Many of the folks who utilize BookBub are self-published, and because we hear over and over the need for self-published authors to have their work edited, It seemed to me that it could be educational to take a hard look at their first pages. If you don’t know about BookBub, it’s a pretty nifty way to try to build interest in your work. The website is here.
I’m mostly sampling books that are offered for free—BookBub says that readers are 10x more likely to click on a book that’s offered for free than a discounted book. Following is the first page and a poll. Then my comments follow, along with the book cover, the author’s name, and a link so you can take a look for yourself if you wish. At Amazon you can click on the Read More feature to get more of the chapter if you’re interested. There’s a second poll concerning the need for an editor.
Today I thought I’d sample a 99-cent trilogy, a bargain if the work holds up. This is a YA fantasy. Here are the first 17 manuscript lines of the first page in The Otherworld Trilogy. Should this author have hired an editor?
The only reason I knew that I was awake was because of the pale green glow of neon stars staring back at me from my ceiling. I lay in my bed for a few moments, taking deep, steadying breaths while letting my eyes adjust to the darkness of my room. The remnants of a dream still danced in my mind, but as the approaching dawn light chased away the dark, it tried to slip away. Unfortunately, this particular dream was familiar to me, and it would take a lot more than my return to the conscious world to eject it from my mind.
I turned my head on my pillow and blinked my eyes several times at my alarm clock. Groaning at the early hour, I rolled over onto my stomach and buried my head into the pillow. I guess the darkness had some claim on the subconscious world, because instead of dispelling the dream, my actions only made it come racing back.
Huffing in frustration, I kicked off the covers and leaned over the side of my bed, scrabbling around stray pairs of shoes and forgotten socks as I searched out my current journal. Years ago the therapist I had been seeing thought it would be a good idea to keep track of these strange recurring dreams. Anytime I dreamt of anything that reminded me of my past before entering the foster system, I was supposed to write it down. That and anything strange that I saw or heard while I was awake. I hate to say it, but the visions happened more often than I would like to admit.
Did this writer need an editor? My notes and a poll follow.
This book received 4.6 stars on Amazon. It sort of opens with a dream, usually a no-no, but this writer carries it off by going into not the dream itself but the character’s reaction and experience with its recurring nature, along the way delivering some character and backstory in an interesting way. We understand that there is particular significance to the dream.
I like the voice, and the writing is just fine—though there’s a touch too much of it for my taste. I think the details and description are overwritten a little. But I’m not the female teen audience this is written for.
As far as story questions or jeopardy, not much of either . . . but, for me, two things urged me to turn the page and find out more: the mention of a therapist, which means that there is something troubling about her situation, and the mention of “visions,” which suggests much more than a regular old dream. So I turned to page to learn more, and enjoyed the ride. I’ll put this on my Kindle for when I do the treadmill.
You can turn the page here.
© 2016 Ray Rhamey