Category Archives: self-publishing

More about The Last Deception

cover for the last deceptionLies. Deception. A nation on the brink of war…

That’s the first line of the description for my latest Leine Basso thriller, THE LAST DECEPTION. This one’s a bit of a departure for Leine, since it primarily deals with espionage and terrorism. I’ve been a huge fan of spy thrillers for as long as I can remember and thought it would be fun to write what I loved to read.

Turns out, it was much more difficult than I thought.

My first draft was all right according to early readers, but it felt like there was something missing. I sent it off to my weapons and operations guy, but he was out of pocket and wouldn’t be able to take a look for a couple of weeks. So I took a chance and sent it to a writer friend who has experience with security operations and arms dealers and such, and asked him to take a look to see if he could identify what was off.

Well, I asked for it 🙂

One month and several pages of detailed, no-holds-barred notes later, and The Last Deception finally felt like the novel I’d been longing to write. One more round of revisions (2 pages of notes this time, and my ops guy got back to me with some great ideas), and I sent it off to my amazing editor, Laurie. The result is a book that I’m very excited to share with you all. Yes, it took 3 months longer than my usual 6-month turnaround, but I’m indie–I have no hard deadlines. The book gets published when the book is ready.

It’s currently available for pre-order at all retailers and you’ll save 50% if you get it before launch day (20 September). Click here for more information.

Here’s a short video I created to go with the novel. Let me know what you think in the comments:

I’d love it if you’d let all your thriller-loving friends know about the book, and especially about the pre-order sale. Advance reader reviews have been fantastic, to say the least, so you can rest assured it’s readable 🙂

That’s it for now. I’ll post sometime next week with an excerpt, so come on back.

Have a thrilling weekend!


KLAW TV Interview

Hey there! Just a quick post to let you know that my interview with Kitsap Literary Artists and Writers for local access TV station BKAT is live on YouTube. You can watch it here:

Looks like I’m about to strangle the interviewer, doesn’t it? Well, you should watch it to find out if I do 🙂  Interviewer Mark Miller went a tad off script, which made things interesting, and I had a blast (even though I was fighting an epic case of allergies that day…)

 


The Writer’s Chatroom


February 19, 2017 4:00p-6:00p Pacific time
The Writers’ Chatroom

Join me online today at The Writer’s Chatroom from 4-6pm (PST) as I answer questions and riff with attendees at this great venue! Click on the link above, then “Enter Chatroom.” Sign in as a guest with whatever name you want people to call you and that’s it! (you don’t have to give out your email address). And, as an added bonus I’m giving away a print copy of one of my books to one lucky attendee (winner’s choice) 🙂

Hope to see you there!


1st Annual Indie Author Day

logo for Indie Author DayIf you’re an indie author, know one, and/or you’re into reading indie books, then you’ve probably heard about the 1st Annual Indie Author Day shenanigans happening next Saturday. Libraries across the US will be participating with author signings, panels, a live webcast, and all sorts of other fun stuff.

If you’re anywhere near  Tacoma, Washington, come on over to the University Place Library from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, where several local authors (myself included) will be participating in the hoopla (parking is free). The great folks at this gorgeous new library will host a local writer exhibition in the UP Civic Center atrium. I’m sure it’ll be loads of fun, and with a bunch of us authors getting together you never know what could happen 😛

If you don’t live nearby and would like to find out if there’s a library near you that’s hosting a get together, you can find that out here.

Here are the deets:

When: Saturday, October 8, 2016 / 11:00 am- 2:00 pm

Where: University Place Library Civic Center atrium/ 3609 Market Place W #100, University Place, WA 98466

Live webcast: 2:00 pm EST (11 am Pacific) You can also watch the webcast online. 

I don’t know about you, but when I was young, a trip to the library was quite the occasion. I ALWAYS checked out my limit of books, and sometimes had to go back early because I’d read them all. I’m stoked that these libraries are supporting their indie community, and hope that this is the first of many, many Indie Author Days.

