No trees were harmed in the creation of this bestseller


People always say, “I prefer the feel of a real book, over eBooks.”

We all do, but I like to read, and sometimes I’d rather read something NOW than wait. And as someone who has given thrift stores hundreds and hundreds of books over the years, there’s something to be said for downloading a book for under $10 (or under $5), instead of buying a hardcover for $22 and discarding it when I’m done. Sure, a book might get a second life in the thrift store, but how many old books don’t sell and just get recycled? (Most.) Not every copy of the DaVinci Code gets a second life.

It’s not so much about saving trees (cutting down a tree to make a book is a pretty good use of a tree, in my opinion.) 

A friend of mine worked in a major book store. She tells stories of the unsold books getting returned to the publishers for credit – but first, they had to remove the covers of the books, rendering them worthless. Sad but true. And horribly time consuming for writer, publisher, and seller.

Thankfully, the path to publishing success is not paved with discarded books or garages full of unsold inventory.

Save a tree, download my book. Photo Credit: EltonHarding via Compfight cc

Save a tree, download my book. Photo Credit: EltonHarding via Compfight cc

You might know the name E.L. James of 50 Shades of Grey fame. The quality of her writing is up for debate, but there is no denying that millions of people found her book, which she self-published, to be a great read. So good, it became a movie and her sequel is a New York Times bestseller. You might not know the name Hugh Howey (Wool), but he’s a household name in the indie publishing world. You’re about to learn the name Andy Weir, because his self-published (initially FREE) book The Martian is about the be one of the top movies of the year, and will get some Oscar nods. Maybe you haven’t heard of Sean Platt, David Wright, and Johnny B. Truant, but they are making a great living writing a slew of genre-mixing serials, and in one year published the equivalent of the entire series of Harry Potter books.

These stories are going to become the rule. We’re entering an age where the traditional publishers won’t consider an author who hasn’t self-published first. This is why I tell friends that I’m not worried about selling 20, 50 or 100 books to people where I live (although I will go wherever I’m invited to speak.) I want to sell 1,000, 2,500, or 5,000 books on Amazon to people I’ll never meet. I want Amazon’s algorithm to notice me and turn that 5000 into 50,000.

I just dropped the price of The Grandfather Clock to 99 cents, so get it now. 200 fast moving pages, you won’t regret reading. Read it and leave a review or drop me an email at The sequel, The Napoleon Bloom, will be out for Thanksgiving (I swear.)

If you’re in the St. Pete area, come see me at Mirror Lake Library at 5:30 pm on Monday, Oct. 5th. I’ll be talking about how my book came to be – and selling hard copies made from trees.


About those unfinished novels – and I reveal the title of my next book


When I tell people about my novel The Grandfather ClockI usually describe it as my “first novel,” for lack of a better description and because it’s a lot more brief than explaining that my real “first novel” is on my shelf unpublished. As I near the completion of the sequel to The Grandfather Clock, I’m reminded of the lesson I learned writing that first novel. See, I’m supposed to be done with the new book. It’s should be with my editor. I should be thinking about, if not writing, book three in the series. Endings are hard.

I began writing my first novel in 2012. I’ll call it The Golden Parachute, since I never found a better name. It was a thriller, with a main character who had some similarities and some differences from Michael Chance in The Grandfather Clock. They both had some girl trouble in the opening of the story, but the character in that book (Andy) was a Wall Streeter without the career troubles of Michael. I wrote it in 3rd person limited. The reader was presented Andy’s story, and only the events that Andy could observe. I decided that it needed a little more insight into Andy’s psyche. So… I rewrote the entire thing in the 1st person, with Andy telling the story.

If that wasn’t enough of a change. The 70,000 word story needed a new ending, so I decided to rewrite the entire last 3rd of the book. The result was a total of 125,000 words. In case you aren’t keeping score:

125,000 words, half of which were originally written in 3rd person, changed to first person, and THEN I lopped off the end and added 50,000 more words. A mess. I finished and I honestly wasn’t sure what had happened in the story and what got cut. At the heart it was a really good tale. But I’ve described it as a car – sitting on blocks in the driveway – with some parts Ford, some Mercedes, and some hand smelted in my own cauldron. After a year – a very serious year, I decided it was time to call The Golden Parachute what it was – a great learning experience. I needed a fresh start and that was The Grandfather Clock. 

My first - first novel, if it were a car. Photo Credit: kutruvis nick via Compfight cc

My first – first novel, if it were a car. Photo Credit: kutruvis nick via Compfight cc

Now I’m finishing the second book. I haven’t touched it in 10 days because I’m in this key moment, and I’ve been letting it germinate until – in my mind – it became what I wanted it to be. Now, I have the hardest 15 – 20,000 words to write. But I firmly believe this book is better than The Grandfather Clock (4.6/5.0 stars on Amazon – not one single review from a family member.)

And the new book has a name. After finding a family heirloom with mysterious connections to Napoleon and Nazis, and retrieving it from thieves, Michael doesn’t get to enjoy his new life in Paris for very long. In the next book, Michael’s amazing adventure and the newfound notoriety of Napoleon’s gun, makes it a target for bigger sharks. I had hoped to have this book out by the end of this month, but that isn’t happening. You’ll have to settle for the title: The Napoleon BloomIf it isn’t out by Thanksgiving, I’ll cease shaving until it’s done. I don’t want people calling me Santa Claus at Christmas.

Stay tuned…

A little housekeeping:

If you want email notification when I write new posts, sign up on the left. You’ll also know when The Napoleon Bloom comes out. You can leave a comment below or, if you’re shy, drop me an email at I’m on Twitter @jkilewrites and I have a Facebook author page.

And buy my book! It’s $2.99 for Kindle. If you hate it, you can be the first really nasty review. If you think you need a Kindle to read it, you don’t. You can read my book on the same device you are holding right now. Need help? Email me.

If you’re in the St. Pete area, I’ve been invited to be the guest author for the Friends of Mirror Lake Library in downtown St. Pete on Oct. 5 at 7:00 (I think.) If you’ve never visited the Mirror Lake Library, it’s a beautiful example of a Carnegie library. And it’s full of books, so what could go wrong?

Thanks for reading!