The Taleist Self-Publishing Survey & Typical (and not so typical) Indie Novel Sales

So I was flapping around on Twitter like a maimed bird, and saw references to a survey of Indie authors called the Taleist Survey.  I was intrigued.  Can you say spontaneous purchase?

From the description, I felt like I stumbled on the marketing mecca of Indie author awesomeness!  Or at least Vegas – lots of sparkles and flash.  I like sparkles and flash!

This is one of the first studies I’ve read about the current state of the Indie author market that was done on this scale.  Me hopes for more in the future. Okay, so I admit that I’m a  bit of a marketing whore and totally wanted this book for that marketing section.  So I slapped down my $4.99 and read that bad boy.

So.  There were two a-dher things with the marketing that I skipped.  Other than that, I was surprised to find many of the stats and figures were a reflection of my experience.  I’d be lumped into the people who live off their writing.  I’m in that younger crowd of go-getter chicks with a higher level of education, who tends to write more than your average Joe, had an agent, and chose to self-publish.  I brought my own fanbase with me, but I snagged them before my 1st book was released.  I jumped in without a net and hoped I wouldn’t land on my head.  My head’s okay.  So far, so good.

Things that surprised me – chicks dominating the Indie sales.  Wahoo!  Go girls!  Women make up most of that pool of super-sellers, and of that group the biggest chunk of the pie is going to romance writers.  Which makes sense since other stats say romance titles make up 40% of all book sales.  I write mostly YA and just started writing adult romance (SCANDALOUS under the pen name Ella Steele).  This book had no spring board.  It’s doing well, better than some of my other titles, chugging along at a steady rate.  I didn’t know what to expect shifting genres like that.  I wish there were more details in the survey about writers who wrote dual genres.  Alas, it wasn’t there.  The top catagories were romance, thrillers and sci-fy.  Not YA.  I’m an anomaly.  But you can see that those three genres dominate the market by scanning the top seller list at any time.  So the facts mesh.  They are lining up like nice little ducks.

I would have liked to see more information on sales platforms and the affect on profits.  The survey mentioned that most people had all their eggs in the Amazon basket, but didn’t address the other platforms very much.  Maybe that was because the survey is only for sale on Amazon.  Screw B&N!  Ha ahahahaa!  Okay, maybe not.  My B&N sales are roughly the same as my Kindle sales.  Just saying.  Might be worth looking at in the future, book survey boys.

You might be wondering what the average income for a self-published writer was in 2011.  According to the survey, it was $10,000.  Don’t get all excited, because the average is an average isn’t actually what most people make–it’s not the typical self-published author’s total sales for last year.  Out of about 1,000 people that responded to the survey, ~1/2 answered questions regarding income.  So you’re down to around 500 responses.  The pool is kinda small.  The average author – the median – only netted $500 last year.  The average was bumped up by the superstars rocking it out to the tune of $100,000 last year.  Those rock stars had 8 or more books that they were selling.  They took more time to write, edit, and professionally awesomeify their books.

At one point in NOT A GOLD RUSH the author hypothesized that the self-published rock stars just had better books.  All fingers point that way if they sell more, had an agent, and walked away from traditional publishing with a drooling puppy fan base in tow.

I’m not sure what I think about that.  Maybe I have self-esteem problems and can’t admit my books are good.  I’d say that the book can’t suck, but that’s a far cry from saying that its better than the rest.  A solid C book can rock the sales charts.  We’ve all seen it and wondered how it happened.

I think rising to rock star status is primarily based on three things:

  1. Avoiding sucking.
  2. Writing something that has obvious marketability.
  3. Luck.

Avoiding sucking.  That’s self-explanatory.  As for the marketability, I have to remind myself that at times.  I had an awesome idea and then think about it as wonder who would want to read that?  If the only person you can think of is your mom and that weird guy on the bus–you know, the one that thinks you’re hot–well, you probably can’t rock that title.  But then I read the comments of the WOOL guy (Hugh Howey), and think, What do I know?  Can you really predict these things?  According to him, the answer to that is a big fat, hell no.  He’s adorable, btw.  The way he’s handling his instant rock star status makes me what to pinch his cheeks.  His book follows step #1.  It’s great.  And it’s marketable with mass appeal… even if you hate wool.  Dude sold movie rights last week.  It fits into the top three best selling genres, too.

