of what—if anything—should be censored, of who has the power to restrict even the most disgusting expression of ideas or opinions.

Pretty much lost in the outcry is an amazing truth about Amazon and the ebook phenomenon.  By making it so easy to publish a book on Amazon, the company threw open the doors to allow every person to enjoy "freedom of the press" as well as freedom of speech.  That is a major event in world history, to this reporter's thinking.

It took a couple of weeks for the offensive book to come to wider attention, but blog site TechCrunch was one of the first to spread the word widely.

From TechCrunch: "One thing Amazon loves to tout about their Kindle bookstore is their huge collection of wide-ranging titles. I’ll say. Here’s a great example of something I’m pretty sure you won’t find in rivals e-bookstores: The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure.” Yep, that’s the actual title."

TechCrunch also quoted Amazon as responding with this:

“Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.  Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.”

All over the net, the debate continues today. Listen to some of the voices, using their right to speak freely, reveal the complexity of keeping our free speech unrestrained while protecting our children—and our society:

“But just because it's [pedophilia] against the law isn't necessarily a great reason [for censorship]. For example, I'd be okay with them selling a book about how to grow marijuana.”

“....censorship shouldn't be allowed but at the same time I'm all for it when it's silencing something that can lead to cruel punishment, torture or even death of a human or animal.”

“If this book was to help pedophiles get away with it or do more of it or anything like that I'd have a harder time defending Amazon. I don't know what's in the book."

"Hopefully we can trust Amazon not to publish a book that will be likely to get children molested.”

“Amazon (or any other business, for that matter) is in exactly this position of authority. They have the ability to decide what we can read by offering it or not.”

“I am totally against book banning of any sort. Think about some of the books that people tried to ban... the Bible, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Harry Potter series, to name just a few.”

“If banning is allowed on one book, it WILL lead to banning a whole lot of other books."

"Only those in a position of authority can be censors.”

“We need to protect ALL of our rights, not just a few. And the slippery slope WILL kick in eventually.”

And then there is the new form of free speech, the "troll," or outrageous statement online whose only purpose is to provoke an angry response.  The troller and friends then have a good laugh over the responses.  Here's an apparent troll, which was posted in the only positive review of the book on the Amazon site, before Amazon removed it:
“This is an ABSOLUTE must read for me. I have been looking EVERYWHERE for this and was about to give up hope..”

One side of the discussion worries—and rightly so—that any precedent allowing the constriction of free expression will lead to more controls. This is the “slippery slope” argument.

The other side argues that those who transmit news and ideas have a responsibility to protect readers by vetting their content.

The Supreme Court, time after time, has permitted objectionable speech because to do so would have a “chilling effect” on everyone's right to speak freely. The court decided free speech is so valuable it is worth it to cope with horrible speech.

There are calls and pressures coming to bear that demand Amazon take on the burden of deciding what is acceptable speech.

Others, while repudiating the pedophile book, argue that it is too dangerous to give that power to any company, or to any government body.

Amazon, in the words quoted by TechCrunch, tried valiantly to keep in its own patch which is the business of selling books, saying: “Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.”

Ever since Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in 1919 that Charles Schenck did not have the right to oppose the military draft in print (Schenck lost), fierce arguments break out each time ideas appear in print that offend or threaten the majority. That is a very good thing.

America's “policy” is that speech should be free and unhampered by any restraints. That's stated in our Bill of Rights, the First Amendment. But the Founding Fathers left it to us to argue it ought on a case-by-case basis.

And that's what we're doing this week.

We, as a nation, cannot ignore the heart of darkness and evil by keeping it out of print. We won't know where and how to light a candle of sanity if we cannot look into the abyss and see it for the nightmare it is.

Beyond that, as citizens, we have an obligation to look—at least some of us must be able to look.

Had more people looked at a book titled Mein Kampf (My Struggle), written in a jail cell by a failed Corporal, back in the 1920s and early 1930s, then perhaps World War II and the deaths of millions would not have become part of our history.

So this is the wonderful noise we are hearing and reading today, especially on Veteran's Day. We say in our nation, “Let freedom ring.” The truth is, we must ring that bell individually, for ourselves, as we are not doing in passionate debate.

