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TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'm working on polishing the manuscript for my first novel. It is a crime thriller with a goofy tone, sort of like a more noir Tim Dorsey or Dave Barry. Could I have a blurb critique, please?

When neurotic horror-movie buff Martin Bowers sins, he sins big. An abandoned set of car keys in a theater inspires him to take his attractive new coworker on a joyride in the middle of the night. Hallucinated voices threaten to ruin his impromptu date as he worries about getting caught by the police or by his long-term girlfriend, but those are the least of his concerns when after he finds the chloroform, handcuffs, and knives in the trunk. Martin calls on his perpetually stoned friend Jerry for advice on navigating the steamy streets of South Florida's underbelly and soon learns that getting rid of the stolen car won't be easy, especially now that it's rightful owner has his number --- and his girlfriend.

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TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

PoshAlligator posted:

The only people that get names in this blurb are the men. Maybe don't?
[quote]
I didn't even realize I did that. No names for the other characters, then?

[quote]
I feel like this is telling me a bit too much, actually. I'm not great at blurbs, though. This doesn't really come across as the kind of fun, goofy that would sell me, it sounds more like a generic stoner adventure. Amp it up. Excite me.
Thanks. I wasn't sure if I should go into more specifics on his misadventures or not.

Grammaton posted:

Just a couple editing corrections. Copy and paste that long dash, it looks better than the short dashes. I like the blurb, it's a nice teaser.
Thanks. I can't believe I let an "it's" slip in there.

Latest version:
When neurotic horror-movie buff Martin Bowers sins, he sins big. An abandoned set of car keys in a theater tempts him to take an attractive coworker on a joyride in the middle of the night. Paranoia builds and hallucinated voices threaten to ruin his impromptu date as he worries about getting caught by the police or by his long-term girlfriend. Those may be the least of his concerns after he finds chloroform, handcuffs, and knives in the trunk. Martin turns to a stoner bodhisattva for advice on navigating the streets of South Florida's underbelly and soon learns that getting rid of the stolen car won't be easy, especially now that its rightful owner has his number — and his girlfriend.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'm getting closer to publishing my first novel. Two blurb candidates and DIY covers for your critiques.

v1
When neurotic horror-movie buff Martin Bowers sins, he sins big. An abandoned set of car keys in a theater tempts him to take an attractive coworker on a joyride in the middle of the night. Paranoia builds and hallucinated voices threaten to ruin his impromptu date as he worries about getting caught by the police or by his long-term girlfriend. Those may be the least of his concerns after he finds chloroform, handcuffs, and knives in the trunk. Martin turns to a stoner bodhisattva for advice on navigating the streets of South Florida's underbelly and soon learns that getting rid of the stolen car won't be easy, especially now that its rightful owner has his number.

v2
After a long day of working the projector booth, neurotic horror-buff Martin Bowers just wanted to go home to his girlfriend. At the end of the night, he found a set of abandoned car keys that would complicate everything. When a flirty new coworker asked him to drive her home, he gave into temptation and found himself on a late-night joyride in the strange vehicle, a black sports car with no markings. Getting caught by the police or his girlfriend wasn't his biggest fear once he looked inside the trunk.

1. 2.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

Thanks for the feedback. I'll ditch those covers and see about getting a professional.

It looks like I didn't get across my story's tone very well in the blurb, as it's more of a comedic thriller, ala Tim Dorsey or Hiaasen.



Sundae posted:

I took a stab at a third version, but I am not big on the horror genre at all. Someone with more experience with horror, please rip v3 apart as well.
v3:

Much punchier without all the setup details. I'll try something more like this. Thanks!

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

Talas posted:

Could I have a blurb critique, please?


Note: The book is written in Spanish, quinceańera is (almost) untranslatable. Also, my English is terrible :ese:

Thanks in advance.

Is "arty" a term to describe the type of being that the nanny is, or are you trying to say that the nanny is of an artistic persuasion?

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'm creeping towards self-publication of my first novel, which is a dark comedy/crime thriller. How does this cover strike you for something in the neighborhood of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey? I'm still trying to nail down an appropriate blurb as well.



Blurb version 1.

Stealing the tricked-out sports car was the easy part. Enjoying his date afterward was another story.

