I desperately need feedback!

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Thread: I desperately need feedback!

  1. #1

    I desperately need feedback!

    So the sales on my latest book have been extremely slow.
    But my ad campaigns are driving people to Amazon (I can see the click-thrus).
    So they like the cover, are getting all the way to Amazon, but not buying the book.

    This leads me to believe that my hook or blurb is too weak.
    I'm looking for feedback from fellow writers & readers.

    Tell me what you think: https://amzn.to/2ZbNlkn

    Is this hook gettin' it?

  2. #2
    I'm guessing here because I don't see any obvious problem. I think the blurb may be slightly vague.

    I get that the story is a mashup of genre, so you don't probably have an automatic audience as you would with a straight-horror, SF, etc. And that's fine, a plus one for originality, but it's a problem for a lot of readers because buying this book (at a relatively high $5.99) is going to either be a complete punt or contingent on how much they have enjoyed your previous work and buying it on the strength of that alone.

    And even in the latter case, since this is being sold primarily as a humor-piece, they will likely base it not just on whether they liked your previous work but whether they enjoyed its humorous aspects...or just whether they enjoy humorous, campy writing more generally. I suspect a lot of readers of post-apocalyptic fiction aren't necessarily readers of humor, so they might give that one a pass. Sort of like how a lot of Stephen King readers won't go near The Dark Tower and the ones who do may not be interested in the campy horror shit he wrote, or something more real-world like Carrie or Blockade Billy.

    And therein lies a possible theory: You might have an issue with diversity among your readership. The blurb may or may not help with that - I don't think it's a bad blurb at all - but it also might help somewhat if it tied in with your previous work more clearly. Are there any common tropes or themes or tie-ins you can possibly incorporate into your blurb or marketing materials? If not, you may just have to look at this more as a first novel for the purposes of capturing readership. I also notice that there's no 'look inside' option here (maybe because it's still on pre-sale?) so there's possibly a bit of a negative there. From a reader's perspective there's no real assurances regarding enjoyment.

    Also a possible generational problem you may want to take into account. The material sounds like it would appeal to younger adult readers. The cover art certainly appeals in that direction. But a lot of younger folks won't automatically know the pop culture references on which you are basing the premise: Flash Gordon hasn't even been on TV since the 2000's I believe. So, this is a vintage reboot, yet the blurb seems to assume that its something current that 'the kids' would automatically know about. Rebooting is fine, a rich source, but a worry I might have as a 20-something reader who liked Calizona is whether any of this story will make sense to me or if it's straight Boomer humor.
    Last edited by luckyscars; August 30th, 2019 at 08:39 PM.
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  3. #3
    I don't know how valid the rule is, but this blurb is definitely breaking the "show don't tell" rule I've heard for blurbs, and I think that may be a problem. In a very short blurb, we open by being told it's a parody, then are told it's a hybrid, extra-pulpy, a mashup, and we're told twice that we're going to laugh... but aren't really shown much about the story, or made to even smile, let alone laugh. For me and my taste, I'd want to get more of a feel for the story through my own eyes, not the author's. SHOW ME the humour and the mashup and the rest, don't tell me.

    Easier said than done, I know!

  4. #4
    I've just noticed there's also no "Look Inside" activated, possibly because the book is not yet for sale, but... I rarely buy ANYTHING from a new-to-me author without taking a look at the writing, first. So things may pick up once readers can look inside?

  5. #5
    I think BV is right: it needs more of a hook.
    I need something that makes them say "Oh, that sounds interesting..."

    Ugghhh. The jacket text is harder to write than the damned book.

    The LOOK INSIDE option is not available because it is on pre-sale.

  6. #6
    So I have been writing since 0400 as usual, working on a better hook & blurb for this book.
    I think it's better...but writers always have a blind spot for their own work.
    What say ye, fellow wordsmiths & writers of lore?

  7. #7
    Offline: Depressed Trollheart's Avatar
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    Aug 2019
    Where the sour turns to sweet
    I don't know, but I'm inclined to agree with others that there may be something of a generational divide here. I mean, I'm 56, but even I have not really seen the original, ships-on-strings-showering-sparks-terrible-campy-dialogue Flash Gordon, and I doubt few who may seem to be your target audience (ie those who, as Lucky mentioned, will "get" the pop culture references you want them to) will have either. So trying to mash-up the two might be like asking someone who has never seen, say, The Keystone Cops to enjoy a book which parodies their exploits with those of a hard-bitten nineties private eye. Kind of hard to do. I'm sorry to say, I have to admit it doesn't attract me to read it, but then, I bloody hate Flash Gordon so am definitely not your target audience.
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  8. #8
    I posted the new blurb, and lowered the price to $3.99.
    Normally I sell my books for $4.99, but this is actually a novella...only 52k words, so I didn't want any reviews complaining about price versus volume.
    I have an ad campaign running on Amazon right now, so don't be surprised if you see me on your lock-screen.
    496 impressions so far, zero sales.

    On the bright side, the Pinterest ad campaign I ran, tho it did not generate any sales, did send enough traffic to the page that my float value dropped into 3-digit rankings on one list, and 4-digit numbers on another.
    I'll keep gaming the algorithm.

  9. #9
    Member Amnesiac's Avatar
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    Sep 2015
    6' under
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    I think BV is right: it needs more of a hook.
    I need something that makes them say "Oh, that sounds interesting..."

    Ugghhh. The jacket text is harder to write than the damned book.

    The LOOK INSIDE option is not available because it is on pre-sale.
    That's for sure! Writing the blurb is the hardest damn thing! Drinking helps. LOL
    “We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.” -Hemingway

  10. #10
    Great work on the cover design, I think it looks pretty neat!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph Rotten View Post
    In this universe where Supers battle Arches
    I would prefer the above to read "where Superheroes battle Arch-villains". Is that what it's suppose to mean? It took me a moment to figure it out. On my first pass through I swear it sounded something akin; " In this universe where grrubadles battle farvables"?!?... What? I suspect it may be a similar case with the other potential readers.

    I would also prefer for the blurb to be a bit more descriptive about the story that I would read.

    If you have a look at the blurbs for Flash comic books on the Amazon you will see shorter, punchier and more straight to the point descriptions. E.g:

    Quote Originally Posted by Flash Gordon
    Discover the thrilling world of Flash Gordon, the original protector of the Universe, as he encounters escaped convicts, frightening Frost Men, tyrannous kingdoms - and more!
    I threw a glance at humankind and saw them treacherous and feeble.
    Severe judges, cruel, unkind and fools who are always close to evil.
    Before their frightful, anxious mob, indifferent hate forever rages.
    Not learnt the lessons from the ages!
    What use are wise and tempered words?
    "Sometime, in my sweet blindness" - Pushkin

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