Thursday, August 11, 2011

Where Dreams are Born

Author: Joyce DeBacco
Genre: Romantic Suspense
How long it's been on sale: Jan. 26, 2011
Current price: $3.99
Total sold so far: 23
Link to book on Amazon: Where Dreams are Born

Product Description:

Fate brings Vicky to the home of Jack Hazlett, a harried widower in need of domestic help. She never expected to find a safe haven for her son—and the man of her dreams.

It was supposed to be a win-win situation—a safe environment in which to raise a son for single mom Vicky, housekeeping and childcare for widowed Jack. Believing they’ve had their shot at happiness, neither is looking to complicate their lives with a romantic entanglement. At first Jack sees Vicky as skinny and plain, guarded with him, but openly warm with his children, an important quality for a man who grew up in the foster care system. However, his growing attraction to the woman who scrubs his toilets and washes his underwear complicates their working relationship. Vicky, too, is reluctant to get involved, having been down that road before with disastrous results.

When Jack learns his friend fathered Vicky’s son and now wants partial custody, he feels threatened. He’s come to care deeply for both, and doesn’t want to lose the family they’ve become. In desperation he offers a radical solution—marriage. Vicky knows she can do worse than marry Jack, but wonders how successful their marriage would be when its only reason for being was to keep from losing her son. Add to this a troubled child keeping a secret about her dead mother, and a vindictive ex bent on revenge…

First 300 Words:

Vicky Lowell cleared her throat and rang the doorbell. When no one answered her first ring, she rang the bell again. This time a baby howled and heavy footsteps approached. The door swung open.

“Mr. Hazlett?” she asked.

“It’s about time you got here,” the harried man shouted over the din.

“Excuse me?”

Taking care not to muss his shirt and tie, the man handed the fussy baby into her arms. Two little girls in their underwear clung to each of his pant legs. “You’re late,” he said. “That means I’ll be late. But I’m willing to overlook that if you can start right away.”

“Mr. Hazlett, I think there’s been some mis—”

“Look, if it’s all right with you we can discuss the details later. I have a very important presentation this morning so I have to hurry. I promise I’ll make it worth your while if you can start immediately.”


“Damn it.” He shook off the clinging children. “Look at that, I’m wrinkled already.”

The man strode into the kitchen and she followed. “But, Mr. Hazlett—”

“I left important phone numbers for you on the desk.” He took a last slurp from a coffee mug on the table, grimaced, and then rushed for the door. “If you need anything else, ask the kids,” he shouted over his shoulder.

Mouth still open, Vicky took note of her surroundings: a kitchen table littered with pizza crusts and cereal bowls, remnants, no doubt, of its occupants’ last two meals, counters piled high with dirty pots and pans, and microwaveable plastic overflowing from the trash can. Clearly, Tuesday must be the cleaning lady’s day off. Though from the overall condition of the room, the woman must have been AWOL far longer than a day.

Surprised people of obvious means could live so haphazardly she turned her attention to the whimpering baby in her arms and the two children staring up at her. The younger one hid behind her sister, a thumb in her mouth and one tiny finger hooked around a button nose.

The baby, suddenly aware of the stranger whose hip she straddled, began to cry in earnest. Vicky bounced the child on her hip.

“Jodie thgared,” Thumb sucker said.

“Jodie—is that her name? And what’s yours, sweetie?”

The child released her wrinkled thumb. “Soo-soo,” she said, before latching onto it again.

“Soo-soo?” Vicky repeated.

“Suzy.” The older girl yanked her sister’s thumb from her mouth with a pop. The indignant thumb sucker did an angry jig before re-plugging her mouth.

Vicki's Comments: I want to like the cover, I really do, however there's something about a picture framed in a heart that screams amateur. I think I would re-do the cover. I would try to portray the romance and the suspense. The hands do a good job of showing the romance but I don't get suspense at all from it, and after reading the description and the reviews I think that's an important part of the book.

I like the premise of this book, but the premise is getting lost in all of the stuff in the description. I feel like it can be boiled down to the nitty gritty. We don't need to know that at first Jack sees Vicky as skinny and plain, or that Jack grew up in a foster care system. Don't add back story into the description. Pare down to the basics - girl gets hired by guy - girl's son is threatened - they marry to solve problem - ex comes after her. This is the basic story from what I can gather, so the description needs to be short and sweet to say that.

I loved the writing. This is the kind of book I would pick up. It starts with a bang, which is how I prefer a book to start. I can see this hooking a potential reader right away. I would buy this book right now if I knew the heat level of the romance. (That might be something to include in the description. There are some who will pick up any romance no matter the heat level, but I'm strictly a sweet romance/closed door girl, so I don't buy romances unless they specify this in the description.)

Over all, I think the description is the biggest thing holding this back, with the cover being the second.

What do you guys think?


  1. Cover #1.

    It doesn't catch me at all. I'd move along. Also, doesn't tell me anything about the genre.

    Blurb #2 (both the back story and the technical issues)

    Again, doesn't catch me at all. Recommend running it by some folks who are used to writing blurbs to help work out the kinks.

  2. I think it sounds like a good book too. I slso think that the cover should be changed, but I would consider a new title as well. The title doesn't grab me.

    I'll bet changing just those two things might give it a boost. Good luck!

  3. Okay, this is just my opinion, but I think this is an example where your price is your biggest liability.

    I looked you up on Amazon and found you have three books out. (Which is great!)

    But your prices are $2.99, $3.99 and $5.95!

    For a relatively new indie, that's asking a lot.

    What I'd suggest is this. Take this book, priced at $3.99, and (since it's probably struggling the most which I assume is why you submitted it) drop it to $0.99. Give your readers a chance to get to know you at a "friendship price."

