Wednesday Review: Hitchhiker by Audra Middleton
Available for purchase at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Review by Carlyle Clark
Whitechapel Quill by Angela Ashton
Publisher: Champagne Books
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (206 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by PoinsettiaIn 1888 London, an aspiring journalist will do almost anything to get a story on the front page of her father’s male dominated newspaper. Long grown tired of revamping redundant weekly missives regarding high-society fashion and gardening tips, Samantha Winston yearns for the day when she might prove it doesn’t take a pair of over-inflated bollocks to merit the coveted headline…even if it means going undercover to unearth the identity of the most sadistic killer to ever darken Whitechapel’s fog-laden alleys. Yet when Samantha intersects the path of Adam Hawkins, a meddlesome, fork-tongued, disarmingly attractive American seemingly hell-bent on ending the elusive killer’s reign of blood and terror, she finds herself no longer the huntress, but the hunted…
House on Hollow Hill by R. J. HoreThe Housetrap Chronicles, III
Publisher: Burst Books
Length: Short Story (108 Pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by CyclamenWhat could be simpler for a PI and his gal than attending a high-fashion weekend in the country to keep a close eye on the erratic host that someone wants dead?Sounds like a simple assignment. Randy and Bertha go undercover for a high class weekend in the country, all expenses paid. All they have to do is pretend to be somebody else while keeping a close eye on their host, Archibald Anthony, the famous Serial Painter, and mingle with the other guests, exchanging pleasantries. Their job? To keep Anthony alive until the long weekend is over and sort through the suspects when the bodies start falling.Of course the guests include some of the top rungs of the social ladder: vampires, elves, hobgoblins, goblins, trolls, gremlins, plus the addition of the varied staff members loose on the estate. Strangely enough, almost everyone seems to have their own private agenda.
Some define the art of writing as an art. It is that, but selling that writing is a business. It is as much a part of the author's responsibility as building a career. I consider my association with my publishers as a partnership, two (or more) working to bring my work to the forefront. If an author wants to turn the whole process over to an agent, so be it. I want more control.
Since I've had little energy and lots of time to sit in front of a computer and play around (writing takes work so that was limited for me as I grew used scheduling my time better), I did some research and lots of reading. I dissected my researched info into three categories: what sells, why it sells, and how to sell it. I didn't go into a lot of promotional ideas.
What I found were some interesting discoveries. First, what sells in romance. Well, chick lit is down, fantasy seems to be up, humor is making a come back, and it's a draw on the paranormal stuff. But the general trend is shorter work. I used to write epic tombs... 145K words. No way, Jose! What seems to sell well now is 45 - 60 K words. So maybe I'm writing too long.
Novellas are in and so are short stories, but the longer novels - not so much. It looks like there might be a resurgence in historicals, especially in the US and UK, although I see some really early stuff showing up. Ancient Roman, for example.
Discovering why it sells required reading lots of reviews. Those were fun, and do shed a bit of light on the why. Everyone likes a well written story. Therefore good editors are a must. A bad book gets panned. People seem to like tongue in cheek humor, not the slap-stick kind, and certain themes appear to be getting worn out. For example, the heroine's hidden pregnancy.
Reviews count a little but word of mouth seems to be the best example of why a book sells well - more than anything else - so people discussing the book on Facebook, etc. helps. (That is, talking about someone else's book, not your own.)
The how to sell it was a surprise. This one I had to turn to my DH and a couple of other readers for their answers and again a trip through those review. First, for some, that first book free from Amazon does work if - and this is a big, big if - that book is great! Several people bought a whole series because the first book was so good. My DH is one of those. He read a new author on his Kindle, liked what he read, searched for more and bought three more of the author's books. He's done this now a couple of times. Several people I mentioned this to agreed they had done the same. So, that free book had better be a real winner or you'll sell no more books, period.
Again the word of mouth came into play. Talking a book up on the social media (not your own, but someone else's book - and again it had better be good, or you'll look like a fool) is a great way to get those sales. Which gives room for a thought. Have you mentioned a book you've recently read that you really liked? Okay, I'm guilty too, but the more I think about it the more important that seems to be. So, from now on, when I read a really good book, I'm going to mention it. Maybe the author will return the favor.
Allison Knight is the author of several books, including Lynbrook's Lady, Windsong (a medieval romance) and, recently, Betrayed Bride (contemporary romance).
You can find out more about Allison at her website, http://www.allisonknight.com/