Help, my book’s not selling!

by

Louise Wise

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It can happen to the best of us.

Sometimes a book won’t hit the spot with your readers, maybe the cover isn’t right or the blurb is wrong? Maybe you’re hitting on the wrong readership? Over-priced?

How do you know if any of the above apply to you?

Trial and error, but most importantly be honest with yourself.



My dark romantic comedy had become stagnant in the Amazon charts and the few reviews it received (luckily all good) weren’t enough to advertise it on sites such as BookBub. 

I tried all the usual things authors do to get the book moving: composing mini blurbs for Twitter, rewriting the blurb, redoing the tags, joining a tweet gang all which resulted in a flutter of sales.


I did the above again the following month, and again. All I received were flutters in return. For a highly researched book that took years to write I wasn’t about to give up on it so quickly. But despite my efforts in October/November time last year the book was flat lining and needed a defibrillator QUICK! 

Something was wrong with the book.

I looked at the title with critical eyes and it screamed: literary! The title, The Fall of the Misanthrope, didn’t portray dark, comedy romance so I began thinking up suitable names. 

I took a look at other dark comedies high in the charts and checked out their titles (I didn’t want the same), but I wanted to see what was selling. Chick lit titles seem to do best with clichés as titles or words from a song or even just expressions, dark comedies had titles that were self-mocking or just mocking.


Jane Dixon-Smith's profile photo
Jane Dixon-Smith

I composed a list of titles I liked and put them against my book, but I found the cover all wrong. Time to spend money and design a new one. I called on the designer of the original cover, Jane Dixon-Smith and together we came up with how the cover looks today, and I think it’s a HUGE difference, and brings alive the book’s theme perfectly–comedy.


With the title and cover all sorted I needed to do one more thing, and that’s get word out about my relaunch. I didn’t want to waste money on buying promotion from sites that take your money and don’t offer much of a return, so I looked to my romcom groups on Facebook: Chick Lit Goddesses and The Official Chick Lit page. 


Great people came forward, and I didn’t even have to force them! They offered! In return, I took great pains in writing something worthwhile on the themes of their choice. I made sure everything was correct and my links worked.

Hiring a blog tour organisation will take you to bloggers who specialise in hosting authors, so you may get better results from them, but I was after free and I wanted it NOW. Here are my articles:


Kristina Knight  – cover reveal
Susan Buchanan –  Why an Overhaul is Needed
Caroline Fardig –  Keep Calm and WRITE
Deb Nam-Krane – author interview
Courtney Giardina – Bridget Jones for a Day

Georgina Troy – character interview
Monique McDonell –  Mental Illness: Nurture of Nature?

Alissa Baxter – Is Romance Harmless Escapism?
Matt Posner – author/general interview
Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?  – Just Writing a Book isn’t Enough!

Next, I lowered the price to a bargain 99c/77p and will keep it low until the end of May.

So, all in all, has this hop been worth it? 

I’ll be honest with you, for this book, no. I enjoyed the blogging process, and my name and articles are on the web for as long as the blogs are there, so that’s a plus. 

The flutter of sales (pity sales from my hosts maybe?) didn’t make this hop a success. My other romcom, A Proper Charlie, which although sees better sales, still doesn’t bring in a huge amount, so maybe it’s the genre?

My sci-fi romance Eden and Hunted are doing very well in the Amazon charts, so maybe romantic comedy is too swamped for any new author to do well in it? 

I’d love your thoughts on the subject.

Introducing…

Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love!

All
Valerie Anthrope wanted was to be in control of her destiny.
In a short-sighted decision, she employs ‘mad as a hatter’ Ellen Semple as her
assistant in her financial brokerage, only to find her life being taken over by
the domineering older woman. And to add insult to injury, client, Lex Kendal,
seems equally determined to own her.

77p / 99c until end of May 2014

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When
Valerie’s bitchy ‘Devil Wears Prada’ image is ignored by Ellen and a turn-on
for Lex, her only other defence is to close her heart to the pair of them. But
it cracks when a bedraggled kitten finds its way into her life, making it easy
for Lex to swoop in and Ellen to declare herself Valerie’s fairy godmother.
But
just who is Ellen Semple? Where did she come from? Why does she want to help
Valerie so badly? And how come she seems to know Lex even though they’ve never met
before?
When
Valerie can’t fend them off any longer and allows them into her life, her past
rears its ugly head to remind her just why she’s alone in the world.



An interview with travel writer Holly

A character interview with Holly from the novel 
Sign of the Times by 
Susan Buchanan
Holly, travel writer extraordinaire and heroine of Sign of
the Times
, kindly agreed to be interviewed on one of her very favourite topics,
travel!

Q: Hi Holly, welcome and thanks for agreeing to talk to us
about your favourite topic.
H: Well, it’s no secret that I am a bit of a travel nut. I
have the best job in the world and thank my lucky stars every day for it. My
latest book, as yet untitled, is set in Tuscany, but I’d like to keep that
under wraps for now. I will say, however, that there are lots of stunning
places to be uncovered and you’ll be able to pick it up soon for around ten
pounds.

