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MysteryRiter
04-21-2012, 08:50 PM
Trolling through Amazon the other day, I found this (http://www.amazon.com/On-the-Island-ebook/dp/B005L9B5YU/)book. It's not my type of read, but it caught my attention being #9 on Amazon and self-published. Apparently, it's also high up on the NYT and USA Today bestseller's list. But what really caught my attention was the reader love, beyond number of sales, that it seems to be getting; it has over 345 legit (most of the reviewers seem to be active on Amazon) 5 star reviews.

Thoughts? Is this just a temporary surge or possibly an Amanda Hocking?

Phaeal
04-21-2012, 09:03 PM
I don't watch self-publishers -- I let the Big Six do it for me. ;)

shadowwalker
04-21-2012, 09:07 PM
Yeah, I neither understand nor trust Amazon rankings (or bestseller lists, frankly). But if the author is doing well, more power to them.

thothguard51
04-21-2012, 09:13 PM
Wow, nothing less than 4 and 5 star reviews. Makes one wonder...

Susan Littlefield
04-21-2012, 09:17 PM
Not sure, but I think she's a member here?

MysteryRiter
04-21-2012, 09:19 PM
Wow, nothing less than 4 and 5 star reviews. Makes one wonder...

I don't think the reviews are faked. There are two 1 stars and seven 2 stars, but the Goodreads reviews also tell the same story. Plus, if you look at some of the reviewers' profiles from Amazon and Goodreads (I was suspicious at first, too), they seem to be legit.

ETA: Susan, I think so, too (go AW!).

firedrake
04-21-2012, 09:20 PM
Not sure, but I think she's a member here?

Yes, she is. I remember reading the query letter in QLH.

JayMan
04-21-2012, 09:47 PM
The book may well be an excellent read, but if there's one thing I've learned on Amazon, it's to never ever ever ever trust the ratings for books. Amazon reviewers in general tend to be the least well-read people on the planet, and you will frequently see books that are absolute trash, or mediocre at best, getting loads of four-star and five-star ratings, with rave reviews that make me wonder if the reviewer has ever read a book in their life.

Again, I'm not saying this book in particular is bad or anything of that sort. It probably isn't, especially if it was written by an AWer. Just saying that Amazon ratings are a poor metric for quality.

Mr. Anonymous
04-21-2012, 10:00 PM
read the first few pages, they're pretty good. And it has a great premise. Glad that it's doing well. Good for the author.

leahzero
04-21-2012, 10:18 PM
Just saying that Amazon ratings are a poor metric for quality.

This is the case with reviews everywhere, even on indie sites like Goodreads.

I ignore the majority of reviews and read the highest-rated 2- and 3-star reviews. These tend to be written by more level-headed people who evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a book more realistically.

Rubay H.
04-21-2012, 10:38 PM
Yes, she is. I remember reading the query letter in QLH.

Woo-hoo! Good for her! :D

And if I'm honest with myself, the best sci-fi I read this year so far was Wool, written by another self-pub author/former AW member who's been on the top of the Amazon lists.
There's some good self-pubs out there - if you're willing to look.

Al Stevens
04-21-2012, 11:09 PM
Ignore the reviews and download the sample. That's what speaks to the quality of the writing, which is very good. As is the story so far. I'm not usually a romance reader, but this book is compelling. So I bought it. Thanks for pointing it out.

juniper
04-21-2012, 11:26 PM
Yeah, the sample was really good. I bought too. On my iPhone now for reading at work surreptitiously.

ETA: I found the QLH thread, last entry from about a year ago. I wonder if she sent it out to agents or decided to just go on her own?

thothguard51
04-21-2012, 11:31 PM
read the first few pages, they're pretty good. And it has a great premise. Glad that it's doing well. Good for the author.

I did and I have to agree, even though its a genre I am not fond of most of the time...

gothicangel
04-21-2012, 11:33 PM
I only read a few paragraphs, I had to stop because the grammar was making my head hurt.

juniper
04-21-2012, 11:40 PM
I only read a few paragraphs, I had to stop because the grammar was making my head hurt.

Really? Examples? What am I missing? Some extra commas here and there, but didn't bother me enough to not keep reading.

BethS
04-22-2012, 12:13 AM
I have to admit, based on the premise and what little I read of it, this looks to be several cuts above your average self-pubbed novel. I wonder why she couldn't get an agent and publisher for this.

