When Deadly Valentine was released in August 2012, I’d hoped that people would like it. The members of my writer’s group and my mom and sister were all positive about the book, but they are biased, right? A few agents said nice things about the book, which gave me hope, but none wanted to take a chance on it. I decided to publish it myself through Amazon and find out what the market thought. After all, it’s the readers who determine a good book. There are indie authors everywhere making good money on great books that traditional publishing passed on (but are now trying to get!).
Most reviews of Deadly Valentine at Amazon are good (4 and 5 stars). Others aren’t so great, but seem to be based on reading preference. A few offer critiques that I’ve studied to determine if I should make changes (so far I haven’t). But the overall consensus is that Deadly Valentine is a fun, little romantic mystery. It’s not Hemingway, but then it wasn’t meant to be.
Bolstered by the book’s success so far, I decided to enter it in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Contest. The contest started in January and every month, cuts are made for each round. In February, from a maximum of 10,000 entries, Amazon cut that down to 400 for each category based on a pitch. Today, Amazon released the next round winners, cut from 400 down to 100 in each category based on a 3,000 to 5,000 word excerpt. I was so excited to see my name and Deadly Valentine on the list of 100.
Having readers buy and enjoy Deadly Valentine is awesome, and I’d rather have that than not make sales but win awards. But moving up in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest from 10,000 to 100 entries is a validation. Like I’m a “real” writer. I’m not sure if Deadly Valentine will make the next cut in April, which is from 100 entries down to 5 based on the full manuscript, but I’m thrilled to have made it this far!
If you haven’t read Deadly Valentine, Amazon is offering a free excerpt.