Interview and an Excerpt – Jonathan Gould

Interview and an Excerpt is a feature that explores the process of writing and indie publishing through interviews with self published authors. The aim is to demystify the process for those who are aspiring to become indie publishers themselves. This week’s guest is Jonathan Gould.
1.) How long have you been an indie author?
I’m not sure at what point I became an indie author. I’ve been writing for over 15 years now. I started off writing comedy sketches for university revues and independent radio – I guess I was trying to emulate one of my heroes, Douglas Adams. I began working on novels about a year later – my first couple are at the bottom of the drawer and I suspect they’ll stay there. I actually have 2 children’s books published in Australia by real publishers – I was hoping that would be my entry into the wonderful world of publishing but it wasn’t to be. I began to seriously think about going alone (indie?) a couple of years ago, culminating in my first self-published ebook early last year.

2.) How many books have you self published?

At this stage, a grand total of three:

  1. Doodling – the story of a man who fell off the world (because it’s moving too fast). It’s a humorous fantasy – Douglas Adams meets Lewis Carroll
  2. Flidderbugs – this one’s a bit of an odd mixture – one part political satire, one part fable, and one part funny little story about a strange bunch of insects.
  3. Magnus Opum – my newest release. An epic fantasy with a twist. Tolkien meets Dr Seuss

3.) Are you a panther or a plotter?

Normally I’m a total plotter. I’m pretty anal about getting everything mapped out, writing lists and chapter outlines and character descriptions, etc… However, every so often, I’ll go the other way and begin writing with no end in mind and no idea where it would take me. My first book, Doodlingwas written in this way, hence the title – I referred to the process as “literary doodling”. It was a lot of fun and actually rejuvenated my interest in writing at the time. I’m currently writing a sequel to Doodling for which I’m following a similar approach.

4.) Can you tell us a little bit about your writing process? Feel free to be as detailed as you like, this stuff is fascinating.

I’m not sure you could even call it a process. I work full time and have a family so it’s really about stealing whatever time I have – evenings, weekends. To be honest, I tend to go through peaks and troughs. I’ll get really motivated and do a heap of writing for several months. Then I can get into a trough that can sometimes go for over a year. I’ve just reached the high point of one of my peaks, so will definitely have to focus on keeping up there.

5.) What is the best writing advice you’ve ever come across?

Again I get to mention my hero, Douglas Adams. He said that writers should not be in business of reinforcing stereotypes – it’s in a book called Last Chance to See– he met some German backpackers and was really distressed at the fact that they so conformed to the stereotype of German backpackers. So he decided they weren’t German, they were Latvian, and described them as such for the rest of the book. A wonderful read so please check it out.

6.) If you were going to mentor a new writer through the publishing process, what pitfalls would you warn them against?

Don’t do it??? Seriously (and funny you should ask because I have been talking to a teenager with writerly ambitions), I would advise them to be realistic and aware of how difficult it is to break through. I would suggest that they really focus on getting their writing to the best standard that it can be – do courses, road test and get feedback. Try to make sure that what they have to say is something interesting and new. And to make a start on building up social networks before they publish – wish I’d had someone to tell me that.

7.) Are you currently earning a living with your writing?

Hah – that’s pretty funny. I recently got paid for the first time for my self-published books. I’m not going to say how much it was because I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. Mind you, my day job also involves writing, so I could say that I earn a living through writing. But it’s not exactly the sort of writing I really want to do.

8.) What are your writing must haves? Music? A quiet table at a coffee shop?

Mainly just time, and a bit of space in my brain to work through my ideas.

9.) What tools or software do you use to write?

Nothing too fancy – just good old MS Word. And html when it comes to producing my ebooks (with a bit of help from Mobipocket and Calibre).

10.) What kind of promotion have you tried? What do you find to be the most effective?

Gee, I’m really the wrong person to ask about that. When I think about my promoting efforts, the words I that come to mind are “scattergun”, “erratic”, and “totally uninformed”.
After a year of this, I really don’t have much of a clue. I guess the main challenge I face is because my books don’t easily fit into genres, it’s really hard to know where and how to best place them. What I find is when people discover them (mainly when I’ve plonked them in their faces) they say things like “This isn’t what I’d normally choose to read but I really enjoyed it.”
So to summarize, I’ve basically tried it all – giveaways, guest posts, interviews (obviously), twittering, my own blog, a blog tour, Goodreads, large organized events, cross-promoting with others. The main thing I haven’t tried so far is KDP select – I have very mixed feelings about it, but figure at this stage I might as well give it a go.
What is effective? The best thing for me was pure luck – getting a free feature on Pixel of Ink. I guess that’s the thing – you need to get out onto the sites people use to find new books, and the good ones cost a pretty penny. I’m considering my budget to decide what I think is worthwhile.

11.) About how long from start to finish did it take you to finish your book(s)? About how many hours a day do you spend writing/editing?

Again hard to answer because of the irregularity of my writing process. When motivated, I can get a novel length work drafted in 6 months –but I’ve also been stuck on things for years.

12.) How much of the process did you do yourself and what did you pay someone else to do?

