Monday, February 6, 2012

Mad Gods

Author: Athanasios 
Genre: Horror/Occult 
How long it's been on sale: Since March 2011 
Current price: $2.99 
Marketing: I've given Mad Gods to be reviewed on a number of review blogs. It has been featured on a few but most are still keeping it on their TBR pile. I've also done many blog interviews and am part of various facebook groups including Indie Writers Unite!, Indie Writers International, Kindle Mojo, 4 Stars and Up, Paranormal & Dark Fantasy Writers & Readers. I've also been on Twitter and have garnered 462 followers from hashtags such as horror/occult/supernatural/lucifer/new world order/antichrist/prophecy/paranormal/satan/dark fantasy/apocrypha 
Total sold so far: 50 
Link to book on Amazon: Mad Gods - Revelation: Cancelled ? (Predatory Ethics) 

Product Description:A child with the darkest destiny is wanted dead or alive by Satanists, the Catholic Church and the Dark Nobility. Kostadino must save him or let the world turn into hell on earth. What I liked about Mad Gods was that the author started the reader out on a journey right from the onset of the book--the plot was well written, easy to understand, and thought provoking. Cheryl Bradshaw Mad Gods takes its reader on a spellbinding journey that spans different continents and time periods. The author seamlessly weaves an intricate plot that connects an array of fascinating characters that propel the momentum of this wonderfully ambitious narrative. Aman S. Anand  

First 300 Words:

- Monaxia -

TIME: May 29th, 1960, Istanbul, TurkeyIstanbul bled history, conjuring images of ages past.

Medieval Christian sculptures and mosaics stood among electric streetlights and movie posters. Kostadino Paleologos walked its streets seeing the past amidst the modern hustle and bustle and felt grief, called monaxia - a longing for home and the familiar, which deepened in Istanbul. Everywhere, he saw faded glory, and turned Istanbul to Kostadinoupoli. Greeks to Byzantines.

Every year, he returned to the city on May 29th. It was a duty, which had been handed down through generations of this family with brown eyes, monaxia and brown hair. They were successors to Athens, Sparta, Macedonia and Rome. Pericles, Leonidas, Alexander and Caesars, from Julius to Constantine, evolved into Byzantine’s Emperor. He was Christ’s Caesar and ruled by divine decree, undreamt of by later pretenders. France’s Louis and Napoleon, England’s Henry and Charles, paled in comparison to Justinian and the First Constantine the Great. They were history. They were gone in every way, but in memory. Nothing remained as it was. No amount of prayer, hope or monaxia could change that.

Kosta knew this and came to Istanbul, because there were souls, still clinging to the history of their memories. Just as people prayed to God, Greeks felt monaxia and souls roamed Kostadinoupoli. To them, it was still 1453, and they fought desperately to keep their city. These unfortunate souls were unable to leave. They wandered and died in their memory. Over and over, they suffered lesser pain, than the total agony of death. They were terrified to face this absolute split from life. They were unable to accept the fact that they lived in history, because giving into its finality would utterly destroy them.

They were right. It was total destruction they feared - death.

Gina's Comments:
The cover: I don't think the book isn't selling because of the cover. It's quite shocking! My opinion is it's a great picture, great title, awesome lettering. It's a win in my opinion!
Sounds like your doing all the right things marketing. $2.99 might be a consideration. So many books out there to choose from and I know, even I take a chance on an Indie for 99 cents but $ would really have to speak to me. I know, I'm cheap. I'm guessing I'm not the only one.
I'm guessing content is an issue. Satan, Kostadino, hmmmm. Certain people will be attracted to this. Not everyone.
I'm confused with using reviews for the product description. This doesn't tell me what the book is. I want you, the author, to tell me what the book is about.
I'm not a fan of strange names. Kostadino is hard to connect with and you telling me a word, Monoxia, and then having to explain it...kind of puts me off. So many names are being thrown at me in the 1st 300. I have to keep re-reading this. This is a big history lesson dump before I'm invested in the character. I think it would be advantageous to allow me to see where I am and know who I'm reading about before I have to digest a history lesson.
After reading the 1st 300, I have no interest in going on. It's too heavy and I'm just not sure where it's going. You clearly have a very in-depth understanding of this world and Kosta's mission...and I believe he's there to collect souls? Old souls who long for home? Maybe I've missed the mark with that. Anyway, the concept is awesome. I wish I could say I liked the way you're going to present it, but so far the flavor of it is that you're trying way to hard. Relax. Let the story come through and not be hindered by the style you're attempting. This is very wordy prose to say the least. My opinion, for whatever it's worth, is that for sure, your book description and 1st 300 are what is preventing sales. If your entire book reads like the 1st may just need to accept that you will only appeal to a small audience of readers who love a puzzle and complex story lines which force them to study each word for meaning. They're out there I'm guessing. I'm not one of them, though.


