Would You Buy This Book? discussion

Afflicted Dawn
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Sci-Fi > Afflicted Dawn - A Novel by Gregory Napier

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Gregory Napier (gregorynapier) Hello everyone. I am posting the link to the Amazon page for Afflicted Dawn. I would love to hear everyone's unfiltered feedback!

Would you buy this book?
http://www.amazon.com/Afflicted-Dawn-...
Afflicted Dawn by Gregory Napier


message 2: by Sylvie (new)

Sylvie | 7 comments The cover is striking, and you have lots of good stuff on your Amazon page (I really must do something about mine). I wouldn't buy it, as I am not a fan of fantasy/sci-fi. This world seems apocalyptic enough. You look incredibly young for having done so much (I assume you're not cheating with your photograph). I may well recommend it to appropriate friends. Good luck.


Gregory Napier (gregorynapier) Sylvie wrote: "The cover is striking, and you have lots of good stuff on your Amazon page (I really must do something about mine). I wouldn't buy it, as I am not a fan of fantasy/sci-fi. This world seems apocal..."

Thank you for taking a look. Also, thank you for the compliment. I was 26 at the time the photograph was taken (27 now).


message 4: by Sylvie (new)

Sylvie | 7 comments You'll probably make a very handsome old man - though not, of course, as handsome as my late husband...


message 5: by Brian (last edited Jan 30, 2015 09:55AM) (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) Gregory,

I read the title and thought, "Sounds like a zombie book." Since this is, in fact, a zombie book, good job!

Next thing I noticed was the price. .99 makes me less likely to buy a book as I automatically think, "Why is this book priced so low?" It's not a short story at 344 pages. You don't have a long series of other books and are using this one to get me hooked. There's nothing telling me that this is a short term sale.

I can only conclude that you don't feel the book is worth much?

On to my evaluation:

1. Description

What's the difference between "than ever" and "than ever before?" Inclusion of extraneous words doesn't instill me with great confidence.

I like that the story seems focused on characters and their personal reactions to events.

Didn't care for "when" and, especially, "now." In fact, those two sentences and the next feel like they're expressing a lot of redundant information. I tend to appreciate tight writing. If the writing in the description contains a lot of extraneous stuff, what's the book going to be like?

You go into a lot of detail in the description. Not sure that's needed or a good thing. You hit me over the head with the struggle when all I need to know is that you have characters facing off against zombies. What you don't tell me is what kind of a story it is - horror, scifi, adventure?

Overall, I'm left with a negative opinion. Not sure that I would have continued my evaluation if I had encountered this book randomly.

2. Reviews

Didn't get a lot out of the reviews. People tended to think that you did a good job focusing on the characters and engaging interest. I've found that most reviewers say that about books, even those I'd judge to have missed the boat completely in those categories.

Nothing you can do about that, though. Overall, the reviews neither made me want to buy it or discouraged me.

3. Sample

Really, really torn. Came close to buying. You definitely have some sense for the craft, but there were a few things I felt would end up negatively impacting my enjoyment.

How do you "moan" a word? Also, (and I know I'm probably the only person in the world that finds this annoying) I hate it when authors combine beats and speech tags in the same paragraph. If the beat tells me who's speaking, why give me a tag?

Good verb use. Panted and burst are so much better than the passive (as in non-active as opposed to passive voice) verbs most SPAs seem to use.

Are those correctly formatted emdashes? Seemed short. And I thought you weren't supposed to put spaces before and after.

I've always got hung up on "this." Is it okay to use in past tense? (Really asking, not being sarcastic or anything) Just seems...wrong...somehow.

Lots of sentences starting with "he." Besides being repetitious, it's a sign that you're not deep inside the character's viewpoint. I prefer a deep POV, seeing from the character's eyes rather than having the camera pointed over his shoulder.

Bugged me a little that "things" was italicized but not, apparently, a thought. Since you use italics to indicate thought, it's confusing to have a random non thought be italicized since it's not obviously a foreign word.

Overall (despite my minor annoyances), the part I read was coherently and compently written, much better than a lot of SPAs. In the end, though, the four pages or so that I made it through were essentially backstory. If you wanted to tell me about the creatures, why not throw me directly into an encounter with one? That would have been much more interesting.

I thought seriously about buying the book, but, more than anything else, I hate getting far into a book and having to quit. Based on what I read, I simply didn't trust that the writing would not become too repetitious or focus on characters doing stuff instead of talking/thinking about stuff.

Hope this helps.

Brian


Gregory Napier (gregorynapier) Brian,

Thanks for taking the time to give me that much insight into what you were thinking. I appreciate that more than you know. It's also quite nice to hear the honesty, because truthfully, that is one asset that's been hard to acquire (I think?).

On the description and some of the detail therein, I probably did give too much. This was my first go at pushing something to the market, and I probably tended to give more than necessary. Better to have too much than not enough, I though. Perhaps the old adage of "less is more" would've better served here. I don't know.

The reviews are beasts of their own. The longest one there (by P Eddy) was written by a professional reviewer, so you might check that one out again as it tends to give more than most of the other fluff.

As to the sample, I'm sad to hear that it didn't quite grip you. I probably do a little much on the exposition side of things early on. This was my first full length novel, and it is purely self completed. Writing, editing, publishing... the whole process. I'm certain it could be made better. At the time, however, I felt as though I had given it enough of myself (over 2 years) and was ready to move on. I had other stories in my head waiting to be told. I will say that after this experience, I would rather just find a traditional publisher next. I'm not great in terms of marketing.

