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Publishing and Promoting > A Book No One Has Ever Read - What am I doing wrong?

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Stanek | 29 comments I recently published a new book, Death by Nostalgia. It was my first-ever mystery novel and while it was a bit rough, I quite liked how it came out. The thing is, about a month on, no one on Earth has ever read it! (Except my long-suffering beta readers, of course.)

What am I doing wrong?

In my admittedly limited experience, there's usually someone somewhere willing to take a chance on a new book. When I published my last novel, Empire, I got at least a few sales in the first month. It wasn't record shattering, but it was meaningful.

I've put Death by Nostalgia up for free this weekend via KDP Select in an attempt to reverse the situation, but I'm concerned that there's something I've not spotted about it that is stopping people from picking up a copy, and this will undermine my other efforts. I just can't think what that might be. It's as cheap as could be ($.99), it's reasonably brief, and there are no obvious typos or formatting problems to scare people off.

Anyone have previous experiences like this or a clue as to what might have happened?

message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (amandamlyons) At first glance I'd say your cover is too flat for readers to notice. I work as PR person and editor for J Ellington Ashton Press and we've learned that you need a cover that sells your book to its readers. There needs to be something that makes it pop a little so that it stands out from the other covers.

Your synopsis is great and the title is sound, nothing else really stands out as negative to me. What sort of promotional things have you been doing?

message 3: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments You need to look at what advertising and marketing you have done. Where have you targeted readers? What blogs have you approached to garner reviews? What build up did you have leading up to release - cover reveals, FB parties, competitions etc?

You cannot do absolutely nothing and expect a book to sell. There are a couple of million books on Amazon and at the moment your book is invisible. It has no rank, no reviews, no buy associations. The issue is not that people won't take a risk on a new book, the issue is they can't even see or find it to make that decision.

message 4: by D.C. (new)

D.C. | 198 comments Before you get absorbed in marketing (although I would recommend posting a link to FB when you have the Kindle freebie), definitely look at the cover and the blurb. The cover is attractive, but not very grabby, and doesn't look like a mystery. The blurb is a little confusing, and I was really unsure whether this was a contemporary or historical mystery. That kind of uncertainty can make readers hesitant.

message 5: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments D.C. wrote: "Before you get absorbed in marketing (although I would recommend posting a link to FB when you have the Kindle freebie), definitely look at the cover and the blurb. The cover is attractive, but not..."

I agree. A cover doesn't sell a book alone, but it is typically what catches the interest for a reader to check out the blurb. Perhaps something as simple as adding color to the text might help.

message 6: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Stanek | 29 comments Amanda: Thanks. Talk about judging a book by its cover, though! If the cover isn't catchy enough I suppose I'll have to do something about it.

A.W.: I agree that I can't do nothing and expect a book to sell meaningfully, but I tried to explain that in my limited past experience, at least some people have bought my books even without any marketing or promotion. With Empire for example, I got a handful of sales in the first week even though it was five times as expensive and I did nothing initially to promote it. I'm sure other authors would agree that having a book sell no copies whatsoever is a little unusual, and it's a red flag for me that something is wrong with the book. I want to fix whatever that is before I move on to major promotion efforts.

That said, I'm a newb when it comes to book promotion and would more than welcome any advice. I've been looking around the threads in this group for tips.

D.C.: I didn't even think about the blurb - it's contemporary mystery, but it didn't occur to me that someone might be confused.

Auntie J: I... I don't think I knew you could add color to the blurb.

Thanks to everyone for the replies. Having looked over the page with a fresh eye, I'm guessing the problem is most likely the cover. I made it myself, and I guess I should have gone for something snazzier. I'd appreciate any advice on how to get a professional cover made and next steps for promotion, though!

message 7: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyons (amandamlyons) A couple of our authors at JEA do side work on covers as well I can give Susan Simone's info:

Susan Simone's Page:

Pricing: Front Cover Only $100 usd Formatted for print or e-book.
Full Cover-- Front, Back, Spine $250 usd Formatted especially for Print. Front image formatted for e-book as well.

$50 usd deposit required. This pays for stock images to use in your design, which is required for legal image use.

You Receive: Custom design to match your book
Cover formatted to your chosen printer's specifications (Create Space, Kobo, KDP etc.)
Signed agreement giving you full rights to your design
Will sign design over to a press and reformat upon request
Your book cover will be shown on this site which markets you as an author as well!

