Friday, October 25, 2013

Top selling author

It’s been said that a true writer will experience a multitude of dizzying highs and terrifying lows during the course of his or her lifetime. To make art, one must suffer whether mentally, spiritually, or monetarily to get the true juices-of-expression flowing.

I’ve been feeling a little down lately at the state of the publishing world and I know it’s shown in a few of my recent posts. I’ve been worried that the marketplace is over-saturated with hastily written books by amateur writers and that these writers are diluting the effectiveness of book sponsorships. That said; an amazing thing happened to me the other day.

Out of the blue, Ereader News Today contacted me to let me know that they were going to feature my book, DROP OUT on the site. That in itself would be amazing considering the millions of indie books that are vying for a spot on the website and you cannot pay for one. What’s even more amazing is this is the second time they’ve picked my book.

The first time went very well with sales in the hundreds and my Amazon ranking getting to @ 1,200 in the paid Kindle store and #75 in my genre. As an author, that was thrilling to see. But this second time was even better. My Amazon rank got below 800 in the entire paid Amazon store and to #23 in my genre. And as I write this, I’m still below #3,500 ranking in the entire paid store.

My point is, just when you think all the time you spend writing and promoting is useless in today’s flooded marketplace a little miracle happens to make it all worthwhile. If I never sell another book after today, I can at least say that for two whole days I was a top selling author. Thank you Ereader News Today and I thank whatever forces were at work to make this happen. My faith in writing as an art form has been renewed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanks ereader news today

Here is my Amazon ranking this morning after my ereader news today promotion. I'm very lucky and thankful that ENT has picked DROP OUT not once, but twice to promote. There is no price you can pay to be chosen for the site, they have to choose you. Thanks again ENT.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Selling 5 books a minute for the last 30 minutes is beautiful.

Hitting Ereader News Today

Just wanted to let everyone know that my award winning novella DROP OUT is on sale through Ereader News Today for just $0.99.

Read what Kindle Nation Daily called “the sleeper hit of the year” what Kindle Fire Department called, “riveting, touching, and deeply heartwarming, a book that will stay with you forever”, an Indie Book of the Day winner, 19 five star reviews from all over the world.

It will affect you.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Exciting news!

I just received notice that ereader news today will be featuring DROP OUT this Wednesday. Last time they featured this book (3 months ago) it shot to #32 on suspense best seller list and #455 on Amazon's worldwide best seller list. I'm psyched to see what happens!


Thursday, October 17, 2013

I don’t want to be famous… anymore

I always loved stories. When I was a little kid my father asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Without hesitation I happily replied, “A famous writer.” When I graduated high school and was applying to colleges my father asked me what I want to go to school for? I replied, “I want to be a famous writer.” To which he replied lovingly; “Better have a backup plan.” I spent four years majoring in psychology and philosophy.

When I graduated college my father gave me a book on how to succeed in a corporate interview. He thought it might come in handy when I went out looking for a job. I told him I appreciate all he’s done and his advice, but I wanted to be a famous writer. A week later, I moved to Seattle WA, to live out the hippie-writer life. That was in 1993.

I always dreamed of hitting it big with my books. Selling millions of copies and spending my days sitting on a dock in Key West living out the Hemingway dream while tourists and fans come up and asked for my autograph. All through the 1990’s and well into the new millennium I worked obsessively; writing, querying, making publishing connections, always with that dream of getting famous pushing at the back of my mind and driving me to sacrifice a normal, non-writing life.

For twenty years, I’ve penned novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, and blog posts. I’ve been recognized by several prestigious writing groups and contests, been interviewed by television, newspaper, and magazines, had a top NY agent for five years, and sold enough books to say I’m mildly successful. But is that enough? I’m not famous.

As I sit here getting older, spending my days trying to get the world to notice my work, I’ve come to the realization that I no longer want to be famous. Getting famous is not so much about possessing raw talent anymore, it’s about interviews, and skyping, and tweeting, and twerking, and surrounding yourself with promoters and marketers who are only interested in you making them money. Ask Miley Cyrus what she went through to make her new album premier at #1 on the charts? A whole lot more than I’d want to do.

