Launch Day is supposed to be a joyous event for an author.
Authors spend months writing and editing a single book. We spend weeks crafting Launch Day campaigns to spread the word, harnessing a complicated network of advertisements and announcements from friends. We spend days counting down to the actual launch. We spend hours refreshing our computer screens, trying to gauge our launch’s success.
One essential part of the launch process is getting reviews—”social proof” to reassure prospective readers that a book is worth their time and money. Many advertising services won’t let authors purchase ads unless a book has a certain number of reviews. Reviews are so important that authors give away copies of their book—Advance Readers Copies (“ARCs”)—in exchange for honest reviews.
But the entire book launch process is derailed when Amazon—the single largest seller of ebooks in the world—refuses to allow readers to post reviews. That’s what happened to me when I launched my contemporary romantic comedy, The B Word. By July 17, 2022, Amazon was blocking reviews of the paperback edition. On July 19, 2022 (release day for the ebook), that block was extended to the electronic edition. Reviewers who tried to post were usually told that the book was not eligible for reviews. Some reviewers were told that their individual reviews could not be posted. In addition, potential buyers couldn’t find my book if they searched for “b word mindy klasky” (although, oddly, they could find it if they didn’t include my first name.) Amazon also failed to provide a “Look Inside” sample for potential purchasers who checked out the ebook.
So—prospective buyers couldn’t find my book unless they had a direct link to its page on Amazon. They couldn’t preview the book to see if it was their cup of tea. And they couldn’t read reviews to help them make a purchasing decision.
I spent the better part of the past week trying to fix these problems with Amazon. I was passed from one customer service division to another. I was told I had to submit a “Plan of Action.” (It took me days to find another author who knew what a “Plan of Action” was—no one at Amazon could or would tell me. Ultimately, I learned that it’s a document that only applies when a merchant’s account has been terminated which—minor silver lining—was not my case.)
By the end of launch week, The B Word had seven ratings. (Amazon’s search engine was finally updated, and Look Inside was finally added.) Approximately five percent of my dedicated ARC-team members persisted through multiple rejections to get their reviews posted. The others are still unable to post, as of this writing. Without enough reviews, I can’t buy most advertising to support my book. Even if I spent money on ads, I’d be asking people to take a risk on a book with negligible social proof.
My book launch has failed.
Or has it?
Survey after survey, readers report that the number one factor influencing their buying a book is a recommendation from a friend or family member.** That means The B Word has a chance.
If you’ve read The B Word, can you tell one person that you liked the book?
And because The B Word certainly isn’t the only book cut down before its chance to shine, why don’t you make this a habit? Spread the word about books you love. Tell one friend. Because if you tell one person, and they tell one person, and so on and so on and so on, authors can see a real difference.
So do it today. If you love a book, tell one friend.
** These results have been reported by the Pew Research Center, PenguinPutnam Publishing, and Forbes, to name only a few sources.
Or maybe 42. (I know. I know. That’s always supposed to be the answer.) Or maybe 47. Or even 53.
It all depends on how you count.
Today is the book birthday for my 43rd book, The F Word. Except I’ve only published 42 books, if you don’t count novellas. I’ve published 47, if you count short stories and anthologies I’ve edited. And 53, if you count boxed sets (or bundles) of existing novels.
So, yeah. It’s a little confusing.
But the precise number doesn’t matter. What matters is that The F Word is live. In all the stores where you usually buy your ebooks. In print on Amazon (and other places, as soon as a certain middleman gets its act together and actually makes the book available as it should have done a week ago…)
What’s The F Word all about? Here’s the back of the book blurb:
When a holiday romance, falling for your boss, and a reality TV show aren’t enough of a challenge—just add a pandemic!
Personal assistant Jen Parker is eager to start her new job on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, supporting Noah “The Casanova Cook” Ryder, a temperamental chef who is judging a blockbuster television cooking show. But Jen, a widow, has a secret mission at the beach—a personal, emotional goal she must accomplish by Christmas Eve.
Noah is famous for seducing a starlet every new season. But with Home Cook America filming during a coronavirus quarantine, the Restaurant Romeo is off his game. The stress of lockdown—not to mention his own long-held secret—has Noah struggling to launch his make-it-or-break-it newest restaurant. And that’s before his longtime business partner turns into his worst frenemy (or is that just a plain enemy?)
Soon, Jen and Noah’s budding attraction is tested by vegan Thanksgiving, the world’s ugliest charm bracelet, and a possessed elevator. Every passing day—and night—ups the ante on their secret pasts. But if this culinary couple can’t stand the heat, there’s no way out of their COVID-locked-down kitchen!
If you fell hard for the feel-good rom-coms of Emily Henry, Christina Lauren, and Tessa Bailey, then grab a seat, because The F Word is the perfect romantic comedy escape for you.
You can read the first chapter here. I hope you like Jen’s story as much as I loved writing it!
I am thrilled to announce that my anthology, Eight Kisses, is available in print and as an ebook, wherever you buy books! (If you go to a bricks and mortar store, and they don’t have it, ask them to order it from Ingram!)
What is Eight Kisses all about?
It contains eight — EIGHT — all-new Hanukkah romances. Every one of them has a happy ever after. Every one of them has a unique take on Judaism, holidays, and true love.
