Saturday, August 2, 2014

Is This Book Cursed?

You’ve written a winner—sometimes literally—but no one is buying. What do you do?

If you’re waiting for me to answer that, I’m not sure I can. I can only share my experience and let you draw your own conclusions.

One of my favorite stories of my 12 year career was loved and lauded by reviewers. Oh My God. Uh, that’s not just an expression of joy—that’s the name of my book! One called it “the funniest story this reviewer has ever read.” It was even nominated for the CAPA and Eppie awards in 2009. Yay, me! Sort of. It sold very poorly.

At first it was with a brand new epublisher (which went under in a year) and then with a British publisher for two years. I thought the small presses may have been the problem. What to do? I got my rights back and came up with a grand plan for a rerelease, giving readers a whole lot more content.

I recruited my wonderful writing partner Dalton Diaz to write a brand new related story. Her voice, style, and sense of humor are absolutely terrific! Then I expanded and rewrote my story to dovetail with hers. I knew we had a winner.

Then, just to be sure people would notice it (this time) we brought on board the fabulous USA Today bestseller Terry Spear! She had a story already written that went beautifully with our genre, so it was offered as a bonus. We got a fabulous cover, professional editing, and indie published it July 8th, charging only $2.99. Oh! And I should mention it’s erotic romance…A hugely popular genre. Let the dollars roll in!

Um…Not so much. Tracking it on Amazon seemed like the best place to see those big numbers. One sale on release day, two the next, maybe three later that week. (I bought a couple of copies myself to give away as prizes.) It didn’t take long to get discouraged.

We all had others things going on plus tight deadlines. Okay, so we didn’t hype the hell out of it…But we did facebook shares, tweets, added it to our Pinterest boards, and talked about it on a few blogs.

I sent the arc to 20 of my street team members and only saw 5 reviews posted. Of course they were awesome reviews, because these folks are my ‘super-fans’, but even that wasn’t enough. It’s cursed! It must be!    

If you can think there’s another explanation, I’d love to hear it! And if anyone can commiserate, that would be nice too. It’s always good to know you’re not alone.


  1. It's available from Amazon, B&N, ITunes, and Kobo. I don't use kindle or apple so there goes two sites. B&N has flat out lied to try to get a credit card they can autodebt, so I can't buy from them. Kobo customer service refuses to tell me how I can read my existing ebooks on either their app or their device. So, I'm stuck waiting for the book to become available where I can buy it. I've been waiting for this story since it was a gleam in a muse's eye.

    vlettel @

    1. Oh, shoot!
      I'm sorry you're having so much trouble getting it, Virginia. I hope that isn't a common experience!

  2. When this happens to me, I'm sad, bewildered, and a little shook up. Why can't the reader SEE this is wonderful story??? Or a book of my heart gets a string of meh reviews (or worse). It hurts. I'm sorry your book is taking a turn in the sales penalty box.

    I'd write another book in the series as quickly as you can. Fiddle withe key words (it doesn't blurb anywhere near erotic), and be patient. I just saw ANOTHER article go by in the NINC monthly newsletter, expressing puzzlement over the idea that front list and back list are becoming outmoded terms. The book could spike in September, take off at Christmas, start moving when you get the third title in the series out.... Don't give up. If it's a good story, the readers will find it.

    1. I hope you're right, Grace. Although it doesn't lend itself to a particular holiday...Oh, wait. My story begins in NOLA on Mardi Gras! Maybe February will be the bumper crop month.

  3. I know how you feel, Terry. It's happened to me too. Usually a couple years later, readers tell me they just read it and loved it. I guess some books just need to simmer.

  4. I agree, ladies. It took a month before readers "found' The Dark Fae and sales skyrocketed--on B & N. Amazon readers didn't see it for two months and then sales soared there. Some books are slow to sell, no matter what. Sometimes it's the genre. It's just hard to say. I have Her Highland Hero on ARe and usually I sell fairly well with a new release there, BUT they were having a sale on all kinds of titles at the same time and NO one saw anything but sale prices! So if it was full price, they weren't buying. End of release day success. So you just never know.

  5. Thanks for your comments, everyone. I guess as publishing changes my expectations need to change too.

  6. Unfortunately, sometimes things are just so flooded...folks don't find the great books! Other times I think it's just the luck of the draw, and sometimes folks are just drowning in so many things that you get lost in the shuffle. I hope things turn around for you soon!