I no longer want to be famous because I’ve discovered that I enjoy my anonymity. Recently, I attended a social event in which several people there had read some of my books. I actually felt uncomfortable at the attention they gave me. I would have rather talked about something other than myself that night, but that’s just me.

I don’t write to inflate my ego or attract attention. I write because I have to. I’m hard-wired to do it. I don’t want to invest the tens of thousands of hours and dozens of people it takes to make me a super-star author. I just want to write my books and tell my stories. To all the authors out there spending thousands of hours and dollars trying to hit it big, I applaud your efforts and hope you all become famous. Personally, I prefer living in the shadows.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The hometown magazine interview

Here is my full interview for my hometown magazine. There's a link at the end to see the article on the site. It did result in a few extra sales.

August 6, 2013 
by Amanda Price

Do you remember your introduction to e-books? The time when many of us claimed we would never read a book digitally and mourned the close of Borders?

Doylestown author Neil Ostroff was one of the disbelievers. He has lived in Doylestown for 20 years and lives and breathes writing. He is the author of nine novels, mainly thrillers and science fiction. Titles include the imaginative “Silent Invasion” and the crime novel “Degenerates.”

After plugging away for four years with a big New York agency, Neil discovered what he had never seen coming: indie publishing. Also known as self-publishing, the e-book revolution was completely foreign to him. The agent he signed with in 2006 loved his novels yet critiqued them like any mainstream publisher.

“Every time [the draft] came back it would be a different thing,” Neil explains. “It would be… this scene does not appeal to twelve-year-old girls. And it was either [change it] or take out the scene.”
Neil learned that all agencies categorize authors into genres and prefer them to stay there. They are looking for a bestseller that may be from a specific genre, but which appeals to the masses. Neil also learned that after 18 months of editing, publishers give books a month or two on the shelves. If it doesn’t sell, the author is often cut from the agency.

The turning point for Neil from an agent to indie publishing was a catastrophic moment in a friend’s life. His friend was told he had pancreatic cancer and two weeks to live. Neil and his wife made the decision to hospice him.

“It was an incredibly powerful experience watching as his life slipped away and how he dealt with it psychologically,” Neil recalls. “When the day finally came that he passed on, I was there to… pull the sheet over his head. I’ve never been the same since.”

This painful experience inspired his novel “Drop Out,” which examines the meaning of life. Neil’s agent was not happy. “Drop Out” was a change in genre.

Neil did not hesitate. “I decided I couldn’t just let it sit in a drawer,” he says. He began to explore indie publishing and tested the waters with his first e-book, “After.”

He realized all you need to publish an e-book are an editor and a cover artist. E-book authors have freedom to be creative and keep most of the royalties. Neil prices his e-books around $2.99 and keeps 60 cents. In contrast, he would receive 15% royalties through an agent.

Upon realizing the possibilities of indie publishing, he published his other novels as e-books and found great success with “Drop Out,” selling thousands of copies. He uncovered the secret as to why every indie publisher has an equal chance at success.

“Amazon is not a bookstore, it’s a search engine,” Neil explains. When an e-book is first published, it’s put in the top of the Amazon algorithm, meaning it shows up more prominently in search engines. If the book sells, it remains at the top of the algorithm. Amazon does not separate indie books from agency books.

Through indie publishing, Neil mastered self-promotion. He once considered himself an introvert, saying, “I wrote feverishly for 10 years, like non-stop, you know, that whole thing in the dark room.” Now, with the Internet, Neil joyfully replies to readers every day.

He promotes his books on at least 115 websites and has more than 2,000 followers on his blog, “Always Writing.”

Neil shares his insight on the future of e-books, comparing them to CDs in the music industry. He believes it is only a matter of time until someone cracks e-book encryptions and free downloads are accessible. He sees a future where authors publish free e-books and simply sell ad space.

Neil does, however, still sees a need for big publishers. “You can’t give an e-book as a gift,” he explains. “An author can’t sign an e-book."
The modern writer has two paths to choose from, each rewarding in its own way. Neil will not see his books at the library, but he has absolute control.

Indie publishing may not be a full-time career, but Neil says that all it might take is one viral hit. Ironically, he has been approached by agencies since finding success online. This once nonbeliever, however, is sticking with e-books for now.