I use a bunch of different readers to road test, trying to look at people who might represent different types of audiences. I also have a couple of editors I’ve met through various jobs who are happy to charge mates rates (or sometimes just a box of chocolates) which is really helpful – a good editor is an absolute essential. The main financial expense has been the cover designer who was also someone I found through work. But he’s definitely been worth it – the covers he does are fantastic.

13.) Can you tell us a little bit about your books?

As mentioned above, I’ve invented a new genre to describe my writing – Dag-Lit. Dag is Australian slang for a person who doesn’t quite fit in, but usually in a fun way – someone unselfconsciously uncool. That’s kind of how I see my stories – they’re hard to pin down into a single genre. They’re kind of funny and kind of strange and a bit different. Maybe “comic fantasy” if we’re getting reductionist. Or sometimes I just describe them as modern fairy tales for the young-at-heart. The first time you see them, you may think they look like children’s books, but once you start reading, you’ll hopefully find that there’s something there for all ages.

14.) Do you mind sharing a little bit about what you’re working on right now?

At the moment, the main WIP is the sequel to Doodling– the tentative title Scribbling. I’ve only just completed a first draft so it still needs a lot of work. I’m hoping to have ready for release by the end of the year.
There’s also a longer novel I’ve been working at for a few years now – a young adult fantasy/comedy/adventure set in a universe where the laws of physics bear more resemblance to the laws of human behavior, i.e. completely unpredictable and immeasurable in every way.
Beyond that – I’m never short of ideas.

To connect with Jonathan, you can find him here:

Blog, Dag-Lit Central –
Twitter –!/jonno_go
Facebook –

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world.

Actually, he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.
Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.


Flidderbugs is a political satire, a fable, or maybe just a funny little story about a bunch of bugs with some very peculiar obsessions.

Available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.


Magnus Opum is a story about a little person in a very big world – an epic fantasy with a twist – Tolkien meets Dr Seuss.

Available exclusively from Amazon.

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Friday Freebie: Free books by Cole and Schmidt

I have another great free book to share with you guys. From the author of the Bloodstone Saga, Courtney Cole, comes the first book in an exciting new YA paranormal series, Soul Kissed!


Question: When your mother is a powerful witch and your father is a soul-sucking vampire, what does that make you?
Answer: Cursed.

With all the beauty and charm of a Siren, but cursed as a blood-sucking succubus, Empusa longs for love and a normal life. Neither of these can ever be hers, because the only thing she brings to anyone she loves is death.

Em lingers in the mortal world, hiding from her father and existing in a lonely life. Until she meets Brennan. With golden hair and a radiant smile, he captures her heart and awakens it from slumber.

But Brennan is more than he seems. And in a relationship where life itself hangs in the balance, is love ever really enough?

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Another free book has been brought to my attention. This one is by Cheri Schmidt, the first book in her Fateful series. It’s a YA vampire love story. It looks like something that might appeal to fans of Twilight.


A huge fan of Jane Austen, Danielle hopes to find her own Mr. Darcy when she leaves Colorado to attend art school in London. Of course she knows it’s silly to wish for that, naive even. But she’s met enough males who lacked respect for women, a growing trend it seemed. And at nineteen…well…. However, on only her second night there she gets lost and is threatened by a stalker who proves to be immune to her martial arts training. Before she is completely overpowered, she is then saved by Ethan Deveroux.

While Danielle does find the romance she seeks in Ethan, he’s no Mr. Darcy. Her hero is held by a spell which fractures their chance at a happy ending. During the day Ethan is closer to mortal than immortal and can date her like any other man. Yet, as the sun sets, the powerful magic of an ancient curse returns and the evil of that spell is revealed. When that magic begins, Danielle’s fairytale romance ends because Ethan Deveroux is a vampire.

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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Name the nameless and empower the powerless- a contest

In the Witches of Desire universe the women are in control of everything. There is a strict power hierarchy. Every Family is run by a Matriarch, the oldest living member of their family. Her first daughter, called a First Daughter, is her successor. All other daughters are referred to as Second Daughters. Second Daughters are the the bottom of the social totem pole. Even men, who don’t have Talents, have more status than even the most powerful Second Daughter. In charge of everyone is the Coven. It’s made up of the Matriarchs of the 13 most powerful Families in Desire.

Every witch has a distinct Talent that she can perform. Her Talent is often related to the Talents of the other members of her Family. For instance, Thistle’s Talent is the ability to manifest anything she can imagine by speaking the words “I wish…”. Her grandmother can force her will on anyone who reads what she writes and her mother will never forget anything that she’s ever read. They all have power over words, either written or spoken.

Now that you have a little background, here’s what’s up. I was sitting here working on my outline for Your Word is My Bond (random trivia: the titles of all 3 books are based on Talents of different characters. I Wish is obviously about Thistle’s ability and YWIMB refers to Ramona’s power over people) and I thought it would be fun to collaborate a little.

What I’m proposing is that you guys help me pick 3 names and a Talent. Now we’re not talking about throwaway characters here. These are going to be major players in the story. The names and Talent can be anything you can dream up. I mean we’re talking about a story where the main character is named Thistle Nettlebottom, so no worries. Well, within reason. I can’t get behind something like Boner McCocksmith, I’m afraid.


The rules are simple. I’m looking for 2 female names, 1 male name, and 1 Talent.

