Sunday, July 31, 2011

Great advice for authors

Within the past day or so, some of the smartest, most successful participants in "the Self-Publishing Revolution" have posted valuable advice for authors who are trying to navigate through the chaos of today's publishing world. I thought I'd post here a roundup of links.

Dean Wesley Smith -- a prolific author (widely published, both traditionally and independently) who writes an invaluable blog -- has just posted a brief summary: "The New World of Publishing: Traditional or Indie? What To Do Now." For writers facing the decision as to whether to continue seeking a traditional agent and publisher, or to self-publish, he offers this advice, in a nutshell:
Take everything you can take into your own control and hold on.

What does that mean exactly?

Write like crazy.

Then with what you have finished, spend the next two years indie publishing your own stuff, learning all the tricks of being an indie publisher, and getting your own trade paper books into bookstores.

Then when things settle down in traditional publishing, you will be ready and practiced and have some work to present to traditional publishers.
Read the entire blog for his reasoning and explanations.

Not convinced? Then you need to read veteran author David Farland on the basic math of publishing, summarized here by the "Passive Guy." This brief excerpt from David's post about the sobering odds and the financial facts of life in today's publishing world make it clear that to seek a traditional print publisher is an almost sure career-killer for an author.

Meanwhile, another widely published and highly successful author, Bob Mayer, has summarized his own experiences and advice in two valuable publications that every author should peruse. Bob's blog is another don't-miss daily resource.

But if traditional print publishing is heading into a chaotic and uncertain future, how can one take advantage of the emerging opportunities in "indie" or self-publishing? David Gaughran has compiled the experiences of nearly three dozen successful indie authors in his just-released book, Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish, and Why You Should. The book is getting advance raves and ought to be a first stop for authors contemplating their publishing options.

Follow those links, Dear Author, and you'll get a crash course in how to survive during the Self-Publishing Revolution.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

An historic precedent to this "debt crisis" prescription

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Raising revenues" to solve the debt crisis reminds me of the Medieval practice of bleeding the patient to solve his health crisis.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Best reader review of HUNTER to date


This is the sort of review that an author dreams of receiving.

All I can say to the anonymous "UFO6" (and I honestly haven't a clue as to his or her identity) is: THANK YOU.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Newbie author: "Why I Turned Down Two Publishing Contracts"

Travel writer Pamela Olson explains, in lucid detail, "Why I Turned Down Two Publishing Contracts."

For her (and for me, and for many, many others), indie publishing is a much better deal, on many counts. Olson summarizes the reasons about as concisely and persuasively as I've read anywhere.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ebook sales surge, print sales in freefall

Ebook sales are continuing their surge, while print sales are in freefall. On the heels of the Borders Books debacle, and reports of Barnes & Noble further cutting shelf space in their stores, it is not a good time to be in the mainstream publishing industry -- especially if you are a traditionally published author struggling for bookstore exposure and an income.

Month after month, the statistics and reports continue to add up to a picture of an industry in chaotic upheaval. But that doesn't mean that authors can't do well if they pursue independent publishing.

David Gaughran provides the latest lucid overview.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

HUNTER is now the #1 top-rated Romantic Suspense novel on the Kindle!

THIS MORNING, 7/23/2011, "HUNTER" IS THE #1 TOP-RATED "ROMANTIC SUSPENSE" NOVEL ON THE KINDLE LIST, based on customer reviews. 30 reader reviews, and 29 of them are "5 stars," while the other is "4 stars." And this is out of some 750,000+ novels offered on the Kindle.

Thank you, my dear readers, for this incredible honor.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

HUNTER is now #2 in Kindle's "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense"

Some new milestones for HUNTER this a.m. (7/21). The thriller has climbed to...

* #15 on the Amazon Kindle list of "Top Rated in Mysteries & Thrillers,"

* #14 in "Top Rated in Romance," and -- best of all --

* #2 in "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense."

This visibility is bringing the book to the attention of many new readers, and the sales trend line is moving up steadily.

UPDATE 7-22-11: I had my best sales day yet, fueled by a link from the mighty "Instapundit" Glenn Reynolds to the HUNTER Amazon sales page. At its best point today, HUNTER was ranked at #1,134 in overall Kindle ebook sales (out of over 750,000 titles), and #2,241 in print-book sales on Amazon (out of 8 million titles). It stood at #28 on the Kindle Bestseller List in "Romantic Suspense," and #31 on the Amazon Bestseller (print-book) List in the same category.