Luck plays a part too.  Right place right time.  I think that goes that way for everyone.  I’m not the lucky one in my family, so I’m hoping to be standing next to my brother at some point and having a money tree fall from the sky with a legacy contract stuck in the branches.  I’d kill the tree with my blackthumb (in case you wondering why I wouldn’t fight him for the tree).  We both know what a sucky gardening girl I am.  :D

All in all, I think The Taleist Survey had interesting information.  I’d hoped they would have released more of the actual stats, instead of presenting mostly their interpretation of the facts and figures.  Sometimes my crazy brain connects other dots and sees other parallels.  Not giving out more data made me unable to do that.  An appendix with all that stuff would be nice.  Ah-hem.

This is the book, in case you wanna peek: Not a Gold Rush: The Taleist Survey  Prime members can check it out for free.

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5 Huge Sinfully Scandalous Stars for SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele



“I see it, Jack. Your muse is back. The thing that gave you passion, tormented you, and haunted you is back. You’re reeling in ecstasy and dread. It’s something you want, but can’t ever have. And the one that brings the pain is pure, white as snow… and standing in front of you.”


This is one of the best books I’ve read all year. That’s a heck of a statement, but I mean it. I don’t know how I found this book, maybe it was divine providence, but it quenched everything I love about romance books. I was initially hesitant at first, considering the H/h were not at all typical, but the cover and hidden promise of what might transpire just drew me right in. By the way, how beautiful is that cover? I’ll tell you right now, the story is just as provocative. It tore me up, made my heart ache, made me cry and made me happy.

As I said, Jack & Abby were not your typical H/h. Jack is a famous artist, whose work can be construed as either fine art or pornographic. He does not touch, nor date, nor sleep with his models. He also hires a female assistant to oversee his every move when he’s painting a model. With these simple rules, he maintains a pristine reputation that helps him sell his art. Abby is the dubbed as the one who got away. Jack and Abby were close high school friends until she disappears after their near kiss. A decade has passed and Abby returns, practically penniless & desperate looking for job. She has spent most of her time as a minister in a small church in Texas. However, her church forced her to take a mandatory sabbatical after she openly commits an offense. So she’s back and her desperation lands her at Jack’s studio. Yes, she is a minister, but she doesn’t find his work offensive or disgusting, but innovative and beautiful. He hires her as his new assistant.

Working in such close proximity to Jack is having a profound effect on Abby. He’s stirring up feelings within her that she thought was long gone. Those repressed feelings that she has had for him all these years are returning with a force. As for Jack, he’s always seen Abby as his “unattainable goddess.” How long can these two keep up this charade?

“He reached out for me, tugging me by the waist closer to him. Gazing down into my face, he whispered, “I’m sorry, but I can’t be the one to start this. I can’t be the one to pull you from your calling and break your vows.”

Talk about forbidden love and lust…WOW!! Though this was told in Abby’s POV, I felt so much for both characters. The tension was palpable and so physically powerful; it literally reached out and tugged at all my emotions. When they finally couldn’t take it anymore, their coming together was explosive. My God, it was beautifully erotic. When a story elicits so much emotion from you, you know it’s good. I love, Love, LOVE this story. I cannot recommend it enough.

Side note: H.M. Ward writes paranormal YA romance. Ella Steele is her pen name. I hope that Ms. Steele continues to write more these adult contemporary novels because this was utterly fantastic.” -Tessamarie via Amazon


I cannot even begin to tell you how friggin awesome it was to read this review!  Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed rating!  The whole thing was beautiful and really portrayed the emotions of the book.  I know how long it takes to write stuff up and post it.  I can’t thank you enough! You’re awesome, Tessamarie!

People keep asking me if there will be a second Scandalous book, that they want more Jack and Abby.  My response is still, we’ll wait and see.  This book was really different for me.  People say write about what you know and that’s what I did.  It was a very different experience than writing the YA paranormal.  It felt like I was pouring myself into this book and that kinda scares the crap out of me.  So, those of you who read it and loved it, I am SO glad! For those of you looking for something new to read, check it out.

SCANDALOUS is on sale on Kindle and Nook. Go grab it and tell me what you think!  Can’t wait to hear!

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It’s Got Zombies, Man!

ZOMBIE by H.M. Ward

Release date: Summer 2012 (August, maybe sooner)


“The world is being invaded by zombies and there is only one way to survive.  Find it in this interactive ebook where you are the hero.  Evade brain-munching zombies as they take over your street, eating your neighbors brains, and trying to get their hands on yours.