What better way to show your support for both indie authors and the great libraries that are participating than to head on out to your local library and be a part of Indie Author Day? 

Hope to see you there!


A Killing Truth

FINALLY. A Killing Truth, the Leine Basso thriller prequel I’ve been working on, is DONE FINISHED, edited, and has a nifty new cover! 

cover for A Killing Truth

I especially like that the designer used an image of Amsterdam for the background, but also that he nailed the characters: Leine (before she was Leine Basso) is in her mid-twenties and working as an assassin for the Agency. The model is definitely younger than the one used in the other four covers, and I think does a good job of representing her at that age. The guy on the cover is The Frenchman, a ruthless arms dealer mentioned in Serial Date and The Body Market, and the reason she now hates tattoos. And yes, I explain why in the book 🙂

Another character who makes an appearance is her lover and fellow assassin, Carlos. If you read Serial Date, you know what happened to that relationship, but I go into quite a bit more detail in A Killing Truth. Her daughter, April, makes an appearance, as does Leine’s scumbag of a boss, Eric. There are a couple of revelations that I didn’t mention in the other books, which explains their long-running animosity toward each other.

You’ll just have to read it to find out 😀

If you’re new to the series, A Killing Truth is a great place to start, and if you’ve already been introduced to the characters I mention above, then you’re in for a helluva ride. Even if you think you know what’s going to happen…

A Killing Truth is available for preorder for $0.99* on Amazon and Smashwords, and will be available everywhere on March 24. I’m also going to be running a GoodReads giveaway for signed print copies soon, and will post here as soon as that happens.

If you’d like to be the first to find out about new books and special offers, why not hop over and join my Readers’ List? The response to my last newsletter broke my email yesterday 😛 , but I believe it’s all cleared up now, LOL.

Here’s the description:

A deadly assassin. A perpetual target. A double-cross she never saw coming…

They say the truth will set you free, but what if it kills you first?

Before serial killers and drug cartels, Leine faced the ultimate betrayal…

Leine eliminates terrorists for a living. After a routine assassination almost gets her killed, she chalks it up to a fluke. Her lover and fellow assassin, Carlos, has another idea altogether. He thinks their boss is setting them up for a fall.

When Carlos goes missing and a bombing thwarts another mission, Leine suspects the stakes are far higher than she could ever imagine, and wonders if the man in charge might have it in for her after all.

A Killing Truth is the prequel to the award-winning Leine Basso thriller series of crime novels. If you like no-nonsense heroines, page-turning plots, and twists you won’t see coming, then you’ll love D.V. Berkom’s tension-filled series

 

*Price good through Sunday, April 3, when it will increase to $3.99.

 


More From the Author Earnings Report

Thought I’d follow up that last post on Author Earnings with this one that includes both Kris Rusch’s and Passive Guy’s assessment of the data:

http://www.thepassivevoice.com/10/2015/kris-rusch-on-author-earnings/

Takeaway? Taking into consideration the obvious pro-indie bent of both Rusch and PG, the data apparently supports the idea that if you want the best possible chance of making a living as a writer, then Indie is the way to go.

…but we already knew that, didn’t we? 🙂


Author Earnings Tracked over 7 Quarters

Interesting news…well worth a read if you’re considering “going indie” or taking the traditional route.

http://authorearnings.com/report/individual-author-earnings-tracked-across-7-quarters-feb-2014-sept-2015/


Update on The Body Market: Post-Launch

I thought since I hadn’t posted in a while (I’ve been concentrating on researching and writing the next Leine Basso book) I’d give an update on how things are going after the launch of The Body Market. The book’s been selling well and a couple of authors have contacted me privately to ask what I did differently, and whether I think those strategies worked. Since I love to analyze (not in any real scientific way, mind you) I sorted through all the things I did differently and those I didn’t and came to the same conclusion:

I have no effing idea which strategy worked the best.

Now, before you give me a ration of crap in the comments, let me clarify: if someone tells you that yes, this one thing they did caused Amazon’s bots to get behind their book, I’d have to call bullshit. Only Amazon knows how their site works, no matter what someone says. We can all try to guess what works until the moon explodes, but NO ONE REALLY KNOWS (and if anyone reading this does, in fact, know please leave a comment 🙂 )

Personally, I think it boils down to a combination of things: pre-launch hype, backlist, cover, genre, description (including using SEO keywords, and tags.), early reviews, press releases, advertising, social media posts, et al. You’ll notice I didn’t list pre-order, per se. That’s because while I expected Amazon’s pre-order option to work similarly to traditional pre-orders, e.g., all pre-order purchases rank on release day and give the book a bump of some kind hopefully onto a list or two, this did not happen with The Body Market. In fact, after all the work I did pushing pre-orders, the day after launch book sales on the ‘Zon dropped 70%.

gif of plane crashing

Blech. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I’d never had that happen on a launch before and I was pissed.

GollemAnd I didn’t know who or what to be pissed at, except myself. Somehow, somewhere, I’d messed up, but I didn’t have a clue what I’d done wrong. I dropped the price of Serial Date, the first book in the series, to 99 cents and advertised the hell out of it the week of the launch (AwesomeGang, EreaderNewsToday, FB, etc.). The Body Market’s pre-order price was 99 cents, which I also advertised with both free and paid options, although not too expensively (in other words, no BookBub ads).

cat on slide

Trying to get traction…

There was one bright, shiny moment on launch day: when a handful of advance readers who had agreed to read and review the book posted their reviews. They were all fantastic and I’m so incredibly grateful for their support. If not for them, I think I would have crawled into a corner, assumed the fetal position, and sobbed uncontrollably into a glass of wine.

Elaine with a bottle of wineI had one more ad coming out the Saturday after launch, a new release post with Free Kindle Books and Tips. I usually see a good rate of downloads whenever I run an ad with this site (not NYT bestseller numbers by any means, but enough to push the book onto some lists). This time, though, something was wrong. I clicked over to the page where the book was listed and realized I’d toggled the wrong genre. Instead of thriller/suspense, I’d somehow chosen history. I sent a message to the owner of the site, but by this time the email had gone out to subscribers and that first flush of purchasers, if they didn’t read the description and figure out the book wasn’t even remotely history-related, had more than likely skimmed past the book.

Okay, so at that point Mark pretty much had to talk me off the ledge (which, in retrospect, wasn’t hard to do since we live in a one-story house). I decided then and there that whatever happened to the book was just meant to be and that I had done everything I could short of dancing naked in the middle of Pike Place Market holding up a cardboard cutout of the book cover and offering free booze to passersby.

Hmmm…maybe…um, nah. Seattle’s too damn cold.

Then, a miracle happened. Somewhere, somehow, something clicked and downloads started to do a kind of a crazy zig-zag on the report page. One day, sales tripled, the next day they sank back to post launch. The next day sales tripled again, but then the weekend hit and sales tanked. By this time, I was feeling all zen about the launch and I figured, hey, sales were sales and I should concentrate on the next book, forget about it all, immerse myself in the world of Leine once again, do what makes me happy. Basically, I adopted a fuck it attitude and let it go (cue song from Frozen)

Frozen gifThe following Monday sales increased seven-fold and have been growing ever since. As I write this, the whole series is selling well. I rooted around to see if The Body Market somehow made it onto any big lists on the ‘Zon, but I couldn’t find it anywhere other than the usual suspects like Mystery, Thriller & Suspense>Crime and Thrillers>Assassinations, so I’m stymied. Now, I’m not naïve enough to believe the rate of downloads will last, but I’m supremely happy knowing the series is reaching more readers than ever and can’t wait to see how far the 4th book in the series will go. I wish I could point to one thing I did right, or even a few things, but hell if I know. I’ll probably do a lot of the same stuff for the next launch, but don’t expect it to follow the same patterns. The timing will be different, for one thing, so who knows what’ll happen?

I think that whole unknown is what intrigues me about this business. Predictable, it’s not.

