Lovely Award and Updates

March has not been a good month, thanks to a pile of personal things that the average person doesn’t care about.  I will say that the most annoying is that I have hurt my neck, which limits my computer time. It’s gotten better, but it  still hurts if I sit here for more than an hour/hour and a half. Needless to say this is cutting in to EVERYTHING!

despite that, I have finally gotten all the notes/comments from the beta readers and the Mighty Ed compiled together into one document (yay!) I need to cut out around 5,000 words, so there are a couple of scenes that may get changed (I can always move the events to a later book) and one on an airplane I may delete and just “tell” later. I know, I know, a writer should “show not tell” but there’s a point, and 106,000 words exceeds that point!

On a random side note, I have suddenly started to sell on Amazon after a several month stall. I’m not usually into sharing sales numbers, but I will say I was selling maybe 20 a month on Amazon since late 2011 and suddenly it hopped up to 158 (not counting the 21 returns) in two weeks. Why, you ask. What amazing sales tactic did I come up with?


I simply have the good fortune (or misfortune, depending on your views) of having a book with a similar title as another. 50 Shades of Grey, the new “indy-to-traditional” sensation that was originally written as a twilight fan-fic (more on this in another post), is being haled as “mommy-porn” and is selling like mad. Much of the media coverage on it stresses the Twilight angle, so one would assume it has vampires in it, only it doesn’t. So the poor, misguided souls who go to Amazon and search for “Shades of Gray vampires” find me (in slot 1 or 2 depending on how they spelled grey/gray) instead. (Side note: If you do a search for simply “Shades of Gray”, you won’t find me until page two. This illustrates the importance of tags).

On one hand this is good. It’s 158 sales, 30 of which went on to buy book two, and 21 of which went on to buy book three. However it’s also BAD because of those 158 people, most – if not all – were NOT looking for that book, which means it did not meet their expected criteria (hence 21 returns). And though it hasn’t netted a bad review yet (or a good one, for that matter), it very easily can.

Why? When customers are confused or don’t get what they expected, they strike back by leaving angry reviews. For instance, I have a freebie called 101 Tips. The description clearly says “this is a list of 101 tips, nothing more.” However, because there used to be a three page intro, people STILL expected it to really be a book with a story, plot, etc. When it wasn’t, they left one star reviews and the complaint, “this is not a book! It’s a list!”.  True, if someone takes the time to read the description AND the review they might think “Duh, it SAYS it’s a list” and discount the review, but few people do all of that work. They glance at the star rating and if the star ratings are low, they skip off the page without giving your work a chance. (on another side note this is also why it is important to market your book to the right audience.)

Regardless, good or bad, there’s nothing I can do . I had the title first, so I’m not going to change it, and I’m not going to add a note in the description that says “This is not the BDSM book you are looking for. You will probably be disappointed”. It does show though, that no matter how much you double check your titles BEFORE you publish, someone may come along and snag it – especially if you consider that out of the books that rank higher than mine under the Shades of Gray search, only three were published before mine, and none of them involved vampires OR romance (two are Civil War dramas).

It’s closing in on “heating pad” time, so quickly I want to thank the awesome Stephannie Beman for bestowing upon me the Lovely Blog Award (yay!) If you don’t know she is not only an author, and blogger, but she is also a cover artist, so check out her site.

And now to share the awards goodness!





Lindsay Downs

Barbara G. Tarn

Reena Jacobs

Dawn Colclasure

Barb K.

LC Cooper


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  1. Congrats on the sales. Regarding the 101 Tips, I am amazed at how nasty people can turn if they mess up by not paying attention to a book description, and then, blame YOU for that…ugh

  2. Lindsay

     /  March 21, 2012

    Yes, congrats on the sales. I can’t understand why people thought the 101 Tips was a read book not a list. Guess some people don’t know how to read.
    That you for the Award *blush*

  3. Sending much love for quick healing! Your books are AMAZING!!! I have recommended to several of my friends and they LOVE you!

  4. Thank you 😀 I didn’t know you can return books? why? didn’t fit? book cover clashed with wallpaper? Didn’t like the ending? WTF
    though – my father before he got an e reader (age 98, dad not e reader) used to read books then return them to barnes and noble and they took them back….

    • Yeah, a lot of people do that, too on amazon – read them then return them and then buy another book. Gotta love people….

  5. WOW! Hmm…While I’m happy that you’re selling books, getting mistaken for a DIFFERENT book…well, it’s hard to say if this will work for you, or against you, in the future. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will work in your favor. You’ve worked so hard, I’d like to see good things come you’re way.

    Feel better. 10 more days, and this horrid month will be over!

    Thanks for the award! 😉

  6. Wow, what a cruddy year 2012 has been for you, Jo. I hope you soon find permanent relief for your neck troubles.

    Thanks for sharing your sales numbers, as well as the difficulties, you’ve had on Amazon. Unlike the grumpy 21, I use tags and similar titles to find works that add diversity to my library.

