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Topics - David VanDyke

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This is a new app for authors made by some author friends of mine.

I am not invested in it in any way, and am not endorsing it per se, but I'm putting it out there for everyone to take a look at. They're in the initial stages so I'm sure they would not mind feedback.

Here's the blurb:


"Follow me on Amazon!" "Follow me on BookBub!" "Follow me on Facebook!" "Follow me on Twitter!" 😴👎😕🥵
Nah... just go here:

We authors spend way too much of our time harrying our fans to follow us on various platforms... and what do we get for it?

Can you reach out to them? Tell them when you have a book deal? Tell them when you've got a new release date coming up? Send them a cat video? Do you have *any* control at all over communicating with those followers? Nope. 😔 1,000 followers on a social media platform might maybe get you 10 or 20 likes when you post something. Maybe a handful of clicks. Maybe. So, all that hard work and marketing money you spend trying to get followers... are they really *your* followers, or are you just promoting someone else's platform for them? 🤬

So we try to get newsletter followers. Great. If we don't constantly prune our lists, we'll get maybe 10-20% open rates, if we're lucky. If it costs you a dollar in marketing to get a newsletter subscriber, and you send an email to 100 fans, 20 of them open your email, and 4 buy your books, you've just spent $100 to sell four books.
And we try to make up for it in volume 😂🤣🤨😭

Here's the thing... our fans are TIRED of email. Email open rates keep falling because everyone, their cousin, and their cousin's best friend's sister's dog all have a newsletter. It's not that your fans don't want to hear about your new book - they do! But good luck cutting through all the spam and clutter.
Enter BookSniffer.

You can directly MESSAGE ALL YOUR FOLLOWERS on BookSniffer. Once per month. All. Of. Them. Free. Forever. Send them what you want, when you want - whether it's a book deal or a cat video.

These messages come RIGHT to their BookSniffer app - at the time of day THEY indicate they want to get new book-related messages. The reader is in control of what they see, and when they see it. YOU are in control of what you send, and when you send it.

Free for you. Free for readers. No spam, no clutter, no noise.

Now check THIS out. Not only are we going to let you message your followers for free on BookSniffer... we are going to REWARD you for getting followers.
So, we have an announcement to make.

*taps mic*
Is this thing on?


You heard that right. One. Million Dollars.
It's called The BookSniffer Million.
Here's how it works:

1. Claim your free author account at Fill out your profile so we can make you a free fancy-schmancy author page, with links to all your social media profiles and books and such.

2. Give your fans your unique BookSniffer "follow me" link (it will be there in your dashboard once we verify your account). It will take them right inside the app, whether it's iOS or Android, to YOUR stuff so they can follow you with one click. If they don't yet have the app, they can download it on the spot.

3. THAT'S IT. You get credit for the number of followers you earn, and when we reach one million readers, we'll pass out the ad bucks based on your share of followers on the platform!

You'll be able to use those ad bucks for AMAZING in-app promotional opportunities, including genre-wide messaging blasts to gain MORE followers and sell MORE books.
So let's recap:

 - You can message all your followers for free on BookSniffer.
 - We actually REWARD you for getting followers.
 - When we grow, YOU grow - free.

We've been building other people's platforms (for free) for long enough.

Let's build BookSniffer together.

Questions? Visit https: or shoot us an email at [email protected] We're authors, too, and we're here to help.

Note: our app is only available in U.S. stores right now, but we're adding more countries soon. Please email us and let us know where YOU'D like to see the BookSniffer app.

Writers' Cafe / New BookBub site for audiobook deals: Chirp
« on: August 14, 2019, 12:48:55 pm »
Just got this in my email:


Hi there,

To thank you for being a BookBub member, I want to invite you to be one of the first to access our new platform for audiobook deals, Chirp! Chirp offers audiobooks selected by the same BookBub editors you trust at up to 95% off.

I love listening to audiobooks on my daily commute, while cleaning up around the house, and even while exercising. With Chirp I can binge audiobooks and discover new authors without breaking the bank.

The best part is that there's no subscription fee or commitment, and new deals are added daily!

Start getting deals

Thanks again for your membership, and happy reading!


