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Every game has its rules… and everyone who plays has to admit they want to win  David Hwang was idealistic, smart, and hard-working—and he wanted to help. Powerful Lucy Bartolome recognized his talent right away, but first he needed to … Continue reading

Help, my book’s not selling!


Louise Wise




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It can happen to the best of us.

Sometimes a book won’t hit the spot with your readers, maybe the cover isn’t right or the blurb is wrong? Maybe you’re hitting on the wrong readership? Over-priced?

How do you know if any of the above apply to you?

Trial and error, but most importantly be honest with yourself.

My dark romantic comedy had become stagnant in the Amazon charts and the few reviews it received (luckily all good) weren’t enough to advertise it on sites such as BookBub. 

I tried all the usual things authors do to get the book moving: composing mini blurbs for Twitter, rewriting the blurb, redoing the tags, joining a tweet gang all which resulted in a flutter of sales.

I did the above again the following month, and again. All I received were flutters in return. For a highly researched book that took years to write I wasn’t about to give up on it so quickly. But despite my efforts in October/November time last year the book was flat lining and needed a defibrillator QUICK! 

Something was wrong with the book.

I looked at the title with critical eyes and it screamed: literary! The title, The Fall of the Misanthrope, didn’t portray dark, comedy romance so I began thinking up suitable names. 

I took a look at other dark comedies high in the charts and checked out their titles (I didn’t want the same), but I wanted to see what was selling. Chick lit titles seem to do best with clichés as titles or words from a song or even just expressions, dark comedies had titles that were self-mocking or just mocking.

Jane Dixon-Smith's profile photo
Jane Dixon-Smith

I composed a list of titles I liked and put them against my book, but I found the cover all wrong. Time to spend money and design a new one. I called on the designer of the original cover, Jane Dixon-Smith and together we came up with how the cover looks today, and I think it’s a HUGE difference, and brings alive the book’s theme perfectly–comedy.

With the title and cover all sorted I needed to do one more thing, and that’s get word out about my relaunch. I didn’t want to waste money on buying promotion from sites that take your money and don’t offer much of a return, so I looked to my romcom groups on Facebook: Chick Lit Goddesses and The Official Chick Lit page. 

Great people came forward, and I didn’t even have to force them! They offered! In return, I took great pains in writing something worthwhile on the themes of their choice. I made sure everything was correct and my links worked.

Hiring a blog tour organisation will take you to bloggers who specialise in hosting authors, so you may get better results from them, but I was after free and I wanted it NOW. Here are my articles:

Kristina Knight  – cover reveal
Susan Buchanan –  Why an Overhaul is Needed
Caroline Fardig –  Keep Calm and WRITE
Deb Nam-Krane – author interview
Courtney Giardina – Bridget Jones for a Day

Georgina Troy – character interview
Monique McDonell –  Mental Illness: Nurture of Nature?

Alissa Baxter – Is Romance Harmless Escapism?
Matt Posner – author/general interview
Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?  – Just Writing a Book isn’t Enough!

Next, I lowered the price to a bargain 99c/77p and will keep it low until the end of May.

So, all in all, has this hop been worth it? 

I’ll be honest with you, for this book, no. I enjoyed the blogging process, and my name and articles are on the web for as long as the blogs are there, so that’s a plus. 

The flutter of sales (pity sales from my hosts maybe?) didn’t make this hop a success. My other romcom, A Proper Charlie, which although sees better sales, still doesn’t bring in a huge amount, so maybe it’s the genre?

My sci-fi romance Eden and Hunted are doing very well in the Amazon charts, so maybe romantic comedy is too swamped for any new author to do well in it? 

I’d love your thoughts on the subject.


Oh no, I’ve Fallen in Love!

Valerie Anthrope wanted was to be in control of her destiny.
In a short-sighted decision, she employs ‘mad as a hatter’ Ellen Semple as her
assistant in her financial brokerage, only to find her life being taken over by
the domineering older woman. And to add insult to injury, client, Lex Kendal,
seems equally determined to own her.

77p / 99c until end of May 2014




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Valerie’s bitchy ‘Devil Wears Prada’ image is ignored by Ellen and a turn-on
for Lex, her only other defence is to close her heart to the pair of them. But
it cracks when a bedraggled kitten finds its way into her life, making it easy
for Lex to swoop in and Ellen to declare herself Valerie’s fairy godmother.
just who is Ellen Semple? Where did she come from? Why does she want to help
Valerie so badly? And how come she seems to know Lex even though they’ve never met
Valerie can’t fend them off any longer and allows them into her life, her past
rears its ugly head to remind her just why she’s alone in the world.

Don’t waste writing time! Author tips shared here!

