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So my AMS ads are getting a good click/impression ratio, but that's not translating into sales or pages reads. The potential customers had already seen the cover, and knew the price when they clicked the ad. I'm pretty confident in the blurb, which was workshopped on the board (thank you!) So that leaves my author bio. Is it too... something?

"Bob Brunner has worked as a police dispatcher and 911-operator for multiple agencies. He has seen people at their worst, and their best. He has comforted the victim, and engaged with the suicidal. He has testified at trial, and heard a man’s last words.

He lives in the city he dispatches for and knows more about his neighbors than he should.

He has written all his life. He is working on something now."
 

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Strangebru said:
So my AMS ads are getting a good click/impression ratio, but that's not translating into sales or pages reads. The potential customers had already seen the cover, and knew the price when they clicked the ad. I'm pretty confident in the blurb, which was workshopped on the board (thank you!) So that leaves my author bio. Is it too... something?

"Bob Brunner has worked as a police dispatcher and 911-operator for multiple agencies. He has seen people at their worst, and their best. He has comforted the victim, and engaged with the suicidal. He has testified at trial, and heard a man's last words.

He lives in the city he dispatches for and knows more about his neighbors than he should.

He has written all his life. He is working on something now."
I see nothing wrong with it. I very much doubt it is impacting sales.

Though if you did want some feedback on it then it is a bit morbid. I'm all for upbeat and would like to hear some of the best as well as the worst.

Instead of "engaged with the suicidal" I'd go with something wonderful like "helped a five year old boy deliver his baby sister" or some touching story like that.

Stuff like "hearing a man's last words" would make a great blog piece for your site and would probably generate some great twitter clicks or facebook likes. It's definitely an angle you can play to get traffic to your work. But maybe should be left off your bio?

I like the last two lines though. Maybe finish with: He is working on something now - if you want to know what then visit his site at www.....
 

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Strangebru said:
So my AMS ads are getting a good click/impression ratio, but that's not translating into sales or pages reads. The potential customers had already seen the cover, and knew the price when they clicked the ad. I'm pretty confident in the blurb, which was workshopped on the board (thank you!) So that leaves my author bio. Is it too... something?

"Bob Brunner has worked as a police dispatcher and 911-operator for multiple agencies. He has seen people at their worst, and their best. He has comforted the victim, and engaged with the suicidal. He has testified at trial, and heard a man's last words.

He lives in the city he dispatches for and knows more about his neighbors than he should.

He has written all his life. He is working on something now."
Actually I think it's a great author bio. Particularly for a detective, mystery or thriller stories. Even if that's not the category I'm pretty sure the author bio is not going to hurt anything. But take a look at the categories. If you're in the wrong ones or if the cover's wrong for what it is that's probably what accounts for lack of sales.
 

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Kay7979 said:
I doubt many people read our bios before buying a book.
This.

dianapersaud said:
Your subcategories are Norse and Viking and Ghosts. Your cover doesn't reflect that at all.
And this. (Wow, I'd look into this, because I don't get those vibes from your cover, either.)

Evenstar said:
I see nothing wrong with it. I very much doubt it is impacting sales.

Though if you did want some feedback on it then it is a bit morbid. ...(snip)
And this, too. In the first paragraph of your bio, I'd put a period after "at their best" and go on to the next paragraph.

But still, I honestly don't think too many readers look at author bios before buying books. I rarely look at author bios, but if I do, it's either while or after reading the book.
 

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I looked at this as a reader. It's definitely not your bio.  The cover and blurb are great!  I was literally ready to click buy -- and then read inside the book. The writing style is fine -- but you lack a hook to draw the reader in.  In the first page, you need to pose a question that MUST be answered. There was nothing there that made me desperate to continue reading.

That said, I know not to judge all books by their hooks (I want attribution if anyone quotes that!). The reviews told me there is a lot of meat beyond the first page and I clicked 'buy' anyway. Looking forward to reading it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone for weighing in on this. Consensus seems to be that bios aren't that influential. And thanks for the advice on the categories. I had been experimenting with them for a while which may explain why they are so unfocused.
Jena H said:
Wow, I'd look into this, because I don't get those vibes from your cover, either.
Laran Mithras said:
Those runes need to stand out a lot more than they do...
Thanks for the feedback.

Evenstar said:
I'm all for upbeat and would like to hear some of the best as well as the worst.
I like that idea a lot. Thank you!

MissingAlaska said:
I looked at this as a reader. It's definitely not your bio. The cover and blurb are great! I was literally ready to click buy -- and then read inside the book. The writing style is fine -- but you lack a hook to draw the reader in. In the first page, you need to pose a question that MUST be answered. There was nothing there that made me desperate to continue reading.