Nations around the globe will watch this debate and shake their heads in wonder or dismay. Many will not understand how such a book could even be published. Many will not comprehend how the author might escape punishment.

And many will will no doubt wonder why a nation armed to the teeth as guaranteed by the Second Amendment even has to deal with the free speech issues guaranteed by the First Amendment.

The could logically think that in a nation awash with guns, armed neighbors and friends would be ample “chilling effect” to curb the more outrageous expressions of free speech.

We shoot off our mouths around armed people who do not shoot off their guns in response.

Go figure.

And happy Veterans Day to fellow veterans from all conflicts and all peacetime years.

Author Fan Mail: Mercury Falls author Rob Kroese

One of the treats that ensues naturally from my work with authors and publishers here at Kindle Nation and at several thousand other blogs under my close control is the steady stream of obsequious and inappropriately affectionate email messages that I receive each day. This is as it should be, and it is my untested theory that many of the email messages are actually perfumed. Unfortunately the reason the theory remains untested is that I cannot figure out how to enable my Mac's magical and revolutionary "scratch and sniff" feature. (Ordinarily I have my 12-year-old son handle such operations matters, but there is simply no good reason why he should be made aware of the likelihood that I daily receive perfumed missives from otherwise reputable male and female authors.)

In any case, which is to say, I digress. It probably goes without saying that I am far too busy to actually read these groveling, sniveling messages. I do respond, usually by saying "Great stuff!" or "Great to hear it!" and I always sign off by saying "Cheers," which I am told means one thing to upper crust types like myself and quite another to regular drinkers like myself. But even though I do not actually have time or patience to read them -- after all, I read 9 freakin' sponsorship submission novels an hour here! -- I suspect it would be a fine thing to share them here on my indieKindle blog for authors and publishers, if only to help train in the aforementioned pleasant and much-appreciated quality of obsequiousness.

So, I've selected at random the following message from a recent Kindle Nation sponsor, er, let me check for the name, here it is, Mr. Kroese, how would one pronounce that exactly? As I have taken pains to say, I didn't read it, although I failed to mention the other reason for not reading such emails, which is that I fear that reading such messages from the "author" hoi polloi might taint my humility, which I have been told, or perhaps I imagined being told, is among my several most charming qualities.

So here's the set-up:

Dear Mr. Windwalker (if that is your real name):

Perhaps you misunderstood the terms of the deal that I offered you. In exchange for agreeing to ghost-write your memoir, entitled “Walking with the Wind: One Man’s Journey to Overcome His Crippling Fear of Open Spaces,” you were supposed to use your Kindle Kung-Fu to boost my novel, Mercury Falls, “as near as possible to the top 100 books in the Kindle Store WITHOUT ACTUALLY BREAKING INTO THE TOP 100.” As you recall, I promised to make a $500 donation to the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (http://www.gwendolynstrongfoundation.org/) if Mercury Falls rose higher than 101, but you assured me THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN. I feel, sir, that I have been duped. While I am sure that the GSF will use my $500 for worthwhile things like saving the lives of thousands of very small children, I cannot help be feel that this money could be better spent on my OWN charitable enterprise, confusingly also named “GSF.” My organization, “Greedo Shot First,” raises awareness about the fact that Han Solo was acting in SELF DEFENSE when he shot the bounty hunter Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina. But now, thanks to your abject trickery and my habit of looting the GSF treasury whenever I feel the need for  a Taco Bell run, Greedo Shot First will remain woefully underfunded. I hope saving the lives of a few thousand innocent children is worth that cost, Mr. Skywalker.

Rob Kroese

P.S. I also object to your characterization of me as a “madman.”
P.P.S. I assume we’re still on for ping-pong tomorrow? Call me.

Thank you, Mr. Croesus! Cheers!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Okay. Let's Make This INTERESTING.... Let's Make Mercury Falls Author Rob Kroese Pay!

By Steve Windwalker - 11.9.2010

If you've already seen last night's Free Kindle Nation Short featuring Robert Kroese's Mercury Falls, you may have noticed that I resorted to sophomoric name calling of the worst kind.

