WIPpet Wednesday and an update on Reunion of the Heart

Parents evening

On Friday I published my second novel Reunion of the Heart. Initially it went well and I had some sales so obviously I was happy.

But then… they slowed right down. OK so it hasn’t been long since the launch and it’s only Tuesday now as I’m writing this. But what’s going on? The Inheritance, though it didn’t exactly set the world alight, sold more than Reunion of the Heart has at this point.

I was feeling a bit miserable about it to be honest.  I spoke to my dad and he had some words of wisdom: that releasing a book in summer is a bad idea because everyone in the Western world is away on holiday – or at least many of them are in the US and UK as well as the rest of Europe.  So it follows that they’re not around to download/buy books.

He’s got a good point.  He also said that, for example, film makers release their films at certain times of the year, depending on what sort of film they are.  They release blockbusters in summer and Oscar-worthy films at others.  He reckoned a good time of year to release a book would be October when everyone is almost certainly back from holiday.

It makes me think that perhaps I chose the wrong time of year to release Reunion of the Heart and that maybe I should have waited till the autumn.  Do you have any thoughts/advice?  I’d love to hear from you.

Anyway on to today’s excerpt, from my WIP.  I still haven’t chosen a title yet lol.  But it’s the one set in a school.  I thought I’d be generous and share with you 8 paragraphs for the month.  In this scene my MC Rebecca is coming face to face with Audi-Man again. It’s parents’ evening where the parents of kids at school get to meet with their kids’ teachers for an update on their kids’ progress.  Unfortunately for Rebecca, she’s teaching Audi-Man’s son.  Here’s a snippet of their conversation:

Taking a sip from the glass of water on the corner of the table, Rebecca looked at the list of parents still to see on the list in front of her.  She stifled a yawn.  It’d been a long evening.  She’d seen twenty eight sets of parents, although sometimes only one parent had attended, usually the mother.  There was only one parent left to see, the one she was dreading.  She would rather have seen him first.  Mr Leavis, Daniel’s father.  What could she say to him about his son?  That Daniel mucked around in lessons and never bothered?  That he could be a grade A student if he just knuckled down and did some work?

Her encounter with Mr Leavis in the school corridor came back to her and Rebecca’s cheeks warmed.  What was the meaning of it?  And why had he arrived so early at the school?  What on earth had he been doing for the last two hours?  But there was no time to dwell on those troubling thoughts.  She watched as Mr Leavis – Audi-Man – strode across the hall towards her.

Feeling her resolve falter, Rebecca took a deep breath, pulled her shoulders back and remembered what she’d learnt at drama school about portraying confidence.  As Mr Leavis approached she gave him the biggest smile she could muster under the circumstances and stood up to shake hands with him.

‘Good evening, Mr Leavis,’ she said, forcing the smile to remain on her face, though she would much rather have scowled at him.  ‘Please sit down.’

He did so frowning at her; it looked like a puzzled frown to Rebecca though she couldn’t be sure.  ‘Good evening Miss… Ms Engleton,’ he replied.  He sounded flustered.  Good, Rebecca thought.  The boot’s on the other foot now.

She gave a little nod and looked down at Daniel’s grade sheet.  It was woefully inadequate, when she knew he could do so much better.  She looked up again and nearly bashed heads with Mr Leavis, who she saw was also looking at the grade sheet.  Her face became hot, hotter still when he began to speak.

‘I don’t see what could possibly be so wrong with my son’s performance in class that you’re giving him such low grades.  It’s his GCSE year – he needs good grades to go on and do his A-levels.  There must be something wrong with your teaching methods for him to be failing so miserably.  Your predecessor never had it in for him as you clearly do.’

Mr Leavis’ voice was angry, as was his expression.  The word thunderous came to mind as Rebecca watched him, trying to remain cool while inside she was seething.  When she spoke she was surprised by how calm she sounded.

