This was another record month for my Kindle sales. Sales were up across the board — in March, I sold 1360 books, in April I sold 1798, and this month I sold 1919. I earned $1415 in April and this month I earned $1543.
THE WALK continues to be my bestselling title. I sold 629 copies in April and 720 this month.
GUILTY, one of my re-branded VIGILANTE novels, moved up to #3 with 184 copies sold compared to 125 last month.
There was one bit of troubling news…MY GUN HAS BULLETS went from selling 264 copies last month to 166 this month… I have no idea why sales plunged by 100 copies. That's a dramatic drop. I may need to try a new cover and see if that will stop the slide.
This will be the last month of Kindle sales under the old royalty system. Starting July 1, my royalties will go from 35% to 70% of each sale. I can't wait.
Author Lee Goldberg once published an article about BookWhirl.com. He entitled his post, BookWhirl Can't Even Sell Itself. Published last August 2008, the article features Goldberg’s first and only impression about BookWhirl.com.
But contrary to Lee Goldberg’s first impression, we, at BookWhirl.com strive for excellence in the best way that we can to provide assistance to self-published authors. Despite negative reviews, BookWhirl.com continues to sufficiently address and accommodate online marketing needs. With cost-efficient marketing tools, self-published authors are given the chance to efficiently market their books even on a shoestring budget.
Powerfully persuasive stuff. But then again, that's the hallmark of Bookwhirl. And once again, they get to show off their brilliant promotional skills…proudly touting that they "sufficiently address and accommodate" the marketing needs of their clients. Wow, that's mighty impressive. It's not easy finding a publicist who is sufficient, is it? They also go on to showcase their exceptional grasp of English and grammar, too:
BookWhirl.com is continuously improving and ironing the quality of its business communications. BookWhirl.com is grateful to its consumers who have extended their commendation on the improvement of our customer communications.
Back in September 2009, despite my negative blog post about them, the sufficient publicists at Bookwhirl contacted me again with a sales pitch:
A pleasant day to you.
This is Melissa Adams, a Marketing Consultant of Bookwhirl.com.
I came across your book, “Mr. Monk is Miserable” and I find it very interesting. Our company, Bookwhirl.com is really interested to help you in promoting your book/s online because we find out that your book/s deserves to be recognized.
As a Marketing Consultant, what I can do is to offer you a strategic marketing optimization that will help you strengthen the marketing punch of your book/s and eventually in the future this will help increase your book sales, and at the same time, increase the popularity of your book/s since we can send this out to thousands or even millions of people which are your target potential buyers.
The right time for you and your books in achieving the attention and recognition that is so rightfully deserved has come. You have the book, we have the Marketing Tools.
Please let me know the best way to contact you. You may also simply reply to this email or call at my toll free number X XXX XXX-XXXX. I’d be grateful to give you more information about this.
Please visit our website at www.Bookwhirl.com for more information.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Marketing Services – BookWhirl.com
Toll Free: 1 (877) 207-1679 ext 323
Fax No. : 1 (800) 852-4249
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
You can't even write a coherent paragraph, with proper verb/tense agreement, and you think you can promote my books?
They contacted me again a month later with yet another pitch. I saved that message, too.
Hi Lee Goldberg,
A pleasant day.
I’m Rabbie Allen, a Marketing Specialist of Bookwhirl.com www.bookwhirl.com
I came across your book entitled, “.357 VIGILANTE: DIE, MR. JURY”. We are interested to promote it and we’d like to help you reach out up to 5,000,000 individuals and let them know about you and your passion for your work.
If you are interested, please provide me the best way to contact you or you may give me a call at XXX-XXX-XXXX or you may simply reply to this email. I’d be grateful to give you more information about this.
Hope to hear from you soon.
Marketing Services – BookWhirl.com
Toll Free: 1 (877) 207-1679 ext 318
Fax No. : 1 (800) 852-4249
Email : email@example.com
Here's a free piece of advice from a professional writer: don't start trying to sell yourself as an expert in promotion until you've mastered basic English. You already have a reputation as know-nothing con artists…now you are becoming known as fools.
I absolutely loved the story in today's LA TIMES about the insider trading scam cooked up by an inept Disney secretary and her dimwit boyfriend, both of whom could be characters in an Elmore Leonard novel.
The Disney secretary, Bonnie Hoxie, and her boyfriend, Yonni Sebbag, sent anonymous letters to three dozen hedge funds offering them an advance peek at the Mouse House's quarterly earnings report. The hedge funds immediately called the Feds, who sent a couple of undercover agents out to make a deal with Hoxie and Sebbag.
Federal authorities arrested the couple early Wednesday morning and charged them with criminal wire fraud in what experts described as one of the more ham-handed attempts at insider trading in memory.
[…]Sebbag told undercover agents that he was "looking to build a strong business relationship" and that "I don't think we will get caught if we stay discrete [sic] and careful."
[…]Sebbag allegedly said he wanted "to make a lot of money" and asked for their guidance in opening an offshore bank account to avoid detection.
[…]"This is the insider trading equivalent of the bank robber who drops off the demand note and comes back in an hour to pick up the money," said Robert A. Mintz, a former federal prosecutor who is a partner at McCarter & English in Newark, N.J. "It's mind-boggling that somebody would even try to get away with something like this."
