Thursday, February 9, 2012

Can You Bring Your Book Back From the Dead?

Does your book appear to be dead? Is it laying six feet under a pile of 100,000 other books or more?

If it is, there may be hope.

In the last few weeks I've worked with several authors whose books have been in the 100K zone and are now doing much better. Recently I consulted with author and Lawyer Laura Rizio. She is currently in trial on a big case against the Federal Reserve (imagine that), so she is very busy as you can imagine. Her novel, BLOOD MONEY was struggling. Her cover was in need of a face lift, and her book page was dull.

She had great reviews (19 with a 4.8-star rating) so the quality was there, but her cover screamed SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR. As a lawyer, she writes about what she knows, so the story has the strength of experience. But Laura's issues had more to do with a lack of information and experience in the publishing game.

When Laura contacted me, Blood Money was ranked over 100,000 in the Kindle store. I gave her a few recommendations, created a new cover, and convinced her to join KDP Select. One week later as of 7:16 a.m. EST, her book is ranked #4 in Amazon's free Kindle store, with the power of 20 great reviews backing her up. My political thriller, Killing the Giants, is close behind at #12.

Soren Petrek, author of Cold Lonely Courage, who recently hit the Top 100 paid in kindle said, "Cold Lonely Courage is #76 paid in Kindle #4 Historical and #19 in thrillers. Great work from the folks at The Kindle Book Review. I would encourage every Indie author to explore the great promotional services they offer. I plan to use TKBR for my other kindle books Patience County War and Angels Don't Die. Jeff Bennington designed the eye catching book cover for Angels. I love it!"

Al Boudreau, author of In Memory of Greed said, “Jeff Bennington has an understanding of the ebook business that truly impresses me. I've taken his advice and it has made a huge difference in my career as an author." Al's book is currently ranked in the 10K range, selling at $2.99, versus the 80-100,000K range (Amazon rank) where he was a few weeks ago.

So what's happening? What are these authors doing that has brought their books back to life?

First of all, they were all open to advice. They knew something wasn't working and they were willing to listen. Secondly, none of these authors are prideful. They were willing to drop their price, change their cover, and try something new. They were aware that they were doing something wrong and were willing to change.

My prediction is that Laura Rizio, if she continues following my advice will land in the top 100 paid as well. Her success has come because she wrote a great book and had it professionally edited. That was her smartest move. The advice I gave her does not compare to her skillful writing. That is, and always will be the bottom line to a writer's level of success.

It is my belief that if an author can write a compelling story, he has a greater chance of success, now more than ever, especially with Amazon's KDP promotional tools. As always, an author's success is partly due to luck, partly due to diligence, and partly do to his or her level of skill. But the combinations of all of the above are endless. So if a book has kicked the bucket, it's up to the author to discover the cause of death.

Is there any hope for bad writing and poor editing. Only if the writer is willing to try again. In that case, I recommend taking the book off the shelf, and hire a professional editor. However, if the plot is hot, and the writing crisp and fresh, a writer need only tweak a few details to get his or her book back on track. I call this literary CPR. All you have to do is breath and pump three times. If you can do that, you can bring your book back to life.

BTW, the principles I've taught these authors are in my forthcoming book, The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe. I also offer a consulting service. I can analyze your book, your author platform, and offer advice that can quite possibly change the course of your career. You just have to be willing to try something new. If you are wondering what your doing wrong, check out my author services page, I might be able to help you out. 

Be sure to support the authors listed above. They are very talented. Then sign up for my regular blog posts by email so you don't miss anything. BOOM!


  1. Great advice and I bet it will ring (painful) bells with a lot of authors - except for the likes of Konrath and John Locke who need no advice!

    I do walk away with the feeling that the KDP Select thingie is a good thingie, it works! Am I right?

    The cover is important of course, but on e-books a different kind of cover is needed anyway and I suspect that given the small size, it plays less of a role than in traditional publishing (I mean printed books). Am I wrong?

  2. I have written a YA novel which has received raves reviews. 19 five-star and two four-star reviews on Amazon. Just completed a week-long virtual book tour where each of the eight reviewers loved the book. I've sold about 600 but now on Kindle and other e-formats the book is just sitting there. Everyone has raved about the writing, the story, the book cover, the characters. Can you help? Thank you.

  3. @Claude ~ Hi Claude, thanks for visiting. Yes, KDP Select works, especially for newer authors. I give details on how this program can make a significant improvement to an authors career in The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe. As far as book covers go, ebook covers are just as important to ebook sales as they are to print sales. But yes, the cover has to be made to pop od the page as a3/4"x1" thumbnail, and that's no easy task. You have to be very careful how you title your book, the fonts you choose, and to keep it simple. I also dedicate a chapter to book covers in the book becaue it is that important! I even take a lame book cover through some basic steps that show a dramatic improvement.

    @Bill ~ Hi. Congrats on the great reviews. Sounds like you've done everything right so far. Nothing wrong with blog touring and great covers. I'll shoot you an email and we'll get started.

  4. It's great to have people like you out there helping the rest of us!!! It's one thing to write a book. It's something completely different to market it and sell it! Thanks for the advice! I plan on holding on to this post for when I'm ready to publish!

  5. @Abby ~ Thank you, Abby. Please sign up by email or better yet, buy the book. This all in there!


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