Monday, August 15, 2011

Garrick’s Landing

Author: Rita Wheeler
Genre: Literary
How long it's been on sale: 4 months
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Facebook appeal, increased tag words, repeated mentions on Kindle boards, paid for ten additional reviews.
Total sold so far: 24
Link to book on Amazon: Garrick's Landing

Product Description:

In the frenzied days after the start of WWII, seventeen-year-old Lainey Marston, daughter of a prominent Nashville banker, lets her newly-enlisted boyfriend convince her to elope even though she knows her father disapproves of the young man and of his fanatically religious family. Within hours after promising to love, honor and obey, Lainey knows that her father was right—she has made a terrible mistake. What she doesn’t know is that the marriage has set in motion a series of events that will bring her face to face with her own death.

First 300 Words:

Lainey hadn’t intended to marry Brice Garrick.

That was the honest truth, but how she was going to explain that to her daddy she didn’t know since it barely made any sense at all, even to her.

They were on their way back to Nashville late Sunday morning, she and Brice, and Kenny and Joelle, after two quickie marriages in Corinth, Mississippi—no blood tests required there to slow things down—followed by two nights in adjoining rooms at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.

The noon sun was high in a cloudless sky and the temperature way higher, Lainey thought, than it had any right to be so early in June.  Lainey was driving.  She was the only one drinking Coca-Cola instead of highballs these last three days, and besides, it was her car.  She hadn’t even let Brice drive when he wanted the keys and threw a fit when she wouldn’t give them to him after they came out of the courthouse married and with her still in a state of shock.

She glanced at him now and again, slouched down and snoring with his mouth open and his head resting against the window frame.  His uniform was a wrinkled mess and with the way the Army had nearly shaved him bald, she’d barely recognized him when he got home on furlough. 

She had a picture in her billfold of the Brice Garrick she knew before he joined the Army, and that Brice Garrick, the one of him in his football uniform holding his helmet down at his side, that Brice with his thick, black hair and strong jaw and that little indention in his chin she’d always loved—that Brice barely looked anything like the one next to her with the little nicks all over his face where he cut himself shaving just before they left this morning. 

Vicki's Comments: I kind of like the picture on the cover, but I'm not sure. It's dark and a little blurry but that makes it look old and almost depressing which might fit the book. The font doesn't go with it, though, and it's hard to read so I would change the font. I'm on the fence about the photo. I think it gives the message that this is a sad book. If that fits I might suggest leaving it. If the book isn't sad, I would change the photo.

The description isn't bad, although it could be tightened up a little bit. I want to know more about why marrying this guy would threaten her life. Is he abusive? Is the religion a cult and they're going to sacrifice her in some ritual? If I can get a little peek at what is threatening her life I think that would help the description.

I'm not a huge fan of the writing, I think it can be tightened up a bit too. Some of the sentences seemed long and clunky to me. I think some of the passive language can be reworked. I also prefer to start a novel right in the scene rather than starting with back story. I might cut some of the front matter off and start the novel without the back story.

What do you guys think?


  1. I like the cover image just fine, but I wish it were in lighter colors. I could see that washed out old color scheme used if the image were of her wedding photo or something, but since its so tight on her hands and the flower I'd prefer it to be vibrant.

    I actually like the font of the title, its just far too small. I'd love to have it blown up to see whether it actually would look just fine or not before it was changed. The author's name could really use some size :) Be proud that you wrote it!

    As far as the writing of both the description and the first 300 words, I agree with Victorine that it needs to be tightened up. It's almost there for me, however. I can see hints of really good prose similar to what authors like Jonathan Franzen can do, with sort of a running internal monologue that influences the flow of the narrative and gets us into the heads of the characters quickly and constantly.

  2. The cover doesn't match the description to me. The cover looks like an advertisement for a Lifetime movie from the 70s. The description seems a bit interesting. But then the first 300 words seem a little slow. I'm a fan of starting with action. My biggest complaint though is the cover. It doesn't pull me in and it definitely doesn't saw WWII to me.

  3. First thing I noticed was the cover. It looks like its from WWII and that's not necessarily a bad thing, but its just off. Personally I wouldn't ever pick this book off the shelf to read the back.

    Second was all the hyphens. That jumped out at me. Its ok to put a period in there and use more than one sentence per paragraph.

  4. The cover's okay except for the title. It's hard to read. The sepia tone says WW I to me, not WW II.

    By the time I finished reading the first sentence of the blurb, I was gasping for breath. It's a pretty complicated sentence. We don't need to know her father's a banker or that she's from Nashville.

    The same goes for the opening. Some of the sentences are too complicated and need to be broken up.

    It sounds like a good story, though. With a little pruning of the blurb and more color to the cover, it should do alright.

  5. Muddy cover. Font doesn't say WWII to me. Agree with Margaret's WWI comment but that might be a function of *my* age, not the image. :)

    Blurbage. As others have noted, first line needs work. The last line made me go "huh?" Isn't everybody's life a series of events that brings them face to face with their own death?

    I don't think you're getting to second base on this one.

    And it's literary fiction so the market niche is already a difficult one.

  6. I couldn't figure out from the cover, description or the first 300 words WHEN this novel was set. It's obviously not contemporary, but I need a bigger hint than that to consider buying it.

    If it is WWII, I don't think that photo quite works because it definitely looks older than that.

    The opening is just too much backstory. It sounds like what is often called "throat clearing" where the author tries to get into the story. The problem is that it doesn't get the reader into the story. Usually, throat clearing needs to be cut--not at all unusual in a perfectly good story.

  7. First: I like the writing. If it needs tightened, it's the tiniest bit. I see where you're going with this and I like it.

    Cover: Take it into your graphics program, boost the brightness to wash it out a little more, and then boost the contrast so we can still see what's going on. The font isn't bad but it need to be bigger and in greater contrast. Drop "A Novel," and drop "by" in the author line. De-italicise your name and bump the size up. (Specific enough? :) )

    Pricing: This is contrarian, but because this is literary fiction not genre, you may want to consider *raising* the price. Give it a try at $4.95. People looking for literary fiction are usually expecting a higher price point than $2.99; lower prices signal genre, which isn't a bad thing (I write genre), it's just not what you're doing.

    Blurb: Try this (I have a bad habit of rewriting other people's blurbs):

    When World War II breaks out, seventeen-year-old Lainey Marston lets Brice Garrick sweep her off her feet straight into an elopement. Sure, her father didn't approve of Brice, but she was in love, and Brice was in the Army now. Anything could happen to him once he made it to the front. But within hours of promising to love, honor and obey, Lainey realizes she's made a terrible mistake. Her father was right, and now [[you need to set up the threat better here--"series of events" doesn't cut it. What's she really facing? Crazy in-laws? Bad cooking? Grandpa Garrick stealing her A ration sticker? "Face to face with her own death" sounds like a spoiler, though I'm fairly sure it's not.]]


    No idea if any of that will help, but it sounds like a good book. Good luck!

  8. I'm torn on the cover... does it read 70's or Little House on the Prairie, I'm not sure? But I know I'm not getting WW II out of it. The titles doesn't do anything for me, nore does the font I can hardly read.

    However, I really enjoy the description and as Victorine mentioned, with a little more information I could really see myself wanting to follow through and purchase it to find out what happens next.

    OTher than that I think it's a great start and agree with man of the other comments here.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.