The link leads to a signup process, then here, where you can see the deals:

It appears Chirp is its own seller website, not related to Audible or Apple, where presumably non-exclusive "wide" audiobooks can be sold and discounted.

Given that BookBub is pushing it, it might be a game-changer for bringing down audiobook prices or offering discounted first-in-series closer to the ebook model. Not sure if this is a good thing or not for authors, but at least it opens up options.

Writers' Cafe / Authorweek bait-and-switch cold email
« on: June 26, 2019, 10:46:32 am »
Got the below in my email today.

From the subject line, it seems to indicate my book will be featured on their "blog"--hooray, right?

Nope. Not really a blog, and it's a cheesy attempt to get me to book a promo.

I have no idea if the promo would be worth it--choice of $29 or $49--but the approach turns me off.


Subject: Your Book "Deadly Secrets" will Feature at Authorweek Blog!

book deal <bookdeal01 (at)>

4:36 AM (6 hours ago)

to me

Hi  D. D. VanDyke,

As you are the Author of  "Deadly Secrets", I thought you might find this interesting.
With this rapid growth in the publishing industry, I've had the opportunity to work with Authors like Jennifer Chase, J. S. Scott and A. L. Long by improving their Book sales and rankings.
We do this by:
We will feature your book in our Monday weekly newsletter. We send the newsletter to our 20,000 subscribers.
We will list your book on Authorweek Home page for one week. We get 20000 to 30000 visitors per month on our home page.
We will send out 105 Promotional tweets to our 450000 twitter followers in the weekly promotion.
Your book will be listed on our site for 2 years with the purchase link of the book.
Only 20 Slots are open for Featured book promotion for next week. Book promotion will begin from 1 July 2019 and run till 7 July 2019.

The last date to enroll in next week Featured book promotion is 30June 2019"

So, What are you waiting for?

Visit our website for more info or submit your book here: (redacted)

Thank You
Team Manisha

I've found the various online rank-to-sales calculators can yield wildly different results when using the same numbers.

Anyone have an educated opinion on which is most accurate in today's market?

Here are some I found. I ignored any I found with identifiable posting dates earlier than 2018.

This is a chart, not a converter:

Writers' Cafe / Jianlai Global -- anyone have personal experience?
« on: May 19, 2019, 08:31:20 pm »
I was contacted by Jianlai Global, which seems to be a small multinational getting into the translation and publishing business. They seem interested in translating and publishing my books in certain other languages, such as Chinese and Spanish.

Anyone else been contacted? Does anyone here know of them personally? I did the usual Google searches--no obvious red flags, but they are very new.

They have ads up on many websites for freelance work and for hiring employees.

This is their website:

Writers' Cafe / Barnes and Noble dashboard showing zero sales and downloads
« on: February 17, 2019, 08:38:30 pm »
Just like the topic says: my B&N dashboard is suddenly showing no sales and no downloads as of the 15th.

I have several permafrees, so I'm 99% certain this is a reporting problem.

The other faint possibility is that it's a software problem with, for example, my books not being able to be bought or downloaded, I suppose.

I have emails in to them.

Has anyone else experienced this problem?

Would someone with a Nook account like to download a free book of mine just to test whether it's working for them?

Just google, say, Loose Ends Nook VanDyke and it should be at the top.

Thanks in advance.

Writers' Cafe / KDP survey
« on: October 16, 2018, 10:46:25 am »
KDP periodically sends out survey notices on how it's doing and asking for feedback. It looks like the survey has no individual identifiers or controls (I may be wrong, but I was able to finish it and immediately start another survey), so anyone should be able to use this link:

I suggest that all interested authors take the survey and express your concerns about KDP, whatever they may be.

For me, I highlighted the problems with KU and suggested lowering the cap. If hundreds of survey respondents highlight the same concerns, it might nudge KDP to tweak the program to reduce the abuse.

Writers' Cafe / AMS becomes Amazon Advertising
« on: September 05, 2018, 09:09:57 am »

Not sure what changes other than the name--they say nothing--but we shall see...

Writers' Cafe / Another trade (agent) scandal.
« on: August 25, 2018, 01:07:56 pm »

Agent behaving badly.

We indies have our own messes, but so far, we haven't gotten screwed en masse by things like this. We know right away if our books get published, how they're selling, and so on.