    Keep the $2.99 book where it's at, but I'd also drop the $5.95 book to $2.99 as well.

    Once you use this book as the $0.99 bait to grow your audience, your two books priced at $2.99 should perk up, as well.

  4. Blurb: Too long. Tighten it up--I'd lose 2/3rd of it.

    Cover: I agree--it's on the cliched side.

    Title: Give me something more specific to *this story*. "Where Dreams Are Born" could describe any number of books. What best describes THIS book?

    Writing: This, I like! :)

    The firmer the niche, the better the "low price point" theory works. Since you've got a firm niche, I'd try dropping the price to no more than $2.99. Give it a little time and see how it does, then experiment with a drop to 99 cents for a month and see what it does then. Every book has a sweet spot. You'll find it, but I'm betting that $3.99 isn't it.

    Good luck!

  5. I have to disagree with the pricing comments. Assuming this is a full-length novel, the majority of the romantic suspense books in this genre are in the $4.99-$7.99 range. At $3.99, she's already lower than her genre's range.

    I'm convinced it isn't her pricing that's holding her back, but rather her cover and blurb.

  6. I pretty much agree with what Vicki said except: I think the cover is the biggest thing holding this back, and the description second.

    Or maybe they are equally holding the book back,but either way I know that I wouldn't even make it to the description with that cover.

    Romantic Suspense/Thrillers are my favorite genre of choice, and I've been reading them for years. If I was browsing, nothing about this cover would let me know it's romantic suspense. Romance, definitely. But not suspense. I'd think this was a contemporary, maybe category. Same with the title. I also don't personally like the cover.

    So that's what I'd do first, change the cover (and maybe the title). Go look at the bestselling kindle titles under romantic suspense--I think that gives a much better idea of what it should be.

    And of course, I'd change the blurb too. Pare it down to about half it's length and focus only on the basic who, the conflict they're facing, and the stakes.

  7. Agree with everyone about the cover. The biggest problem is the red background. It's jarring and only works on Valentine's Day cards. I'd go for a cloudy background without the heart.

    The blurb is definitely too long. It needs to be shorter, tighter and indicate whether this is primarily suspense or primarily romance. The ex wanting his son is more of a conflict than a suspense element unless he plans to kidnap the boy. The secret about the mother's death could be suspense, but I don't know how much that plays into the story.

    I agree that the price is probably holding you back and I second the suggestion that you lower the price to 99 cents for at least a month. You've sold approximately three a month over the last eight months. You would only have to sell 23 in that month at 99 cents to earn the same royalties.

  8. I agree with what everyone else is saying. I wouldn't be attracted to a book with that cover. The heart seems a little hokey. I think you should try something a little more modern and eye-catching.

  9. I agree with the cover. To me it says its about religion and Jesus with the hands in a clouded heart.

    Change the cover, do some marketing/promoting, and put it on sale.

  10. Since most of the plot is in the blurb, why would I want to buy the book? And the cover says slushy romance valentine stuff.

    Which is a shame because the opening is *really* good. Great hook, sharp writing. I love it.

  11. I found that the blurb didn't entice me. I want to know more about what's at stake. Pump up the prose to make people want to read. Also the cover didn't convey romantic suspense, just romance. The writing seemed good, but if people don't get past the cover, they won't sample it.

  12. I pretty much "second" what everyone else said. The writing is good, the rest not so much so. The cover screams romance, in fact very sweet romance which this doesn't seem to be and I had to struggle through a lot of backstory to finally find the suspense element in your blurb. Since the suspense element is important to selling this genre, I suspect you're losing most potential buyers with the cover and a lot more don't find it in your blurb. I'm betting fixing those will help.

    As for pricing, I do suggest lowering the price to $2.99. A lot of readers won't try an indie author they aren't acquainted with over that price.

  13. I'll second most of what everyone else has said.

    Price at 2.99 and see what that does.

    Redo cover and possibly change the title. It just screams amateur and valentine's day to me. I tried really hard to like it too.

    The blurb is just way too long. Drop nearly 3/4 of it and get rid of all the gritty details. They're not needed at the blurb stage of hooking the reader.

    Also, this is just me, but the suspense part of the blurb just doesn't do it for me and makes me seriously question if anything actually happens in the story.

    The ex-boyfriend (I'm presuming not married, it's not clear) wants some level of custody. How is this bad actually? Unless he beats children or is otherwise a clear threat, then in most states he'll get at least a decent amount of visitation. Getting married won't change visitation, but might eliminate the risk of a joint custody.

    Harlequin estimates that nearly 1/5 to 1/4 of romance readers are men(like me), so if you're just bashing the guy without making him clearly a danger to the boy, then you're alienating readers.

    Nothing in the blurb suggests the ex is dangerous, just that he wants to partial custody.

  14. I agree with most everything commenter Christine and Victorine have said. I do feel the cover is the biggest thing holding you back, followed by price and a too wordy discription.

    Romantic suspense is my genre of choice, one look at the cover and I've labeled this story as something I wouldn't read. The graphics date it for me, make me think that the author isn't "with the times" and therefore I assume the writing itself will turn me off - having never read the description.

    And I very much agree with the comment on dropping the price on one of your books. Once I've read (and enjoyed) an author, I'm willing to pay anything for the rest of their books.

    Also, when I search for books, I know I can get a good Rom Sus for $.99 so I limit my fields to that on Amazon Kindle sites. None of your titles would ever appear in my results.

    Having visited this blog, I'm totally interested in your book and will read it now that I know about it. :)

  15. I think its in the memory channel, whatever you dream is actually everything you have seen before, and the memory channel takes random parts of your life that you might not even remember.


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