Who is a Bestselling Author?

Lots of independent authors seem to be throwing around the term “bestselling” like it was any old adjective, which makes me wonder what a “bestselling” author really is. How many books do you need to sell to call yourself a bestseller?

It seems like many mix this up with giving away books for free. I’ve given thousands of books away for free, but wouldn’t label myself as a bestseller just because I’ve had up to 40 000 free downloads or more. Maybe I should call myself a bestgiving author?

Many independent authors use programs like Kindle Select to give away books for free to spike interest around their work and possibly climb the “bestseller” lists (there is a free bestseller list on Amazon). The idea is to get traction on the book and move it into the bestseller list for paid books. I managed to do this once for The Wake-Up Call and got more than 25 000 free and hundreds of paid downloads over a couple of days. Does this make me a bestselling author? I don’t know.

bestseller

Here’s an idea that’s up for grabs. Why not have an independent organization of some kind create a “verified bestseller” stamp that you can apply for and when granted, use in your marketing. Something like this 5-minute design:

This way we would know that when someone calls him- or herself a “verified bestselling author”, we don’t need to wonder about the authenticity of that expression.

Or for simplicity’s sake, why don’t just call yourself an author?

That’s good enough for me. Good enough for most of us.

And besides, just because someone has sold a lot of books, doesn’t mean they’re any better than someone who hasn’t.

Stay writing and keep hustling, but don’t write to sell – write to tell.

“I found it nearly impossible to put down at night.”

I got a really nice review for my romantic comedy novel Hollywood Ass. In fact it was so good I share it with you below in full. Cheers /Jonas.

“Description taken from Amazon:

A Hollywood superstar suffers a mental collapse, her marriage is falling apart, her career is on the ropes and the only one keeping it all together is her loyal assistant and friend, Darryl. Problem is, he’s kind of in love with her. Soon he finds himself drawn into a story that is much like the movies his employer stars in. But in real life the answers aren’t in the script…

My thoughts:

This book really surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly, but I found it nearly impossible to put down at night. I felt like I was right there in the moment with Darryl and B.

Quote from the book (taken from http://jonaswrites.com/hollywoodass/)

How could I let myself get attracted to my employer? It was the cardinal sin in the assistant’s Bible. I knew the answer of course, the fine line between friendship and work had slowly been erased and it had become too easy to slip over to the other, more personal, side. I realized I had to fix this, that I had to detach myself and float back across the line again, take a large marker and make the line as bold as possible, so as never to be crossed again!

Screw the marker, I had to pull some black and yellow police tape across that damn line.

That quote in particular had me laughing out loud. Darryl is relatively serious in his life and yet has a sense of humor that flows with his personality seamlessly.

Quote from the book (taken from http://jonaswrites.com/hollywoodass/)

A man was touching me. Luckily we weren’t in a bar, but in a Gucci store and the man was a white-haired, old-school tailor with a pen behind his ear and measuring tape in his hands. I was getting an outfit custom-made,
express charge and B was paying for it.

When we were out on the street, B slapped me gently on the ass and said, “Now let’s buy some champagne.” Sexual harassment in the work place? You bet. Weird thing was, I didn’t mind it.

You can’t help but be drawn in to Darryl and anticipate what will happen next. I included the next excerpt to just give you a great glimpse into the relationship between Darryl and B.

Excerpt from the book (taken from http://jonaswrites.com/hollywoodass/)

After our run, B wanted a Pinkberry, a non-alcohol indulgence I had no problem with.

She donned her oversized shades and I parked the Ranger Rover something like 50 meters from the frozen yoghurt place on a sun-streaked Santa Monica Boulevard. Before heading out, I looked around for paparazzi. To my relief, there were none to be seen, but they were prone to pop-up anywhere at anytime like some evil “jackass-in-a-box”. I was just about to walk out when, from the bottom of her cracked confidence, B unleashed: “You’d fuck me wouldn’t you? If I was single?”

Now what this had to do with frozen yoghurt, I’ll never know.

“Yes, I’d pop your Pinkberry if that’s what you’re talking about. Anyone would, you’re smoking hot.”