What I wished I’d known before I Published
part two

KEEP CALM. Writing already takes second place to my day job
and I was squandering this meagre resource in pursuit of a frenzy of Facebook,
Twitter, forums and pestering. I can’t compete with the fulltime twitbookers,
but it doesn’t matter. I do as much publicity as I can, but make sure I stay on
top of the important thing – writing.- 
Eric Tomlinson 

is crucial–not just a good suggestion–to at least some kind of marketing
strategy in place BEFORE you publish. – 
Rikki Strong
I wish I’d been told not to get distracted by what seem like
great opportunities that actually take you on a path away from what you wanted
from your writing. Identify the one thing you want from your writing, print it,
pin it to your wall, and never forget it. – Dan Holloway

Write. Keep writing. Set deadlines and guidelines and stick to
them. And 15-minute writing sprints are magical. – Madeline

Don’t spend months (or years) pouring your heart and soul
into your book and then slap a crappy-looking cover on it! That’s like putting
a bikini on a mature woman – no one wants to see that and it will deter
potential purchasers!- Janet Eve Josselyn

The rewrite and editing process really takes as long as
writing the book. – Lene Andersen

That it’s important to separate the business side and
creative side of self-publishing. Mixing the two can be detrimental. – 
Adrienne Thompson

to underprice yourself. – Deb Nam-Krane
Carmen Amato – Join a writer’s group and don’t argue when your stuff is being critiqued. And what Jane Starwood said about not publishing a first draft. Maybe the 20th. Plus, if you going develop the “author platform,” with a presence on Twitter, FB, blog, etc, do so in as professional manner possible. No orange text on purple background.

Indie authors, listen up!

Authors are offering advice in ‘What I wished I’d known before I published’ all through January

Part One

Before publishing I wish I had known about self-publishing and the many great programs that can be used to do so. There are pros and cons to using a publisher, it can get costly and frustrating with the time consumed in the communication during the process. – Anna Othitis

Don’t rush to get out there. First impressions are everything. Cover, blurb, opening pages.
You only get one chance at a first impression so make it count. Also, don’t
think that just because trad books “have a few typos” that it doesn’t
matter if yours does too. It does
Debbie Bennett 

Agreed, don’t rush, get someone else to edit for you and get
beta readers! Then, listen to other writers and use the common information they
are giving you before pushing that publish button. In other words, do NOT do
what I did! LOL – 
Linda Zukowski 

sure your book blurb is the best it can be before you press publish. It goes
without saying that editing, formatting, cover and presentation is as good as
it can be too. – 
Pam Howes 

I wish I had been told, sternly, that a social media platform
is essential for building your author brand but you have to discipline yourself
in ring-fencing time to continue writing creatively. – 
Ruby Barnes 

I wish I’d known that by reading a printed proof I’d notice
literally dozens of errors that I’d missed on-screen, despite reading the
electronic document many, many times. – 
Peter Reynolds

Don’t write for money, fame, or accolades. If you do, you’ll
be disappointed. Write because you love it.- 
Simon Parkinson

Focus on writing more books. You don’t realize how much having a second book helps until you have a second book. Promotion is helpful, but if you spend more time promoting than writing your next book, you’re not spending your time well. –  RJ Crayton

Matthew Wayne Selznick – A month of planning before you type “Chapter One” will save reams of paper and hours of editing after you type “The End.”

Rachel Eliason –  Publishing your first book is the beginning of the process of becoming an author, not the end of it.

Jolea M Harrison – Don’t rush to publish. It’s easy to do when the thrill of finishing a book is swimming through your head. After you’ve finished that final edit, step back at least two weeks, then reread.

Mandy White  – 1. Ebooks are where the money is. Ebook first, print after, not the other way around. Only do the print version AFTER it’s been edited by a professional.
2. Don’t waste money ordering a zillion copies in print of a book that you haven’t even seen yet. There WILL be things you want to tweak before you distribute it to friends, family and local readers. Take your time and make sure it’s perfect. Your credibility as an author is at stake.
3. Readers can and will judge a book by its cover. Make sure your cover is a good one.

4. Understand that other writers are busy with their own projects. If someone offers to use their valuable time to read your work or offer advice, express your appreciation.

Deb Nam-Krane – 1. I want to take off on what Mandy White said: order a print copy of your book BEFORE you publish the e-copy and read it through. Plan on doing it twice, because you’ll find things you’ll need to change, no matter how many times you and your editor looked at it. Make the changes to the e- and paper-versions, then put them up for sale. I cannot tell you how much less angst I had with the second than the the first doing it that way rather than publishing the e-version and then going through the print.

2. Outsource anything you can’t do well yourself (for most of us that’s the cover and for all of us that should be the editing), but if there’s something you *can* do yourself, do it. Learning to format your own book can save you money as well as worry if you want to make small changes.

Mandy White What Deb Nam-Krane said is also true – to proofread a print copy because the book will look different on paper than it does on the computer. You will see typos that you missed on the computer. The reason I said ebook first, print second is that I skip the paper-proof step by reading it on my Kindle. I find the Kindle works just as well as a paper copy and it costs nothing to put my book on it.

More author tips all through January on WWBB in ‘What I wished I’d known before I published’.