BEST DEAL! Blank covers are pre-made and sold for $75 usd a piece. Your text will be added for Free! $50 usd to add a back and spine.

message 8: by Vince (new)

Vince Guzman | 12 comments Similar to Amanda, I just published a book of short stories called Skip Trace. It hasn't sold one copy in three days. I have started a blog, gone on various websites to try to promote, created a facebook author page. Any tips on what more I can do? Not only for this, but for future projects as well?

Thank you!

message 9: by Vince (new)

Vince Guzman | 12 comments Similar to Amanda, I just published my first book, Skip Trace. It has not sold any copies in days. I have visited various websites, created a Facebook author page, started a blog. Is there anything I am doing wrong or does anyone have any tips for this book as well as future projects? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

message 10: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Andrew, I'm having the same problem with my recent novel, and I can't figure out what the heck is wrong. Everyone tells me it's much better than my previous novel, which has sold several hundred copies, but I can't even give the new one away. But it's much easier to find what doesn't work for me with someone else's book.

As others have pointed out, the cover isn't very eye-grabbing, but I literally don't judge a book by its cover. I've also been outsold by a guy who doesn't even provide a cover so he gets a default black and green with the title.

In your case, the cover does not speak murder mystery at all. Combine the items on the cover with the word "Nostalgia" and it gives an impression of someone reminiscing about their life - which could be very boring. Baskets, ashtrays, a stick and either a boulder or some bread. Not items that make a person wonder what the story's about.

Definitely do a new cover. In color. If it was mine, I'd want to have a foot sticking out of some rubble, and maybe a cop car in the foreground.

Let's say I was looking for a murder mystery and I wasn't put off by the cover, or the blurb - which didn't interest me, actually. A klepto cop and death by nostalgia? Maybe it's just me, but the word nostalgia just scares me. I imagine someone sitting around and telling really boring stories about things that only matter to them. But we're pretending you got my interest and I went to preview the book.

I probably would've stopped reading after a few paragraphs. But since I was looking at the book in an effort to help you identify where the problem might lie, I read the entire first chapter.

I got tired of the old man talking about his memories of the building, and apparently the character he was talking to wasn't all that intrigued with him either:

While the anchor waited politely for the old man to finish his story, others - plainly - were not so patient.

If one character is boring to another, then consider that they could also be boring to the reader - especially on the critical first page that has to grab the reader's interest.

"Fine, fine," muttered Jack Kettering noncommittally.

Two things bothered me here. One needn't commit to doing fine, and the -ly adjective should be avoided. It's a beginner's mistake, and it "tells" the reader something instead of showing.

thrust his hands moodily into the pockets of his jacket.

Same thing. Thrusting his hands moodily. Not good.

he looked as if he were about to shout
I could be wrong on this, someone can feel free to correct me, but I think this should be "as if he was about to shout."

frowned in the direction that Adriana was shouting, sending his mustache wobbling in disapproval

First, frowning in someone's direction. That bugs me. I could accept it if he was looking in someone's direction, frowning. But just frowning in their direction? And then it gets worse. The mustache wobbled when he frowned? And the mustache wobbled in disapproval? I would have stopped reading after that sentence if I hadn't stopped earlier.

Adriana had to shout quiet loudly to attract Peter Ulverson's attention.

I think that's just a typo.

"-but I think it's time we put all that aside and buried the hatchet."

This could be a quirk of the speaker to say "buried" when she's talking in present tense.

a guy returns a smile with great seemingly reluctance.

It always bothers me when things "seem" rather than are. Then we have the -ly. It's a really awkward phrase. "seemingly reluctance."

How about just an insincere smile? Or something like that.

Mr. Hamilton seemed to have turned an unnatural shade of purple.

Here's a case where "seem" really doesn't make sense. A person either turns a color, or doesn't. They can't really "seem" to change colors. Unless it only seems that way to a specific person. But this is the narrator talking, so he should be authoritative in describing to the reader when things actually happened, or didn't.

Vicky turned on heel

This might be a British phrase or a typo. I can't tell. In U.S. English, it would say that she turned "on her heel."

She's meant to be giving us a ride.

This is definitely British English and will confuse most Americans. We say "supposed to" instead of "meant to." I know it's weird to you because there's no supposition about it. It's already agreed to and planned, but we use "supposed" when something is expected and counted on to happen.

U.S. He's supposed to be here at 5 o'clock.
U.K. He's meant to be here at 5 o'clock.

"I'll drive you," Davey said unconcernedly."

Ugh. Unconcernedly. I'm cringing inside.

