On occasion I go to Amazon as if I were just a customer and not an author and snoop a little to see how my boos are doing. As an example I’ll use one of my better selling books. (I don’t say best seller- I’ll get into that in a minute.) The book is Terezin Twilight and it’s a historical romance set in Terezin, one of Hitler’s concentration camps. but one with an interesting story behind it. Even Hitler realized that there were a number of Jewish writers, artists, musicians and actors, as well as prominent Jewish veterans of WWI. If those people all disappeared at the same time, it might have aroused suspicion on the part of the rest of the world. The Nazis came up with a plan. They would tell these people that they were being relocated to wonderful new place for the duration of the war, for their safety. It was described as a spa, with a town, opportunities for work, and more than acceptable accommodations. Of course, this was a lie. Terezin was a garrison town, designed to comfortable house a few thousand people. By early 1942 it was filled to many times its capacity. There were no gas chambers, that is true, but there was still starvation, work, disease and the ever present fear that one would be shipped on the Auschwitz. There were two commandants who were both known for their hatred of the Jews and their tempers. But what was allowed was artistic endeavors. The Nazis allowed the creative side of the camp’s population to have art shows, musical performances, literary meetings, which they also attended. In Terezin Twilight, I have as the main characters Ava Weiss, who is Jewish, and her former fiance Max, who is a Nazi officer. They have ended their relationship for obvious reasons, but find each other again when they are both sent to Terezin.
It is a romance. I put all the proper tag words and categories when I set it up in both print and kindle. So one would assume that if you did a search for books that fit those parameters, say, “Holocaust Romance” you would assume that the books that came up in that search would be just that…romantic stories set in the Holocaust. And while some are, a lot of other books that are about the Holocaust but not of a romantic nature also make the list. I have seen memoirs, well known Holocaust children’s fiction,and a few books that don’t relate at all. (John Boyne’s classic The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, for example can in no way be categorized as a romance. Neither can Miss Peregrine, and that’s not sour grapes- I read and loved both those books. )
So how does a reader find the right kind of book they are looking for, and how does an author achieve those #1 status flags we all want? Do people get tired of looking after the first page or two when they don’t see anything that appears to be the kind of book they went searching for? Obviously I kept scrolling through them to see where Terezin Twilight fell on the list, but does a reader/person who is going to purchase?
The answer is, I don’t know. But then I never know how anyone finds my books and collecting that kind of data is something that has successfully eluded me ever since I joined the realm of indie publishing. I keep tweaking those categories and tag words every now and then. It would be nice though, if the searches were consistent and accurate. It might make things better for all authors.
If you’d like to check out Terezin Twilight or the rest of my books, my website can be accessed at https://www.booksbylynnmurphy.com