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!