  1. Cover - I like it. I like the image and I like the text. Nice!

    Blurb - I'd like to see a clearer description of who the main character is, what he does in this story, and what sorts of "things" happen or are featured in the story. So far, all I have is "Kostadino must save a kid to save the world". Way too generic and vague.

    Opening text - I agree with Gina. I didn't enjoy the dense exposition about Greek culture and monaxia and history. In a novel, I prefer to get a character, a setting, and a conflict, and then to pick up the exposition later as organically as possible.

    Best of luck!

  2. Okay, I have to say, I have come across your books on amazon before. I think this cover is way more appealing than the others. But looking at your author page on amazon right now, I'm somewhat confused as to the relationship between this book and the others. Is it a collections of some or all of the others? Just a different edition, or something completely different?

    A lot of the elements listed really appeal to me, but (and forgive me but I'm straining my memory a little) as I recall what put me off actually trying it out was really two main things I think.

    1. It wasn't clear to me that whether this was going to have a traditional "plot" or be some bizzaro surrealist fare. While I'm perfectly fine with some bizarro surrealist elements in a novel, I want them layered over a normal beginning/middle/end story arc. Rambling surrealist craziness, no matter how fascinating and cool some of the ideas may be, is just going to leave me angry.

    2. There seems to be a lot of it. I'm pretty sure your descriptions were different back when I saw it and amazon wasn't showing estimated page numbers back then, but I'm fairly certain I was put off by the potential volume of material. I may be the odd man out when it comes to genre readers, but when it comes to new authors and especially indie ones, I'm FAR more likely to give a try to a modestly sized stand alone story/novel than something that is or seems like it might be just the opening of some hundred-billion page epic that a.) will probably give me no satisfactory resolution in volume one, and b.) will likely never be finished as the author will either die or give up writing before then.

  3. Hi,

    I have to say that I'm very intrigued by your book! I read quite a bit of horror, and I like your concept. But there are a few things that would make me pause before I hit the 'buy' button.

    First (and this is *not* your fault), I've been burned by indie horror books before. I have a pretty high tolerance for violence and gore; however, the last two indie horrors I bought were so over the top as far as sadism, sex, and blood go, that I've become wary. Because your cover is very intense and because the blurb implies that there is a child in the book, I'm automatically concerned that some sections may leave a smudge on my brain. Now, I obviously don't know what *your* book is like; however, at the same time, I'm not eager to have my previous bad experiences repeated. I want to get to *know* a horror author before I trust him/her enough to read the book.

    My point is this: interact with other horror readers by going to where they 'live' online. I would suggest that you join horror book discussion groups on GoodReads and Shelfari and connect with the horror-lovers there. If anyone is interested in horror, it will be those readers.

    My second 'problem' occurs in the first 300 words. You write: "...of this family with brown eyes, monaxia and brown hair..." If 'monaxia' is actually depression, then the sentence reads strangely ("...of this family with brown eyes, depression and brown hair"). I'd think it would sound smoother to try something like: ("of this family with brown eyes and hair. And monaxia.)

    Also, as others have noted, the product description is a bit vague. As a buyer, I'd like to know more about what will be happening in the story rather than read reviews of the book.

    I do like where the book begins, however, and I also like the setting. Like I said, I find this book intriguing.

  4. It's so nice to see a cover that works. Congratulations.

    Your blurb seems to be nothing more than a review and it tells me nothing. You need a descriptive blurb with a main character, the conflict, and how your main character is involved.

    I found the first 300 words to be rambling and difficult to understand. To be honest, I couldn't even read that much to the end.

    As an example:

    "felt grief, called monaxia - a longing for home and the familiar, which deepened in Istanbul"

    I think something like this would work better:

    felt monaxia - a longing for home and the familiar - which deepened in Istanbul.

    Even that's a little awkward.

    All that being said, I like the premise of finding and rescuing lost souls.

  5. Thanks so much for this constructive criticism everybody. I'm reworking the blurb and think I'll have a winner by end of day. I'm also going to be tightening up and fixing the first chapter.

    That's one good thing about not selling too many copies, you can make your mistakes out of public scrutiny.

  6. All very good advice. After reading the blurb and the opening, I still wasn't quite sure who or what the main character was. Much too dense a beginning with too much info-dumping. Very nice cover though. I think if you draw people into the story first you may have a seller.

  7. How's this for a new blurb:

    Kosta is a man with a dark past, and lives life on the run: wanted dead or alive by Satanists, Dark Nobility and the Catholic Church. He has abducted a child destined to enslave the world and given him a life more ordinary.

    Together they are pursued by those who want the child returned to his destiny and the Church that wont give up its power.

    Prophesy and free will collide when the child must finally choose his own path or the fate set out in Revelation.

    This is Athanasios's Google account

  8. That is much better than the first one, Adam! (Just make sure to write won't instead of wont).


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