Breakers series

The BREAKERS series may be over…but the world goes on.

And I’ve got a new story in it! You can find it in TAILS OF THE APOCALYPSE, a new collection of stories featuring animals in the apocalypse. The book includes work from Nick Cole, Michael Bunker, and eleven others. And for the next few weeks, the publisher will be donating $1 of every sale to Pets for Vets, a charity that connects military veterans with shelter animals.

Oh yeah: there’s also me. My story’s about a young Raina in the early days of the plague. The book is available for Kindle and in paperback.

Tails of the Apocalypse Cover(I don’t know if or when this collection will be out in other formats. However, I think there are still some review copies available, so if you’re not a Kindle user, email me at edwrobertson AT gmail and I’ll see what I can do.)

It was pretty fun to revisit BREAKERS, especially without the pressure of tying the story into a larger series arc. I definitely see myself writing a few more of these as time goes on. In particular, there’s a story implied by the end of BLACKOUT that deserves exploration. Yes, it’s the one you’re thinking of. I have some other things to write first, but I’ll be keeping that one in the back of my mind.

In the meantime, hope you enjoy TAILS!

Yep. Got a new book out. Here’s the deal:

OUTLAW-2MBIN THE YEAR 2010, an alien virus nearly wiped out the human race. A thousand years later, mankind has recovered and ventured into space. There has been no sign of the aliens since. Humanity remains confined to the Solar System.

All that is about to change. 

Mazzy Webber is a lowly janitor on a third-rate cargo ship. Deeply in debt, when his captain decides to turn pirate, he leaps at the chance.

A modern Robin Hood—minus the part where he gives back to the poor—Webber lays down a few ground rules. No attacking manned ships, and no stealing from anyone who can’t afford it. Within months, he and the crew are out of debt. Their next target will make them rich.

But the attack goes all wrong. The target’s cargo could be the death of them—or it could be the key to reaching the stars.


Amazon  |  BN Nook  |  Apple  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

By the way, if that description sounds familiar…it should. OUTLAW is the first book in a new series set in the far future of the Breakers universe. While you absolutely don’t have to read the Breakers books to follow along, having that as background should add an extra layer to the fun.

It definitely made it more fun to write. I love space opera and have been wanting to start a new series for a long time. Putting it in the future of my particular world has given it its own unique history and flavor.

On top of that, looking at this as a publisher, this gives readers more to check out. Like the Rebel Stars stuff? Good news! Its apocalyptic history has already been chronicled in the Breakers series. Like Breakers? Well, clear up some space on your ereader! Because here’s what happens long after humanity bounces back.

I really can’t say how much crossover there will be. I can say that combining these series into the same universe pleases the heck out of me as both a writer and as a publisher.

I now have delusions of chronicling the complete history of this world. That might be too ambitious — or possibly too boring! — but it’s an exciting possibility.

That can wait for a later date. For now? Buy buy buy! Buy like the wind! A thousand years of silly fictional history depends on you.

Hello! Here is the part where I pretend this post doesn’t have a headline and say: I’ve just published CAPTIVES, the latest book in my post-apocalyptic Breakers series.

For readers of the series, you can pick it up at every major online bookstore using any of the links below. For not-readers of the series, you can find the first book for free. Once you have finished whipping yourself, anyway.

Remember, all purchases go to the Fund to Convince Ed to Resume Blogging About Publishing Numbers (And Also Some Beer). Thanks as always for your support.





Amazon UK




Google Play



What are you looking down here for? Wasn’t the cover enough to make you go buy it? Oh, fine. I will tell you about it, too:


In the fast-paced BREAKERS series, humanity faces not one apocalypse, but two: first a lethal pandemic, then a war against those who made the virus.

ONCE, Walt Lawson saved the world. Lately, he’s lived in peaceful anonymity with his girlfriend Carrie. This morning, she’s been kidnapped.