Leave me a suggestion anywhere you feel comfortable, in the comments here, on my Facebook wall, on Twitter, or in an email (wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com). You can suggest 3 names and a Talent or any combination of them. Name the characters after your dog, your kids, your best friend, or your math teacher. You can even suggest your own name.

I will compile all the suggestions into 2 polls on Facebook, one for names and one for Talents. Anyone can vote on their favorites so feel free to share the poll and encourage ballot stuffing. In the town of Desire anything goes and I think it’s only fitting that the same be true of these polls. The Coven would approve.

Suggestions need to be in by the end of the day on Friday. I’m going to start compiling polls on Saturday and voting will end on Tuesday. I will announce the winners on Wednesday. I need to find out who my new characters are so I can make any changes to the plot necessary to accommodate them.


If your suggestion wins, you will receive a free copy of I Wish (you know, the book I keep talking about nonstop) for yourself and your shadiest partner in crime.

You will be given an acknowledgement in the first pages of Your Word is My Bond with a paragraph or two to tell the story of your name if it has a special significance and a link to your blog, book, or whatever crazy site you want. I will honor any link within reason (nothing offensive or adult in nature), so I’m asking that Stephanie Meyer not apply because I’m afraid that I can’t get behind vampires as sexy. Vampires are zombies with better PR, people!

I’ll also set up a static page on my blog with that same information. Imagine the publicity that will bring you. 10s of hundreds of people will look at your link! What a deal!

You will also receive a free copy of Your Word is My Bond for yourself and the same shady friend. Or a different shady friend, if you’d rather. It’s up to you. I won’t judge. Loyalty isn’t the strong suit of my witches, guys. Sorry!

So to sum it up, I’m giving away 8 copies of I Wish, 8 copies of Your Word is My Bond, and 4 deeply personal acknowledgement blurbs with totally self serving links. So start suggesting. And tell your friends so they can make suggestions too, but only if they swear you’re the one they want to share their books with.

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KDP Select; 2 genres, 2 outcomes Part 2

In part 1 I discussed how I Wish was doing in the day immediately following coming off the free list. Yesterday marked the end of my second full day of being paid. It was significantly better than the first. At one point my stats looked like this:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #366 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

They’ve dropped some since then, but not so much that I’d complain. It’s interesting to me to note that the categories change from time to time. I thought you could only be in 3 categories at a time, but it actually appears you can be in several, they’ll just list 3 at once.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

I’ve noticed that I sell a lot more books in the evening than I do during the day. But then so does everyone else because despite selling as many as 65 books in an hour, I didn’t move at all. Here’s the breakdown so far.

Day 1 – 48 sales, 22 lends

Day 2 – 234 sales, 56 lends

Day 3 (so far) – 223 sales, 19 lends

Total – 505 sales, 97 lends

And I feel like it’s significant enough to mention again, I’m priced at $4.99. I am so glad that I stayed the course on that because if I had dropped my price to $2.99 or $.99 I would have attributed all my sales to the price rather than whatever book mojo I have going on right now and wouldn’t have considered changing it back at all for fear of losing sales. Maybe I would have a higher rank if I dropped my price, but I’d be trading on my belief that a book is worth more than a pack of gum. It’s just reassuring to me that people are still wiling to pay book prices for a book.

I’m not trying to start a pricing debate or anything. I just think it’s interesting enough to bear mentioning. When conducing your own KDP Select experiments, you might consider a higher price point.

Is KDP Select a magic bullet? Well, it certainly was for I Wish, but I don’t think it’s universally true as evidenced by the other book I have in the program.

I put one of my adult titles in Select and immediately started the free days. I let it run last Wednesday and Thursday and then took it down for the weekend because I read somewhere that those are the busiest buying times. It’s free again now and will be until Wednesday night.

To say it’s not doing as well as I Wish would be a gross understatement along the lines of saying that trying to hug it out with an angry grizzly bear while kicking her baby in the face is a good idea.

This title had a lot of early success, selling hundreds of copies a month, but it’s tapered off until recently it’s only been selling between 10-20 copies a month. It’s the first in a series so it seemed like a prime candidate for the program. After 3 full days in the program and including any sales (because I haven’t been tracking it very well), it’s sitting at 607 downloads. It’s enough to put it at #510 in the free store and #61 in the erotica category. I think if I hadn’t already seen what free could be like in ideal circumstances, I’d have been delighted with this progress.

So far I haven’t seen any huge surge in sales. Not of the book itself this weekend and not of the other titles in the series. I’ve still got a couple of days of free left before I can say for sure what might happen, but it just doesn’t appear that it’s going to take off the way I Wish did. I’ll admit that I’m surprised because it’s always sold so much better than I Wish and you always hear how sex sells. At this point I’m having hard time even giving it away.


  • The Select program can launch a book to high sales, but a lot of factors have to align to make that happen. Being picked up by sites like Pixels of Ink is huge.
  • Don’t put a book in if you are selling well outside of Amazon. Unless your book takes off, and it might not, you’re going to lose all that income and alienate those reader.
  • There are a lot of things to be gained (aside from sales, although that’s an awesome thing too) from going free no matter how you achieve it. I’m on a lot of new Also Bought lists, I’ve gained 6 new reviews, and I have almost 16k new readers who now have the chance to become invested in my series and buy the next two books. If I’m lucky these new readers might blog about me or recommend my book to their friends so the possibility exists now that I could go viral. Realistically I know that won’t happen, but “might” is so much more attractive to me than “never”, which was the case before.
  • If you only have one book and know that you’ll be releasing another soon, wait for that before you go free. I’ve had so many hits on my blog from people looking for Your Word is My Bond. If they are willing to go to the trouble to search for it, they were probably also likely to buy the book. Except, surprise! The book isn’t available yet. D’oh! Seriously, wait. You’ll be happier if you do.

