This past week, my debut short story A Promise Worth Keeping soared to the #1 position in Amazon’s Free Kindle Short Romance and hit #14 Free Contemporary Romance. As far as I can tell, I reached #46 in Bestselling Authors Free Kindle. Elated and amazed, the “engineer” side of my brain asked why?
I want to share with you what I learned so you can have equal success. Plus state that this story’s achievements can only be attributed to a team of friends, fellow authors, and supporters.
What I know:
Over the past couple of months, I’ve talked about the importance of cover design and title and the promise that the cover has to make in order to entice potential readers to read the blurb and, hopefully, purchase the book. The cover must make a promise to satisfy the reader’s primal needs. Recall the four primal requirements for a cover:
Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day, for even the most bliss-filled couple, can be a tumultuous time of uncertainty and fear of potential failure. So the cover had to tempt the reader with happily-ever-after and the contents had to deliver that promise. Certainly, the couple on the cover suggests they beat this fear. It also suggests that the male is a good provider, otherwise the woman wouldn’t be submitting to his embrace the way she is. This satisfies the food and fornication aspect of the cover.
Both fear and fight are suggested by the black lettering and iron gate and the title. And don’t forget our key colors of black, white, and red.
What about additional influences beside the cover?
- Timing (release date)
- Cover endorsement
- Reviews collected prior to publication
- Writing quality, plot, character arc, and theme
Timing: In the case of A Promise Worth Keeping, I released the story two days prior to the holidiay so it would be available for free on the day preceding and two days following Valentine’s Day. These factors, plus extending the “free” period in the Amazon KDP program one additional day, aided in the journey to #1.
Endorsements and Reviews: I asked several bestselling and award-winning authors, who write with a similar tone, to provide a review prior to the release date. I included an author endorsement from an International Bestselling Author on the cover. On the book’s Amazon page, I included additional reviews in the section above the book’s teaser (blurb) so potential buyers could see others’ reviews. Don’t forget the power of suggestion…
Writing Quality: How do we ensure this?
- Critique partners
- Beta readers
- Editor (developmental and copy)
Teamwork: For this short story, I had two critique partners and six beta readers. One beta reader is an editor, who lightly edited. Several others are English majors. Others are simply voracious romance readers.
If you’re planning on indie publishing, or are already indie published, make connections, review for others—I certainly underestimated the value of the review and plan to partake in reviewing for others more than I have in the past. Build a team of authors and readers and friends. Enlist in sites like Goodreads. Support blogs that aim to reach readers like Kindle Nation, Night Owl Reviews, Free Kindle Books, etc.
Does incorporating all of the above assure success?
It certainly helps. Luck can play a part, but I think luck is rare. Rather hard work, a determination to succeed, and believing in yourself are key to success. Having “All the Write Moves” includes teamwork and support from many to spread the word about your release. Facebook and Twitter, writing clubs and loops, review sites and blogs have tremendous value to get your release in front of readers.
To those of you that helped make A Promise Worth Keeping rise to the top, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Interested in learning more about creating a book launch plan? Author E.M.S. is teaching a two-week intensive class Creating a Book Launch Plan designed to help students develop a marketing plan, budget and calendar for launching a book release. Learn more at http://www.authorems.com/campus