by Jean Henry Mead
Every writer covets a great review from Publisher’s Weekly but how many readers base their purchases on reviews? Nothing I've written so far has grabbed PW’s attention although my new release, Murder on the Interstate, has earned some good comments, starting with a blurb from bestselling mystery novelist, Carolyn Hart:
“Careen into crime with two intrepid sleuths who outwit terrorists in a fast-paced plot taken from today's headlines. A page turner."
Unfortunately, it didn’t jump start book sales, nor did Lefty Award Winner J. Michael Orenduff's colorful review, which I love:
“Murder on the Interstate burns rubber right out of the gate and exceeds the speed limit on every page. With all the car chases, gun shots, screeching breaks, and crashes, the movie version could be the sequel to one of those car-heist action-films. Except for the fact that the protagonists are two women approaching Medicare, and their vehicle is a motorhome. Dana and Sarah are stalwart, clever and funny characters, and author Jean Henry Mead caroms them from one tight situation to another as they weave along the Interstate and into a high stakes mystery.”
I thought, WOW, that ought to stir up interest, but it must have only reminded readers of the tire tracks on the cover. Marilyn Meredith’s great blurb came next:
“Full of surprising twists and turns, Jean Henry Mead has produced an RV adventure with her two senior sleuths in hot pursuit of a murderer, but the tables turn and the two women learn that not only are they in danger but so is our national security. An exciting mystery that will keep you turning pages."
Book sales numbers barely budged. I thought maybe the counter was broken or everyone hated the cover. I received several additional reviews, including one of my favorites from Earl Staggs, who said:
"I don’t expect an amateur sleuth novel to start fast. I expect to spend time getting to know the protagonist, then get a feel for the setting, and maybe get to know another character or two before the story begins to move forward. That doesn’t happen in MURDER ON THE INTERSTATE. Jean Henry Mead kicks it off in high gear and doesn’t slow down. This is the kind of novel I enjoy. . .”
By then I was in the midst of a virtual book tour and Molly’s online review had this to say:
“This was good. REALLY good. REALLY REALLY good. So good, in fact, that I have GOT to go back and get the first two in this series! It was a LOT better than I was expecting. It really gripped me and kept me hanging on, until I was, sadly, on the last page. I couldn't believe the ups and downs and twists and turns it took me on. FANTASTIC!”
Readers didn’t take Molly seriously, so I decided the book’s salvation rested with Kindle and Nook. Murder on the Interstate made its official debut on Kindle today, here, and the UK, and will hopefully be a Nook book soon.
Are readers forsaking print editions for ebooks? How about you? Do you still prefer print or have you joined the ebook revolution?
And do reviews influence your book buying habits? Writers (and publishers) want to know. :)