This book has dark humor to make your adventure more fun, as if you needed more fun!  It’s got zombies, man!”

ZOMBIE is only available in ebook format.

I’ve not said too much about this book.  ZOMBIE has already been written and is done.  It’s sitting because I’m a bit nervous.  I mean, it’s zombies!  Ah.  Maybe I should get over that and just release it already?  We’ll see.  The latest release date is August 2012.  That’s my drop-dead/ zombies ate your brain date.  I’ll keep you posted!  In the mean time, stay outa Miami cuz they got some real face-munching zombies going on down there.

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The Role of Bunnies in the Apocalypse (aka the Grackles are Evil Post)

You might see one of these birds, known as a grackle, and think – oh, a nice little crow. You might even think it’s pretty and cute like this little grackle right there.

But, don’t let it fool you.  (They don’t really look like that.  See the evil grackle depicted below).

This is the evil kinda bird that inspires birds everywhere to become evil.

Don’t believe me?  Well let’s examine this foul fowl.  (Bitchin’ 60′s lingo!  oh yeah!)

It has beady little black eyes.

All the better to see you with while it pecks your eyes out.

Good birds have nice big eye balls like Precious Moments figurines.

Its plumage is the color choice of creatures of the night everywhere.

Okay, think about it. Would Big Bird be such a good guy if he wasn’t yellow?


It’s never alone. If you happen come across one grackle, get ready to duck and cover b/c there are 40,000 more grackles behind you, ready to peck your eyes out. They are like flying rat roaches. Nice animals don’t swarm. When was the last time you saw a swarm of 1000 cute and fluffy bunnies? Btw, if you do see a pack of bad ass bunnies, its only b/c the grackles saddled them up cuz they didn’t want to fly anymore. Cute bunnies work well for their MO.

Sure, people will think, “Oh look a cute bunny, and another, and another.” Then they notice there are 1000s of bunnies!!! But it’s too late. The bunny decoys lured the stupid human right where the grackles wanted.

Now the dumb human is surrounded, and the grackles are thinking “I call the eye balls!!!!” There is never only one grackle. If you only see one, it’s already too late. You’re a dead man.

Its name is evil. GRACKLE. Does that sound like a nice little love bird to you? Any name that makes you scrape phlegm out of your throat is indicative of a bad bird.

Let’s try these famous/ nice bird names: Big Bird. Sounds pretty. Sounds nice. No throaty scrape-ie sound.

And that’s the end of the list. Why? Cuz most birds are evil! Yeah, Ravens, Crows, and the ultimate evil bird – GR(insert phleg

m here)ACK(spew a little)LES(cuz they are never alone).

Its call is unnatural. Have you ever heard these things? You’d expect a crow caw or bird song of some sort, but no. Evil birds don’t sing. That’s why Disney didn’t paint a grackle tweeting back at Snow White from its perch at the end of her pretty little finger.

They make horrid noises that make listening to fingernails on a chalkboard sound pleasant. Grackle calls sound like crushing a cat in a trash compactor. Now multiple that by 1000 because grackles never travel alone.  If you don’t remember that part, you are totally screwed!

Anyway, that noise is not birdsong. It’s a war cry that the evil birds screech before they dive to peck out your eyes.

The first time I saw these flying rat birds was at night. 1000′s of them swarmed in the dark. The filled every tree within sight, making them look like they were topped with tar. Add in the awesome sound, and I finally understood why the movie The Birds was freaky.
The first time I saw it, I thought it would be like being pelted by butterflies. Who’s afraid of birds?

With an attitude like that, it’s easy to see why a bird apocalypse is inevitable. Grackles could use their bunny army decoys and then swarm in en masse.

People would be like, “Look, pretty birdies!” while the evil grackles took over the earth.

Grackle Apocalypse Survival Tools:
1. Duct Tape – Wrap your house, doors, windows, porch, everything! with the sticky side of the duct tape facing out. Actually, you need to have that neighbor down the street do it – you know, the one you hate and wish would suddenly have to move to Antarctica. Tell him you’ll do his house next. That way you are safe in your sticky grackle-proof house and your crappy neighbor is stuck outside during the grackle attack. Since mean neighbors are dumb, he won’t notice until it’s too late.

