Archive for the ‘thriller reviews’ Category

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Reviews and self-publishing.

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J Carson Black, thriller author, hits 230,000 eBook sales in July.

J Carson Black, (Maggy) to her kindle-board forum friends, may be self-published, but with her runaway sales success in such a short space of time, surely it can only be a matter of time before one of the big six publishers recognizes both her talent as a writer and the substantial loyal fan base she is building. (In addition, she is a nice person.)

After selling 137 eBooks in February and 1,280 in March, in April 2011, her reported sales were 10,000 for the month and by May; the total sales to date were 73,562. They have now hit a mind-boggling 230,000 sales to date.

When you consider that she has no marketing machine behind her of the kind that traditional publisher can provide, or the many other services, together with their ability to get printed books on the bookstore shelves, the achievement is all the more of a remarkable phenomenon. I would even go as far as to say her success exceeds the remarkable achievements of Amanda Hocking and JA Konrath as her catalogue of books are mostly in the mid price range for self published eBooks. Although the 99c price tag did play a part in the initial traction together with a special summer promotion … pricing alone cannot explain, how her sales have taken off to the extent that they have, or we could all copy her route to success.

I first met Maggy on the kindle-board forum site in late in March, where she is an active member. I had seen her join in discussions offering advice and encouragement to new members of the site and it was there I noticed she was a fellow thriller writer from the book covers on display in her forum signature. All her book covers were attractive and I chose to look at The Shop. The book description drew me in and I downloaded the sample. I didn’t get through the sample fast enough before I clicked the buy button. It was clear from the opening she had a handle on the thriller genre and the narrative voice was distinct for me to want to read all of it. I wasn’t disappointed, the consistancy of voice, great characterization and a knack of bringing the scenes to life was there throughout and with a satisfying plot to put the cream in an already iced  cake, it was well worth the buy. When I started to ponder after the read, I felt like I had read a traditionally published book from a top thriller writer.

With the hustle and bustle of just starting out on a self-publishing career, I put my thoughts to one side, until I noticed her books started to appear everywhere on the also boughts on Kindle. A post followed this on kindle boards that she had sold 10,000 in one month. In a way I wasn’t surprised as I could imagine readers with circles of friends who had similar tastes in thrillers would be recommending her work by word of mouth. I thought her achievement that month was staggering considering up to that point, her sales had trickled along by comparison, although growing from month to month.

I decided as a budding author that I owed it to myself to look further in to her success to see if there was anything I could emulate to hasten my own success. One thing I found was that she had some of her books previously published and wondered if that had helped in the minds of potential buyers as part of their decision-making process. She also had a number of books uploaded; so that once a reader had tasted her work, she had other books on offer for them. However, other than that I was stumped.

I was just building my blog site at the time and I had introduced a Book Buzz page and contacted Maggy to see if she would care to take part and she agreed. I was hoping for some revelation of a secret formula, but there was none, other than the realization that it was attention to basic detail, (Book cover, book pitch and of course a good story, well written.) She had also carried out very little in the way of marketing, so there were no revelations to be had there. This spurred me on to write an article “How not to sell 10,000 books in one month.” with a fable entitled “The Secret” to emphasize the requirement for attention to basic detail for those starting out. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, although attention to detail is a prerequisite, clearly to hit the kind of figures she has achieved it has to be all about the writing and the story, the enthusiasm of her readers to recommend her and the Amazon algorithms taking care of the rest.

Well done Maggy. I can’t see the bandwagon stopping here., J Carson Black, Author profile and books America, J Carson Black, list of books UK

As an author and a reader, living in Brazil, I have to be a member of to buy books. Amazon charge an additional $2 over the .com price for every eBook I purchase. The same is true for customers who live outside their area in places such as Australia etc. I have never really been able to find out why they make this charge. Some say that it is to cover the whispernet charges for 3G kindles, but I fail to see this as I use Kindle to Computer downloads.

