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message 1: by Richard (last edited Nov 03, 2014 05:24PM) (new)

Richard | 490 comments Mod

(Contemporary Fantasy, Action/Adventure)


longer sample:

Pilgrimage by Carl Purcell

message 2: by Turhan (last edited Nov 05, 2014 10:02PM) (new)

Turhan Halil | 270 comments Thumbs down

Cover: The cover looks professional and I like the swirling storm clouds above their heads, it gives the impression of movement and drama which is a nice effect. Unfortunately for me, it's very boring to look at the back of two guys walking in the distance. It doesn't make me want to open the book up to look at the blurb.

Blurb: It's good if you're interested in finding out if Roland and Griffith will escape the 'crazed and bloodthirsty' figure from the past. I wasn't. I didn't like the 'self acclamation' in the final paragraph. It sounds a tad corny to me when I read something like 'straight from the mind of ...' Instead of the self promotion, I think using the blurb space to crank up the tension or perhaps making me feel more invested in why I should care about Roland and the sorcerer would be more judicious use of the few seconds that I'll be reading the blurb to see if I want to check out the sample.

Sample: The text isn't justified but if the story was gripping, that really wouldn't have bothered me too much. The only reason I usually make mention of text justification is because it generally makes for a better reading experience and is seen to be 'professional'

There are a couple of typos, "deep breathes" should be 'deep breaths' "be-spectacled" should be bespectacled. Commas are misplaced. There's too much telling instead of showing. Roland's name is used far too often. The dialogue is sometimes engaging but often, not so much. Condensation forms on glass, not perspiration.

On a positive note, I did enjoy the prologue.

message 3: by S. Usher (last edited Nov 06, 2014 04:35PM) (new)

S. Usher Evans (susherevans) | 35 comments Thumbs Up

Cover: Yes, far away - I loved the concept and the font choice.

Close up the two guys are lacking shading and are obviously photoshopped into the picture. I may be nitpicking here, though.


I would cut down Roland's crappy life into one sentence, then introduce the sorcerer's request for the journey, because that's your hook. It definitely made me interested to read it.

You say Roland's problems make them the target of a sorcerer, and then another bad thing happens to them? The first couple of times I read it, it sounded like you were talking about the same baddie, so I might consider rewording it.

First look:

This one's a toughie - you talk about Roland and Griffith in the description, then hit us with Geoffrey and Lloyd in the prologue. I'm of two minds here - on the one hand, I trust in your decision as an author that you put the prologue in there purposefully. But as a reader, I can't say that I wasn't a bit jarred by it.

message 4: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 200 comments Thumbs up!

Cover: I like the cover. The two guys walking away tells me they're going on a journey, which by the sound of it, is right on. The sky is also beautiful. I like the font and the whole effect.

Blurb: I can't say I liked it. Although I can't pinpoint what I didn't like either. To be honest, I might have stopped reading after the second sentence. Personally, it's bad enough you learn the protagonist is a drunkard, but this sentence 'All that he has in the world is the hope for one last night at the bar' is overdoing it.
Also, one sentence starting with 'but' may jarred some people but there are two back to back. I'd try to avoid that if possible. If it would be done for the effect, or style, I'd be another thing but it does nothing for the blurb.
Finally, the last paragraph could be used to describe the genre of the book but we already know it comes from the mind of the author or else it might be plagiarism, so that didn't do any good for me. So overall, this blurb didn't work for me. It would need some re-work.

Sample: I like the prologue. It gives us a good idea of the antagonist, of who he is and what he can do (and is not afraid to do). We also discover that even if the protagonist is a drunkard, he's not so 'unlikeable' after all. That said, the sample saved the day for me. I liked what I read.

message 5: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Reluctant thumbs down

Cover: I like the cover, but agree that the two men look as if they are hovering above the road. From a design aspect, I would consider some sort of a filter or blur to lessen the effect.

Blurb: This starts out interesting. I like the down on his luck aspect of the character. I feel as if this is a set up for an anti-hero or perhaps a circumstantial character growth type tale. The second paragraph, however, seems to be trying to tell us far too much about the potential antagonists, which leads to some confusion. The third, I feel this info should be in the author bio or editorial review area, not the blurb.

Look Inside: I am going to agree with Turhan regarding the punctuation. What stuck out to me was improper use of a semicolon and several missing or misplaced commas. I will disagree regarding perspiration. Using this term or even 'sweat' for condensation on a cold glass is a fairly common literary device. However, despite the punctuation, the story itself seems quite well thought out. Unfortunately, the flow is interrupted and I found myself rereading for clarity. I feel as if the comma cleanup and the fixing of the few typos I caught would make this a thumbs up.

