Now, it wasn't as if I'd never asked myself this tough question before. I'd tried different types of books, built up a small readership, experimented different cover artists, learned the imperative of the ground running for all sample readers. My last book received a record, for me, 54 reviews--all 4 and 5 stars. As the first book in a new series, I felt encouraged. I'd stumbled onto something that floated readers' boats. And yet I remained in a grocery store, worried that I'd still be there in another seven years.
Let us segue to a happier note, one sounded out by a king: Russell Blake.
A USA Today bestselling author, Blake has written a half-hundred novels, in almost every genre. Unknown to Russell, on his blog he succeeded in founding a school:
Russell Blake's Academy for Ailing Amazon Authors
I believe I'm the first of his students. Or I'm the first, at least, to tackle his curriculum systematically and with a vengeance. (I'll provide the links below for your own tuition-free enrollment.)
A stern but compassionate teacher, RB starts with a checklist for his students. When there are no clicks--or when there are clicks that fail to convert into sales--we need to make way through the checklist:
An interesting, unusual story
Riveting opening pages
I'd reached a point in my journey where I knew I scored A's on a number of fronts. On the new book, for example, I'd deleted the first 20 pages wherein I'd been clearing my throat--and came on now as if on stage, belting the tune at full force. I'd used Grammarly Premium to purge the book of typos and punctuation pratfalls. Then I'd solicited feedback from two writers I respect: Brad Strickland and David North-Martino. And J.T. Lindroos' new covers were getting rave reviews.
Okay, okay. That's well and good. But I'm still in a grocery store so I'd better pay better attention to Blake. Where do I still have on a dunce cap?
Reading, and rereading Blake's posts, I settled on three weak spots I needed to address: product blurb, Amazon campaigns, professional ad agency assistance. Since I can't tackle all three at once, I decided to start with the first.
The blurb--or elevator pitch--is where, I hate to say:
Some pitch as naturally as others breathe. But Professor Blake enabled me to face my pitching suckiness and vow: "I'll pay someone to beat you!"
Today I followed Blake's lead and engaged the services of
That's it for now. I'll keep you posted on the blurb results if there's any interest.
Here are the links to my first three courses at Blake's Academy for AAAs: