Thursday, October 22, 2015

I've Started an Indie Publishing Forum, IndiePubClub.Com

This is the new indie publishing forum I've started, after deciding that kboards Writers Cafe is no longer a place I can discuss the kinds of topics that have been the most important to my publishing career these last five years.

Please join me and many other successful indies there, and create a new and vibrant community where discussions around market, success, finances and the state of the industry are welcomed and appreciated!

By the way, as of now I have been temp banned from posting on kboards, so I am not receiving or sending any PMs.  Please spread the word and come join us in this wonderful new space!

Best regards,

Aaron (aka Gorvnice)

Monday, August 10, 2015

What Do You Want?

I'm curious about what those who are coming to this blog would like to see more of.

Do you want to analyze books differently?  More commentary from me upfront?


Different genres?

Something from further down the sales chart?

Would you like me  to do side-by-side comparisons of a good selling book with one not selling as well?

Please let me know in the comments, since I'm getting a lot of readers and less comments.  I feel like there is interest, but perhaps those coming here are looking for something different.  Thus, they are not giving as much input into the discussion as we could be having...

Feel free to let me know.  Criticism and input is how I improve!

The Lost Destroyer (Lost Starship Series Book 3)

Today we're examining The Lost Destroyer (Lost Starship Series Book 3) by Vaughn Heppner.  Priced at 5.99 and enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program, this book is currently ranked #333 in the paid Kindle store.

I realize that this author has a lot of books, so it would be easy to just say that his audience size and previous successes (this being the third in this particular series) is why his book is selling.

But that would be a bit too easy.

When we try and analyze markets, we want to learn from people who are doing it well.  People who know how to sell books.

If all you ever do is say, "well that guy's got an audience, no wonder his book sells," then you're doing it wrong.

Very wrong.

What does each and every book in his collection have on its side?  What does this PARTICULAR book do well?  Are there other trends or factors to consider?

The fact of the matter is that most books high up in the store will be authored by folks who have been writing and selling for awhile.  That's because it takes time to get good at this job.  So you can't just consistently write off their successes with individual books as being due to audience size.

I see folks do this with Patterson a lot.  "Oh, Patterson just markets.  I'd be James Patterson too if I had his marketing."

That's circular, facile logic.

In order to do what Patterson does, you need to think like him.  You need to be able to reverse-engineer his success, working backwards to a starting point.

Otherwise, you're essentially making excuses for someone else's hard work and success, diminishing their achievements and making yourself less likely to learn valuable lessons.

So let's hear some good analysis of The Lost Destroyer beyond, "oh, this dude is already a huge author with a big fanbase to launch his books."

A silver pyramid in space ten thousand years old… 
The secrets of the mysterious New Men… 
A war like no other… 

Starship Victory—Earth’s ancient, alien spacecraft—has won a smashing victory against the New Men, driving them from “C” Quadrant. On their way home, Captain Maddox and his crew run into a vast machine trapped inside an ion storm. Maddox doesn’t know it yet, but the meeting isn’t an accident. There’s a traitor aboard ship, implementing a secret plan, threatening to destroy everything Star Watch has achieved against the New Men. 

Now begins a deadly race as Captain Maddox, the crew and Galyan are pitted against the masters of a centuries-old conspiracy. Human existence lies in the balance. 


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Force: Alpha Badboy MMA Romance

The new book we'll be tackling is called FORCE: Alpha Badboy MMA Romance by Dani Wyatt and DD Wyatt, priced at 99 cents, and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.  Length is listed at 438 pages.

The great thing about this book is that it's ranked #58 in the overall paid store, but it's the first breakout hit for this author (I believe the author names are both pseudonyms for the same person).

So we can truly discuss why this is the book that broke big and what is right about it!

I want to hear from you all in the comments section before I give any opinions (although you can bet I have plenty).

I look forward to analyzing this together!


There are forces for good. Forces for evil.

Then, there is Cameron ‘The Force’ Cobain. A tattooed MMA fighting machine with two felonies, a filthy mouth and one violent obsession. 

He’s drop-your-panties, dead sexy with a body like a monolith and eyes the color of shattered blue ice. 

Women throw themselves at him to experience his other force.  

The one between his legs. 

Raised in a world where you are either the victor or the vanquished, he was trained to be lethal. I know, because I was there. 

Since the days of pig-tails and skinned knees, I’ve counted on him, loved him and hated him. Because some mistakes cannot be forgiven. 

Now, he's gone. I'm alone. The wolves are coming and my own father is pointing them my way. 

When Cameron comes back, he’s after more than blood. He’s after me. 

Why? I’m not the platinum blond, ring card girl. I’m the good girl. The straight A, keep-your-head-down-so-no-one-will-notice-me girl. 

I’ve felt his force and I’m being swept away. Can our two broken halves come together to make us whole? Or, will we find out, in some fights, no one wins. 

This is a stand alone novel with a an ultra dominant alpha male, a HEA and content intended for mature readers. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Stalked by Flames: Book 1 (Dragon's Breath Series): Focus On The Blurb

Stalked by Flames: Book 1 (Dragon's Breath Series) by Susan Illene is the first book that we're going to tackle on Why This Book Sells.  

It's ranked #185 Paid in the Kindle store, and here are it's category rankings:

Whenever I personally try and understand what's selling in any given genre/niche/market, almost the first thing I do is check the book's rankings in the overall store and in its categories.
This book, I found after just a minute or two of glancing around and thought it would make a nice first case study, and not for any particular reason.  

Also, it appears to be indie.  We don't always have to discuss indie pubbed books, but I think generally it's a good method to use.

But that's up for discussion, of course.

I'm going to focus my comments mostly on the blurb, because I think it's a good blurb, without being perfect  And that's illustrative in its own right.  As for the cover and title, I'll leave it to other commenters to give some opinions.