“Thanks, Darryl. Don’t you ever quit on me, okay?”

“I promise,” I said out of necessity, but it was a promise I knew would be hard to keep.

When I was back in the car, B dug into her Pinkberry like she had been on a month long Survivor-diet. I have always appreciated women with healthy appetites and I gladly watched her shovel it in.

B of course noticed my big eyes, “What are you looking at? You’re staring at me like I’m miss Piggy!”

To which I smiled and said, “I just like to see a woman eat.”

“Is that a black man’s thing or what? I thought men wanted women who doesn’t eat, doesn’t talk, fart flowers and who never let anything out of the anus, just into it.” B took one more spoon, rolled down the window, threw out the cup and said, “Let’s go home, okay?”

“Yeah, let’s go before they arrest us for littering.” I replied drily, turned the key and drove off.

The further you get into the book the harder it is to determine what you think should happen for a happily ever after, but I LOVED the ending of this book. I truly had a hard time putting it down and loved the view that we get from Darryl. It felt so real I wanted to meet these people and give them a hug!

I gave this 5 stars on Amazon and I hope others will give it a chance!

I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.”

THE WAKE-UP CALL

You either love him or hate him. No matter if you think he’s an asshole or just a nice guy in a heap of trouble, Jack Reynolds will stir your feelings. Do like 40 000 readers and enjoy his story…

You can buy The Wake-Up Call (print) at The Book Depository or Amazon US and UK Or why not as an e-book? Amazon US, UK, FR, IT, DE, ES.

Book description:

On the surface he has it all: the women, the career, and the Central Park view penthouse, but behind his well-groomed and chiseled facade he has nothing.

At least this is what he’s about to realize.

At age 35, alpha-male Jack Reynolds’ workaholic, womanizing and self-centered behavior is catching up with him both physically and mentally. After a series of grave romantic mistakes, he tries to get away from it all by boarding a plane to Cancun, Mexico.

But Jack soon realizes he can’t really run away from anything…

…especially not himself.

Find out how Jack gets his life-changing wake-up call in this fast-paced, heartfelt and funny novel about soul-searching, friendship, and love.

Readers response to The Wake-Up Call…
“A contemporary Don Draper!”
“A riveting page-turner.”
“Brilliant fun for small money.”
“If you don’t smile to this book, you probably never smile anyway.”
“Like a male Bridget Jones in the voice of Marian Keyes.”
“Good style, great flow! Can’t remember that a book entertained me this much.”
Gritty, realistic and a damn good read!”
“The Wake-Up Call really has it all – you laugh, you’re moved and most of all you’re entertained.”

The Wake-Up Call reached the semi-finals in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012.

What’s the Wake-Up Call?

So what’s The Wake-Up Call? It’s a novel about a self-centered, womanizing, workaholic and narcissistic creative director called Jack Reynolds whose life changes completely after a few romantic mistakes.

The Wake-Up Call has been downloaded +40 000 times and reached the semi-finals of The Kindle Book Review’s Best Indie Books of 2012. Buy it in print at The Book Depository or Amazon US and UK Or why not as an e-book? USUKFRITDEES

Remember that you don’t need a Kindle to download a book from Amazon. You can read from any digital device. Read more about the Kindle apps.

About the book:

You either love him or hate him. No matter if you think he’s an asshole or just a nice guy in a heap of trouble, Jack Reynolds will stir your feelings…

On the surface he has it all: the women, the career, and the Central Park view penthouse, but behind his well-groomed and chiseled facade he has nothing.

At least this is what he’s about to realize.

At age 35, alpha-male Jack Reynolds’ workaholic, womanizing and self-centered behavior is catching up with him both physically and mentally. After a series of grave romantic mistakes, he tries to get away from it all by boarding a plane to Cancun, Mexico.

But Jack soon realizes he can’t really run away from anything…

…especially not himself.

Find out how Jack gets his life-changing wake-up call in this fast-paced, heartfelt and funny novel about soul-searching, friendship, and love.