Borders' Fall -- and Fallout for Authors and Publishers

Kristine Kathryn Rusch (whose discussions of the publishing business are invaluable) has just published a long post detailing the terrible ripple effects that the Borders Books closing will have on authors and publishers in the third quarter. Here's just a snippet:
...The remaining stores, all 399 of them, and the remaining employees, 10,700 of them, will be gone by September.... The main financial squeeze that Borders will cause to the publishers on already delivered material has already happened.... But the bigger problem with Borders’ liquidation is upcoming....

The problem is the decreased shelf space. Think it through, my reading friends. Suddenly 399 bookstores are vanishing, with no replacement in sight.... Here’s the problem beautifully stated on Twitter by Kathleen Schmidt, a book publicist: “Here is how the Borders closing will impact publishers: Say you have a bestselling author and you usually do a 1st printing of 100K books. Out of that 1st print of 100K, B&N/Amazon would take a large quantity, then Target, maybe Costco/BJs/Walmart, then Borders, then indies. If you’re an author with a 1st print of 30K (a lot), you prob don’t have price clubs or Target. You have B&N, Amazon, Borders, and indies. Now, take Borders OUT of the 1st print equation. Also consider that B&N is conservative with numbers these days. That 30K turns into 15K.”

I found this quote in a good analysis piece on NPR’s book blog. As Rachel Syme, the author of the blog, added, “Granted the reduced print runs for books doesn’t mean fewer books will sell, but Borders closing does have a huge effect on how many physical copies will be out in the world.... There is no other outlet big or solid enough to absorb the blow; there is nowhere else for all those paperbacks and hardcovers to go. The most logical thing to do is to stop printing them”....

...Those things, however, would be a blip on the publishing radar if it weren’t for something that is happening this month that most people in traditional publishing don’t even know about.

Barnes & Noble issued an order from its corporate headquarters that it wants its stores to once again decrease the number of paper books the stores are going to carry.... What this means is that in the third quarter, just as traditional publishers are absorbing and dealing with the last of the Borders blow from the winter, they will get hit with a massive number of returns from Barnes & Noble.

Add to this the ailing economy, and the confluence of these events means that the third and fourth quarters are likely to be disastrous for traditional publishers and their authors. They rely heavily on chain bookstores as their main public showcases. But a huge portion of the shelf space for books in those stores will vanish, almost overnight -- right in the middle of the economy's non-recovery.

As always, read the whole thing as Rusch -- one of the best-informed people in the book business -- looks ahead at the far-reaching implications and consequences for all of us who have an interest in the printed word.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The big 486-page trade paperback edition of HUNTER is now in stock and for sale at Amazon.


1. To get the print edition from for $15.95 + shipping, click here.

2. You can also get the print edition directly from me, personally inscribed for you, for only $15.00 (one dollar savings) + shipping. Send me a personal message if you prefer this option: RobertTheWriter(at)gmail(dot)com

3. Or, you can buy and download the ebook editions of HUNTER for just $3.99, in all of the following formats:

* Click here for the Kindle edition.

* Click here for the Nook edition.

* Click here for other ereader devices, such as Sony Reader, Kobo, iPad, etc.:

* Also, many common devices can double as "ereaders," including PCs, Macs, iPads, Blackberries, palm devices, Android phones, iPhones, other smart phones, etc. All you need are FREE "Kindle apps" for any of these devices, which allow you to browse the Amazon Kindle Store for ebooks, then buy and download them. To get those free apps, click here.

Finally, the linked sites above -- the Kindle Store,, and Smashwords -- all allow you to download, or read online, sample chapters of the book, too, before you decide to purchase. So check it out at the links, and decide whether HUNTER is for you.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Book Review: "The Philosophical Practitioner," by Larry Abrams

by Larry Abrams

Kindle edition: $4.99
Trade paperback: $15.54

Reviewed by Robert Bidinotto

In an age of formula fiction, a novel with a fresh premise is an unexpected delight. The Philosophical Practitioner is such an original, witty, thought-provoking, and polished bit of writing that it's hard to believe it is Larry Abrams's debut novel.

