Category Archives: eBooks

Kobo Writing Life


This is a really good post about the nuts and bolts of publishing with Kobo Writing Life.

I’ve had an excellent experience with KWL over the last four years. In that time, for me Kobo has gone from an afterthought to one of my main markets. In 2014, Kobo was 1.9% of my book sales, but in 2015, it had risen to 10%. (As of the end of July, Kobo is 7.6% percent of my 2016 sales, but that is because I’ve been fortunate enough to have increased sales on all platforms, not just Kobo.)

Anyway, if you are self-publishing, you definitely should give KWL a try, and not just go exclusive with Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.


Kobo Writing Life fun facts


In July,  I sold ebooks in 24 different countries through Kobo.

Of those books, 53% of them were in Canada, 14% were in the UK, another 14% were in Australia, 9% were in the US, and the remaining ten percent were around the world in various places.

Kobo does indeed have global reach like Google Play or iTunes, but it looks like Canada is definitely the big fish for Kobo ebooks!


Google Play fun facts

I did some math, and in July 2016 I sold books in 30 different countries via Google Play.

The US did the lion’s share at 62% of the total books sold.

Of the rest of the (primarily) English-speaking questions, Australia did the best at 12%, and then the UK at 8.4% and Canada at 6%.

The remaining twelve percent was divided up between the rest of the world. In the Eurozone, the Netherlands was the best-selling country. In Africa, it was South Africa (which was also the only African country that bought any books), and in Asia, it was India.

Objectively speaking, we’re not dealing with that many books, so it’s hard to draw conclusions. Nonetheless, it is fair to say that English-language ebooks will have their best markets in the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada.


selling short stories: The Bone Orcs & The Skull Trees

Today let’s talk both about the FROSTBORN short stories and a bit about writing and selling short stories.

Everyone likes short stories, but they’re hard to sell, because while people like short stories, they much prefer to buy and read novels.

Myself, I write short stories for two reasons. One, I enjoy doing them. Two, they make useful bonuses for my new-release newsletter. When I release a new novel, I also give away a free copy of a tie-in short story to my newsletter subscribers via Smashwords coupon code. It’s a nice bonus for the newsletter, and usually a couple hundred people just buy the short story outright, which is also a nice bonus for the author. 🙂

That said, I’ve never figured out quite what to do with the short stories after the coupon code expires. They just sort of sit there and don’t really do anything. They’ll sell a few copies a month (my oldest bonus short story, GHOST ARIA, sold three copies in May), which is nice, but won’t do much else.

So I’ve tried various experiments to sell more of the short stories, or to use them as promotional materials for my novels. Here are some of the things I’ve tried that didn’t really work:

-Enrolling the short stories in Kindle Unlimited and giving away free copies.

-When Kindle Unlimited’s new pay-per-page structure came along, I tried the short stories in that, and it didn’t really work, either.

(As an aside, I decided to stop using Kindle Unlimited altogether. It means you can’t sell on Kobo and iTunes and Google and the other platforms, it’s too unstable, and there are never-ending stories of problems like this one. While KU has benefits at the moment the cons of KU definitely outweigh the pros.)

-Bundling the short stories together into anthology-style collections. I gave away a bunch of them with CLOAK GAMES: THIEF TRAP and CLOAK GAMES: FROST FEVER, but that was pretty much it.

Then I stumbled onto the one thing that has really worked – the fix-up novel. A fix-up novel is a novel that originated as a chain of related short stories that were then fused together into a single book. A lot of writers have done that – Stephen King, Poul Anderson, Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Jack Vance, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and numerous others.

FROSTBORN: THE KNIGHT QUESTS is probably the most successful result of short stories I’ve done so far. Most of the FROSTBORN short stories are the origin stories of Ridmark’s companions (except for THE TRAITOR’S TALE, which has a lot of spoilers), and are combined in a frame story where the Warden of Urd Morlemoch lays out his plans.

So fix-up novels seem like a good long term idea, which led to another idea.

What if the short stories were designed to be joined together in a fix-up novel at the end? Usually the short stories are one-off tales – like, GHOST DAGGER doesn’t have much in common with GHOST THORNS. But what if they were designed to become a fix-up from the beginning?

The DEMONSOULED short stories would lend themselves well to that, since they’re all about a younger Mazael at Lord Malden’s court. After MASK OF SPELLS comes out, I’ll write one more story about Mazael as a young knight and combine it with the others to make a new fix-up novel, probably entitled SOUL OF KNIGHTS.

Also, I’m trying something new with the remaining five FROSTBORN short stories. They’ll all be about Ridmark’s journey into the Qazaluuskan Forest four years before FROSTBORN: THE GRAY KNIGHT, and in the end I’ll combine them into a fix-up novel called FROSTBORN: THE BONE QUEST.

It will be interesting to see how it does!


a note of thanks

The Lord has been good to me of late – April was my best month so far for ebook sales, and sometime in April I also sold my 400,000th ebook since I started self-publishing in 2011.

400,000! Boggles the mind, it does.

I would like to thank you all for coming along on the various adventures of Ridmark, Caina, Mazael, and the others – with more adventures to come soon!


Book Bomb: Nethereal, by Brian Niemeier

Occasionally MONSTER HUNTER INTERNATIONAL author Larry Correia chooses a book he likes to “Book Bomb”, driving it up in the sales ranks on Amazon. This month he’s chosen NETHEREAL by Brian Niemeier, which I just started reading last week.

It’s really good so far – if I had to sum it up, I would call it “Firefly meets Space Wizards meets Event Horizon.” Definitely worth checking it out!