Readers response to The Wake-Up Call…
“A contemporary Don Draper!”
“A riveting page-turner.”
“Brilliant fun for small money.”
“If you don’t smile to this book, you probably never smile anyway.”
“Like a male Bridget Jones in the voice of Marian Keyes.”
“Good style, great flow! Can’t remember that a book entertained me this much.”
Gritty, realistic and a damn good read!”
“The Wake-Up Call really has it all – you laugh, you’re moved and most of all you’re entertained.”

The Wake-Up Call is FREE today and Sunday

It’s normally $4.99 but today it’s FREE. Just download and read it on your Kindle, iPhone, computer, or other electronic device. Check out how here!..

Find your Amazon and print link here: http://thewakeupcallbook.com  The most common ones are US (+rest of the world) and UK

About The Wake-Up Call:

On the surface he has it all…

…the women, the career, and the Central Park view penthouse, but behind his well-groomed and chiseled facade he has nothing.

At least this is what he’s about to realize.

Find out how Jack gets his life-changing wake-up call in this fast-paced, heartfelt and funny novel about soul-searching, friendship, and love.

What people say about The Wake-Up Call:
“A riveting page-turner.”
“Brilliant fun for small money.”
“If you don’t smile to this book, you probably never smile anyway.”
“Like a male Bridget Jones in the voice of Marian Keyes.”
“Good style, great flow! Can’t remember that a book entertained me this much.”
“Gritty, realistic and a damn good read!”
“Brilliant and funny!”
“The Wake-Up Call really has it all – you laugh, you’re moved and most of all you’re entertained.”
“A contemporary Don Draper!”

Write What You Know?

what_you_know

One of my favorite books on writing (aptly named “On Writing“) is written by Stephen King and in that book he regurgitates and then chews on one of the most common rules for writing; write what you know.

First time I read it it made a helluva lot of sense. I mean, it does sound damn difficult to write about space when you have spent all of your life with your feet planted firmly on the ground. Yet, if you can’t write about what you like, doesn’t it take away the fun of it? The reason you write is because it’s fun, right? Then it doesn’t make sense to write about accounting or plumbing (because honestly that doesn’t sound very exciting for a plot).

So the learning from this is that you should write what you LIKE. Whatever it is. Maybe you want to write about Martian plumbers? Knock yourself out. Or maybe you write a story about an accountant and his battle with Microsoft Excel? And maybe that story will be fantastic. Because it’s all about how you tell it.

Let’s say you want to write about an obese man in his upper twenties who’s decided to do what it takes to reach his dream of becoming an astronaut. Chances are you don’t know jack about being an astronaut, you might not be in your twenties anymore, and you’ve always been quite skinny. Then you need to do research, you need to listen, you need to soak up information to be able to make the story as TRUE as possible.

Don’t be lazy with research. Today you don’t have to bog your head down in library books for hours on end. Today you have your friend Google and his father the Internet. You might not be able to feel the sea breeze in the Caribbean by image browsing, but you can get a LOT of information online. Use it to your advantage. You’re going to learn a lot of stuff you don’t need, but they say we’re only using about 10 percent of our brains so my guess is you have space.

For me it works best to mix write what you know with write what you like. I have to feel an interest in the story, the characters, the topic and I have to feel the confidence that I can tell the story in the right way and make justice to it. Otherwise both I and the reader lose.

When I wrote The Wake-Up Call I placed it in a setting I was very familiar with (the advertising world) and placed it in a city I love (New York), but I also went out of my comfort zone when writing about Mexico. I wrote about something I care about (the pace of the world, how to deal with a breakdown, how to face life when it finally catches up with you) and from the viewpoint of a character I’m interested in (the narrator, Jack Reynolds). I didn’t plot it, because I don’t like plotted novels so much, and because there’s a joy in being able to unearth the fossil (another one of King’s phrases) and discover the story as I wrote it. This leads to more editing and plenty more rewrites than a plotted novel, but is a lot more fun and leads to a more creative and original end result (I hope).

The Wake-Up Call is my first published novel, although I’ve been writing stories since I was a kid. It was quite an effort to pull off, because I couldn’t stop rewriting it, but after the tenth or so rewrite I decided this was it. It was time to hit the publish button.

