31 July 2014

Returning: Feedback, Booksales and Next Steps

Can you believe it has already been five months since Returning was first published?!




I just want to shout out a huge THANK YOU to everyone in my local community - family, friends, acquaintances - who have bought my book. In particular, all the school mums at MissyMoo1's school who have supported me - you ladies are sunshine and I am so thankful to be part of such a close, supportive, friendly community! Also, thank you so much to those of you in the blogging community who have bought, read and reviewed Returning and who have offered so many kind words of support and encouragement over the past few months.




So, how's it all going?

Feedback

The response from people who have read the book has blown me away. I just want to share with you some of the comments I have received so far from readers.

Here are some publicly available reviews:
"I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was left feeling that I’d said goodbye to a friend or two when I put it down. I still find myself wondering what the protagonists are up to beyond the end of Suters’ story.  This is a self-published book, but it’s one of the most polished I’ve seen in awhile. The writing is good and the editing tidy. Most importantly, the story is really fresh and the characters beautifully drawn. I can’t wait to see what Francesca does next." - Extract from This Charming Mum's review

"I found this book intriguing on many levels. The skill with which we are transported into Rita's 16 year old life made me feel as though I was sitting in her bedroom and brought back memories of my own teenage years. The insecurities, the dreams, the chance to do things differently. It is a book that stays in your thoughts long after the final page is turned. A book that sucked me in and took me on a nostalgic roller coaster ride of emotions. I definitely want to read this book again and look forward to future books from this new Australian author!" - Gina, review on BookDepository

"Thirty years ago I was a teenager and now I am parenting teenage children. "Returning" really got me thinking about teenage years and how and if we would change things if we could relive them. I couldn't put the book down - a great read. Like the previous reviewer, I too look forward to more books from Francesca Suters" - Monica, review on BookDepository
Here are some private messages I have received from friends - I won't add names here, as I haven't asked permission to publish their names.

"Hi Francesca, I’ve just finished your book. Wow!! It was awesome!!! I have no idea how you came up with the idea, but it was soo good!! No pressure, but can’t wait for the sequel!"
"Wow! Just finished Returning. Loved it. Do we really have to wait that long for a sequel? Twas amazing. You’re a super talent in so many ways."
"Loved my holiday reading. Thank you for such a great read. Couldn’t put it down."
"Hey Francesca, I just finished reading your book and just wanted to say it was great! Thoroughly enjoyed it, kind of wish I could go back now and do it again like the story. :)) It was great to read a book written by someone I know, an awesome achievement and you should be so proud of yourself. Can't wait for next one." 
 "Loved it so much. You write so well, the story flows, the intrigue is there, the emotion is there. But for me it was a bit more - I feel it was a book I was meant to read now ... I think you have found your purpose in life in your writing, it is a gift and I encourage you to courageously continue it! Thank you for sharing your story with me!"
"Just wanted to let you know I finished your novel this morning, thoroughly enjoyed it but it left me with wanting to read more, well done to you congratulations."
"Just finished a great book - it was so nice to escape for a while in some fiction. Thank you Francesca Suters for writing Returning- I just loved it."
"If anyone is looking for a new book to read, I have just finished Returning, by Francesca Suters - Author Page. It was a great read and it kept me going till the end. I just hope that in the next few years Francesca can pen and publish the sequel, because I want to know what happens next!"


I love the fact that people have taken the time to respond to me about how the book has made them feel. It is moving and heartening to know that this huge piece of work (and consequently, a huge piece of me) has had an impact on people.

Booksales

This is where it all falls down! Let's just say I won't be quitting my day job to become a professional author.

Things got off to a flying start with local sales and the book launch. But in the last two months, I've only sold two books each month through online sales. Let's just say that at that rate, it's going to take quite a while to make back the rest of my out-of-pocket amount spent on self-publishing. So much for the bells and whistles. It's not about money, though. This exercise was always about just actually having the book published and being able to make it available to others. It would be nice to sell a few more though ;-)

Next Steps

I haven't ruled out sending a second edition manuscript to a publisher - the self-publishing exercise has definitely given me clarity around the target audience for the book and its appeal on varying levels. I could fix a few typos, put together an awesome pitch/synopsis and see what happens...

I still daydream about Returning being available in an actual shop - being able to walk in and see it there on a shelf. And with the sequel underway, a publisher could release books one and two in quick succession while interest had been drummed up (just sayin').

Over the past few months I've been blowing my own trumpet all over social media and beyond, but I would hate for people to become turned off by all that trumpeting, so I have tried to be measured in my approach.

The thing is, there's only so many times I can blow my own trumpet, because the sound will generally fall on the same ears, won't it?

So, right now, I'm a little frustrated and at a bit of a loss as to what to do next.

I believe in this book. I believe it is something many people would enjoy reading. I know it has the potential for quite a wide readership - young adults through to mothers of young adults. And it is obvious to me from the feedback I have received, that there are plenty of people out there who agree with me.

I just need to get it out there!

Call to Action

I've realised that I can't be the only trumpet blower. I need a whole brass section at my disposal!!

This is where you guys come in :-)

If you've read and enjoyed the book, don't be backward in coming forward. Here are a few ideas about things you might wish to do to help get the word out about Returning:

Rate and/or review the book
This could be on Goodreads, a blog, a bookseller website such as BookDepository or Amazon or other book recommendation websites which you may use. You don't have to be a book critiquing expert to write a review - every reader is entitled to their opinion and it need only be a few lines. If you're uncomfortable reviewing, then rating may be more up your alley - just a quick click to rate the number of stars you would give the book.

Tell your friends
Whether it be a conversation in the supermarket, school carpark, local playground or workplace - don't be afraid to tell people you know about the book you've just discovered and how easy it is to buy it online! If you're in a bookclub, why not recommend it as a possible book to read? The abundant themes in Returning will definitely provide many talking points. I understand not everyone has book-buying in their budget, though, which leads me to my next idea.

Recommend Returning to your local library
Many libraries are happy to take recommendations from members about new books to buy. Why not put in a request for your library to purchase Returning? Some libraries allow you to do this online, for others you may wish to go in and speak to one of the librarians. If you don't tell them about it, they'll probably never know...

Share information
If you're on Facebook, Twitter or Google+ and you "like" something from my author page / profiles, share them (share, retweet, +1) - just one click could expand the audience in a huge way.

My Facebook Author Page

My Twitter

My Google+

In Conclusion

If you want to buy my book and you don't know how to go about it, visit my website. It has information about Returning and direct links to online stockists.

This is a self-published book. With three little kids and a part-time job, unfortunately I don't have the resources or the time to do book tours, advertise or use other traditional means of getting the word out about my book. I have tried very hard and spent a lot of time telling people in person, via social media and doing guest blog posts to expand the reach. But that "phase 1" or "honeymoon period" since the book's publication has come to an end. I now need you to be my "ripple effect", to help to spread the information further afield.

Thanks for all your support so far. ☺



6 comments:

  1. Having self-published two books myself, I know exactly what it's like. Writing the book is the easy part hey?! But I don't regret it for a second, it was a fantastic experience and I know my books have helped/blessed many people.

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    1. That's great, Janet, good on you!

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  2. I will share Returning on social media Francesca. But, I say big yes to try to get it to a publisher and best of luck with that. These are great reviews!

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    1. Thanks Rita. I hope you enjoy it :-)

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  3. I have just brought my copy on itunes hun and I cannot wait to read it xx

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    1. Woohoo! Thanks Sonia. I hope you like it xx

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