It’s too early for me to say what I think about the KDP Select program. It’s been helpful to me and to many others and if you have nothing to lose by enrolling than why not? But it’s a total crap shoot. Nobody knows why some books take off and others don’t and it’s impossible to predict if your book will be one.

I am a little worried about what the influx of free books will mean in the long term. As customers become accustomed to having all they can read for free, they might save their purchases for a few of the heavily hyped traditionally published books that they’ll never get for free. A savvy shopper will be able to figure out that their favorite author has all their books enrolled in the program and will sooner or later have them all available for free and just wait until a free day to pick up their entire backlist.

I do think that in a few months so many books will be in the program that it’ll be next to impossible to get any attention for your titles that way. At that point you’ll be locked into the contract with Amazon and unable to sell anywhere else. When my 90 days is up, I’m planning to pull I Wish from the program and sell at every online retailer available, something I still haven’t done with my shorts even.

Don’t be blinded by my numbers. They are amazing, but they won’t last. It could be a year from now (I wish!) or next week (way more likely), but sooner or later my sales will normalize and I’ll go back to selling at a steady, realistic pace again. Hopefully that pace is significantly higher than it was before, but eventually even the best seller slows down as everyone who cares to read it, already has. It’s so important to plan for the long term.

You can’t live forever on a single book. The only way to have a secure future as a writer is to keep writing. I’ve said it before, but it’s so true, you don’t need to have a bestselling book if you’ve got 20 moderate sellers working for you. However it goes with I Wish, I plan to finish the Witches of Desire trilogy. And then I’ll tackle some of these other projects on my plate. And when those are done, I’ll find something else to do.

I’ve let myself spend the past few days ogling my stats because it’s felt like I’m a poor kid who just won the lottery. I can’t believe it happened to me. But now it’s time to get back to work. I’ve got words to write and an outline to finish so I can start putting words on paper for book 2. It’s tempting to try to market my book to death, but I’m trying to content myself with knowing that I’ve done as much as I can at this point. The best thing I can do for my career now is to let it go and turn my attention to the other books that need to be written and let those books be promotion for the first.

I’m off to write now, but amazing things have been happening to me that I’d love to share so before I go I’ll leave you with these two screen grabs.


Seeing this really excited me. I think it’s that little green arrow telling the world I’ve been hanging out in that list for the past 2 days, but maybe it’s the fact that I’m ranked so high in such a broad category. Do you have any idea how many teen books there are out there? And I’m #22? Freakin’ crazy, man.


Or how about seeing that I Wish is the 4th most popular children’s ebook. The top 3 books above me? Also happen to be the #1, #2, and #3 bestselling books on Amazon right now. And next is me? Hell yeah, I’ll take that.

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Filed under I wish, promotion

Welcome new readers!

I see that I’ve recently gotten a lot of traffic from people who have recently discovered I Wish and the Witches of Desire world. That’s awesome! Hi, guys!

Looking at the search terms that brought some of you here I can see that there are a couple of questions that people are wondering about so I thought I’d make a post to address those things.

What ages is I Wish appropriate for? – I Wish is a book with some dark themes of betrayal, obsession, and murder. It’s filtered through the 1st person POV of Thistle Nettlebottom who tries to keep a sense of humor about things. There is one scene in the book that features a little bit of heavy petting and a reference to her “down there”.

Depending on your comfort level with those topics, the book is probably suitable for readers 13 years and up. But again, it’s ultimately a personal choice about what your let your kids read.

I will say now that I’m struggling with the sequel. As it’s outlined now there will be some sex scenes. They will be “closed door”, meaning that it will be mentioned in passing, rather than a blow by blow description, but those scenes will be referenced in terms that make it clear that sex is happening because it’s important to the plot. The references will not be written to titillate, but it might change your view on whether the book is acceptable for your young readers.

At this time I am planning to have a censored version available, but I’m unsure as to whether I’m going to post it for sale because I’m afraid it might cause confusion. It’s still early to plan for it since my outline isn’t finalized yet so those scenes might be cut anyway. But I will address the details closer to the release date.

When will Your Word is My Bond (book 2 of the Witches of Desire trilogy) be released? – I’m an indie published author. That’s both a good thing and a bad thing. On the plus side, I don’t have to wait on an arbitrary publishing schedule, I can release my stories as soon as they are written. The bad news is that I don’t have a set in stone deadline I have to meet. Which is why I ended up taking time off from writing mainstream fiction to focus on other projects and so the sequel to I Wish hasn’t been written yet.

