Monday, May 21, 2012

Back Again, With Questions

Last night, about 8:30, we arrived back home - whew! - after 4400 miles and 21 days, one graduation from US Army basic training, one wedding, visits with brother and aunt, not to mention Gramma's azaleas (not going to mention...).

I published Mercenaries: A Love Story on March 21. So far, it's sold two copies to people who are not family or friends - or if they are, they haven't admitted it. I hope that's not the case! It's in the Select program, but no borrows, so far.

This leads to a question: on Amazon, is there a way to see what the book's page views are? On Smashwords, the samples downloaded stat hinted at that, but I haven't found that for Amazon yet. If there are no page views, that would lead me in the direction of trying to increase visibility, but if there are page views that don't get converted, that implies that either the cover or the blurb aren't doing their job. Or at $4.99, the price is too high. Different things to fix. If there are page views, reviews might help, but there aren't any of those as yet.

With 35K words (about a third) of one WIP being looked at by a beta reader, and 130K words of a second WIP going out to a second reader, I have a minute or two to think on these things. If only I knew what to work on... If any readers feel they could provide an opinion on either the cover (visible to the right) or the description (below), please feel free. I won't hold anything you offer against you. Of course, you could say, work on everything... but I'd like to focus.

Mercenaries: A Love Story

Beckie Sverdupe, typical high-school student and accomplished equestrienne, has a best friend, a younger brother, and no plans beyond homework and the upcoming pep rally.

Then, she is kidnapped to be buried alive. Her strength and resourcefulness during that ordeal causes the enigmatic young mercenary, Ian Jamse, to ask for her help in rescuing another abducted girl. During spring break, she and her best friend play exotic dancer in London and, within a day, find themselves being massaged in a Italian villa! The sex-trader is thwarted this time, but he continues to ply his evil trade in San Diego by hijacking a middle-school school bus.

Beckie chooses to put herself back on the stage, within the slaver’s grasp, to free the California girls. Jamse sees financial gain. The two of them chase the fiend from London to Arizona to Thailand, where Beckie learns what she really wants from life.

This is Mercenaries: A Love Story complete. All four stories are here in one volume.
Bonus! An excerpt from Freedom No Matter, the next book in this series.
Mercenaries: A Love Story is recommended for 16+ for language and mature situations

The book is just over 153K words and it's not available in paper. Does anyone think having a 500 page book available would add to its success?


  1. Hi Tony, I'll throw my hat in the ring~ Promise not to hate me after.

    The synopsis is extremely confusing to me. There seems to be a lot of information that doesn't quite click together and it leaves me confused on the story line.

    Here is an example: "Then, she is kidnapped to be buried alive." (Besides the no-no usage of 'to be') this sentence seems to imply she got herself kidnapped because she wanted to be buried alive. Why not even say, "Kidnapped, she finds herself buried alive." It puts the reader in the action - showing, not telling. No 'to be's!

    That same paragraph seems to tell the entire story. If you know what's going to happen - she's going to be safe, get away, get captured again, whatever, what's the point of reading the long version? Consider a synopsis that looks like this:

    Typical high school students don't expect to find themselves buried alive. When Beckie Sverdupe opens her eyes (forty) feet underground, she has no idea how her life will irrevocably change - if she makes it out alive.

    Here are some good and bad points about my example. First, it's short. The potential reader can easily digest this information and think, "Hmm, do I want to read about a kidnapped girl? How does her life change? Why was she kidnapped?" Etc. But in contrast - it's short. It may not have ALL the information that would be best to give the reader. But in the case of a synopsis, less can be more. You don't want to give too much away, and you want the reader to be drawn in on their own. Make them want to know.

    As for covers, I am not personally overfond of them. The style reminds me of old(er) video game covers and the (jaguar?) cat on them makes me think they both take place in the Amazon/jungle.

    Still friends?

    1. Of course! Telling me what you think will never be a reason for me to strike you from my... well, my anything. Now to figure out how to correct the problems...
      Oops! First, Thank you for speaking your piece. Thanks a lot!