Prince Talen Jacek has lived a cursed existence for over two thousand years, sacrificing his life so that strangers may live. Live, die, regenerate. It’s a cycle he can’t escape. He is the legendary Black Phoenix. And he can never experience true love…
At least, that’s what he has always believed.
Until he sets his eyes on the enemy’s next victim.
Every morning, computer programmer Keri Maddox gets up, goes through her daily grind, and returns home to a frozen meal and a book. Her life may not be filled with glamour or excitement or crazy burning-up-the-sheets sex, but predictability can never be overrated.
At least, that’s what she has always believed.
Until she discovers Talen in her apartment.
Wearing only a bath towel.
Suddenly her safe and tidy world is yanked from under her feet. And it’s not just because of what’s hidden under that towel.
Warning: Contains a sexy, dominant man with a fierce body, a hot tattoo and an unconventional use for scarves…and many scrumptious scenes displaying his finer assets. Sex. Explicit sex. More sex. Hot sex with light bondage. And did I mention the tattoo?
At the moment, I’m in the process of requesting author blurbs for my upcoming Aphrodisia release, DARKEST FIRE–at the request of my editor. Clearly, the folks at Kensington believe blurbs by authors help a book sell. To clarify, when I say “blurb” I”m talking about those short, punchy promo-ish, “Hot, saucy, fun! This book is great! by Jane Bestseller” lines you see highlighted on newbie/midlist authors’ book covers.
I’m not sure they do much. Maybe I’ve been reading too many blogs online?
On one hand, it’s been stated on blogs and forums, by countless people, that these kinds of blurbs are completely overlooked. One blogger even stated it might work against the book, if the blurb is by an author she doesn’t like.
On the other hand, when I read the Amazon reviews of one bestselling author’s first mass market release, which was heavily blurbed, by many influential authors, those blurbs did seem to influence sales positively.
So, I ask, what are your thoughts? Does a cover blurb make you take a second look? Would it make you buy a book by an unknown-to-you author? Or do you view cover blurbs as nothing but clutter on a cover?
It took me all day yesterday, but I have FINALLY come up with a blurb for Lust’s Temptation that I’m happy with. I’m hoping the folks at Ellora’s Cave, and, more importantly, my readers agree!
Book Two in the Masters of Sin series.
Troi and Amun—one dominant, the other submissive, both alpha—are possessed by the spirit of Lust. Its dark demands have tested their will every minute of every day for centuries. And they’ve committed deviant, selfish acts to satisfy its unrelenting carnal hunger. But the guilt doesn’t overwhelm them until they meet Oriel. She is their salvation, their peace. They need her. But they don’t deserve her.
Life’s lessons have taught Oriel not to trust anyone, especially gorgeous men who will use anyone for their own satisfaction. Granted, they’re sexy. Charming. Her body responds to their every look and touch. But she can’t—won’t—take a chance on them. Until she realizes she can run away, but she can’t escape from the emotions they stir.
As darkness closes in, Troi and Amun’s lives, and souls, hang in the balance. The beast will consume them if Oriel can’t accept her own dark needs and trust the two men who have stirred the decadent desires within her.
Note: This book contains same-gender sex, group sex, and various and sundry other deliciously wicked acts, committed by two very naughty boys.
So, what do you think? Is it good? Great? Terrible? In your opinion, what makes a great blurb/back cover copy?Do you have a favorite? Have you read one and thought to yourself, OMG, that’s freaking brilliant! Post it in the comments!
I hope everyone had a good Memorial Day weekend! Mine was very nice. It wasn’t what I expected, but it was still a nice break from our everyday routine. Saturday, I met with the girls at Borders. Fun! I took the kids to a Civil War event on Sunday, but we had to leave early, due to the heat. The 5-yr old has a cold and he just wasn’t handling it well. Yesterday, the hubby was sick too, so our plans for a cookout were put on the back burner. I spent the day working on my websites and running my embroidery machine.
This morning, it’s back to work. I opened my email mailbox, and prepared to dive into the deluge of messages–most of them spam. I found this, and did a little happy dance:
‘A delicious tale of taboo sex and intrigue-DARKEST FIRE has it all. Irresistible!’
Eden Bradley, author of THE BEAUTY OF SURRENDER & THE DARK GARDEN
On Friday, May 21, the Wall Street Journal published this fascinating article, talking about Barnes and Noble’s attempts at adjusting its business model to help it survive a future where ebooks comprise a large fraction of book sales. Personally, as a Nook owner (and lover), I’m hoping they are successful in turning their HUGE ship around.
Electronic books are still in their infancy, comprising an estimated 3% to 5% of the market today. But they are fast accelerating the decline of physical books, forcing retailers, publishers, authors and agents to reinvent their business models or be painfully crippled.”By the end of 2012, digital books will be 20% to 25% of unit sales, and that’s on the conservative side,” predicts Mike Shatzkin, chief executive of the Idea Logical Co., publishing consultants. “Add in another 25% of units sold online, and roughly half of all unit sales will be on the Internet.”
Recently, a newly published author posted a question about promoting her ebook on one of my fave writing forums, Romance Divas. I could tell from her post that she was completely overwhelmed and intimidated by the prospect of promoting her upcoming release. Making matters worse, her publisher asked her to submit a promotion/marketing plan to them.
First, a couple of definitions. (from www.managementhelp.org) Sometimes authors use the terms promotion and marketing interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing.
