Doing The Not-Really-Possible
I’m a big fan of creating a scenario that seems impossible for my characters. Of putting them into situations that push all their buttons and force them to work extra hard to make things happen. That’s so much more fun to read, isn’t it?
But, you know, as much as I love putting my characters into challenging situations I’m not as big on hanging out with the impossible scenario in my personal life. I’m not saying I want everything to be easy *g * But life tends to put enough roadblocks in the path, so why would I go out of my way to add more?
So when I was told that my chances of hitting a major bestseller list, such as USA Today, with a Blaze were slim and, well, really slim, I figured that was info worth listening to. Except I felt so strongly that I could do it. Not just because I had one of those major intuitive hits (although I do love those!) but because I had some really solid factors working in my favor.
I had two solid books in A SEAL’s Seduction and A SEAL’s Surrender. Books that I felt really great about and knew were the strongest I’d written. They had very, VERY hot heroes and solid hooks because those heroes are Navy SEALs. And though they were each standalone, they tied together as the heroes were on the same SEAL team and facing the repercussions of the same tragedy. And the books were out back-to-back, in February and March.
I knew the first book, A SEAL’s Seduction, was going to be a part of the Try Harlequin program the month after the release of the second book. Try Harlequin makes a number of books each year available as a free digital download. So the possibility of major exposure was high.
I hired a fabulous marketing group (waving at Market or Die) to help me build awareness of A SEAL’s Seduction before it went free. Thanks to marketing, killer covers or hot SEALs (or all of the above) both books hit Bookscan the first two weeks of their release, and A SEAL’s Seduction got a Top Pick and a Seal of Excellence nomination from RT.
But despite all of that great stuff, the general feeling was still that my hitting a big list was pie in the sky impossible. One of those ‘why take it on, the challenge is too big’ situations. I could have accepted that. But, well, I didn’t want to 😀 My Amazon numbers kept plummeting, getting A SEAL’s Surrender closer and closer to the top 100 Paid Kindle list as A SEAL’s Seduction climbed down the free list. When it hit #1 on the Free list, I knew I had a shot at some major sales.
But the word on the street was that I still couldn’t hit USA Today. At this point, I was in the stubborn zone, though. I had grabbed onto that challenge and didn’t want to give up. So, in addition to the marketing I was already doing, I tried a couple more angles. I enlisted my street team, I called in favors and begged friends for support. And I had incredible success with Bookbub and Fresh Fiction ads.
At that point, A SEAL’s Surrender broke the Amazon Top 100, got my publishers attention and more importantly, their support.
The results? A SEAL’s Seduction spent over 110 days on the Amazon Top 100 Kindle Free list and A SEAL’s Surrender spent 2 weeks on the USA Today Bestseller List. If I’d listened to ‘people in the know’ I’d never have pushed, never had taken those extra steps (or spent that extra money on ads, or begged extra people *g *).
I’m really not a fan of beating my head stubbornly against a wall trying to make the impossible happen. But when there’s a glimmer of hope? Sometimes the challenge is worth taking on
What do you think? Are you a fan of big challenges in your books? How about in real life?
USA TODAY Bestselling author of over twenty hot books, Tawny Weber has been writing sassy, sexy romances since her first Harlequin Blaze hit the shelves in 2007. A fan of Johnny Depp, cupcakes and color coordination, she spends a lot of her time shopping for cute shoes, scrapbooking and hanging out on Facebook.
Readers can check out Tawny’s books at her website, www.tawnyweber.com, or join her Red Hot Readers Club for goodies like free reads, complete first chapter excerpts, recipes, insider story info and much more.