I said Rob is a madman. I believe I said something like "the best kind of madman," but still. I had a couple of beers with dinner, and that's the way I am.

Should I apologize? No. I mean, Hell no. I'm not Lebron James here.
Besides, things are going awfully well for Rob just now. He self-published Mercury Falls, and along came one of the coolest publishing companies in the Western world, AmazonEncore, to track him down and offer him a contract. He's at a point in his life where he'll probably take being called a madman as a compliment. I hope so.  He looks tougher than most authors, possibly even tougher than me.

But maybe he's not a madman after all.

Turns out he's a pretty good guy. I mean, as far as I know. And things are going his way. And he wants to give a little something back.

So it's our job to make him pay up.

Rob is going to make a donation to the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation based on the highest sales rank Mercury Falls  hits in the Kindle Store during the 24 hours after this Free Kindle Nation Shorts email goes out. Here's what he wrote to me:
  • If Mercury Falls hits the top 300, I will donate $100.
  • If it hits the top 200, I will donate $250.
  • If it hits the top 100, I will donate $500.
When the Free Kindle Nation Short went out a little before 11 pm Monday, Mercury Falls was at #485. Earlier this afternoon it jumped up to #236 and as I type these words at 4 pm Eastern time on Tuesday it's at 186.

So we're in the money already, but it's up to you. 

Want to go easy on him? Buy the book tomorrow. 

Want to really make him pay? Click here to buy it now.

We can do this, people. We can make him pay. $500 for a bestselling author like Rob? He might not be able to take the limo to get his latte in the morning.

Sure, it's true that there is a really great charity involved. Children, too. Whatever.

But what we've got here, people, is a chance to make the madman pay.

Then we'll see whether he wants to go around making people laugh out loud in the future.

The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (GSF) seeks to raise awareness about and fund research for Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the leading genetic killer of young children, and support those impacted by SMA and other life-altering diseases.

Monday, November 8, 2010

With A Little Help from Our Friends and Colleagues: A Cross-Post on Colleagues and Connections from Joe Konrath's A Newbie's Guide to Publishing

Joe Konrath, r., with Barry Eisler, Kathy Kulig
(Ed. Note: Thanks to Joe Konrath for permission to cross-post his excellent post from A Newbie's Guide to Publishing, and it's great to see that about three dozen of the authors Joe lists here are once or future Kindle Nation Daily sponsors. If you aren't on Joe's list, let me just suggest that subscribing to and reading the Kindle edition of his blog would be about the best thing a writer could ever do with 99 cents a month. And, if you'll join me in subscribing to the fundamental Karmic notion that Joe presents in this post, please consider the further possibility of -- say, once or twice a week -- dropping a buck or two to check out one of our Kindle Nation sponsors, who, after all, are indie authors just like you and me....  --S.W.)

 by J.A. Konrath

This isn't a competition.

It never was, really. Very few readers only read one author. The vast majority like several authors, and the more a person likes to read, the more authors they wind up discovering, and following.

In some cases, price may be a bit prohibitive. If your book budget is $40 a month, you might have to choose between two new hardcovers, or five paperbacks. But, by and large, readers don't pick one book over another book. If they want to read them both, they eventually will.

Which brings us to authors helping authors.

If we're not in competition with one another, then it makes perfect sense to help each other out. After all, we're all in the same boat.

I do this a lot. Anyone who has ever done a booksigning with me knows that I spend a lot of time pimping my peers' books--often moreso than I pimp my own.

That said, here are some writers I'd like to share with you.

Simon Wood is a guy I've known for years. I really liked his book Working Stiffs, and you can get it now on Kindle for $2.39. But even better, if you buy this ebook, or any of Simon's ebooks, until the end of the week, he's donating all of the proceeds to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Simon obviously understands this "helping others" thing.

Tom Schreck is a friend, and we wrote a story together called Planter's Punch featuring Jack Daniels and his series character, boxer/social worker Duffy Dombrowski. The Kindle version has been out for a while, but Tom has just released the story, along with his other terrific Duffy stories, in print. Duffy to the Rescue is a great collection for those who still like dead tree books, and all proceeds go toward Basset Hound rescue.

