August isn’t a bad month – it’s a month with opportunities for improvement!
August, I am told, is not a very good month for book sales. My numbers definitely reflect that, except that while successful and well marketed individuals are hitting lower than average sales mine are so damn low it’s hard to even see them! Kindle Direct Publishing has turned me into a neurotic mess by offering near real-time reporting and every time I check it’s a slap in the back of the head.
To combat it I’ve been in touch with an increasingly successful author by the name of Michael Hicks (http://authormichaelhicks.com/). Great guy and he’s got good taste in books since he writes sci-fi and fantasy also. Anyhow, he’s thrown some tips my way that have been invaluable, including pointing out that the blurbs on my books on Amazon were short and vague. I checked and was apalled – they were exactly what he said! Clearly I must have put them in there like that, but I don’t know how or why – especially when I have longer versions elsewhere. As soon as I got past my WTF moment I went in and rewrote them all, and now a day later most, if not all, are showing up with the new descriptions. Shame on me, but at least I can still learn from my mistakes.
So I changed my book descriptions and then I registered on the Kindleboards and listed my books there, but still I didn’t feel I was making any progress and my outlook was bleak. Next I decided to try and rework my promotions into something more fun. Something that included reviews and quotes from them. To that end, back in April I received a review on Human Nature from a place called The Romance Studio. I thought it was a pretty good review and I was pleased with it, then I went on with my life. Turns out I moved too quickly. Yesterday I was looking to quote some reviews so I could be a little more specific in some promotions I’m sending out and I found the full review, whereas before I only saw a snippet of it. It turns out the review was phenomenal! We’re talking full service with a happy ending kind of phenomenal! 5 star review (or hearts, as they use on that website). I’ll even copy and paste it in it’s entirety, or you can click this link to go directly to it: http://www.theromancestudio.com/reviews/reviews/humannaturehalstead.htm
“Before the world was invaded by malign aliens, Dawn was happy being a doctor and a fiancée. Her life changed when the world succumbed to despair and fear, making her shed her innocence in order to save lives. However, Dawn is in pain after having lost her fiancé to one of the hideous creatures trying to wipe out the human race, and afraid to reach out and connect with another human being. Angie is a reckless soldier and Dawn’s best friend in their military base. Unknowingly in love with Dawn, Angie tries her best to draw her out of her shell and to make her believe in love and in humanity again. Before she’s successful however, she gets captured and is believed to be dead. Dawn’s ultimate fear of losing someone else close to her is what finally opens her eyes to the truth that’s been in her heart all along. Will she be able to save Angie in time? Worse, will she be able to teach her group of survivors about the value of human life, and convince them it is worthwhile to risk it all for the sake of one?
Human Nature is a truly magnificent book. I am amazed at how much depth and complexity all the characters and the plot have. This isn’t just a book about aliens invading the Earth. This is a story about how to be human in a world where humans aren’t relevant anymore, and how to show humanity and compassion for a fellow human being in a world where everything is characterized by hardship and a mad need to just stay alive. Angie and Dawn are incredible characters, and it was really impressive to see them battle and cope with realistic and mundane issues in a world that’s gone crazy with aliens who want to eat you alive around every corner. The most amazing aspect of this story is how such a fantastical and surreal plot can be so grounded and so real. That’s possible due to Mr. Halstead’s talent in portraying the important message that human nature is, in truth, a man’s and a woman’s need to connect with one another. No matter what circumstances humanity finds itself in, as long as we make sure we are not alone, the basic aspect that makes us human will never die.
One small feature that could be improved is the narration’s point of view. There are parts where the point of view does shift away from Dawn, and because of that I think the other characters deserved more individual attention, more personality, and a stronger voice than what they have. Even Angie, who is supposedly a major character, is somewhat flat when compared to Dawn, and that inequality doesn’t make sense since their relationship is paramount to the book. Yet, this book is so well written that this minor lack of development and the minor technical errors I found do not detract from its quality in any way.
Sensuality rating: Mildly sensual
April 4, 2011″
So is August getting any better for me? Subjectively speaking not really, but it’s proving to be educational and very supportive of self-improvement. I’m occasionally a cocky guy but I’m also always trying to learn and better myself. Thank you for helping me become a better person, August.