Two weeks ago, I never thought I’d say this…but one of my books has cracked a Top 100 Kindle Bestseller list! In the Paid Store. As in, people are actually buying my book!
No doubt due to the success of WHERE SHE BELONGS’s run in the Kindle Free store, which went way beyond anything I expected, my Canadian-set romance with a mother-daughter subplot has hit #63 in Women’s Fiction as of about 3 p.m. this afternoon! I’ve received a number of new reviews, which the book was sorely lacking previously, and, for the moment, anyway, I am enjoying a bit of that elusive force authors call “discoverability.” And it feels so sweet!
Originally, I wrote WHERE SHE BELONGS before my romantic comedies and before targeting the erotic romance market as my alter ego, Penny. For the life of me, I could not sell the book to a traditional publisher. At the time, I was targeting category romance publishers, and it didn’t matter how many times I rewrote the book, how many times I pitched it to an editor and received a request, how many months it then sat on an editor’s desk, how many times I eventually received a rejection letter, no matter how positive. At one point, when I had an NYC agent, she told me I had a problem letting go of projects that weren’t working. In other words, books that weren’t selling to traditional markets.
That was way before the Amazon Kindle grew the ebook market exponentially. My former agent had no clue (and neither did I), how the introduction of the Kindle would change reading habits. When I parted ways with that former agent (who is no longer in the business, as far as I know, although the agency she was with remains a strong player in romance), I was already epublished in romantic comedy. Those of us who entered epublishing a dozen years ago fully expected the market to take off. But it didn’t. We thought, maybe next year. But it didn’t. We were all about a decade ahead of the market.
Then, when I thought I had exhausted all possibility of publishing this story, I submitted to one last traditional publisher: the now-defunct Five Star Expressions Women’s Fiction and Romance line from the library press, Five Star/Cengage. The library hardcover edition of WHERE SHE BELONGS came out last December (2011). The publisher was not publishing ebooks at the time I signed the contract, which was over a year before the book came out. So the ebook rights belonged to me (along with the audio rights), but I had to wait a year to put the book out in ebook and/or trade paperback. That twelve months was a long wait.
I don’t know why the library-edition version of the book didn’t sell very well (to libraries, I mean. I know the cost of a hardcover edition is prohibitive to many readers), but, so far, it hasn’t. It was the last Contemporary Romance of the Expressions line. So maybe it got lost in the transition to the publisher deciding only to publish mysteries and romantic suspense. Or maybe that’s just how hard hit libraries have been in the last few years.
Whatever the reason, when I factor in that it’s been well over twenty years since I wrote the first draft of this story, all the markets to which I’ve submitted it, the wonderful experience of selling to Five Star/Cengage, and now experiencing what a little discoverability can do for an author, is it any wonder I am in total awe and over the moon to crack a Top 100 Amazon Bestseller list?
Yesterday, I received a box of trade paperback copies of WHERE SHE BELONGS. And they are gorgeous. The trade paperback is beginning to very slowly sell. However, it’s basically just at Amazon right now. As the extended distribution program I’m working with kicks in, the book will begin to emerge at other venues.
Wait! I just checked, and the trade paperback edition of the book is now on the Barnes and Noble website! And it’s on Amazon Canada, too, although through third-party vendors. However, that means it shouldn’t be too long before the book is available from Amazon Canada without going through the third-party vendors. Yoo-hoo! (That means people who order the paperback from Amazon Canada would be able to get free shipping if their combined order is large enough.)
All very exciting!