Kindle Vella

I wasn’t really interested in the new Vella platform from Amazon until I found a possible use case. I created a series of related short stories while I was preparing to write the first Star Saga series, years ago. Since that time I’ve been trying to find a way to market them that would actually work. Binding them into an anthology was not working. Neither was breaking them out into separate stories and selling them on Kobo.

Vella is intended to be a serialized story telling platform. They expect that each episode will be between 600 and 5,000 words. The idea is that you tell a longer story by selling individual episodes not unlike watching a TV program. They don’t specify that you have to wrap up each episode, so you could have cliff hangers and multiple episode story arcs.

My plan is to mix the old stories with new stories and create a timeline that leads into the first Star Saga novel. This is a direct attempt to bring in the younger Vella audience to my novel series. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t know if Vella as a platform will work. But it gives me the chance to further explore some popular characters and a planet that is pivotal to my story universe. I suppose if the Vella platform fails, I can always re-purpose them into more ebooks.

I’m looking forward to writing some fun Space Westerns again.

Corvette Sales Update

We’re at the month mark after the release of my novel, Corvette. The book debuted on 21 March but didn’t really take off until April. What I’ll be looking at today are April’s numbers.

Corvette Sales

This chart is from my KDP dashboard and shows the sales of just Corvette. Getting to 50 on the third day was key to kickstarting the whole climb. After that it was the jump to just under 100 that put me on some Best Seller lists and from then on the climb was pretty steady. Getting over the 100 a day peak resulted in a big boost in sales that lasted until the 150 a day period which is still off and on until the end of the month.

The blue line graph is how many page reads the book is getting in the Kindle Select program. Much of the time I make more money off of those page reads than I do by actually selling a copy of the ebook. Amazon pays you for a “sale” after a reader completes 60% of your book. This is why it’s essential for your book to be in Kindle Select.

All Sales

This chart shows how Corvette’s sales are boosting the sales of my other Star Saga books. About two weeks into the month I slid three more of my lower priced books into Kindle Select to boost readers. It’s only just starting to help towards the end of April. This means I had to take the books off sale at Kobo and Nook but that was not a problem since sales on those platforms were non-existent.

I decided to pay for a better graphing tool for my Amazon numbers and here is a late April screenshot of sales using Book Report.

I like this tool because it has graphs and a pie chart and book covers with links to the books. Laying the Kindle Select reads on top of the sales numbers really shows you how they correlate. Select are in blue and sales royalties are in red. I told you being in Select pays!

Also of note here is the widening slice of pie that is Book One of my Star Saga – Starforgers. The thing I want to see is if all those Corvette readers start making their way through the series. This should drive sales more and more as Corvette fades from the bestseller lists.

Here is a breakdown of the earning per book for April. Keep in mind that Devon’s Blade, Ocherva and Blood Empress have only been in Select for a few weeks. Their numbers should grow next month. 

This is a fun graph from Amazon’s back end that shows my Author Ranking which is a Beta program that compares your sales to others in your genre. It changes hourly. I like it because it shows the rise from obscurity to hit in one month.

The last time my sales took off like this I only had one book out and the whole thing folded in about two months. Now that I have close to a dozen books in the same universe, it will be interesting to see if I can gain a following. Once again, spending a decade writing as many novels might finally bear some fruit.


Kindle Select Numbers for January

Last month I experimented with two of my novels by putting them in the Kindle Select program and offering them for free for the maximum amount of days. Now that I have January’s numbers, I thought I’d share them.

The Kindle Select program is by far the most effective advertising I’ve ever done for my ebooks. Getting a novel on the free best seller list leads to many downloads as you can see, but it also leads to a fair chunk of paid customers after the free period ends. My four books were averaging about 10 sales per month last year. So that’s a huge increase for me in a single month. In fact, I earned more in January than I did all year last year.

I’m not seeing out of this world numbers like some authors have, but I’m also an unknown genre writer who writes Science Fiction. That’s the worst possible genre to be in if you  want to make money. I’ve never had huge numbers. January’s numbers are not huge either, but they are decent for me. The trick will be to see if I can maintain this level of sales and maybe grow it.

Already this month, I’m averaging about 5 books a day. So half-way through February, it looks like I’ve managed to maintain last month’s numbers. Keeping my fingers crossed that it continues.

Novel Free Downloads Sales
Starforgers 706 46
Starstrikers No Sale 29
Tyrmia 2122 68
TFO Anthology No Sale 2
 Totals 2828 145

So how do I propose to keep this good fortune going? By moving my entire short story inventory to Kindle Select and offering a free ebook every weekend. If you do this right and you have a large enough inventory of ebooks, you can keep offering free books all month long for the entire three months of the Kindle Select program.

I have two ebooks left to move over to Kindle Select, Starstrikers and Tales From Ocherva, Vol 1 anthology. I’ll work these two books into the rotation soon, giving each book two days only over a weekend to be free. Hopefully after a month or two of this Free Weekend strategy, people will catch on and begin looking for them.

Now if you were particularly cheap and patient, you could obtain my entire inventory for free. Does this concern me? Nope. Because far more people will not be able to wait and will be willing to spend $2.99 to read another book.

I’ve also started advertising the free weekend sales on this blog over in the right hand column. This makes it easy for a blog reader to obtain the sample when it becomes free. I Tweet about the sale on Friday and mention it on Google +. That’s about as far as my publicity efforts are going to go for now.

Stay tuned next month to see if my numbers go up, stay about the same or tumble back down again.


Null_Pointer Now Available Anywhere

It looks like Null_Pointer has started to turn up online in all the usual markets.  You can now purchase the trade paperback at Amazon, Barnes and, BetterWorldBooks and  You should also be able to order the book now from your local independent book seller.  If you have an indie book store near you, I recommend that you use it.

The past week or so has been very good for Null_Pointer online.  It has landed in the top 30 listings for both Scribd and Yudu, where you can read the entire novel for free.  It was most recently featured in the Yudu blog – Curl Up With a Good Techno Thriller.

The success on Scribd can only be described as viral.  It was placed on their Featured List last Monday and nearly doubled the views from 4000 to 8000 in a few days.  It’s had over 600 downloads in that time, which in my view, is the real measure of a document’s success.  My followers or Subscribers on Scribd have gone from 8 to over 2,500 during the same week.  This is largely due to being on the Featured List where I now get added to every new member of Scribd.

Similar success has happened to Null_Pointer on  It has gone from 35th most viewed document to 25th in just one day!  Enough to garner the above review in their blog.  If you search under the Books category at Yudu, Null_Pointer is currently the number 2 most popular item. Pretty cool.

“If you are interested in a quick read that will leave your blood pumping, check out Null_Pointer by Ken McConnell.” Brian – Blog