So you can read my books

Sunday, July 8, 2012


Megan Fox wrote me, asking if I would explain how to succeed at being an eBook author. 

And after that would I mind establishing world peace?

{I live in an enchanted world. But even so that last request is a bit beyond me.}

Well, to start off:

A self-published author has beaten names including Lee Child, James Patterson and Stieg Larsson to become the bestselling ebook author on for the last three months of 2011.

Kerry Wilkinson, 31, self-published Locked In, the first book in his Jessica Daniel series of detective novels, last year,

only to find it shoot up the UK's Kindle charts.

 Self-published author Katie Stephens also took the fifth slot over the same period with her debut novel, Candles on the Sand.

"This time last year, I hadn't even started writing Locked In and now I have a No 1 bestselling book in the Kindle Store,

 outselling many authors that I have grown up reading," said Wilkinson.

1.) Wilkinson's Secret:

Wilkinson never approached a traditional publisher with his novel because he "didn't set out to 'be an author',"  instead aiming just to "write something I thought I would like".

"I keep chapters short and snappy because I like that.

I try not to flit between characters too much because I don't like that either.

As such, in a literary sense, I know it's not perfect - but I wasn't aiming for that. I wanted to create something I would like as a consumer," he said.
Love Me Tender

2.) Choose the right book, the right genre and the right title:

In other words, catch the potential reader's attention!

At this stage in the digital revolution,

the successful self-published ebooks spring from popular genres, and those for which there are already big online communities –

fantasy, erotica, chick-lit, horror and crime thrillers.

Be careful with your title:

in an era of keywords, tags and search engine optimisation, it has never been more important.

3.) Don't just rely on Twitter or Facebook:

Most people who buy your book want to find out more about you and they can't find that from your Twitter feed.

A website is a sales platform, it's a marketing platform and it's a global presence if you do it right.

 A recent Verso survey estimated that barely 12% of books are discovered from social networks whereas 50% are passed on via personal recommendations.

4.) Do it professionally:

According to the survey done by The Taleist last month ( )

self-publishers who take the most professional approach to production – getting external help (editors, proofreaders and, especially, cover designers) –

make on average 34% more from their books.

5.) Learn from the most popular girl in high school - GIVE IT AWAY:

Everyone loves a freebie, especially online. Getting read is an obvious way to sell more copies via word of mouth –

if your book is any good.

For authors wanting to eat, giveaways should be for a limited time only.


No, not erotica,

although, Megan, for you that's not a bad idea –

the print version of EL James's originally self-published Fifty Shades of Grey sold 100,000 copies in its first week in the UK,

becoming the fastest-selling book this year.

Kerrry Wilkinson's day job involves web journalism

but his success, he insists, was the same as any book throughout history:

 his book found an audience via word-of-mouth.

"The truth is, there is no magic wand.

Regardless of anyone who tries to flog you a 'How to sell a million books' guide,

it is the dirty secret no one will share – a lot of it is luck."

So there all of us are: on the shore of the ocean of possibilities.  The decisions are yours alone.

Make them wise ones.
Should I Stay Or Should I Go?


  1. I think a lot just has to do with timing. But there have been enough successes from self publishers and those with small presses to show that it can be done.
    Roland, Megan wants world peace. How can you say no to that?

  2. Alex:
    I would never say NO to Megan. But like Clint Eastwood said: "A man has to know his limitations." Establishing world peace is out of my ball park!

    Yes, timing is essential. Getting your book in the headlights of as many as possible is even more so. Sigh. I need a date with Megan! Then, the media would swarm me. Ah, also her husband. But some goals are worth the bruises!

  3. Roland, very interesting post. I'm going to self-publish, maybe at the end of August or September. I'm learning a lot.

    P.S. I'm reviewing End of Days on Tuesday on my blog. Hope you stop by:)

  4. A lot of it is just luck of the draw. What's funny is I haven't heard of anyone yet who likes those 50 Shades of Grey books. All I've heard is people saying how awful they are. So I suppose most people are buying it from the hype and/or as a guilty pleasure. I just finished the latest Amanda Hocking book and it wasn't any better than self-published ones I've read, so a lot of it seems to be popularity and luck over quality.

    The thing about titles too is so many people it seems use these one word titles and a couple of times I've tried lecturing people that online it's going to be almost impossible to find your book with a one word title. If you insist on the one word title then I guess you need a series name or hope people will remember your name.

  5. Gwen:
    If you come across any questions about self-publishing, please email me, and I will try to help as best I can. Having only sold 2 book this whole month, I am not exactly Amanda Hocking! But I will try my best to help you.

    I will be there Tuesday. Alice would never forgivre me if I weren't! I hope you enjoyed END OF DAYS! :-)

    You, Alex, Wilkinson, and I agree: mostly it is about luck and timing. Being at the right place at the right time with the right novel makes all the differencee in the world, doesn't it?

    I hear you about those one word titles. Stephanie Meyers seems to have branded one word titles in the psyches of struggling writers, all hoping to catch the magic of TWILIGHT.

    I've never read Amanda Hocking or John Locke (not the philosopher, him I have read! LOL). I have so little free time as a rare blood courier and as an ongoing writer that I use my time reading for research. Lately, I have taken to listening to audio books by Dean Koontz and Jim Butcher as I do my longer blood runs.

    Have a great new week, Roland

  6. Excellent post and thanks for the chuckle over #5 :)

  7. mshatch:
    I thought #5 would either get me chuckles or rotten vegetables (and comments) thrown at me! I'm glad you liked my post, Roland

  8. Nice pic of Megan Fox Roland. Put her on the cover and you're sure to up your sales, lol! I think the advice to keep chapters short and pithy is key; ereaders just want to flick through quickly.They don't want to read War and Peace, unfortunately. Myself, I'd much rather keep the serious tomes in print! I'm finally thinking of buying a Kindle Fire as Nas can bring it back from the US for me. She won one just before she left.

    I've been offline with no internet connection for 5 days. You've been there Roland. Horrible,ain't it?


  9. ...I do believe I'm going this route with "The Fall," when completed. My editor is working on it, but considering its low page count, going self-pub makes the most sense.

    Thanks Roland for the info. This one's been officially bookmarked ;)


  10. Denise:
    I put Megan on the cover, and I am sure to hear from her attorneys!! LOL.

    I think you will love your Kindle Fire if Nas will be gracious enough to let you have the one she won.

    Short chapters are the way most popular authors are going these days. I try to alternate short chapters then longer ones for a sort of pacing. Too many short chapters makes novels too jerky like a ride on a cheap bus!

    Yes, being without the internet really reeks! I'm glad you found some source of internet access to write me! Roland