Random Guest: Juniper Bell!

Today, we have author Juniper Bell visiting with us! She answered my twitter call/plea, and I’m so glad to have her here! You’ll see she has a sense of humor. (And not just because she lives in Alaska. ;)) Also – there’s nothing really for me to add at the end, but I’m fascinated by what you’ll think or have to say!

I’d like to thank Limecello for having me on her blog today. It’s my first time here, and she practically dared me to write something that would offend her and get me banned from her blog. Actually, her exact words were, “please don’t take that as a dare.” That’s a dare, right? Or did I misunderstand?

So I’d better come up with a shocking topic, like the ins and outs of m/m/m/f/m vampire-zombie sex with water balloons. Or something truly offensive, like pairing brown shoes with black pants, or whether dreadlocks work on Caucasians. (I’m fine with both those things, by the way.) Or maybe something really disturbing, something writers hate to discuss in public, the thing we dread, the thing that will give us night terrors and stomach cramps. And that is …

When books tank.

It feels funny to confess that not all of my books are outrageous financial successes. And I hope this topic isn’t TOO offensive. Discussing money always feels weird. Especially in the context of a creative endeavor like writing books. And please don’t think I only care about sales. Far from it. I’m just a working stiff trying to figure out how to make my way in this crazy business.

I have seven books out now, with an eighth book contracted. Some have sold quite well. Others not so much. (It’s all relative, of course. My “quite well” is probably someone else’s worst-selling book. And my “not so much” might look darn good to someone else. I only know my own bottom line.)

The scary part is, I have no clue why some books have outperformed others. Is it quality? Did I simply do a crappy job? I hope not. I aim to put out my best every single time. But I’m no judge. I have to go by reviews, which are no help, since some of my best-reviewed books are the worst sellers. And vice versa.

Is it theme? Nope. I write a lot of ménage. Some do well, some don’t. Publisher? Not in any clear-cut way. Degree of explicitness? I wish – that would be easy to figure out. But no. Cover? Blurb? Annoying heroine? Setting? A glut of that particular genre? Biorhythms? Planetary alignment? To really know why one book is jumping off shelves – or onto Kindles — and another isn’t, I suppose I’d have to question every single person who considered buying the book but didn’t.

Great. Not only is that impossible, it might be hard on my ego.

So then I’m left with the dilemma of figuring out how much sales, or lack thereof, should affect my writing. Should I try to determine what didn’t work, sales-wise, in a certain book, and never repeat it? Or should I just continue writing the stories that come to me, without worrying about how well they do? I want to learn from my experiences, but I also want to make sure I’m learning the right things.

It’s a quandary, and something I never thought about before I got published – mostly because I figured I’d be thrilled if even one person bought one of my books. And I am. Thrilled and grateful. But putting out a book is a lot of work, and not just for me. Editor, line editor, cover designer, publisher, etcetera. I want all that work to count as much as possible.

If you’re a reader, don’t worry about a thing. Just keep buying the books you want to read. (Shameless promo alert. *You can’t go wrong with any of my books, if you ask me.* Okay, that’s over.) But if you have insight to share, bring it on. If you’re a writer, I’d love to know how you handle a release that doesn’t set the world on fire. Do you try to figure out why, or do you just move on?

There you have it, Limecello. The blog topic that dare not speak its name. Not too offensive, right?

Juniper Bell writes erotic romance for Samhain and Ellora’s Cave. She’s best known for her Receptionist series. Her next release is Beautiful Obsession from Ellora’s Cave, which she’s absolutely convinced is going to sell like crazy. You can find her at her website, or on Facebook and Twitter as @AuthorJuniper.

0 thoughts on “Random Guest: Juniper Bell!

  1. Mary G

    Hi Juniper.
    I need to get more of your books. I LOVED Doll. Awesome book. I think you should just write & go with the flow. If you knew what would sell or what element failed to make a book sell, you would be rich now, writing a hot-to/how-not-to.

    1. Juniper Bell

      Thanks, Mary! And you’re so right, if I knew the answers, a how-to book would be my very next project. Then everyone’s books would sell well. But then all the readers would be broke. LOL. Maybe a low-seller is all about maintaining balance in the universe!

  2. Mary M.

    Just keep writing and we will keep buying….. now you were saying about Paranormal sex with water balloons?


  3. Liz

    I don’t think it’s an offensive topic at all and you wrote a great and funny post. There have been books I’ve read that were reviewed so fantastically that I have actually wondered if I read the same book because I thought it was awful, and vice versa. As you said, it’s all subjective. I say – if it’s in your soul to write it, then you should. I’ve not read any of your books yet, but I’m very intrigued by your receptionist series and am tip toeing over to amazon right now. Thanks for the post!

    1. Juniper Bell

      Oh yes, Liz, I know exactly what you mean. I actually rarely go by reviews for that reason. I like to read a snippet and see if it appeals to me. Thanks for your comment, and I hope you enjoy the Receptionist!

  4. Mary Kirkland

    Just keep writing because you can’t please everyone all of the time and everyone is going to like something different. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why..at least I don’t think so.

    1. Juniper Bell

      Good point, Mary. There’s also the chance that by trying to please everyone, you lose touch with your original inspiration. That’s why the whole thing is so tricky. It’s all a learning process! Just keep writing is great advice, thanks!

  5. Daisy Harris

    Heya Juniper, Great topic!!

    I agree that it’s really hard to tell which books will do well and which won’t. And I’d add that often you can’t tell for quite a while. It took me almost a year to suss out that a book I thought everyone would hate is actually my best seller.

    What I’ve learned over time is not to over-think things. All I can do is put out funny, sexy, cute stories and hope that the public likes at least some of them.

    Cheers, Daisy

    1. Juniper Bell

      Hey there, Daisy! You know, I try to do that whole “not over-think” thing, and man, it’s hard. But you’re right. And girl, keep those funny, sexy, cute stories coming! 😉

  6. Jess Dee

    Gee Juniper, I’d love to respond, coz this is a brilliant, perplexing topic that we all experience.
    But I can’t.
    I have to slink off to my bedroom to change either my brown shoes or my black pants!


  7. Alanna Coca (@AlannaCoca)

    Juniper, this is the big question, huh? The book I love the most sells the worst. The one I spent a week writing and couldn’t give a care either way is my best seller.

    It’s frustrating, because it seems like I must have absolutely no taste lol

    But I keep writing. I’d write if I never sold another book.

  8. beguilethysorrow

    Hi Juniper, nice to meet u:)
    as a reader the only insight I have is that I’m glad for the diversity of types of romance novels out there. It’s nice that when I want something sweet I can find exactly that, and then turn around the next week and find something more spicy/erotic should I decide so.
    But no matter what my mood in terms of how spicy (or not) I want my next book to be, the bottom line for me is it’s gotta tell a good story. For me that means characters that seem so real I feel like I know them, plots so entertaining I get lost in them, and dialogue so seamless I can follow it without wondering who’s talking lol.


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