The ONE #BookReview an Author can never bury

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I’ve been MIA from my blog for various reasons, but frankly, I haven’t had much to say. Shoveling out from under family issues, working full time, writing the third book in the #WheelerNovel series, training for a metric on 9/15 and a century on 10/6. I don’t have the brain power left some days.

Wading through the quagmire of indie book marketing has also taken a toll. There are too many variables when trying to sell something. Especially when that something has a small niche market, and costs more money than I have to spare.

But the story isn’t just about cycling! It’s about love, trust, overcoming fear and doubt, the bonds of friendship, going far beyond what you perceive to be your physical and mental limit. A Shakespeare-spouting hunky actor! Snarky support characters!

Wheeler had about 20 reviews at the beginning of the summer with a majority of them 4-5 stars, giving it a 4.8 star rating on Amazon. And yet, the book wasn’t selling. I’ve done book blog tours, which gave some publicity but still didn’t sell any. What I wanted more were the reviews from bloggers. Quite a few took the chance on Wheeler and thankfully, most enjoyed it.

But, I felt I needed more reviews. In my mind, more high star reviews would counter my most public embarrassment. In 2016, I released the first iteration of Wheeler and a well-known person in the cycling world got a copy and read it. Then publicly crucified it.

I fully admit that version should never have seen the light of day. I removed the book from Amazon and took Mr. Mackay’s advice.

After 4 months of editing with two different editors, the new version was released, then revised again. And again, streamlining it so I could add a preview of the second novel without going over 500 printed pages (again).

On a whim, I submitted Wheeler to a contest and to my shock and awe, it was awarded 2017 Official Selection for Cross Genre. Sure, it’s not winning the category, but someone thought my story was good enough for an honorable mention. Take THAT, Mr. Mackay!

2017Medallion

But it wasn’t enough. No matter how many 5-star reviews are on Amazon, BookBub, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Podium Cafe’s review will forever haunt me.

I wanted to bury that humiliation of my own doing, and when another writer suggested a book review service, I jumped. It wasn’t much money and I was excited to learn 27 had signed up to review Wheeler. When the first ones came back, I was over the moon to get more 4-5 star reviews.

Then came the few 2 and 3 star reviews, with maybe a sentence or two of ‘this was too long,’  ‘I couldn’t get into the story’ and ‘maybe because I’m not a cyclist.’ My rating and my confidence dropped a few points.

Perhaps it’s because there aren’t many people who want to read about a female protagonist who happens to be a professional cyclist. Perhaps even with the Red Pen of a professional Editor, the changes aren’t enough.

But, I’ve learned from my early mistakes. With the second novel in the series published in April, 2018, In Darkness, There is Still Light, the story picks up a week after the first book ends and grabs you right from the start – or so says Literary Titan.

“In Darkness, There is Still Light rolls in hot, picking up immediately where its predecessor Wheeler abruptly ended and engrossing readers from the very first pages.”

 

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