Walt has a single lead: the van that took her. Its trail points him up the coast to San Jose, where survivors have banded together against the gangs who’ve overrun the north. With the aid of a local guide, Walt homes in on the kidnappers, who are days from shipping Carrie far away.

But Walt’s past is about to crash down on his rescue plans. For six years, Thom James has been on the hunt, blaming Walt for the death of his brother Raymond. Now that Walt’s come up for air, Thom finally has a lead—and he won’t stop until he’s put Walt six feet underground.

From the department of “It’s About Damn Time,” I’m happy to announce I’ve set a new Breakers book helpless into the world. Go catch it! Quick, before it escapes!






Amazon UK




Google Play




I’m happy to have added Google Play to my list of distributors. For those of you here for the publishing-related stuff, I’ll try to get up a post about them before too long.

Until then, buy early and buy often!

A few months back, I was approached by a group called Podium Publishing about the audiobook rights to my post-apocalyptic Breakers series. Recently, I’ve been getting several emails about the decision, so I thought I’d run down my experience with Podium in specific and my thinking in general.
I tend to get windy, so a quick summary: I’m very happy with both Podium and my decision to sign. Although it’s still very early in our contract and they’re a pretty new outfit, they seem legit. My initial sales seem pretty good, too.
But some of my reasons may not apply to everyone. There are some advantages to producing your own audiobooks, and other advantages in letting someone else handle them. I don’t think there’s a clear-cut right and wrong.
So. Time for lots and lots of words on the subject.
As for how things went down, I was initially emailed about the rights by Podium’s executive producer, James. A quick google turned up little about the company. Although they’d signed a handful of indie authors I recognized, including Andy Weir of The Martian fame, they looked small. Legit, inasmuch as they had indeed produced audiobooks present on retail sites, but I was unsure they’d be able to do much if anything for me that I couldn’t do for myself.
But I didn’t know that for sure. And audiobooks had been on my mind for a while—as one of those many things I needed to get done someday, but didn’t have time for just then.
So we set up a call. And James had quite a pitch. Not only did he mention “algorithms” before I did—a man after my own heart!—but it turned out he and his engineer had experience producing traditionally published audiobooks for the big houses. This, to me, was a big point in their favor. If I were to sign the audio rights away, I would want to do so with someone who could probably put out a better quality product than I’d be able to manage on my own. Otherwise, what’s the point?
We talked a good deal about indie publishing, the history of the digital audiobook industry, what Podium was, etc. Over the course of all this, I got the feeling James knew what he was talking about. So by this point, I wasn’t worried about them being a small startup, because it felt like they were capable of good work (and I’d already heard a few samples)—and that they might know how to sell it, too.
Which made things very interesting. Because I had two basic concerns I wanted met before I’d sign with an audiobook publisher:
a) Can they do better work than I can?
and obviously,
b) The specific terms of the agreement
If those were met, however, I was ready to sign. Which I think runs counter to the conventional indie wisdom that, barring an overwhelming offer, you should produce your audiobooks yourself. And ideally, pay a flat fee to a narrator. Then all those sweet royalties are yours forevermore.
This thinking makes sense for many of the authors presenting it. People who are, in other words, a big enough deal that we want to hear their advice on this stuff.
But I see two key differences between self-publishing your ebooks and self-publishing your audiobooks. First, the cost of audiobook production is generally much higher than the cost of ebook production. At the rates many professional narrators charge, an audiobook can easily cost $2000-3000 to produce. That’s significantly more than most ebooks, which I would generally peg in the $100-1000 range. And second, the audiobook market, while growing, is much smaller than the ebook market. Meaning it’s going to take you longer to recoup that investment.
Meanwhile, there’s an opportunity cost to waiting until you can pay for those production costs. There’s a point at which it’s better to start earning, say, 50% today than it is to wait until some undetermined point in the future to begin earning 100%. (Not to mention the audience growth you lose out on by waiting, too.)
That point differs for everyone and every book, and is ultimately unknowable. And should include the possibility that you might never get around to it by yourself.
Okay, enough blathering about the monetary cost. Because it also costs time to produce your own audiobooks. Ideally not much, certainly not as long as writing a book, but you’ve got to locate a narrator, set terms, deal with any problems that pop up along the way, proof the finished product, publish it, blah blah blah. I’ve watched several friends go through this process. For some, it seemed streamlined, and probably only required a few days total. For others, it sounded pretty hellacious. Sometimes the projects were aborted midway through.
With this in mind, I’d done some research and thinkin’ before speaking to James. I was looking at a backlist of three books in the series, a fourth going live in the near future, and writing two or three more within the following year. Each book could cost me a couple thousand bucks and an unknown amount of time to produce. At that point in my career, I had neither to spare. And when it came to time, I’d rather spend it writing a new book.
So by signing with a publisher and giving up a cut of the royalties, I would be free of nearly all logistical details—and of the risk of never earning back the production costs.
In other words, as a very savvy friend pointed out while I was mulling this over, I was using the exact same reasoning that writers use to convince themselves to sign with traditional publishing houses. But as I’ve laid out in what is surely tedious detail, I feel like the economics of ebooks and audiobooks are much, much different. To where it’s apples and oranges.
Anyway, back to the phone call. After a long, fun talk, James offered terms. I negotiated just a bit and was happy with the outcome. Generally, I love being as transparent as possible, but I don’t think I can get into hard details with this; Podium is my partner now, and it would be improper to compromise their ability to bargain with other authors. Ultimately, I don’t think it matters what they offered someone else—I think what matters is whether you’re happy with what they’re offering you.
According to my email records, this all went down about three months ago, in late June. I exchanged a few emails with them in the meantime, but nothing heavy duty. With very little involvement on my part, the first Breakers book went live on September 5 on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.
Two weeks later, here is where it’s been hanging out on the iTunes Sci Fi & Fantasy charts:

#9 in SF&F! Whee! #133 in the whole store! Champagne party time!

…so, what does that mean in terms of sales? I have absolutely no idea. Nor what its ranking means on Audible. I do know that, if iTunes’ bestseller lists are straightforward, it’s currently outselling all but one of GRRM’s audiobooks, all the Ender novels, hot new stuff like The Bone Season, etc. Additionally, though it’s not ranked as highly on Audible, its reviews are favorable–4.3 on both story and the narrator’s performance. (And the fact there’s already 15 of them is a positive sign for its early sales totals, too.)

What’s unknowable, of course, is.. well, everything. Would Breakers have done this well if I’d produced it myself? I can’t know. Would its ratings, preliminary as they are, have been on par? Again, absolutely no idea. It does seem that most audiobooks get a lot of visibility purely as new releases, regardless of who published them, and I’ll be surprised if it holds its ranks for too much longer. And while Podium did some marketing for it, it didn’t look like anything overwhelming.

Still, it sure looks like a good start.

Are there tradeoffs? Absolutely. Obviously, I make less per sale. I don’t have direct control of anything. I won’t even know how many it’s selling for some time. Heck, for all I know, Podium is a hyper-elaborate ruse and I’ll never see a dime. That would make this whole post look pretty ridiculous!

All I know is that, right now, it’s doing well, I’m happy with the contract, and that this audiobook wouldn’t exist at all if I hadn’t made this decision.

Yet I know it’s not a decision that would make sense for every single author. That’s why I tried to break down my thinking. I hope it’s useful. Any comments or questions, fire away.

Well, I’ve been pretty quiet lately. As usual, that means one of two things: either the police have finally caught up to me, or I’ve got a new book out. Luckily for me, it’s the latter: Reapers, the newest book in my post-apocalyptic Breakers series. In it, a hunt for a missing person leads former agent Ellie Colson through the wastelands of New York State–and right into the middle of an explosive gang war.

Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo
“Oh,” you say. “That’s nice, but that’s the fourth book in a series, and I like to start at the beginning.” Yes, I can see how that would be a problem.. but hey wait what’s this??


Amazon  |  B&N  |  Kobo
“Yeah, but a set that fine must cost like two million dollars.” It sure looks like it! But for the next few days, it’s just $0.99.
For the writers out there, this is the second prong of my release strategy (the first being the typical “alert my mailing list/Facebook page that a new book exists”). Most of the big advertisers won’t run a brand-new book. BookBub used to, but no longer, and places like ENT generally require a decent number of reviews before they’ll feature something. But they’re obviously happy to run an older title, so long as it meets their standards, and right now they love featuring steeply discounted box sets, because their readers love the value.
I can’t afford to leave this set at $0.99 forever, but I’ve got some ads on it running in a couple days which will hopefully lead to spillover on Reapers. I’ll see how the ads go, and then, after a few days, I’ll probably raise the price on the box set to something like $5.99–still a bargain, just not a no-doubt choice over the individual titles, which will be temporarily reduced to $3 each. I’ll be playing it by ear as to when exactly to tweak prices up, but the set’s standard list price will wind up at $9.99 ($3 off the first three books’ list).
I’m hardly the first to say “Hey, you know what people like? More books for less money.” But with new releases, it’s all about how high you can fling them into the ranks. Since a box set is one of the most potent sales tools there is, to me, it makes extra sense to pair it with a new release.
I don’t have any ads or donation buttons on this blog, so if you these posts helpful, consider picking up one of the above books. I’ll never know if you don’t, but who knows, you might even like them.

This morning, I broke 100 sales on my new book Knifepoint (don’t go hitting me up for riches yet, they’re all at $0.99). Since it’s in several stores, including a bevy of international ones, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at where those sales came from and see what if anything pops up.

Here’s how those first 100 sales break down:

83 – Amazon
4 – Amazon UK
1 – Amazon DE
10 – B&N
2 – Kobo (1 Canada, 1 Portugal)
0 – iBookstore

That’s 0 at the iBookstore because it was under review until just a few minutes ago, which is kind of a funny commentary on Apple in general–high standards that sometimes get in the way of their ability to sell shit. (But I’ll give them this, they have incredible customer support. After 36 hours of my book being under review, I inquired about its status. They got it live less than an hour later.) The rest of it follows common perceptions about the various storefronts: Amazon is the biggest by far; B&N is several times smaller than Amazon, but a few times larger than Kobo or the iBookstore; Kobo cleans up in Canada but also has a smattering of sales across the rest of the entire world.

100 sales is a pretty small sample size, but oddly enough, this lines up very closely with my sales for the last four months, which break down about like this:

85% – Amazon (all domains)
9% – B&N
4.5% – Kobo
1% – iBookstore, Smashwords, print

Those are just my numbers, of course. In reality, I think the iBookstore’s share of the ebook market is pretty similar in size to Kobo’s–I just haven’t been able to get anything going there. Meanwhile, Amazon’s market share these days is supposed to be 60% or less, but 85% of my sales come from it. While I’m no longer interested in being exclusive to Amazon through their Select program, without Amazon, I wouldn’t be making a living at this. That right there is why so many of us indies are Amazon-boosters.

Here’s the big question I’d ask myself, if I were a crazy person who talks to himself: Could I make up for the 15% of my non-Amazon sales by returning to the exclusivity of Select? I suspect I could right now, but I couldn’t begin to project how things would look a year from now. There’s an advantage to being in a store early on. For instance, I think the iBookstore’s ranks are getting harder and harder to crack, whereas 12-18 months ago, it wasn’t too tough to get a foothold. The same thing could wind up true for Kobo, which doesn’t have awesome discoverability, yet is growing by the day. Sneak up their ranks early, and it could give you a lasting advantage.