Here's a fascinating blog post by JW Alden, a sci-fi writer of (apparently, primarily) short fiction, and his experience winning Scientology's 2016 Writers of the Future sci-fi contest.

SFWA is right now debating delisting the contest. There have always been problems, but they seem to be growing.

The defense of the contest seems to be "the good outweighs the bad."

I'm not so sure.

Writers' Cafe / KKR is years out of date regarding KBoards
« on: July 27, 2018, 11:28:46 am »
KKR just put out a good new post addressing the current mess.

Unfortunately, she's years out of date when it comes to KBoards, and connects "Kindle Boards" and "Kindle Board" (both used) with promulgation of cheating. I've posted a comment trying to correct that impression. Perhaps anyone who has an "in" with KKR could contact her to help correct the impression she's giving about KBoards.

Writers' Cafe / Amazing story of an apparent literary con artist
« on: July 26, 2018, 09:21:44 pm »

If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Writers' Cafe / More data available to Amazon Associates?
« on: July 25, 2018, 11:20:19 am »
I got this today:


Hello Amazon associate,

We are excited to let you know that you have been selected to experience Content Insights. A tool for helping improve your associate business with real insights to your readers and customers' behavior.

Content Insights is a new feature available to Amazon associates that includes Content Performance and Content Suggestions tools. These tools offer insights such as which pages of your site are monetizing well and which topics are resonating most with your readers. You’ll have a better understanding of what your audience is shopping for on Amazon -- from both your affiliate links and outside of affiliate links.

You can find these tools today in the Content Insights tab on Associates Central. To help get you started, we’ve created this video tutorial to show you how to use Content Performance, and this video tutorial for Content Suggestions.

Amazon Associates Program


I haven't investigated it yet, but it looks interesting so far.

Writers' Cafe / Barnes and Noble (Nook) Press now open to CA/NZ/AUS
« on: July 25, 2018, 11:14:49 am »
Got this from B&N today:


Dear Publisher,

Summer is upon us and things are heating up at B&N Press! We wanted to let you know about our recently launched features:

B&N Press is now open to users from Canada, Australia and New Zealand! Authors based in these countries can now start selling their books direct to B&N/NOOK readers in the U.S.

Top 5 Bestseller Sales Reporting Widget: Now you can see which titles are top performers over the past 7 or 30 days.

Category Search Tool: This tool lets you easily type to search for your most relevant categories (we recently added 4,000 additional categories, too!).

We’re adding new partners each month and recently partnered with Reedsy, who offers editorial services of all kinds, and Girl Friday Productions, who offers full service publishing packages, author logo and website design at a special price for B&N Press users.

Reedsy is also offering a FREE webinar on How to Create the Ultimate Book Launch plan exclusively for B&N Press users at 1 PM EDT on Tuesday, September 11th. Sign up here.

The B&N Press Team


It's a small step, but for those wide in those countries, it's one more place to sell direct if they want.

And, it seems to show somebody who cares is actually at the rudder at B&N Press, unlike the rest of the company.

Are there any one-stop shops for getting graphic novels made from books?

Something like ACX or anything close to it--a studio that I could (for example) work with and pay to do everything I can't do, to take books and turn them into graphic novels?

I've talked to people at cons from time to time and the answer always seems to be "well, start trying to get a team together and try to get them to work with each other and yeah, mostly we just wanna work on our own stuff." But there has to be the graphic equivalent of moviemaking or ghostwriting around somewhere...

At least, we start out that way, it occurred to me.

Remember maybe 10-20 years ago in the US, when food trucks were uncommon, mostly confined to roach coaches serving blue-collar workers in the parking lots of manufacturing plants, or some ethnic neighborhoods? Then, around the same time as the rise of Kindle (about 2008, according to some articles I read) high-quality food trucks exploded on the scene with new cuisines, often fusions of traditional favs, like Korean tacos or Pho burritos.

Often, one truck became many owned by the same person or family, or they bought a restaurant, and voila, a whole new industry appeared nearly overnight. (No, I'm not saying there were no good food trucks before that, but they weren't EVERYWHERE the way they are now in the US).

Just like indies. Both industries bypassed the traditional venues and carved out their own niches--and some have risen to megastar status and even a fair bit of respect. In the food world they're on TV, thanks to chef/entertainers like David Chang and Anthony Bourdain.

