Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: Review

On Writing: post writing steps – reviews

The re-release of BoK Volume one ‘Strength of Unity’ brings me many challenges. This time I intend to try getting proper lift-off velocity for the book from the promo. Last time in five days I managed to get 750 copies downloaded (all free) and didn’t get a single review from it, which is supposed to be one of the main purposes.

This time, however, I’m looking at having the book reviews actively. In other words, I’ve been going on blogs and forums to ask people for review swaps or offer them a free copy for a review. I’ve also been trying to get to Amazon reviewers, send perhaps a hundred request so far, and I have to say the response rate is pretty low. At this moment I got eight review copies sent, of which one was a swap, for three days worth of work. Although, to be honest, I haven’t been extremely active on these forums before the beginning of this month, so I’ve been kinda under the radar.

I’ll keep you posed with the details of the prmo and the results sometime in the beginning of next month. The promo will run from August 30 to 31 on Amazon and the book should have some reviews by then.

Looking for book reviewers

Hey, I’m looking for someone to review my fantasy book Book of Kayal: Strength of Unity. Send me an email on if you’re interested and I’ll send you a free copy.

On Writing: Revision Preperations

It has come to my attention that I have not been preparing for revision enough. Hell, I have not even been trying to learn how to do it write and in a structured way.

A few days ago while surfing Youtube, I came across an interesting video about editing your book. After watching it, I decided to start over and take notes, preparing some sort of checklist about how to edit.

The list, a group of simple errors to look for, so far goes as follows:

Error 1: shifting point of view in the middle of scene. EX: A character cannot know if their cheeks are red without seeing them.

Error 2: painting a scene without knowing whose point of view it is. Make sure it is made clear in the first two paragraphs, if not sentences.

Error 3: describing an experience that no one had. EX: Shouting that no one heard.

Error 4: a character thinking about themselves as a different person. No one thinks of themselves as ‘the boy’, rather ‘name’, ‘he’ or ‘I’.

Error 5: information dumps; when actions stop delivering the information mid action narration. Use different situations and organize them like a puzzle so reader could pick up and later feel proud about ‘getting it’. Did I stop my story to tell?

Error 6: the ‘as’ factor/cause and effect fallacy/order of events problem. In cause and effect, the effect does not follow the cause, as should be. EX: ‘He arched his back as electricity shot through his spine’, this should be, ‘electricity shot through his spine, making/causing his back to arch’.

Error 7: the ‘ing’ factor. Things that happen at the same time but should not. EX: ‘Battling as he drew his sword’. It is not possible to battle while drawing your sword, the latter is the prerequisite for the first.

Error 8: telling instead of showing. Vague adjectives without a visual. EX: Fierce is not a visual, drawing teeth is. Cold is not visual but shivering is. Use colors, textures, body language and visual explanation. Happy to be replaced by smiling, trotting, energetically moving. EX: ‘he was intrigued’ to ‘raised his eyebrows in intrigue’.

Exception: when trying to get to once scene from another it gets exhausting to show instead of telling.

Error 9: changing speakers with no new paragraph.

Error 10: speaker tags problem. You cannot smile, or signal a word, it has to come from a sound. Creative speaker tags make you sound like an idiot. Chirped, hissed, howled…etc. Those are only acceptable in fast action settings with no time for a dialogue because it does not slow down the pace.

Exception: pace is more important than speaker tag rules

Error 11: lack of use of invisible tags, (said and asked).

Error 12: Speaker tags at the end of the speeches used often. Put them at the beginning to try and notify the reader of who is talking.

Error 13: separating dialogue with a bead (description of actions) without a natural pause in the dialogue.

Error 14: foreshadowing something that is not used. Do not mention a weapon without having it being used.

PS: Person first said second is more common in adult books than in children books. It is an archaic method of writing, use it more in fantasy and less in other genres.


On Reviews: Indie vs. Traditional

So I started reviewing independently published books. Interestingly enough, I find myself automatically assuming a lower quality and giving it a generous rating/review considering that it’s the work of a few people instead of an endless stream of professionals. After writing my first review and giving it a 4 star rating, I started asking myself ‘Should I be as harsh as I’m with other book or should I be giving it a chance?’

The question is an easy one to answer, considering that I experienced publishing my book independently and know how useful these reviews are. No, with traditional books I expect them to be perfect and harshly criticize even the smallest error, but indie books are different. First of all, the writers need the moral support and the reviews help them maintain their motivation, which would indubitably result in the improvement of their craft. Second, it’s a general notion that indie books are less polished that traditional ones. The core concept or idea, however, deserves no leniency in my opinion. Writing can be improved, but not creativity – although behavioral psychologists would disagree with me.

From a readers perspective, I believe that they also tend to read indie books with the same demeanor as I do, expecting them to be of slightly lesser quality than traditionally published books, unless the author is some sort of millionaire willing to spend a fortune on her/his work. So I don’t believe I’m cheating the reviewers by giving a high score for indie books. PS: I never give a 5 star or 100% score to any book that I don’t find myself enthralled with.

As the market for indie publishing quickly becomes more and more competitive, the threshold set for acceptable books and their rating increases. These days indie authors are starting to invest significant amounts of cash in the both post and pre-publication process. Will this market eventually end up similar to the traditional one, or will it remain in a relatively shark-free zone?