2. One Cat – Oops. That won’t work. Grackles eat cats. Obviously they make those hideous grackle sounds the loudest in trees, b/c they are eating live cats up there, and using trash compactors to tenderize.

Use cats as bait to lure the flesh eating grackles to your mean neighbor’s front porch.

Place the cat on the mat.

Ring door bell.

Run like hell.

3. Bunnies – Use bunnies as double decoys. This will fool the grackles since they use bunnies to attack. A few randomly placed bunnies will make the grackles think they already invaded your house.

Be sure to put little saddles on the bunnies. This makes them extra cute, and only the really evil grackles use bunny saddles. All the marginally evil grackles will stay away.


This is not an exhaustive list of how to defend yourself against grackles. The author cannot be held liable if you get pecked, attacked, or eaten by grackles. Big Bird is in no way affiliated or involved with grackles of any kind. Emo Elmo does not exist, nor was he in a grackle gang. Snow White does not fraternize with evil birds, and avoids all grackle-like birds since she was in the woods when her step-mom tried to have her heart hacked out by a crazy-ass hunter. Sam Butcher continues to create very cute Precious Moments figurines, none of which were attacked by grackles.

This post was written, in satire, entirely for the purpose of getting the readers ready for CURSED by H.M. Ward, the sequel to DEMON KISSED. Now you know what grackles are…be prepared. Tape, kitty, bunny! CHECK!

This is a reposting of a blog from June 8, 2011.  CURSED is on sale for $3.99 this week!  Go grab it!

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New Demon Kissed Series Book Covers! (YA Paranormal Romance)

Okay, I told you that there would be new covers and that it would be a while.  Apparently, a while is about 24 hours in Hollyland.

Assassin is the next one to get a make over, but the other 3 are done!

Get ready!

You ready!?! Here they are.

Now you can tell all these books are in the same series by looking at the cover.  

And they are all gothy pretty!!!

Demon Kissed got a revamp of the 2nd Satan’s Stone cover.

The Satan’s Stone and Torn covers got brand new covers.

Have I told you that I <3 purple?  I do!

The print editions will all change to these covers shortly.  Demon Kissed has already been altered to the new

If you would like a signed copy of the books with the original covers, make sure you grab them NOW.  I only have a few of each book.

The Kindle and Nook editions have been updated to show the new covers.  To celebrate, CURSED ($3.99) and SATAN’S STONE ($4.99) are both on sale this weekend!

Next cover to get a make over – ASSASSIN!  Eric needs his cover awesomified!  Have a great weekend!


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New Demon Kissed Book Covers


I’ve been thinking about re-doing some of the covers on the Demon Kissed series for a while. The bestselling series don’t have the best continuity when it comes to their covers.  Besides the font and the appearance of the ring in the 1st five covers, there isn’t anything stringing them together.

I’d like to change that and update all the covers to have the feel of books 4 & 5 – Satan’s Stone and The 13th Prophecy.  I realize that might confuse people.  I just wanted to give the fans a heads up.  The paperback covers will change 1st, then the ebook covers.

If you want one of the 1st editions with the old covers, better grab one now.  DEMON KISSED has already been revamped.  The new cover looks a lot like SATAN’S STONE.  CURSED will stay the same.  TORN and ASSASSIN will get a face-lift.  I think Eric should grace the cover of his book.  These changes will be made over the next moth or two.  I just wanted to let the fans know!

There is also a hush hush secret in the works.  Should I tell you yet?  It’s the main reason why I haven’t had time to change the covers.  Well, you know how you read about all these awesome places Ivy goes & the Underworld creatures that she sees?  The Lorren, Omen, the golden flowers, the Pool of Lost Souls?  Well, I’m working on illustrations of those.  Many of you know I’m and artist–and a perfectionist–so those won’t be ready any time soon, but its time consuming.  And so worth it!

In the mean time, the covers will shift to awesome images of Ivy and Eric and Collin (eeep!).  And I’ll post teasers of the art work as soon as I can.

To grab one of the last signed copies of the old Demon Kissed cover, go here.  I have about five remaining.

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Assassin – Demon Kissed #6 was Released!

ASSASSIN (DEMON KISSED #6) was released!

Demon Kissed #6, you say?  There are more than 5 books in this series?  YES!  After much discussion with fans and my editors, I realized that I confused the bejeebers out of most people.  I really didn’t want to do that.  So, we to fix that, we decided to continue numbering the series through book 10.

