There's a famous passage in Lewis Carroll's The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland that has Alice speaking with the Cheshire Cat about direction. She wants directions, but doesn't know where she wishes to go, which presents something of a conundrum. In that same manner, embarking upon a marketing campaign without knowing the desired outcome also presents a conundrum.
In a recent conversation with my publicist, we agreed to start paying attention to two important statistics, because it's difficult to proceed with intent if you don't know what's worked and what hasn't. Benchmark data establishes a baseline so that we know where to start and how to proceed.
To be perfectly candid: book sales lately have been dismal. I realize that my publicist cannot compel people to buy books. I cannot compel people to buy books. But what can we do to persuade people that my books are worth reading? That they're worth the purchase price?
We've looked at pricing. In a months-long experiment, we realized that revenues remained pretty stable regardless of the price of the books. Higher prices meant fewer copies sold, but higher royalties earned. Lower prices meant more copies sold, but lower royalties earned. It was a wash. However, that data convinced me that it was in my best interests to stick with the lower prices to widen market penetration and grow readership.
I'll admit to not being sophisticated at marketing. That's why I have a publicist. She's the expert.
Looking ahead, I may flirt with other genres. I doubt I'll ever abandon romance, if only because my books are character-driven and romance fits perfectly into that style of writing. But perhaps I'll branch out into westerns. I don't consider myself clever enough to come up with a mystery (I'm seldom good enough to pick up on clues and figure out the whodunit), so I probably won't veer toward that genre. I've written fantasy and still enjoy it. Perhaps I'll dig myself in more deeply there, heavy on the adventure, light on the romantic elements. I may segue back to mafia romances: those seem to do better than anything else I've written. Who knows?
Regardless of whether something sells, I will keep writing. Consider it a compulsion if you wish, but I cannot and will not stop. This is what I do. This is what I am.
So, what's coming up?
First, let's get into the SEO keywords that help readers find the books they're searching for: alien romance, abduction romance, reverse harem romance, ménage romance. Good start. These keywords will help direct readers who want to read such stories to the book. Likewise, readers who find such material distasteful shouldn't find the title popping up in their searches.
Now, let's figure out a cover blurb. That's always difficult, because summarizing my own work never come easily. I'll give y'all a breakdown. The story begins with the heroine, Ursula, in the final interview for a new job. The hiring manager gives her the heebie-jeebies, but she sticks through it and accepts the job offer. The job begins immediately, as in right this very minute. She's transported not to another country, but to another planet where the natives are desperate for females, to work in the US embassy there as the new event planner. Within days she must attempt to learn enough about the native culture to avoid giving offense and organize a soiree for several hundred guests. She catches the attention of a warrior triad, as has one of her coworkers. The ambassador hands over the coworker to the natives as collateral to close a negotiation. Worried the same fate as a bargaining chip awaits her, Ursula escapes. Of course, "her" warrior triad catches her and--of course, again--keeps her. (We must adhere so some of the tropes of the sub-genre, folks, in order for this work.) Then Ursula's life goes off the rails. She must adapt to her new life, because there ain't no going back. However--and here's the kicker--her overbearing, dominant warriors must adapt and compromise, too, if they want a happy bride.
Yes, I know the description is far too long and rambling. I'll distill it as I go. (If you have any suggestions for writing the blurb, feel free to email them to me. I won't refuse your help.) However, what makes this book distinct and unique compared to other stories in the same sub-genre isn't the heroine's sacrifice of ... well ... everything. That's standard for most romances, regardless of sub-genre. That in this story which pushes the envelope of the sub-genre is the macho heroes realizing and accepting that they must compromise, too.
I hope to release Triple Burn in mid-April, something to anticipate for spring.