I'm only one person, so my opinion is just that. Maybe these things wouldn't bother another person, but for me, they're deal-breakers. With an unlimited supply of books, and a scarcity of time to read them, I'm finding that I'm getting more and more picky about what to read, and when something doesn't get my attention, combined with writing that looks like it hasn't been seen by an editor, I have to pass.

Another thing that bothered me near the beginning of the chapter was the believability factor. All of these former tenants standing around acting like they're at a family reunion. How were they all notified that the place is being torn down? Wouldn't at least some of them have moved away? Why did they all show up when some of them clearly don't like some of the others? The place was a low-income place that anyone would be glad to have moved away from. I find it hard to believe that they're nostalgic about it. And they're bickering as if they all used to hang out in the halls together all the time.

Maybe that's all realistic. But in the few unfortunate times I lived in apartments, there wasn't a great sense of community. People know a few specific people they considered friends, and most of the rest remained strangers.

The first sign of interest I had was when the mysterious stranger appeared. I wondered why he wasn't there in the beginning.

I'd re-write it so that he's introduced early on, and he's overhearing the bits of conversation and confrontation, etc. Since he's a curious bloke and something is definitely up with him, there's some mystery, and thus interest. If the opening scene was from his perspective, I think you might greatly increase the interest factor.

I hope you find this helpful. I know how frustrating it is for a book to seem invisible to the market - especially when you know people are looking at it, but not buying it.

One last thing - if you do end up having the book edited, I would recommend editing it for U.S. English if you think that will be your primary market, or where you'll be promoting it.

message 11: by Edward (last edited Jul 29, 2014 09:47PM) (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Vince wrote: "Similar to Amanda, I just published my first book, Skip Trace. It has not sold any copies in days. I have visited various websites, created a Facebook author page, started a blog. I..."

Vince, I went to check out your book and although I liked the description because it sounded like this was a story about something unusual, which appeals to me, I also found it confusing and couldn't figure out if it was about a man, or a group, or another man. I read it a couple times and still couldn't get what it was trying to tell me.

Then I found out in the author bio that the book is three stories. You need to say that in the book's description.

You start off talking about the wind and where you felt it and how it rustled your coat. You said the wind and the city weren't cold and then said that New York ran with life day or night. I don't see a connection between the activity level of New Yorkers and whether or not the city is cold.

I held a book, thick, ready for reading.

Awkward phrasing. Why not, "I held a thick book." ?

Through the tips of my fingers I could feel my blood pulse where they came in contact with The Book.

"they" appears to be referring to blood pulses.
I would re-phrase this to, "I could feel my blood pulse through the tips of my fingers where they came in contact with The Book."
It's best not to make a reader pause to realize what you meant to say.

"Though I held it in a one handed, grasp my grip was tight."

This implies that something can only be held tightly with both hands. But worse than that, "one-handed" should be hyphenated. And the comma should come after "grasp" instead of breaking the sentence oddly after "one handed."

I'd re-write it to say, "I gripped the book tightly in one hand. But you already said you were holding the book in one hand, so I'd go back to that previous sentence and add that you were holding it "tightly" in that hand, and do away with this sentence altogether as it adds nothing.

"catchinga view of myself in the window.Not bad."

Two typos. I'm sure you can see them.

And that tells me this book hasn't been proofed, which means it hasn't been edited.

That's as far as I would read if I was looking for a small book of short stories that might actually be interesting, if I was willing to subject myself to an unprofessional publication that will require effort on my part to enjoy. But when I'm reading, I want to relax and enjoy - not work.

Is it possible that you rushed to publish, because it's so damned exciting and fun? I know that temptation, and I might even be guilty of having done it before.


As for promotion, you say that you've visited websites. I guess you left out the pertinent details. Surely you've done more than just visit, right?

Creating a Facebook page is unlikely to do you any good at all, unless you already have a huge fanbase following you there. And if your blog doesn't have a lot of subscribers, well then, you're just starting off and shouldn't be expecting anything yet.

Hell, you might as well go tweet.

I'd work on the book and get it ready for prime-time, then read up on how to launch an ebook, and visit the sites where you can promote it at no cost, then consider the ones you have to pay to promote it on, etc.

message 12: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Vince, I just read the rest of your bio. We have a lot in common. I was also a journalist and interviewed at least one congressman. I worked with musicians. Went to broadcasting academy, and worked with bands in southern california, but I wrote lyrics and never worked in radio like I wanted to. I'm also a single parent, and play guitar.

Tell me you didn't grow up in Orange County or Riverside. lol

message 13: by Vince (new)

Vince Guzman | 12 comments Thank you for the suggestions (which I will take to heart with my next publication). You are spot on regarding the editing process which needs work. Yes, I am just starting out and your comments were quite helpful.

message 14: by Vince (new)

Vince Guzman | 12 comments We did grow up quite close to each other; Orange County for you and San Bernardino for me.

message 15: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Stanek | 29 comments Ed: Thanks very much for taking the time to read the sample chapter and the feedback.

About the cover: Your description made me more certain than ever that the cover is a major issue, because you mentioned the breadbasket, ashtray, etc. - but apparently failed to see the large scythe looming over the table, which is what I thought would grab interest and denote this as a murder mystery. I guess it's tough to see in the thumbnail. I'm going to get a new cover made.

About the blurb: I don't really think I can remove nostalgia from the equation at this late stage. The entire book is about nostalgia. You found a handful of typos that evaded me (it probably won't surprise you to learn that I edited the book myself, aided and abetted by a handful of friends). I really did think it was clean.

About the sample: Adriana Kettering called the reunion. As the book progresses, it will become apparent that she and she alone misses the 20th street projects. She tries to hold the group of old friends together at the demolition and despairs when they splinter apart. It's a big issue for me if this isn't obvious - I'm re-reading the whole chapter now.

You certainly have a love for active language and an exciting start. I'm also a big believer in a strong open. I thought the demolition would be eye-grabbing and the murder in the first chapter would be a quick enough to excite the reader.

That said, many mysteries have passive opens. Let's not forget that Murder on the Orient Express, perhaps the best mystery ever written, starts with Poirot locked in boring conversation with a guard about the cold weather and the Hagia Sophia for about a half-dozen pages while they wait for a train. It's not until he boards the train that things start to happen.

One thing you said bugged me, though. I'm American. I lived in NorCal and have all my life. I have very little contact with British English - but that's how I talk! The segments you pointed out as being British English sound perfectly normal to me. I checked with a few of my friends (also Americans) and they identified those phrases ("meant to be giving us a ride", "turned on heel", etc.) as normal and unobtrusive American English.

I really do appreciate your advice. I'm probably going to make some changes to the first chapter now, and definitely, definitely get a new cover.

message 16: by Vince (new)

Vince Guzman | 12 comments Thanks again, Ed. By the way, I am looking at what I uploaded and those typos are not there. It's Amazon. You are dead on about the rest. It's so obvious to me now.

message 17: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 257 comments I have not done the translation piece on any of my books, yet I have sold more in US than in UK. Not that I have sold that many. I would like to translate into other languages but if it is an English book with English dialogue why change it. When I have American characters in their dialogue I try to use US terms e.g. trunk not boot or side-walk not pavement, but otherwise I use UK English. I have not seen any reviews where this was thought to be an issue.

Editing though is an issue and I mistakenly first published without using a professional editor. Latest editions are rectified, but reviews commented and I am sure that has put readers off. Based on the comments above it will harm sample downloads.

As a reader I think covers are subjective and will depend on genre but like others I am buying for Kindle and the cover is almost irrelevant.

Most of my selections for purchase come from Goodreads or recommendations irrespective of covers and I am pretty lenient on grammar and spelling - but that is just me.

message 18: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Vince wrote: "We did grow up quite close to each other; Orange County for you and San Bernardino for me."

I'm not surprised. My teen years were in Riverside, not far from you at all.

message 19: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Vince wrote: "Thanks again, Ed. By the way, I am looking at what I uploaded and those typos are not there. It's Amazon. You are dead on about the rest. It's so obvious to me now."

Vince, I was looking at the preview on Amazon. The typos are still there. When you say you looked at what you uploaded, do you mean on your hard drive, or what actually ended up on Amazon? Look at the preview online. Maybe the wrong file got uploaded.

If you want me to check it out again when the right file is there, let me know.

message 20: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Andrew wrote: "Ed: Thanks very much for taking the time to read the sample chapter and the feedback.

About the cover: Your description made me more certain than ever that the cover is a major issue, because you ..."


I guess you northerners just talk funny. ;)

I've only heard people from the U.K. say "meant to." Maybe a Brit settled in your area and brought it there.

As for Murder on the Orient Express and the slow opening, you have to consider a few things. That book came out in 1934. It's a completely different reading world now. Back then someone had to drive to a store or a library, then drive home and read something that cost them the equivalent of $35 in today's money.

People were far more likely to give a book plenty of time to get going after the effort and money they put into getting the book.