That said, if my non-Amazon sales were 10% of my total, I might be reconsidering Select. And if they were 5%, I would almost certainly hop back into the program. It’s hard to get going in the other stores, but Select is the easy-button. That’s why so many indies come off like they’re pro-Select. Well, few of them are fans of Select qua Select. They’re fans of things that let them sell books.

7% of those first 100 sales are non-US, by the way. I’ve been doing pretty well in in non-US markets lately, with nearly a quarter of my Amazon sales for February coming from the UK. It’s tough to get going there, too, but if you can, it’s like having access to a whole new market on par with one of the major non-Amazon stores.

…and I guess that’s it. Was it actually interesting to look at those first 100 sales? I don’t know, but it was certainly easier than writing that damned “how to interpret Select giveaway numbers” post I’ve been putting off.

It’s here: book three in the post-apocalyptic Breakers series, Knifepoint. Picking up a few years after the first two books, Knifepoint is the story of the survivors’ struggle for control of Los Angeles, and what it means to grow up in a world where plague and war have killed 99.9% of humankind. Oh, and Walt’s back, too.

Because it’s a new release and I want it to do really really well, it’s just $0.99 this week:


Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple

What’s that? You don’t already have the first two books, Breakers and Melt Down? Well, good thing they’re also $0.99 for the next week. Because I love you. If you’ve got any friends who might enjoy the read, now’s a good time to let them know. All three books won’t be on sale together again for a while.


Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple


Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple


Everything’s now live!

What’s got two thumbs and has a new Breakers novella out for you all? This guyyy. You can’t see it, but I’m pointing my thumbs back at myself.
Outcome - Breakers

Outcome is a novella set at the beginning of the plague outbreak in my Breakers series:

“Ellie Colson is the only one who believes in the end of the world.

As an agent of the Department of Advance Analysis, she’s one of a handful of people who knows about the spread of a new virus—one she believes will wipe out mankind. With her bosses in denial, she flies to New York to get her ex-fiance Chip to safety.

But he’s already been scooped up and quarantined—and so has his adopted daughter. Pursued by her own agency, Ellie will stop at nothing to break Chip out before the virus claims them all.”

    Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple iBookstore  |  Smashwords

Note that it’s free everywhere but Amazon and B&N–I want Outcome to be a gift to my readers, and a way for new people to check out the series and see if they like it. It’ll (hopefully) be free on Amazon and B&N within a few weeks, but they make you jump through some hoops first.

In the meantime, please grab it from whichever store you prefer. Oh, and you won’t hurt my feelings if you want to spread the word.

What’s up everyone. For the next few days, I’m going to be selling the two books in my post-apocalyptic Breakers series for $0.99. In these books, a lethal virus reduces the world population to a handful of survivors–and then it gets worse.

I’m running this sale at every store I can–Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords. Whatever your preferred format, it’s available. (Sunday night note: I’ve just changed prices, so not every store may have updated yet, but they should soon.)

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iTunes  |  Kobo  |  Smashwords

I’ve done my best to provide country-appropriate links, but the Kobo links may lead to the US store. Kobo links are hard! If these fail for some reason, please visit Kobo and run a search for “edward w. robertson” and all my books should show up. Same deal on iTunes.

I know some of you already bought Melt Down for a couple bucks more just a couple weeks ago. Oops! I’m still learning how to do this; if this sale performs like I think it may, I’m thinking about running any new release sales like this right off the bat. If you’d like to know about my new releases, please join my mailing list. I only use it to send notice of my new books. No spam. Die, spam.

I know many others of you are authors, and don’t give a damn about what I write or what I price it at. Well, maybe you should! This is part of my ongoing effort to figure out how to sell books in the other stores. If I learn how they work, you know I’ll report back. So if you feel like it, please share.

Thanks in advance.

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I am a Science Fiction and Fantasy author, based in LA. Read More.


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