With Broken Pieces finally up on Amazon in both paperback and ebook formats, I am officially an Indie author.
It’s such an exciting thought. Knowing my book is out there for the world to see. Hoping it can reach the hearts of the people who need its message most.
But it has also shown me just how hard it is to get people interested in buying your book as an Indie author. And why book reviews are so helpful!
That’s why I’ve decided to review more of the books I read on Amazon and Goodreads. It’s the least I can do for a writer who shared a part of their soul with me. Not to mention it’s an easy way to help writers out. A book review takes like five minutes to write gives writers so much considering that small amount of effort.
Anyway, just leaving Amazon reviews wouldn’t be much fun. So, I’ve decided to be an actual book review blogger too.
In this series I will be breaking down the different things I think a writer did well in their book as well as where I think they can improve their craft, with the emphasis being on what we can learn from the book to apply to our own skill set.
The next couple of weeks are going to be indie published short stories and novellas, followed by a few indie novel reviews. After that, I will branch out into some traditionally published novels and even some classic books for a variety of learning experience.
MY RATING SYSTEM
I will be going into more detail about my system at a later date but for now I’ll just give you the bare-bones.
If I find a book entertaining, it gets five stars.
Yep. All a book has to do is entertain me and I’ll give it five stars.
A (fiction) books job, first and foremost, is to entertain. (My standard for non-fiction is different, btw.)
You might be thinking this will be easy, too easy even, but let me assure you, there is a catch.
Lose my interest for even one second, and you lose all your stars.
That’s right, instant one star review.
Are you willing to take the risk? Mwa-ha-ha.
(I don’t post one star reviews on Amazon though. I don’t want to hurt a writers sales or rating. If I didn’t find a book entertaining I will write a brief review on my blog about where I wanted to stop reading so that my readers and the writer can learn from it.)
MY FIRST REVIEW
Here’s a look at the layout of one of my reviews, in and actual review. (Meta, right?)
Author: Angela R. Watts
Type: Contemporary short story
BASIC REVIEW: 5 STARS
Homeward is currently free on Amazon and I received the free copy of it a few days ago.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
WHAT I LIKED:
I read Homeward in under fifteen minutes. It is a very easy read, but that didn’t stop Angela from creating beautiful descriptions that lent a poetic feel to her overall prose.
She also managed to capture the heartbreaking loss suicide has on a family in a very thoughtful and graceful way, leaving me sad not only for the family, but also for Theodore (the suicide victim) himself. I left wishing things could have been different both for Theo and for his families sake.
I was torn about the style of the plot itself. It relies heavily on exposition as Theo’s sister sits by his graveside and reflects on his suicide, his life, and the future he will miss out on by making the choice he made. However, ultimately I decided that Angela interspersed Taylor’s (main character and Theo’s sister) current feelings and situation with the memories/exposition in a thoughtful way that ended up working for the story. So if you’re thinking about using this tactic for a story, I would highly recommend checking out how Angela used it in Homeward. (NOTE: I don’t think this would have worked nearly as well in a longer story. The short story format kept the exposition moving along quickly, giving me plenty of time to be pulled in by Taylor’s emotions.)
WHAT COULD BE BETTER:
Having two character with the same first initial in a story is never that great of an idea. I found myself having to re-read several sentences as Taylor and Theo’s names were both mentioned in the paragraph to figure out who was doing what. Anything that takes a reader’s mind out of the story end up hurting the story in the long run so I’d recommend choosing character names with different first initials.
Angela also used several sentence fragments while she wrote this story. Normally I’m all for sentence fragments (I use them in my own work) as I feel they offer a poetic lilt to writing. However, she used them in ways that made it hard to understand certain sentences. I had to re-read these segments a few times to be sure I had understood what she was trying to say.
The frequency that she chose to use fragments also became a problem for me as they stopped adding that poetic feel and started to create a choppy and confusing narrative. There is definitely an art to using sentence fragments, and I enjoyed seeing another author use them in their work. But I think Angela took hers a little past the point of useful.
Which brings me to my last point, the overall editing. I saw a few typos and while they didn’t stop me from enjoying Homeward they were definitely noticeable. Even professional editors miss typos sometimes though, so authors kind of have to roll the dice and hope they caught all of the most obvious ones.
There is a lot of good stuff to learn from Homeward so if you have a second head over to Amazon. As of right now it’s free. It’s also a lovely story so you won’t regret reading it.
And once you do, feel free to come back and tell me if you agreed with my thoughts or if you think I was wrong about my criticism/praise. I love me some book chats!