I have just received a letter from my publisher saying that sales of Heaven Falls have topped 1,000. They’re at 1300, to be precise.
Along with dozens of other independently and traditionally published authors, much of my focus once a novel is published is wondering who will buy my book and why?
I have friends who are 100% committed to promoting their books through social media, but they are the first to say (sadly) that the number of friends or followers one has does not translate into number of books sold.
I have author friends who travel far and wide, promoting their books in bookstores and to book clubs; sales are steady but flat.
Many bookstores aren’t interested in hosting book-signings for independently published authors – but even if they are, only a dozen books are sold, or perhaps two dozen if you’re lucky or well-known.
My publisher and promise keeper at Telemachus Press, Claudia Jackson, advised me from the beginning to promote the e-book version of Heaven Falls – particularly the Kindle version. She also advised me to keep the price low. Yesterday I was conversing with a friend who remarked, “I have 3 sort-of limits on impulse. <$3 for books where I know author, <$2 for books strongly recommended, <$1 pure impulse.”
Which means that if you want to entice a complete stranger to buy your book on impulse, it had better be priced under a dollar.
All very fascinating. Price makes a difference, even though it won’t make you rich.
But before that decision is made, what has brought potential buyers to one’s web site, or to the publisher’s web site, or to the Amazon or B&N web site, so that they click that BUY button? In this new world of unmarketing and unpromotion, how does anyone make that decision? Particularly with the mind-boggling selection of books available?
One thing that matters to me when I purchase anything nowadays (not just books) is customer reviews. The beauty of this new age of marketing is that there can be a direct experience between the product and the purchaser. The filmy gauze of hype, marketing, gimmicks are gone. Writers are at the mercy of their own talent, not at the mercy of a promotional campaign.
It’s possible that positive reviews make a big difference in sales. Perhaps one reason Heaven Falls is gaining so much momentum (from 3 sales in the first month to over 30 copies sold each day) is due to some great reader reviews, both on Amazon and on personal review blogs. I don’t know for sure, but I do wonder. I’d love to conduct a survey!
In any case, here are a few reviews I’ve found about what readers are saying about Heaven Falls:
This book is a rollercoaster of romance and intrigue, where both heartbreak and danger lurk behind every twist and turn of the story. Written by a wonderful and talented writer, Heaven Falls is sure to tantalize and tease, and finally satisfy. ~ Heloise Riddell, Writer and Illustrator
“Couldn’t put it down!”
The suspense was great. I just had to keep reading to find out what was going on and why the family was acting strange. I found myself saying “just one more chapter” but ended up reading for hours. You definitely need to start this book when you actually have time to read because you won’t be able to put it down. I could never have guessed how the story was going to unfold. I was truly left surprised….I can honestly say that reading this book was one thrilling ride. A page-turner that kept me reading for hours at a time! I finished this book in less than two days, that’s how amazing it was…This is my first time reading a book by Winslow Eliot and it sure won’t be my last. ~ Melanie Vatour
“A gripping, contemporary rags-to-riches novel”
Winslow Eliot’s new novel, Heaven Falls, is a gripping, contemporary rags-to-riches novel, part romance, part mystery, part family saga, that kept me turning the pages until the end. Eliot’s prose is carefully crafted – descriptive, balanced, and subtle – and faithfully captures the seductive tensions and the emotional turmoil of high-society life fully and completely realized. This is a story you will wish you had lived! This is a novel you will need to share with your friends! ~ Peter Damian Bellis (author of the novel The Conjure Man and the short story collection One Last Dance with Lawrence Welk & Other Stories, a Minnesota Book Award Finalist)
“A Wild Ride!”
“I’m not overly excited about reading romance stories, but this book took so many twists and turns it became more of a mystery novel to me. Who is the mysterious Ari, and what are his reasons for hovering over Freya and Tess? What is the story behind Philip, the scarred, wheelchair-confined brother who wants to marry Tess? Mystery abounds, and doesn’t give an inch till later after murder attempts, kidnapping across the globe and deceitful goings on in the family. I give this book a resounding endorsement, definitely a wild ride.‘ ~ Bob Moats, author of Classmate Murders, and others
Just finished reading Heaven Falls by Winslow Eliot – a brilliant book, couldn’t put it down … suspense, intrigue, fast pace, what more could you want! The little stories and facts about the essential oils were fab too, although I was so involved in the story that at times I didn’t read them till I’d finished the whole book. ~ Laura-ann Mc Donnell, Dublin, Ireland
Fans of Winslow Eliot (Bright Face of Danger) will be thrilled to know she has published another sensational novel, Heaven Falls. This dramatic story features single mom heroine Tess Duncan, who takes a trip to the world’s most exclusive spa and finds her entire life changed forever. This is the type of book that will have your family members shouting, “Can’t you put that book down for five minutes?” –And of course the answer is no, you can’t. I don’t review many books. But this one is definitely 5 Stars! –I’d give it 6 if they had a place for it. ~ John Locke, author of Lethal People, Lethal Experiment, Saving Rachel, and Now and Then
“A Dream World”
I loved reading this book. It is a true romance novel with lots of suspense. You will find yourself in a dream world. Well written and fun to read also. ~ Terri Himes, 5-star Amazon Reader Review
Heaven Falls was a wonderful leap into the lives and intrigue of many generations of characters. I was engrossed! I loved the locations you went to and your fluid descriptions of the places as well as the people, and the weaving together of their story. And, of course, the tension of the romance! So fun. ~ Ginny Guenette
“This book was fantastic!!!”