The book is 3.99 and page count on Amazon lists it at 393 pages.  It's also enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program.


Bailey Monzac has just graduated college and is heading to her parents’ ranch for the summer when dragons invade. Like something out of her worst nightmare, the fire-breathing beasts rain down chaos and devastation on unsuspecting human populations. One minute Bailey’s planning her future; the next she’s merely trying to survive. 

But it isn’t long before she discovers she’s different from the people around her—the dragons’ destructive flames don’t affect her. That gives her an edge, but it also means she’ll become a target for powerful individuals seeking to use her to their advantage. Bailey will have to distinguish between allies and enemies quickly as she gets drawn into a war unlike anything the Earth has seen before. 

Word count: 101,000 (approximate) 

The blurb for Stalked by Flames is pretty fantastic.  

I think one of its main strengths has to be 1) the opening line and 2) how short the blurb is.  

This is a fairly long book (at over 100k words) and yet the author was able to distill the entire plot down into two main paragraphs!  That's quite a feat in and of itself.

But merely having a short blurb isn't enough.  It has to be interesting.  

So let's have a look at what works so well, and why it might be leading to 
such high sales numbers, allowing this author to reach the top of the Amazon paid list.

The first sentence really nails things, imo.

Bailey Monzac has just graduated college and is heading to her parents’ ranch for the summer when dragons invade.
What's amazing here, is that we've just achieved like half a dozen major goals with this one sentence.  We established who the protagonist is, that she's female, and that she's young.  

Remember, this isn't only about telling the story, it's also about indicating to your intended audience that this book is for them.

By scrolling down to the categories that this book has been allotted to (at the bottom of the page on Amazon's site), we can see this:

Look for Similar Items by Category

If you notice, one of the main categories of this book is new adult and college (as well as fantasy, etc).  So in telling us the protagonist's age right away, those who are looking for books featuring younger characters will instantly be interested in this one.

The next thing the opening line does is establish the action.  Dragons invade.  

This is big.  

It didn't spend three sentences telling us about how Bailey was going home after college and didn't want to get home, or couldn't wait to get home, or anything like that.  

Instead, the blurb hits us instantly with the idea that dragons start invading.

This immediately fills our minds with images of fire and destruction.

In the second paragraph, the blurb smartly outlines what makes Bailey's journey unique.  She could have just been any person trying to survive the dragons and their reign of terror.  However, it once again intrigues with the simply stated concept that the flames for some reason don't affect her the way they do everyone and everything else.

And finally, although we know that a book of this length likely has many complex twists and turns and more characters, it ends with this line:

Bailey will have to distinguish between allies and enemies quickly as she gets drawn into a war unlike anything the Earth has seen before. 

My opinion on a big piece of why this book is selling?  

It's got a clean, fast-paced blurb with great hooks, and it doesn't confuse you with the twists and turns and multiple characters that the book surely contains.
It gives us just enough to gather our interest, but not enough to make us hesitate with our purchasing decision.
I'm sure there's a lot more to discuss, since it seems this author has other books and has established a fan base. 

But even with that being said, a book doesn't sell unless it does things right.
This book does a lot right.  I'd love to hear what you all think in the comments.  Feel free to discuss not just the book's blurb, but anything that you're interested in talking about with regards to the cover, title, first pages, branding, genre...questions or comments are all welcome.

Check out the newest post up for consideration now!

Introductory Post--Mission Statement, Yada Yada

This blog is called Why This Book Sells.

I hope that it's a rather self-explanatory statement, but just in case, I'd like to introduce myself and the purpose of this blog to anyone who might stumble upon it down the road.

I'm an indie author who's chosen to be relatively anonymous online.  But I've been writing since I was a wee lad, and publishing independently via ebook format since 2011.

By now, I've authored dozens and dozens of books under different pen names and in different genres. My books have been in the top 100 (paid overall store) of Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes and Noble and Kobo.

However, this blog isn't about my books, nor is it about me trying to teach you (or anybody other than myself) how to sell books.

This blog is hopefully going to be about a community of authors who are interested in WHY ANY PARTICULAR BOOK SELLS.

People who want to analyze everything from blurb, to title, to opening pages, to genre, market trends, pricing, cover design...and the list goes on.  I'm hoping to attract the brightest and most analytical minds who enjoy doing this as much as I do.

This is for fun, but also for education and profit.

Profit, how, you say?

I believe that those of us who think and learn and challenge ourselves to analyze in such a way will ultimately get better at selling books than those of us who don't.  

And so, in the end, I do feel that this blog could be a tool to help others make money as they improve their understanding of writing and publishing BOOKS THAT SELL.

What this blog will not be, hopefully:

A place for negative feedback.  

We're going to be taking other authors' work and discussing them in a public forum.  Normally, I'm all for open discussion and saying just about anything you want.  But I'll probably be moderating this blog a bit more heavily when it comes to negative statements about other authors' work.  I don't want authors who might be discussed here to feel burned in any way.

It will not be a place to complain about how "crap sells" and "good stuff isn't appreciated by the masses."  If you want to voice those opinions, go elsewhere.  I'm not against griping--I gripe on more occasions than most--but that's not why we're here, in this space.

And finally, I hope this blog will be a cool place for likeminded authors and digital book enthusiasts to congregate and share wisdom for free.  If we can help some newer authors or struggling ones in the process, even better!

I feel like this will be a blog that will prepare authors much better than the majority of books and classes and other gimmicks that folks pay for.  

And yet, here we are giving away the information for nothing, simply because we love writing and publishing and we like talking about what sells.

So that is the end of my chatter.  If you like the idea, stick around, read, participate. If not, adios and don't let the door hit you on the way out.  ;)

In the next post, we will start to discuss our first book!  See you there!