Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Kindle reality update

In a response to an earlier post, Jack Owen asked, "[T]his time last year you wrote a review of the 'REAL' state of sales for journeyman writers as opposed to the 'Stars'. As a pro [...], have there been any significant changes?"

There have been changes, but are they significant?

So let's review. I'm an established writer with almost 1,000 short story sales, author of several books published by small presses, and editor of five crime fiction anthologies. I'm not well known, but neither am I a beginner.

I released my first title for Kindle--a romance novella titled Unbridled Love: A Romance with Horse Sense--in April 2010. Since then I've released 13 additional titles--one novel, two novellas, six short story collections, and four freestanding short stories. The titles have been released under my name and under the pseudonym Rolinda Hay.

My bestselling title is the one I released first. As of the end of April, Unbridled Love has sold 480 copies. Released in April 2011, my second-bestselling title is Sex, Violence & Half a Million Dollars, a collection of erotic crime fiction stories previously published in men's magazines, with 18 copies sold as of the end of April. Sales for other titles range down to a low of two for "Pick," a short story released September 2010. (My newest release, Love in Short Order, has only been available for a few days and stats for this title are not included.)

I'm currently earning more than $100 each month from sales of these titles, though the bulk of that income is from sales of Unbridled Love. (Note: I don't give work away so these sales figures represent actual sales, not freebies.)

I enrolled several of my titles in KDP Select. So far only one title has been checked out. Interestingly, it was a short story and I earned more for that check-out than I would have earned if I'd sold that copy.

I've also released two of these titles--Unbridled Love and Memories Dying--through Smashwords. I don't have actual sales figures handy, but my total earnings from Smashwords, as of the end of April, was $104.58. The bulk of the income was generated by sales of Unbridled Love.

The income I receive from self-published Kindle titles encourages me to continue adding titles as time permits, but does not yet come close to the income I earn from sales to traditional (and non-traditional) short story markets. I have not yet written anything specifically for self-publishing. Everything I've released has been previously published (thus generating additional income) or has, at least, made the rounds of my regular markets (thus generating some income rather than sitting in my filing cabinet and generating none).

The income I receive from Smashwords indicates that I should make an effort to release more titles through Smashwords, and I intend to as time permits.

So, significant changes? No.

But things are definitely looking up.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Kevin R. Tipple reviewed "Chalkers" yesterday and "News Flash" today. Both stories are available from Untreed Reads.

About "Chalkers," Tipple says, the story
" on all levels and is a good one."
Read the entire review here.

About "News Flash," he says
"...this short story is a powerful read with a certain sad inevitability to it."
Read the entire review here.

Also available from Untreed Reads, "Lost Soul."

Monday, May 28, 2012


I finished and submitted my twenty-eighth story of the year a few minutes ago, a story I started writing January 26, 2006, and which I hadn't seen in quite some time. I was trolling my folders of unfinished stories, found this one, and realized it only needed a sentence and a few word changes to be ready for submission.

It's a literary story about a police officer, so I submitted it to a literary journal. Though I don't often submit my work to literary journals, I have been published in a few.

Published: Love in Short Order

When Amy's Bread & Breakfast loses its cook, Amy Hamilton fears that her failing little restaurant is finally doomed. Then she's rescued by a homeless man with a secret talent who transforms her restaurant and her life, and she finds Love in Short Order.

Love in Short Order is the latest title I've released as Rolinda Hay. It's currently available only from Amazon for Kindle. Learn more here.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


I wrote and submitted my twenty-seventh short story of the year today, a 2,300-word bit of erotica. Although I spent several days pondering the guidelines for the open-call anthology to which I submitted this, I actually took the story from concept through creation to final draft in a single day.

Also Reviewed

Mark Hickinbotham, San Antonio Writing Examiner, has this to say about Andrew MacAleer's The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists: Inside Secrets from Top Writers, a book in which I am extensively quoted:
"It truly warrants a place near the top of the Top 10 Resources for Writer."
Read the entire review here.