One little thing I noticed about the opening pages. TJ's friend was allowed to accompany him to the boarding gate. Is this a historical novel? :D

absitinvidia
04-22-2012, 12:35 AM
One little thing I noticed about the opening pages. TJ's friend was allowed to accompany him to the boarding gate. Is this a historical novel? :D

The date stamp on the first page says it's June 2001.

brainstorm77
04-22-2012, 12:55 AM
Big congrats to the author. Well done!

Al Stevens
04-22-2012, 02:06 AM
Really? Examples? What am I missing? Some extra commas here and there, but didn't bother me enough to not keep reading.And a few missing commas, but that didn't bother me. I'd like to know about the grammar errors, too, gothicangel. Might learn something.

kellion92
04-22-2012, 02:30 AM
Her website says that the subsidiary rights for this book are represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich, so it looks like her success got someone's attention in the industry. Good for her!

Susan Littlefield
04-22-2012, 05:08 AM
read the first few pages, they're pretty good. And it has a great premise. Glad that it's doing well. Good for the author.

I read the first few pages, and I too thought they were good.

Sage
04-22-2012, 05:12 AM
Some authors who get agents still go the self-pub route when they are unable to get publisher interest. I've seen at least two authors on AW go that way. Don't know if this is one of them.

Susan Littlefield
04-22-2012, 05:19 AM
I only read a few paragraphs, I had to stop because the grammar was making my head hurt.

It seems to me there are grammar and some tense errors, but from what I read it seems like an interesting story.

Susan Littlefield
04-22-2012, 05:22 AM
Her website says that the subsidiary rights for this book are represented by Jane Dystel of Dystel and Goderich, so it looks like her success got someone's attention in the industry. Good for her!

And, this agent has an excellent reputation.

aruna
04-22-2012, 11:23 AM
Here's the QLH thread:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=205896&highlight=Anna+Emerson

PS I bought it without even trying the sample. I'm looking for something to read anyway and this sounds up my street. Her 5* reviews on amazon's uk site are by established, prolific reviewers. That's what I look for.
Congrats to an AW-nurtured succesful novelist!

gothicangel
04-22-2012, 12:39 PM
It seems to me there are grammar and some tense errors, but from what I read it seems like an interesting story.

This. I found I was having to re-read sentences several times.

Of course, about an hour later, my head did erupted into a migraine. ;)

aruna
04-22-2012, 01:23 PM
I've been reading her blog.
Here is a post that shows why she decided to SP: http://www.traceygarvisgraves.com/2011/06/fiction-friday.html

heyjude
04-22-2012, 02:05 PM
Good for her!

Thanks, aruna, for digging up the blog post. That was fascinating.

Literateparakeet
04-22-2012, 02:18 PM
Aruna, you are a gem, thanks so much for both links.

Reading the query letters taught me (not that I ever doubted) the power of a query letter. The first one left me...ho hum, another island story, meh. But the second one grabbed me and made me want to download that book and read it now. Fascinating that they are both about the same book!

Now if you'll all excuse me, I need to step on over to Amazon and take a look at this book...

firedrake
04-22-2012, 02:53 PM
I have to admit, based on the premise and what little I read of it, this looks to be several cuts above your average self-pubbed novel. I wonder why she couldn't get an agent and publisher for this.



I think the trouble, as hinted at in her blog, is the premise and the mix of genres. Mixed genre novels seem to frighten people in publishing. I thought the premise was terrific and I'm tempted to read it myself, if I ever find the time.

I'm really pleased for her. She's worked hard and she deserves the rewards.

aruna
04-22-2012, 02:55 PM
You're welcome.
It seems to me that she gave up the agent search rather early; that had she continued and an agent finally agreed to actually read the book, she would have certainly found a trade publisher. OTOH hand she had a blog following and readers who read the ms and gave good feedback and that was what encouraged her to sp.

Of all the break-through sp authors I've read about, this is the only one I've ever been even tempted to read. It sounds like true quality that would have made it anyway, as opposed to those books that simply just hit the right nerve at the right time.

gothicangel
04-22-2012, 03:13 PM
You're welcome.
It seems to me that she gave up the agent search rather early; that had she continued and an agent finally agreed to actually read the book, she would have certainly found a trade publisher. OTOH hand she had a blog following and readers who read the ms and gave good feedback and that was what encouraged her to sp.

