Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Starwinger Prophecy

Author: Paula K Perrin
Genre: YA Fantasy
How long it's been on sale: March 2, 2012
Current price: $2.99
Marketing: I've contacted friends & relatives, distributed bookmarks & posters, requested (not yet received) reviews on blogs
Total sold so far: 59
Link to book on Amazon: Starwinger Prophecy

Product Description:

The telepathic winged horses known as Starwingers are losing their battle against extinction. They have one hope, the prophecy that a girl will fly along the full moon's track and sacrifice herself for them. However, that girl knows nothing about them.

Dia A'Dianais lives a countless distance away over the sea. She is a young princess of the Five Families. Her small, rich valley is under attack. The Family counts on her talent in the legendary Mysteries to save them, but she fails.

Searching for another solution, Dia learns of the Starwingers. She believes the answer to her dilemma is their strategic help. Unaware of the prophecy, she sets out to find them.

Kidnapped and dragged aboard a pirated ship, she meets another captive, the Starwinger Mercelyon. He is near death from brutal treatment. Dia saves him. Bonded now, they agree to help each other. They fly to Attyria, but the Starwingers view them as traitors, not as saviors.

Caught between Hrapthor the Death-bringer, the hostile Starwingers, and the guerilla forces of Attyria, can Dia and Mer make allies of enemies? Can they survive the deadly tests set for them? Can they persuade the Starwingers to rescue Dia’s family? With strong wings and valiant hearts, they strive to fulfill and survive the prophecy of the Starwingers.

First 300 Words:

Princess Dia A'Dianais padded toward the stable in her bare feet, the sun sparking glints of red from her long black hair.  She wore a loose white robe with no binding, nothing that would have constrained her in any way, nothing that should have prevented her from working the Mystery.

She had failed anyway.  Now she must marry Basphas, an enemy.  She kicked a pebble, then sucked in her breath at the sting in her toe.

She did not have to look up from the paving stones to know that the mares and their foals had been brought in from the fields.  She did not have to glance behind her to know that the ladies of the Family gathered in the shade of her father's palace colonnade to work their embroidery and to gossip.  She did not have to peer at the distant northern wall of the valley to see the miners bringing forth their treasure.  The rhythms of the valley were as much a part of her as her heart's beat.  Never had she thought she would have to leave it.

A stableboy appeared in the dark arch of the stable doorway.  He started to grin at her, but his smile faded when he saw her expression.  He glanced at her bare feet.  It was expressly forbidden to go into the stable unshod.  His mouth opened, then he turned aside and hurried away to find a chore far from the mares' barn.

As Dia crossed from the sun-warmed path into the cool shadows of the stable, Merche's head poked out above her stall door.  The black mare nickered a greeting.

Dia hurried to the stall and unlatched the door, pulling it open.  She flung her arms around Merche's neck and clung to her. 

Comments: The title and author's name are both very hard to read. Maybe it's the color. I would try to re-do the type to make it easier to read. I don't mind the artwork, but it does make the book seem young, like maybe it's a middle grade story. YA books these days have more grown up looking covers.

The description isn't bad, but I would definitely get rid of the questions at the end. (For example: Can Dia and Mer make allies of enemies? Well, obviously they do, otherwise the book would suck. Can they survive the deadly tests set for them? Of course they do. Otherwise the book would suck. Can they persuade the Starwingers to rescue Dia’s family? And the answer is, again, yes, otherwise the book would suck.) Questions only work if the answer isn't: Yes, otherwise the book would suck.

I didn't find the beginning necessarily gripping, but I didn't think it was bad either. This isn't my normal genre, so it's possible it would catch someone else's attention. I do think being forced to marry someone you don't love is always a plot trope that will hook some readers.

My guess is the cover is appealing to a younger audience than the author is targeting, and I would suggest trying to find a more adult looking cover, with the font clear and readable. What do you guys think?


  1. The cover is obviously fantasy, but the title and author's name don't stand out.

    The blurb is way too long and gives away too much.

    The first 300 are well-written and would keep me reading for at least a while longer.

    I think the biggest problem with this book not selling is the lack of promotion. Friends and relatives, in my experience, mostly just want free books and it's getting harder and harder to get bloggers to review indie books. At the very least, the author should be doing twitter and facebook.

    I can say for sure that on the days when I don't promote, I don't have sales.

  2. The blurb seems to me to be in serious need of work. The "lives a countless distance over the sea" doesn't really make sense. A countless distance from what and what is a "countless distance"? I'd cut that entirely, cut the first paragraph and the last paragraph and make the sentences less choppy.

    As has mentioned, the title is too hard to read. That needs to be fixed.

    The opening doesn't grab me but it isn't bad either. Taking into consideration that I don't read YA, I don't think there is anything there that would keep me from continuing if I read the genre.

  3. Ditto the cover, but it's not bad.

    The description is way too long, but again not terminally bad. Just rambly. There is definitely sense of a plot and I get a feel of a story.

    The first 300: not too bad but a bit staid.

    Two things I notice immediately about the text:

    EVIL double spacing after full stops. Evil! Nix it pronto. It looks amateurish, unfinished and seriously no books get printed that way. Some people submit manuscripts that way, but if you like your editor, just don't OK?

    How many sentences start with the word "She"? In fact, almost every sentence starts with the subject. You insert a bit more variety. It's repetitive and gives the text a kind of the-cat-sat-on-the-mat type of feel.

  4. I like the cover art, but I think the cartoon effect makes it look more MG than YA. If this is leaning more toward MG, I'd say you're totally on target. I like it. If it's YA, I'd probably lean more toward realism and less cartoony.

    I also like the first paragraph of the description. It really draws me in. I'm not so fond of the second paragraph though. It's more telly than showy. I'm not sure why I should care about Dia. It tells details about her, but not really what's at stake for her. I think it has to do with I have no idea what the legendary mysteries are or what did she fail. And why is Mysteries capitalized? For the most part, I'm invested in the Starwingers but not Dia.

    The third paragraph talks about a solution. I don't even now what the problem is. By the time I hit the fourth paragraph, it's starting to sound more like a synopsis than a product description. Too many questions in the last paragraph.

    Basically, the first paragraph rocks. Love it! After that, I'm rather disconnected from the story. Perhaps if you incorporate Dia in the first paragraph. Something like:

    They have one hope, the prophecy that Dia A'dianais, a young princess from the Five Families, will fly along the full moon's track and sacrifice herself for them.

    Cut the rest.

    First 300 words: There are a lot of negatives. What she did not do, what couldn't happen with her clothing. Perhaps focus on what is happening rather than what is not happening.

    The fourth paragraph you switch from Dia's POV to the stableboy's POV. More of an observation than anything. Readers might latch onto that and wonder if the rest of the book is like that.

    I think the beginning isn't bad where it starts. However, there are a few techniques in the writing which niggle me. The negatives, the head popping. Not known what the Mystery is or how she failed. I think with a little elaboration and tighter writing the beginning can work.

    Over all, I really like the story concept. Like I said, the first paragraph of the description really drew me in.

    Other than that, I'm with Margaret on the promotion. Friends and family typically are not your best avenue for sales. The goal is to reach outside your small network.


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