Marq at XX Factor* reviews I Like To Watch (Cleis Press), edited by Christopher Pierce, and has this to say about my contribution:
"'Reprieve' steers perilously close to snuff fiction, while delivering the most original story of the bunch. Author Michael Bracken envisions a hired killer who fails to take his shot when the sight in his rifle scope is of two men f*cking. The killer's trigger finger is necessarily diverted to his own anatomy."
*I've not included a link to the review site because it is NSFW.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I completed and submitted my twenty-sixth short story of the year this evening, a 2,100-word erotic romance that I wrote for an open-call anthology. I started writing this on April 5 and interrupted work several times to finish other stories.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I finished and submitted my twenty-fifth story of the year this evening. From concept to completion, I wrote the entire 3,300-word story in a single day in response to an anthology's open call for submissions.

I'm not exactly sure what to call this one. There's a bit of blackmail, but it isn't a crime story, and there's erotic content, but it isn't erotica. Regardless, it's in an editor's hands now.

What I want

Publishing is changing. We all know that. While we have the option of self-publishing everything we write, some of us still deal with gatekeepers. In my case, the gatekeepers are primarily anthology and magazine editors. Unfortunately, I deal with an increasing number of editors who lack the professionalism that previous generations of editors taught me to expect.

So here's what I want from editors:

1. Respond to my submissions promptly, especially if you asked me to contribute to your project.

2. Notify me when you accept or reject my submission. If you can't use the story I sent you, maybe someone else can.

3. Edit carefully and let me see review your work. I'm easy to work with and most of the time you catch errors and make good suggestions. I appreciate that.

4. Send me galley or page proofs to read prior to publication. I will proofread and return them promptly, correcting errors and only rarely suggesting or requesting a change.

5. Pay me promptly. This is how I feed myself. Let me choose when I start my next diet.

Thank you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


I finished and submitted my twenty-fourth short story of the year this evening, a 3,000-word romance I started writing on Thursday.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I received my 20th acceptance of the year a little while ago, this time for a confession. The editor is holding two more stories for further consideration, but I can't count them as sales until I see a contract or the word "accepted."


I finished and submitted my twenty-third short story of the year a few minutes ago. This one's a 2,200-word bit of erotica I started writing May 5, 2009. I had written the first page or so way back then but didn't finish writing the story until I received an anthology's call for submissions and thought the story might fit the call.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


My short story "Lost Soul" was released by Untreed Reads earlier today.

After signing away his soul for fame, wealth, and women, an accountant for the mob goes missing, and a sexy demon hires private eye Mark Cain to find him.

Here's how it begins:

The statuesque redhead pushed into my office without knocking and I looked up from the newspaper I had spread across my desk. I’m usually a breast man but the redhead’s backside caught my attention first.

“Nice tail,” I said.

She flicked it once. Then she dropped an eight-by-ten glossy on my desk.

“We had a contract,” she explained. “He skipped.”

Order your copy from Untreed Reads, Amazon, or any of many other on-line bookstores.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


I finished and submitted my twenty-second story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 2,200-word bit of erotic crime fiction I started December 14, 2010. I wrote the first page or so in response to an anthology's open call for submissions, but didn't finish the story in time and let it sit. I picked the story up again a few days ago in response to another anthology's open call for submissions and finished it, though maybe not the way I had originally intended.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I finished and submitted my twenty-first short story of the year this evening, a 2,500-word bit of noir fiction I started on February 15, 2006. I had written about 80% of the story but didn't have an ending, and the story sat on my hard drive until a few days ago when I rediscovered it and realized I knew how the story should end.


I turned the computer on first thing this morning and found my 19th acceptance of the year, this time for a bit of erotica.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


My story "Getting Out of the Box" appears in Crime Square, a just-released anthology of crime fiction edited by Robert J. Randisi.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012


I finished and submitted my twentieth short story of the year this evening, a 5,000-word confession I started on December 20, 2007.