The Top Ten Self-Publishing, Fantasy, and eBook Stories of 2014

Victorian clock face

Hey there, guys!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (or at least a brief break from work/commuter traffic/annoying office mates, for those who didn’t celebrate).  I don’t want to distract you from composing your reviews of Dark the Night Descending, which I know you’re all doing in the final two weeks of my contest, but I thought I’d share with you an end-of-the-year roundup of the top posts on Inkless.  2014 was a good year for my humble little blog, and I think it’s kind of fun to revisit the stories that attracted the most eyeballs over the past twelve months.

Ready to count down?  Here we go!

10. Short Story: He Belongs to the Sea

It was nightfall when the blood came.  William had been set to sitting and watching, so the surgeon could attend to others.  He had never seen so much before.  The fall had cracked the old man’s ribs, a crunch and a cry as he hit the rail before tumbling over into the water, but he had swum to the rope that had been cast for him, and hauled himself back up onto the deck…

9. Short Story: Traffic Jam

Loneliness had its perks, she told herself as she slid her hands over the steering wheel, back and forth, three times, before they came to rest right next to each other in the middle again.  It didn’t matter if you kept your head down if no one ever asked you to lift it up.  She gently inched the car forward, as if kissing up against the bumper ahead of her would made the traffic clear faster, but it didn’t.

8. The Top Ten Twitter Hashtags for Writers

Whether you’re blogging, Facebooking, Instragramming, Tweeting, or (heaven help us) Snapchatting, social media is a primary part of our current cultural experience as well as a great way to make connections, promote your work, and blow off a little steam when things aren’t quite going your way.  

7. Yea or Nay: MS Word Book Cover Templates for Self-Publishers

Inside and especially outside, authors who may have a wonderful grasp of the written word often fail to translate that talent into the realm of graphic design.  I’ve talked about cover art before, and I’ve discussed the pluses and perils of the mysteriously hooded figure and the voluptuous temptress who could really benefit from a professional fitting.  Stay away from the cliché, I’ve always said.  But what if the cliché isn’t entirely what it seems?

6. 25% of Kindle Books are Self-Published, But Not for the Money

Self-published books distributed through Amazon KDP made up a quarter of the top 100 titles on Amazon last year, The Guardian reports, which is a pretty clear indicator that indie authors are entirely capable of putting out quality content that people want to read.  And they’re not doing it for the money, either.  Only 10% of self-pubbed authors publish books purely to rake in the dough.  Mostly they just want to be heard.

5. Blurb and Ingram Are Bringing Self-Published Books to Real Stores

Blurb, one of the older and more technologically robust self-publishing services out there, wants to help you solve the gaping hole in your lonely little heart.  They’ve partnered up with Ingram, the master catalogue from which booksellers buy their stock, to list self-published titles created through the Blurb platform. 

4. Death Be Not Proud: Mortality, Fantasy, and a Smidge of Rage

I was very much caught by surprise when browsing my Twitter feed this weekend.  Amidst the cat pictures and New Year’s wishes and hashtags, I came upon a New York Times Sunday Book Review interview of short story author and poet Russell Banks.  The lede caught my eye instantly and so inflamed my sensibilities that I instantly clicked on the full article, as the New York Times no doubt intended.  

3. There Will Always Be Someone Better Than You

There, I said it.  Okay?  They’re just always going to be there.  Selling more books, getting better reviews, using prettier words, winning more awards, gathering more Twitter followers…there will always be someone who seems smarter, more accomplished, more talented, and better equipped to navigate the rocky shoals of the publishing world.

2. Wait, There Were HOW Many Self-Published Books in 2012?!

When people say there’s stiff competition in the indie publishing world, they usually just mean it as a really ineffectual way to temper a new author’s disappointment at not bursting onto the best-seller lists by day two.  But it turns out they’re right.  I mean, they’re really right.  The sheer massive number of self-published books produced in 2012 alone will stagger you.

1. The Dirty Little Secret of Amazon Category Rankings

Pssst.  Hey, self-published authors.  I’ve got a secret for you.  Do you want to know how to get more exposure for your book on Amazon?  Are you confused about why a certain novel is on some ridiculously specific Top 100 list while you’re languishing in the #100,000’s for Fiction > Fantasy?  The Amazon KDP platform is generally pretty easy to navigate when you’re publishing a Kindle book, but there’s a hidden method to getting access to the more detailed category lists, which will expose you to a targeted audience and give you some ranking figures to boast about.

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