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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Revelations


Author: Pamela Kay Noble Brown
Genre: Christian Fiction/Inspirational
How long it's been on sale: Feb 27, 2011
Current price: $1.99
Marketing: I've posted it on my blog, about two weeks ago began tweeting content about every three hours, post about it on FB, Goodreads, Shelfari, and Kindleboards.
Total sold so far: 45
Link to book on Amazon: Revelations

Product Description:

A mother's secret...her daughter's shame.  Melanie has finally met the man of her dreams, but life is never easy for one who has suffered a lifetime of horrific loss. She was compelled to return to her hometown, sure that enough years had passed since the tragedy.  But why does she keep having those same horrible nightmares?   Was domestic abuse a curse that was passed on from one generation to the next with no escape?

And her boyfriend's mother Mrs. Harriet Cornelius seems to be a sweet person, but there's something about her that Melanie just can't put her finger on.  A shameful family secret may just keep Melanie from becoming too deeply involved, yet she longs for the kind of life and love others have. Will she find a way to overcome her fears, or will she simply walk away?  

First 300 Words:

Now

“I hope I can see you again really soon,” Mike said as he helped Melanie into her sweater.

Hmmmmm….a gentleman too, Melanie thought, taking time to formulate her answer.

“Well, I certainly have enjoyed our dates, “Melanie replied.  “But let me give you a call in a few days ok?  I’ve got a lot going on right now and need to get some things situated.”

“No worries,” Mike replied. “Take your time.  I’m really starting to have some strong feelings for you and I want you to be sure of what, if anything, you feel for me.  So give me a call when you’re ready.  I’ll be waiting.”

Melanie watched Mike walk off after he’d helped her into a cab and she couldn’t help but smile as she thought over their short but promising budding relationship.  It had all started about five months ago.  After recently moving back to Hampton, South Carolina, Melanie had immediately become active in community theater.  With all of the turmoil going on in her real life, she’d loved immersing herself into the various characters and losing herself for a few hours.  One day, as she was leaving the theater after a Sunday afternoon matinee, she stopped short upon hearing her name.

“Melanie….Melanie Walker?” called a well-dressed woman who appeared to be in her sixties.

“Yes, that’s me. Have we met?” asked Melanie.

“No...and I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to startle you.  I just saw the play you were in and wondered if I might have a few minutes of your time?”  The woman took a few steps towards Melanie with her hand extended.  “My name is Mrs. Harriet Cornelius.  You might have heard of Colton Cornelius Industries?”

“Why yes…I uh… yes we can talk and yes I have heard of Colton Cornelius Industries,” Melanie 

Vicki's Comments: I'm not a fan of book covers that aren't a standard book size. It screams 'Not a traditionally published book' to me, and I think we should do our best to look like traditionally published books. (Not in an "I'm conforming to The Man," sort of way, but rather a "This book isn't home made," sort of way.)

After I get past the strange size, I see a pair of bare female legs which makes me think this is chick lit or romance. The background makes me think of science fiction as does the font. The title makes me think of the bible, which doesn't go with the picture on the cover at all. However, the genre is Christian Fiction, so I'm guessing the title might be appropriate. I would change the picture and the font.

I don't like the first sentence of the description, I think I would cut that. The rest of the blurb is actually pretty good. I would change the questions to statements, or cut them, and I would cut both of the times you use 'just.'

I'm not sure why the book starts with Now. It made me think there was a prologue that perhaps started Twenty Years Ago or something. In fact, I got curious and downloaded the sample, but no prologue. The book simply starts with an underlined Now. I think this is confusing and should be deleted. Unless otherwise stated, people will assume your book starts in the present.

The writing could be improved. There were some mistakes which makes me think hiring an editor would be a good idea. The dialogue seemed stiff, and there were a lot of instances of 'telling' instead of 'showing.' Maybe joining a critique group would help. I feel like I say that all the time, but if the writing needs tightening up that's the best way to do it, IMHO.

I like the description, and I think the premise of the book is good. My two concerns are the cover and the writing. I also noticed someone said this was a shorter story in their review. I would definitely put the word count and page count in the description so potential customers know what they're getting. If it's shorter than 50,000 words I would make sure everyone knows it's not a full length novel.

What do you guys think?

8 comments:

  1. Agree with Victorine. Especially on the cover. It screams "homemade" and not in a good way. And it has NOTHING to do with the genre. I thought it was erotica. Not exactly your target audience.

    I also want to make a note about tweeting. Every three hours is the equivalent of bashing someone over the head. At MOST you should be tweeting once a day about your book. The rest of the time tweet about something else. Something that readers of your genre might enjoy. Tweeting every three hours BUY MY BOOK will more likely turn people off, not on. Figuratively speaking, of course.