So how about you guys? What are your launch strategies? Are you doing anything different? If so, what’s working and what isn’t?


5 self-publishing truths few authors talk about

Here’s an excellent post for folks thinking about self-publishing (and a good read for those of us who have done so, but haven’t yet achieved fame and fortune 🙂 )

5 self-publishing truths few authors talk about.


Awesome Authors–Yvonne Hertzberger

photo of the authorWelcome back to Awesome Authors! My guest today is the lovely epic fantasy author Yvonne Hertzberger. Yvonne and I met a couple of years back as minions of the inimitable death star blog known as Indies Unlimited. She shared her gruel with me which should tell you something about her–Yvonne has got to be the nicest person on the planet, bar none. I don’t think I’ve ever read a negative word from her about anyone. And THAT’S rare, especially online where people tend to hide behind their anonymity. Since I’m firmly in the “mean people suck” camp, knowing Yvonne has been quite a breath of fresh air. Here’s her bio:

(From the author): Yvonne Hertzberger lives in Stratford, Ontario with her spouse, Mark. She calls herself a late bloomer as she began writing at the ripe age of 56. Her Fantasy/ Magic Realism trilogy, ‘Earth’s Pendulum’ has been well received and she is working on a new novel not related to the trilogy. She loves to sing, garden and spend time with like-minded people and family.

 DV: Welcome, Yvonne! Thank you for being here today 🙂 Tell us a bit about yourself.

YH: I was born in Holland, a ten minute bike ride outside of Gouda – you know, where they make that famous cheese – at home in a house with a thatched roof. The property was across a narrow street from a canal. You can’t get much more Dutch than that. 😀 I was able to go back and see that house in 1974 and met the couple that bought it from my father in 1950 before we emigrated to Canada.

Now I live with my other half in a tiny brick cottage built in 1883, in Stratford, Ontario. He has his office at the back of the house and I have my writing nook at the front, because he likes music and I need silence to write. It’s perfect.

I love to sing and belong to the Stratford Concert Choir, which gets invited to sing in England and other venues in Europe. Unfortunately I can’t afford to go with them but I hope some of the luster rubs off on me anyway. I also love to garden and of course read.

“…my characters made it very plain they weren’t finished…”

DV: We have something in common–my heritage is Dutch, as well 😀 What made you decide to become a writer? Why did you choose epic fantasy as a genre?cover for Back from Chaos

YH: That was almost a fluke. I was seeing a therapist for a bit who wanted me to journal. When I told him that wasn’t really my cup of tea he challenged me to “Write anything. Just write”. I banged out a couple of short stories and began what I thought would be another. However my characters made it very plain they weren’t finished with it. It ended up becoming a trilogy and I ended up calling myself a writer.

DV: Your books are part of a series called Earth’s Pendulum—currently a trilogy (Back from Chaos, Through Kestrel’s Eyes, The Dreamt Child). Do you envision more books in the series or are you contemplating a different path?

YH: That’s an interesting question, mostly because I don’t know the answer. I have a couple of ideas that could expand the series, one of which is a prequel, but at the moment it isn’t calling to me. So, until it does I’ll follow my muse in a different direction.

DV: Tell us about your latest book, The Dreamt Child. What was your favorite part about writing it?

cover for The Dreamt ChildYH: The third book [The Dreamt Child] was both easier and harder to write. My world had already been created and some of the characters were back. But I knew this would complete the story and so I had to make sure that I didn’t go way off track.

One of the returning characters was Merrist. In the second book [Through Kestrel’s Eyes] he was less important but in this one he became a major protagonist, along with the seer Liannis. So he had to change and grow quite a bit. Characters are, I think, my strong point, so it was fun having him go from a devoted, immature hired man, loving Liannis but not expecting to be involved with her, to her equal and partner in all aspects. The boy had to become a man.

Merrist has one peg leg. He lost the leg as a result of a battle injury in the second book. So one of my favourite scenes deals with what happens when he is caught by the bad guys and they take away his wooden leg and throw him in a dungeon-like cell. They taunt him with it and hang it where he can see it but not reach it, making it swing and clack against the wall. His fear that they will break it and leave him helpless makes him even more endearing.