Today, a person can download free books all day long in a matter of seconds. I'm walking around with hundreds of unread books on my phone. I might start a new one when I step outside for a smoke break at work.

The abundance of books and the lack of expense makes them much more disposable. Add in the fact that many people are self-published now and all too often there is a distinct difference in quality between indie and traditionally published books.

Many books are published too soon. They really aren't ready yet and you wouldn't see them put out by the big publishers in such shape.

So, like I said, maybe it's just me, but I've gotten to where I have so many books to read, so many reviews I've promised, beta reading, and editing jobs, etc., so when I take some rare time to shut out the world and enjoy something on my Kindle, I want it to shine and give me every indication that it's going to be a great story.

Along with the great opportunity we have as indie publishers, there's also the stiffer competition that comes with it.

I joined Kindle Unlimited and downloaded 10 books that were in my wishlist - books I was waiting to buy when I had more disposable income. Now I can easily dismiss those books if they don't appeal to me right off the bat, because they essentially cost me nothing and I can pick up another 10 in a minute or so.

Another thing with Orient is that Agatha Christie became a big name. That gives her more leeway in modern times. I'll slog through a slow opening by Stephen King or Lee Child because I *know* that the odds are the story is going to pick up. They're established authors who don't usually put out duds.

It's said today that you need to get a reader's attention with the first sentence, then the first paragraph, then the first page. If you do all of that, then you've got the first chapter to lock them in.

If you write something astounding, you can break every rule and still become an overnight success. Every rule is also an exception. But if your book isn't selling like hotcakes, (or at all) then you gotta find out what's holding it down.

I've given you my best insight into some possibilities. You can consider them, or rationalize that someone else did the same thing as you 85 years ago and stand your ground because it worked for them.

I wish you the best either way. I love and respect anyone with the heart and soul of a storyteller. You might check out my latest blog post on GR to see my opinion on storytellers. :)

message 21: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Stanek | 29 comments Hi all,

Based on the advice you've given me, I've decided to get a new cover made for Death by Nostalgia, and I replaced the existing cover with a placeholder. I also updated the blurb.

I don't think the changes have taken effect yet, but they probably will in a few hours.

Thanks again! I will keep you all updated if the situation changes.

message 22: by Ronald (new)

Ronald Reis | 12 comments Andrew, there is a big, big difference between zero sales and even one sale. Make sure, via your software, etc., that the book can indeed be purchased. With NO sales, my first thought is that the problem may be with the buying procedure. All the best.

message 23: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Stanek | 29 comments Ronald,

I found out yesterday that the book could indeed be purchased because one person reading this thread bought the book and PMed me about it. It seems it can be bought - the problem lies elsewhere.

message 24: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Another point (aside from cover art) - I assumed these books were professionally edited, but I now have my doubts after reading Edward's excellent analysis of the openings.

Readers are canny about indie books now and used the sample feature. Obvious lack of editing is a huge turn off and will cost you sales.

message 25: by Vince (new)

Vince Guzman | 12 comments Ed, I of course saved what I uploaded on my hard drive. So I began going over it and the typos are not present. the writing mistakes you pointed out are, which I will fix today. You have been quite helpful. Thanks.

message 26: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) John wrote: "Here's the link " and I would appreciate any advice on this. "

John, Here are my impressions as though I were a reader who stumbled across this book. Jump inside my head and come for a ride. :)

The Blessings of Stefan - on Amazon

1st impressions

Title: Little to no interest. Some guy is blessed? How is that interesting to me? Blessed how? Can he get the hottest chicks with magic? Is he psychic?

Cover: Looking at the small version, I'm seeing rock? Crystal? Maybe ocean in the background? Very tiny author name. Overall, not professional looking or attention-getting. Oh, I notice now there's a couple in the lower left corner. Possible romantic element in the story?


1st paragraph: Possibly interesting that 1,000 years in the future, everyone in an underground city is blind. Strange premise and therefore, possibly interesting.

Eldest daughter of the Lord Spiritual? Very generic name for what sounds like some kind of deity or city spiritual leader.

2nd paragraph: What in the past (not 1,000 years in the future) threatened the city and affected the Church? The spiritual/church angle is reducing my interest level. If it's a unique sci-fi religion, that would be okay, but I don't know from the description if it's going to be Christian sci-fi, in which case, I would pass.

3rd paragraph: Thurii has a strange affliction. His sight? That's an affliction? Thurii's struggle and Corinth's search mean nothing to me.