Now having confessed that, I am committed to getting the sequel out as soon as possible while still delivering a great story. Fortunately, I already know what happens. Nothing that happens in book 2 or 3 of this series is a surprise to me. I plotted the series arcs before I wrote word of I Wish. At this point I’m just working out the details. I hope to start writing by this weekend. My anticipated release date is mid April at the latest. Because the main focus of this blog is my writing process, you can check back here from time to time to find out how the book is progressing and for “behind the scenes” peeks at my creative process.

What other stories take place in the Witches of Desire universe? – I’m just going to steal this list I posted on my Facebook page:

I Wish – A full length YA novel which follows the story of Thistle Nettlebottom, a teen who returns to a hometown she doesn’t remember only to discover that she’s a witch from a town full of them. She has to learn to navigate the complex matriarchal society dominated by women who inexplicably hate her while learning to use her newly discovered powers.
As if high school isn’t hard enough, throw in a tough choice between two hot guys, a best friend who refuses to talk to you in public, but won’t explain why, and dodging attacks from someone who wants you dead. She always wanted a place to call home, but now that she’s got it, she’s learned that it’s best to be careful what you wish for.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
The Second Daughter’s Second Daughter – A stand alone short story that is both a prequel and sequel to I Wish (as in it covers things that happen before the events of I Wish, but really makes more sense if you read it afterwards). It’s best if it’s read after I Wish, but shouldn’t spoil things if you read it first. It’s in the anthology The Glass Heart Chronicles. It’s the story of a young girl’s first love and the tragic aftermath.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
The Hazards of Desire – A stand alone short story that delves into some of the reasons that falling in love in Desire isn’t a very good for your health. It’s included in the anthology Every Witch Way but Wicked. The proceeds of that anthology go to Kids Need to Read.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
The Lies We Tell Ourselves – This micro short story can be read alone, but adds some character development to one of my favorite characters from I Wish, Zane Littlebury. He’s hiding a secret from everyone in Desire, including himself.
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Your Word is My Bond – The sequel to I Wish. It’s should be available for purchase around April 2012.

I read I Wish and loved it. I’m a huge fan now. Is there anything I can do to help spread the love? – YES! A hundred times yes. Word of mouth is the single biggest factor in a reader’s choice to read a new book. You might be thinking that you are only one person, what can you do? Believe it or not, you have the power to make a career. If you love a book, not just mine, any book at all- tell people about it. Tell your friends, blog about it, tweet about it. I’m going to copy myself again (I’m a dirty plagiarizer today. Sorry!) and use this list that I published in May around the same time that I published I Wish:

So you read my book, I Wish… and you loved it. How can you help my fledgling indie writing career and show your support of my book? Let me give you a list of ways.

  • Word of mouth- The best thing you can do for any product you love is tell your friends. Tell them in forums, on your blog, Twitter, in person. Any way you can communicate your love for something works great.
  • Write a review- Reviews are like currency for indie writers. It let’s other potential readers know that people are reading and enjoying the book and makes it easier for them to decide to buy the book. You can post a review on your blog, the book seller’s site (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc…), reading sites like GoodReads. Or cross post your review on all of them. It’s an awesome gesture and so so SO helpful.
  • Rate, tag, and like my book on Amazon- Amazon has a bizarre way of ranking books that nobody seems to really understand, but doing things like tagging or rating a book only takes a second of your time, but helps get the book into the hands of the people who will most enjoy that type of book.
  • Give me feedback- If the book doesn’t work for you and you don’t want to hurt my sales with negative feedback, but you don’t feel like you can give honest positive feedback, please know that I’m open to hearing whatever it is that you want to say about it. I want to know what’s working or not. I am not the temperamental artist type so don’t fear my crazy wrath. And if you have nothing but good things to say, feel free to let me know that too. I’ll never turn down a little feel good.
  • Offer to host me on your blog- If you really love the book and you feel like I might be a good fit for your blog readership, ask me to do a guest post or an interview. I won’t say no and we both get something from the partnership- I get access to your readers and it’s a day that you don’t have to come up with a post of your own. Wins all around! Yay!
  • Put an excerpt of my book in the back of yours- Have a new book coming out and think that the first scene or two of I Wish would appeal to your readers? Shoot me a note and we’ll work something out.
  • Recommend the book- This goes along with the whole word of mouth thing from way up the list, but it bears repeating. If you see an opportunity to recommend I Wish… to someone who will enjoy it, it would help get the word out. Book bloggers, reading groups, friends and family members. A sincere recommendation can sell a book to almost anyone.
  • Read books by other indie authors- If you like my book then buy books by other indie authors. We’re all in the same boat as we struggle to promote our books. Buying a book from an indie not only helps them pay the bills, but it gives them a sense of validation to know that someone wants to read what they’ve taken the time to write. Buying indie helps to support our little community and without my indie writing friends, I might not have even heard about indie publishing.
  • Buy the book- If you truly loved the book and want to show support, buying the book would help out a lot. Of course there is the money that I’ll see from your purchase which is awesome and appreciated, but buying the book has the additional benefit of raising my rankings on site where you buy it, which will increase my visibility to other buyers.
  • Gift the book to your friends and family- Gifting the book not only counts as a sale (which benefits me as stated above), but it also introduces my book to a new potential fan who can then do all the things in this list.

How can I keep on top of updates to the series? – The easiest way would be to subscribe to this blog. Yeah, a lot of it is about writing, but sometimes I write embarrassing posts about myself. And zombies. Klout has told me that I’m kind of an authority on the subject of zombies. But only because it’s true.

