Friday, September 9, 2011

Self Pubbed E-Books Make Best Seller List!

How about that title! It probably couldn't have happened a year or two ago. The good news about e-books just keeps getting better and better.

This week's USA Today's best seller list places BLIND FAITH at #7 and THE ABBEY at #12. I haven't checked the other lists, but they're often pretty much the same. Both of these mystery novels are published via Amazon and selling for $.99 (not a typo). I bought BLIND FAITH last evening, and am already hooked (which could change, as I rarely read murder mysteries).

If you've been following Hoosier Ink regularly, you'll know that I've blogged several times recently about e-books. Some of you have already launched your books as such. I'm behind you, but not for much longer. And wait til you hear how my writing buddy is doing.

Two months ago, my writing buddy Melissa and I were still exploring self or independent e-publishing options. Everything we read and heard pushed us closer to taking the leap. About a month ago, Melissa did. Sick and tired of delays and rejections and with six in a series of murder mysteries completed, she e-published with Amazon. From a zero readership, she's already sold pushing 200 books! And having fun reading great reviews from strangers! Like the two books I mention above, she's selling hers at $.99 for a limited time. She'll soon have her second book available and up her prices a bit. So take a look today at an intriguing story for an unbeatable price on, MISS PETTYBONE'S FIRST CASE by Melissa Rees price.

To join the e-publishing party, a couple of weeks ago I turned down a small, rapidly growing publisher's contract offer for all of my books. (I SO wanted to work with that editor, but just couldn't accept the non-negotiable financial package after my great experience with independent publishing.) It was about the sixth contract offer I've rejected since I started writing fiction. But even more difficult, I also terminated with my agent and literary agency. (Lots of future famifications there, how well I know.)

And yes, I'm still mourning the above decisions a bit, but I'm excitedly preparing my first novel for conversion to an e-book. I'm still deciding between two e-publishers. But at the moment, I'm thinking I'll follow Melissa's lead and use Amazon. If not Amazon, I'll use the printer for all my books so far,

I encourage those of you with e-publishing and e-reading experiences to share some comments here. This is still a new publishing "game," with new rules and wins every day. And we need to hear from each other.

Writing and reading blessings!
Millie Samuelson


  1. Great insight, Millie. The e-books workshop I attended a few weeks ago emphasized keeping your stories short or creating a series out of them to hook the reader and increase sales. They also said don't wait to release the next book; if it's ready, publish it! They stressed that with Amazon you can take your book "down" and "retool" it (make any edits/changes you want, especially adding endorsements) and put it right back up on line for sale again. I enjoyed the "community" approach they stressed, such as including advertising at the back of your book, promoting your other books and those of your writing friends. Have your friends do the same for you.

    There were multiple great points made, but the one that made the 200+ people say, "Ohhhhhhhhhhh!" (in the good sense) was the topic of tags for the internet searches. Amazon apparently only offers up to 5 tags per book, so you have to choose your search works carefully. They suggested using the names of the most famous authors that write the same type of books you are working on. For example, if you are writing a western, make "Louis L'Amour" one of your tags. Perfectly legal and offers a much higher probability that your book will be seen during searches. I'm including the link to a book that one of the presenters at the conference discussed. He is a professor at OU. I don't have a Kindle yet, so I haven't looked at it, but others in the group said it was very helpful for them and saved them a lot of grief trying to figure things out.


  2. Paul, WOW -- what you've shared is SO important! And I hadn't thought about it yet in connection with my book/s. I'm just beginning to understand the importance of "tags," and with this comment, you've multiplied my understand many hundred percent. As our Chinese/Taiwanese heritage taught us to say -- A thousand fragrant thanks forever! I'm going to get the book you recomment RIGHT NOW! Duo shieh! :-)

  3. I truly believe epublishing will continue to grow. With iPads and similar devices out there, it's easier than ever to download a book.

  4. This is all so new to me and my conventional mind is startled. It's a whole new writing world out there! I'm wondering if I could get my parent's book, "China Call" done as an e-book since it was in print only a short while and we can't find many copies around. I guess it would mean re-typing the whole thing...hmmm. My parents did want to update it. Thanks for all this great info, Millie Samuelson and Paul Brown. Joy Kelly

  5. On Thu 9-8, literary agent Terry Burns blogged about best-sellers. How he concluded ties in with this blog of mine. To read his whole blog, go to
    Here's Terry's conclusion: "But how about these books that go straight to ebook and go viral – achieve best-selling status with no publisher involved at all? I’d have to say these comments [in my blog today] are about traditional print books reaching that elusive status. I’d have to address doing it in ebooks in a separate blog – as soon as I come to understand what really causes one of the titles to stand out that strongly there."
    I, Millie, look forward to reading THAT blog. . . :-)

  6. Thanks for sharing your insight, Millie. It seems to to me we're going to see an increasing amount of e-publishing. I look forward to hearing more of your journey.