Call me a pessimist, call me Ishmael, but I think that book publishing is about to slide into the sea.[…]if you want to write, you just write and publish yourself. No need to ask permission, just open a website. And if you want to write a book, you just write it, send it to Lulu.com or BookSurge at Amazon or PubIt or ExLibris and you've got yourself an e-book. No problem. And that is the future of publishing: 18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.
He's right. Anybody can "publish" a book now, whether they can write or not. I got some evidence of that today. Several prominent authors have been spammed by a self-published "writer," and I use that term very lightly in this case, named Irene Matthews. Here's her note:
Hello how are you? PublishAmerica will be at the book expo with many book's from new author's my book will be among them. Title Dark Island by Irene Matthews. It's a pirate adventure like no other before it with twist's and turn's and an ending that no one saw comming, enjoy.
At first I thought the email had to be a fake, but then I saw the listing for her book at PublishAmerica:
I have been writing since I was 13 years old and really enjoy writing. I write poems, love stories, horror, adventure, etc. All my life I always wanted to write a wonderful book and finally my dream has finally came true thanks to alot of wonderful people who believed in me. I knew one day that my dream would come true one day, and to never ever give up. Since I was little I always had a love for pirate movies and stories, plus I always loved vampire stories and movies, I also believe dreams do come true and mine did come true.
If anybody ever needed proof that PublishAmerica is a scam, or that there's good reason for Garrison Keillor's fears, the publication of this book is it.
Here's my friend author Parnell Hall's classic, and painfully true, ode to booksignings, "Signing in the Waldenbooks," which is nearly as well known and beloved as his many books. He's been singing his very funny song at conferences and booksignings for years…so long, in fact, that he's still plugging away and Waldenbooks isn't (I think I first heard him sing it at a Left Coast Crime conference in Boulder Colorado in 1996).
I'm a big fan of Robert B. Parker's early Virgil & Everett westerns (APPALOOSA,RESOLUTION, etc.) but the latest, BLUE EYED DEVIL, is Parker at his worst. For starters, it's hardly a book at all, more like a long short story fattened up with large fonts, three-page chapters, and lots of white space.
Professional gun hands Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch return to Appaloosa, the setting for the first (and best) book in the series and spend most of their time sitting on one porch or another sipping whiskey and talking about how smart, skilled, capable, and all around marvelous they are. Occasionally, they get up and shoot someone. The plotting is episodic, improvised, and often inept. For example, at one point, their old friend Pony Flores, a inscrutable and wise half-breed Indian, shows up on the run from the law with his silent brother but isn't worried about being caught because, like Virgil and Everett, he's so damn good.
"Anybody on your trail?" Virgil said.
Pony shook his head.
"Only man can track Pony Flores," he said, "is me."
"Good," Virgil said.
But a few pages later, the law shows up looking for him anyway. Virgil quizzes the trackers.
"What makes you think he's here?" Virgil said.
"Folks in Van Buren spotted them, couple weeks back, heading south. This is the next town."
So Pony's brilliant, untrackable method for eluding pursuers is to go in a straight line from one town to the next, making sure that he's seen. But Virgil and Everett continue to regard Pony as a master tracker and eluder anyway.
An editor might have caught that bit of insipidness and, perhaps, also the half-dozen repetitions of the phrase "when the balloon goes up" throughout the book, but it's been a while since anybody has bothered editing Parker…and that disinterest and laziness continues even after his death.
Parker relies on all of his tropes in this book, repeating banter that I swear I've read in all of his books and lifting situations whole from previous entries in the series (for instance, once again Everett finds a sweet, warm-hearted, still beautiful hooker willing to have sex with him for free because she gets so hot hearing him talk about how competent and marvelous he and Virgil are)
Parker has succeeded in killing this series with his own disinterest the same way he did with the Jesse Stone books. Both series started out great and then he seemingly gave up making any effort, letting them become thinly-written and loosely conceived parodies of themselves. It's a sad thing to see and even more painful to read. At least it's over fast. I doubt BLUE EYED DEVIL is even 30,000 words.
I truly hope that the two upcoming SPENSER novels that Parker finished before his death are a return to form and not, as I fear, a sad coda to a once-great writer's career.
If you can't wait for the third season of ASHES TO ASHES, the sequel series to the worldwide hit LIFE ON MARS, to show up on DVD or come to BBCAmerica, this article from The Guardian newspaper will tell you in detail how it all ends in the final episode. It's a big spoiler, so think twice if you really want to know.
Personally, I thought this season was very weak story-wise, not nearly as compelling or as well plotted as previous seasons of either ASHES or LIFE. The show probably should have ended with a variation on this episode last season instead of limping pointlessly through seven more.
That said, the final episode tied up the two series in a way the felt right and packed an emotional punch, even if the "reveal" was obvious and strongly telegraphed from the start…and I mean going all the way back to LIFE ON MARS. It was certainly a much better final episode than the atrocious American take, which revealed that all the central characters were astronauts in suspended animation on a journey to Mars to conduct a "gene hunt." I kid you not.
What is the best advice an older relative or family member gave you?
My grandfather gave me two pieces of advice I have followed all of my life.
1). “It never hurts to be over-prepared, it always hurts to be under-prepared.” That’s why I always have a jacket with me, even if it’s 110 degrees in the shade, a habit which my daughter finds embarrassing.
2). “Never buy a car on time. That way, no bank can ever take it away from you and, if worse comes to worse, you can always live in it.” My accountant absolutely hates me for following that one.