For a neurotic projectionist afraid to jaywalk, Marty’s night just keeps getting more complicated. Dodging the police and his girlfriend, he tries to seduce his new coworker with a late-night joyride through the streets of South Miami. Had he known what was in the trunk, or what the car’s terrifying owner would do to get it back, he probably would have picked a different day to start his life of crime.

Blurb version 2.
Marty didn’t mean to steal the car, but there was something about the concession stand girl’s eyes. He wasn’t going to let the mounting paranoia, hallucinations of his girlfriend, or the Miami-Dade Police spoil their late-night joyride and impromptu date. So what if the trunk was filled with gruesome baggage, or if the car’s rightful owner started calling Marty’s phone? A few minor setbacks, but nothing he couldn’t handle with the help of a street-pharmacist with a penchant for pigtails and kimonos. Who knew crime had such a steep learning curve?

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

Thanks for the critiques and advice, everyone. I've exported my story to my Kindle with Scrivener for the last proofreading pass.


Sundae posted:

I remember this one showing up a few months ago. The cover is much better now (agree with Raven, though). Blurb still needs some work. :)
Does this jibe any better?

Stealing the car was the easy part. Enjoying his date afterward was another story. Marty’s night keeps getting more complicated as he tries to seduce the new coworker with a joyride through the streets of South Miami. Thievery and lies don’t come easy to this neurotic projectionist and he soon finds himself hopelessly over his head, wondering what to do with the grisly baggage in the trunk.


laxbro posted:




http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WRAX6MA

Published a collection of short stories I wrote on my blog. Thirteen stories. 74 pages (~27k words). Couldn't put it on select since I have the stories published on my blog. 99c, might raise it to 2.99 after I promote it to my blog's mailing list (130 subscribers).

Thirteen "true life" horror stories told in the first person. Are they fact or faction? You will have to decide for yourself...

I love the artwork and the layout. Maybe your blurb could cherry-pick some of your more outlandish scenarios instead of listing them all as bullet-points with synopsis. Check out some old Stephen King or Clive Barker collections and see how they tease the stories.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

What's the order of operations? Sign up for a page on Author Central and then start the KDP process with the manuscript?

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

My book is live and I've gotten my Author Central page set up as well. Does everyone bother with Book Extras? I've never heard of Shelfari but it looks like an Amazon-version of Goodreads.

magnificent7 posted:

I can actually answer my own question. Yesterday I was flying through Audible looking for my next audiobook; checking the cover, the title, and the rating. Never even read the description, (I had like five spare minutes, so i was in a rush).

Given THAT criteria, my book will fail on two fronts - dull title, bland cover.

SO then; back to the drawing board X2. The Deadly Photograph, and the cover is a severed hand holding a camera.
I'd say Snapshot is a more fetching title than The Deadly Photograph, for a novel. At least drop the "The".

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

Sales for my first novel are still at a trickle but my friends have been helping with the visibility by adding it to lists on Goodreads, Librarything, and Riffle. I have an author interview feature coming up on a mystery blog and I was thinking about enrolling my e-book on the Kindle Countdown Deal to coincide with this. Any tips for maximizing sales from a Countdown?

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

Mr. Pumroy posted:

It's been two months since I put my first novel on Amazon and KU. It's done better than I expected, double digit sales (okay, I mean, low double digits but still), pretty good activity through KU and a couple readers even took the time to drop positive reviews. Considering I'm a first time author who had done no promotion for the book and probably did things that shot me in the foot sales-wise without even realizing, I think this is all Fully Sick. Predictably book sales and pages read have nearly flatlined in the second month, but still.

The end of this month will be the end of the 90-day exclusive period for KU, and while I'm working on the second novel I want to do something to give my first one a chance when I start putting it up on other markets. I'm thinking things like providing it for free on KU during the last weekend or maybe just the whole week, followed by debuting it on other markets for free for a limited time. I haven't even looked at ways to promote that yet, but I'll want to do that too. Does all this sound like a good idea?

I'm in more or less the same boat, minus any borrows on KU. It doesn't look like I've even gotten a nibble on the KENP graph and I'm not sure what I should do to get it more visible, aside from hashtag spamming on Twitter.

