I just republished my book after editing it for the 7th time. Shortly after I finally sold my first copy, then they got a refund...
Can someone please take a look and tell me if you see anything glaring that would inspire getting a refund? I only ask because I'm past the point of being "snow blind" and could really use a fresh pair of eyes.
I have a couple of friends who read it and of course, they "loved it", which doesn't mean anything. I need harsh critics and haters to give me their honest opinion. Come on, hurt my feelings, please!
I also created the cover design myself, so be sure to rip into that as well.
Yup. The formatting is "blog" formatting, not book formatting. Get Amazon's free book, Building Your Book for Kindle and follow the "style" rules. You don't have to upload a "filtered html" document any longer--use the docx file.
Frankly, your formatting is awful. Also, I noticed that your table of contents in the ebook isn't clickable, but you've included a toc in the print book (NOT necessary) that is. Weird to say the least.
Also, as a professional editor, I can say, the manuscript still needs editing. At the very least, a good proofread, although a thorough copy-edit is what is required. Self-editing seldom works; you are too close to it and your eye sees what it expects to see, not what is actually on the page. You need a pair of totally fresh eyes.
Erik, You definitely want to check out the advice from others about formatting. My first book was the most difficult because I was learning it all by myself. It gets easier after that! One thing to keep in mind - refunds happen. I tell my friends you're not an "official" writer until you've had a refund. Don't give up, and don't let one refund (or more) prevent you from achieving your goals.
I'm not a hater, nor am I going to rip your heart out! What I'm going to do is give my opinion, and some specifics, and you can do with it what you will.
Firstly, you badge the book as a mystery thriller, but your blurb is ridiculously depressing. It may be a 'dark' story, but you still need to entice the reader in. Your first paragraph isn't just dark, it's miserable and gloomy. I would seriously think about changing it. Your cover is equally grim. (Sorry, that's not a criticism of the artwork, just the impression it gives.)
Next I had a look at your LI, and you really need to edit it again. Here's my quick analysis of the first few lines. (Excuse the British terminology.) I refer to para numbers, as line numbers vary with screen width.
P1 Should be two (or even three) sentences. "This is it. Oh, my God, this is it!"
P4 Full stop missing.
Double line space between P6 & P7 - error
P7 "They Know" etc. Opening and closing speech marks are all over the place. No commas, full stops or even exclamation marks. 'Know' doesn't need to be capitalised.
P10 "No no no no no." Did you not see the red line underneath when you typed it? Where is the punctuation? Commas?
P11 Should immediately follow P10 on the same line.
P14 Shouldn't end in a full stop. An ellipsis would be better.
P12 "Looking blankly around..." It might be just me, but I don't know how someone 'looks blankly around'. Personal choice, but I don't like 'blank', and would use another word, such as 'confused' or 'unseeing'.
P15 Should start with a capital letter. 'His thoughts...'
P16 Gap between speech marks and first word should be removed. " Oh God, ..."
Ok, so I've been especially critical, and no doubt someone will come behind me and criticise my grammar, but as you can see, there are a lot of little errors to be found, even in the first half page, and readers will spot them instantly.
They may have patience with one or two typos, especially if they're engrossed in the story, but not on every fourth line.
You need to get the punctuation sorted out, but additionally, I recommend having your book read aloud to you. I have a Kindle e-reader 2nd gen which does it, and my laptop has the function on Windows 10. It's invaluable, as you can hear a mistake when you can't see it. Even if it's just the same word used repeatedly within a short space of time, it jars when you hear it, and you can change a few words.
Anyway, I hope all of that makes sense, and you take it as constructive criticism.
I've been a book editor for most of my career and I am just looking at it superficially right now. You have more than formatting problems from the first five pages I've read.
It would have been more powerful to start the novel at "The ceiling light in his office flickered, died and left him in total darkness."
Then you say he hardly noticed. Well if I were working and I didn't have any light, I'd be pissed or yell FUCK or something.
Also, you telegraph what's coming. I would have liked to have seen more dialogue. Whenever you're unsure how to present something, put it in the mouth of the characters. You can also tell characteristics by describing what they look like, how they move, their idiosyncrasies.
It sounds like this is a project that you're too close to personally, that you needed to do for yourself. Maybe it's time to start on another project. A writer writes.
I'd suggest you do two things besides starting on a new project. 1) find a writer's group and 2) find or hire an editor. Someone who will be ruthless. I don't have the chops for that. But, I highly recommend learning more first and then start on your second project. Maybe write the next one from the first person. I really believe that is a lot easier for people to do, especially at first.
Well, you've been given the low down on formatting, editing and cover design. The big question that I have to ask you though Erik is: before you started writing this book, did you do any market research? Did you go to the Amazon Kindle market and suss out what genres, sub-genres, and niches are hot and what are not and then write and design your book accordingly?
Or did you, as I suspect, make the classic newbie mistake of doing no market research whatsoever, writing exactly what you wanted to write, and then publishing, crossing your fingers and hoping for a miracle? (And I know about that mistake because I was a newbie once and I made it).
If you want to sell books in the Amazon Kindle market place – or indeed anything in any market place – then you have to offer something that other people want to buy. And as far as Kindle is concerned, you have to identify the sub-genres and niches in which indies with a Do-It-Yourself approach to book production are publishing, selling and making bank.
What is your book – horror? Horror is a great genre but it can be a very tough sell commercially unless your market positioning is spot-on. And unless you engage in some rigorous market research and some fairly ruthless success modelling, then you're shooting blindfolded in the dark.