Parnell Hall is a funny guy, and a good writer, and a singer of dubious talent. But his songs are pretty damn funny. Check out his video for King of Kindle, which features cameos by a whole slew of famous mystery authors. (You might also check out the King of Kindle Bouchercon Edition, which features a fat, bearded blogger you might recognize.) His books are even better than his videos. Try Suspense, which is only $2.99 on Kindle. Hmm, I wonder why he chose that price...

Next week I'm doing a blog interview with the multi-talented James Swain, who is burning up the Kindle charts with his thrillers. Until then, check out Jackpot, the cover art done by my guy Carl Graves, and priced on Kindle at $2.99.

Marie Simas is a friend of this blog, and her ebook Do Tampons Take Your Virginity is a memoir about what happens when you grow up in an insane Catholic family. My wife just finished reading it, and loved it. It's a bargain at $2.99. I'll be interviewing the author sometime this month.

Dating My Vibrator by Suzanne Tyrpak was terrific, and even though it isn't the type of thing I normally read (online dating disasters?) I really enjoyed it. And for 99 cents, so will you.

Blake Crouch and I go way back. We're currently working together on two projects. One is the eighth and final Jack Daniels thriller, Stirred (the sequel to Shaken.) We're also working on a follow up to Serial Uncut called Killers Uncut, which ties up loose ends while showcasing a few bad guys from Jack Daniels's past. Both Stirred and Killers Uncut (along with Shaken and Serial Uncut) feature Blake's serial killer Luther Kite, who appeared in his terrific thrillers Desert Places and Locked Doors--both now $2.99 on Kindle.

When Draculas was released two weeks ago, Blake and I went on Kindle Boards and offered to buy people's ebooks if they bought ours, as a quid pro quo gesture. Quite a few authors took us up on this. Here's a list of them all. If you're looking for new writers, these folks are the future. And they're all $3.99 or less.

Stars Rain Down by Chris J. Randolph - $2.99 - After a devastating alien invasion, the last scattered survivors are forced to employ savage and unthinkable tactics in the battle for their future. Even if they win, can humanity ever be the same?

Down the Drain by Daniel Pyle - 99 cents - Bruce has lost everyone he ever cared about—even his cat. Now, when he thinks he’s finally alone in the house, something will come clawing its way out of the plumbing to prove him wrong.

Take the Monkeys and Run by Karen Cantwell - 99 cents - When film loving suburban housewife Barbara Marr talks her two friends into some seemingly innocent Charlie’s Angels-like sleuthing, they stumble upon way more than they bargained for and uncover a piece of neighborhood history that certain people would kill to keep on the cutting room floor.

No Good Deed by Mary McDonald - 99 cents - Mark Taylor, a photographer in Chicago, discovers first hand that no good deed goes unpunished when the old camera he found during a freelance job in an Afghanistan bazaar gives him more than great photos. It triggers dreams of disasters. Tragedies that happen exactly as he envisions them.

Wishful Thinking by K. Crumley - $1.59 - One stormy night Maevis Etherwood came home and found her husband in bed with another woman... What exactly transpired afterward remained a mystery, even to Maevis herself.

Gone by Karen Fenech - 99 cents - FBI Special Agent Clare Marshall was separated from her sister Beth in childhood when their mother tried to kill them. Now Clare learns that Beth lives in the small town of Farley, South Carolina, but when she goes there to reunite with Beth, Clare discovers her sister is missing and that someone in the town is responsible for her disappearance.

Camille by Tess Oliver - 99 cents - At a time when society conforms to the strictest rules and most proper etiquette, sixteen-year-old Camille Kennecott and her guardian, Dr. Bennett, live a most unconventional life. They hunt werewolves.

Love Lust and Petty Crime by Harclubs Bartag- $2.84 - Emmet Storch was an unemployed sponger who thought he had no calling in life. All that changed when he landed a job in the call centre at the monolithic Star Insurance where, from the very first day, he was magnificent.