Promotion: Promotion keeps the product in the minds of the customer and helps stimulate demand for the product. Promotion involves ongoing advertising and publicity (mention in the press). The ongoing activities of advertising, sales and public relations are often considered aspects of promotions.
Marketing: Marketing is the wide range of activities involved in making sure that you’re continuing to meet the needs of your customers and getting value in return…Marketing activities include “inbound marketing,” such as market research to find out, for example, what groups of potential customers exist, what their needs are, which of those needs you can meet, how you should meet them, etc. Inbound marketing also includes analyzing the competition, positioning your new product or service (finding your market niche), and pricing your products and services. “Outbound marketing” includes promoting a product through continued advertising, promotions, public relations and sales.
Now that we’ve defined those two relevant terms, let’s dig in. Please understand, I am basing my suggestions upon my personal experience only. I have no concrete data to prove whether any or all of these suggestions impact sales whatsoever.
First, let’s tackle marketing–which would include author branding, book content, cover design, blurb, and publisher. Writing a great book is a good start. Writing the right book for the current market is even better. And placing that right book at the right publisher is even more important. Not all epubs are created equal. Some have large readerships, high traffic, and have the potential to sell more ebooks for you than others. But those publishers also have a great many authors and an author needs to stand out from the crowd, especially if s/he’s new/unknown. Also, some publishers produce better sales in very specific subgenres, such as GLBT, but not others. Outside of the cover, blurb and excerpt, what can an author do to make readers click her Buy link when they have so many choices?
This leads us to the topic of promotion. I think it’s important to balance savvy ebook marketing with at least some book promotion. I’d never recommend an author waste hours a day promoting her book, clog the Yahoo groups with drive-bye promo posts, or spend tons of money on ads that won’t yield results, but I would recommend s/he do some simple things to help gain exposure in what’s already becoming a glutted market.
What doesn’t work:
First, chats do nothing to help an author promote an ebook. Generally speaking, they are attended by readers who are looking for a free ebook and other authors who are also there to promote their books.
Second, I’ve concluded contests offering a free download do nothing either. Oftentimes, they are entered by the same readers, over and over–the same readers who enter the many other contests hosted by authors. Many times the winner doesn’t even claim the prize.
What may help:
If you can snag a “guest blogger” slot for free on a blog that has a built in readership, that can help you gain some exposure.
If your publisher has a Yahoo group or forum where readers hang out, then taking the time to put in a presence there can yield results.
Hosting a writing contest, in which the final prize is a critique from an editor well known in the marketplace (or an agent), can drive traffic to your blog/site and help you gain exposure. Structuring the contest to encourage visitors to return weekly is best.
Here’s the reality: 99% of the people who will buy your book are going to go on your publisher’s site (or Fictionwise, or Amazon, or whatever), check out the latest releases, read the blurb, and click “Buy” because they like what they see. They will have had no exposure to you outside of that. Regardless of this fact, newly published authors need to do some work to promote their book. I’d suggest they stick with things that are very low cost, and be smart about how they spend their time.
1. Post an announcement on a forum you frequent (like Romance Divas) and ask other members to blog the release for you. Then return the favor for them.
2. Set up a WordPress.org blog (not the free WordPress.com one), pay for domain registration and hosting (under $50 for the year) and use the free “Related Posts/Related Sites” plugin to get instant exposure. Get in the habit of blogging every day.
3. Set up profiles at all the social networking sites: facebook, myspace, twitter, etc. and use Ping.fm to post to them all from one screen daily.
4. Join a blogging group, if you can find one that has an open slot.
5. Create a simple banner about your book and put it in your signature on any forums you are active on.
6. Write an article about writing and post it on Gather.com, with a link to your site/blog/book.
7. Sign up for a year membership on The Romance Studio (it’s very inexpensive) and post your book’s release on their New Releases, News, and/or front page.
So there you go, the Cheapskate’s Guide to Promoting Ebooks. Do you have any other suggestions? Questions? Comments? Post them in the comments.
The day I received The Call about the sale of Blood of Eden, I opened a SASE and read a generic Dear Author rejection. The timing couldn’t have been better. I got a good laugh out of it. Is this the first time it’s happened to me? Nope. Will it be the last? Probably not. And I know I”m in good company.
Recently, The Examiner listed 30 famous authors who were repeatedly, and sometimes rudely, rejected before they became a household name. Care to hazard a guess at a few of them? If you’ve read Stephen King’s On Writing, you know he’s one of them. Would you have guessed Anne Frank and JK Rowling? William Faulkner received this rejection from a publisher, for his book Sanctuary,
Good God, I can’t publish this!
And Judy Blume?! I just loveloveloved her books as a kid.
What can a writer take from this? First, the assurance that some very talented writers received rejections. Rejections don’t mean your writing is good enough, marketable enough, or ground-breaking. It simply means the editor didn’t see its potential. And second, it teaches us that, as Judy Blume said,
Determination and hard work are as important as talent.
Have them take the Borders Double-Dog Dare. They could get a free book.
From the Borders Site:
Read 10 books, get one free!
WE DOUBLE-DOG DARE YOU!
If you’re 12 or under, you’re in!
• read 10 books—any ones you like* • list the books on this form
• bring your completed form to a Borders, Borders Express, or
Waldenbooks store and choose your FREE BOOK**
*No purchase necessary.
**Form must be completed and brought to any Borders, Borders Express, or Waldenbooks store by 8/26/10 to redeem coupon. Offer valid
in-store only. Valid only on selected titles.