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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been busting my tail on Twitter and posting on different sites. After a month of trying, I only sold about five books and half of those were for .99. I just can't pull GIFTED out of the abyss!! I am going to keep posting on Twitter and such but I guess I will mostly focus on writing my second book now. I do have a friend who is an English major doing a final edit for me to prepare the book for paperback.

Anyway, anyone else experiencing trouble pulling their book out of the perpetual black hole of low ranking? Did you pull out? If so, what did you do? Open to ideas. I think it is the whole just having one book and being new as an indie author without the financial clout, connections, and knowhow to back me up.

Hi, I'm moving this to the Writers' Café where I think you'll get a better response. Unfortunately, I had to take out your link. You do have an existing book thread in the Book Bazaar. Thanks for understanding. --Betsy
 

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I feel your pain. The only thing I can suggest are the things that others have done here.

--chance cover

--change blurb

---change category

I'm not saying you should do any of this but look at the list and see if any could apply to Your book.
Good luck. IMHO
 

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Write another book.  ;)

It's a marathon, not a sprint.

A big chunk of success is about stuff you can't control, like the Amazon rankings and getting people to read your book. The stuff you can control is basically showing up and doing good work. Consistently. Even when no one notices. Trying to control what you can't control will make you crazy.

(Brace yourself: In 3. 2. 1. someone will a) tell you that you need a new cover,  b) read your sample and suggest you hire an editor,  c) critique your blurb or d) all of the above. You have been warned. I have not looked at your book listing myself, so I can't say whether I think it's warranted. I'm only into passing on pithy bits of zen wisdom this evening.)
 

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Some random comments. I apologise if you weren't asking for any.

The cover says "religious fiction" to me. I think it's the beams of light from the top, and the god-like hand.

The blurb is not very focused. It sets up the situation, but the last sentences are vague, and I cannot see what the points of tension are going to be in the book.

75% of readers are female, and the supernatural is an area that appeals especially to women. There are NO female characters mentioned. There may or may not be a hint of M/M romance. I'm not sure. Together with the religious vibe I'm getting, this creates a confusing picture.

The sample starts with a lengthy scene of a character waking up and whingeing to his mother. Boring/domestic/not very appealing.

The sample is riddled with punctuation errors. Learn how to punctuate dialogue.
 

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Patty Jansen said:
The same is riddled with punctuation errors. Learn how to punctuate dialogue.
This made me go look. Second opinion: I concur with Patty. Any reader who has a reasonable understanding of English writing will notice this. Some will have no issues, to be sure, but you're not helping yourself with the improperly formatted dialogue.

(I didn't check anything else, just to verify.)
 

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I've been very happy with the launch of my novel over the past three days. I'm not rich yet, but I've sold more in three days than I have any month before with my short fiction.

I personally believe that what's closing the deal for me is my sample; I think it sets the tone and pace of the novel, and I think it's connecting with people.

One thing I noticed with your sample is that there are some editing issues. For one, as has been mentioned above, your dialogue punctuation is incorrect, as you are using periods for your opening clauses before attribution.

e.g., you have:

"Coming Mom." John yelled back.

It should be:

"Coming, mom," John yelled back.

The first comma there could possibly be left out, but the second is required. Some other dialogue clauses have no punctuation at all before the closing quotation mark.

This may be jarring to some readers.

There are other places where I think you need some commas, but I've been sort of a big fan or commas from way back, like before they were cool.

The blurb could be tighter and punchier as well, but I'm in no way a blurb expert. What works for me so far is a tagline (which I bold) followed by a brief description. I've never gotten a hang of the "ask a question in your description" method, but if you can get that to work, it could help to draw people in. Something like "Will Marcus and his newly gifted friends be destroyed by the dark powers of the vampires?" but... you know, better. :)
 

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wolfrom said:
For one, as has been mentioned above, your dialogue punctuation is incorrect, as you are using periods for your opening clauses before attribution.

e.g., you have:

"Coming Mom." John yelled back.

It should be:

"Coming, mom," John yelled back.

The first comma there could possibly be left out, but the second is required.
I disagree, that first comma is essential. It's the difference between an orgasming mother and telling your mom you'll be right there ;)
 

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Not only is that first comma essential, but it is grammatically incorrect not to have a comma there. Also, leaving it out can radically change the meaning of the sentence.

As in: the difference between the two sentences below:

Let's eat, grandma.
Let's eat grandma.
 

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I'm certainly not going to suggest changing your cover (since I made it and it's awesome), but I do agree that you need to get that next book out. Keep em coming, keep working on your craft as you write and most importantly, KEEP EM COMING!  :D
 

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Both Mom and Grandma should have been capitalized in those examples. Only when it is "my mom" or "your grandma" (i.e. not their "name") is it not capitalized.

I think the cover is fine. I don't see God, but supernatural light.

But mainly, you have to write more books. That way when people discover one of the others, they have more to pick up. Plus, when you do promotions, it has cross benefits.
 

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wolfrom said:
e.g., you have:

"Coming Mom." John yelled back.

It should be:

"Coming, mom," John yelled back.

The first comma there could possibly be left out, but the second is required. Some other dialogue clauses have no punctuation at all before the closing quotation mark.
Not to be too picky, but it should be:

"Coming, Mom," John yelled back.

When speaking to mom and calling her mom, it is always capitalized. On the other hand if you say "I'm going to meet my mom." My mom isn't capitalized.

Edit: Oops cross-posting with Deanna. :)
 

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If you really want to sell, I'm going to be brutal. The others have mentioned it. Your punctuation is awful. It makes the book look unprofessional. I wouldn't buy a book that looked like that or download it free.