Of all the break-through sp authors I've read about, this is the only one I've ever been even tempted to read. It sounds like true quality that would have made it anyway, as opposed to those books that simply just hit the right nerve at the right time.

That's what I thought also. I think when I was subbing my first novel, it took up to about 10 agents before I actually recieved a request.

Chumplet
04-22-2012, 04:23 PM
Wow, good luck to her. My first book was also a desert island premise. The few readers I had said they loved it, and one stayed up till 1 a.m. on a work night to finish it. It's a fun premise to write, and obviously a fun one to read, too.

Mixed genres are indeed tough to query. My third book is a mix of women's fiction and YA, with time shifts between thirty years. I've queried over 200 agents for both incarnations, and I'm ready to give up. Some loved the premise but couldn't pigeon hole it. I feel her pain.

tanglewoodtracey
04-22-2012, 05:17 PM
Hello everyone,

Thank you to Literateparakeet for bringing this thread to my attention and thank you for the well-wishes. I haven't been around much lately, but the AW forums were instrumental in teaching me so many things about writing and for that I'll always be grateful. I found my critique partner here and she's been a true blessing.

The decision to self-publish was the right one for me, and I have no regrets. Once the decision was made I hired a professional editor for a developmental and line edit (she freelances for Carina Press), and then sent it to a copyeditor for a final check. If there are errors we all missed them.

I really don't believe an agent could have sold On the Island because it's a mix of genres and has a risky storyline. I could have continued to query and hope that an agent would finally request pages, but there was no guarantee that a publisher would have been interested. I think self-publishing can be a great option for books like this.

Dystel and Goderich approached me last month and wanted to know if I was interested in discussing representation. I was not interested in an agent for my print or e-book rights, but I needed some assistance with foreign transactions. I had already sold the Hungarian and Indonesian rights via two separate agents in those countries and decided to let D&G handle future foreign rights sales. They have since handled the French sale and they've been absolutely wonderful to work with.

It's a heavily reviewed book and the volume of my e-mail is staggering so there are many that don't review it but write to me instead. On the Island has definitely connected with many of its readers, and I'm truly grateful for their positive feedback and support. This experience has surpassed my wildest expectations.

Thank you to those who have downloaded the sample and/or purchased the book. I really appreciate it. This is a happy time for me, and I am very thankful for everything that has happened. I've connected with some great people all around the world.

I'll try to stop by more often. This really is a wonderful place, and I've recommended it to others many, many times.

Best,

Tracey

kellion92
04-22-2012, 07:09 PM
Thanks for stopping by, Tracey. Your story is very unique and demonstrates how quickly publishing is changing and how different choices can work for different writers. Congratulations on your success.

IceCreamEmpress
04-22-2012, 08:30 PM
Best of luck to you, Tracey, and congratulations on engaging so many readers with your book!

heyjude
04-22-2012, 08:44 PM
Congratulations, Tracey!

Juneluv12
04-22-2012, 09:14 PM
Congrats Tracey! Thanks for sharing your story!!

People really have to understand that a lot of times self-pubbing doesn't mean you can't write or haven't tried traditionally to be agented or published. There are a lot of great books out there that make it to agents, find editor love, and then die out in editorial meetings(cough, my first novel, cough, lol). So you never know the full story of why a book has been self pubbed.

Others want the full control of how their book is edited or marketed.

I think the whole landscape of publishing is changing and is going to continue to change. And considering some of the absolute contrived, drivel the Big 6 continue to put out or support(50 Shades), it's about time someone else called the shots!

JamieB
04-22-2012, 09:37 PM
Fantastic, inspiring story! Congrats for your success!

Off to get this one!

dangerousbill
04-22-2012, 09:40 PM
Trolling through Amazon the other day, I found this (http://www.amazon.com/On-the-Island-ebook/dp/B005L9B5YU/)book. It's not my type of read, but it caught my attention being #9 on Amazon and self-published.


I read the sample. The story started off okay, but I was frequently jerked out of the storyline by the uneven writing. I think it could have done with a few rounds of editing.

Maybe if I read the full novel, I'd have a different opinion.

JamieB
04-22-2012, 09:43 PM
I read the sample. The story started off okay, but I was frequently jerked out of the storyline by the uneven writing. I think it could have done with a few rounds of editing.

Maybe if I read the full novel, I'd have a different opinion.