I am also putting together a mailing list for updates on new books and stories that come out in the upcoming months. If you’re interested in being added, just send me an email at wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com with the subject line “mailing list”, no text necessary and I’ll make sure that you’re added. I won’t spam or sell your email so no worries there. I hate marketing, folks. So I’m especially uninclined to do something like that. 😉

How can I contact you? – I am ridiculously accessible. I have accounts at Pininterest, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Instagram and probably 10 other sites I can’t think of off the top of my head. I use the name wrenemerson or Wren Emerson everywhere I join. If you have an account some place and you want to be friends with me, search for one of those names and you’ll find me. I love meeting new people so don’t be shy. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter (@wrenem) or email me at wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com. And, of course, you can always comment on this blog.

Where can I buy vomit stickers for scrapbooking? – Ok, this was just for one person. I don’t have an answer for that, but it’s cool that I was even on the list of relevant sites? I believe I was something like 3rd or 4th. But even cooler is the fact that I’m the number one search if you’re looking for “zombie herpes badger”. Maybe it’s a silly thing to be proud of, but then again I’m the girl who was pleased as punch to find out someone was googling “Wren Emerson bikini” even if I do think that’s a terribly misguided search. Trust me folks, you don’t want to see that. I’m pretty much an escapee of a National Geographic magazine from the neck down. I blame the minions.

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KDP Select; 2 genres, 2 outcomes Part 1

First of all, let me just tell you all a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you to those of you who downloaded a copy and those who helped to spread the word. I had more success at this experiment than I had any right to hope for. It was truly one of the most magical experiences of my writing career so far (second only to finishing writing my first novel, selling my first copy, and getting those first few reviews/fan letters asking me about the sequel).

As of the time I’m writing this I Wish, these are my stats:


These are by far the best numbers I’ve ever had on I Wish. Prior to this I think the lowest I’ve ever gotten was in the #7k range. So let me give you a quick break down on how this went down.

I joined Select around the end of January. I wasn’t sure what to do about my free days and based purely on the fact that I liked the sound of “Friday Freebie”, I decided to set my first free day for the first Friday in February so that I could see the difference in income from January to February. Obviously I wasn’t expecting huge successes. Actually, let me tell you exactly what I was hoping to get out of the program.

Before I put I Wish into the program, it was bouncing around between lows of the #200k and highs of around #50k. Last month I sold 23 copies of the book in the US store. That’s not even 1 copy a day. I have a screen shot from a little while ago I can add for perspective.


I tried to figure out why people weren’t buying my book. The reviews I’ve gotten have all been very enthusiastic. So I concluded that the story wasn’t the problem. It was getting people to READ the story that was giving me issues. I knew it was the cover holding me back. I made it myself based on a few books that had a wonderful use of white space. They were clean and appealing to me. Oh yeah, and they also looked like an entirely different genre than I was trying to sell. Oops.

I looked at some websites to see what kinds of covers were hot for YA paranormal and came across the “pretty girls in beautiful dresses” trend. Love! I found a photo of my own pretty girl in a beautiful dress at 123rf and my love went to work. A new, more appropriate for the genre cover deserved a chance for some exposure, I thought, and that’s when I started to consider the Select program.

Deciding to pull my book from other stores wasn’t a hard choice. I’d only ever put it in B&N in the first place because when I was getting started we hadn’t ever tried to format per Smashwords’ requirements and it was extremely intimidating. Last month I sold 8 copies of I Wish through B&N. I figured surely my experiment would yield enough exposure to sell an extra 8 copies. The way I thought of it, it was like paying $30 for advertising. Maybe it’d pay off, maybe it wouldn’t. It was a gamble, but I didn’t feel like I had much to lose.

My hopes for this experiment were small. I hoped to increase my sales which shouldn’t be hard since I wasn’t even moving a copy a day. Really my hopes were set on building a loyal fan base who will happily buy the other two books in the Witches of Desire trilogy. That’s it. I’ve heard of great things happening for people who do the program, but that wasn’t what I was expecting by any stretch.

As I said earlier, I put my book free on Friday. When I woke up I’d had a couple of hundred downloads. I was thrilled. I had a second book come off free the day before and it didn’t have these results. I’ll post more on that tomorrow. But suffice it to say that my expectations were extremely low.

Sometime around late morning my sales took a sudden noticeable uptick and I was having books download 30-50 a minute. Every time I hit the refresh button there were more downloads. That’s when I realized that this might be a bigger deal than I hoped. I decided to make some efforts to promote my giveaway.

I posted on Twitter several times, blogged about my free book, made sure to update FB. But my downloads were bigger than all of that could account for. I mean, I’m awesome and all, but c’mon. It turns out that Pixel of Ink found me somehow. I mean, if I’d been more organized or had bigger dreams I might have thought to contact them in advance of my promo, but it never even occurred to me. I can almost surely attribute my amazing showing on the free charts to them.

I was glued to my computer all day. I watched my rank drop to the #2k range and was thrilled. Then it dropped to the top 1000 and I was even more thrilled. Then I made the top 100 best seller list and I thought I might throw up. I was literally so happy that my body thought the appropriate response was to vomit.