It’s not all about shoes, handbags and glitz, you know!

Crazy fun from us to you

For the whole of September WWBB has been taken over by authors of chick lit. They’ve been invited to blog about anything, and I assure you it isn’t going to be all about girlie stuff… well, that’s to be seen, but nevertheless it’s going to be fun.

It’s going to be a crazy, crazy month and I hope you’ll join them, and me, for what’s sure to be a fun event.

Order of appearance (so far): 

Introduction to the madness
Juliet Madison’s blog hop
Lara Barnard
Zanna Machenzie
Monique Mcdonell
Marylu Zuk
Nicky Wells
Amy Baker
Patsy Collins
Janet Eve Josselyn
Deb Nam-Krane
Lizzie Lamb
More authors to come end of the month

And to give it a kick start A Proper Charlie is on sale (only on eReaders) all through September. It’s pink, flirty and fun.

A Proper Charlie
only 77p or 99c for the rest of September.

A British contemporary romance novel…
jolly good fun!

What happens when prostitutes go missing, and Charlie’s shy boss, Ben Middleton, is a suspect? 

What happens when Charlie pretends to be a hooker for the newspaper story she’s working on, and is “picked up” by Ben? 

What happens when she is abducted and only the handsome Ben knows where she is? 

Poor Charlie, she only wanted recognition. She really should’ve stayed home. 
Buy A Proper Charlie in ANY eFormat for 77p/99p

(paperback isn’t included in the discount)

Confessions of a Romance Novelist (Or Is She?)

Deborah Nam-Krane 

confess: to tell or make known (as something wrong or damaging to
Wrong or damaging… Alrighty
then. Where do I start?
– I don’t read enough. I read a
lot, but not enough. And I read a lot outside the genre I write in.
– I’m really judgemental when I
do. How judgemental  When I read a book for review from Amazon’s Vine Program
six years ago, I looked at it and said, “Hey, if that got published what have I
been waiting for?” (Yeah, I can be full of myself sometimes.)
– I’m a plotter… until I ride
by the seat of my pants. I usually stick with the same beginning and end, but
then change about half of what’s in the middle. Yes, that does mean a bunch of
– I don’t hang out with writers
enough because I’m too obsessed with current events and I’m afraid of talking
about nothing but writing. The good thing is that I don’t usually include
writing in my stories; the bad thing is that I don’t get to talk about writing
as much as other writers do.
– The spark of my series occurred
when I imagined what Lolita would look like if 1) it were a romance and
2) it had a happy ending. Do I get a little bit of a pass because I was
– Corollary to above: I have been
working on the same story since I was thirteen. I’m very stubborn.
– My second book was originally
supposed to be written in the first person- from the point of view of the
character that has since become the villain. Even better: that character was
supposed to be the romantic interest.
– The romantic interest of my first
book is based on my husband… and Van Williams. (You might know him as the
actor who played Britt Reid on the television version of The Green Hornet.)
– … But the romantic interest in
my second book has my husband’s first name- and the villain has my husband’s
middle name. I swear, I came up with these characters before I met him- I just
decided to keep the names anyway.
– I worry all the time that I’m
not in the right genre or category. Romance: girl meets boy and eventually they
get their Happily Ever After (HEA). Chick Lit: as much as my stories are about
romances, the women are the stars and the story is also about how they come
into their own- with a little help from their friends. Women’s Fiction:
because, um, the stories are about women. New Adult: because the stories are
about women between the ages of 18 and 26. But if you’re writing in all of the
above, shouldn’t you be able to just say you’ve written… fiction?
– I don’t include a lot of
explicit sex because I don’t want to write about it. I’d embarrass myself by
being too explicit or not explicit enough. I also don’t want to write about
anything I don’t, ahem, know about myself, and I have a feeling people wouldn’t
learn anything new from me. Oh yeah, I also think you’ll be more turned on if
you use your imagination. But …
– I’m old school.

The Smartest Girl in the Room

Nineteen year old Emily wants her college diploma fast, and she’s going to get it. But when the perfect night with perfect Mitch leads her to a broken heart, Emily is blind to her vulnerability. When the person she cares about the most is hurt as a result, Emily’s ambition gives way to more than a little ruthlessness. She’s going to use her smarts to take care of herself and protect the people she loves, and everyone else had better stay out of her way. 

But shouldn’t the smartest girl everyone knows realize that the ones she’d cross the line for would do the same for her?

The Smartest Girl In The Room is Book One in The New Pioneers series.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Reviews – Smartest Girl in the Room 

Deborah Nam-Krane
Deborah Nam-Krane was born in New York, raised in
Cambridge and educated in Boston. You’re forgiven for assuming she’s prejudiced
toward anything city or urban. She’s been writing in one way or another since
she was eight years old (and telling stories well before that). It only took 27
years, but she’s finally ready to let the world read her series, The New Pioneers.
 The first book in the series- The Smartest Girl in
the Room
– was released in late March.

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