So there you have it.  If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I’d love to join in’, all you have to do is post on your blog an excerpt of whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately.  Just make sure it relates to the date in some way.  Then add your details to this linky.

Thanks once again to the lovely K. L. Schwengel, our wonderful host. 🙂

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56 thoughts on “WIPpet Wednesday and an update on Reunion of the Heart

  1. Pingback: WIPpet Wednesday and the Writer’s Rant | Melissa Barker-Simpson

  2. Oh, yes, it’s ALWAYS the teacher’s fault… Some people, I swear. -_-

    As for release times, I’ve heard the same thing about the summer. The nice thing about being an independent author, though, is that a book doesn’t have to sell a million copies out of the gate. It’s always going to be there, and there’s nothing to keep you from promoting it in the fall or at Christmas. Sales can always pick up later! No fear of the book stores removing it from shelves for not selling right away. 🙂

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    • Yes it is always the teacher’s fault!!! Thanks for your thoughts on lack of sales. And you’re right – as an indie author there’s no hurry to sell books. I’m definitely gonna promote it some more this autumn, maybe do a semi re release.

      Looking forward to reading your next! *peers into the distant future with special future-seeing glasses* 😉

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  3. Dang. What a jerk-face, Mr. Audi is. One nit, you use ‘list’ twice in the first sentence.

    I agree with Kate as far as release times. Summer is busy and a lot of folks don’t have time to read. But you can be flexible and do a re-release or special promotion later.

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    • Well spotted Kathi, thanks for pointing that out! And Mr Audi is indeed a jerk-face!

      Thanks for your advice re my sales. I will definitely look into doing a re-release – I’ll certainly do a Kindle Countdown at some point. 🙂

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  4. I released a book last summer that did well, but this summer has been surprisingly slow. I’ve been told that things pick up in September, so you just need to hold out until then. Someone said that this summer started with a big Amazon Kindle sale, so many readers loaded up at the beginning and are probably still working through that list. Last half/quarter of a month tends to be slow too because people have bills coming in. This gig seems to be a lot of promoting and waiting through rough patches.

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  5. Great excerpt!

    I have been hearing all about the ‘summer slump’ from a lot of authors and bloggers, and I think it makes sense. Now you just got to hold out until the autumn months (not long!) and see how ti does?

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    • I hadn’t heard of the ‘summer slump’ but it makes sense. As I said in my post I’ll definitely think twice before doing a summer release again. It’ll be interesting to see how it does in the autumn months. I’m gonna do some more promotion of it then on top of what I’m doing now, probably a Kindle Countdown.

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  6. Great excerpt! Yes, there’s always at least one parent who wants it to be the teacher’s fault. Sigh.

    I don’t know much about book sales and how things do. I’m working my way through the ARC you sent me, and I should be able to post a review for you by the time my vacation’s over. I’m glad I had something to read while away. 🙂 Hopefully, as the back-to-school crowd returns, people will be interested in new books again.

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      • I am so sorry it’s taking me so long…I’m unfortunately a painfully slow reader, and I have limited time because of vacation and an urgent editing job (the author’s proofreader bailed and he knows I work fast, so he contacted me). But rest assured, I am enjoying the book very much. 🙂

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    • That’s not a problem Amy. I am a notoriously slow reader compared with many people – it generally takes me about 2-3 weeks to read a book, sometimes longer.

      The important thing is that you’re enjoying it and that’s great! *does a happy dance*

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  7. Hey! You left us hanging! Naughty girl, you. 🙂 Audi-man has a bit of a temper, it seems. I’m interested to see how she puts him in his place.

    Interesting thoughts on your dad’s part about the book release. I’m interested to hear if time of the year does make much difference. It’s so hard to make one’s book stand out when self-publishing since every day more and more people do it. Take heart! And keep plugging away.

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    • She doesn’t let him walk over her, put it that way! I will let you know how I get on this autumn (fall to you Americans!) with my continuing promotion. And don’t worry – I most certainly won’t give up!