Around 7 or 8pm EST I was sitting at #11 and I decided that since it was going so well, I’d go ahead and extend my promotion another day. I was doing well and I figured I’d see if I could get any higher on the list. By midnight I had 8k downloads and was sitting at #9. I broke the top ten.


When I woke up on Saturday I was in the #5 spot and that’s where I spent almost the entire day. I never moved up any higher than that. I started to drop in rank around 6 or so in the evening so I decided to pull my book early so that I could leave on a strong note, hoping that would help my paid rank.

I pulled my book at 8:30 and my rank immediately went to #158k on the paid charts. About 100k places lower than it was before I started. I was a little bit agitated. At this point I’d had 15,853 downloads and spent 24 hours in the top 10 free books, most of that time at #5 and this was what it translated into? I also couldn’t see myself on anybody’s Also Bought list. I tried not to freak out too much, but it was frustrating for sure.

About an hour later my rank fixed itself and I think I was in the #4000s? I can’t remember and I didn’t seem to take a screen cap of it to reference. At any rate, it was a lot more reasonable to me than 150k.

I made 30 sales on Saturday night after coming off free. I also started getting borrows for the first time. I think there were 18 of those. I went to bed excited to see what Sunday would bring.

The answer, I found out, was an extremely slow, frustrating day. My sales from the night before positioned me at in the #1400s, but my sales had slowed down. It was still more than I’d sold before, but nowhere near the velocity of the night before where I’d sold 30 copies in around 4 hours. It was something like 20 copies between midnight on Saturday and 10pm on Sunday. I was really bummed, but still, I’d succeeded in my goal of getting my book into more hands.

I’d started watching a few other books that’d been on the top ten list with me to see how their rank was after going to paid. 2 of the books were priced at $.99 so I figured they were bound to make a lot of sales since it was such a low risk to take on a new author, but the 3rd was priced around $4.50, I think it was. I don’t know because the price dropped to $.99 in the first hour or two. And, predictably, the rank dropped significantly too.

I toyed with the idea of dropping my price at that point too. I hated to lose the momentum I’d built up and all day long my rank was slowly slipping from the #1400s to a heartbeat from #3k. Seriously, I think I was at #2950 by the end.

Basically it came down to the question of whether I was willing to drop my price down to $.99, something I told myself I’d never do again, or lose my rank and fade back to obscurity. I decided that since I’d accomplished the goal of reaching a wider audience, I’d just trust that they’d come back for Your Word is My Bond and I’d take whatever sales came to I Wish on my terms and if that meant that I’ll never see the top #100, I’d live with that.

But then around 10:30pm, like magic, my books started moving. I was up until 2 am last night and I sold 65 copies during that period. It was about 4 copies every 15 minutes. My mind was blown. Did I mention that I sold these copies while maintaining my price of $4.99? As of right now I’ve broken the 16k mark. I’ve sold 162 copies and had 51 lends. Of course, I’ve also had 52 returns. I started getting them while my book was still free. I have no idea why anyone would return a free book, but I’m here to tell you that it happens.

It also had a bit of spillover on my 3 short stories. I’ve sold a combined total of 21 copies of those since Friday. That was unexpected, but nice. I’ve basically sold enough short stories to buy some tacos. That’s a good day.

It’s far too early to draw any conclusions. My sales seem really slow again right now compared to last night. So it could mean that I’ve peaked. Or maybe they are transitioning to work right now. Or maybe the people who love my book the most are night owls. There’s no telling. But if this is it, if I’m done selling, I’ve still accomplished my mission of increasing my exposure and starting a loyal fan base for the rest of my series and made more in 2 days than I have in the entire career of this book. I’m pretty happy about that.

I’ll post part 2 of the great KDP experiment tomorrow, in which we’ll look at another title I put up which is not having anywhere near the same level of success as I Wish has had. In the meant time, I gathered up a bunch of articles about different authors and their perspectives on KDP Select.

Does Amazon’s new KDP Select program work?

How KDP Select saved my book

From Mania to Reality: The results of my Amazon Select experiment

Very early results from KDP Select

KDP Select free promotion results

Results of KDP Select Promotion Yseult 20 in historical fantasy

So [innocent whistling], about that KDP Select…

KDP Select promotion wrap up

KDP Select free promotion discoverability experiment part 1, part 2, part 3

Unintended Consequences

The joys of KDP Select: Patrice Fitzgerald’s story

KDP Select, Amazon rank and the secrett of why Select members have an advantage

David Wisehart’s 9 day experiment

Is KDP Select salvation or damnation for indie authors

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A new Witches of Desire Wiki- help wanted!

I had a couple of requests this summer for more information about the Families in I Wish. It is a lot of information to take in, I’ve got pages of notes myself. I decided the best way to make that information accessible would be to make a wiki and so I set up one here: Witches of Desire Wiki

Now for the bad news… I don’t have the first idea about how to set one up. I’ve tried reading articles, but so far they’ve only confused me. What I’m hoping is that some kind hearted fan will take pity on me and enter into a collaboration with me on this project. I can feed you all the information you’d need to at least set the ground work for the pages. In exchange I’ll give you free books for life an effusive thanks via my blog and happy links to your blog/twitter/facebook/what have you.

