Saturday, October 27, 2012

Catch My Drift

Author: Jamie Pierce
Genre: Mainstream/Psychological
How long it's been on sale: April 12, 2012
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: Free promos through KDP, badgering family & friends
Total sold so far: 3
Link to book on Amazon: Catch My Drift

Product Description:

In the beginning Jamie says, "They beg you not to kill yourself, but they don't tell you what will happen if you live. This is how they trap you." Defensive and devious in her dealings with psychologist Al Foxworthy, Jamie maintains the psychogenic amnesia that has caused her insupportable depression. She infuriates Al. She makes him laugh, she makes him cry, and she makes him ache to restore the hardy spirit that has nearly been extinguished.

Privy to their intimate, turbulent hours together, the reader experiences the struggle between a woman determined to die and the therapist fighting to save her.

Judges from the Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference Contest said, "Fabulous writing—immediately involves the reader." "Compelling, emotional, so beautifully written, the reader can easily empathize with the main character and understand her pain, despair and convoluted logic." "This is powerful writing, absolutely gut wrenching . . . "

First 300 Words:

 I've got the pills, I've got the determination, I'm at the end of a long January slide, and all that's left is a glass of water and a long, long sleep.
Except I decide I have to say goodbye to my best friend Robyn.  I put the quilt I've been working on into the chest and lower the lid, closing it away.  I lock my front door behind me, give the carved sunflower on its central panel a pat.  "Good-bye," I say.  Shouldn't I be leaving a note? I wonder as I drive down our mountain road fast, faster than I ever have before, no longer slowed by the thought of neighbors' complaints.
By the time I hit the freeway, I'm going ninety and the needle's climbing.
I've always driven fast, ten to fifteen, maybe twenty miles over the limit, but I've never dared push the gas pedal to the floor.  I love it, I love it.  The freedom.  What's the worst that can happen?  I won't be around to pay the ticket.  I laugh.
I meet Robyn at this new Italian place.  The food is terrible, too much garlic, not enough body to the sauces.  We comment endlessly.  Well, I do, I can't think of anything else to say.  I certainly can't tell her what I'm going to do as soon as I leave the restaurant. But I do.
And she says, "Jamie, you're going to feel better.  This is only temporary."
It's been my whole life and that doesn't seem very temporary, but she goes on about what'll she do without me?  Who'll be fairy godmother to her children when she has them?
The last thing I can tell her is that I don't care anymore.

Comments: The cover is very cute, but it looks like a children's book. It's simple and clever, but I don't think it portrays the genre at all. The description gives us a troubled woman. This is not portrayed on the cover at all. I would look at this book if I were looking for something for my children. The description would make me go on to something else. I would definitely look at changing the cover. It needs to look more grown-up and darker.

The description is confusing and doesn't give me much information at all about the storyline. I know there's a woman who is in therapy, and she struggles with wanting to die, but the description doesn't give me enough information about it for me to care about the character. It's devoid of personality. The best sentence would be the second paragraph, I think. I'd take out the quotes from the judges. It doesn't look good, IMHO. Let the description pull the reader in, not someone else's opinion of the book.

The writing itself is pretty good. There are some tense changes that kind of tripped me up, and places where I'd like to get more into the main character's head, but it really isn't bad. I think this book could sell if it had the right cover and a better description. Try writing the description in the character's voice. Or try the 'when' formula. When (insert your character’s name and some title or small description) + (pivotal moment in your story that starts the action) main character must (something they must do) + (consequence if they don’t do it). The example I use in my book, How to Find Success Selling Ebooks, is this: “When detective Lars Jansen finds a dead body stuffed into his trunk, he must find the killer before he goes to jail for a murder he didn’t commit.”

What do you guys think?


  1. "Defensive and devious in her dealings with psychologist Al Foxworthy, Jamie maintains the psychogenic amnesia that has caused her insupportable depression."

    This sentence, which is the second sentence in your blurb, is awful. Too many big words. Psychogenic! I know what that means, but a lot of people are going to be put off.

    Get rid of the second paragraph. You don't want to tell me what I'll experience.

  2. From the cover, I thought this was a humor book. I was smiling until I got to the blurb and found out there was nothing to smile about in this book. That would have been the end of it for me.

    The blurb is confusing. It sounds like Jamie is manipulating her therapist. It also sounds as if they are having an affair.

    The first 300 is pretty good, but I don't think I would have gotten as far as the sample only because I would have felt cheated out of that humor book.

  3. The holy trinity -- cover, blurb, sample.

    1. I kept trying to make the cover into something it wasn't. I kept seeing the hand holding a knife and chopping off ... or cutting off... or something. the reddish bit could have been an ear but I couldn't quite figure it out. Only when I saw it in a larger size did the "net" actually show up and the cover went someplace else. "ooohhhh, catch my drift..." but why a goldfish? goldfish don't drift...

    so. yeah. cover isn't working.

    2. blurb. no. not only didn't it hook me in, it actively said "Oh, look. this book's so bad we need to have experts tell us how great it is."

    trust your story. tell us what it's about and let us decide. I'm sure it's a great story. You've got a quirky sense of humor. Use it to cast the story's net around the reader.