If you have a kindle, or you have kindle to computer or any other such device, there is no need to buy from Amazon. This is great news if you live outside the designated area of .com,, or .com de. If you buy through smashwords you can download a Mobi file to view on your kindle, computer or device without the additional $2 charge.

Through smashwords you can download files in Mobi, ePub, PDF etc as shown below on the page of one of my books. Hide and Seek (Ghost story)

Cover for 'Hide and Seek'

Hide and Seek

Ebook By Declan Conner
$0.99 Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
(5.00 based on 1 review)
Published: June 03, 2011
Category: Fiction » Mystery & Detective » Short Stories
Words: 13667 (approximate)
Language: English

[add to library]

Ebook Description

Short story, with both American English and UK and Commonwealth English versions available in one eBook

Carl didn’t believe in ghosts.Unless you want to count the Holy one. That was until he had a dream of a young girl and he was invited to play … Hide and Seek. A seat gripping ghost story.


thriller, crime, suspense, murder, mystery, short story, ghost story, declan conner

Available Ebook reading formats:

You have purchased this book.

Format Full Book
Online Reading (HTML, good for sampling in web browser) View
Online Reading (JavaScript, experimental, buggy) View
Kindle (.mobi for Kindle devices and Kindle apps) Download
Epub (Nook, Sony Reader, Kobo, and most e-reading apps including Stanza, Aldiko, Adobe Digital Editions, others) Download
PDF (good for reading on PC, or for home printing) Download
RTF (readable on most word processors) Download
LRF (Use only for older model Sony Readers that don’t support .epub) Download
Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices) Download
Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting) Download
Plain Text (view) (viewable as web page) View


Review by: Kaye George on July 19, 2011 : starstarstarstarstar
Connor has Carl Jones take us on a train trip in an eerie fog. We never arrive at the intended destination, but chilling events whip Carl between reality and fantasy. Or is it fantasy? Connor keeps the reader guessing until a mystery within a mystery is unraveled.

 If you’re used to reading British punctuation, he has included a version for you also. A nice bonus. Check out his many other short stories available.
(reviewed the day of purchase)


My advice would be to always check to see if the book you want to buy is available on smashwords. Not all books will be available, but it makes sense to get more value for your $.

Other eBook catalogues where you can find my short stories.


Apple itunes ibooks

Note the Apple link above and below is the one I use for America. For other countries where you are a subscriber, change the “us’ to say “de” for Germany “uk” For the UK, “au’ for Australia. “ca” for Canada, etc.              


Barnes & Noble

Diesel eBooks

Indie self-published authors of eBooks. Creating a Buzz

I recently wrote an article on J Carson Black, the American thriller author, with the astounding news she had sold 10,000 eBooks in one month following an interview with her for my Creating a Buzz page on my blog. The article prompted me to do a follow-up article, How not to sell 10,000 eBooks in on month. These latest figures show just how her reputation and success keeps growing. It couldn’t happen to nicer person and she frequently joins in conversations on kindle boards to offer advice, or just to chat. Here are the figures reported publicly on kindle boards on her sales together with a list of other author’s random sales figures. The full list is viewable at kindle boards. The higher sales figures represent mostly authors with multiple books and who have been established for some time. The purpose of this post is to show what is possible and that publishing eBooks is a long game.

J Carson Black

“The reason I post my numbers (other than being a complete notice box) is because the Writer’s Cafe taught me what was possible. The first thread I saw when I got here was one where people showed their numbers and how they changed from month to month. And I saw a lot of this:(these are my numbers since January)

I loved that thread! It told me anything was possible. Before I got here, I had no idea that you could start in one place and end up in a completely other home altogether. The first 7 months was a wash – I went from 1 book a month to a high of 17 books a month in November. It was discouraging, so I didn’t put much into it. Then someone suggested I come here—I started on this board just about the time I hit the 135-mark. So I’m here to say that there are many factors that go into this, but it’s possible. Seeing what other writers have done made a difference to me. Knowing that it can happen is a good thing. So, thank you.”