Not sure if you saw it, or read it, the author said above:


I hired a professional editor for a developmental and line edit (she freelances for Carina Press), and then sent it to a copyeditor for a final check.


Doesn't mean it's for everyone, just wanted to make sure you saw that she'd covered her editing bases so-to-speak. :)

Juneluv12
04-22-2012, 10:46 PM
I read the sample. The story started off okay, but I was frequently jerked out of the storyline by the uneven writing. I think it could have done with a few rounds of editing.

Maybe if I read the full novel, I'd have a different opinion.

Yeah, so could a lot of Big 6 published novels!!!

adktd2bks
04-22-2012, 10:50 PM
Yeah, so could a lot of Big 6 published novels!!!

QFT.

Literateparakeet
04-22-2012, 11:50 PM
Yeah, so could a lot of Big 6 published novels!!!

So true! Recently I read a novel by an award-winning author and he wrote:


She bowed her head and apologized, "I'm sorry."

Seriously? Unecessary narrative summary and redundancy.

Congrats again Tracey, I look forward to reading your book.

pixydust
04-23-2012, 01:24 AM
Too true, Krista!

Congrats on the wonderful progress with the book, Tracey! Sounds like the book earned every great review! I'll be checking it out! :)

MysteryRiter
04-23-2012, 01:30 AM
Well, Tracey, although it's not my usual genre (I don't like to read romance or women's fiction, lol), your sample was so good that I ended up buying it. Congrats again!

Tracey has also agreed to guest post on my blog about her journey sometime in the future, so I'm very excited about that. Will post when it's up. Thank you, Tracey! :)

BethS
04-23-2012, 01:38 AM
The date stamp on the first page says it's June 2001.

Ah. Missed that! Thanks.

Susan Littlefield
04-23-2012, 02:36 AM
Welcome back to the forums, Tracy! It's so wonderful to hear the success you are having with your book.

Mr. Anonymous
04-23-2012, 03:06 AM
Tracey, not that it's any of my business, but I'd encourage you to at least consider allowing Dystel and Goderich to represent your book to US publishers. If you get offers that sound good to you, then you can take them up. If not, you can always refuse. Allowing Dystel and Goderich to shop your book to US publishers would not in any way obligate you to sign with publishers who offer you a contract. It would just open up options for you, and potentially allow you to reach a greater audience. Just my two cents. Regardless of what you decide, I wish you well, and will likely be buying the book when I get a chance.

erica_henry
04-23-2012, 04:03 AM
Too true, Krista!

Congrats on the wonderful progress with the book, Tracey! Sounds like the book earned every great review! I'll be checking it out! :) I second this. Congrats


Yeah, so could a lot of Big 6 published novels!!! I totally agree.


Not sure if you saw it, or read it, the author said above:


Doesn't mean it's for everyone, just wanted to make sure you saw that she'd covered her editing bases so-to-speak. :) Ditto.

tanglewoodtracey
04-23-2012, 04:41 AM
Thanks again, everyone. It's nice to be back on AW and there are some familiar avatars in this thread (hi Susan!).

Mr. Anonymous gave good advice. I've kept an open mind and will continue to thoughtfully weigh all the options that come my way.

Tracey

eward
04-23-2012, 05:33 AM
Congrats, Tracey! :) I read On the Island and it was a good read. Really addicting, I read it in like two days!

aruna
04-23-2012, 12:16 PM
I've finished it, and I think I may have found the secret of its appeal for women:

It's that man who can do the basic, physical things we need for survival: kill a shark, make a fire, build a home from scratch. I've always found that pioneering kind of guy extremely attractive; coupled with the modern notions of gentleness, caring and equality, I think it is irrisistable. Especially in these modern times when so many men (and women) are so very urbanised. (I think, also, after all the zombies, vampires etc as love-interests, the pendulum might be about to swing in the other direction...)

fireluxlou
04-23-2012, 04:17 PM
Well done Tracey, you are truly an inspiring person. May you have many future successes.

Al Stevens
04-28-2012, 02:21 AM
Still reading and enjoying. I'm about 20% in. Bumped into a couple of dangling modifiers along the way that an editor should have caught. Other than that, everything's fine. Stuff they need keeps conveniently washing up on shore though. I hope I've hit the last of that.

It's a good story and a good read so far. I like the cover.

hlynn117
04-28-2012, 03:30 AM
I have to admit, based on the premise and what little I read of it, this looks to be several cuts above your average self-pubbed novel. I wonder why she couldn't get an agent and publisher for this.


