Sunday, June 9, 2013

A Perfect ‘Textbook Example’ of Mismarketing an Author’s Book

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Excellent Five Star Frontier Wagon Train Romance Survives Minus Five Star Misbranding!

Jan Davis Warren
Volume 2 in a Four Books Series Inspired by Molly Noble Bull.
This is a long short story. About 9000 words.
The readers that "The General's Daughter" was written to please will be delighted with this story. It is well written, well edited, and delightfully unpredictable. I never knew what was going to happen next and this is crucial in a successful short story.

Actually "The General's Daughter" is a longer short story which is just a little shorter than a short novella. (It took me about an hour to read it at a slow enjoyable reading speed.)
The story takes place in the summer of 1829 near Ft. Gibson in Indian Territory. As the story opens the wagon train the heroine is traveling with is attacked by Indians. Things are life and death until the Calvary arrives. There are good action scenes here. The rest of the story covers the unfolding of the romance the story is about. (The blurb tells about this.)
This story was written entirely by Jan Davis Warren and it is well worth the low price.
Now for the mismarketing.
1. Molly Noble Bull did not write or coauthor this story as the cover seems to indicate. Even on my Kindle, Molly Noble Bull, is listed as the author (you can't find the book by searching your Kindle by Jan Davis Warren's name.)
2. This is not a Western. This is a Frontier story. I've read about 1,000 westerns in my life and I know the difference. A genre western should take place after the Civil War and end before 1900.
3. There are no cowboys in this story. This is about the Army, trappers and farmers. It's not about cowboys.
4. This is not a "Shoot `em up" western. A "Shoot `em up" western requires quick draws, modern six-guns, Winchester lever action rifles, and trains. This "Shoot `em up" period was decades after the heyday of wagon trains. The Gunfight at O.K. Corral is a "Shoot `em up" western.
Winchester 1873 "The gun that won the west."
5. This may be an inspiring story but it is not a genre "Inspirational" romance in that the characters spiritual beliefs are not essential to the story. It is a clean story without bad language or sex. People who like Christian Fiction will have no problems with this book.
None of these marketing problems are the author's fault. She wrote a very entertaining story that her fans should really enjoy. I know I did. But then I've been to Ft. Gibson several times and have read a history of the fort. I knew what kind of story it would be regardless of the misleading cover art.
The cover art should have shown a wagon train with some indication that it was under attack. (Not a cowboy!) It would not hurt to have an old wooden fort in the background.
The reference to `Molly Noble Bull' should have been offset in a different typeface and worded something like this:
Story II in the series inspired by Molly Noble Bull.
This would provide the fusion to the other stories the publisher rightly was trying to make without confusing the issue of authorship of the story.
I know this is just a 99 cent story and the publisher may not of thought it was worthy of a more thorough and more costly marketing effort. However, this view is short sighted.
What the cover does is attract readers who are expecting a different kind of story. Such readers could well be disappointed and might reflect this disappointment by giving poor reviews that are really no fault of the author.
On the other hand, the best prospects for this story, and there should be many, may not even notice that this is a story they would enjoy. Thus the best prospects could well be driven away.
In effect, this marketing is attracting non-prospects to the product while potentially driving away the best prospects. Doing this is the unforgiveable sin in marketing. It is better to have marketing that does nothing than have marketing that by misdirection makes things worse.
One last thing: many people will not buy an eBook without knowing how long it is. I've seen ebooks that are only a few pages long. I only bought this story after I emailed the author to find out how long it was. Telling how long a story is should be mandatory for ebooks because doing so is a more powerful way to market the book.
If you want to read a five start Frontier Wagon Train Romance, "The General's Daughter" is the book for you.

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