Lily Marin

Dear reader,

I have noticed that occasionally people are searching this site for book 4 of Lily Marin. I have good new and bad news.

The good news is that short story 4 of Lily Marin already exists. Also number 5 is done. I am working on number 6, to bring out a new three-story book of our Steampunk heroine. Unfortunately, writing Lily Marin is a good deal more difficult than writing Hilda the Wicked Witch. Lily is far more complex in character, as she tries to maintain several personalities and keeping them strictly separated.

So please bear with me, dear reader. Your patience will be rewarded.

The Problem With Ebook Daily Deals

from Ebook Friendly » Tips & More by Piotr Kowalczyk

Kindle Daily DealKindle Daily Deal / Amazon

I’m tracking Kindle Daily Deal since the very beginning. I’m also watching Kindle Daily Deal in UK and Germany, as well as Nook Daily Find – B&N’s answer to ebook deals from Amazon.

It actually doesn’t take a lot of time to notice that those deals are about the attractiveness of the price, not the book.

An overwhelming majority of titles come from a midlist. Only few of the Kindle Daily Deal books were the real bestsellers. Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants was there to make a powerful introduction of Kindle Daily Deal and to raise readers’ expectations – which I doubt will ever be met.

There are two reasons why there are so few bestselling titles featured as ebook daily deals:

1. Publishers of bestselling books don’t need it

It’s obvious. If the book sells well, it doesn’t have to be discounted, even for one day. Full stop.

When the book is dug down in the middle of the list, then it’s a different story. Its author and publisher want more exposure. Being featured as a daily deal means a lot of exposure. I made a summary of KDD books in Top 100 in October. As much as 20 of them entered the list!

For a publisher and/or author it pays off to enter the daily deal only if the book doesn’t sell well in the first place.

2. Ebookstores don’t want it

The truth is that ebookstores don’t want highly attractive books as well. They don’t want the customers to buy a bestseller for $0.99 and leave.

Daily deals are intended to bring people to the store. They are teasers. If readers don’t know a lot about the book, they’ll start digging – and this is exactly what ebookstores want.

I was always wondering why Amazon doesn’t give a full information about the book on the official Kindle Daily Deal page. Or why they don’t offer a 1-Click Buy button. Or why they don’t offer RSS feed. Because they don’t really want users to jump and quit.

What they want is to turn customers into a shopping mood. And they want that mood return every single day.

Obviously, from time to time there will be bestsellers. As often as it’s needed to keep readers interested in daily deals – but as seldom as possible. Especially that the first reason comes back: publishers of bestselling titles don’t need daily deals. Therefore, ebookstores will most probably have to refund lost profits.

And the last thing ebookstores want is to pay for the featured book. What they want is to make the customer pay – and not only for the featured book.

Smashwords interviews its authors

Dear reader,

to my delight I discovered the first of a series of interviews that Smashwords conducts with some of its successful authors. Allow me to share part of, and the link to the first one:

Smashwords Author Profile: Shayne Parkinson

(Mark’s note: This is the first in an ongoing series of Smashwords author profiles. The interviews are conducted by David Weir, a veteran journalist who has written previously for The Economist, Rolling Stone and The New York Times. We’ll profile a diverse range of authors who are achieving success distributing ebooks with Smashwords. Even if we manage to do 52 interviews in the next year [a goal], it means we’ll barely touch 1 in 1,000 Smashwords authors. Do you have a favorite Smashwords author? If so, consider interviewing them for your blog and support your fellow indie authors.)

When we caught up with Shayne Parkinson recently, she was just about to go outside her countryside home and tend to her sheep.

Shayne writes historical fiction set in her native New Zealand, a genre traditional publishers in her country considered too niche to take seriously. So she started to self-published with Smashwords starting in March 2009. Ever since, people all over the world have been discovering her books — one reader at a time.

And once they do, they became fans, often quite insistently (as she explains below) awaiting the next book in her series. These days, her books attract a truly significant global audience, and she sells more in a day now than she did in her first full year back at the start.

If you want to read more, please follow this link.

Interesting news about Paypal and the writing industry

Dear reader,

After a previous post about Smashwords removing certain kinds of erotica (link to post), another writer pointed me today to an online article that shows more background about the reason for Mark Coker, Smashword’s founder, to take this step. It seems that PayPal, for some reason, is taking it upon themselves to become a police for morality:

Adult content has long been a big draw, and one of the most profitable, in the world of digital media, but a recent move by PayPal is a sign of how one part of that business may be facing some problems up ahead.

Smashwords, an e-book distributor that competes with Amazon, has sent out a letter to the authors, publishers and literary agents that it works with to tell them that PayPal is requiring Smashwords to remove all erotica content on its platform that contains references to bestiality, rape and incest – otherwise it will stop doing business with Smashwords altogether. The changes are due to take effect on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

Regardless of whether you are a reader of such material or not, the move by PayPal raises questions of whether a middle-man payments company should be calling these kinds of shots over content, which some might even go so far as to call censorship – and also of the power of those payments companies when they decide to do so.