I'm sorry, but it is tough enough to succeed as a writer when everything is done right. If you take this profession seriously you will get it proofed for punctuation at the least.  There may be grammar issues.  I don't know. I couldn't read past the first page.

Please don't hate me for this. Saying this bluntly is probably painful to hear, but I don't want you kidding yourself that changing the genre or cover, etc OR WRITING MORE WITH THE SAME ISSUES will solve the problem. In the end, you should be glad to know, if you really do want to be a writer. This book is not ready for prime-time.
 

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I was digging a little deeper into your product pages, and I did notice something that you might want to think about. You pretty much commented on every UK customer's review. I know that it seems like a good idea to either say "thanks!" or to defend yourself in the bad reviews, but the best thing you can do is sit on your hands and avoid commenting altogether. I'm guilty of it, but I only did it once to thank someone for pointing out a typo that I really needed to fix. Other than that, I leave it alone. Opinions on this issue vary somewhat, but it's been my experience that comments are better off not being posted.
 

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Hey,

It takes time. One of my books sells steadily now, around 1000 copies per month. It took almost a year for it to ramp up to that level. As an indie, you sell based on word of mouth. There is little you can do to stimulate word of mouth, other than write really good books. Focus on writing more, and always doing better than you did last time. (We can always improve something, right?) If your books are good, readers will find them. You've got an eye-catching cover and an interesting title. There is little else you can do that will be extremely effective at this point, other than get more books finished and out so that readers who loved Gifted can buy more from you.

It takes a lot of time to build up a head of steam via word of mouth. You are in for a long haul, but once you hit some pretty steady sales and find your group of loyal readers, it pays off. I have never found any means of promotion to be effective at actually selling more books, other than being featured on a really popular blog once. My time, and, I assume, yours is better spent writing new content. :)

ETA: And yes, you must have a polished book. That means as free of typos, grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors as you can possibly make it. Inevitably a few will sneak by -- they occur in virtually every book, indie or traditional. But on the whole, the manuscript should be careful and clean. You need to learn these skills (grammar, etc.) for yourself, but while you're learning, you can outsource editing (pay somebody who's already got those skills down). Most readers will not buy a book that has lots of evident errors in the sample. They know they won't read it; it will only frustrate them. Punctuation matters. A lot.
 

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Tensejim said:
I have been busting my tail on Twitter and posting on different sites. After a month of trying, I only sold about five books and half of those were for .99. I just can't pull GIFTED out of the abyss!! I am going to keep posting on Twitter and such but I guess I will mostly focus on writing my second book now. I do have a friend who is an English major doing a final edit for me to prepare the book for paperback.

Anyway, anyone else experiencing trouble pulling their book out of the perpetual black hole of low ranking? Did you pull out? If so, what did you do? Open to ideas. I think it is the whole just having one book and being new as an indie author without the financial clout, connections, and knowhow to back me up.

Hi, I'm moving this to the Writers' Café where I think you'll get a better response. Unfortunately, I had to take out your link. You do have an existing book thread in the Book Bazaar. Thanks for understanding. --Betsy
Dude, I feel your pain.
Maybe you should go back and fix some of the punctuation errors that people have been pointing out, but I've seen TONS of grammatical and punctuation errors in some very popular indie books. If your targeted audience is undiscerning, you may not want to waste your time. My suggestion: go back and fix them anyway. You'll feel better knowing that your novel is as close to perfect as it can be.

How do you get more sales? Beats the hell outta me. :)
I have a theory, though. Put an picture of a moderately attractive woman on your author's bio.
 

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David Scroggins said:
I was digging a little deeper into your product pages, and I did notice something that you might want to think about. You pretty much commented on every UK customer's review. I know that it seems like a good idea to either say "thanks!" or to defend yourself in the bad reviews, but the best thing you can do is sit on your hands and avoid commenting altogether. I'm guilty of it, but I only did it once to thank someone for pointing out a typo that I really needed to fix. Other than that, I leave it alone. Opinions on this issue vary somewhat, but it's been my experience that comments are better off not being posted.
I generally don't comment. The reason I see to comment is pretty much to reinforce good behavior in reviews. (And I don't mean "yay, 5-stars" but more: thanks for giving a clear idea of what bothered you this time."

My personal suggestion on commenting is 1) rarely and 2) only with specific intent that is NOT to call out thanks for reviewing highly or defend the work.

The only other instance in which you might comment is answering a direct question that has to do with the meta, not the story itself. (Don't ever talk about why some character did what they did in the story for example. Keep it outside the words.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
WOW!!!  Thank you all so much for taking the time to look things over and replying! I am not in the least bit offended by anyone. I am 49 years old and it has been a long while since I took any kind of English (high school). I was already aware that I had some issues and I do have a friend who majored in English doing a complete edit on my book. She seems interested in editing the trilogy as I go too. I realise I have so much more to learn and am excited to continue learning and writing! With the help of my friend, I think my books will definitely come out much more polished. I will republish the book when it is completed.

There are female characters and in the second book I am working on building a love interest. The first book was meant to focus more on the friendship between John and Mike.

I do have to get the comma rules down. I am so use to just using periods all my life  = )

I will cease the majority of my comments to those that leave comments and ratings, thank you for the advise there!

I have changed the categories several times as it turns out many of the categories in the US are not available in the UK.

Keep the ideas and suggestions coming!!  I will keep listening!!  Don't worry Caddy, I could never hate you, I appreciate your honesty!! I love you guys!!!

On page 54 of my second book. I will definitely get it completely edited before it is published.
 
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