Empath by Frank Zubex - 99 cents - After being shot in the cemetery, Detective Nick Crowell encounters ghosts and people with paranormal problems. In this collection of nine stories, five of which were originally published in DemonMinds from 2007 to 2008, you'll read about people who's lives have changed so drastically that they seek out Detective Crowell for help.

Blood Spring by Erik Williams - 89 cents - A husband and wife lost in the woods... A feral family that worships an ancient god... Who will make it out alive?
Failing Test by J.M. Pierce - 99 cents - You know him, but you can't remember his name. He is the one that is always there, in the background, all but invisible to those roaming the hallways. What if he had a secret? What if it was a secret that even he didn't know?

Pain by Harry Shannon - $2.99 - A Top Secret virus infects the water supply of a mountain town. Two mercenary soldiers, a retiring doctor and a handful of terrified patients struggle to defend a remote ER against a mob of the living dead. Through one long, harrowing night the living will learn there are many different kinds of... PAIN.

The Usurper by Cliff Ball - $2.39 - Ever wonder what would happen if our worst fears were realized and we elected someone who was willing to destroy the USA, even if he was destroyed himself? The Usurper is that novel. It is a fictional account of what would happen if the Soviet Union and KGB were given the chance to take down the United States from within.

Reining In by Dawn Judd - 99 cents - Khalida is a five thousand year old vampire. As technology and national security become more prominent, it becomes harder and harder for her to hide her secret from the world. In order to remain undetected by humans, she creates a network of people whose only job is to hide her identity.

Gnelfs by Sidney Williams - $2.99 - Cries in the night from her daughter, Heaven, are just the beginning for Gabrielle Harris. What seem to be nightmares about Heaven's favorite cartoon characters soon lead Gab to a stranger paranormal conspiracy focused on revenge.

Space Junque by L.K. Rigel - 99 cents - Char Meadowlark accepts an invitation to visit the Imperial Space Station from Mike Augustine, her dead sister's fiancé. While she's in orbit eco-terrorists start a planet-wide war.

Top Ten by Ryne Douglas Pearson - 99 cents - A killer who believes himself an artist of unmatched talent is incensed when he is placed last on the FBI's most wanted list, and begins killing off those fugitives above him, each in a twisted manner that serves his creative vision.

The Knight of Death by Brendan Carroll - $2.99 - An apparent kidnapping and rape become the first steps in a mystical journey for the Chevalier du Morte when a routine mission precipitates a spiritual fall from grace. As the tables turn on the abductors, the immortal Knight sinks in a corrupt quagmire of sin while fighting to recover his lost purpose and identity.

Fruitbasket From Hell by Jason Krumbine - $2.39 - My name’s Alex Cheradon. I’m a private investigator. I do NOT slay vampires, battle demons, fight zombies or vanquish evil spirits. In fact, you know what? Let’s just strike a line through the whole supernatural genre and call it a big no-no for me, okay?

Daughters by Consuelo Saah Baehr - $2.99 - In this sweeping, uncommonly stirring narrative spanning 1883 to 1957, Baehr chronicles the lives of three Palestinian Christian women: Miriam Mishwe, her daughter Nadia and Nadia's adopted child, Nijmeheach fated to struggle with the competing claims of loyalty to family and love for a man.

The Fall: An Undead Apocalypse by Robert J. Duperre - $2.99 - An ancient evil, trapped in the ruins of a lost Mayan temple for centuries, has been unleashed. It takes the form of a deadly virus, one that causes violent insanity in the living and the recently departed to rise and walk.

Swallow by Tonya Plank - 89 cents - Sophie Hegel is a shy New York lawyer from small-town Florence Arizona, known not for the Renaissance but for housing a large prison. She's just graduated from Yale Law School and landed her first job when, one evening she feels a fist-like ball form at the base of her throat.

A Dance of Cloaks by David Dalglish - $2.99 - Thren Felhorn is the greatest assassin of his time. Marshalling the thieves' guilds under his control, he declares war against the Trifect, an allegiance of wealthy and powerful nobles. Aaron Felhorn has been groomed since birth to be Thren’s heir. Sent to kill the daughter of a priest, Aaron instead risks his own life to protect her from the wrath of his guild. In doing so, he glimpses a world beyond poison, daggers, and the iron control of his father.