Eric, the first-person protagonist of this clever tale, is a "philosophical practitioner." That's something like a psychotherapist or "life coach." But instead of focusing on emotions and childhood traumas, Eric emphasizes the key role that reason, and his clients' philosophic ideas and values, play in causing and resolving their problems, and ultimately, in achieving their dreams and happiness.

Eric isn't rich, but he loves the intellectual challenges of his work, and he enjoys helping people straighten out their lives. He has a small roster of colorful clients, a cat named Circe, and a girlfriend named Sheila who is a famous movie actress. (How and why they are a couple is part of the story.)

Eric also has his own problems. Reconciling his modest New York lifestyle with that of his superstar, Hollywood-rooted girlfriend. Coping with his ailing father, who lives in a Florida nursing home. And -- oh yes -- worrying about that strange lady with a gun who shows up, repeatedly, at his office door, promising to kill him for reasons she won't specify...then vanishing.

The latter mystery provides the story's thread of mounting suspense. Eric must deal with that looming threat, emotionally and practically, while he wrestles with the problems that his neurotic clientele bring into his office. What is most clever about the story is how Abrams uses these sessions to explore some of the fundamental philosophical questions that we all face: how to find meaning in life; our need to define fulfilling goals; how to navigate the shoals of intimate relationships; whether to choose personal independence versus the siren calls of money, fame, and power.

If this material sounds dry, trust me: In Abrams's hands, it is anything but. His dialogue is razor-sharp banter; descriptions of dress and mannerisms are transparent windows on characters' souls; and Eric's first-person, internal monologue is a virtual stand-up comedy routine for the reader, loaded with hilarious but incisive observations about all things large and small -- anything that seizes his attention (which seems to suffer from a touch of A.D.D.). It's great fun to look at the world through this character's wry, shrewd, but quirky perspective.

Larry Abrams brings a fresh new voice to fiction that I want to hear again. There's plenty of potential for Eric, the philosophical practitioner, to have a long and happy career, both in his office, and also in the pages of future books.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Man pleads guilty to child porn, then allowed to view child porn in jail

Anyone who thinks that the legal outrages described in my vigilante thriller, HUNTER, are exaggerated, ought to check out this A.P. story:
A legal loophole is allowing a Washington state man accused of child sex crimes to view child pornography in jail.

Weldon Marc Gilbert is acting as his own lawyer in the case, and that means he's entitled to review the evidence.

The evidence in the case includes more than 100 videos seized from Gilbert's Lake Tapps home after his 2007 arrest. Authorities say some of the footage was shot by Gilbert.


A website, "First Author Interviews," has just published an interview with me about HUNTER.

I think that many of you will find it informative. (My only objection: the poor formatting of the book excerpt.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

5 traditionally published authors who have gone "indie"

Here is an absolutely fascinating roundtable interview with five women, each traditionally published, who have decided to self-publish. Why? They provide a host of details about their experiences and the reasons for their respective decisions. Here is just a small sample:
How does self-publishing compare for you to your traditional publishing experience?

Kathryn Shay: For me, self publishing is a lot easier, and more lucrative, than traditional publishing. I’m thrilled so many of my earlier books are getting readers (over 38,000 people have downloaded AFTER THE FIRE, which just went free on Amazon). And in some ways, writing is more enjoyable for me because I get to write about what I want and write the way I want to. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed working with editors in many respects. But I’d rather have control of the content and style of my work.

Beth Orsoff: I’ve had much more success self-publishing than I did as a traditionally published author. I’ve sold many more books, earned ten times as much money, and I’m able to write what I want instead of what an agent or editor thinks will sell.

Patricia Ryan: Self-publishing has been a revelation for me! I love having control over the packaging and distribution of my books, and the high royalties, paid monthly, provide a steady income, something writers rarely get to enjoy.

Julie Ortolon: No comparison. I love everything about self-publishing. The freedom, the lack of stress, the control. That said, writing under contract for major print publishers was a great training ground. Succeeding at self publishing without that experience would probably be harder for me. Writing for a publisher taught me to think about the whole picture: the marketing, packaging, target audience. Working with editors and copy editors really helped me hone my craft. Does that mean I couldn’t succeed in self-publishing today if I were just starting out and hadn’t had that training ground? No. But writers who choose self-publishing need to know it’s not a short cut or easy out. You gotta put in the work. Sloppy craft just won’t cut it.
There is a wealth of experienced-based perspective here for any author or would-be author contemplating options. As ever, read the whole thing.