Reviews: I see two. Neither of which says they are Verified Purchases and thus I assume they're from your friends or family, despite your statement here that they're from people you don't know. Especially since at least one of them is in New Zealand. The non-kiwi reviewer has reviewed a total of seven books. The other six are verified purchases. So I assume - no real reviews. (However, the second reviewer generated far more interest in the book than anything else had so far. Her review would make a great description for the book. Edited, of course.)

You mention newspaper and magazine reviews. You should be put exerpts from them on the book's Amazon page. Go to
If you haven't been there before, you'll create your account by logging in with your regular Amazon credentials. Go to Books, select this book, then add your excerpts by clicking Edit next to the word Review.

After looking at the title, the cover and the description, and then glancing over the glowing 5-star reviews from people who I presume to know the author, I'd move along if I was browsing for something to read.

But, to see if I might be able to come up with any advice, I'll peek inside...

(Seeing it larger, no clarification of what I'm seeing on the cover. Now it looks like a sidewalk that emerges from a cave, possibly overlooking the ocean. The lettering looks nicer at full size.)

I'm really confused trying to visualize this: What he decided was that the corner, which was otherwise just a bare patch between two paths ending at the rock wall of the cavern, lacked visual barriers.

I've read the sentence now three times (which is bad because I'm not being swept along by the narrative, and I'm struggling to make sense while I'm still in the first paragraph) and I can't see how a corner - which is where two straight paths or walls intersect - is a bare patch between two paths. It ends at a wall, which would be a visual barrier, and sounds more like a dead-end than a corner. Okay... moving on...

Oh no. More physical descriptions requiring an attempt at visualization. A string house? A string runs around four stakes, 6 feet high. That doesn't sound like a house at all. Is it a string barrier/enclosure? For what purpose?

In the centre of each of the walls Thurii had arranged a string window.

Did he use additional stakes to create four smaller squares in the middle of each string "wall"?

I don't know what it means that the windows "foxed" Eserick.

Apparently these people live on a square plot of land with the boundaries marked by string. But this plot is given an official name by the city or some authorities. Does this mean that on the other side of the string there are neighbors inside their own string square?

The blind sister hosed the mud off of Thurii?

I didn't immediately get that Izzy was Eserick. I thought two new people had been introduced, Izzy and Kali, but feeling lost, I went back and found the mother was Kalaisa and put it together - these are nicknames for existing characters.

I wish I knew how to pronounce Ayshe. aish? i-she?

Despite the confusion and the punctuation errors, I'm intrigued by the story because it's so different. It's very imaginative and promises to be interesting since it's a culture completely different than anything we know. But is it worth it to carry on with what I know so far. The plot is said to be about Thurii's struggle for acceptance. I can relate to his outcast status (which was great in Jonathon Livingston Seagull) but it's not enough to compel me to invest time and money into the story. As for Corinth's search for truth - no idea what that's about yet. She hasn't been introduced. I'm assuming it's a she, and that she'll be Thurii's romantic partner.

At this point, I feel the call of another cup of coffee and some Call of Duty.

With so many things to read, I'm not sufficiently compelled to add this to my Wish List (which I use to keep track of things I want to read later.)

I would recommend revising the beginning so that instead of confusing descriptions of the layout of their house (?) - have some kind of situation where Thurii's difference from everyone else is actively played out. And not in a mini info-dump about how he was different as a child in a way that isn't striking - he played with mud? Um... okay. Sounds pretty normal.

I hope it helps to see someone else's view of your story without knowing anything about it.

message 27: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Jul 30, 2014 06:08PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) I always "look inside" unless an author has given me so many good reads over the years I just automatically buy them (and even shrug off the occasional stinker ).

Beyond a cover indicating a certain genre, I don't pay attention. Oh, some scream "amateur" or "self-published" — but, I overlook that; I can't really tell a lot of detail from thumbnails anyway. (I actually view books on my kindle in list rather than thumbnail form so never see the thumbnails anyway). In an actual store, there have been bookcovers that make me flip over to read the blurb.

The book description and sample really matter to me. I skip over any book whose first screen of book description isn't (filled with praises and review quotes instead). I skip any book with a suspicious amount of five star ratings or that has been spammed onto non-relevant listopias with a suspicious amount of votes (to my knowledge that doesn't apply to anyone's books posting on this thread).

I'm a prime member; I will be trying unlimited once I have a good potential reading list of unlimited-only reads I'm interested in (so far not a lot of fiction I'm interested in that's not also in prime). I usually read at least 500 pages a day. I'm not usually into mystery genre but am into science fiction.

