So you can read my books

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


{My computer has died so I will not be able to visit all of you as I would wish}

Business is business.

A market starts, and barriers to entry are low.

There’s things like quality and consistency of product,

so that the early products are often of poor quality and have limited distribution.

Usually but not always. But the early entrants aren’t the companies who win through.

Then, there's Amazon. eBooks have been the making of Amazon.

A few years ago, Amazon was making a loss on the book side and accounting for 4% of the market.

With their aggressive promotion and bold introduction of the Kindle, they’ve claimed a big portion of the distribution market.

Which means exactly what for us? To me?

You say I can do little to change how things go.

Some believe I can just wave and feebly mention that I’m still here. As the market grows, my voice becomes feebler. All I can do, many sigh, is keep writing the stories I love and hope that someone else loves them, too.

But are they right?


Read on to discover it.

Oh, interesting side-note:
Did you know that Amazon can remotely delete purchased e-books through a back door, much the way it did in 2009 on "thousands of copies of George Orwell's 1984? Big Brother indeed!}


Do you know how Robert Bindinotto managed to write and publish a debut novel that,

backing by a traditional publisher and with zero paid advertising,

went on to become a Kindle bestseller?

Get out your highlighter to copy this secret.

Prepare yourself. Wait for it.

The short, unsatisfying answer:

HUNTER caught the eyes of the Amazon Kindle editors, who (bless their little hearts if they do this for me) singled out his book for one week-long focused attention and promotion on the Amazon website.

You go: "Duh! Well, sure! My book would soar if they did that for me!!!!"

Better question:

Why did they single out HUNTER from over a million items in the Kindle Store? Did Mr. Bidinotto do anything that made a difference?

Nobody from Amazon ever confided in him. But Robert (I can call you, Robert, can't I?) has a few guesses:

1. CARVE OUT A DISTINCTIVE NICHE.To succeed in being noticed in an overcrowded marketplace, you must distinguish yourself and especially your product.

If all authors are blogging, tweeting, Facebooking, interviewing, pricing at 99 cents, etc., then there is nothing in that which makes the individual author or his book stand out.

Likewise, if you are writing the umpteenth rendition of the same kind of protagonist in the same kind of story, aping other successful writers who pioneered that same sort of character or plotline, etc., you are not standing out from the pack.

John Locke stood out by being the first with 99-cent ebooks, and he did sensationally well. But now, a zillion indies have mindlessly copied him, and as a result, 99-cent pricing no longer stands out or moves ebooks.

In fact, it screams “SELF-PUBLISHED!” to readers who have grown leery of quickie, low-quality, self-published titles.

Similarly, Amanda Hocking triumphed by being one of the first indies to develop a big social-media following for her books via Facebooking and Tweeting. Now, everyone is doing it—and again, nobody stands out as she did.

To stand out in marketing, you must be first to do something new and different. You must pioneer something.

It can be a new twist on an old formula, but it must be sufficient to create a kind of “niche monopoly.” Clancy invented the “technothriller,” a thriller subgenre. Rowling pioneered a parallel race/universe featuring young wizards.

Everyone knows the Western is dead:

So I have created an undead Paladin (HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL) in the haunted New Orleans of the present.

{Speaking of unique, Originally, each show of HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL opened with exactly the same 45-second visual.

The first season's Christmas episode, "The Hanging Cross," is unique.

Instead of drawing the revolver, Paladin unbuckles the belt and removes the entire rig, holding it out to the camera as he talks.

The camera then tilts upward, revealing Richard Boone himself speaking to camera, then hanging the belt, holster, and gun on a wall peg and walking away as the theme picks up and the title graphics appear.}

Vampires have been so overdone that they are crisp and black! So I have a flesh-eating Victorian ghoul as the love interest of my young street Gypsy, Victor Standish.

And see how my name is a household word? Ah, not so much, huh? Hey, it was just a guess on Robert's part!

Kerry Wilkinson, a self-publishing phenom who is currently #1 on Kindle in the UK, wrote that he put himself in the reader’s shoes.

So, if you were a reader in your genre, what would engage you?

Apply that consideration to everything you do–from writing, to cover, to formatting, to pricing, to marketing, to websites, to blogging, etc.

Also ask yourself:

Who are the readers for my kind of story? Where do they hang out? How can I reach them? What would catch their interest? If you answer those questions before you hit the “publish” button, you’re many times more likely to be successful.
Authors should spend well over 90 percent of their time and effort not on marketing, but on crafting the best stories they can possibly write.

A great story can sometimes succeed without marketing fanfare; but no marketing fanfare can long sustain a poor story.

Catchy covers and pricing gimmicks may win attention for a book, but if that initial attention isn’t eventually affirmed by a positive and enduring reader response, long-term sales will be mediocre at best.


When publishing, an indie author must pay attention to all the “little things” that lend an air of competence and professionalism to his book(s).

Covers, design, formatting, logos, your author blog or website–all of these things must exude a quality equal to anything issued or overseen by Random House or Simon & Schuster.

And no, you do not have to break the bank to obtain that kind of quality. Robert was able to do it all for about $1000.
{For more of his excellent guesses read: }

{If you are interested in Victor or Samuel, read and see the new, improved product page: }


ALICE WENTWORTH'S song as she met VICTOR STANDISH at midnight by the crypt of Marie Laveau done by THEA GILMORE:


  1. Reaching my readers. I am still trying to do that.

  2. Part of me wants to assimilate and use your words of wisdom, Roland, but another part will instead probably just concentrate on writing and enjoying my own writing and storytelling, because whenever I think of sales and publishing my lovely little behind tightly clenches up. But for you, I wish bestsellerdom!

    1. We must follow our heart in our writing. My computer died so I am stumbling with my Fire.

  3. Right now, I shall focus on writing stories. Then, hopefully publish some more next year.

    1. Do what seems right for you ... that seems the right courses, right?