    3. Sample. Nobody ever sees it. Between the cover and the blurb, I'd bet very few people ever get that far.

    The writing itself isn't bad. A bit disjointed. (she's going to kill herself, but only have driving 90mph down the highway? or something?)

    And there's this other thing. You have two characters in a restaurant and we get not a whiff of the pale sauce, no taste of that too much garlic you tell us about, no sounds of cutlery clanking in the crowded dining room or pots banging in the kitchen or too loud cell phone conversation in the next booth. No noise, no sense whatsoever of where they are.

    Worse. We don't even get to see this Robin person at all. Just the second hand smoke of her existence. Stylistically it pretty clearly establishes your main character as the center of the universe because there is no universe except her. She doesn't have conversations. She reports them. It's a golden opportunity to show us something about both the characters in their interaction but you paint us this gorgeously stylized portrait of dissociation. In three hundred words you've created a shallow, ego-centric character who exists in a void of her own making.

    You got some chops, I'll give you that. Intentional or not, that portrait of your main character is perfectly suicidal. It's really masterful except for the one lil detail.

    I don't care. You've not given me one single thing to care about. Not about her. Not about the story. Not even about the people around her because you've done such a great job of painting her as somebody already dead in her own mind.

    So, why would I buy the book?

  4. Author Kay Bratt left a comment on Kindleboards. Here's what she said:

    "In addition to a cover makeover, the blurb needs to give the reader 'some' sort of hope. It can't be all gloom and doom. If there is even a chance of a happy ending, then hint at it."

  5. I really like the cover . . . for a MG or YA novel.

    Probably not what you're going for.

    I felt the blurb actually made me care less about the MC and not more. What does your MC want? What does she need to do to get it? What are the consequences if she does? What are the consequences if she doesn't?

    The first 300 are written quite well. You've got tons of voice (though I little description wouldn't hurt). Trouble is, I think, that most readers won't get that far because the cover/blurb just aren't hooking them.

    Hope that helps!

  6. Solid advice all around, so I won't repeat it.

    I agree that the writing itself is good, so it's not a barrier to sales. Fix the cover & blurb, and I think things will change.

    The only other things I'd tweak is the category. Think about what readers will search for. People who would like this book may not think to search for "Psychological" fiction. That label confused me.

  7. i like the cover, but it says quirky fun to me. As other have said, blurb doesn't match the cover. i realize a dark topic can actually be a dark comedy, so maybe it is a dark comedy? if so, then blurb is the thing that should be tweaked to match the cover.

  8. Wrong--though charming--cover. Throw out the blurb and start over; it's confusing and gives no sense of the main characters or the tone of the book. Loved the sample!

  9. Looking at the cover, I have no idea what the books about. It's cute but doesn't motivate me to purchase it or even take a second look. I honestly wouldn't make it to the product description.

    The first paragraph of the product description has me at a loss. Is the book about Jamie or is it about Al Foxworthy? The presentation is confusing. Even if the book is about both, it might be better to focus on one character per paragraph.

    The second paragraph makes it seem more like non-fiction. So I'm further confused. Is it fiction or non-fiction. The cover screams non-fiction, but really I'm not sure what I'm getting into with this book.

    I think the last paragraph would be more powerful if you had actual names of the individuals who praised the book. Simply "Judges" doesn't cut it. There's no way to verify the truthfulness of the statement.

    The writing is a bit scattered and wordy. It hops from one scene to the next without really giving me a feel for what's going on as a reader. If she's suicidal, I want to feel a connection to her. I want to understand her rationale for being suicidal. The joyride doesn't do it for me… at least not so early in the game. The joyride cheapens the stakes before the stakes are set.

    For the most part, the first 300 words is moving too fast for me without anything important going on. I just don't connect with or care about Jamie at all. I don't sympathize or empathize with her situation.

    That's not to say there's not a story there. I just think the first 300 words needs more substance.

    Anyway, I recommend a new cover which gives a feel for what the book is about, a product description which is more focused, and a character I can care about in the first 300 words.

  10. Those who live on the brink, rather than visiting it on rare occasion or thinking once or twice that they might have approached it, can have a very different view of things than the average person. I think the first 300 portrays that perspective and the difference in perspectives well, and I think some of the comments here bear that out. Heed the advice given above on getting a more apt cover and starting fresh on the blurb, and I think it should sell better, although that difference in perspectives can, itself, be a hindrance to sales. Because, really, it can be all gloom and doom, but commercially that doesn't work out very well.

  11. Putting "the reader experiences" in a blurb will not attract sales.

    You have a lot of lovely but unrelated elements trying to form a book. They don't... yet. Try to relate everything to the story. The story is the only thing you can sell - everything else is a wrapper. But the wrapper is essential, and what will sell the story.

    The protagonist's name is the same as the author's... not a very good idea unless this is narrative non-fiction. Is it?

    You must decide about genre. Decide what this book IS, and then put it together accordingly.

    Good luck.

  12. For practice I created a book cover based loosely on your original concept and the idea of the relationship between the character and the psychiatrist. My cover suffers from the same disconnect of implying some kind of comedy rather than the deep emotional journey that it appears this novel actually is.

    You're free to use it if you want to, but if anything it might be even more of a departure from the tone you'd want to set than your current cover.


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