Not What She Seems by Victorine E. Lieske - 99 cents - Steven Ashton, a billionaire from New York, and Emily Grant, on the run from the law... and when they meet he can’t help falling for her. What he doesn’t know is that interfering in her life will put his own life in danger.

Need to Know by Christine Merrill - $2.39 - The new man in Liz Monahan’s life is a rogue secret agent who’s trying to kill her. But at least he’s single.

The Heretic by Joseph Nassise - $2.99 - In this internationally bestselling series from Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award nominee Joseph Nassise, the ancient Templar Order has been resurrected as a secret combat arm of the Vatican, charged with defending mankind from the supernatural enemies that threaten them at every turn.

The Ways of Khrem by D. Nathan Hilliard - $3.99 - Cargill the Bookseller lives a quiet life, in a modest house, overlooking the vast city of Khrem...a magical metropolis of cavernous streets, lofty spires, and dark secrets. His life is turned upside down when Captain Wilhelm Drayton of the City Watch arrives at Cargill's doorstep and confronts him with his criminal past.

Courtesan by D.A. Boulter - $2.99 - She needed a ship to escape pursuers; he a companion on a trip to the stars. The deal seemed straight-forward, but neither told the other everything.

eBully by Dave Conifer - 99 cents - Vice Principal Steve Lukather is desperate. Just like last year, an internet bully is terrorizing one of his students at Lakeland Middle School.

Powerless by Jason Letts - 99 cents - Mira Ipswich couldn't have ever known the startling difference that separates her from the rest of humanity. But when she discovers a strange anomaly in the midst of her seclusion, her parents are forced to reveal she exists in a world where everyone is imbued with a wondrous natural gift. Everyone except herself that is.

Asylum by Erik Lynd - $2.99 - Forced into a psychiatric hospital by uncaring parents, a teenage boy must master the strange power within himself to overcome the horror gathering in the shadows.

Broken Wings by Sandra Edwards - 99 cents - Rio Laraquette thought the legend was nothing more than an enchanted tale about star-crossed lovers who left behind a fortune. That is, until she figures out that she—in a past life—was the culprit who stole a shipment of gold and silver and buried it somewhere in the hills of northern Nevada.

Cameo the Assassin by Dawn McCullough-White- 99 cents - Cameo, an alias for Gwen, "the thrall of a vampire," has two masters to serve. One is Wick, the aging, spell-casting head of the Association of Assassins, who assigns missions to the battle-scarred Cameo. The other is Haffef, Cameo's vampire "Master," who years ago rescued her from certain death after her vicious rape and beating and a deadly attack upon her younger sister.

One Insular Tahiti by Thea Atkinson - $2.99 - Luke MacIsaac is dead, but not restfully so. In his watery afterlife he takes notice of an infant girl struggling to survive her birth. He feels a peculiar attachment to this girl and revisits her birth over and over again knowing she can survive if she is given a purpose. He wills her to be his mother in his next incarnation.

The Summoning Fire by David Michael - $3.99 - All Reese Howard has left is pain. Pain and a pump-action shotgun.

White Seed by Paul Clayton - $2.39 - White Seed hews closely to the record of Sir Walter Raleigh's second doomed attempt to plant the British flag in Virginia. The depiction of the colony's physical and moral disintegration between 1587 and 159o evokes a harrowing sense of human fallibility. Readers will find this saga, which soon achieves page-turner velocity, to be both a dandy diversion and an entertaining education.

Bound by Blood by Kimberly Hoyt & Danielle Bourdon - $2.99 - He was willing to give up eternity to have her, but would he die to keep her?

October Breezes by Martia Rachel Hooley - $2.99 - Skye Williams knows everything there is to know about mistrust: Dad skipped out when she was five, leaving Mom with an angry daughter and an upside-down mortgage.

The Kinshield Legacy by K.C. May - $2.99 - A mysterious stone tablet with five magical gems has sat abandoned in a cave for two hundred years. The kingdom is in ruins, with only warrant knights to keep the peace. But then, the gems in the tablet, one by one, disappear.