I still let my characters show me where they want to go but have a beginning, a few key scenes
and an end in mind.

DV: Do you outline or are you more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer? How long does it take you to finish a novel?

YH: When I began I was a total pantser. My characters led me around pretty much by the nose for the first book. With each book that became more balanced by a plan of where I needed to go. I still let my characters show me where they want to go but have a beginning, a few key scenes and an end in mind. Each book seems to become more planned and less spontaneous.

DV: Interesting. I’ve found that to be true, as well. What are you working on now?

YH: The story I am presently working on is quite different from the trilogy. The setting is much more primitive. It has fewer characters and looks like it will be a stand-alone. The idea for it came to me in a dream. That’s quite unusual for someone who rarely remembers her dreams. Since I remember it so vividly I decided there must be a reason. It will be a grittier story but still a cross between Magic Realism and Fantasy, just as the trilogy is, depending on how you define those. Because I want to stay somewhat close to the dream, and also want to make it even better than my previous work, it is proving to be challenging.

“Recent changes lead me to believe that self-published authors will gain respectability, and that the largest trad publishing houses, in contrast, will lose it.”

DV: Ooh. That sounds intriguing! Dream books are such a gift.
Give us a ‘day in the life’ of author Yvonne Hertzberger.

YH: Oh, boy. It’s not terribly exciting, I’m afraid. My books are much more interesting than I am. After shower, coffee and a bite to eat I spend most of the morning catching up on e-mails and networking. I love the friends I’ve made on-line and the way we support each other on this writing journey. It’s also nice to see some personal tidbits, too. On the days that I get some real writing done it usually happens in the afternoon. I don’t sit for hours at a time but tend to take frequent breaks, getting a coffee, looking for a snack, picking beans in my garden. But I still view these things, not so much as diversions or distractions, as thinking time. Mark and I watch the news over dinner and most evenings are spent watching TV, spending time with a few close friends, or, if I’m lucky, playing with my sixteen month old grandson. When he’s around nothing else gets done and I don’t care. He lights up my life.

DV: I like the frequent breaks thing and calling it thinking time. I’d have to agree. In light of the huge changes in traditional as well as self-publishing, where do you see the industry heading?cover for Through Kestrel's Eyes

YH: I am much more optimistic about this than I used to be. Recent changes lead me to believe that self-published authors will gain respectability, and that the largest trad publishing houses, in contrast, will lose it. The result will be a greater balance. We will begin to see more Indie books reviewed by major publications. The other part of this is that Indie writers will find themselves under pressure to get their work properly edited and formatted before publishing, so that the dross that has contributed to the stigma against self-publishing will drastically diminish. I have no idea if that will help me, personally, but it is good for the industry in general.

“Knowing what I know now I have no desire to be trad published.”

DV: 🙂 What made you decide to go indie rather than traditional?

YH: When I was close to finishing my first book I researched what it takes to become published. I learned that I would have more chance of winning a major lottery. Someone suggested I look into self-publishing “companies”. In spite of my research I still got caught by a vanity “assisted publisher”. While I will never see the return of the money they got from me it was still a good learning experience. Since I had never studied creative writing this was where I learned much of my craft. Since then I have reclaimed my rights and self-published. Knowing what I know now I have no desire to be trad published. I am a bit of a control freak. There is no way I will give that up when I will still be expected to do all of the “other” work myself anyway, such as editing, promoting and marketing. I may never become a “best seller” but I know that what I put out there is true to what it ought to be and is the best I am capable of.

DV: Good for you! (I also find painful/expensive learning experiences particularly effective…) What was the worst advice you ever received about writing? Best?

YH: The worst advice was given to me twice, by two separate, well-respected trad published authors. They told me my dialogue ought to be written the way we speak today. My story takes place in a pseudo-medieval society. I chose to make my dialogue more formal and a little old-fashioned sounding. I believe that it will work fifty or a hundred years from now as it stands. Had I taken that advice it would be obsolete in less than twenty as speech patterns evolve and change so quickly.