Q? So can you tell us about your previous books?
H: Sure. Secrets of
the Neapolitan Riveria
was a bold step for me to take. I’d only recently
ventured into travel writing, but I caught a lucky break and the book and the
TV series that followed became a huge success. Here’s hoping the same is true
of the new one!  If you’re not familiar
with the area, the Neapolitan Riviera, an amazing region, contains some of the
most beautiful spots in Italy: the charming town of Pisa, with its leaning
tower; every art lover’s dream – the city of Florence; Sorrento and the amazing
Bay of Naples, as well as quite possibly Italy’s shadiest city – Naples.
Fortunately it has the saving grace of having absolutely amazing food.  Not to mention the fabulous city of Pompeii –
it really does humble you and I swear, when you are there, you really feel as
if you have travelled back through the centuries. Be warned, though, take water
with you.  I suffered from serious
sunburn and dehydration. You simply don’t realise how hot it is and because you
are so awestruck, time passes very quickly.

Q: So what does Secrets
of the Neapolitan Riviera
cover that other travel guides of that area
don’t?
H: Well, naturally there will be some overlap with other
guides, but I spent over a year visiting villages there and when I visited the
cities, I didn’t focus on the Uffizi art
gallery in Florence or any of the other big hitters. I went behind the scenes,
to places where I wouldn’t find tourists. Often you only need to go two streets
away from the main drag and you will find restaurants overflowing with
Italians, with virtually no tourists – they’re not brave enough, as they’d need
to speak Italian.  Being fluent certainly
has its advantages!  Plus I didn’t
concentrate solely on places of interest, but gathered stories from street
vendors, old men sitting in squares, Italian mamme cooking. There’s a bit of historical info in the book, too,
about each area, very local to those villages which are covered in the book,
but done in a new and I hope interesting way.


Q: And Venetian Dreams
is your second book, soon to be launched? What can you tell us about that?
H: Well, it does what it says on the tin. Venice is a marvellous,
sprawling city, full of dark corners, slow-passing gondolas and water taxis
whizzing past. However, when you step out of the train station, you feel as if
time has stopped. Personally I can imagine it in the era when masked balls were
all the rage. The little island of Murano, where they blow the world-famous
glass is a stone’s throw away.  I
specifically went both in summer and winter. 
The humidity is so bad in winter, you can barely breathe from the
cold.  Just as well then that there are
some amazing cafés selling hot chocolate you could stand a spoon up in! It’s
kind of eerie in winter, though, but a brilliant time to explore and to get off
the beaten track.

Q: So you’ve done most of the research for your third book.
What’s next after that?
H: Well, there are three possibles to be covered immediately
after I finish writing up the third book. The first is the Greek islands,
something I am very excited about, as I have never been. I’ve been to 50
countries, but never to Greece. I’d be looking at it with a fresh pair of
eyes.  The second is a road trip of some
of the mountain ranges in the US, with a particular view at seeking out ex-pats
and how their lives have changed since they moved to the States, having them
show me around, shoot the breeze, so to speak. 
The third is somewhere I have been before and adored, but where I
haven’t yet discovered even a tenth of its potential, as back then I wasn’t a
travel writer –  Andalucia and its white
villages, in Spain. The pace of life is so slow, you feel as if you have been
taken back about 100 years. No-one rushes.

Q: And do you have somewhere you would like to visit and
perhaps write about that hasn’t been discussed yet with your publishers?
H: I’ve never been to Australia and I’ve only been to Toronto
in Canada, so for first world, long haul destinations, those would be my two
choices, but homing in only on a very small area, as they are both vast
countries. And I’d rather do those that haven’t been covered time and time
again. In Europe, I’d love to do Macedonia as I’ve heard it’s absolutely
beautiful and I’d also love to cover Transylvania and the Carpathian mountains
in Romania – I don’t know why but I’ve always been fascinated by Dracula!
Finally, again going long haul, but less discovered, I’d love to write about
and visit the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. It’s the region between Azerbajian and
Armenia. I visited Azerbaijan several years ago and loved the history. I’d also
like to visit Tuvalu, in the South Pacific – I first came across it when I was watching
the Olympic Games opening ceremony about eight years ago!  I had to then go and look it up and since
then have watched several documentaries on it and read as many books as I can
lay my hands on. I don’t know – perhaps it’s being one of the smallest
countries

Q : Well, thanks Holly for sharing all of that with us. I
wish you every success with your launch.
H: Thanks for having me. It’s been my pleasure.

Sign of the Times
Twelve
people. Twelve star signs


Sagittarius – Holly, a travel writer, visits Tuscany to research her next book.
Seeking help when her car breaks down, she gets more than assistance when
Dario, a vineyard owner, puts temptation in her path. Disappearing without
explanation, he proves elusive. Bruised, Holly tries to put it behind her until
a chance encounter brings her feelings to the surface again.
Capricorn – Holly’s fiancé, Tom misses her while she is in Italy and turns to
an internet chat room for solace. His construction business is under threat,
but could foul play be at work?


Gemini – Holly’s sister, Lucy, a serial man-eater finally meets her match,
which puts her long-term relationship and career in jeopardy. Cheating she
discovers, can have devastating consequences.
Libra – Holly’s uncle Jack, an eminent prosecutor, juggles a difficult teenage
son with his high profile career and finds himself lacking. When his son’s
school work starts slipping, he decides he needs to take control, but it’s not
long before the balls all come tumbling down and Jack finds his family on the
wrong side of the law.

One event binds them all… 

Susan Buchanan is the author of contemporary romance: The Dating Game and Sign of the Times (featured today) and both books are available on Amazon. 


Susan lives in Central Scotland with her partner, Tony.