As an indie author when it comes to marketing you have to use ‘all the weapons at your disposal’. For me that meant being very clear on who I was targetting with Seldom Come By: fans of Outlander, Into the Wilderness and The Bronze Horseman series.
There were some common elements: young love battling adversity; an intensity of feelings – not just passion but the full spectrum of human emotions; a stunning, unusual location as the backdrop; characters you could care deeply about…the list goes on.
People have been sceptical – understandably. I get that.
Did I think twice about adding these elements to my marketing:
“If Jamie and Claire
Nathaniel and Elizabeth
Alexander and Tatiana
mean something to you”
“Reminiscent of The Bronze Horseman”
Absolutely. Butterflies were in formation that’s for sure.
Did I word that extraordinarily carefully and get some trusted people to review it? You bet.
Did I do that in complete isolation? No.
This, from one of my early beta readers, Su:
“Their intense love for each other and the love scenes reminded me of Tatiana and Alexander.”
Was I far from the mark?
This, from Sarah who emailed me just a few weeks ago:
“I have read The Bronze Horseman, it is one of my all-time favourites, and Seldom Come By definitely gets to the same level.”
What I strove to do with this positioning was to pull my book from virtual obscurity and get it on to the consideration list. That is one of the biggest parts of the battle.
I’ve learnt long ago how true the cliché is: you can’t please all of the people all of the time. Writing like any artform is highly subjective.
But my aim is for part of the reading public to fall in love with my characters and what happens to them. If I’m honest, for enough of the reading public, so I can write full time and provide more memorable, heart-wrenching books for people to read.
And so I want to say a special Thank You to Karen Scott from Ontario, Canada, for voicing what I’m sure a lot of people have thought when they’ve approached Seldom Come By.
I really appreciate you, Karen, telling it like it was for you. And I hope you don’t mind me reprinting your Goodreads review in full here:
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I was a little daunted by the size of this book and the fact that it was part of a trilogy. Used to books that were half this size, I wondered if my attention would last the full book (it did–in fact it grew as I continued to read!) Then, there was the summary that the author provided where she mentioned Tatiana and Alexander and Jamie and Claire. Okay, you got my attention, but can you really pull that off?? These are some literary power couples and those names should not be tossed around lightly. I’ll admit–I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder after that. Above all this, I had the encouragement from Hildy, my book boss, telling me to give this book a try and I try to listen to her suggestions. 🙂
This book was a real treat to read. Caulfield’s writing was refreshing in that if she’s writing about a scene, it’s valuable to the story. There are no wasted scenes or superfluous descriptions in this prose. (Though I love her, Diana Gabaldon might take note. *cough* Echo in the Bone *cough*) Caulfield gives you only what you need to understand and feel the characters–and feel you do! By 30% in this book, I was completely invested in the characters. I was excited to get back to reading and postponed lunch dates because I needed to return to Newfoundland!
Are Rebecca and Samuel the Canadian Tatiana and Alexander? I wouldn’t go that far. I liked how reading this book *reminded* me of The Bronze Horseman (because I like being reminded of that book), but Seldom Come By is not a rewrite of TBH, not by a long shot. The strength, passion and adversity that the couple has to endure are reminiscent of TBH, but beyond that, Rebecca and Samuel find their own way of handling things.
I have already found myself recommending this book to others that have loved The Bronze Horseman. I do believe that if you enjoy an epic love story, this will make a fine reading suggestion.