If you’re interested please contact me through my comments here or through email at wrenemerson(at)gmail(dot)com

And, of course, anyone is welcome to contribute on a less formal basis. Unfortunately, I can’t provide any kind of support if you don’t know the basics since I don’t either, lol. But have fun with it. I’d love to see it grow into a wonderful resource for fans of the series.

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Another chance to get free books from Emerson & Abel

Due to the overwhelming success of my time as a free download, which I’ll share in detail in a couple of days, I have decided to extend this promotion through Saturday. I’m sitting at #5 on the free list, which is blowing my mind. So if you didn’t get your free copy of I Wish yesterday, no problem! Feel free to spread the word. I’d love to share my world with as many people as I can.


All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hot-wire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Charlotte Abel’s books are also still available so be sure to grab copies of the first two books in her witchy series. When it comes to paranormal, witches are obviously pretty close to my heart. 😉


While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact sh’’s a witch.
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with“”dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys”” She ca’’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
Ther’’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. I’’s not worth the risk…. until she meets Josh.
Suddenly, the threat of death is’’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Friday Freebie: Books by Emerson & Abel

Have you been interested in reading I Wish, but were a little unsure about whether you wanted to pay full price to try it? Now’s your opportunity to try it for free on Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry. You can download free apps for your computer or phone through Amazon’s site.


All she ever wanted was a chance to settle down in one place.

Thistle Nettlebottom knows her life isn’t exactly normal. She travels the country with her secretive mother and bestselling author grandmother in a pink RV going from book signings to crazy research trips. She’s never been to public school or had a boyfriend, but she can pick a lock and hotwire a car. One day the phone rings and they set a course to a tiny town that’s not on any maps. Suddenly, Thistle finds her whole life changing.

She’s finally found the home she’s been searching for.

Thistle soon realizes that Desire isn’t like other towns and she’s not like other girls. The family she trusted has lied to her about everything her entire life and the things she doesn’t know about herself could cost her everything. Her legacy as one of the most powerful witches the town has ever seen has made her enemies that have been waiting patiently for a chance to destroy her. Thistle needs to learn to use her powers to protect herself before they succeed.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thistle has a power unique even among the magic wielding witches of Desire. She can wish things into existence. At first she enjoys the freedom of having everything her heart desires, but she soon realizes that her power comes at a terrible price. She’s losing her grip on her sanity at a time when she can’t afford any weakness. Her enemies are closing in quickly, but she might not have the strength to save herself.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

Also available for free today are two books by Charlotte Abel. I don’t read a lot of fiction for fun these days, but the premise is so cute I grabbed copies for myself. Check them out if you haven’t already.


While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact she’s a witch.
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with “dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys.” She can’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
There’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. It’s not worth the risk … until she meets Josh.
Suddenly, the threat of death isn’t such a deal-breaker.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Bound by love and magic. Betrayed by those they trust. Not everyone survives.

Gasp-out-loud action, heart-pounding romance and an OMG ending that leaves you hungry for the next book.

Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Filed under I wish, promotion

New Stories and KDP Select

I’m writing this entry with MacJournal so it might take a few tries before I get it uploaded and formatted correctly. Sorry for that!

I now have 3 short stories available on Kindle, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. All three of them are free reads you can either find on this blog or others, but I thought it might be worth it to package them up and put them on sale for people who might not read this blog or who want them on their ereaders.


Perchance to Dream

It’s just a doll. Nothing special unless you know what to look for. People who know are willing to do more than just kill to have her.

They’ll die.

Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

Interesting to note about that one is that it’s featured on a Succubus wiki. I didn’t even know there was such a thing. Cool.


Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle

The movies get vampires all wrong, but there’s one predator willing to explain how it works to a very interested woman.

Amazon, B&N, Smashwords


The Lies We Tell Ourselves

Zane Littlebury has a secret. Nothing new in a town like Desire, but his is different. It’s something he can’t even admit to himself.

Kindle, B&N, Smashwords

You can find this one under my Free Reads page. It’s a piece of flash fiction that is just under 1000 words. It’s a bit of character development on one of my favorite characters from I Wish. It’a a bit more adult in theme.

The other major change that I’ve made recently is to add I Wish to the KDP Select program. I’m still not sure how I feel about the program. I think it’s a bad idea to give Amazon all the power over where a large percentage of indies sell their books, but at the same time I decided I should give it a fair shot before I pan it. Maybe it will revitalize my sales as it has for some people who’ve used it.

It’s only 3 months and my sales at B&N were low enough that it can’t really hurt to pull it. I’ll keep you posted of any radical changes that come from using the program. But I will say that in the 4 or 5 days I’ve had it enrolled I haven’t lent a single copy. I have a free day coming up on February 3rd so I’ll be watching to see if that prods things along. I made sure to have it happen in a new month so I could directly compare the difference between February’s sales from January’s.

I do see that they dropped the money pool for KDP Select from $700k to $600k in February. That’s not a reassuring sign. There was probably a huge Christmas rush with everyone buying ereaders and rushing to get as much content as they could. Now that’s slowing down. We’ll see how it goes for me. I’ve got a new cover that I like significantly more than the old one. I think it’s a little more in line with other YA paranormal books on the market right now so hopefully it finds it’s way into the right audiences.


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