Wow, did I have an amazing few days toward the end of last week! My book, Magic In The Storm was featured at “Anatomy of a Bookseller” on Beverly Kendell’s The Season Blog . It’s still there if you want to check it out, but first let me tell you what this is because it’s amazing!
Beverly Kendell posts your book cover, blurb, asking price, buy links and a short excerpt from your book, then asks readers to fill out a short questionnaire about what they’ve read. Starting with “would you be willing to buy a self-published book?” and then going on from there to whether the featured book is one in a genre that the reader reads, and what they think of the book – first impressions. They are asked whether they’ve heard of the author, of the book, what they think of the cover, the title, the blurb – everything that was posted. And then there is a space for comments. It’s quite thorough.
So, as of today, Sunday, 84 people have filled out the questionnaire. Here’s what they had to say: Most people would buy a self-published book but most haven’t heard of me or my book (clearly I need to do more marketing), most would read historical fantasy romance (that’s good!). First impressions? 55% said they were favorable (yeah!). My cover, on the other hand, they said was “ok, didn’t grab me” (see a little later for the comments on that). They didn’t find the cover attractive (a naked man in the woods, what’s not attractive!? Oh, well, I guess I’m in the minority who like that sort of thing). The title of the book, they liked overall (yeah!). And a whopping 66% said that they liked the blurb so much they wanted to read a sample (woohoo! I worked hard on that sucker!). Most people were fine with my $3.99 price (that’s good, I thought it was reasonable for a book of 105K words). As for the excerpt, most people said it wasn’t long enough to really form an opinion, but 30% did say that it was very good and they’d like to read more (yes!).
Now, the comments were fascinating. Really, I would love to write to everyone who wrote a comment and thank them personally (hmmm, I wonder if I can do that?). Their comments were thoughtful and, almost always useful. For the most part, everyone who commented agreed that the cover just didn’t say “Regency” or even “historical”. Many thought it was too contemporary looking. One person suggested that I put on the front cover that I’m an award winning author of Zebra Regencies. That’s a good idea, but since I’m self-publishing, I feel like that would sound conceited. If an independent publisher puts that on your book cover, that’s one thing. If I put it on my own book cover, it just doesn’t sound nice to me. What do you think?
And finally, a couple of writers I saw this weekend at a WRW meeting all had one main thing to say to me – how did I get up the guts to do this, to put myself out there like that? Well, I have only one thing to say – it was worth it! I learned so much (namely that I need a new cover, so I’m already working toward that). And I think I introduced myself to a number of new readers (always a good thing). One person even bought the book! Yeah, it’s only one, but as I think I’ve said before, I celebrate each and every sale because that’s one more person who will have read, and hopefully, enjoyed my book – and that’s why I write.
So, if you want to take the plunge like I did, I strongly recommend you write to Bev and submit your book! It was a great experience!