Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I Loved You First (Coming of Age Love Story)
Author: Reena Jacobs
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
How long it's been on sale: July 29, 2011
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Marketing has been sporadic, and I haven't marketed much these days. I'm just not sure how to do it effectively. Paid advertising through Adwords and Goodreads. Giveaway through Goodreads. 45-day Blog tour (organized by myself) which included reviews, blog posts, excerpts and giveaways. Review requests. Tweets, Facebook. KDP Select promotion. Playing with the price (anywhere from $0.99 - 6.99). Newsletter. Goodreads events. I've tried two different blurbs. A couple of trailers (though rather dinky). Really I've been all over the place. I'm just not sure where to concentrate my efforts.
Total sold so far: 125
Link to book on Amazon: I Loved You First (Coming of Age Love Story)
My best friend was more than just a best friend to me. Three words summed it up: I heart him. I'd never tell him though. I wasn't stupid. Besides, what he'd told no one, but me, was a little something I wished I could forget... or ignore. He was gay. I guess gay wouldn't be bad if I wasn't so in love with him. Now it was just cruel.
Stereotypes run amok in this college love story: Parties, alcohol, hookups, and breakups. Alexandria Carmichael may find it a bit much as she deals with the unreturned love from the boy who completes her. When all is revealed, not only does she risk losing her best friend forever, but also herself. Without her childhood companion for support, Alexandria takes a journey of self-discovery but fears what she'll find at the end.
He was all around me, creating a jumble of feelings. I wanted to bolt from the unfamiliar intimacy, while the desire to nestle in the safety of his protective enclosure grew strong. My head became airy like a balloon on the verge of floating away.
I remembered to breathe, but there wasn't enough air between us. Swept in the dizziness of it all, my eyes played tricks on me. He seemed closer than he'd been only a millisecond ago. No illusion. He was leaning toward me.
Closer. Closer. His eyes focused on my mouth, making me self-conscious. I licked my lips, and he paused, his pupils dilating in the bright light.
My heart went into a panicked convulsion. Oh lord. He's going to kiss me.
The soft fleshiness of his mouth brushed against mine, and a tingling started in my stomach. Was this what they meant by butterflies?
First 300 Words:
The music blared throughout the house at full blast-Pretty People by Dexter Freebish. Yep, that pretty much summed it up. They surrounded me. Only thing, I didn't want to be like them. Sometimes I was just so tired of the games the so-called "pretty people" played. Yet here I was, the girl hiding in a corner, decorating a wall.
The party was in full swing. Already people had consumed enough alcohol to loosen inhibitions but not enough to send them puking over the balcony. It'd get there though. I'd been to enough of these parties to know it was only a matter of time.
Through the mass of bodies, I could just make out the guys in the kitchen guzzling beer bongs. A few of the more slutty chicks hung off to the side laughing and cheering them on. Once in a while, one of the braver girls joined in and made a mess of her outfit. The whole thing was stupid, and they'd certainly regret it in the morning.
So why was I here?
The answer pushed through the crowd-my best friend, Seth. BFF since I'd saved him from a beat down in the first grade. Well, actually, I'd bitten the girl's arm who'd bullied him. Nothing like a nip to send a kid crying. I'd gotten in trouble but earned a forever friend in the process. Totally worth it.
Seth chatted to random frat boys as he made his way to me. He was one of the "pretty people." Sandy blond hair, blue eyes, six foot, and a rising star on the baseball team-he was what girls wanted, and he knew it.
I, on the other hand, was just his sidekick. Nearly invisible. I didn't mind so much. It was the same role I'd played in high school. Why should college be any different? He got me into all the good parties I'd preferred to avoid, and I stood by his side as his gossip buddy.
Comments: I like the cover. I think it's well designed, and I like the woman's face. It is lacking a man's face, but since this is labeled "Love Story" instead of "Romance" I'm guessing having a man's face on the cover isn't necessary. It's a bit monochromatic, but I like it, so I don't think I'd suggest a change. The cover works for me. But I would get more opinions on it.
I like that the first paragraph of the description is written in the main character's voice. I'm worried that it reads a bit young, though. "I heart him" seems like something a young teen would say. That could just be me, though. I'd check with some others to see if they feel the same. I like the fact that it sets up the tone for the character, and introduces the conflict.
I'm not sure the second paragraph is working for me. I think I would get some more opinions on it, and try to tweak it. I think it can be better. I think it seems too "telling" after the stronger first paragraph.
I would definitely cut the excerpt from the description. If people want to read a sample, it's super easy to download a sample or click on the book cover to view the inside. It's off-putting to me when an excerpt is in the description. It's almost like the author doesn't think the cover and blurb are strong enough to sell the book so they put an excerpt in because, by golly, if you start reading you won't want to put it down. And if that excerpt is from the middle of the book it makes me think the author doesn't think the beginning is strong enough to hook a reader. I'd cut it and make the description strong enough to sell the book.
I like the voice, but there are some editing issues that tripped me up in the sample. (Example: blast-Pretty and crowd-my.) And a few instances of writing that could be tightened up. (The word "just" is used three times in this small sample.) I'd suggest hiring an editor to smooth out some of those kinks. There's not much going on in the beginning, which could be a problem. It's okay, but the main character is bored at this party, so I feel like I'm bored reading about it. I think it's good to start in a place where there's conflict or action, or something happening. I feel like nothing much is happening, but I'm also the kind of person who would not feel comfortable at a party like this, so I suppose it could just be me.
I suggest reworking the second paragraph of the description, and cutting the excerpt. I would have an editor pass through the book, and maybe get some more opinions on the beginning. I do think the voice is strong, but needs a bit of writing help. Maybe a critique group would be good.
What do you guys think?