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Friday, March 30, 2012

All The Colors: a novel about Thailand and the search for life beyond Corporate America


Author: Eric Fisher
Genre: Literary Fiction
How long it's been on sale: Dec 2011
Current price: $.99
Marketing: Facebook, Twitter, KDP Select Free, banner ad on Thai themed website
Total sold so far: 40
Link to book on Amazon: All The Colors: a novel about Thailand and the search for life beyond Corporate America

Product Description:

 Charlie works for a San Francisco money management outfit that's got billion dollar accounts and a penthouse suite, but he's nowhere near the top. Long hours, big egos, and a skimpy entry level wage... It's him against the big shots who want to keep him down so they can climb the company ladder. Surely there's more to life than this.

When a friend who plays by his own set of rules suggests a trip to Thailand Charlie suspects that this is just the opportunity that he's been waiting for, but if he thought office politics were hard to understand, just wait until he throws Bangkok and Pattaya into the mix. Now he's got to reconcile points of view from Thai prostitutes, expats, high society debutantes, capitalists, socialists, and overbearing bosses. Everyone warns him not to fall in love, not to lose the plot and stick to his corporate career if he wants to succeed, but after he's seen Siam, there's no going back to the life he knew before.

First 300 Words:

What Charlie wanted to do was pass the test. Jam those calculations in his head and climb up a rung or two on the corporate ladder. The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam was no joke. Less than half who take the test pass all three levels and this was only the first. There was a ton of information to remember. Entire books that you needed to read about statistics, ethics, quantitative formulas, corporate finance and a bunch of other stuff. This all had to be recalled during the limited time they gave you to sit for the exam. Everyone at his work was “strongly encouraged” to take these tests, which increased the pressure. But if you passed all three levels you could break from the crowd. You could get a better job, one that paid well like managing money. Perhaps best of all, you could tell the guys sitting up on the throne to flush their own shit for a change. It was a worthy pursuit.

He could hear his neighbor singing in stiletto spiked bursts of incompetence through the paper thin walls. The chair kept rolling into his desk due to the slant in his apartment’s uneven floor, and his leg felt numb from the way he had to sit scrunched up against it as he read the book. Most of its pages were crisp and glossy from having never been thumbed through. He put in earplugs, placed a pillow under his butt and continued reading. He’d memorized the formula for Standard Deviation, but the Sharpe Ratio kept coming out wrong. The quantitative stuff was not sticking. Could it be a problem with his sciatic nerve? He palpitated his gluteus and felt a shock shoot down his leg. He stopped doing that. The tingling sensation, right above his right knee, was one of the first things he noticed when the doctors took him off the pain meds. Neuropathy, they called it. They’d done an EMG and when that didn’t point to the cause they did an MRI, that awful… walled-in machine with its jarring knocking sounds. The result was inconclusive, so he lived with it.

Vicki's Comments: First, a cavat. I don't often read literary fiction. I might be totally off base with my assessment here, so take this with that in mind.

The title is the first thing that caught my attention, and not in a good way I'm afraid. In my opinion, the title should not explain what the novel is about. The title should stand on its own, and be able to hook the reader into wanting to know more about the book. The description should then make it clear what the book is about. Having to say: "a novel about Thailand and the search for life beyond Corporate America" in the title is an immediate turn off for me. It also isn't capitalized correctly, so that gave me a bad feeling about the book as well. I would take that part out and just title it "All the Colors."

I would probably redesign the cover. I think it needs a more professional look. At the very least, I would put a new font on it.

The description isn't bad, but I think it could be tightened up. I am not seeing the conflict. I don't see why he is pulled toward Thailand. What's listed in the description - prostitutes, expats, high society debutantes, capitalists, socialists, and overbearing bosses don't make me think good things. This doesn't explain why he is wanting to leave corporate America. Give the reader more conflict.

The beginning starts with back story and explanation. This immediately makes me want to put the book down. Sorry. I would definitely cut the first paragraph. The second isn't terrible, but still gives me the feeling that it could be tightened up. I might try submitting the first chapter to a critique group to get some other eyes on it.

What do you guys think?

7 comments:

  1. This is the author Eric Fisher and I think your comments are quite helpful. I agree the intro, cover and title could be effecting sales. I appreciate your feedback.

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  2. From the title, I thought this was going to be a non-fiction book about someone chucking it all up to move to Thailand.

    The cover isn't bad, but the artwork needs to be sharper.

    In the blurb, the author talks about a trip to Thailand. That sounds more like a vacation than a move. The rest of the blurb sounds like he's actually moved to Thailand and gotten a job there. Which is it?

    I like the opening, but there is a problem here:

    that awful… walled-in machine

    Why is there an ellipse between awful and walled-in?

    I noticed some of the same problems in the blurb.

    Definitely a professional cover and I also agree with Vicki. Change the title to All the Colors.

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  3. I want to echo two specific things Victorine already said:

    1) Description needs tightening; After slogging through the entire thing, I felt like I already read a book, and still didn't find the hook you probably want me to find.

    2) Opening paragraph vs. second paragraph: love the latter, hate the first. I liked the character in the second paragraph. Too bad he whined a lot in the first...

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  4. I agree the first paragraph is a turn-off. Reading about exams doesn't make me want to read more.

    Also the font on the cover looks like something a child might do. That and the cover art made me think of some little kid's adventure in a big city, which I assume is not what you were going for at all.

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  5. Just another "vote," so to speak, for shortening the title to just All The Colors. Like Margaret, I thought (based on the current title) that the book was going to be a non-fiction account. I also agree with a need for a different typeface on the cover. If I was browsing for a book, I probably would pass this one up just on the cover alone.

    I do get the sense that there could be an interesting story, but the current description left my mind wandering rather than being hooked in. As for the first 300 words, I wasn't too turned off but also, again, was not hooked in. I'm not averse to starting a book with background, but the (lack of) transition from the first to second paragraph was jarring, which works against the goal of drawing my mind into the story.

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  6. This is kind of outside my range of interests so I'm not going to comment specifically on the cover or content, but what immediately occurred to me is that there may not be much overlap between the Lit Fic market and the 99 cent ebook market. I could be completely wrong, as I said its kind of outside my field of knowledge, but it might be worth looking into and possibly upping your price if it's like I suspect.

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  7. The blurb and first few paragraphs of this book read more like a "coming of age" story rather than literary.

    Literary stories (IMO) involve either an incredible use of language, or offer profound insights into humanity. I'm not seeing those features in your book.

    There are some wonderful literary stories in which the city or world becomes center stage. Perhaps your tale fits under that theme? If so, you'd better start the story in Thailand. Also, you should read some of those books to get a feel for what's expected in literary exotic-travel stuff.

    Regarding the use of language: "singing in stiletto spiked bursts of incompetence". I'm not sure I understand this phrase. Is the neighbor singing in high heels?

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