    I’m guessing the books that were returned were originally purchased by primates. Frankly, there’s a simple explanation: A group of chimps, trained to push buttons to receive treats, discovered their keeper’s ereader, which had fallen out of a pocket while cleaning the chimps’ cage. With fingers trembling from the intoxicating ecstasy of downloading porn, they accidentally pushed the wrong button and downloaded your works. The zookeeper’s spouse received the email from Amazon containing the list of purchased titles. Instead of taking the fall for all the porn downloads, the zookeeper accurately blamed his cuddly, fun-loving, and precocious mob of Curious Georges.

    Thanks so very much for the award. If I had known in advance, I would have prepared my acceptance speech. If you’ll give me a moment to chug down a Red Bull, I’m sure I could muster together enough material to blather on for an hour or so. 

    For those few who don’t yet know it, Joleene is the mostest awesome-est artist I’ve ever worked with. She possesses an uncanny ability to read minds, no doubt a power she developed while writing creepy vampire stories. As a result, she transforms my vague requirements and child-like scribbles into masterpieces, much the same way Maroon 5’s producers take their shitty tracks and turn them into spun gold. 🙂

    • that chimp story sounds like it can be enlarged for a novel. I like it. And yes, Jo does read minds

    • Ha ha! I love the chimp theory! Those naughty chimps are probably reading it all too! 😉 Now we know what they’re really doing in their cages….

      you’re very welcome and aww shucks 😉 Now I need the Red Bull to come up with a speech 😉

  7. Thank you so much for this sweet award! You are just too cute. I am sorry about your neck.
    As for your book selling, I have expected all along that it will jump in sales by leaps and bounds. Still the best books I’ve read this year.

  8. Ouch for the neck, yay for the sales (see, now you have more than 14 fans! :-D) and thanks for the award! 🙂

  9. Sorry to hear about the neck. I hope you heal soon. I always hate when I get behind on things because of an injury. Let me know if I help you with anything. 🙂

    People can be terrible about their own mistakes and leaving bad reviews when they misread the book description. The short story I wrote, Love is Blind, has it clearly written at the end that it is a short story. Someone on Amazon left a 1 star review on it because they wanted to know where the rest of the book was.

    BTW I liked your 101 Tips.

    • Seriously? You have to love people sometimes…. *rolls eyes* That’s what scares me about putting short stories on Amazon. It’s like a bunch of sharks sometimes just waiting to find something to complain about….

      • Yeah. LOL It hasn’t stopped some people from buying it, but I’m sure that one review is deterring people because they see 1 star on the book and they don’t even click to see why. I wish I could get it to be free like it is on Smashwords, but they haven’t changed the price even though I reported the lower price. *sigh* Oh, well… 😀

        Sadly, Amazon doesn’t seem to be the friendly place it once was. 😥

  10. Way to go Jo … you deserve that upturn no matter how or even why it comes about. Really hope the neck improves for you asap. I keep getting horrendous pain in my right shoulder / arm. The pc set up / chair is not in the least comfortable for me, hence I think the many hours sitting in front of the screen could well be doing us both in (it cerrtainly won’t help anyway)!!! If you can relax (sometime) try to imagine a beautiful warm light above you … flowing into you …energizing and healing you.

    Catch up soon…great post and well done for the lovely blog award from Steph!

    • Be careful with your shoulder! That happened to me when I wrote the first book and I ended up in physical therapy over it and it was quite a mess. Here’s hoping it is feeling better soon! 🙂

  11. Don’t knock any book sales. The fact that you’ve had so few returns shows that your work is good. Well done.

  12. Hi, Jo. Thanks for the award. I’m sorry to hear about your neck. That’s awfuk!v I hope you can find some relief from that real soon.

    I am also sorry to hear about the troubles you’ve been having with your list book. That was totally uncool of them to give you only one star. Good grief, it’s not like they PAID for it! That just bites. I know it’s hard to ignore that kind of thing, but try not to let it get to you.

    This has also made me nervous, because I, too, will be doing a “list book” in the near future. It’s part of my “12 ebooks in 12 months” experiment that I’ll be doing next year. So at least now I know what to prepare for. :/

    Congratulations on the sales, though. That’s great! Keep up the good work.

    • Yeah, they used to bother me a year or so ago but now it’s mostly just funny. At first there is that initial stab of righteous anger and then it fades as I remind myself the thing took a couple of weeks to put together and was just meant for fun, so it’s nothing serious, anyway.

      Yeah, anytime you post anything less than a novel length work – even for free – you’ll see negative reviews. The same goes with short stories. For some reason people expect novel length books for free all the time. While I am not against free books, I don;t think anyone should expect that, not as long as they take to write, edit, etc.

  13. Reena Jacobs

     /  March 26, 2012

    Awesome about the boost in sales. Even if the readers are looking for the other book, they may be pleasantly surprised. I think it’s pretty cool happenstance gets you noticed.

    Thank you for the Lovely Blog award!

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