Is Your Book Not Selling? Get It Critiqued

My Revelations: Thank you Victorine et al

by Thea Atkinson

One Insular Tahiti

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Recently, I submitted One Insular Tahiti to Victorine’s Lieske’s blog: Why is this book not selling. I had what I thought was a good product: it originally won me my agent, and we’d gone over it in edits, and submitted it to publishers with some stunning comments. It had to be at least passable, right?

Alas, as you know, it ultimately got passed over by the traditional Big 6, but still, I believed it was a good enough product to offer as an ebook and set about getting it out there. That was a year and a half ago.

Despite some great reviews, the book still languishes. Perhaps the Big 6 do know a winner when they see it, and they were right about One Insular Tahiti being a modest seller.

Truth is, I wish it were a modest seller. I’d love for it to be a slow seller even.

If you read the comments on the book over at the blog, you’ll see a variety of issues. Yup. They are all true. I do have a hard time finding a genre. It’s literary to me, but alas, I hate calling it that for two reasons I’ve discussed in the past: One: Litfic is typeically defined as that which does not sell, and Two: I am loathe to put myself in the same category as say: Margaret Atwood or Alice Munro or Donna Morrissey (all wonderful Canadian litfic authors)

So categorizing the thing has been a beeyatch to say the least. And the blurb is a tough one too. If you read some of the reviews, you might see the same from the readers who loved OIT.

And then there’s the title. Sigh. It’s my original title, and it fits the book perfectly. Seriously. It really does. My agent wanted to change it to Raise the Buried Dead, and maybe I should have gone with it, but after 6000 freeloads I’m afraid of confusing my readers if I change the title. So I’m stuck with what I picked, even though I believe it’s the best…and yet…it’s not the best if no one likes it. grin.

Ah, but the cover. The cover I could change. It has been through 5 revisions, this cover, and this (which I hope is the last) is the 6th. I hope I finally got it right and that folks will like it enough to click.

I’m still working on a great blurb. I would love comments. The insides are as good as I can make it–now to get folks to actually get to the inside. There’s the rub.

No one seems to make it to the inside. So this one’s gonna have to be in the 100 mile marathon it seems. No sprinting to the finish for this gal.


Onto the fun stuff.

I’ve been doing well in the Haystack Giveaway! Thanks to everyone who has entered. There’s just 30 days left, and I have to say, I’m pleased to see a review and two purchases of Water Witch. Mind you, there are a few people who bought a Thea read and have not come forth to enter. Please. Please. If you buy me, review me, tweet me, enter. I want to give you 50 bucks.

Click Here: (Please note: you can also enter on Facebook on Thea’s Writing Page)

A quick peep at the ways to enter:

  • Blog or reblog about the contest. That means you can simply click reblog on the wordpress bar at the top of my post, or you can write your own post about the contest, or just leave a review of one of my books as a post. I’m OK with any of it. I’ve even found a way for you to post the contest rafflecopter widget right on your blog. (If you’re wordpress free, then alas, you can’t I don’t think) Just go to: the Rafflecopter site and copy/paste the appropriate widget code.
  • You can buy a Thea book from just about anywhere. I just need some kind of assurance though. (like a forwarded email receipt…just be sure to delete any of your sensitive information)
  • You can leave me a new review of any Thea book you’ve read! I especially like this entry type. So I’ve given you a chance to leave 2 reviews. Grin. (If you complete this option, consider adding it to your blog as another entry)
  • You can Tweet about the giveaway
  • You can share the giveaway on FB or Pinterest or Stumble


If you liked this post, please do share.

Thea is the author of several novels that she considers left of mainstream. You can find her on BN, Kobo, Sony, Apple

One Insular Tahiti Formed of Clay Secret Language of Crows Anomaly Water Witch
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Thea Atkinson is a writer of character driven fiction.

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9 comments on “Is Your Book Not Selling? Get It Critiqued
  1. […] Is Your Book Not Selling? Get It Critiqued ( […]

  2. […] Is Your Book Not Selling? Get It Critiqued ( […]

  3. Diane Tibert says:

    I didn’t realise finding a good category for a novel was difficult. Sub-categories are another thing. My current project is fantasy…traditional fantasy, I call it. Whether it’s epic or not, I don’t know. Thankfully, many places give you two options. I pick fantasy as my first one and because there is an element of romance in the novel, I choose romance for the second option.

    I would never choose literature because that covers all book topics. It’s generic and doesn’t tell me what type of book it is. I have a project underway that’s historical fiction. Some might classify it as literature, but I won’t.

    Tags are great ways to get readers to your book. For my fantasy novel, I use: fantasy, romance, adventure, sword, sorcery, magic.

    Regarding the cover: It looks great. It feels refreshing and uplifting. The colours are fabulous.

    I’ve just posted my book to Kindle–my first–so I have no idea what I’ve done will work. Cover, title, back cover blurb, author blurb: they’re all so important to entice the reader to look inside. It’s a battle every writer has, even the popular ones…they just have smaller battles.

    • Diane:

      nice of you to visit. It’s not finding the category that’s tough, really. It’s finding a category where you can also find some visibility. If I choose literary fiction, I am directly competing with almost 20,000 other books. To get any ranking at all, and thus ‘some’ visibility, I’d have to sell almost 500 books a day…maybe more. There’s a link somewhere that lists the corresponding sales to rank scale on Amazon.

      For example, in October, I gave away 6500 copies. I did hit the top 10 in one category (a lesser one like drama) but I didn’t even dent literary fiction.

      That’s a major hurdle for a litfic book. grin.

      your genre might be easier, but I think fantasy has even more to compete with. So does romance. but here’s hoping the subcategories make it an easy find.


      • Diane Tibert says:

        Thea, I visited the link you noted above regarding “Why isn’t this book selling?” and read the comments of yours and another book. Both seem to say the same thing: literature is not where you want to place your book even if it is literature. Ultimately, you want to sell many copies, but that won’t happen with that tag.

        It appears as though many writers feel literature sells or is at least viewed with different eyes than main stream (main stream being what sells, but not held in high regard by those who study literature). I wonder: do many self-published writers categorize their novels as literature just because they think it will make it look more important? If so are they flooding the literary category with mysteries, thrillers and romance? It’s an interesting thought.

        Either way, the literature category sounds like one to stay away from if you want to be noticed at all. Personally, if a book is a good read, then it will be appreciated in whatever mainstream genre you choose. I dislike literature–true, no ending literature (having thrown “The Road” against the wall with fury!)–but I loved “Kit’s Law” by Morrissey. It was a great story. Personally, I wouldn’t classifiy that as literature. It’s historical fiction to me.

        A commenter on the other website posed a good question: Are readers of literature buying ebooks (or any books) by self-published authors? Or are we below them?

      • Indeed, Diane. That does seem to be the case: litfic–even if true litfic–does not sell well. Which is absolutely why I don’t want to place it there.

        so I’m happy selling modestly…and I do with my other titles, but this one’s a toughie…because it’s hard to place in a different category.


  4. Thea, I wish I had more time to read. It looks interesting. I am in the same boat with not finding a good category for my trilogy and can’t seem to ‘break out’ even though everyone who reads my books have great things to say., so I share you pain. And I love the cover. In MYOP you got that right.:-)

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