What happens when your book just stubbornly refuses to fly?
Last year I wrote and published 'Beautiful Freaks', a gothic romp through Victorian London. Defined as a gothic detective fairy tale, I admit that the genre is a little niche. However, to date I have sold less than a hundred copies, despite it being what I think is my best work to date.
The novel centres around a series of paranormal murders that strike London ten years after the Whitechapel Ripper murders. It follows the loveable, gentle Inspector Steptree as he gets drawn further and further into a dark and dangerous underground world inhabited by the characters of Kaspian Blackthorne and Evangeline Valentine.
Evangeline runs a gentleman's club in the Haymarket district of London, infamous for its 'Palace of Beautiful Freaks', a show like no other, full of exotic and tragic creatures that captivate Kaspian and his companion Hugo Denvers. However the show is far more real than they can possibly imagine as Evangeline is a collector of all things fairytale.
Woven throughout the classic murder narrative are fairytales with a very contemporary feminist twist. Taking some of the archetypal female characters and giving them the YA lit treatment, these women explore their own power and sense of self as they flee the shackles of their fairytale life only to be shackled by another.
Now objectively I would say that if the book isn't selling then clearly there is something wrong with it; and I'm not arrogant enough to discount that point - at the end of the day I'm a firm believer that cream will rise. It went on blog tour earlier this year, visiting around 30 different blogs, many of which reviewed it; the great majority of reviews came back very favourable, giving it mostly 4 and 5 star. They liked the fact that it was refreshing and a change from a lot of stuff out there on the market, and yet... still it isn't selling.
Now if I'd just peddled this out for a quick buck to ride the success of the Knight Trilogy (which even after 3 years of publication is selling very well) then I would happily let it slide, but I love this story and I genuinely believe that others will love it too. I was literally haunted by the twisted, dangerous character of Evangeline for months whilst writing it,
and Kaspian is a classic Wildean Dorian Gray so I need to find out why?
I would love for some honest feedback from people who know best - everyday readers. So if you think that you'd like to try your hand at critical feedback then give me a shout and I'll wing a free copy to you. Feel free to be as honest as you like - the more hits and pains, the better it will be for me.
UPDATED 18th JULY: Pleased to announce that 'Beautiful Freaks' has just got through to the semi-finals of the 2013 Kindle Book Review Awards (in the Young Adult category). Now all I have to do is wait until September.