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  8. But what did she say!?! What a place to leave us hanging, Elaine! 😛

    One of my college profs bemoaned a situation he had with a student who’d plagiarized an entire paper. The prof had proof, but the kid’s dad was all sorts of bad news about it. Blech. How sickening. In college, too!

    I don’t know much about release dates at this point, but I’ve gathered fall is a good time because it’s close to Christmas. For me, personally, it has more to do with income fluctuations. Summer is a high-spend-low-earn time for a lot of people. Vacations (not always paid), weddings, summer camps for kids, etc. really take it out of the budget.

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    • Hee hee I’m mean!! Good to have your thoughts ReGi. Yes real life can be similar to fiction can’t it? I feel sorry for your college prof, to know that he had the evidence but be overruled must have been really galling.

      I’m hoping my sales will pick up this autumn (fall to you!!). I’ll keep you posted. And yes I should imagine that summer is expensive for families! 🙂

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      • We call it autumn here, too. We just interchange the two words. “Fall” is common when speaking to younger children, because they can remember that leaves fall in Fall. It also helps with remembering how to set the clock for daylight savings time, which I don’t think you guys have. The saying goes, “Fall back, spring forward.”

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      • It’s funny you should say that because I didn’t really know that you Americans change your clocks either!!! Personally I think in the UK we should keep to British Summer Time all year round. We only really change the clocks in October to benefit people in the far north of the UK in the winter anyway as I see it!

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    • That’s interesting. I didn’t know that you called it autumn sometimes too. As they say you learn something new every day. 🙂 And we do switch our clocks BTW. End of October they go back an hour, end of March they go forward an hour.

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      • Oh! I was under the impression it was a strictly U.S. thing and that it was a strange concept elsewhere. (Not that it’s very popular here anymore.) I guess we both win in the learn-something-new deapartment today. 🙂

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  9. It sounds to me like Mr. Audi-Man is used to covering up for his own flaws with bluster, and… I’m better that if Rebecca went back to Daniel’s previous teacher and asked him/her about Daniel, she’d find out that the it was a similar situation. And… if Daniel really did get better grades it was more because that teacher gave into the dad. I’m glad to hear you say he doesn’t get a pass with our heroine.

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    • I like the way you think things through carefully Eden. 🙂 I have to say I hadn’t really fleshed out the back story much. Although I suppose I was thinking that maybe Daniel’s previous teacher had given him better marks, that perhaps he’d lapsed since then.

      But Rebecca is having none of it – if he’s failing he’s failing and that’s it – she’s not going to change that because of a pushy parent!

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  10. Your excerpt this week reminds me of this graphic: http://rightcogency.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/unknauthor_problem-cartoon.jpg
    Honestly, the way some parents treat their kids’ teachers is pretty horrific.

    That’s interesting about the book sales. I wonder if not having my book ready for an August release like I had hoped is really a good thing. What time of year did you release the Inheritance?

    (Incidentally, l bought “Reunion” this morning; I’m about 30% through it and enjoying so far)

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    • That graphic’s great – pretty much sums up the situation today! It’s interesting that it appears to be the same in Australia as here in the UK.

      I think it’s definitely a good thing that you’re not releasing your book during the summer. I certainly won’t do a summer release again if I can help it! My husband uploaded ‘The Inheritance’ onto Amazon on the 26th August last year, but the official release day was 14th September. So it was a bit later.

      Glad you’re enjoying ‘Reunion’! 😀

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  11. Congrats on the second book!

    Yup, summer slump is real. Summers have always been the worst for sales for me. The other thing is that it’s just getting harder and harder to sell books these days. I don’t know when you released Inheritance, but it could be that it was just easier to sell then. I haven’t quite figured out what to do about it, myself, sigh.