Heaven Falls is a thrilling adventure imbued with romance and mystery. It has a strong plot and a climactic ending with many mysteries unfolding right up to the end. The protagonist Tess is strong-willed and likable, and one of those characters that stays with you long after you finish the book. The exotic health resort setting makes the story glamorous and intriguing, a definite winner for any fan of romantic thrillers. I couldn’t stop reading once I’d started. Winslow Eliot is truly the voice of romantic mysteries. The offbeat courtship that develops between Tess and Jason ignites a passionate romance, and keeps you turning pages right up to the climactic, exciting end. There is something in this book for everyone, and I highly recommend it. ~ Samantha Stier, 5-star Amazon Reader Review
“Compelling and satisfying”
“I couldn’t put it down – compelling and satisfying!” ~ Nadia Bedard
“An entertaining story can also be a wonderful learning experience”
Let me start this review with a disclaimer: romance novels have never been high on my list when browsing Amazon.com for a new read. Yet, the story of Heaven Falls piqued my curiosity; with its international settings and large cast of not-so-lovable characters (I’m a sucker for a well-written drama of dysfunctional family life).
I do, however, love a good mystery, and Heaven Falls contained an abundance of complex plot twists, that had me re-reading earlier chapters, and guessing (sometimes with accuracy, sometimes not) “whodunit.”
Although the story toggles between New York City and a variety of exotic worldwide locations, the majority of the action takes place in, and around, the fictitious, exclusive health spa of Heaven Falls. Located in upstate New York, the author’s detailed description of seasonal changes, within the breathtaking countryside surrounding the resort, instantly transported me into her main character’s world…a world that I hated to leave once I had finished the novel.
Much like the “Romantic Interludes” featured within the mysterious resort; I was pleased that Winslow Eliot’s romance thriller was spiced with brief interludes of sensuality, instead of the explicit, erotic sexual encounters that seem to be so prominent in the majority of modern romance novels. As a student of Geek and Roman ancient history, I especially enjoyed the short paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter. Each chapter header focused on a specific herb; its history and its primary uses over the centuries as an essential oil. I went so far as to bookmark each chapter for future reference when writing my next novel; proving that an entertaining story can also be a wonderful learning experience.
As to Winslow Eliot’s writing style…it is a mixture of: part Mary Higgins Clark, in that both authors weave a web of intrigue within their spellbinding thrillers; part Virginia Woolf, in sentence structure and character development; with a dash of Danielle Steel, delving into the dregs of human nature.
I highly recommend Heaven Falls. It is one of the few novels that I started reading the moment I awoke, and could not fall asleep that evening until the last page was read. ~ Dee Marie, Author of Sons of Avalon: Merlin’s Prophecy
“A story not to be missed”
Heaven Falls is a mystery and a love story, both told against a backdrop of opulence and exclusivity, with a plot that has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Winslow Eliot has put together a wonderful cast of characters who play their parts well; some we love, and some we love to hate, making Heaven Falls a story you should not miss. Once you check in to Heaven Falls…you may never want to check out…! ~ WebbWeavers, Books, Movies, & Music Reviewed
I’m not a romance novel reader. When I read a description about the setting & the characters of Heaven Falls I made an exception & got the book.I mis-stereotyped what a romance novel means (at least this one) as I was expecting interludes of descriptive love making, not that this is a bad thing, just not my thing for reading.
Instead I read a story full of believable characters, each with a past worth wanting to know what the future would hold for each; very creative twists and turns that made it difficult to put the book down. The weaving in and out of each person & chain of events; the mystery that kept building, merging them all together at the same time I found most intriguing. It was a great escape into a world of family dysfunction that we all have on some level. Winslow Elliot created real people with struggles, passions, angst, some with too much, others with too little & yet, in the end? Well, you’ll see when you read it. ~ Susan J. Kressler, 5-star Amazon Reader Review
“A real page turner”
I couldn’t put this book down. I was so curious to read what would happen next. I really enjoyed it. An especially good summer beach book. ~ Kirin, 5-star Amazon Reader Review
“Sleepless Nights With Heaven Falls”
Bravo to author Winslow Eliot for this sensual thriller! From an exclusive spa to exotic international locales this novel swept me into a world of intrigue, romance and glamor. The book is also a primer to aromatherapy, as each chapter begins with a description of the origin, medicinal uses and aroma-therapeutic uses of a specific essential oil. As one continues to read each chapter it becomes apparent why each oil was selected as heroine Tess Duncan needs the nourishing and balancing capacities of the specified oil in order to get through the trials which unfold in the novel. The pithy chapters engage the reader whetting ones appetite to continue. If you read it before bed I can guarantee sleepless nights as you don’t want to put it down. Although I never left my house, I felt the same rejuvenation of a massage as I read this book and lost myself in Heaven Falls. I can’t wait for Eliot to write her next book! ~ K. Weinstein, 5-star Amazon Reader Review
“A Great Romance Mystery”
Heaven Falls is a captivating page turner! An added treat is that each chapter begins with a description of a particular essential oil. The essential oil – one that is grown at Heaven Falls Spa – and its medicinal/spiritual use gives the reader a hint of what is coming next. Don’t miss this one! ~ Lynn D Meyers, 5-star Amazon Reader Review
“A Must Read”
Heaven Falls is a must read! I NEVER EVER would have guessed the twists and turns & I can usually figure out the deal at least by the third chapter but this….I’m still thinking about it! ~ Joy Lyon