This was in the beginning of September this year. Since then I sold a decent number of books and gotten a good review or three, but I’ve realized that to sell even more I should probably have chosen a stronger niche or genre. It seems like you really need to do your marketing research properly, even as an indie author/enthusiast.

What do I mean by that? Well, you could argue that there’s no point in writing books that nobody wants to read. Or maybe there is? Maybe you just have to get that story out of you, because YOU believe in it and YOU feel the need to tell it?

To be honest with you, I don’t know. Everybody wants to sell or at least for people to read what they’ve written and there’s few things as sad as unappreciated writers who spent years on a book that very few ever read. An extreme example would be John Kennedy Toole and his Pulitzer prize winning book A Confederacy of Dunces. Toole got the prize posthumously because he committed suicide after the book he’d worked on and believed in so strongly failed to get published.

But today in the era of self-publishing and DYI-marketing getting published is not the problem, it’s getting people to like what you write and to SELL (we don’t like that word do we? – me I think there’s a reason it rhymes with HELL).

The general feeling I have about most self-published authors is that they write either science-fiction, thrillers, crime, or romance and that these genres are very popular. Because even if you write for a small niche, the competition will be less tough and the readership more devoted to the topic and by default more interested in what you have to say.

This is what I’ve slowly come to realize. It might be that I’m off, but it’s a strong feeling.

I decided to write a book I would like to read myself (which I think goes for most writers, otherwise it would be weird) and since I’m not so much into science-fiction, romance, thrillers, and crime – I guess I’ll have to call it contemporary, commercial or general fiction (the categories among e-book sellers like Amazon, Smashwords and Kobo vary greatly).

And now here comes the crunch. Who does this appeal to? Everyone who’s into fiction? No. The problem is that the definition is so broad and the competition so fierce that it’s very hard to reach your ideal reader. Who would like The Wake-Up Call? I hope a lot of people. But how do I reach out to them and compete with established publishers and authors?

People would say social media (twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google Plus, etc), but the problem there is to reach the right person and to win their attention with your story.

I’ve come to learn it’s not easy. But you can’t give up either. You wrote the damn thing and you want people to read it.

Just take John Locke for example. He claims he spent $25 000 on marketing and didn’t get very much out of it. Then he started blogging and twittering and not long thereafter he was in the Kindle Million Club.

So social media might work for you after all.

I’m trying a little bit of everything myself. We’ll see how it goes and I promise to keep you posted on this very blog (and on twitter or Goodreads of course!)

If you want to help me out why not check out my book THE WAKE-UP CALL on Amazon, Nook, iTunes, Smashwords

I know this was long and if you managed to get this far I just want to say…Thanks for listening.

The Wake-Up Call Philosophy


Oh, crap, I’m in a preaching mode…

The Wake-Up Call philosophy is about re-evaluation, about looking at yourself and asking yourself where you are in your life and where you would want to be.

It’s good to have a regular wake-up call. It’s nice to smell the coffee. It’s educating to read the writing on the wall. To pinch yourself once in a while. Hard.

I think life should be under constant evaluation, with out over-analyzing everything. Re-evaluate yourself using your gut and your heart and not your mind. This is the best way to get the good answers on where and who you are  in your life right now.

Stopping and thinking things over and being able to question decisions and actions without judging yourself too hard is incredibly important to achieving some kind of happiness.

And then we get into the never-ending question about what happiness really is and then you think you’re stuck right? Wrong. There’s no general term of what being happy is. Only you can know what happiness means to you and the only way to figure it out is to stop and ask yourself those questions:

Am I where I want to be?
Do I live the life I want to have?
Am I doing the things I dreamt of doing?

And if you’re saying NO to any one of the questions above you need to ask yourself why and you need to ask yourself how you can say YES.

Then you do what it takes. NO excuses. Just do it. Do it.

Come on.

Do it.

Ps. If you think any of this make any sense, why not check out my novel The Wake-Up Call at Amazon or Smashwords? Ds.