Saint Justice sales page tweaks – 2020 Writing Week 6

Mike GristWeekly Writing Update, Writing Leave a Comment

This week I was kind of busy at work, so had less brain space for writing – but I have been on an emotional rollercoaster re- ads and the sales conversion of Saint Justice.

Last Mayor rank/sales

For some reason, my zombie boxset has tapered off from sales rank circa 3000 to more like 8000. I’m not sure why exactly, it seems to be selling a pretty consistent 15-20 /day just like the high times. A lot of fellow zombie box sets have dropped also, but a couple haven’t so…

I up the AMS spend, try some new targeting techniques – including grabbing ASINs via Chrome extensions like the ASIN grabbing tool and the ASIN picker, then snatching up either also-boughts from mine and related book pages, or picking books that are on a Kindle daily or monthly deal.

Results yet to come in.

Saint Justice low conversion

The conversion rate of Saint Justice has continued to be a concern – especially with the audiobook coming. I need to be able to sell in numbers to recoup the audio investment, but to date it seems my ads are not paying off.

Here’s what happens. FB sends me lots of clicks, way cheaper than AMS (around 20p a click compared to 60p on Amazon), but very few become sales. Like, maybe none. Likewise on AMS, it doesn’t serve my daily budget, but what it does serve doesn’t lead to sales. In the last 7 days I spent $60 on ads but sold 2 books due to that.


So what is it? Well, the ads both show the book cover and a snippet of blurb, and that is pulling people in. When they get to the sales page though, they are turned off. Of course, the market is competitive, and there are lots of other more accomplished thrillers on my book page, but still. It’s cheap, the cover’s good, and reviews are fine (4.1 out of 5). I have got some shitty reviews weighing me down, but can’t do much about it other than rework the book, which I’ve already done.

So it’s the blurb?

I researched other thrillers. Mainstream thrillers like Jack Reacher skew heavily on ‘patriotic’ and being ‘clean’ of swear words. They don’t use words like brutal or terrifying or vicious. Off-beat thrillers like Dean Koontz go darker, may talk about mutilation and brutality and such – but focused on serial killers. None that I could see double terrorists with brutality.

That’s what I do. I want to hit the mainstream – it’s bigger. My cover says mainstream. My book though is off-beat. I’ve been filing off edges for a while now. There are very few swears now, damage to Wren is less, brutality is reduced, death count tamed somewhat, political messaging pushed into the background.

So I remove ‘brutal’ and ‘frightening’ and ‘what the hell did I just read’ from my blurb. Swap them for ‘pulse-pounding’, ‘exciting’, and ‘patriotic’. Make the book ‘safer’. I want people to enjoy reading it, not be exhausted and have no interest in reading the second. No bad taste in mouth at the end. Goodies win bigger.

I also put out a call on a forum asking for thoughts – someone said a few pointers on my cover – would be better with a running man that a calm hitch-hiker guy. I swap it. Fix the font weight on my name (MIKE and GRIST were different sizes – visually complex). Also, someone says there is too much world-building, and maybe even it strays into SF. I didn’t know what was SF – ‘psy-ops’? ‘death cult’?


This person says ‘A civil war is brewing in the wilds of America’. Like, it’s dystopian, end of the world. Also – that line is too real, too politically uncomfortable. So I swap it- ‘A major terror attack is brewing in the wilds of America.’ It’s just as true. Also – I change the psy-ops to anti-terror, the death-cult to suicide cult, and trim words in other places too – ‘beginning threads of a mass trafficking conspiracy’.

So – faster, cleaner, more urgent cover, no SF (I hope – I can’t see it anyway), and less brutality. Will conversion rise? It has to! I will keep tweaking until I hit it. Fascinating stuff, really. What do 65+ American men really want from their thrillers? It’s not the brutal and gory stuff I’m accustomed to on shows like Game of Thrones and Walking Dead. It’s more like Elementary, maybe…

Interestingly, I found the Jack Reacher/Bourne/Rapp readers are male 65+. The Dean Koontz/Jeffery Deaver readers are tilted toward women 55+. Hmm.

Any thoughts on new cover and blurb?

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