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  2. The writing does need work. Dialogue can't be realistic, or it's incredibly boring and baggy. This is easily fixed with practice, so take heart.

    There's also a complete lack of conflict in the opening, nothing to interest a reader in wanting to know more. He seems nice, is developing feelings, they're happily dating, and all's hunky dory. Why should a reader be interested? To make readers care, something more than just "la la happy" has to be going on. :) The Cornelius Industries thing (if that creates some sort of conflict, which I'm guessing it does), or anything that creates at least a little conflict, should come in the beginning. We don't need the 7 or 8 paragraphs that it starts with. That info can be sprinkled in later if it's really necessary.

    Good luck!

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  3. I agree with the comments already made. I'd like to add that I found the blurb difficult to follow because of all the hinting, questions, and overall structure. I did have some other distractions so that may have affected my comprehension at that point, and I understand not wanting to write "down" to a certain level, but the blurb is part of your marketing and marketing materials need to be as easy to grasp as possible in order to reach the maximum audience.

    One thing that helped me (and surprised me, not in a good way) was to find out what people thought the book was about based on the blurb -- my initial blurb was not good at all in that respect. You might write out a few variations on your blurb and share them with different people and ask them what they think the book is about, and then hone in on the version(s) that seem to get the best response.

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  4. This isn't ready. The cover is obviously not professional and the writing needs a lot of polish. Find a cover artist and either a critique group or an editor. I'm not even going to go into the blurb, I'm afraid. I also thought the cover was either erotica or chick lit.

    And Shea is 100% right about the tweeting. Twitter is about conversations. No one (no one who isn't a bot anyway) is going to follow you if all you tweet about is your book and you do that every three hours. Seriously, it's like asking people to unfollow you. The right way to use Twitter is to engage people in conversations and share bits of your life--including your work, but that cannot be the subject every single time and certainly not every three hours.

    I'm betting you've got a good story to tell, and Christian inspirational is a good niche. Put some more work into it and good luck! :)

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  5. The last genre I would have thought of from the cover was christian fiction/inspirational. It screams chick lit/romance. The size of the cover is also problematic. That size is usually used on audiobooks.

    The blurb is confusing. She's having nightmares and then you abruptly ask about domestic abuse. The blurb needs to be much more focused.

    The whole scene with the boyfriend in the beginning doesn't make much sense. If Mrs. Cornelius is going to be central to the story, I think you should start with her.

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  6. The cover would be wrong for a christian genre. It's too suggestive. People that are pulling up christian/inspirational books wouldn't look at that. She could change her category or the cover.

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  7. I hope you aren't getting too overwhelmed by the comments! Everyone has terrific suggestions, but I know that it can be really hard to hear that your book isn't ready :P

    But they are all correct...the book isn't ready. One negative thing that stuck out at me (aside from the cover) was the fact that your story started in a vacuum. I don't need a lot of description, but I do need some. Is this couple on the front steps of a house or outside of a restaurant? How old are these people? I just wanted some details that would anchor me in the scene. Also, the back story about the community theater seemed to come out of nowhere and really had nothing to do with the end-of-the-date scene.

    Good luck with this :) I hope you won't give up!

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  8. Hi everyone, I really appreciate your taking the time to comment on my book. That is not the original cover. I loved the original cover and I think it fit much better with the genre. I guess I got a little impatient because it wasn't selling and changed the cover to spur sales, which it hasn't. I think I will go back to the orignal cover. The picture on the original cover was really pivotal to the story. The original cover picture is that same odd size. I don't like that size either. Will have to try to change it to a more normal size.

    I'm surprised that the opening scene comes across as boring. But then again, I know what happens next. I need to find a way to assure the reading that something good is coming up. I will work on this and try to see about adding some conflict earlier on to grab the I agree that I can do without "Now" in the beginning. That makes sense that most readers would assume the book begins in the present, unless otherwise indicated.

    The dialogue is stuffy, but not everyone in the book talks this way. These particular characters are filthy rich (with the exception of Melanie), but other characters have a much more relaxed conversational manner of speaking.

    Good feedback on the blurb (multiple use of the the word "just" and too many questions). As for the constant tweets, I do feel like a used car salesman. I only post book links so often because someone on the threads said that if you tweet once or twice a day, people will miss it because the timeline is constantly moving. They said the object is to have your book posted often enough so that any given time they might glance at twitter, there's a link to your book available.

    But your collective view that this might be offputting is very true. I feel the same way about tweeters whose only purpose seem to be to sell me something, rather than engage in conversation regarding common interests.

    Again, thank you all so much for your thoughtful and honest critiques. I have much work to do and will get right on it.

    And Vicki, thank you for providing this forum for us to better ourselves as authors. The advice is invaluable.

    Pamela

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