Category Archives: Compromise With Sin

Compromise With Sin Earns Kirkus Star

I discovered today that Compromise With Sin , my debut novel, had earned a Star from Kirkus Reviews. I had to do a bit of sleuthing to see what that meant.

Now you may not be familiar with Kirkus Reviews, revered in the publishing industry since the 1930s. Booksellers and libraries and, to a lesser extent, readers rely on Kirkus for top-quality, independent reviews of traditionally published and indie published books.

The Kirkus Star is awarded to about ten percent of the books Kirkus reviews. The Star means I’m a nominee for the 2017 Kirkus Prize in Fiction. The winner will receive $50,000.

I’m still in shock.

Compromise With Sin and Self-Promotion

In the run-up to all-out promotion for my novel, Compromise With Sin, I decided this week’s blog post is all about me.  Would-be indie writers might learn something from my experience. Readers can glimpse a snapshot of the indie publishing world.

The print edition of Compromise With Sin has been for sale on Amazon since June 1st with the express purpose of generating reader reviews before promotion of the Kindle edition. To date I have eleven five-star reviews from people I’ve given books to–in these reviews there’s a disclaimer about having received an advance review copy (ARC) in exchange for an honest review–and from a few people who have purchased the books. The latter will be identified by Amazon as “Verified Purchase” and carry more weight than other reviews.

Reader reviews, I’m told, are extremely important. The more that are posted before promotion of the Kindle edition, the better.

The Kindle edition of Compromise With Sin will be published on August 19th and is now available for pre-order. Pre-orders are desirable because they boost an author’s Amazon ranking on the publication date. Frankly, the authors who benefit most from pre-orders are those who have published a slew of books and have a tribe of people who can’t wait for their next book. We’ll see how well it works, after a few well-placed ads, for me with my debut novel.

I’ve been laying the groundwork for promotion with a Facebook Author Page, and announcements on Facebook and Twitter.  Oh, and if you’ll “like” my author page, I’d appreciate it. Not sure why that’s important, but I guess it is. I’ll also do a bunch of interviews. My first one is on BookGoodies.  

The fun of indie publishing is having control over the story and design. The hard part is financing the project and spending a lot of time on promoting and marketing the book, valuable time that could be spent on writing the next novel.


Anybody can write a book. But writing it well and making it sell–that’s the hard part.

–Jay Taylor, The Rise of Majick

What Do You Like or Dislike in a Book Blurb?

I’m a student of blurbs these days, those teasers that appear on the book jacket or on Amazon. I listened to a useful podcast, “How To Write Your Book Sales Description,” in which Joanna Penn interviewed Byron Cohen. (The full transcript is available on the site.) He makes the point that 99% of authors provide a synopsis in their blurbs & says, “That won’t sell.” He then puts forth the elements of a successful blurb.

I’ve started collecting blurbs from Amazon, mostly for historical novels. They range from the very lean blurb for Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry, to those that virtually give away the story, as in The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, & News of the World, by Paulette Jiles. I hate that. (Guess I shouldn’t click on “Read more.”)

My favorite blurb is for Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen:

Blurb: Jacob Janowski’s luck had run out—orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was the Great Depression and for Jacob the circus was both his salvation and a living hell. There he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but brutal animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this group of misfits was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

My Take-away:
This description says enough to pique my interest, although to call Jacob “orphaned” is misleading because it suggests he’s a boy or teen.

I’ve struggled with the writing of a blurb for my not-yet-published novel Compromise With Sin. Here’s draft #144. OK maybe I exaggerate.

Compromise With Sin blurb: 

She stops at nothing to maintain a veneer of Victorian respectability, but the consequences of infidelity prove far worse than mere exposure. 

After straying into the arms of Doc Foster and becoming pregnant, small-town civic leader Louise Morrissey faces ruin if anyone─especially her husband─finds out. 

When infection steals the eyesight of her newborn baby, Louise knows it is punishment for her infidelity. What she doesn’t know is that the web of deceit she weaves to safeguard her marriage and reputation will eventually ensnare her husband and daughter with tragic consequences.

Guilt-ridden and seeking redemption, Louise risks revelation of her secrets as she joins Helen Keller in a grassroots movement to end the blinding scourge known as “babies’ sore eyes.”

In a confessional moment, Louise signs in Helen’s hand: “When you wrote ‘they enslave their children’s children who make compromise with sin,’ you were writing about me.”

A fictional version of real events, the story pits Louise, Helen, and others against society’s taboos as they champion what would become one of the greatest public health triumphs of the 20th century.

I’d welcome your feedback on my blurb or any opinion you have about blurbs. Leave a comment.