If you want to see the entire article, please go here.

Indie Promotion

Dear reader,

It is Monday again. You have probably come to expect this: today’s Indie Promotion:

Death by Broken Heart

by Candy Little

Ebook Short Description: Bailey Rhodes is used to running away from problems. When she returns to her hometown for a class reunion, and runs into her old boyfriend, Randy, she struggles to keep her emotions and past hurts hid deep in her heart.

When a local landlord is found at the bottom of the ledges, she doesn’t believe it’s an accident. Randy and his parents are prime suspects. In her pursuit to find the killer, she may lose her friends, and gain a broken heart in the process.

Can she solve the murder before her heart is broken again?

Death by Broken Heart is called a “cozy mystery novella” by the author.

Where to find.
You can find the e-book on and ready for your Kindle. Just follow the link.

If you with to connect with Candy Little, please visit her facebook page.

Pointing out a children’s book

Dear reader,

As I am in the process of producing a children’s book myself, it might be of interest to point out another children’s book to you. Maybe it is of interest.


Spunky, by Sherile Reilly. $2.99 from


Tap dancing and riding her dilapidated bike are ten-year old Sarah Crawford’s, better known as Spunky, favorite activities. After moving to Bandit Creek with her mom, Spunky discovers the old lady in the basement apartment dislikes both her and her dancing. While practising her tap steps in the garage, Spunky devises a wonderful scheme to raise cash for a new bike, but she meets with disaster.

Smashwords and erotica

Dear reader,

Quite the storm seems to have come up over the decision of’s owner Mark Coker, to “ban erotica” from Smashwords.

People who just see the headline and go into a hissy-fit over censorship and an attack on free speech, should take the time to read the entire article, which is available in the Smashword pressroom.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • It is not Smashwords who started this. It is, who has somehow noticed an amazing amount of payments happening for said category.
  • It is not the entire erotica section that is affected. The problem is erotica that deals with incest, rape and/or bestiality. Again, read the entire statement with some attention, and it will become clear.

I fully understand that Mark Coker agreed with this, subjects like that are not things that  that belong on a site like Smashwords. Or anywhere else.

Book review – Heat Rises

Title: Heat Rises
Author: Richard Castle
Genre: Detective

Heat Rises is the third book in the series coming from the series “Castle”. We return to the lives of police detective Nikki Heat and writer Jameson Rook.

Problems arise in every area of their lives, and things get really difficult when they find out that their attempts to find the truth is hindered by someone that is least a suspect to do that.

I very much appreciated this book. The characters are deepened, their problems feel real. I am a bit tempted to take off half a star, because some situations seem a bit unreal, but considering that the story takes place in New York City, and knowing the background of the bad guys, I’ll leave it at 5.

I hope there will be a next book, I love the writing style and the humour in it, which is so identical to the television series.


All Hilda books are now available on paper

Dear reader,

Just this afternoon I received the last 3 proofs of the Hilda books “Cats”, “Lycadea” and “Back to school”, and they are just fine:

Hilda, book 5, 6 and 7

I am more than just a little bit pleased with this, as you may understand.

On the page which shows all books that have been published so far ( link ) are all the links to, and the prices that go with the books.

For people who cannot wait, here are the links:

To purchase Hilda – Cats, click here.
To purchase Hilda – Lycadea, click here.
To purchase Hilda – Back to school, click here.

Writer’s Café – reports

Dear reader and user of Writer’s Café,

This post I want to address the reporting function of Writer’s Café. A report is a quick way to see how your work would look when it is displayed in a word processor or in print.

The report tab

Accessible by mouse or on the press of F6 (Linux, Windows), a report will be generated and shown inside the report window. The report default, as chosen in your preferences, will be shown initially. This can be altered by using the dropdown box on the left over the report:

Type of report

If you select another type of report, the display will update itself according to your wish. The other dropdown box will allow you to control what part of your work will be displayed as a report:

Limiting the report

If your entire report is far too large to examine for the forty-seventh time, you can restrict the report to the current sheet you are working on, or even just the storyline level you are one.

If you want to alter the defaults of the report, and influence other settings, you click the wrench-symbol on the far right, next to the dropdown boxes:

This in turn will reward you with a dialogue window in which you can set and unset everything to your heart’s content, until you are satisfied with the outcome.

Report preference dialogue

(You can click this image for a larger version if you want.)

The report is valuable if you are working on setting the proper styles and formats for parts of your work. Once you see how powerful and fast it is, you will learn to love it, if you do your formatting inside Writer’s Café.

Remember: you can get a free trial version of Writer’s Café at the Writer’s Café website. Writer’s Café runs on Microsoft Windows, just about any flavour of Linux, and on Mac computers.