Monday, August 8, 2011

Formula Rx:17

Author: Rebecca Carlton
Genre: Thriller
How long it's been on sale: 3 months
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Amazon posting, blog tour, facebook, twitter social networking.
Total sold so far: 23
Link to book on Amazon: Formula Rx:17

Product Description:

Geric is lured by Dalis to a remote island to practice medicine until his license is reinstated. Upon arrival, Dalis reveals that Geric must erase memories and personal identities from abducted women or face his own demise. While Geric bides his time until an opportunity arises to escape, he is presented with a patient that is resistant to treatment but manages to catch Dalis’ eye.
Livia’s life is spared with the mindset that her immunity is the key to developing an alternate therapy for other resistant women. She serves as Geric’s medical assistant while enduring the aggressive advances of Dalis. The stress of their living conditions proves to be too difficult when the consequence of their reckless behavior triggers a deadline to escape. A deadline that will expose their transgressions…and cost them their lives.

First 300 Words:

Geric pulled the final photograph off the wall and dropped it into the trash box. He sighed as he leaned down to label the box. After taking another moment to inspect the contents, he turned to the stone paperweight sitting on his desk. The stone still had the stain of the red clay dirt from his parents’ backyard. It had graced every college dorm book shelf and office desk for the last fifteen years and now that he would be forced to return home, it seemed meaningful to bring it along full circle. As he clenched the stone in his hand, its weight reminded him of the burdens his poor decisions had placed on his shoulders.

Geric had no clue what he would be walking into when the young lady came by to request a house visit. She brought him to a bedridden old woman with pain filled eyes suffering from stomach cancer. The young woman explained that over the years her grandmother’s tolerance had heightened to levels that no doctor felt comfortable prescribing. She gathered all their belongings and moved them from town to town in search of a doctor willing to give the old woman relief during her final time. Geric became a doctor to help people who had no means to help themselves. His own homeland was riddled with old women just like the one lying in the bed staring back at him, in need of help with no one willing to assist them. He came to this country because he could not make a living off of kind gestures and saw the situation before him as an opportunity to give back to those who were less fortunate.

The old woman never spoke. She only stared at the ceiling as if she were begging for a release sooner than it came to her. 

Vicki's Comments: The first thing I notice here is the author lists this book as a thriller, and yet the description adds in some science fiction to the mix. That's fine, but it needs to portray that on the cover and the marketing needs to be to people who like science fiction thrillers, if this is indeed a sci-fi thriller.

The cover needs work. I suggest the cover be the standard size so it doesn't stand out (in a bad way) compared to the other covers on Amazon. The type blends in, and is barely legible. I would use a different picture, one that portrays the genre better, and make sure the type is clear.

The description could use some more punch too. Someone being lured to an island to practice medicine isn't very exciting, and that's the first sentence. I'd make the first sentence the best you can make it, something that will grab the reader and make them want to read the book. It doesn't have to be a synopsis of the book, just enough information so the reader knows what kind of book it will be, and a good hook.

The writing was good but it was all back story. I try not to put any back story into the first chapter, and even after that I try to sneak it in rather than have large paragraphs of back story. The scene starts with a man packing up his stuff. I'm confused by the first two sentences. He throws a picture from the wall in the trash box, but then leans down to label the box? Why would you label a box of trash? Why not throw it out?

I would suggest a new cover, tighten up the blurb, and maybe cut the first scene so the book opens at a more exciting part.

What do you guys think?


  1. I kind of liked the cover except for the fact that the title is nearly unreadable. I had to strain to read the authors name.

    The cover says stranded on an island and calling for help to me.

    The blurb is too descriptive, reveals too much of the story and doesn't grab me.

    The phrasing here is awkward and would stop me from reading further.

    "As he clenched the stone in his hand, its weight reminded him of the burdens his poor decisions had placed on his shoulders."

    I also noticed that he labeled a box destined for the trash. Now that I think of it, when I worked in Miami, we had to label things "basura" so the janitors would throw them out. The point is that I shouldn't have to think about such small details.

    One doesn't usually label a box until it's taped shut, but he labels it then looks inside again. Again, something awkward that stops me from reading further.

  2. The cover should be fitted to something approaching the normal format. The author name disappears almost entirely, and the title, though a little better, is still hard to read.

    I don't like the names: if this is the normal world, they're a little oddball. If it's a fantastical world where such names would be more normal, that should be made clearer in the blurb. I liked the blurb well enough, but it could certainly be more punchy, and would be improved by teasing more and telling less.

    Starting with him arriving at the island would probably work better than setting up how he disgraced himself as the start of the action. That's not action, and it needs to be to grab attention.

  3. Hello everyone,

    I wanted to stop in and let you know that I appreciate the valuable feedback I've received already. I've taken the time to rework the cover to make the title and my name more legible. The notion of it being "written in the sand" worked better in full size, not so much on e-book copy.