Now, on a personal note, which I would like to state does not come into consideration for the technical assessment, there is some wording that I take issue with. Specifically, several derogatory words to imply a character's sexual orientation. I don't mind characters using offensive language when it is meant to make us realize that they are not good people. However, in this instance, the terms are used in the narration and meant to make us think negatively of the perceived homosexual character. Whether we later learn why these particular words were used, I don't know, but as a reader, this would cause me to stop reading.

message 6: by Turhan (new)

Turhan Halil | 270 comments I looked to see if we had a discussion thread going for the appraisals but couldn't find one so I hope it's ok that I'm making extra comments here.

Thanks, Christina, for setting me straight on the 'perspiration on glass issue' I appreciate it and I'll try to remember that the next time I come across an instance of it.

I should also say that most of you here have probably been readers and/or writers longer than I have so this is also a big learning curve for me and appreciate all feedback.

One other thing before I skedaddle. It's awesome to see all the involvement for The Bettereads Project and I hope the authors that submit their books (myself included) use the criticism in the spirit that it's given, as a means to improve their craft.

message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard | 490 comments Mod
Pilgrimage: thumbs down.

Cover: despite the obvious photo-shopping, I like the cover a lot - the layout is very good, and the muted colours look ominous: what kind of future are they walking into?

Blurb: the blurb is dreadful. There are punctuation errors ('Guide' should be 'guide' after a colon) and grammatical ones: the second sentence is just wrong (should be something more like "All he has to look forward to is one last night in the bar"); and the third sentence should read "to guide him across..." In the second paragraph "a target" should be "the targets." Third paragraph: the first sentence is awful - "straight from the mind of..." (where else could it have come from?) The last, though, is excellent (it even scans perfectly!)

Sample: should be "sidearm" in the second sentence; as it is, it sounds like he has lots of arms (maybe dozens) and is just reaching for one of them! After that, though, I liked it more the further I read - the prose is not bad at all and the (very few) mistakes I found are the ones already mentioned in this thread.

I'm thumbs-downing this book mainly because of the blurb, which does give a really bad impression. If that was fixed, though, it would probably get a thumbs up because, otherwise, it looks promising.

message 8: by Sue (last edited Nov 23, 2014 06:08PM) (new)

Sue Perry | 175 comments VOTE: thumbs down for blurb (and maybe the cover), but this is a book I would like to read!

OVERALL NOTES: Reading all our comments reminds me of the dusty box of rejection letters in my garage. First one says loved the story, hated the characters; second one says loved the characters, hated the story... As you'll see, I agree and disagree with what has been said so far.

FYI, I went over all this quickly - as I do when scouting a new writer - so I may have got some stuff wrong.

COVER: The cover intrigues me, but it seems like a good cover for a different book. I don't get a sense of magic, monsters, or even danger - the guys seem to be strolling and chatting. Looks like coming-of-age or buddy-pic material.

BLURB: I like parts of the blurb but it needs an overhaul. It takes a lot of typos and grammar glitches to make me notice them. I noticed these.

I really like Roland's character, and am intrigued to see what happens to such a guy in this story. You might consider writing the blurb from his POV. (The second blurb sentence is unnecessary, you already made that point.)

Initially the blurb hooks me, then loses me in a rush of details. I think you tried to cram too much info into too few words (as many blurbs do). The result is a choppy read that makes the conflicts sound rote.

Something I definitely need to understand from the blurb is why a sorcerer like Griffith would bother with Roland.

I have strongly negative reaction to the last paragraph. It's good to know your previous work - but won't that info be available elsewhere? I guess it doesn't hurt to emphasize it. Similarly, it doesn't hurt to define the genres, but a well-written blurb would already make them clear.

I wish you would cut the rest of that last paragraph. "Straight from the mind of" feels like pure ego. And the last sentence invites cynicism with its claims of excitement, action, monsters, etc. If you haven't conveyed those elements in the rest of the blurb and on the cover, I won't believe you here.

EXCERPT: I only skimmed a few pages because by the end of the second paragraph I knew I wanted to read the book.

message 9: by Carl (new) - added it

Carl Purcell I'm noticing a certain pattern in the feedback. :) Thanks everybody. Things to think about!

message 10: by K. (new)

Caffee K. (kcaffee) | 461 comments Cover: Already been covered. My suggestion would be to go with something a little more abstract. Perhaps some type of circle on the ground with a torn/bitten well worn pack.

Blurb: Again, already covered. No suggestions, except maybe get the T-shirt that says "In progress".

Excerpt: More! I love what I could read, and want to read more.

Verdict? Tentative thumbs up. The issues already described, discussed, and probably under construction/revision will change the verdict once they are addressed.

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