The best advice was by one of those same authors. He told me to rewrite the section he had read and critiqued in the first person. I think that was a good strategy for the second book.

DV: What advice would you give to new writers?

“Join support and information sites such as Indies Unlimited and The Book Designer.”

YH: Read voraciously, both in your chosen genre and in other genres. Learn all the “rules” so that you can choose when and how to break them and can do so with awareness and intent. Join support and information sites such as Indies Unlimited and The Book Designer. They are chock full of information and can become a wonderful place to receive support and make friends.

DV: If you could time travel (backward or forward), where would you go and why?

YH: Assuming that I will know then what I know now I would begin singing much sooner – say forty years sooner. My father told me I couldn’t sing worth a lick and it undermined my confidence to the point it paralyzed me. I love it so much and have discovered, to my joy, that he was wrong, so very wrong. Had I pursued it at that time I believe I’d be singing on stage on a regular basis.

DV: I’m so sorry, Yvonne. Parents can have such a huge impact on us—young or old. I’m glad you’ve found your voice 🙂 . Thank you for stopping by today–I enjoyed our talk!

YH: Thank you so much for inviting me for this chat. Each time I do one I find out something I hadn’t thought of before. They can be revealing in ways you’d never expect.

DV: And now for an excerpt from The Dreamt Child

BEGIN EXCERPT:

Still, he was a healer and could not let the man die. And he might need the man’s assistance later if he wanted to escape. By the time he had thought all this through he had already begun sending healing energy into the man’s leg to remove the festering and the pain. When he sensed that the wound was clean, and the man pain-free, he forced himself to stop. But he knew that, given time and energy, he could heal the man completely and help him walk again. Just not yet. He needed to rest.

The man groaned and opened his eyes before Merrist finally removed his hands. “Wha?”

Merrist reached for the bucket and held it so the man could drink, which he did with great gulps until Merrist pulled the bucket away and took another long draught himself, noting when he stopped that there was not much left. “Can you eat?” Merrist pulled the bowl within the man’s reach. “I’ll help you.” He broke off a chunk of bread and dipped it into the water to soften it. “Here.”

The man managed three bites, then lowered his head to the floor and tuned away. “No more.”

“Are you in pain?”

At that the man turned back to him, a slow look of surprise crossing his face. “Nah, it be gone.”

“Good, I have healed the wound and removed the pain. You will regain your strength, now.”

The look of surprise turned to awe, then puzzlement and lastly, disbelief. “Tha’ be na’ possible.”

“Yet, it is so.” Merrist waited for that to sink in then added, “I am a healer. I have examined your wound and I can restore your leg so you will walk again.”

The man roused himself so that he could reach his wound and began to probe it with great care, sending Merrist suspicious glances several times as he did so. “Where be th’ cut?”

“I healed it.”

The man pulled up the blood crusted leg of his trousers so that he could examine his leg more closely. Finding no cut and not even a scab he lowered himself back down, his energy spent, and gave Merrist a long, probing look. “You ha’ done this?”

“Yes.”

“An’ ye say ye c’n make me walk?”

“I can, though it will be difficult.”

“Wha’ sort o’ magic be this? Be it ev’l?”

“No, it is a gift from Earth. She has made me a healer.”

The man looked at Merrist again, as though trying to make up his mind. After several moments he said, “Then make me walk. If ye’ be false I lose nought.”

“I will, but I must ask something in return.”

When the man did not answer, his face darkening again with suspicion, Merrist added. “When I heal it weakens me. I need food and drink. Will you make certain that I drink the rest of the water and eat some of that bread and cheese?”

The man looked at the bowl. “I c’n do tha’.”

END EXCERPT

You can find out more about Yvonne by clicking on the links below:

Smashwords
Twitter
Facebook Author page
Amazon author page
Amazon. UK
Goodreads
Website/blog
LinkedIn


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