    Thanks again and please, any feedback is appreciated!

  4. Let's see.

    The most immediate thing that jumps out to me is the cover.

    Now, the photo is great. Sets a mood, etc.


    The title is way too dark; it blends into the photo too much and makes legibility a real issue.

    Also, I don't see any author's name on the book. At all. That's needed for a professional appearance.

    (If there is one, I just can't see it at all. Sorry.)

    And then, the oddly wide cover really knocks me off balance and makes me wonder if I'm looking at a book listing or not.

    So, just focusing on the cover, those are three really big strikes that jump out to me as off-putting, and need improvement. They are issues that would make me hesitant to OneClick.

  5. Looks like the author is fixing the cover. I think that is a good idea.

    This is just me personally, but when I got to the part of the description that said "abducted women" I stopped reading. I just don't like those kinds of themes or stories.

    I'm not suggesting you change your story. This might be one factor in why some people are walking away.

    Good luck with it.


  6. I like the colors on the cover, but it's much too dark. I can't read anything on it. It also needs to be in standard e-book cover format. I also think the cover implies a different kind of story.

    As for the writing, try starting with a more happening scene, then add in the backstory as you go along. I also wonder about the names if this takes place in modern times.

  7. Everyone has already mentioned the cover. That's the big turn off for me. The story actually sounds kind of interesting.

  8. I also find the cover hard to read. Both in the sense of text, and in the genre. Do like the colors, though.

    I read the blurb before I checked the genre and I definitely thought it was SF. Firstly, the names are so unusual (and when I learned the book was a thriller I wondered if the names were foreign; and if so, be nice to get a sense of what country these people are from). Secondly, Geric's mission to "erase memories and personal identities" makes me say huh? I suppose there could be some psychological technique but my first impression was Vulcan mind meld or something.

    That aside, the story does sound interesting. Stranding people with nefarious goals on an island is a good setup, and the writing is solid.

  9. I'm looking forward to seeing the new version of the cover, because this one a) looks like a music recording and b) is nearly invisible to me in terms of both picture and text.

    I'm afraid I find the first 300 words almost as impenetrable.

    The blurb needs reworking as well. Try this:

    When disgraced Doctor Geric [[last name here]] is lured to a remote island, he discovers he's not meant to heal: He must erase the memories and personalities of abducted women--or be killed along with his "patients." But when Livia [[last name here]] resists the memory wipe*, she becomes his medical assistant, study subject and temptation. Why is she immune? Can they control their attraction to one another? And can they escape the island and its sinister master before he kills them both?

    *I assume it's drugs and not some psychic power. Actually I'm making a lot of assumptions here; alter to fit the actual story a bit better.

    Not perfect, but perhaps a start. Good luck!

  10. I'd like to offer an additional suggestion about the cover:

    Combinations of gray, blue, and black do not always convert well into a black-and-white format such as the Kindle or the Nook Classic screens. The colors blur together too much depending on the contrast settings. Not every reader will spend much time looking at the cover of an ebook. I like having the option, though.

  11. The cover is cool, but for a thumbnail and ebook use it's really no good. Not enough contrast, difficult to see, and improper size.

    The blurb and first 300 words didn't do much for me either. I had no interest in the story from either and I do read thrillers.

    The blurb was very choppy imo, and the opening didn't have anything I'd consider a good hook.

  12. The product description needs rewriting to make it have more punch. As it reads at the moment it's stilted and it's not helped by the strange sounding names. This is only very rough, playing around with the first couple of sentences, but I hope it might help you to see that less can be more: Lured to a remote island to practice medicine, Geric is horrified to find he must erase abducted women's memories or face his own demise.

  13. No need to comment on the cover - and I agree with others on the blurb. I'd like to draw your attention to this in the first 300 words:

    'As he clenched the stone in his hand, its weight reminded him of the burdens his poor decisions had placed on his shoulders.'

    This is a misused symbol and is the kind of thing that will put a lot of readers off. You skilfully established the stone as a symbol that links him to home, and to the past, but then you right away go telling the reader it is something else. Furthermore, if you want a symbol for his burdens, you can't be using his POV to tell the reader that is what it is. People don't generally associate physical and psychological burdens directly, so you have to apply a symbol indirectly.

    In the following paragraphs you continue to sabotage strong setups with weak clich├ęs. This would have stopped me from wanting to read further, in spite of the sense that I get that you have a strong story to tell.

  14. Hello again everyone. Thank you so much for such valuable feedback, and the positive responses. The names "Livia" short for Olivia, Geric and Dalis (a variation of Dallas) didn't seem that odd to me. I didn't realize character names held that much weight with readers. I'll keep these things in mind when I pick character names for other novels. I'll definitely be working on the blurb, Thanks again Victorine, for listing my novel and to everyone who took the time to provide constructive feedback, I am so grateful for everything.


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