Fans asked some very good questions during this discussion – like will the last books in the series flip back to Ivy’s P-O-V or will we be following Eric around the whole time?  Great question!  My current thoughts are that we will be following Eric for the most part, but that we will flip back to Ivy at some point.  After you read Assassin, you’ll see why.  Eric and Ivy’s fates were intertwined before, and it becomes clear that they still are.  While it may seem that they are through with each other, they aren’t.  Not quite.

And Assassin introduces a new character, someone that will give Eric a run for his money.

ASSASSIN is out today!  And it’s on sale for less than $5!  Actually, the entire series was marked down for release day!  So go get caught up on your reading!

Here are links to grab the ebooks on:

Paperback links will be up in a few more days and they will be available in Europe!!!  Hooray!

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Demon Kissed Crosses the Pond

The entire DEMON KISSED series and other hot titles by H.M. Ward will appear on Amazon’s European websites really, really soon!

That includes,, Amazon. fr, and  I’ve been having fans ask me for a really long time, and I’m so happy that they can now get the paperback edition as well as the ebooks.  It’s amazing!

The listing will appear shortly.  Thank you so much for <3 this series!  You guys rock!

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Teaser: Assassin (Demon Kissed #6) by H.M. Ward

Fall of the Golden Valefar, Demon Kissed, Ivy Taylor, HM Ward, Ella SteeleASSASSIN: FALL OF THE GOLDEN VALEFAR (Demon Kissed #6) by H.M. Ward


“Eric’s gaze burned holes into the house. There was part of him that was eased by her suffering, but it paled in comparison to the anger that her words incited. This was wrong, and he would stop it. Eric walked away from the house, knowing he had to plan this perfectly or there would be unwanted complications. This was not supposed to be the next mark, but it was now.

He deserved it.”

Excerpt from: Assassin: Fall of the Golden Valefar by H.M. Ward

Release date: May 20, 2012

Follow the link to pre-order a signed copy:

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Reviews & Signed Copies of Scandalous by Ella Steele

Look what I got!  And this is only the 1st bunch I signed.  My hand is gonna fall off!

If you want to grab a signed copy of SCANDALOUS by Ella Steele (my adult fiction pen name), you still can!  Follow this link for ordering info.

And for those of you who were wondering if this book is for you, here are some of the reviews and they are all spoiler-free!

“This read was amazing! Always living up to my expectations, amazing writer, even stepping out of her norm! It def made me blush, and still couldn’t put it down! Must read!” -Tiffany via Facebook

“I love the cover! This was a very fast read. I read it very quickly. I was always wondering what was going to happen next. I figured something had to happen it was just to perfect. I like perfect :) … I loved the painting in the book. I could picture them (Jack & Abby) in my mind when reading. Especially when he gave her the tour. The cover of the book is pretty much how I pictured the painting would look. The ending was perfect for their story :)” -Brittany Spare Time Books

“Scandalous had such an appeal! The combination of art and sex was swoon-worthy since I love to paint myself. When I was reading this book it reminded me why I loved art so much and realize the the hidden depths of the creative world that I didn’t even know existed. Jack Gray and Abby Tyndale’s story was one to remember. If I could, I would so love to get one of Jack’s paintings in my hands!” -Christina My Fair Books

“I am writing this on 3hrs of sleep because I stayed up to finish this delightful book. It is a quick read that intrigues you from the cover to the last page. I loved the art that was portrayed, and in my opinion the cover is a wonderful rendition of “The Scandal”. Abby and Jack are wonderfully flawed characters who would sacrifice anything and everything for the one they love. I am amazed at the depth and growth of the leads…I can say that even though it will be a tough day at work with little sleep I still have a smile on my face, a flutter in my stomach and have to take deep breaths remembering certain scenes like the patron walk in the gallery. Bravo Ella Steele! I base my 5 star rating on readability of a book, the unwillingness to put it down and the way the story/characters stay with you.” -Sarah via Goodreads

“This might be the sexiest book I have ever read! H.M Ward has stepped out of her usual YA genre and created a masterpiece! Sooooo freaking sexy!” -Lesile via Amazon

Grab a copy of Scandalous now via Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords.  If you ordered a signed copy, those shipped out today.  Check your mail boxes for something steamy to read this weekend!

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