My story, “Harmony Lights” is set in Harmony Springs, my (imaginary) small town in the Shenandoah Valley (home to Harmony Christmas, Harmony Hearts, and Harmony Hero. “Lights” is about one woman’s struggle to find the balance between family, work, and, um, special friends.
Want to know about the other stories? Here’s the “back of the book” blurb:
Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights, celebrating an ancient miracle with candles, fried foods, and family gatherings. What better time to find true love?
From Regency Scotland to contemporary New York City, from sweet short stories to super-spicy novellas, Eight Kisses spreads a feast of love. Interfaith opposites attract. A small-town reunion offers a second chance. An interracial couple rises above initial misunderstandings. Online dating yields unexpected foodie dreams. A Jewish mourner discovers solace at a Catholic feast. A hometown visit heals old wounds. The girl next door is something more. Seasoned lovers reaffirm true love.
Move over Christmas movies! Spin the dreidel, gobble the gelt, and devour a tower of latkes as you read these tales of Hanukkah love!
Eight Kisses includes the following stories by USA Today bestselling authors, award-winning authors, and exciting debut authors:
Lori Ann Bailey – “A Highlander for Hanukkah”
Mindy Klasky – “Harmony Lights”
Rose Grey – “Can’t Help Falling”
Michelle Mars – “Frisky Connections”
JT Silver – “Love and Latkes”
Erin Eisenberg – “Hanukkah Kisses”
Lavinia Klein – “Bubbe Linda’s Menorah”
Lynne Silver – “Rededication”
Sound interesting? Buy your copy today!
Some books come so easily, they seem to write themselves.
Others are a little more… challenging.
I had grand plans for The Lady Doctor is a Vamp. I was going to write the entire book while I was on a writing retreat. Five days of non-stop writing, with minimal breaks for meals, sleep, and sanity. I had reason to believe I could get that much done in a single get-away session. I’d written a similar number of words just a few months earlier, while I was finishing High Stakes Trial.
But the Lady Doctor had other ideas.
When I started the book, it was going to be a send-up of a certain type of romance–those super-sexy billionaire books, where an uber-alpha male utterly captivates a naive, submissive woman. I wanted to tell the story of what happened when the billionaire alpha-hole was rebuffed by the object of his passion.
There was just one problem.
My billionaire hero could be rebuffed once. Maybe even twice. But if he didn’t get a clue after that, he wasn’t a fun, sexy hero. He was an obnoxious jerk.
My carefully plotted book would never work. It wouldn’t be an enjoyable romp for my readers. It would be infuriating.
I had a literary precedent for the story I’d started to tell: William Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. I just had to figure out what Taming would look like in modern dress. With an independent heroine who never submits. And vampires.
You can read the first chapter of The Lady Doctor is a Vamp here.
And you can buy the book at your favorite vendor:
(Print books will be available within a week.)
Let me know what you think!
I am thrilled to announce that Keara’s Raven: Betrayal is now available in print and as an ebook! (Print editions are rolling out, even as I type… If they aren’t at your favorite online store yet, they will be soon. And if your local bricks-and-mortar store can’t order yet, it will be able to in very short order!)
When I first wrote Keara’s tale — the story of a twelve-year-old girl who rebels against the expectations of her society to save her raven best friend — I knew there were some dark themes in the book. After all, Caw needed saving because he was about to be sacrificed, on an altar, in service to an unknown and unknowable god.
Some people told me that story was too dark, especially for a children’s book.
But I remembered the children’s books I loved when I was a kid. I adored A Wrinkle in Time — where one child must overcome all her fears of inadequacy to rescue not only an enslaved and mind-ripped sibling, but also to save a parent. I gobbled up all the Narnia books, with their overt religious symbolism of sacrifice and redemption. I fell hard for The Lord of the Rings, reading the trilogy without benefit of a film interpretation, after I read The Hobbit for my fifth-grade English class.
Keara’s story wasn’t too dark. It wasn’t too religious. It wasn’t too hard.
Alas, the original cover didn’t do a great job of selling my story. When my agent first saw the design, he said, “It looks like a Christmas card for orphans.” We had complained about the first book, explaining that the girly cover would alienate boy readers who would otherwise love Keara’s and Caw’s adventures. In response, the second book’s cover had a small figure of a boy in the middle ground — an even clearer message (to those who wanted not to like the story) that boys were secondary in Keara’s world.
So. Here is Keara’s Raven: Betrayal. Once again, Elisabeth Alba has done an amazing job with the cover art — capturing the scary things, the hard things, the things that make Keara the brave heroine she is.
You can buy your copy today!
Buy your print book today:
Buy your ebook today:
Bounce, bounce, bounce!
I’m *FINALLY* able to share the amazing cover created by Elisabeth Alba (from Alba Ilustration) for KEARA’S RAVEN: ESCAPE. The book will be in stores will be in stores March 19 – but pre-orders are up now! You can read the first chapter here!
Elisabeth was a joy to work with. And the best news of all? Next month, I can share her outstanding cover for KEARA’S RAVEN: BETRAYAL!
(This book, currently published by Snowy Wings Publishing, used to be Rebel Flight, which used to be Darkbeast. With this incredible new cover, I know it’s going to soar with its intended middle grade audience!)