Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Promotion

First Time on Sale and It’s a Whopper!

Last week I announced I was trying something new in book selling. Unfortunately, the wires got crossed (my fault) and the promotion through eReader Buddy didn’t happen, so very few people knew about the Kindle Countdown Deal on The Brevity of Roses. But since I’d already paid for a promotion, I decided to do something I’ve never done before.

An Illusion of Trust: A woman learns to trust love by facing her traumatic childhood.For the first time ever, An Illusion of Trust is on sale at Amazon stores worldwide. And it’s not just slightly discounted—for five days I’m slashing 80% off the regular price of the eBook!

In this sequel to The Brevity of Roses, Renee Vaziri discovers that even when your dreams come true your nightmares remain.

When Renee Marshall locked the door on her dark past and married Jalal Vaziri, she hoped for a quiet life in a California coastal town. Now, with a sexy, adoring, wealthy husband, one beautiful child and another on the way, she dares to believe happily ever after could be her future. But doors don’t always stay locked. As the stress of living in Jalal’s high-society world increases, the traumas of Renee’s past begin to poison the present and threaten to destroy everything she treasures.

Is it her imagination or is Jalal keeping a secret that will end their marriage and rip her children from her life? And could it involve Diane, the woman who reminds Renee too much of Jalal’s beloved first wife?

Remember that you don’t need a Kindle to read a Kindle book. The Kindle reader app is free to download for your computer, smartphone, or tablet. You can even read it straight from the Cloud in your browser.

Linda

Group, Writing

Do you write women’s fiction?

Have you heard of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association? It’s a non-profit organization for those who write … well, I guess you figured that out. Their new site went live on September 9 and was jammed temporarily by so many writers trying to join at once. I’m now a proud member too.

wfwa_logo_smAll writers of women’s fiction are welcome: multi-published, debut, and aspiring. Among other things, the association will offer mentorship, critique groups, forums, online workshops, contests, and agent/editor pitch opportunities for members. They’ll also have an annual retreat.

The WFWA’s About Us statement:

We began this organization in 2013 with the idea to create a safe, nurturing place for male and female writers of women’s fiction. The publishing industry is morphing – with new opportunities and, as yet, unknown futures. Some of us came from the Romance Writers of America, where a shift of focus left many of us out in the rain. The founders of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association wanted somewhere to amass and disseminate information to and about our chosen genre.

Defining Women’s Fiction has proven as subjective as the types of books we prefer. For that reason, our guiding statement is broad and comprehensive:

An inclusive organization of writers who create stories about a woman’s emotional journey.

 Our stories may have romance. Or they may not. They could be contemporary. Or historical. But what binds us together is the focus on a woman’s emotional journey.

As you may know, I’ve struggled with the definition of women’s fiction. It’s a very broad category, ranging from chick lit to near literary—but not straight romance. Not everything I write would be categorized as WF. Some would exclude my first published novel, but though Jalal dominates The Brevity of Roses, it’s definitely about Meredith’s and Renee’s emotional journeys as well as his. An Illusion of Trust, the sequel to Brevity, squares firmly with the WFWA definition, as will my next novel.

So, even if you don’t write women’s fiction exclusively, you’re still welcome to join us. Us. Yay! I’m excited to be a part of WFWA. And self-published authors are not considered second class citizens in this group. Another yay!

Linda

Marketing, My Books, Writing

A new bloom on an old rose

Those of you who read my blog only in a reader or by email, will have to come online to see the preview of my brand new luscious book cover for The Brevity of Roses. In about a week, when I approve the new cover for print and ebook distribution, I’ll change the cover image here and other places online. For now, you can only view it in, and from, this post.

Michelle Davidson Argyle is the designer of my gorgeous new cover. She’s the author of Cinders, Monarch, and True Colors, and has a new novel coming out in May. She’s also a professional photographer. As I said in a previous post, I was already primed when she suggested Brevity would sell better with a new cover, I just hadn’t decided what to do about it. She offered a solution, and I couldn’t be happier I took her up on it.

As we discussed in the comments of my previous post, a book cover is usually the first thing you see, so it has a big job to do. When viewed online, where my book is sold exclusively, the cover needs to not only catch your eye, but tell you the genre and tone. In the span of one glance, it has to shout, “Hey, this is the book you’re looking for. Check it out.”