Because the market is tough to break into? Maybe she got sick of looking and decided to self-pub. She invested in the final product, too, and it shows.

Congrats, Tracey!

MysteryRiter
05-13-2012, 07:26 PM
So, if I may bump an old thread, I saw this (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118053934)this morning:




MGM has optioned Tracey Garvis-Graves' bestselling castaway novel "On the Island," nabbing the five-week inhabitant of the New York Times bestseller list for the low to mid six figures.

Studio is in negotiations with "Twilight" producers Temple Hill Productions to produce.



:hooray: :snoopy: Woohoo, Tracey!!!

ETA: So no guarantee, but still super awesome!

brainstorm77
05-13-2012, 10:02 PM
So, if I may bump an old thread, I saw this (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118053934)this morning:



:hooray: :snoopy: Woohoo, Tracey!!!

ETA: So no guarantee, but still super awesome!

That is great! Congrats to Tracey!

triceretops
05-13-2012, 10:48 PM
Oooooh, major option time!

Libbie
05-14-2012, 06:10 AM
I have to admit, based on the premise and what little I read of it, this looks to be several cuts above your average self-pubbed novel. I wonder why she couldn't get an agent and publisher for this.

In my experience, not surprising. I decided to self-publish one of my novels after I worked with two different agents on it for almost two years. There weren't a lot of promising small presses working with that kind of fiction at the time, so self-publish it was. I think it was a good move for that book. The readers have really been enjoying it, and it sells several copies per week. Nothing to write home about for a trade published book, but not a bad showing for self-published.

I'll check out this one. It sounds kind of interesting.

Libbie
05-14-2012, 06:20 AM
So, if I may bump an old thread, I saw this (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118053934)this morning:



:hooray: :snoopy: Woohoo, Tracey!!!

ETA: So no guarantee, but still super awesome!

Wow, fantastic! Congratulations, Tracey!

Isabella Amaris
06-14-2012, 10:58 PM
Hmmm, methinks MysteryRiter is a soothsayer?:) The book, and sequel, have been picked up by Penguin for a 7 figure deal *swoon*... Congratulations to Ms Garvis!:)

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/tracey-garvis-graves-inks-7-figure-deal-for-self-published-romance_b53028

Ergodic Mage
06-15-2012, 06:35 AM
Congrats Tracey!!!!!

Filigree
06-15-2012, 07:37 AM
This has been one of the most inspiring stories I've seen in years.

Tracey, you're probably too kind and too busy to blow raspberries at the rejecting agents. But I hope they're remembering your name. I hope they at least pause to reconsider some of the newer cross-genre manuscripts they're getting ready to reject.

In your case, self-publishing made all the difference, I suspect. Good luck with your future writing!

heyjude
06-15-2012, 02:56 PM
Hmmm, methinks MysteryRiter is a soothsayer?:) The book, and sequel, have been picked up by Penguin for a 7 figure deal *swoon*... Congratulations to Ms Garvis!:)

http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/tracey-garvis-graves-inks-7-figure-deal-for-self-published-romance_b53028

This is amazing. Jane Dystel is the agent who negotiated the deal. Congratulations to both of them. What a story!

tanglewoodtracey
06-18-2012, 06:34 PM
This has been one of the most inspiring stories I've seen in years.

Tracey, you're probably too kind and too busy to blow raspberries at the rejecting agents. But I hope they're remembering your name. I hope they at least pause to reconsider some of the newer cross-genre manuscripts they're getting ready to reject.

In your case, self-publishing made all the difference, I suspect. Good luck with your future writing!

Thank you, everyone. Your kind words and congratulations mean a lot to me. I honestly believe that 90% of what I learned about writing I learned right here on this site, and for that I'll always be grateful and remember my time here fondly.

As for blowing raspberries, it will never happen. I don't begrudge those agents for passing and in retrospect I'm certain that even if I'd been able to obtain agent representation, it's doubtful a publishing house would have been interested. I'm just thankful that there were other avenues available for bringing On the Island to the readers, and I hope that agents and publishers DO start to consider cross-genre manuscripts for the viable, interesting, and compelling stories they most likely are.

I'm very excited about this new venture and seeing my books on the shelf has always been a dream of mine.

My advice: be kind to your fellow writers regardless of the publishing methods they choose. We're all working toward the same ultimate goal.

Best,

Tracey