Cries in the Dark by P.A. Woodburn - $2.99 - Two prostitutes vanish. Chimps are mysteriously missing from a primate sign lab. Is there a possible link to a biomedical research facility? While premed student Alex Buchanan confronts her new-found ability to communicate telepathically with animals, the body toll mounts.
We Interrupt This Date by L.C. Evans - $2.39 - Since her divorce a year ago, Susan Caraway has gone through the motions of life, feeling at best mildly depressed. Now she is finally coming out of her shell. Just when she decides on a makeover and a new career, her family members call on her for crisis assistance.

Forbidden The Stars by Valmore Daniels - $2.99 - At the end of the 21st century, a catastrophic accident in the asteroid belt has left two surveyors dead. There is no trace of their young son, Alex Manez, or of the asteroid itself.

Monster Mashup by M.J.A. Ware - $2.99 - Monsters, magic, goblins, zombies, and more. Be prepared to sleep with the lights on. This collection of nine short stories will have you looking over your shoulder, avoiding mirrors. and jumping at the slightest sound.

The White Hairs by Noah K. Mullette-Gillman - $2.99 -The White Hairs is a work of spiritual mythology. Somewhere on a white and snowy mountain, is a young creature learning how to leave his body and travel the world inside of the wind.

Jenny Pox by J.L. Bryan - $2.39 - Jenny Morton is a quiet small-town girl from South Carolina whose touch spreads a deadly supernatural plague--she can't touch anyone for long without killing them.

Lonely is the Soldier by Jeffry S. Hepple - $2.84 - Follow the career of 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta officer R.A. Lincoln from Delta selection through the start of the War on Terror.

Night Touch by John C. Hamilton - $2.99 - Christopher Price roams the dark streets of Manhattan, terrified of his past, searching for a future. Dr. Willard Pull: dentist and concerned citizen. Blood lust sends them on a collision course. One of them is a serial killer. The other is a vampire.

Out of Time by Monique Martin - $2.99 - When a mysterious accident sends Professor Simon Cross and his assistant, Elizabeth West, back in time to 1920s New York, they find it's more than a the world of Prohibition and speakeasies. It's a world where the underground is run by the underworld, and where vampires and mobsters vie for power in the seedy underbelly of Jazz Age Manhattan.

A Little Girl In My Room by Claire Farrell - 99 cents - A Little Girl in my Room & Other Stories is a collection of dark flash fiction by upcoming author, Claire Farrell. This book is Rated R: Adults Only. Some may find the themes addressed disturbing.

The Book of Biff by Chris Hallbeck - 99 cents - The Book of Biff is a single panel comic about spaghetti, time travel and toast. The strip centers around a child-like mad scientist named Biff who may be part cockroach or possibly an alien.

Northwoods Deep by Joel Arnold - $2.99 - Deep in the north woods, two sisters become lost; one stalked by a murderous ex-husband, the other unable to rid herself of the leeches that appear mysteriously on her skin. All are drawn to an old, dilapidated cabin. Inside lives an old man with awful urges, accompanied by a Rottweiler possessed by something…unnatural. But it’s what resides beneath the cabin that they should really be worried about.

The Adventures of Whatley Tupper: A Choose Your Own Adventure by Rudolf Kerkhoven & Daniel Pitts - $2.99 - Whatley Tupper is an A-grade janitor at a B-grade university about to become entwined in C-grade fiction! Yes, there is something in the air tonight... Adventure! Romance! Carbon Monoxide!

In the Mood by Ellen Fisher - 99 cents - Jude Patterson is a sexy but shy romance novelist who discovers the flowery language he's always used in historical love scenes doesn't translate well to contemporary romances. Alyssa Stone is a beautiful fan who offers to help him learn to write better love scenes. Jude is fascinated by Alyssa, whose confident and sensual demeanor conceals a very vulnerable interior. Before long, he's the one showing her how to write love scenes... and maybe even how to write happy endings.

So there you are. Quid pro quo in action.

And to the authors I've listed here, I encourage you to link to this blog on your blogs (or on Twitter, Facebook, or wherever.) We're all in the same boat, so we all should be rowing.