Saturday, July 16, 2011
Lesson One: Revolution!
Author: Stuart J. Whitmore
Genre: Psychological Thriller
How long it's been on sale: 11 Months
Current price: $.99
Total sold so far: 10
Link to book on Amazon: Lesson One: Revolution!
Your country is sinking into tyranny but your neighbors don't seem to notice, or care. What can you do to save the freedoms you value? How can you honor the many who died in centuries past to create and defend your nation as a global icon of liberty? If you're Dan Starney, you don't just sit and watch.
Other teachers might think of Dan as a quiet, mild-mannered history teacher who fits in nicely with their small town views. However, a sudden local controversy involving one of the school's art teachers begins to erode Dan's mundane facade when he, along with math teacher Karena Walsh, are drawn into the fray by the school's administration. When Karena gets a peek behind that facade, she is disturbed by what she learns and decides she needs to secretly investigate his activities, setting the stage for explosive results that extend far beyond their quiet town.
(Previously sold for $7.99, on sale during July 2011.)
First 300 Words:
"Political bias." Dan Starney paused for effect. Actually, his
students thought he paused for effect, but instead he paused to
survey his class and choose some slackers to pick on. He was a
slender, but not particularly fit, man in his early fifties. Although
his hair was starting to thin, he didn't look thirty years older than
his high school students. They were mostly seniors, generally
seventeen or eighteen, although some advanced juniors were in the
class as well, along with one sophomore who was one of the most
bookish students he had met in many years.
"What is it," Mr. Starney questioned, "and should teachers teach
with it, about it, both, or neither?" As he expected, most of the
teenagers either looked dazed or else shifted uncomfortably in their
seats. It was that kind of question, the kind few would want to take
a stab at, especially on a Monday.
Mr. Starney knew five students would raise their hands -- four
male, one female -- and he already knew he would ignore them. They
probably knew it too, but slowly their hands went up as the silence
of the unanswered question became uncomfortable. Mr. Starney glanced
minimally at the five who could give him a good answer, then focused
on another student who was not looking dazed nor shifting
uncomfortably in her seat. "Katie, should we call the coroner, or the
corner espresso stand?"
A murmur of suppressed giggles rolled across the classroom as
Katie's fellow students saw that she was clearly dozing behind her
now-drooping textbook. The young man seated behind Katie kicked her
chair gently, then again with more force since the first kick had no
effect. Katie's eyelids and book rose abruptly and she looked around
to see her classmates looking at her.
Vicki's Comments: Here are my impressions. First, I think the cover needs reworking. I don't get "Psychological Thriller" at all from the cover. The bright color of the pencils, and the texture created with them lined up like that overpower the bullets. When I think of psychological thriller, I think of a face on the front of a book. I would go take a peek at some of the covers out there and selling in that genre. See what about them tells you it's a psychological thriller.
I'm not crazy about the title either. I'm not sure what else to suggest, because I haven't read the book, but maybe get some ideas from your beta readers, or see what others say about it.
I think the description could use some tweaking as well. I get a little hint of the conflict with the line that begins "When Karena gets a peek behind that facade," but I don't get a real sense of what this guy is about. Is he a murderer? Does he just incite rebellion? Where's the "thriller" part of this? I'd love to get more of a sense of the danger here.
The first 300 words are good, they do draw me into the story, they just don't say "psychological thriller" in them. I'm not a huge fan of the kind of pulled back point of view that this is written in, but I would keep reading to see if I can get wrapped up in the story. I think the writing itself is tight, and I am interested to keep reading, but I'm afraid that people looking for the genre might not keep reading because the tone isn't one that would be a thriller, if that makes sense. It could be something simple, like starting the story in the wrong place. Or I could be way off in left base here, so I would get some other opinions.
In short, I think the cover is the main problem, with the blurb second. I would put more "thriller" in them so you're appealing to the right audience. One other comment, and that's the $7.99 price. (I know it's on sale, but it looks like you intend to put it back to $7.99 after July.) In my opinion, that's just too high for an unknown author, unless you want to spend a lot of hours and money marketing the book. I wouldn't go any higher than $4.99, and with that price you'll need to create your own buzz about the book.
What do you guys think?