So, when do indies get TV series?

Writers' Cafe / New look for bestseller lists?
« on: July 09, 2018, 10:20:57 pm »
Check this out.

Has anyone seen anything similar on other sites?

Writers' Cafe / Anyone ever used Bookdealio?
« on: June 25, 2018, 10:15:39 am »
Another new (to me) promo service claiming 130K subscribers. Interesting idea, but far too pricey to try without being certain they can deliver.

Anyone used them before?

Here's their cold email:

Dear David,

I'm emailing because I noticed that you occasionally have ebook discounts on Amazon.

At, we promote ebook deals, but we do things a little differently.

Our newsletter service will send - not 1 email - but 4 emails about your book to larger and larger lists. The goal is to have consistent, positive interest in your book over time.

We all know that Amazon and other retailers do not like traffic spikes. With, you can start a bell curve of interest during your promotion period.

If you have questions, feel free to email me back or you can learn more about our service.

If you have an upcoming ebook deal, please apply and I'll get back to you with confirmation.

Use Promo Code: SUMMER2018 for a $50 off your listing (Normally $250 for 4 emails)

Thank you for considering We look forward to working with you to help you sell more books and increase your book rank.

Warm Regards,


Jessica Rose
Marketing Director
Authors: We'd love to consider your ebook deal. Please apply for a listing.


I know the conventional wisdom is that Amazon counts pre-ordered books for rank ONLY when they are ordered. We see the book rank fluctuate with the orders as if they were realized sales.

However, each time I've released a book lately into the German market, (several hundred copies pre-ordered) the book has immediately (within hours) jumped from the 5000s, to far higher, into the 200s ranking overall on, #1 in several subcats, and then slowly slid downward into the 800s, despite increasing buys and the addition of KU borrows over the next few days.

To me it looks as if a portion of the pre-order buys were counted for EXTRA rank on the day of book release--maybe 10%. My German books are all in KU. Could it be a KU advantage?

The only other possibility is that KU readers are borrowing it very early on day 1--but how would they be notified? The publication announcement hit my inbox several days later. Do KU buyers get some kind of immediate announcements?

Or am I missing something? Anyone else got theories or anecdotes to explain this?

I've bought a corner 10x10 booth at Tucson Comic-Con, Nov 2-4 2018. The total with taxes and fees came to $510.

Unlike the sci-fi con "Tus-Con" that is happening the following weekend that is limited to 500 attendees (plus guest/participants like yours truly), and is more of a hardcore sci-fi con,

Comic-Con has gotten over 12K attendance each of the last couple years. With the economy picking up, I can only think we'll probably hit 15K this year.

Tucson Comic-Con takes place at the Tucson Convention Center downtown, not at a hotel.

I'll be using half the booth (one 10' side). Another author or pair of authors could take the other 10' side. The side will cost half the booth cost, i.e., $255, and comes with two vendor badges.

If you only want half a side and one vendor badge for $130, let me know. If I get no interest in the whole side and 2 authors that want half a side each, that can be the backup plan. I won't subdivide further, so please don't ask to split a side 3 ways or more. 4 people in a booth plus books and stuff is already crowded.

Email me at david (at) davidvandykeauthor (dot) com if you are interested and we'll discuss further.

Please use email rather than PM.

I'm especially thinking of weird personal, FTF interactions, conversations when "What do you do?" comes up.

I had a weirdfunny/SMH interaction recently. I was on holiday and in an unfamiliar city. I checked online and found a barber shop with good reviews. I walked in and sat down in the chair of a young guy, mid-twenties probably. As barbers do, right after he asked about how I wanted my hair cut, he asked what I do.

I told him "I'm a full-time author."

He replied, "Okay, but how do you pay the bills?"

After a pause to decide whether to be insulted or not, I asked him "I do it by writing sci-fi books. How do you pay yours?" He couldn't believe I could make a living doing what I did.

Thereafter we ended up in a conversation about Star Wars. Turns out he was a huge Star Wars fan, a super-nerd on that one topic. But he didn't read sci-fi beyond Star Wars novels. He read Star Wars novels because of Star Wars, not because he liked sci-fi. In fact, he never asked me what books I wrote. He didn't care.

