How Mercury Falls Changed the Business of Publishing

Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, but the story behind the novel is interesting nonetheless.

 Robert Kroese, the author of Mercury Falls, began his writing career as a satirical blogger. He started the blog Mattress Police and posted many humorous stories about his life, some of which were actually true. He was able to gather a handful of faithful readers and, eventually, used the blog to leverage his first full-length novel, Mercury Falls.

As he garnered more and more support for Mercury Falls, he approached a number of publishers and literary agents, in hopes of getting his grand opus published. Well, each one of them basically told him to hit the bricks. But did this reaction stop Kroese?


He decided to self-publish.

Despite being told that self-publishing is a poor route to travel (though mostly by those who have not yet been published, and felt that self-publishing would denigrate the quality of their writing), Kroese blazed forward. He made Mercury Falls available through Amazon.com, and also provided a downloadable e-book through Smashwords.com.

But his work didn't stop there; Kroese knew that he had some hard work ahead of him promoting his book. After all, what good is publishing a book if no one reads it?

The biggest task Kroese committed to included scouring Amazon for books in a similar vein to Mercury Falls. He went through the reviews and comments on the website for each book and made a list of email addresses. He contacted every person on the list, offering to send them a free copy of Mercury Falls if they would review it on Amazon. Though he got only a few takers, he did manage to get the word out about his novel. (You can read about how he promoted Mercury Falls in depth here.)

Kroese also leveraged social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads to get the word out. He would offer a few download of his book to his Twitter followers that would retweet certain messages. It may seem strange that he is giving books away after spending his own money to produce them, but his marketing techniques garnered over 4,000 books sold, and more than 100 5-star reviews. And these numbers attracted the attention of Amazon Encore.

Now, Amazon Encore is an in-house publishing company started by Amazon. So, basically, what it means to be picked up by Encore is that Kroese, after all the years of hard work and dedication to a novel that he believed in, managed to find himself a publisher that believed in his material as much as he did. Of course it helped that the novel already had sold 4,000 copies and had so much positive press in the form of reviews, but it is still quite an achievement.
Robert Kroese - he writes

Having read Mercury Falls, I can attest to it's quality. Kroese's humor is unique and works with the material and storyline that he has created. His take on the Apocalypse is incomparable to anything else, and his dry humor and sarcastic wit will have you chuckling and, at times, chortling. I recommend picking it up, which is available at Amazon.com here, and supporting an author that has worked as hard as Kroese has for his success (after all, overnight success is easy to come by). I would also recommend you follow Kroese's blog, Mattress Police, as it is filled with humorous essays and stories, as well as tips and suggestions for novice authors. You can also find more information about Kroese, Mercury Falls, and his sophomore publication, The Force Is Middling In This One (another book I highly recommend) here.


  1. He started the blog Mattress Police and posted many humorous about his life, some of which was actually true.

  2. His take on the Apocalypse is incomparable to anything else, and his dry humor and sarcastic wit will ahev you chuckling and, at times, chortling.

    I highly recommend picking it up, which you can get at Amazon.com here, and supporting an author that has worked as hard as Kroese has for his success (after all, overnight success is easy to come by).

    You repeat "highly recommend" "humorous" and a "you should" too much. Too many commas. Instead of filler plaudits maybe a short excerpt from the book or more info on his books.

  3. Wow, nitpick. To rebut your critique:

    You repeat "highly recommend" "humorous" and a "you should" too much.

    The word "humorous" appears twice. If you consider that "too much" then I have nothing to tell you. I feel that humorous is an apt description for things that, you know, have humor.

    "Highly recommend" also appears twice, which goes back to our previous dispute over the definition of "too much." But to appease to your sensibilities, I deleted one of the instances of "highly" and merely recommended following his blog.

    The phrase "you should" does not appear at all in this post. I've no idea where you got that from.

    I can see why you choose to post comments anonymously; because you're an ass.

  4. I don't know the author or the reviewer, but I've got to agree with Wirth. Reading this review makes me want to support a guy like Kroese, as it sounds like he worked his butt off to put out something he believed in. I look forward to reading it and hope I "chortle" loudly.

  5. I think somebody was yanking yer chain. Though I was shocked at how many times the words "and" and "the" appeared in the review. Maybe you should look into that. ;)

  6. Rob sent me here from Mattress Police.

    Mercury Falls is the only self-published book I've ever paid good money for. Vanity-press books have a bad reputation for a reason.

    Rob (or is he still calling himself Diesel?) has a style that's a cut above the average blogger's writing; he has the cops to be a professional humor writer. But it took more than some nice blog posts to sell his book to me. You see, I'm an incorrigible cheapskate.

    As part of his promotions, Rob offered the first half of Mercury Falls for free download. So I decided to read the first half and make a decision on whether I wanted to see how it ended.

    I didn't get that far. I didn't get past the first chapter. I knew at that point that I HAD TO HAVE THIS BOOK.

    I'm astonished no publisher would buy the manuscript! The book isn't just a wildly entertaining ride. It has bona fide literary devices, unifying everything like a smooth sheet of new linoleum.

    I'd say Rob qualifies as not just a writer (heck, so am I, and if you've read this comment so far, you know they give away that title pretty cheap); he qualifies as an author. In fact, I'd rank these well-known authors and "authors" as follows:

    10. Dan Brown
    9. Edward George Bulwer-Lytton
    8. Stephenie Meyer
    7. A.E. Van Vogt
    6. Harry Turtledove
    5. Dean Koontz
    4. Don DeLillo
    3. Ray Bradbury
    2. Rob "Diesel" Kroese
    1. C.S. Lewis

    Okay, he's not tops yet. But he stacks up pretty good, no?


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