The state of publishing: a Thrillerfest recap by Bob Mayer

Bob Mayer, one of the smartest independent authors and publishers around, attended the recent "Thrillerfest" convention in New York.

Bob served on panels, and he met with authors, publishers, and agents. He took away many fascinating observations about the state of the book business. Now he shares those insights in this valuable blog post.

Monday, July 11, 2011


HUNTER: A THRILLER is now out in its print edition. You can order the trade paperback at this link.

Other news:

As of this morning (July 11), HUNTER hit #4 on Amazon's "Top Rated in Romantic Suspense" titles, based on reader ratings. And this morning it was also down to #46 (from #75, just days ago) on "Top Rated in Mysteries and Thrillers."

A nice way to start the week.

And today, the final print-edition proof arrives. If it's good, I'll authorize orders to start ASAP, and come back here to give you a link.

As you may know, HUNTER is already available as an ebook. And you do NOT need a dedicated "ereader" device to order and read an ebook. You can download and read them on your home computer or laptop, your Blackberry, smart phone, etc.

The ebook editions of HUNTER can be ordered in all the following formats, for just $3.99:

* For the Kindle

* For the Nook

* For other dedicated ereaders, such as Sony Reader, Kobo, etc.

* For devices that can double as "ereaders," including PCs, Macs, iPads, Blackberries, palm devices, Android phones, iPhones, other smart phones, etc.

These sites -- the Kindle Store,, and Smashwords -- allow you to download sample chapters of the book, too, before you decide to purchase.


Friday, July 08, 2011

Print-book sales continue to plunge

From Publisher's Weekly:

Print book sales fall 10% in first half of year, with adult fiction off over 25%, and mass-market paperbacks plunging 26.6%. you think I should worry about getting HUNTER into bookstores?


Thursday, July 07, 2011

"Batting for a Broken System"

David Gaughran offers a spirited defense of and overwhelmingly persuasive case for the merits of self-publishing in this feisty essay. Filled with links to other great blogs and articles, too.

It's so nice to see others saying these things so well, so that I don't have to.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Must reading for self-publishing authors

If you are an independently publishing author, you'd have to be living under a rock if you haven't heard of the stunning success of thriller writer John Locke. Locke has propelled his self-published "Donovan Creed" series into the stratosphere of sales on Amazon's Kindle, becoming the first indie author to achieve the staggering total of 1 million ebook sales.

Now, Locke -- an entertaining-enough author, but a genius at marketing -- has shared his secrets of ebook promotion in a brief how-to guide, How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in 5 Months. It's a book aimed squarely at writers like...well, like me. As you know, I just launched my own ebook fiction series two weeks ago with HUNTER: A Thriller. And despite all the great reviews it's getting, I was poised to waste a lot of promotional and marketing time pursuing dead ends.

Until I made the great decision to download Locke's manual.

I'm not going to deny Mr. Locke any justly deserved sales for the book by providing any details here. Just take my word for it: This guy must have studied and absorbed all the classic marketing books, including those by Al Ries and Jack Trout, such as Positioning. He's drawn all those principles together and created an outline that will allow the self-publishing indie to take on the giants of the publishing industry and succeed.

And he did it just in time for me to apply to my own thriller. THANK YOU, Mr. Locke.

And now watch your rear-view mirror....

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Authors: Do NOT miss this vital article

What in hell is happening to the book business?

If you are an author, or a wannabe author, you simply MUST read this incredible but link-laden blog by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. What she describes will make you believe that Kafka has been put in charge of the publishing industry.

It will tell you why you'd be a fool to seek an agent and traditional publisher these days. Read the post, and you'll understand why I've gone the "indie" route.

Friday, July 01, 2011

What new and prospective self-publishing writers need to know

Bob Mayer sold 347 ebooks during January 2011. Now, just six months later, he's selling 1,400 ebooks per day.

If you're an author, prospective author, especially a self-publishing author, then you'll want to read his blog about what made the difference for him.

I'm on Twitter

It's: @RobertBidinotto.

Just FYI.