I did get a really good haircut, though, so there's that.

Writers' Cafe / Cold-contact untruths from
« on: May 18, 2018, 07:29:16 pm »
Here's a cold email I just got at my business email addy. Here's a list of things wrong with the cold-contact attempt:

1) "Jeff" (if that's really his name) is using my least-used pen name, even though a brief reading of the author bio says very plainly D.D. VanDyke is the Mystery-Thriller pen name for me, David VanDyke. He didn't bother to even take a look at the author bio, yet tries to come across as personal. Oh, and he thinks he has something to teach ME? Don't make me laugh. I've already made my first million in this biz.

2) Says "It's me, emailing you back, with the details to get signed up and the next steps." Not true. I never emailed this guy. He's not emailing me back.

3) "This is VERY MUCH a personalized training and I likely won't be offering it again." More untruth. Anyone who's successful at this kind of training will do it again and again and again as long as there are unwise people to sell them to. Why do I say unwise? Because he's already begun with untruths in #2, so everything he says is now suspect in my book.

4) Claims there's only one spot left. How likely is that? More likely another untruth.

5) The cost of the training is a total tipoff that he's employing all the cheap tricks that the "passive income" crowd preaches--such as every package price ending in 7. Even Mark Dawson, one guy I know is legit, has fallen into that bad practice, so this is more a tipoff and proof of ripoff--but see the other items on my list.

6) He adds this thing on  the end titled "PREVIOUS EMAIL" -- but there was no previous email. It goes on to say, "Congratulations and thank you for completing the book author survey last week." Book author survey? What survey? I didn't complete his survey. More untruthfulness. He's hoping the unwary hopeful unwise don't question why that's all there, and believe they invited this cold-contact come-on.

7) Here's the real kicker--there is no domain "," and an email to his listed addy, "[email protected]", bounces. So again, more untruths.

Author beware.

Here's the email, cut and pasted verbatim:


Jeff [email protected] via

to me

D.D. VanDyke,

I wanted to send this one out quickly before the weekend. Almost all of the spots are now filled for the small group author marketing training/coaching.

In case you're still on the fence I wanted to pass along a few questions people have asked.

I've had a few questions regarding the coaching program I've put together and exactly HOW MUCH one-on-one and guidance you'll be receiving over the next six weeks.

There will be a guaranteed three one on one coaching calls at the beginning, middle and end, weekly check-ins and feedback emails.  My goal is to make sure you are getting the help you need and questions you have answered.  That's the exact reason why I've decided to keep this extremely small. I'd rather have it more tailored and personalized to you than something generic that isn't going to put you in the right direction.

I've included the original email below for your reference and have included the signup link below.

Please note that I don't have a fancy shopping cart system or automated email. It's me, emailing you back, with the details to get signed up and the next steps. This is VERY MUCH a personalized training and I likely won't be offering it again.

Since the initial one on one calls are next week I will be closing everything down for sign-ups by this weekend.

The cost of the 6-week course is $347. It's very personal and will be very focused on what YOU need as an author.

Click here to sign up now


P.S. I'm serious about the 1 spot available. This isn't scarcity. I only have so much time to write and focus on my own business as well as help the handful of people I've selected to be a part of this. Once you sign up I will be send you an email with a survey so we can get started.



Congratulations and thank you for completing the book author survey last week.

You are one of the few people I've selected to be able to move on to the small group training based on your survey feedback.

Before I had sent out that email, I had decided that I would take around 40 people into a mastermind group. I soon realized that the level of assistance many people needed was more than what would have been suited for a mastermind.

I’ve decided to take a small group of people into a coaching group and give them a bit more attention.  This was a difficult decision because I had received close to 450 completed surveys from authors looking for help with marketing, getting started and finding new readers.

Since I’m also writing and marketing my own books (and still plan to), I’m going to keep this group small and focused on the things that will give you a bigger bang and possibly faster results. This means I will be taking time to analyze what YOU are doing and helping YOU put a plan in place and then utilizing what I’ll be teaching to the group.

I’ve decided the best way to do this is a 6-week intensive course that will cover a new subject each week, hold you accountable for completing certain actions, answer your questions and provide feedback.

