What Makes It Sell?

primeobsessionI’ve been a published author since 1998.  And in all that time, I have yet to figure out why one book sells more than another book.

To clarify — I am not asking how to promote and sell books in general.  I learned a long time ago that writing the next book — the best book you can — is always a sure way to get visibility and sell both your current book and your back list. Buying ads, social media, complicated Amazon algorithms aside, if you want to get word of mouth, which is the best promo ever — WRITE ANOTHER BOOK.

My particular dilemma is  — why does a series in which I only have two books, has been out for quite a while, and the next one isn’t even done sell much, much better than the series I’m actively writing — and even promoting?

This happenstance does NOT make sense under any theory of promotion.

Specifically, my two science fiction romance (SFR) books, Prime Obsession and Prime Selection, are outselling all books in my Security Specialists International series.

Don’t get me wrong.  SSI books are still selling nicely — thank you SSI fans!  But in the last three quarters, my Prime books are outselling them, and this is even after a new SSI book had come out (and which had stellar sales and still has some legs).

Color me perplexed.

Did the genre wave swing around to all things science fiction romance when I wasn’t looking?MM_TPC2_PrimeSelection_3_x_4

Because last time I checked, SFR wasn’t all that popular.  If I’m hitting the upswing in the SFR genre, please let me know.  I’ll make damn sure my Muse figures out how to keep the Prime series going once the initial trilogy is completed with Prime Imperative (and no, it’s not done yet).  As I’ve mentioned to my Prime fans several times, I hadn’t planned on any more books in the Prime world, but that I would never say never.

I’m sure glad I kept an open mind, because my Prime books seem to have found an enthusiastic audience.

One thing I can say I’ve learned about writing over the years is that there are no guarantees in this business.  Some times a book or a series just hits. Call it Fate, Karma, Good Mojo, or clean living — I’m just happy when it happens to me.

But still color me perplexed. 🙂

15 thoughts on “What Makes It Sell?

  1. I read Prime Obsession during a break between projects, and thoroughly enjoyed it. For me, and maybe for others, the appeal of the story is the strong female. Melina is passionate, but has no problem taking out the bad guy or standing up to her mate. She has a brain and uses it. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that I liked the sci-fi side of the story, probably the Trekkie side of me coming out. I think we need more of the Lost Ones to show up and show the males they are tough when needed but passionate when they want to be. (hint, hint)
    🙂

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    • Thanks so much Rayne. I loved hearing how you found me and that you liked Mel so much. Most of my books have strong heroines. And I am coming around to the idea that I might have to write more books in this world once Prime Imperative is done.

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  2. Something interesting I’ve found is that by varying the type of book I put out, I pull readers to my other stories. Right now, my NA Superhero romances (SF superheroes rather than magic) are doing really well, but some of those readers are buying my first book, a modern Fantasy story that has almost nothing in common with the superheroes. It think it might be a case of people finding one book, enjoying it, then being willing to give the others a shot because they like the author’s writing and don’t care about genre. Using this crossing-genre technique might be a way SFR writers can pull non-SFR readers to work they might not otherwise consider. It’s just something to think about. It wasn’t anything purposeful on my account, I’m just writing the stories that spark my interest, regardless of what box Amazon thinks they should go in. 🙂

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    • I also write the books that call to me and demand to be written. I do really think if a reader likes the author’s “voice” that they will usually like the authors other works. I also tend to write alpha heroes and strong heroines across the board – no matter the genre. So, if someone likes my H/H in one book, they will probably like them in another book. I am sure this is why Jayne Ann Krentz in all her alter egos sells well. And JAK is one person who has crossed all the genres and done well with it.

      Thanks for much for stopping by, Starla!

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  3. I’ve not read your other series but I LOVE, LOVE you Prime series! I read both because several times!I love the Sci-FI romance factor but one of the biggest draws for me is that not only are your heroines strong women they are also TALL….as a taller female I very much appreciate stories that feature women who happen to be tall and also feminine. So many romance writers lately seem to want to make tall women the bad guy and it is a huge turn off to me, in fact I stopped reading books by several authors that I use to read faithfully simply because I’m tired of tall women being betrayed as evil, vindictive and selfish. I check any new series out by first downloading the sample that Amazon offers and if the heroine is described as petite I will not spend my money on the book! I understand that women come in all shapes and sizes but when it comes to what I am willing to spend my hard earned money on (and I spend a lot each month-I read about a book a day) if tall women are not respected and represented in a positive light I won’t use my buying power to support their work. Can’t wait to read the next (cross my fingers, not last book) in the Prime series.

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    • Hi, Eran. I replied to this very nice comment on the SFR Brigade FB page. Thank you again for liking my tall Prime heroines and for posting about it. I hope Bria will meet with your approval also – once I get her and Iolyn’s story finished. 🙂

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  4. I’d hazard a guess that your first suggestion, word of mouth is the best promotion of all, is at work here. Word is trickling around about those Prime books. (which I will now have to read, btw). I bet the cross interaction will soon send your new books into higher and higher sales. Congrats on your success.

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    • Thank you so much. I love that word is trickling around on my Prime books. A lot of work and mental anguish went into those books – Huw in Prime Selection was not cooperative at all and it took my one crit bud kicking me in my posterior to whip him into shape. I hope you are correct and that my Prime books do continue to find more fans. I get some very nice e-mails from my Prime fans and those little bits of encouragement keep me writing.

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  5. Prime Obsession was the first of your books I read. I LOVED it and couldn’t wait for more. My dad has always been a SciFi fan, so I grew up with it and I think that is why I love SFR. If it helps to beg, I would love more books in the Prime world and hate to see the series end. So, please, please, please, please keep writing books in this series.

    To be honest, it really doesn’t matter what you write, I will buy and read it since your voice really works for me.

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    • Thank you, Lisa J!

      I love that you love my voice. BTW I have a friend who has just read one of my books and she said she “heard” me in my book. Yay! That’s the plan. My books should sound like me. That makes them unique, right?

      No begging needed. I know I said Prime Chronicles was going to be a trilogy and that was that, but fans have convinced me — and the fact I’ve gone to the trouble of creating a comprehensive world — that I need to write some more in this world after I finish Prime Imperative.

      I see a novella for Bria’s brother and another for Bria’s assistant (both introduced in Prime Imperative, which is in progress). The brother is not hooking up with the assistant — they will be two totally different stories. And I think Royce Nowicki needs a girl also.

      These Prime novellas will be written in between my SSI longer novels. My SSI fans can get very vocal if I don’t write a book a year at the minimum in that series.

      Thanks again for posting.

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      • Royce should definitely get a girl. As a reader of the SSI series, I agree we need more from that world, too. Conn needs a girl.

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