Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Author: Robert Michael
How long it's been on sale: April, 2012
Current price: $3.99
Marketing: Kindle Select, 3 free days Facebook, Goodreads, Goodreads giveaway, Kindle Daily Deal, Twitter, press releases to local newspapers, author website, author blog
Total sold so far: 24 (plus, 1 borrow and 20 hard copies sold)
Link to book on Amazon: Dark Mountain
Jacob Barclay initially took the long hike through the remote Arkansas mountains as an escape. What began as a test of his survival skills takes a turn as he discovers a cabin with a dark secret.
Molly Corothers, a teenager, is lost and alone in the woods. She finds in Jacob a way out, a guardian angel.
Jacob can tell that Molly is hiding something from him, despite suffering from atrocities that most adults would have found unbearable. Jacob learns to trust Molly and finds that sometimes evil runs in the family.
First 300 Words:
The blood was what bothered Brian the most. His emotions were torn between desire and repulsion. He lay in his bed flat on his back staring at the ceiling. The darkness was a comfort. It calmed him. He could feel his body pressing into the lumpy mattress beneath him. He could make out his posters eating up dark holes on the dingy white walls of his bedroom.
He regretted going to see Molly at the cabin. It didn’t help matters at all. In fact, he felt more confused now than ever. If he hadn’t held his sister in his arms this afternoon things would have been different. If he hadn’t tried to console her and listen as she spun her tale maybe he wouldn’t be here wondering whether he should cry, scream, or kill someone. He was ashamed to even think about it.
He lay there biting his lip and wondered why he was so screwed up. Why is my family so screwed up? He knew that many of his friends felt the same way about their families. They had no idea.
He couldn’t stop thinking about the blood. He didn’t know what to do with it. As Molly recounted what she had seen that night almost a week ago, he couldn’t help but think about the blood. He had seen the room. He had just stood there, transfixed. It was the color of red clay mud. It was smeared everywhere and flies careened drunkenly around the room. The room smelled awful. But it didn’t matter. He couldn’t take his eyes off of all the blood.
The ceiling in his room had turned a sickly yellow over the last few years. His father, Victor, rarely did anything around the house and so painting was a low priority. But, as Brian stared, the ceiling turned a dark brown. As he watched, mesmerized by his mind’s own creation, the ceiling developed large cracks. Out of these cracks blood oozed forth, running in large, corpulent droplets across the ceiling.
Comments: The cover is dark. I realize you probably made it dark on purpose, to show the thriller/suspense aspect of the book, and I do think it helps with that. I'm just afraid that it's too dark. I'd love to see the photo have more contrast. Most photo manipulation software will allow you to increase the contrast. I think that might help. I'd also look at the black on the bottom, not sure if that's working really well. Maybe I'd like it better of the photo faded to black. I like the title font, but I'm not sure the outline is working. With a few tweaks, though, I think this cover could work.
The description suffers from evasivitis. (Yes, I did just make that word up.) You're leaving out the best parts of the hook and being too evasive. The cabin has a dark secret. Is it ghosts? (Which would make the book paranormal, and thus be a key element in selling the book.) Is a homicidal murderer hiding out there? (Which would up the suspense and be a key element in selling the book.) Is the cabin cursed? (Which would again turn us toward a paranormal aspect, and be a key element in selling the book.) Do you see where I'm going with this? Don't hide the key element in selling the book. It doesn't make the book mysterious and desirable. It makes it less desirable because the reader doesn't know what kind of book they are getting. I'm also confused about Molly. I'd like to know a bit more about her involvement in the story. As it reads, she doesn't tie in to the cabin, which confuses the description.
To me, the start of the novel falls a bit flat. I'm not sure what's going on. I'm guessing that Brian's sister, Holly, is being kept in the cabin because she's a murderer, maybe? Not sure that fits with the description, though. I'd also like to see the writing tightened up a bit. There were some areas of repetition that could be eliminated. "He couldn't stop thinking about the blood." And then, "...he couldn't help but think about the blood." And then, "He couldn't take his eyes off all the blood." I would suggest a writer's critique group. They can help figure out what to trim to make this a stronger opening.
For me, the cover is the strongest link in the chain, but could be better. The description and the book can be tightened up to make this book much better. I do think this book can sell. I like many things about it. I am attracted to thrillers, and I do think this book can become a good seller. It just needs a bit more work.
What do you guys think?