Friday, February 24, 2012

Oh What a Lucky Man

Author: Andrew H. Black
Genre: General Adult Fiction
How long it's been on sale: Late August 2011
Current price: $.99
Marketing: Email, Facebook, Twitter, Author website
Total sold so far: 14
Link to book on Amazon: Oh What A Lucky Man

Product Description:

Raymond McClure is without a doubt a lucky man. But the jury is out on whether he has found himself with an abundance of good luck or bad luck. A power failure throws Ray into a tailspin that ultimately costs him his job. That same day he buys a lottery ticket, and that evening finds out he is the sole winner of a $216 Million jackpot. Unfortunately he has misplaced the ticket. With time on his hands, Ray volunteers at an elementary school and an eight-year-old Japanese girl helps to quickly turn his life around. Join Raymond McClure on this roller coaster ride through joy and misfortune, incarceration and celebration, love and hate, loss and treasure.

First 300 Words:

Wednesday, November 2


Raymond McClure is without a doubt a lucky man.  How his luck should be qualified as good or bad is not so cut and dried.  The track that one’s life takes is a mystery seen only in retrospect, while the future is hidden from view.  Is our life story already written from beginning to end the day we take our first breath, or are we granted free will, capable of changing the course of events? Does one decision bend our lives in one direction and another decision coax our lives back on yet another course?  Is it true that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world can cause a typhoon on the other side of the world? Can a simple common occurrence like a power outage or the seemingly innocuous choice of clock radio have an irreversible impact on the course of one’s life?  Or are we destined to live the life we are dealt no matter what we do?

Ray McClure awoke with a start.  His bedroom seemed a little brighter than it normally was on weekday mornings.  His bedside clock was silently blinking 3:18 in big blue numbers.  3:18. 3:18. 3:18. It flashed like some sort of malfunctioning robot in need of a swift kick in the reboot button.  He slid his watch from the nightstand and tried to focus on the face.  It was already 8:24.

“Shit!”  Ray tossed the covers aside and bolted from the warm but solitary confines of his queen-sized bed.  Wind and heavy rain buffeted the side of the house as he dug through his dresser for clean boxers and socks.  The power must have gone out during the night.  His digital clock was now insistently proclaiming 3:19...

Vicki's Comments: I like the cover. I would suggest changing the font. But the image on the cover is striking, and I think it catches the eye, so I probably would stick with the image.

The description could use some tweaking. Usually when people say "lucky man" they mean good luck. I'm not sure it's working to say he's lucky, and then go on to say but we're not sure if it's good luck or bad luck. I might find a different way to describe what's going on. I'm also not hooked on the description of the events he faces. A power outage isn't too compelling. Him losing his job is good, I just think it's buried under unnecessary details. I might get some help with the blurb.

I'm not a fan of the first paragraph. When I start a book, I like to jump into a scene. I feel like I'm reading the description all over again, and then some existential thoughts that don't grab me and bring me into the story at all. I would cut the first paragraph and start with the story. Beginning with a character waking up is not recommended. Google "How not to start a novel" and many of the lists you'll find will include "waking up." However, it's better than the deep existential thoughts.

I'm guessing if you change the font, make the book look more professional with a cleaner, simpler font, and tweak the description, you'll get more sales. What do you guys think?


  1. I strongly agree with changing the cover font. I actually had a hard time deciding if it was "YUCKY" or "LUCKY". The description jumps from misplacing a winning lottery ticket to 'time on his hands'? That is an awkward transition, in my opinion. I did enjoy the intro to the story, however, and since the waking up late actually launches the sequence of events (losing the job, I presume is at least partially based on that), I think I would leave the start as-is.

  2. There are a lot of things about this book that are just slightly off. It just needs some tightening up, I think. The cover is cute, but I totally agree with Victorine about the use of the word 'lucky' in the blurb.

    Not only that, the blurb feels a little disjointed. Simplify the plot as much as possible; focus on the main conflict and what is at stake. It feels like there are too many random details getting in the way of that right now (like the lottery ticket detail).

    Also, completely nix the first paragraph of the book. It doesn't really say anything, and it's more like a second blurb than the first paragraph of a book.

    I think you've got decent elements here; they just need to be tweaked and rearranged. :) Good luck!

  3. Sorry, but I'm not a fan of the cover. A hand sticking out of a collar is creepy to me. I agree with the others about the font. It's hard to read.

    The blurb does need a little tweaking, but it's not too bad. It just needs more punch.

    I actually like the intro to the book. It's thoughtful and well-written. I think the problem is that there is no transition between this philosophical paragraph and the frantic events of the next paragraph.

    I'm going to go ahead and sample the book because it seems like it has potential. I'll come back later today after I've read more.

  4. I would use the first paragraph of the book AS the product description. You also need some good one liners, maybe to begin with or end with....

    How unlucky to win the lotto.....

    Is it really a power failure that puts him in a tailspin, OR is it a building up of problems that just all break at once because the power failure put a crack in the facade? Don't just focus on the first one third of the book for the description... really get to the meat of the problems.

    I think the biggest question to ask yourself is WHAT exactly is it about your book that makes it better than all of the other books out there so readers SHOULD buy it. Is it a story of an every man? It's OKAY to reveal the ending... somewhat. To get readers to take a journey with you, they need to know the destination. I.e:

    Ray triumphs:

    He won the lottery, but lost his ticket. But he's still a winner....

    He doesn't triumph:

    He won the lottery, but lost his ticket. Can he get over his "lucky" misfortune?

    I agree the title scaling on the cover doesn't work and the font is hard to read. Hope that helps...

  5. I find the hand sticking out of the shirt creepy myself, but obviously not everyone reacts that way. At the least, I'd replace the title font with something easier to read and more professional looking. The blurb is disjointed and not compelling to me at all. A series of event and then being invited to some character's roller coaster ride isn't going to get me to buy a book. Letting me know what the main conflict is and what is at stake for the character might. And the first paragraph would be enough to make me put the book down if I got that far. I have no problem with starting with waking up since that seems to be an essential part of the plot, but a paragraph on the philosophy of the book? Not really. Hope that helps.

  6. I read the sample in the cloud reader and I liked what I read. I agree with Elizabeth Ann West about using the first paragraph as the blurb. It would still need some tweaking, but it's a good place to start.

  7. I like the cover, but not the font used.

    "Raymond McClure is without a doubt a lucky man." Don't work. You may want to try something like "Without doubt luck rules/controls/dominates Raymond McClure's life." But saying he is "lucky" means he has good luck.

    The blurb does have any real tension. Why do we want to root for this character? What is he trying to accomplish?

    I also noticed that "Raymond McClure is without a doubt a lucky man." is repeating in the first line of your book. I would change that too. If you are going to include the section where you the author are talking to the reader, I would add a scene break (Three returns, or ###) before I drop into the scene with Ray waking up.

  8. I agree with the comments that everyone has made so far (and I'll cast my vote with the 'I like the book cover' crowd). What I'm wondering is if you will have a tougher time selling this because it's general fiction. A lot of times, genres come with 'ready made' audiences, so an urban fantasy or thriller book may be an easier sell. I'm also wondering if you have been connecting with readers on places like GoodReads. Joining book discussion groups is a great way to meet readers. Finally, have you sent this out to be reviewed? I would recommend contacting book review bloggers and seeing if they would be willing to review your book.

  9. Thanks for your comments and constructive criticism. I will work on making the suggested changes and see what impact that has on sales. I appreciate the advice. This is a great service.


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