If the description or "look inside" is poorly written/edited, I move on. If an author had just the sample edited and suckered me, I get my money back from amazon.

I don't mean to be harsh, but, none of the above books had samples that interested me or indicated book had been edited and was ready for public sale. Even for free, I wouldn't waste my reading hours on.

From my viewpoint, one of the biggest hurdles I suspect indie/self-publishing authors face are the sheer number of books being published. With a very broad range of "quality" and professionalism. It's fine to offer to beta readers to prepare for publication; not fine to publish out to the public until edited. I know that's a big ticket expense; but, it is a cost of doing business. I skip authors who tout how their novel is newly revised or edited -- why publish it until ready?

message 28: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) John wrote: "Thank you Edward and DA For taking the time to give me an in-depth reply. You've raised some really important points that like to deal with perhaps just two of them. The first are the two five-sta..."

I understand about the reviews. It's unfortunate that we look at them skeptically now. I have a similar problem with too many good reviews. When I finally got a bad one, I was really happy. I needed it for credibility. lol

There's nothing you can do about reviews though except hope for, and try to get more.

The title would come across a lot differently if it was The Blessings from Stefan.

From part of the review I read, it appears that's what the title is actually referring to - blessings he gives out. But I took it to mean that he was blessed somehow. Well, he is, with sight apparently, but you know what I mean.

Toning down the religious sounding stuff would definitely be good, and look at the one reviewer and how she described things to get a good idea of how to describe it and generate interest.

message 29: by Edward (last edited Jul 30, 2014 09:13PM) (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) John wrote: "Okay here is a new blurb:

"This is a post apocalyptic novel set in an underground city of the future when every single person is blind except for one young man. His sight, however, is not an adv..."

That's better, but instead of "they battle forces" which is really vague, how about some clue as to what they battle, or why, or something to make a person want to know more.

Here's a rendering I pieced together to give you something to consider:

A thousand years into a post-apocalypse future, everyone living in an underground city where a whole society of blind people move around and function with ease, and where the sighted are the ones who are at a disadvantage.

Thurii struggles against the strict and overbearing constraints of a society where he simply just doesn't fit.

The world of Stefan is highly religious. The populace worships Stefan, obeys his laws, and participate in a special ceremony Stefan dispenses his blessings.

When Thurii meets the strong, independent, and brave Corinth who has her own struggles against societal rules and expectations, together they battle forces which threaten to destroy the city.

message 30: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Could someone take a look at my new novel and let me know why you would not want to read it? lol

No need to go as in-depth as I do - I'm an editor, so I'm used to examining every sentence in detail, but if you spot something that turns you off, I'd love to know.

I've fixed everything that I can spot, but that's all from my own viewpoint, which is sketchy at best.

Kendra's Spirit

I would really appreciate any insight.


message 31: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) John wrote: "Sorry Edward my message crossed with yours. I'll take a look at kendra's spirit."

Thanks, John! Any feedback at all would be great.

I suck at blurbs too - unless it's someone else's - then I'm not blinded by proximity. :)

For the SW short version, maybe this is short enough:

1,000 years into an apocalyptic future, in an underground society of the blind, Thurii is a freak who can see. He struggles against the strict and overbearing constraints of a society where he can’t fit in. He meets Corinth who is strong, independent, and brave, and also struggles against societal rules and expectations. Together, they battle forces which threaten to destroy the city.

Feel free to use anything that works for you.

message 32: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) John wrote: "I have just bought In the End because I like apocalyptic stuff and the opening several chapters just pulled me right in"

Thanks, John. I hope you like the whole book. I'm writing the sequel and hope to finish it in September at the latest.

"but I will get to Kendra's spirit. I am a little confused, however, about which edition your link is to because there appears to be another edition with 10 reviews and there also appear to be multiple novel titles"

The link goes to the Kindle version on Amazon. You somehow looked it up on Goodreads that shows my title experiments. lol

I was afraid to use the original title that I wanted for fear that the word "spirit" would push people away. So I published the book as "Kendra." After weeks of lots of promo without a single sale, I tried changing the description, and renamed it, "Reaching Kendra." (That was the working title as I wrote it.)

More promo, more description changes, and still no sales later, I said, screw it. I can't possibly do any harm by giving it the title I wanted it to have in the beginning, so I changed it to "Kendra's Spirit" and put the first description back, which was just a small excerpt. Some books have sold really well without a description - just an interesting excerpt.