That said, I know not to judge all books by their hooks (I want attribution if anyone quotes that!). The reviews told me there is a lot of meat beyond the first page and I clicked 'buy' anyway. Looking forward to reading it.
Thank you so much! Not for taking a chance on the book (which, y'know, absolutely, THANK YOU!) but for the wake up call!
I think the prologue ends with a strong hook, and I suspect once a reader gets to it, I'd have a pretty good shot at getting a sale. Somehow--and this is so embarrassing to admit--I didn't consider the first paragraphs of the chapter being as important a sales tool as the last paragraphs. It's one of the most basic rules, and I just ignored it until your analysis. And my need to find some other explanation other than the work itself for the poor sales is the stuff of cringing shame! Thank you for taking the time to read and critique and respond!

And, yeah, again, thanks for the purchase! I really hope you like it!
 

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To me, your bio looks fine. Though not relevant to your genre, but you are who you are. I don't think bios bother readers. I looked at your book. I wasn't too taken by the cover but you have some fantastic reviews which make me think this is a great book, not just a mediocre one, from what your readers are saying.

 
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I think the bio is great and that it might be the cover that's letting you down. It doesn't look nearly as intriguing as your blurb sounds.
 

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The cover.

In thumbnail you can barely make it out. I see a shadow of a man praying and I think to myself - is this is a Christian book? Is this a prison book? Then I look at your bio, and I decide "Okay, it's a prison book."

Only it isn't any of those things.

You NEED a new cover. Something that says Viking. Something that says horror.

Everything else seems to be fine.

The cover. The cover. The cover.

 

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I don't have any issues with your cover, and I'm a Joe Hill-Blake Crouch-sort of supernatural thriller fan. IMO, it's a taste issue, but I don't think your cover is out of line for your genre.

If I were in your shoes--two things:

    Punch up your blurb. Too wordy.

    Your reviews. 89% very positive. Of your two critical reviews (as I write this), only one is actually critical. The other says s/he wanted to put it down, but couldn't! That's gold, man.

WRITE MORE BOOKS. Let your new releases do the heavy lifting.
 

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One thing about your blurb (which I like very much overall) ... I don't know who Thomas Griffin is. Is he an inmate who decides to investigate? A guard or administrator tasked with cleaning up the prison? Someone from the outside, like an FBI agent? This could be solved as easily as putting a word or two before his name the first time you mention him ("Private eye Thomas Griffin ....," "Newly assigned warden Thomas Griffin ..."). This info might help people get a handle on what experience they're going to have when they engage with your MC. Is this going to be a devastated, traumatized man who's been wrongfully convicted of murder? A hard-boiled PI? A jaded corrections official? These would all be really different reading experiences, and I think people want a sense of what they're going to get.

Took a look at the Look Inside and liked the beginning it a lot. Whether it would appeal to readers of your genre, I don't really know.
 

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I agree with Steve. It's not a bad cover, but it's not a conveying what's inside your book, so when people click on the ad they may think they know what to expect, but they don't. So when they get to the book page and see what it actually is, they don't buy because it's not what they were looking for when they clicked the ad.
 

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Steve Vernon said:
The cover.

In thumbnail you can barely make it out. I see a shadow of a man praying and I think to myself - is this is a Christian book? Is this a prison book? Then I look at your bio, and I decide "Okay, it's a prison book."

Only it isn't any of those things.

You NEED a new cover. Something that says Viking. Something that says horror.

Everything else seems to be fine.

The cover. The cover. The cover.
I question this. Not because the points aren't valid, but because they simply aren't borne out by reality. The audience IS hooked by the COVER and the sales copy...otherwise the problem would be ad clicks--he says he's getting plenty of those.

Nope, if you change the cover, you risk losing your ad-clicks because you're going with something "else." I would change your look inside to hook with the first sentence or paragraph, then back off to your current text.

AND I really thank you for starting this topic--I think I need to do the same thing for my novella. I may be losing some buys because it's short...only 120 pages...but I also think I need to add a first paragraph hook. Cheers!
 

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Strangebru said:
So my AMS ads are getting a good click/impression ratio, but that's not translating into sales or pages reads. The potential customers had already seen the cover, and knew the price when they clicked the ad. I'm pretty confident in the blurb, which was workshopped on the board (thank you!) So that leaves my author bio. Is it too... something?
Or the most important thing of all, the storytelling. This is not a comment on your writing, since I haven't looked, but if someone takes a look at the opening, maybe they're just not getting hooked enough to buy.
 

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I'm a few chapters into this... and am thoroughly enjoying it (stayed up late reading -- which I try not to do).

While reading the preface, I spotted what I think you need to open with -- the description of Hobart's walking stick.  It's an intriguing and suggestive passage that will hook a reader without really changing the preface at all (which I loved, btw). That description reminded me very much of something that Stephen King would have written. Can't wait to finish this.
 

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How many clicks have you got? A great conversion rate is 1 purchase for 10 clicks. A good/normal conversion rate is about 1 per 20 or less.
 
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