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Monday, September 12, 2011

Three for Avadar


Author: Steven R. Drennon
Genre: Fantasy
How long it's been on sale: June 5, 2011
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Gave away 75 copies on LibraryThing to generate reviews, participated on a blog tour for the past six or seven weeks in row
Total sold so far: 11
Link to book on Amazon: Three for Avadar


Product Description:

The cry came from directly ahead, where the road began to curve to the left. It was the unmistakable cry of a woman in distress, and as Bengar spurred his horse forward, he began to detect other sounds as well.

Accompanying the piercing screams of the woman he could now hear the distinct clashing of swords in combat, and that sound alone made his heart pound with excitement. This solitary soldier of fortune had travelled many days through this desolate forest, and his body ached from the weary ride. Now at last he would find a task at hand that was worthy of him, and which just might provide a reward as well.

As he rounded the curve in the road, he pulled up on the reins of his coal black steed, taking a brief moment to survey the scene before him. Directly ahead it appeared as if a number of bandits had set upon a small travelling party that was passing through the woods. At least seven men on foot were attacking two horsed soldiers who were struggling to defend their female companion.


And so begins the adventures of three separate travelers:

A princess trying to find her way back home, while finding herself along the way.
A sorceress trying to retrieve a sacred crystal that was secreted away by her father before he was murdered.
A warrior seeking to avenge the death of his family, who finds himself sidelined by two very different, yet very attractive women.

Drawn together by chance, all destined for one place . . . Avadar!


What previous readers have said about "Three for Avadar":

"Three for Avadar was a great read and fast paced story."

"I loved reading this story. It has a blend of romance, heroism, sorcery and more all in one. I was grabbed by the first of this story to the end."

"Three for Avadar by Steven R. Drennon is a fast-paced, action-packed adventure"

"I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys fantasy stories with tons of action and magic."

"While I’m actually not a huge fan of epic fantasy, this book, in my honest opinion, had me turning pages one chapter after another."

"The first quality the reader notices about this novel-the action starts immediately. This theme recurs throughout the book, the reader is never bored."

First 300 Words:

The cry came from directly ahead, where the road began to curve to the left. It was the unmistakable cry of a woman in distress, and as Bengar spurred his horse forward, he began to detect other sounds as well.

Accompanying the piercing screams of the woman he could now hear the distinct clashing of swords in combat, and that sound alone made his heart pound with excitement. This solitary soldier of fortune had travelled many days through this desolate forest, and his body ached from the weary ride. Now at last he would find a task at hand that was worthy of him, and which just might provide a reward as well.

As he rounded the curve in the road, he pulled up on the reins of his coal black steed, taking a brief moment to survey the scene before him. Directly ahead it appeared as if a number of bandits had set upon a small travelling party that was passing through the woods. At least seven men on foot were attacking two horsed soldiers who were struggling to defend their female companion.

The two soldiers were wearing heavy chain mail with simple, black cloth draped over it. They did not appear to be part of any particular army that Bengar recognized, but it was obvious that they were skilled with the sword, based on the showing they made for themselves against the attacking bandits. As for the lady, she was wearing an emerald green riding gown that seemed to spill over the rear of her horse. The lady’s auburn hair was flying freely as she struggled desperately with the reins, trying to avoid being pulled from her horse by two other thugs.

Vicki's Comments: I like the cover. My only complaint would be it's all monochromatic and the sword, crown, and scepter aren't as clear as I might like. Especially the crown, it gets lost. But it does give me a 'fantasy' vibe, so I think it does it's job. And I do like the font.

The description starts with a sample. Sorry, I think that's a bad idea. When I see a book cover that catches my attention, I click to see what the book is about. When I look at your description it's a HUGE wall of text and I get turned off right there. But if I can get past the wall of text to start reading the description, I find that it's not a description, but the beginning of the novel. Or a piece from the middle, I can't tell. If I wanted to read a sample, I would grab a sample. But I don't know a thing about the book other than the genre. I don't want to read a sample, I want to know what the book is about. Cut the sample from the description.

But lets look past the sample for a second. Don't worry, we'll come back to it. The real description starts with: "A princess trying to find her way back home, while finding herself along the way." - I'd like to know what happened to the princess. Did she get sucked up by a tornado, like Dorothy? Or did she fall into another dimension? What took her away from her home? I want to know this before I commit to picking up the book. Just the fact that she's trying to get home doesn't do it for me.

"A sorceress trying to retrieve a sacred crystal that was secreted away by her father before he was murdered." - Again, I don't have enough information for this to be a hook for me. What's at stake? Why is this sacred crystal so important?

"A warrior seeking to avenge the death of his family, who finds himself sidelined by two very different, yet very attractive women." - This makes the warrior sound bitter. Like he holds a grudge and wants to kill those that were responsible for the death of his family. I don't know if the character is bitter or not, but this makes me not like him.

The description ends with quotes. I never trust reviews put in by the author. At best it looks like quotes from friends or family, at worst it's just made up stuff. I would let readers leave reviews through the Amazon system. Some readers want to check out the reviews. Others don't care. Don't force reviews on them through the description feature.

The story itself starts with action, so I'll give you props for that. There's a little bit of of the prose that I would tighten up. For instance, "Accompanying the piercing screams of the woman he could now hear the distinct clashing of swords in combat," - There's no reason to put 'he could now hear.' The scene is written in his point of view. Everything you describe he is hearing and seeing. There's also no need to clarify the clashing of swords was in combat. Would there be a reason to hear clashing of swords other than combat? I also think stopping to describe the flowing gown of the girl during the combat scene is slowing it down. He wants to help. He comes around the corner and starts describing what the girl is wearing? I don't buy it. The last thing on his mind would be the way the gown spilled over the rear of the horse.

After looking at the entire picture here, I'm guessing the description is hurting sales the most. I would tighten up the beginning of the book and maybe try playing with the price a little bit. Sometimes a slightly higher price works better for high fantasy, but a price cut might help jump-start some sales too. I would experiment a bit to see where the best price for your book is.

What do you guys think?

9 comments:

  1. The cover is a little dark but I can see what it is. For me it's the description. I would definitely say that the product description should tell me what the story is about, and not give me a sample of the book. Personally I would work on the following (explain why the princess is trying to find her way home) and make this the description without the sample:
    A princess trying to find her way back home, while finding herself along the way.
    A sorceress trying to retrieve a sacred crystal that was secreted away by her father before he was murdered.
    A warrior seeking to avenge the death of his family, who finds himself sidelined by two very different, yet very attractive women.

    Drawn together by chance, all destined for one place . . . Avadar!

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  2. I like your cover, but the title makes think the three things for Avadar are a sceptre, a sword and a crown. Not 3 people. Or maybe it's both, in which case I'm intrigued and it's clever!

    Personally what draws me to fantasy these days (and I've read and written a lot of it) is something different. Something fresh that doesn't follow the usual tropes - the orphan boy who is really a prince, the woodcutter's daughter who develops strange powers and only she can save the universe. You can get away with doing just that, so long as you wrap it up differently. Sell me the real characters rather than their defining characteristics and maybe I'd be tempted to buy.

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  3. Good cover but I would lighten up the blue some so the props can be seen.

    Yes, please get rid of the sample and the commentary from the blurb. I would never have gotten past the sample to get to the actual description of the three leading characters.

    I like terse, but we need to know a bit more about the overall quest.

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  4. Well, my theme here seems to be that I'm atypical, but....I actually liked the sample lead-in to the description. Especially since it was action-packed. Your writing seems good, too -- until you get to "two very different, yet very attractive women." Not to be too blunt, but: argh, gag me. :-)

    I agree with Victorine about the description in the opening scene. No WAY is he going to notice her auburn hair as he approaches a battle in progress, let alone her emerald dress and *the way it drapes over the horse*.

    So, though I was initially intrigued and liked your writing style, I'm sensing some romance-novel teenage-fantasy stuff coming up, with women's lower lips trembling and men putting a finger to lift her chin and look into her eyes...eh, no thanks.

    If your book doesn't have any of that, then I'd strip it entirely from the description and sample!

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  5. First thing I noticed was that the cover is all blue and the title is one letter off from Avatar.

    Next I was going to mention the product description but what is listed on Amazon is not what is listed here. You switch tenses too much. There are three -ing words and two -ed words in that third paragraph. Also...

    "At least seven men on foot were attacking two horsed soldiers who were struggling to defend their female companion."

    This made me pause... Two horsed soldiers. I know what you are trying to say here, but it reads as the soldiers have two horses each. Not two soldiers on horses.

    I would have to say what is holding the book down is editing.

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  6. Thanks everyone for your comments, and especially you Vicki for offering to present this in the first place. I have taken your suggestions to heart and removed the sample as well as the reader comments. I have also reworked the blurb to hopefully make it more appealing. Let me know what you think!

    "His brother's entire family is murdered by soldiers preparing for war against the country of Avadar. Now Bengar, a lone soldier of fortune, is determined to reach Avadar before the invading army to offer his sword, hoping to exact some measure of vengeance.

    Torn between her desire to be her own person and her responsibility as the heir to the throne, Ariadne, the only child of the king of Avadar, had hoped to find an education far away from Avadar. Now, with war eminent, she has been summoned home where she must decide in which direction her future will lead.

    Mahri, a sorceress from the distant lands of Omhri, is in search of a mystical crystal that was secreted away by her father before he was murdered. With the crystal, anyone with magical powers would become immensely powerful. The sorcerer who murdered her father has spawned the army which is about to attack Avadar, believing that is where the crystal will be. Now Mahri must get there first to ensure that he does not corrupt the power of the crystal.

    Three separate travelers, drawn together by chance, all destined for one place . . . Avadar!"

    ReplyDelete
  7. I loved the cover, and thought the very first sentence of the excerpt was terrific.

    My biggest complaint is the passive verb construction. "The two soldiers were wearing heavy chain mail"..."hey were skilled"..."he was wearing". Those passive verbs will steal your momentum in a hurry!

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  8. Steve - I *love* your reworked blurb. I would definitely go on to read the sample. Well done!

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  9. War is imminent, not eminent! :-)

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