The word that comes to mind when I see this cover is tender. I love that because Brevity is a tender love story. I have to tell you, I never thought I’d allow pink on the cover, but after trying other font colors, it was clear that pink added the perfect pop. This cover tells me the story inside is everything these new back cover blurbs say it is.

Told in gorgeous, poetic tones, The Brevity of Roses will take you on a journey delving into three unique characters as delicate and beautiful as a rose itself. Lewis’ rich understanding of relationships is phenomenal.”  – Michelle Davidson Argyle, author of Monarch

“Grief, discovery, anguish, pleasure, rejection, acceptance, atonement, forgiveness—the rhythmic odes of marriage, friendship, family. A fine debut novel that reaches deep into a poet’s beating heart, lays it open, vulnerable to the bitter betrayals, and the joyful loyalties, of this thing we call Love.” – Kathryn Magendie, author of “the Graces Sagas,” Sweetie and Petey, publishing editor of Rose & Thorn.

Please do Michelle and I the honor of clicking on these images to see larger versions:

 

 

Books, Feedback, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Promotion, Reader, Writing

Should I have turned up the heat in my novel?

Recently, I had a discussion with a hairstylist who read my novel, The Brevity of Roses, and recommended it to many of his clients. His opinion, shared by some of his clients, is that I should have written more explicit love scenes. “Sex sells,” he said.

I don’t deny that’s true. In the advertising world, sex sells everything from toothpaste to tennis shoes. It also sells certain genres of fiction. In my lifetime, I’ve read (and written) fiction rated from XXX to lily white chaste. I’ve concluded I prefer reading books that allow me to imagine the love scenes—designed precisely to my tastes, not the author’s.

Cathy Yardley of the Rock Your Writing blog, recently used my novel as an example when she wrote a 3-part series on how to profile your target reader and create a 10-step novel promotion strategy. She admitted mine was a difficult case because Brevity is a cross-genre novel. Cathy described it as a “women’s fiction/commercial lit fic novel”.

I appreciated her effort and expertise, and I’m implementing as many of her suggestions as I can. However, her next post after my case study spoke about the difficulty of marketing genre blends. Hmmm.

I’m not sure that Brevity qualifies as a true genre blend, but if so, I’ve certainly got a hard task ahead of me in marketing a “broccoli brownie”. As literary fiction, I don’t think readers necessarily expect explicit sex. As women’s fiction or commercial fiction, I’m not sure.

Now, I’m curious. If you’ve read The Brevity of Roses, would you have liked a little more steam in the love scenes? If you haven’t read the book, but have read the description, would you expect R-rated scenes?

Characters, Fiction, Marketing, My Books, Novel, Publish, Query, Theme, Writing

What’s a male protagonist doing in my women’s fiction?

Yes, I’m back to the subject of categorizing fiction. I’ve been told the key to knowing how to label your book’s category is to picture where it would be shelved in a book store. That advice works for those who write in mystery, sci-fi, horror, YA, and other clearly defined genres, but I don’t. I see my novel shelved in that vast section with the helpful title “Fiction, alphabetical by author.”

Two of my favorite authors are Anne Tyler and Sheri Reynolds. What I write is similar to their stories, and, somewhere, I saw them both listed under “women’s fiction.” Okay, so that’s my category. But wait! Many people (readers and agents alike) hear women’s fiction and think Chick Lit or Romance, neither of which describes my novel.

Another term, used mostly by the publishing industry, is “upmarket,” which denotes more than usual attention paid to character development and language use for the genre. I’ve used either “upmarket women’s fiction” or “literary women’s fiction” in my query letters. But yesterday, I read Lydia Sharp’s definition of women’s fiction and felt like an idiot.

In short, Lydia said, in women’s fiction “the main theme always revolves around some aspect of the female experience.” Uh oh. My themes of love, loss, and redemption are universal, but my main character is a man. There are two female co-main characters, with parts written from their pov, but overall, it’s Jalal’s story. It can’t be women’s fiction.

But wait! That’s not what Jessica Faust said on her blog when she responded to a question almost describing my novel. In her opinion, women’s fiction can have a male protagonist. Hmmm. Was Lydia wrong or had I misunderstood her?

I hope you didn’t waste more than a second on that no-brainer. I asked Lydia to clarify and she did, even citing the same Jessica Faust response I’ve held dear. Whew! So I haven’t been an idiot. Well, at least not for describing my novel as women’s fiction.

Are any of you writing WF with a male protagonist? Have you read one? Would you?

Could you?

With a goat?

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