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    • Hi Ruth thanks for sharing your thoughts, glad you liked the excerpt. The Inheritance sold OK initially but then plateaued. I was hoping that ROTH would do better… But I do think that as you say there is a summer slump and it’s not a great time to release a book! So I’ll definitely remember that for next time. And you’re right – it is hard to sell books these days. But I’m not giving up – I’m gonna keep going and even if I don’t make a big splash, I’m determined to make a little ripple! 🙂

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  12. I’m personally wondering if Daniel might not be doing poorly on purpose to spite a father who is maybe as overbearing to him as he is to the teacher. I mean, getting into her personal space like that, in her classroom..ick!

    I’ve noticed that people who treat other adults that way often treat their children as though they are property or accessories to their own lives, rather than people. My father used to routinely invade my personal space, and I remember feeling trapped by it. I could see a boy (I’m guessing midteenish?) deciding to strike back in a way that would hurt his father – by jeopardizing the grades his father clearly values.

    Well- written, and I’m rooting for Wednesday to get here so that I can here what Rebecca says to him.

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  13. It’s sad how people often blame teachers to cover up for their lack of involvement. Kids need parents and teachers in order to learn.
    I’m sorry to hear about your sales. Things should pick up soon then with September around the corner and everyone back from vacation.

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    • Yes parents often do blame teachers which is definitely what Rebecca is finding.

      I hope my sales pick up too! Hopefully when everyone’s back from holiday… I’m going to do a promotion in September/October, probably put it on Kindle Countdown and have a relaunch. At the moment I’m sending it out free to people in return for a review, so I’m hoping that will help. 🙂

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  14. Pingback: Another WIPpet Wednesday and call for book reviewers | Elaine Jeremiah

  15. I released my first (and only) novel in January and sold some at that time and a few in February. They were mostly people who knew me, though. I didn’t sell much to write home about until I joined KDP Select in July. I believe it was July 20. I did a free promo for one full day and over the next 10 day days I sold more than I’d sold since I released the book…probably twice as many. I’m sure it’s not nearly as many sales as those who were in KDP Select free promos two years ago, but I was more than happy with it. I’ve received more reviews too. Most good.

    I wasn’t going to join KDP Select until I had more than one novel out there, but I figured I had nothing to lose since people weren’t finding me anyway. It was the best decision I’ve made since I decided to self-publish. The sales have been increasing ever since and it’s due to the free promos. I only advertised the first one. I didn’t for the other two because I wanted to see how the book would do without it. I didn’t do the full 24 hours with the second and third promos. I just wanted enough of a bump to increase visibility. It’s been working.

    As you know, there are a ton of romance novels out there and you’ve got to do something to increase your visibility on Amazon. At least you have two novels available and that’s a good thing. 🙂

    Have you tried the free promos? You have two novels, so maybe you can get paid sales on both. I’m going to have another short story or novella soon and I may enroll it in KDP Select too.

    Good luck with whatever you do. 🙂

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    • Hi Danielle, thanks so much for your comment. It’s good to hear from you and have your thoughts. It’s very interesting to hear about your experiences of self-publishing.

      I am actually on KDP Select and I always have been. I also did a free promotion last November for my first novel and while I did get nearly 9500 downloads (mostly in the States), it never really translated into sales for me which was a major disappointment.

      As I said in this post, the sales for ROTH haven’t been great so far, but I think a lot of that is down to my releasing it in the summer – not a great time to release a book and I don’t think I’d release one in the summer again. As for visibility on Amazon, I’m working on it! I’m reading a book that’s very helpful called ‘Let’s Get Visible’ and it’s got lots of tips for understanding the algorithms on Amazon and how to use them to your advantage.

      Obviously visibility is key – if people don’t know my book’s there, they’re not going to buy it! So I’m most likely going to do some sort of relaunch this month or next. Watch this space! 🙂

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  16. Pingback: An olive branch – WIPpet Wednesday | Elaine Jeremiah

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