Last Thursday, the following review of THE BONE GARDEN ran in USA Today:
The discovery of bones in the backyard of a rundown home in rural Massachusetts kicks off this 11th mystery by best-selling author and physician Tess Gerritsen. Just-divorced Julia Hamill searches for the identity of the woman whose century-old remains are found on her property. Gerritsen uses the mystery surrounding the unidentified woman to spin a parallel story that takes place in 19th-century Boston. It centers on a series of grisly murders set against the antiquated medical practices — bleeding patients, unhygienic hospital practices and the stealing of corpses for medical school autopsies — and the cultural prejudices of the time. Lively dialogue and a pitch-perfect narrative make for a highly engrossing novel.
When it ran, my book had been on sale for six weeks, andÂ my Amazon.com sales index (which, yes, IÂ do check way tooÂ frequently)Â had been inching upÂ inexorably toward the 600’s.Â Â But the day that USA Today review appeared, my sales index promptly dropped into the 300’s, where it hovered for a day before again deteriorating toward the 600’s.
I know the temporary improvement in the sales indexÂ probably represented only a dozen or so extra sales.Â Still, Amazon.com is the only way I have to judge the immediate effect of a review or an advertisement.Â USA Today has one of the biggest newspaper circulations in the country.Â Granted, the review only appeared in their Mystery Roundup, but still it had great exposure, and could potentially have been seen by a lot of eyes.
Unfortunately, the effect was temporary. One day, and the effect was gone.
After a month on sale, something else has to take over to make a book keep selling, and that’s word of mouth.Â
(More blogging after I get home from Germany next week!)