If you ever end up changing your mind and giving it a shot, I would love to know what you thought about the rest of the work. Thanks again!


message 7: by Ed (new)

Ed Morawski Sorry Gregory, the cover did nothing for me - to the point I would skip over it in a list of books and move on. Not even sure what the cover is...

If I got past that I might buy it because it sounds interesting, but frankly I would never have gotten that far.


message 8: by Brian (last edited Feb 02, 2015 09:03AM) (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) Gregory,

After reading a bit of your Goodreads author page, I think you and I had very similar expriences in our writing journey. I'll share a bit of mine:

Got serious about 3 1/2 years ago. Six months in, I went to my first writer's group meetup here in California. I was positive that the group would sing my praises of how awesome my writing was.

They tore it to pieces.

I learned a lot from the experience. Spend another 2 years working on my craft and completing 4 drafts of my debut novel. Laid down over $500 to a professional editor once again positive she was going to love it and tell me how awesome it was.

She tore it to pieces.

Now, I'm about 2/3 through with a complete rewrite and I'm positive that everyone is going to tell me how awesome it is...

Truthfully, what I've come to realize is that writing fiction that people actually want to read is hard. Really, really hard. Most people self publishing aren't succeeding not because they're not marketing hard/well enough; it's that their writing just isn't good enough.

To become really good at writing, I think there's a lot of stuff you need to master. I'm too impatient to master all of it, so I've tried to narrow it down to: what do I need to do well to engage my reader?

I came up with:

1. Filter the story through the emotional lens of a relatable character
2. Lots of tension

I'm still working hard to become competent at those two things. I hope I'm almost there.

The problem is that I thought I was almost there when I sent it to the editor. I wasn't.

Even though I wrote blog posts on how to develop tension, the editor pointed out exactly how little tension I had. My guess is that you think your story has enough tension. From what I read, sorry, but I doubt it does.

My editor also pointed out that I have a tendency to have my characters sit around talking about doing stuff. For example, there's a scene where the protagonist thinks it would be better to go on without his friends because he doesn't want to lead them into danger. An argument ensues.

The editor's revision: the protagonist waits until his friends round a curve in front of him and then he gallops off into the woods. Adding that activity makes the story so, so much better.

Look, I only read a tiny sample of your work. What I saw was someone who wrote competently enough to get a story across. However, the biggest problem that I see with most SPAs is that they don't have enough tension and activity. Your opening completely embraced those biggest problems.

Maybe I'm wrong and the rest of the story is loaded with tension and activity. From my experience, however, I just seriously doubt that that's the case.

Hope this clarifies my position.

Thanks.

Brian


Gregory Napier (gregorynapier) Ed wrote: "Sorry Gregory, the cover did nothing for me - to the point I would skip over it in a list of books and move on. Not even sure what the cover is...

If I got past that I might buy it because it soun..."


So, it's true. People do judge books by their covers. Thanks for the input, very much appreciated.


Gregory Napier (gregorynapier) Brian wrote: "Gregory,

After reading a bit of your Goodreads author page, I think you and I had very similar expriences in our writing journey. I'll share a bit of mine:

Got serious about 3 1/2 years ago. Si..."


I understand what you're saying, but I also don't believe that fiction can be boiled down to the simple hard and fast rules. Some of the best works in history stray from that path. Now, I'm not saying I'm the next Mark Twain or anything, and I do realize that these core mechanics are taught for a reason, but on that same token, if everyone followed the direct guide, every story would be the same. Some stories focus more on action, some develop more of a plot, some take a deep look into a character, and some simply spin a good yarn. There are countless ways to tell a story. I do have much to learn, of that, there is little doubt. However, I am telling the stories I want to tell in the way I want to tell them. That's why I write. Conformity for sales is something I see as an altogether bad thing. In any case, I appreciate you spending time to elaborate your view and will certainly take it into consideration going forward.


message 11: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) Gregory wrote: "Brian wrote: "Gregory,

After reading a bit of your Goodreads author page, I think you and I had very similar expriences in our writing journey. I'll share a bit of mine:

Got serious about 3 1/2 ..."


Gregory,

I really do get what you're saying, and I would not want all writers to produce the same material.

In my post, I related what I feel I need to do to engage my reader, partly because I wanted to explain why I'd never want to buy and read your book. I like a certain "formula." You don't adhere to that formula, apparently, so I doubt I'd find your writing to be very good.

The other part of why I posted it may have gotten lost:

Something about your writing has to accomplish something.

What are you trying to accomplish and how are you trying to accomplish it?

I think that, if you can articulate answers to those two questions, you can focus on what you need to do to improve your writing.

I'm taking all this time to respond, btw, because I think your writing is pretty darn close, much better than a lot of SPAs. I just don't think it's quite there yet. I want to encourage you to push to get better so that you can succeed either in self publishing or with traditional publishing.

Thanks.

Brian


message 12: by Ed (new)

Ed Morawski Hey Gregory, it's not so much people judge a book by its cover but the cover needs to grab a potential buyer's attention so they'll take a closer look.


message 13: by Brian (new)

Brian Foster (bwfoster78) Ed wrote: "Hey Gregory, it's not so much people judge a book by its cover but the cover needs to grab a potential buyer's attention so they'll take a closer look."

I think an even larger takeaway is:

A reader has literally hundreds of thousands of books to choose from. They are looking for ways to quickly exclude a book from contention. Unless an author has already gained an audience, every part of the book's presentation has to be first rate.


message 14: by Ed (new)

Ed Morawski Here's a great website about book design:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2015/0...

You can even submit your cover for comment.


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