I've pretty much given up on it at this point. It's just frustrating because the only feedback I keep getting from people who know me is that it's great, amazing, a "bestseller" and so on. But I can't sell a single copy.

Maybe it's just the genre, or lack of genre. My failure to figure it out is what motivates me to help others having the same problem.

message 33: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 347 comments Edward, it may be just bad timing. July has been my worst month ever for sales, in spite of the boost in borrows from Kindle Unlimited. So much for summer reading, I guess!

message 34: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Ken wrote: "Edward, it may be just bad timing. July has been my worst month ever for sales, in spite of the boost in borrows from Kindle Unlimited. So much for summer reading, I guess!"

Ken, that could be a factor. I've heard there's a slump in the summer. But I still sell "In The End" and "When Everything Changed" although not as much as usual.

In my previous post, I said that friends told me that Kendra was great, but I realized after I clicked Post, that I also got a few good reviews from a blogger and a GR "friend" I don't know.

So I'm inclined to think that it's a decent book, but a total marketing failure. :(

Oh, I know! Maybe it needs some bad reviews! lol

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Not necessarily valid statistically, but July is a slower reading month for me, too.

message 36: by David (new)

David Stroebel (david_stroebel) | 11 comments Should I consider changing my cover? I am open to ideas on this idea and would like to know how other authors sell their book. I was fortunate enough to have a feature story appear in Germany's der Spiegel about my book. One drawback I have is that my book is not translated to German. Estimates given to me hover near the $10,000 mark to accomplish this. Any suggestions on perhaps working a deal to finance this cost through an unexplored entity?

Many thanks,

message 37: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) David wrote: "Should I consider changing my cover? I am open to ideas on this idea and would like to know how other authors sell their book. I was fortunate enough to have a feature story appear in Germany's der..."

That cover might be just fine, considering the subject matter.

For translation, take a look at

You put your book there, and if someone wants to translate it, they'll contact you. You split the royalties of the translated version.

message 38: by David (new)

David Stroebel (david_stroebel) | 11 comments I did not know Sears now sells books online. I just found my book here

message 39: by S. (new)

S. Aksah | 100 comments Great! Lots to learn feom the thread!

message 40: by Andrew (new)

Andrew Stanek | 29 comments Edward wrote: "Could someone take a look at my new novel and let me know why you would not want to read it? lol

No need to go as in-depth as I do - I'm an editor, so I'm used to examining every sentence in deta..."


I'd love to be able to help you in exchange for all the feedback you gave me, but I'm not sure this is really my genre. I read the first few pages of the sample, and the most I can say is that:

1) The first page or two makes it seem like a thriller. I don't know if that's what you were going for or not, but Amazon classified it as a romance. Someone out looking for a romance novel might not expect the opening you've written.
2) The subject matter (bombing, violence, terrorism, etc.) might make it seem overly controversial. Timing could also be an issue, and I don't mean the summer slump. The flare up of violence in the Middle East might make people feel awkward about buying it.

This is just wild speculation, of course.

The timing issue in second factor is pretty much completely beyond your control, so it might just be back luck.

message 41: by Edward (new)

Edward Wolfe (edwardmwolfe) Andrew wrote: "Edward wrote: "Could someone take a look at my new novel and let me know why you would not want to read it? lol

No need to go as in-depth as I do - I'm an editor, so I'm used to examining every s..."

Thanks, Andrew.

The funny thing is - before yesterday, the book didn't start that way. It started with the main male character meeting and falling in love with the main female character. But I figured that must be what's killing the book - nothing really happening in the beginning. The conflict and suspense start later.

So I re-adjusted it, moving a key scene to the first chapter.

I was advised at the time I published it to market it as a romance since everything that happens is because of Keith's love for Kendra. But it's not a traditional romance by any stretch.

The book doesn't have a genre, as far as I can tell. It involves terrorism, romance, a near-death-experience, out-of-body experiences, psychics, religion, subjective reality, dolphins, and the afterlife. It's also humorous and written in realistic fiction style.

I'm just gonna focus on the next two books that fit nicely into their respective genres of post-apocalypse and alien invasion sci-fi.

Thanks for taking a look and offering your input. I appreciate it.

message 42: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited Aug 01, 2014 08:06AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Here on goodreads, you might want to shelve as genres like "Romantic Suspense" (because goodreads uses the shelvings to place your book in genre(s)). To see other books in that genre cluck Explore>Genres> then search by genre wanted (or the direct link to "Romantic Suspense" is ). Other genres as well but that one sounded like might fit your book.

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