“I’m almost afraid to say this, because it scares the * out of me. Bear in mind, in February I sold a total of 135 books.”


PONY RIDES (short story): 206
THE SHOP: 36161

73,516 total.



Sales on Amazon over the other 5 books: 300 (US), 222 (UK), and 0 (DE).

I’m pretty happy with the May sales for my novelette but then it’s only been out a couple months and I’m hoping the numbers will continue to build.

Amazon – 558
B&N – 29
Smashwords – 2


ADoR (Romantic Suspense, released 4/1/11) = 81 + 2 UK (50 while at $3.99 and 31 over the weekend when I dropped the price to $.99 for a Memorial Day sale)
AUO (Hot Romance, released 10/1/10) = 271 + 2 UK ($2.99)


I’m slightly down this month Just over 5100 on Amazon but I did have sales elsewhere this month that I haven’t had previously. (Thrillers)
Amazon 5100
Smashwords 3
Apple 1
B&N 41
Kobo 48
and Sony 65.

Total 5,255


I released my first e-book on May 4 & my second on May 21 – both short stories.

If You Go Into The Woods (on sale since May 4)

Amazon 88
Amazon UK 15
Amazon DE 1
Smashwords 4

Total 108
Transfection (on sale since May 21)  (Short story)

Amazon 40
Amazon UK 2
Amazon DE 0
Smashwords 3

Total 45

Total Total 153!!!


Falling Star

I was hoping to meet or exceed my April numbers (944), but only made 715, across all platforms. Not that I’m complaining mind you.


Here are my figures for May: (Paranormal romance)

Amazon: 448 (309 book one, 139 book two)
B&N: 30
Smashwords: 1

Total for both books for May: 479


Remix UK 2,572
Remix US 327
Smashwords 2
Total 2,901
Replica UK 4,143
Replica US 152
(Haven’t bothered with Smashwords as Remix sales via SW are poor)
Total 4,295

Both books total for May: 7,196


Had my best month ever.

Just over 2500 total sales at Amazon UK, with 100 or so at Amazon US.

The Mercenary’s Price (novella) – 989 – $0.99
Honor Bound (The Witchblade Chronicles #1) – 599 – more than half at 99c and the rest at $2.99
Kiss Of Ash (The Witchblade Chronicles #2) – 347 – all $2.99
The Adventures of Miss Upton and the Sky Pirate – 158 – all $2.99
A Secret Life (Lord Hawkesbury’s Players #1) – 24 – all $2.99 – released on the 12th.


17,220 sales for May. Down a little from April, but I’m not complaining. About 11,500 of those sales were for The Righteous, but I had four books clear 1,000 for the month.


I was around 7k for the month, and adding a title at $4.99 was a huge difference-maker. I’ll get the exact count early this afternoon once I’m finished writing for today. Priorities!

Edit: 7122


The sales for three of my books were pretty stable or slightly up, but my bestseller was down by just under 30%.

April total 3110
May total 2342


Amazon sales: 93
Smashwords sales: 18
OmniLit sales: 81*
Total for May: 192


2700+ total for all three books on and

Weight: 451
Cost: 735
Death: 619
Shadows: 882
Sliver: 871
Omni: 850
Cloaks: 5529
Blades: 4407
Guardian: 314
Ash: 273

Total: 14,931


4787 for the month, not counting stuff distributed through Smash.