CommissarMega posted:

Great, now I want to write a romance so I can get in on this ground floor :allears:

Speaking of which, Sundered Heavens is free for the next two days (assuming Amazon is using Malaysian time). Pick up your copy today!

Thanks, I'll start reading this today.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

My self-pubbed comedic novel Further Complications is free on the Kindle store for two days.

I shudder to think that I was actually thinking of using this as my cover at one point. This thread is an incredible resource and I really appreciate all of the feedback to help me refine my blurb and layout.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

magnificent7 posted:

This week, my book is free for Kindle on amazon. It's a huge promotion the quasi-publisher is doing for over 200 of their authors. The books in this promotion are being promoted on bookbub and other places as well. (I mention bookbub because I first heard about it in this thread).

link to SNAPSHOT



Thanks for the freebie!

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'd like in too, please. Emailed.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

LionArcher posted:

I'm back, this time with a blurb. (I'm still reworking the cover, thanks everyone).

Okay, here it goes...


Fireflies (A Katie Bell Mystery)

Katie Bell is a survivor. Haunted by the demons of her past, she hopes she can finally have a fresh start at college. Fate however, has other ideas.

At the first big party of the year, Katie witnesses a murder.

The police dismiss the case as an act of jealousy, but Katie's investigative instincts tell her otherwise. With the help of an eccentric hacker and a mysterious journalist, Katie begins to unearth a dark conspiracy at the university. But even armed with sharp wit, red hair and pepper spray, does she have what it takes to catch the real murderer? Or is the amateur detective about to become the real killer's next target?

With his daughter Katie in college, Arthur Bell can finally admit to himself horrors of his job have taken their toll. The FBI's most famous profiler doesn't believe he still has what it takes to catch any more psychopaths.

Until the latest case lands on his desk. This time, he's hunting the disciple of the serial killer who murdered his wife. As the body count rises, Arthur realizes that the disciple isn't just planning on copying his teacher, but something far more insidious. Does Arthur still have what it takes to stop a madman? Or is he too broken to stop a monster, one last time?

If the story is ultimately about Katie, 'd rework this to give a little more oomph to her character in the first couple of sentences. I get the vague notion that she's a survivor with investigative instincts, but that's not enough to grab me. The part about being armed with red hair and pepper spray is okay, but I didn't get that far the first couple of times I tried to read your blurb. Lines like "demons of the past", "dark conspiracy", "mysterious journalist", and "stop a madman" have a whiff of cliche to them, so I'd say they hurt your blurb more than they help them.

This needs to be less vague. If you don't want to give too much away about the set-up to your mystery, focus more on making me care about your protagonist.

I agree that you should probably nix the second part about her father. Maybe you can work in something about Katie's FBI profiler father, and whether she's comfortable following his trade, trying to get away from it, or whatnot.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

freebooter posted:

New Year's resolution: keep a journal.

Aaron King writes these words at the brink of his adult life: a long, hot summer between high school and university, lazing on the beach or playing video games with his twin brother Matt.
But this will be no normal year. A terrifying plague is spreading across Australia, transforming people into ravenous monsters. Quarantines and curfews and evacuations are ordered; but day by day, the threads of society fray more and more.

As communication networks fail, as the power goes out, as the government collapses and the streets become awash with zombies, Aaron and Matt find themselves plunged into an apocalyptic struggle for life and death. Swept up in a tide of desperate refugees, beset by violence and haunted by strange dreams, the King brothers are about to find out exactly what it will take to survive the RISE OF THE UNDEAD.

If the premise and plot are fairly routine (Dawn of the Dead-style infectious walking dead, etc.), play to the strengths of your characters or your setting. How is the survival for the King twins going to be different from any of the hundred thousand zombie books, movies, and comics out now? Does being Australian give them some advantage than if they grew up in Chicago, New York, or London? I need some more details about your protagonist's personality and peril so I can care.

Also, your title is about as bland as it gets.

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TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'm getting into the home stretch on my second novel and have polished my first few chapters to where I'm happy with them. I was thinking about adding a preview chapter to the back-matter of my first novel, but I'm not sure when I'll be ready to publish the new one.

Is it better to get it out there ahead of time, or only once I've got a month or so before the new one is released?

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