How my self-published book became a Canadian best seller in six months

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Part Two of my publishing feature in the National Post is out today! In case you missed it, here’s Part One which details my preparation of the manuscript.

A reminder: I’m hosting a live-blog discussion about self-publishing on Monday, December 17 at 10:30 a.m. EST with:

Tina Folsom: Her 16 self-published romance novels have sold more than 500,000 copies and made $1.5 million since 2010.

Mark Lefebvre: Mark is an author and director of self-publishing and author relations at Kobo Inc.

Steve Vernon: His young adult novel, Sinking Deeper: My Questionable (Possibly Heroic) Decision to Invent a Sea Monster is #16 on Quill & Quire’s top 20 bestselling children’s books in Canada. His e-book serial, Flash Virus, is available on Kobo and Kindle.

Please tune in on Monday and engage in the conversation!

WIthout further ado, my publishing feature:

After I clicked “publish” on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, I sat back and waited for my life to change.

It was as if I thought self-publishing my teen vampire novel, What Kills Me, would be transformative: kind of like when Prince Adam raises his sword and becomes He-Man. Following six months of writing and spending about $2,000 preparing my ebook for publication, by the power of Amazon, I was now an author.

Except that putting your book for sale on Amazon feels like dropping a single grain into a bag of rice — you need to paint it green or point it out, or else how will anyone distinguish it from the rest? So nothing happened. And I felt no different.

“Death by 1,000 paper cuts;” my National Post article about how my vampire novel came to life as an indie book!

Illustration for the National Post by Steve Murray

Illustration for the National Post by Steve Murray

My journey as an indie author began in the National Post newsroom. My friends urged me to self-publish What Kills Me and the task seemed too gargantuan to tackle. Finally, my books editor, Mark Medley, suggested that I do it and write about the experience. Well, I can do that. That’s what I do every day as a reporter. Become an expert in [insert random topic here: flying squirrels, mergers and acquisitions, etc.] on a daily basis. I can learn about this self-publishing thing by doing!

The first installment of the two-part feature is finally published! And on December 17 at 10:30 a.m. EST, I will be hosting a live-chat on the National Post‘s website including Mark Lefebvre, director of self-publishing at Kobo, and Tina Folsom, who has sold hundreds of thousands of her paranormal romance novels. Please tune in to be a part of the discussion and to ask the experts all of your questions!

How and why I self-published, National Post, December 8 2012

It used to bug me when people said, “Oh, when I retire, I’ll become a writer, maybe publish a book or two.”

Really? Because when I retire I’m going to become an engineer —was my imagined reply, and presumably that of many writers before me.

They made it sound as if publishing a book was something easy, something anyone could do with the click of a button.

Now, of course, it is.

To read the rest in the Post, click here!

What Kills Me…kills some trees. Buy the hard copy now!

Since its debut as an ebook this summer, thousands of readers have gone on the adventure, propelling What Kills Me to #1 in occult books last month.

I’m so grateful for everyone’s interest and enthusiasm for the story. Many have asked for it and I am happy to say that What Kills Me is being released today in hard copy so more can enjoy Axelia’s story.

(And maybe finally, my father will read the book now that it’s in a form that he recognizes.)

Check out the new trailer!

Buy What Kills Me

In Paperback!

In E-Form!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Goodreads

Book blurb: An ancient prophecy warns of a girl destined to cause the extinction of the vampire race. So when 17-year-old Axelia falls into a sacred well filled with blood and emerges a vampire, the immortal empire believes she is this legendary destroyer. Hunted by soldiers and mercenaries, Axelia and her reluctant ally, the vampire bladesmith Lucas, must battle to survive. How will she convince the empire that she is just an innocent teenager-turned bloodsucker and not a creature of destruction? And if she cannot, can a vampire who is afraid of bugs summon the courage to fight a nation of immortals?

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Artist profile: Liliana Sanches Davis on remembering the details of her nightmares

Liliana Sanches Davis designed the amazing cover of What Kills Me. The talented 29-year-old artist from Lisbon, Portugal talked to me about how her nightmares inspire her work.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m quite obsessed about the things that I feel passionate about, I’m very introverted, as I dread social relationships, and often run to my inner world where I am a lot more comfortable.
For your art, where do you get your inspiration?
Music definitely drives me, and helps me give shape to my work, but as my art has been evolving, my fears have been playing the main role as my inspiration. When I have dreams/nightmares I also remember every tiny detail so that also helps me express myself in a more surreal way as well.
What kinds of things freak you out?
I hate admitting it but I have a severe case of nyctophobia (phobia of the dark). I can’t be left alone at home at night. It’s excruciating for me, I have no words to describe it. I’ve tried everything a person can to cure it. Therapy, confrontation, research, understanding. It never changes.

There are no such things as bad guys…well, except for Hannibal and Pennywise and…

Note: This topic comes up in the What Kills Me book club section on my blog; so I wanted to chat a bit about it:

I love villains. Villains make or break stories for me. (For example, Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson’s The Joker elevated their respective Batman films. By contrast, Ryan Reynold’s film, Green Lantern, was ruined because the villain looked like a swirling mass of world-eating poop.)

I like to wonder what baddies were like when they were young. Before they murdered, or ate human flesh. You know, when they were adorable babies. How did they get so twisted? Continue reading

The Booker Award, the Look Challenge and the Next Big Thing Blog Hop

When I was young, I hated chain letters. Mostly because of Christopher Pike’s horror novel, Chain Letter. I thought some ghastly fate would befall me if I didn’t pass it on. But in the past few weeks, I’ve been “tagged” by several amazing authors in various games. So chain letters are now compliments!

I’m going to address them all in a single blog post. That’s right, it’s a triptych. Three for one! The Booker Award. The Look Challenge. And The Next Big Thing Blog Hop! Continue reading

What Kills Me…a buck and on a blog tour!

For the duration of the What Kills Me Book Tour via Dark Mind Tours, What Kills Me will be .99 cents on Amazon and Smashwords! If you haven’t already, get yours today and go on the ultimate adventure.

My first stop on tour is at Mind Reader!

Q: Was there a scene in the book you found particularly hard to write?

A: Without giving anything away, any scene where one of my favorite characters dies, is always sad for me.
Visit Franny’s great blog to read the entire interview and her review of What Kills Me.

What Kills Me is on a tour (of the net)! Blog tour begins Monday.

Blog tours are fantastic. I get to connect with the reading community from the comfort of my home. I get to stay in my jammies and answer your questions without worrying about the Cheetos crumbs in my lap or the rat’s nest that is my unbrushed hair.

And you get to hear more about my debut novel, What Kills without leaving your couch or office! It’s a win-win.

Speaking of winning, follow me on the tour and you’ll have a chance to win some great prizes. Please Tweet, message, Facebook stalk me. It can get pretty lonely at home with only an empty bag of Cheetos to talk to.

Thanks for your support. See you on the tour! Here’s the SCHEDULE of where I will be stopping! Continue reading