As to your current book, don't fret about the refund – they can happen for all kinds of stupid reasons. And please don't start wasting huge amounts of time, effort and money on advertising and promotion and social media campaigns and all the weary rest of it, because all that will do is to alert a few people to the fact that your book isn't selling.
You've got to forget this book and move on. I know that it hurts to hear it, but it’s the best advice that I can offer.
No i didnt. Writing Kane wasnt something i planned on doing uintil It came to me during a tragic time in my life. I wrote it in a desperate attempt to free myself from an inner darkess that was literally killing me so while it's technically horror/fiction, it's also allegorical.
But I certainly have s lot of work ahead of me. I want you all to know I'm going to follow your advice. I really appreciate you all taking the time to assist me.
Hey George I respect your opinion but I respectfully disagree with your disagreement.
I mean - J.K.Rowling? Really?? Seriously?? Are you pulling my chain????
Two things about JK Rowling. Number one, she is a one-in-a-billion, steller, staggering, mega-selling phenomenon that not even high profile successful authors - trad published or otherwise - could hope to emulate. And number two, she did not find her success by self-publishing on the Amazon Kindle Market in 2017. She got her start via trad publishing, getting Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone published by Bloomsbury in 1997, which was a radically different market in a radically different era.
My advice pertains to a newbie indie publishing their ebook on the Amazon Kindle market in 2017. In order to find success in this market self-pubbers - particularly newbies - need to engage in rigorous market research and accurate niche targeting. They need to identify those niches in which indies with a DIY approach to ebook production prosper, analyse and evaluate those successful ebooks, and write, produce, and publish accordingly
And other than maybe reading and enjoying her books, they need to forget all about JK Rowling.
Your friends must not read many books, lol. Just use the search and replace function to reformat your book. You also need to make the toc clickable, and indent first lines. I actually like the book cover, I also made my own and my book is selling, so miracles happen.
Once you get it formatted, you can run the book through a free program called Ginger that checks spelling and sentence structure.
George Garrigues wrote:
I disagree with looking for a niche and then filling it. J.K. Rowling did not do that. Neither did just about every other successful writer I have heard of.
Well...that's somewhat correct. Most commercially-successful authors are very clear about their buying demographic. In CW classes, etc., one of the first things that you're taught is, define your ideal reader, and write to her (or him). And I'll confirm that of the clients we've aided over the years, those that write to a very specific buying demographic seem to do the best in terms of sales. Those that write "the novel I always wanted to write" typically don't sell--period.
Sure, you can write the novel that you've always wanted to, or that novel you've always wanted to read--but then be prepared for the reality that you may well be the only person that reads it.
I don't hold with the idea that you have to write a vapid POS, in some genre you hate--but not considering the "whom" of who is going to buy your book is no different than deciding that you're going to open a restaurant, say, for Kimchee lovers in an area that won't try new things. Doomed to failure. Sure, you can rail against the unfairness, or why it is that people don't have the wisdom or wit to try your food--but that doesn't put sales in the book or cash in your pocket.
Part of the intrinsic issue, around authoring and publishing, is that too many people only want to consider the creative side--the authoring side. But you good folks are no longer authors. You're publishers. And if you think a publisher doesn't consider the market, the saleability, well...that's crazy. Of course they do. You could write the greatest novel in human history, but if it won't sell, it won't get bought, won't get made, and won't ever see the light of day. That's the reality of publishing.
A book will only succeed if it has an audience. Sure, maybe you can find an audience. Maybe they're out there. But more likely, they won't find you, if you didn't take care to ensure that you wrote the book FOR THEM.
For example--let's say that you want to write a mystery. You decide that you're not like everyone else--of course. You're going to write a book about a Detective that's a were-pig. He's aided in his endeavors by his trusty companions, a Chicken and a pigeon that farts compulsively. The were-pig changes into his piggie self, on some occasions, and rolls in the mud, and eats slops, because, you think that's cool. Now, maybe you write the best thing, the most clever mystery since Ten Little Indians, but seriously--how many people are going to buy the Pig Dick book? And no, folks, please don't start talking about some classics that we all know about. Only the amazingly talented can write a "Charlotte's Web," etc.
You think I'm exaggerating, but while my example is exaggerated, the reality of it isn't. I see these books daily. Books written by someone about something that they are interested in, or some hobby that she and five other people in the world care about. Or, like this poster, a book that is intensely personal to him--but to how many others? He bills it as a mystery, but it actually sounds like a men's action adventure, or a Supernatural Action novel (as the dead guy fights against something, the evil angel or what-have-you.)
I've seen books where the author felt it was CRUCIAL to the plot that narrative paragraphs be block-style, and dialogue be first-line indent. I've seen a novel that had NO dialogue tags--no boring old, "he said, she said," or any of that pesky stuff. No quotation marks, either--so tedious and traditional, right? The fact that you couldn't tell who the hell was talking, or WHEN they were talking, well, that's the READER's fault, for not being smart enough to parse it, right?
You'll scoff, and say, "well, those guys.." but the bottom line is, envisioning your ideal reader, ensuring that you know that she's real, that she's out there (and better yet, that there are hundreds of thousands of her) is simply SMART. You're a publisher now--not merely the author. EVERY successful author I know--and I've met a few--knows EXACTLY who she is writing for. Exactly. He envisioned that reader; researched him; found out what books he liked to read, and made sure that after each writing session, during each edit, he was writing not for himself, but for THAT reader.
There's not a thing wrong with doing that. NOTHING. And a lot wrong with not doing it, if you want commercial success as an author-publisher. If the creative part is your end goal, then great--write whatever you want. But if you're trying to make a living, trying to earn money, just like any other business, shouldn't you make sure that there's a market for what you're selling? And buyers/? How can that be a mistake?
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