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Anatomy of a Potential Bestseller

October 25, 2012


What makes a book sell? What is that “thing” that has readers swarming to the stores to buy it? What attracts them to begin with? Is it the cover? The summary of the plot? Great reviews? The price? The author?

Again this week, I’d like you, the readers, to give your opinion on this book. I’d like to know–as does the author–what works for you and what doesn’t. We’d like an honest gut reaction to everything we present to you here to  make sure the author is headed in the right direction or if there are things that can be tweaked to make this book the bestseller it has the potential to be.

If you choose to supplement your poll responses with personal, honest constructive comments, you will be entered to win 1 (one) book from my ever growing stash of books (four pages of books grouped my genres). :)Thank you in advance for your time and your honestly. I know it’s valuable and I do appreciate it. 


Author: Misha Crews
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 252
Digital Price: $3.99
Publisher: CWC Publishing

[button style=”small embossed” color=”#9BD6D3″ link=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008OM28RY/” text=”#250A44″ target=”_blank” ]Amazon[/button]

 A tragic death… A disturbing photo that can’t be explained… A woman drowning in an ocean of secrets…

In 1950s Virginia, Jenna Appleton seems to have found the life she’s always wanted. But underneath the shallow gleam of her bright suburban world, murky truths are waiting to surface.

On the morning that her husband dies in a tragic accident, Jenna finds a shocking photo of him in the arms of a beautiful woman. And before she can ask him about it, he’s gone forever.

Five years later, Jenna has buried her questions and remade her life. But the reappearance of an old love stirs up guilty questions, and she realizes that some secrets aren’t meant to be kept. The deeper she dives for answers, the darker the water gets. How will she find happiness for herself and her family, when every move she makes toward the strange and awful truth seems to lead her right back to her own home shores?


SAMPLER – First two paragraphs of STILL WATERS


Summer 1984

Driving home from his grandmother’s funeral, Chris felt a change coming. He tried to tell himself it was just the change of recent death: that lightning-strike chasm which forever marked the end of the before and the beginning of after. But this was different. Something intangible was floating in the air. Apprehension had settled beside his grief and exhaustion: three black crows sitting side by side on his chest.

He glanced in the rearview mirror, at his mother and stepfather in the back. They were silent, sitting at opposite ends of the comfortable Cadillac seat, each one looking out a different window. To a stranger’s eyes, they might seem to be experiencing the cold aftermath of a quarrel. But their hands, which touched lightly on the leather between them, told the true story of the closeness they shared.


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  1. This is not the kind of book I normally read, but it did sound good. I was a little confused where the character Chris came from, but over all it looks like it would be a good read.

  2. It’s an interesting concept.

    On the question on the quality of the writing, I would have to say that giving us two paragraphs may not be enough for us to see the quality of writing. A chapter maybe, but not two paragraphs.

    I think if there was more invested on the cover so that it seems applicable to the story (which I don’t know very well, so I’m not sure if this comment is applicable). Maybe a picture of the husband in the arms of the beautiful woman with a woman’s hand holding the picture (I’m imagining something like a Polaroid). It could say something like “Washington D.C. 1947″.

    I’d be interested in reading it, but probably not on the price without a reviewer I find trustworthy. It’s a bit of money to spend on something you’re not sure you’re going to like, and it’s not something you can check out first in a library and then buy if you like it. I would suggest giving a sample of about a chapter or two, or 10% of the book (~25 pages) available for free before you purchase the whole book. You could give the preview so that it leads to the first cliff hanger! I’d enjoy that.

    Good luck with your book! Becoming published is so difficult!

    • Ashley, thanks for your response. I want to add that you can sample all books on most of the major etailer sites. This book is only available on Amazon but you can send a sample (approx 15% of the book) to your kindle app. For the feature, I would never post something that long. Just a tiny teaser.

  3. It’s hard to put my finger on this one. I found the blurb a bit confusing and the voice a bit too much in the descriptions. Maybe a longer sample would help but it’s not something that called to me for some reason.

  4. I like romantic suspense and this one seems to have an interesting story line. I would purchase it.

  5. I love romantic suspence and I have enjoyed many self-published books. I have also enjoyed other works by Misha Crews and would buy whatever she publishes. A four-star reading experience.

  6. I like romantic suspense and STILL WATERS sounds promising. I wouldn’t purchase it for $3.99 though, since it’s not from an author I’m familiar with.

  7. It sounds like an interesting storyline. Although I do read suspense, I tend to gravitate more towards contemporary settings.

  8. To me it sounds very interesting. I have a book which tells you how to write a good script for a movie and I really appreciate these hints. I would love to write a book by my own, so these books are very helpful. I would buy it. =)

  9. I do enjoy romantic suspense, so this book is definitely up my alley.

    I found the blurb to be trying too hard with all the water allusions. I understand that the title is Still Waters, but I find the descriptors in the blurb unappealing and forced. It made me nervous that the book would be that way as well.

    The writing seems pretty good. I can easily picture the scene as described and I like the bit about the parents looking out separate windows, but their hands are still touching. Very sweet :) I personally prefer showing as opposed to telling, though I understand that the scene, as set up thus far, is a silent one.

  10. I LOVE this book! I’ve read everything Misha’s written, and this is my hands down favorite so far!

  11. I agree with Bonnie, the author overdid the water metaphors in the blurb.

    I got a bit confused — in the blurb, the year 1950 is mentioned … and then “five years later” — but the sample starts with 1984.

    The log line was amazing, though.

    Lastly, the cover — I’m used to blacks, grays and reds when books are romantic suspense. But this book is very blue — I think it’s good that it distinguishes itself from the rest of the books of the same genre — but, it might also confuse readers.

  12. I like this genre, but don’t really read books set in this time period.

  13. Given the blurb, the Prologue is not the best sample; the first two paragraphs of Chapter One would be better. Given the time difference, perhaps Chris is Jenna’s son and the hands indicates that there will be a HEA for her? Still, that Prologue does not help sell this story.

    Given all the water references in the title and the blurb, there had better be a lake or ocean near by.

  14. I read this genre but I prefer, current settings

  15. I love romantic suspense, but like some mentioned I’m not sure what the book is about.

  16. There’s nothing really wrong with book or the story. I love the cover actually and would actually check it until I read the back, because I have a real with picture. I know that ridiculous. Then the prologue is confusing. Is it a re-telling of what happen.

  17. I don’t read romantic suspense so the book doesn’t appeal to me. I liked the cover enough though that if I hadn’t already been told it was rom suspense, I would have at least wanted to read the blurb. As someone mentioned earlier, the blurb seemed like it was trying to hard with all of the water allusions and I didn’t see how those tied into the story that was being described. Then the prologue was even more divorced from the blurb description since the blurb is all about Jenna, yet the book opens with Chris. Overall, I’m now completely confused as to what the story is actually about.

  18. I was a bit confused by the back cover blurb mentioning the 1950’s then the prologue jumps to the 1980’s. Wonder where chapter 1 will start?

  19. I read most genre. The blurb sounds interesting and I like the short excerpt. The 1950/1984 time shift doesn’t make sense. That 34 year time span doesn’t fit with the blurb or the excerpt.

  20. I read Romantic Suspense but not often. The cover doesn’t grab me because of the bland coloring maybe. As for the price , I’m used to paying for paperbacks and not a buyer of e-books I thought the price a good one in regards to the paperbacks. I will say though that the words I did read were enough to intrigue me and now I’m curious to know what the relationship between Jenna and Chris and how it ties together. I’d buy it if I read e-books.
    Carol L

  21. Looks interesting I like the cover. The blurb, not so much.

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