The Patriot Paradox – 4131
Self Arrest – 559
Fire: Elements of The Undead, released on 8 May – 97

Peace Army – 3,868
Peace Warrior – 3,936

Total sales: 7,800


Amazon US –
Never Forgotten: 1660
Good Tidings: 1204
Loose Ends: 1983
G of NO: 632

Never Forgotten: 192
Good Tidings: 214
Loose Ends: 550
G of NO: 24
Amazon Total: 5997

Pubit: Total: 199

Total sales – 6196


2 books (well, one really! Same book, just re-written for US market!) – 17,375. 1 book = 17, 259! Book1 priced at 71p/99c

I put my book out in the first week of May and here are the numbers so far:

Amazon: 34
Amazon UK: 6
B&N: 1

1557 B&N
2080-amazon us
2-amazon DE
154-amazon UK

Total: 3,793


Not What She Seems – 7,483
The Overtaking – 57

Total – 7,540


Amazon US – 4 ($2.99)
Amazon UK – 8 (£1.99)
Smashwords – 2 ($2.99)
Total – 14,69390.100.html.

J Carson Black former traditionally published thriller author turns to self-publishing and joins Joe Ellis, the author of Spoilt and Simon Swift, the author of Black shadows on this week’s, Creating a Buzz.

In only the third month on Kindle, J Carson Black has sold over 10,000 eBooks in April, after selling only 137 in Feb and 1280 in March. The achievement is staggering and testament to the success that can be achieved. J Carson Black is following the trend in publishing of authors having their rights returned, or realizing they still enjoy the electronic rights to their published books and turning to self-publishing to boost their sales and careers.

With the financial crisis, many publishers have been reducing both the output of publishing new authors and clearing their stable of mid-list authors. Whilst it may seem sensible from a short-term business point of view, one wonders whether they are shooting themselves in the foot, by their short-term objectives and failing to keep their eye on the future.

For readers this is a bonus, as the major publishers continue to put their eBooks out at prices not too different from the printed book, leaving readers outraged on the kindle community boards. Many post comments, wondering why they bought their kindles, when there are no savings to be made from buying publishers books. Authors going in the opposite direction such as J Carson Black, are able to set a low price for their well-edited and former published books on the various electronic platforms and to provide those disaffected readers with quality product at an affordable price, that will give kindle readers a return on their investment.

Of course, it is not all one-way traffic, with the likes of Amanda Hocking accepting a three book publishing deal for a million dollars, but then she continues to make millions from her self- published eBooks. There are also many stories of Publishers and Literary agents trawling the eBook rankings looking for books to fill gaps in their catalogue. So where does all this leave the new authors?

I would say to new authors, that traditional publishing is still the way to go and to continue submitting to literary agents. Paper books are not dying. (See my archive for article) and self- publishing will not get you on the bookstore shelf. Literary Agents, love them or hate them, provide a filter for quality along the path to publishing. However, bear in mind, they are only looking for what they know publishers have a need for and many quality books slip through the net.

For those who have trodden the query, rejection path, but know they have the full toolbox for their craft and a damned good story to tell, then there has never been a better time to self-publish. All I would ask is that you consider the long game. It takes a long time to build a reader base, which many of the former published authors enjoy and have built up over many years. If you look at the eBook success of former Authonomite, Ruth Francesco and her book, Amsterdam 2012, you will note that she was a former published author. J. A. Konrath, the American thriller Author and his counterpart in the UK, the English author, S Leather, as ex published authors, they seem to dominate the charts in their respective territories.

There are exceptions, if you look at Jake Barton as an example, another former Authonomite, his book, the thriller, Burn Baby, Burn, was reported to be downloaded at the rate of 100 per day after a slow start and it is still high in the charts in the UK, together with other books he has since released.

For the average author, as a first time self-published effort, it is just the start of a career. Not everyone will enjoy overnight success. As an example of this, another Authonomite, Sharlow, went twelve months selling 50 to 100 books per month, when his sales suddenly took off to the extent that it would give most people a full time income. As for my own meager efforts … Lunch Break Thrillers one of my own books, made it straight into the UK charts for its category in February and has stayed there ever since, but as short stories seem to be a niche, I have not experience the sort of numbers quoted above.

These are exciting times for those in the self-publishing arena and for those with a quality product and determination, the future is bright … the future is Orange, eBooks.

Creating a Buzz page

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