Ten days after my debut novel Casablanca, My Heart was published by that Right Publishing LLC, this little scribbler is very busy trying to climb the slippery slope of promoting her book. Easy is different and I have no idea whether what I am doing is effective or not. I only know it is taking up all my free time and nibbles away quite some hours of sleep.
Tim (my publisher) made the Kindle edition free for two days in the middle of this week and apparently some folk deemed my product worthy of a download but I’ve had no feedback from readers so far. So I don’t know whether they read it, are reading it, are planning to read it or deleted it.
It hovers around 30,000 on amazon.com and around 12,000 on amazon.co.uk. If I compare these rankings to other books, it doesn’t seem to be doing too badly but when I track it on www.noveltrack.com, that site informs me some 15 copies have been downloaded since its launch, which doesn’t make sense with the rather high ranking numbers. The uncertainty worries me, I can tell you.
I don’t want to pester my friends on Facebook too often with my new baby so I promote sparsely and mostly in special groups where all writers share their links. I also have doubts whether FB is a good platform to tap potential new readers but I like to inform my friends anyway and may set up an Book event next week just for fun. I also post all updates on my FB author page:
On advice of a more experienced writer pal I’ve opened my Twitter account (@hannah_war) for potential readers and joined a writer tribe at Triberr. I’m also updating my Author page on Goodreads.
Here and there, I’ve started to ask people for blogtours and interviews but nothing concrete there. I do hope all the hard work pays off and people will start buying my book, most of all to enjoy the read and hopefully let me know what they think. So far 7 readers have reviewed Casablanca, My Heart on Amazon: six 5-star and one 4-star and 24 likes. The reviews can be read at:
Please stay tuned and I love feedback! Every writer – and especially a debut writer – sleeps better when (s)he had some honest feedback. I also now understand that promoting your work gets in the way of writing but I try to set some minutes aside every day to work on my short story in the series Stand By Me (see elsewhere on this blog).
Here’s one of the wonderful reviews written by Diane Nelson:
An old-fashioned love story
This debut novel has all the elements of my favorite thirties and forties cinematic romances–the worldly playboy: intense, sexy, and compelling. The author: a wide-eyed innocent carrying guilt and psychic pain, a romantic at heart, a gifted writer on the cusp of losing her faith in what the heart demands. Casablanca: the city of legend, of romance, of notoriety. A chance encounter. Sparks fly. The forbidden consummated. But it’s a mistake, an impossibility … withdrawal, regret inevitable.
But was it chance? Was there a reason for Ghalib Tourniquet, the handsome Moroccan prince of mixed French ancestry, to be on that cruise, at that particular time? And why, how, did this man know so much about the author, Femmy Lovecraft aka Heather Simpson? These are not ordinary characters living ordinary lives, rather both are products, ne victims, of a social/intellectual milieu that places them in a rarefied atmosphere from which they might flourish and grow or … disappoint.
Heather in particular suffers from social shyness of an almost debilitating sort though she benefits from the discipline of her upbringing that allows her to `get by’. The bright spot for this intensely romantic young woman is having found her one true love–Luuk– but, borrowing a phrase from Moonlighting, it was a gift she was not allowed to keep.
Ghalib is less successful–prone to self-indulgence and lack of introspection he gambles and makes spectacularly poor decisions when it comes to selecting life partners. And one singularly odd thing he does is fixate on a certain romance author, one Femmy Lovecraft. Heather’s guilt lies in an event three years prior, an accident that left her husband in that half state between life and death. She and Luuk’s sister do the honorable thing and care for the man, finally bringing him home. That kind of toll on one’s energies can be devastating, a fact recognized by Heather’s best friend, Rita: ergo the cruise to Casablanca, the city of her dreams, to give Heather a break and perhaps help her jump start her flagging interest in writing. Ghalib is all too willing to give Heather a private tour, inviting her to his residence in the city, yet withholding his singular fascination about her, the woman, and not necessarily the author.
There is obviously more at play here and this was one area where I found some continuity issues where I questioned who knew what, when. But I was able to skim past that with the promise of consummation which was accomplished with sweet awkwardness and a realization that it was a mistake.
Heather must deal with the death of her soulmate and the birth of a lovechild for whom she devotes all her time and energy. Oddly enough, Ghalib also has a daughter upon whom he dotes. His situation is such that he must come to grips with the unsuitability of the mother: her drug use being a case in point. Ghalib proves himself to be a loving and worthy father, but not without a few more missteps along the way. And during all those years, he’s never forgotten the woman who so captivated his heart and soul. A chance meeting at an airport sets off a chain of events with a most satisfying ending and no, I refuse to spoil the fun … and those `ah moments’.
The first two-thirds of the book are told from Heather’s perspective, the remainder from Ghalib’s which I thought a rather nice touch. Like a lot of old-fashioned’ protagonists, Ghalib does really grow as a character, developing self-perception and eventually securing the good offices of his very wise mother. The undercurrent is about family, about seeing to your children’s futures and learning that love manifests in strange and wondrous ways, that love lost does not preclude love found, and that sometimes there really is an HEA.
The prose is clean and uncomplicated, the characters sympathetic, the flashbacks appropriate. Where I had problems involved certain bits of continuity regarding how and why Ghalib knew what he did during the initial encounter in Casablanca, and why Heather had issues with Luuk’s sister–some of which were addressed during Ghalib’s portion of the story, though I felt that came a little late in the narrative.
This is a lovely read, a splendid way to pass a rainy afternoon, and like those favorite old movies, a book that will lure you back time and again to satisfy that itch for a good old-fashioned romance. 4 ½ stars (a few editing hiccoughs and continuity)
Thank you Diane Nelson!!