I’m working out the details of the course contents order. This will be based on the group that signs up and their needs. However, the course will include a weekly live discussion, feedback day, Q&A day and will span 6 weeks. Each week will be focused on one of the topics below.

One on One Assessment – Together we will review where you are right now, review your book assets and how to test changes.

Social Media and Magnets – Finding new readers and engaging them to buy books

Email List Marketing – How to build a list, where to build a list, how to engage your list and profit from it.

Facebook and AMS Ads – What works, what doesn’t. We will discuss, images, headlines, targeting and when you should use these.

Backlist Money Machine – How to get your backlist to bring in new money each month while selling new books.

Pricing, sales, new releases and launches – How to get the most from your new book launch and what you need to have in place to get it done and launch with success.

Class (initial one on one calls) will begin the week of May 21.

The cost of the 6-week class is $347 and from my experience, if you follow what's being taught in class it is a worthy investment that you can make back quickly.

Space is going to be limited (As well as my time) so secure your place in this small group, click the link below to sign up.

If you click the link and are taken to a "Closed paged" it means you'll have to wait until the next small group training, which won't be until the fall.

Click here to sign up now

I look forward to working with you and relaunching your book marketing strategy!


Writers' Cafe / KDP forums have returned?
« on: May 11, 2018, 10:19:45 am »

Although I personally can't seem to get the thing to work, I see other people posting.

Writers' Cafe / Fussy Librarian improves its author newsletter
« on: May 04, 2018, 10:06:46 am »
Personally, I like getting newsletters that quickly summarize and link to other stories of interest to indies. I bet many of you folks do too.

Here's the latest from Fussy. Feel free to sign up for their author newsletter and/or encourage them to continue doing what they're doing. (Of course, the daily Passive Voice is still the gold standard in my book, but even Passive Guy can't catch everything).

Disclaimer: I have no business interest in Fussy, other than being a satisfied customer. I just think they're doing it right and really care.

Here's the newsletter. Note that the links did not carry over, but they are there in the original.


George R.R. Martin may not be good at meeting a deadline (cough, "Winds of Winter," cough), but he makes an excellent point about how raising the stakes can increase the impact of your writing.
Basically, if there's war and conflict in your stories, sometimes characters have to die. Including the ones that you like. (See above.)
"Once you've accepted that you have to include death, then you should be honest...and indicate it can strike down anybody at any time," Martin says in the latest issue of Galaxy’s Edge magazine. "You don't get to live forever just because you are a cute kid or the hero's best friend or the hero. Sometimes the hero dies."
In other news you can use:

- Ebook sales by traditional publishers declined in 2017, which isn't terribly surprising given that they often price to actively discourage ebook sales. (Example #1: "The Handmaid’s Tale," published in 1986. Kindle: $9.99. Hardcover: $14.95. Paperback: $10.47. Example #2: "Little Fires Everywhere," published in 2017. Kindle: $13.99. Hardcover: $16.20. Paperback: $18.75.) For a more comprehensive look at sales, we recommend this report over at Author Earnings that suggests independent authors have gained market share.
- PEN America has created an online harassment field manual that offers strategies to defend against online hate and harassment. Check it out.
- Grammar and writing corner: Hyphens versus dashes.  Organizing in-line lists.

- Why a contract wanting perpetual license for derivative rights is a red flag for authors.
- Marketing corner: Diane Wink on how to use video marketing.
- Joanna Penn makes the case for why writers need to stop comparing themselves to other writers.

- Amazon's profit more than doubled during the first quarter as revenue continued to grow. It also raised the annual price of Amazon Prime to $119.
- In contrast, Barnes and Noble is, well, still alive. And it did roll out some improvements over at B&N Press.
- Literary agent Heather Flaherty is accepting submissions in adult fiction, young adult fiction, middle grade fiction, and nonfiction. You can find more details about what she's looking for here. She also has some good advice for all writers in a Q&A here. And here's some advice on how to get past your fears and pitch to agents at pitching events.

Fussy news
- Our website redesign is coming soon -- just a few weeks away.
- Both of our newsletters keep growing. The free newsletter now has 131,000 subscribers, and the bargain newsletter has 135,500 subscribers.
Promote your free or bargain ebook
That's it for now. We'll back soon with more news you can use. In the meantime, keep writing and keep reading.


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