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Honestly? As an SF reader, the cover is OK, the blurb would be OK if you cut it down by about half, and the later scenes aren't bad. But the first scene has little in the way of setting, and feels a lot like an info-dump to me. And you don't need the masses of italics for thoughts when you're in Yamato's PoV.

So I'd suggest dropping the first Yamato scene, and replacing it with the second Yamato scene, which does pretty much the same things but does them better. As it is, I would read about three paragraphs of the Look Inside before moving on, but I'd probably have read at least the whole scene if you'd started with that one.

Then I'd leave it and write the next book.
well during the hive-mind help of my original original blurb, i wanted to say that he (yamato) wanted to win the game (the game as in the war), but timothy ellis said that that would make yamato look unsympathetic. timothy ellis said that I needed some type of personal challenge and that's why i offered that. maybe i should re-add that as the "personal stake" into my blurb?

Saying he wants to 'win the game' does make him sound unsympathetic, because it trivializes the sacrifice of the people who died. Even though war is a kind of game.
Story is strongest when there are multiple levels of stakes going on. There has to be something personal and relatable. If yamato has someone precious to him at risk, if yamato has a failure to redeem, if yamato has a counterpart on the alien side who he personally hates above all others, a more personal enemy he needs to destroy, it makes his character more distinct, real, and relatable. If you don't have anything like that in your story, then I don't know what to suggest... except to make sure you have that in your next book.

How did Yamato's parent's die? Was he born on earth or a colony that the aliens destroyed?

FWIW, I don't think your formatting is an issue. I found it easy to read, and I didn't notice the lack of chapters. The bold sub-headings are clear to orient me as a reader.
The no chapters thing wouldn't work for me if I was considering buying this book. I'd probably stop reading the sample right there. If this was a short novella maybe this would be okay (still probably not). But the page count on Amazon shows it 330 pages, and at that length I would want some actual chapter breaks.

As some others have said, all the exclamations in the first section stand out a little too much. And I think there is way too much italics thinking going on for a first scene. There are even exclamations in the italic thoughts. I'd want a bit more action, descriptions, and interactions among characters to pull me into the scene instead of a big chunk of expositional thinking so soon in the story.
I mean, his whole question is what can he try for this book isn't it? I think he's aware there are no guarantees, but I also think people have brought up a lot of potential problem points in the presentation.

Maybe if there's a consensus that everything looks great in the presentation "Sorry, write a different book" wouldn't have the same sting?

Yeah you right. I just hate to see somebody chase down a rabbit hole when it's entirely possible the book flopped because he chose to publish on July 1 instead of January 14. He could waste a lot of time making changes that make no difference.

And also that whole thing of... some of the "problems" people think they see are not problems in Military SF. It's irritating for those of us who pride ourselves on our editing and our style, but these readers don't really care about style so much as they care about forward motion.
Writers' Cafe / Re: New cockygate/stuffergate article on The Verge
« Last post by RPatton on Today at 07:45:56 PM »
I thought it was, for the most part, a good article. There were a few spots here and there, where she missed something, but overall, I thought it was a really interesting wrap-up. I knew about most of it, but I didn't know about the online site being run for scammers to meet each other, discuss tactics to manipulate the market, and get all crotch-deep in sleazy tactics. Considering so many of them have the same PA, at some point, I think someone needs to hold her accountable, because she's continuing to orchestrate these scammy marketing ploys, and helping scammers crack the market, at the expense of real writers.

Let's be clear. The chat app, wasn't a place for "scammers" to meet. It was a community with as many ethical authors as authors with questionable ethics. People pulled away from it when they started seeing things they may not like, but it was some super secret site just for "scammers". Instead, I would say that it allowed one publisher to "groom" others. (And let's be doubly clear, people bought into the group, some of whom completely separated and are wide and as far away from them as possible now. I have conflicting feelings about this, because I know some used questionable tactics in the beginning, once they built their platform they washed their hands of it. This is like the drug dealer on the corner making enough to open a legal business and then pretending they had nothing to do with the rash of 13 year old addicts in the neighborhood.)

As for the PA, she was never the one orchestrating the tactics (and manipulating the market through marketing isn't scammy, if you think that's the case, then there are a bunch of "celebrities" from YouTube, Instagram, and Reality TV who are also scammy, because they are doing the same thing - driving trends through concentrated efforts). She might have been administering them, but she wasn't the one orchestrating them or even spearheading them.
Well, good luck on that, honey!  That's like... what the whole genre is about.

 :) Honestly, IMHO his best play is  to move on to writing something else rather than trying to resuscitate a flop. Maybe to a genre that isn't so saturated with same ole, same ole.

I mean, his whole question is what can he try for this book isn't it? I think he's aware there are no guarantees, but I also think people have brought up a lot of potential problem points in the presentation.

Maybe if there's a consensus that everything looks great in the presentation "Sorry, write a different book" wouldn't have the same sting?
FREE - Cat Walk Diaries - Book 4 - Jade

The Cat Walk Agency hires models--only the most beautiful women are chosen. But there is another clandestine side-line business at this modeling agency. A few special women are hired for a short time by ‘men-of-means.’ The cost is high—it might be even higher for the women who are thus employed.

This is the story of Jade. She came from the US from China and has been working at the Cat Walk Modeling Agency for two years.  Her new client, Andrew, becomes addicted to her charms.

This novelette is sensual romance for adults over the age of 18. 
Hope the notes at least helped clarify some places where you can polish a bit more.

By narrative, I meant the general prose, not spoken dialog or italicized internal dialog. Since Yamato is the POV character, we're already in his head, so a lot of what you've structured as his thoughts feel weird in context. The italics mean he's, in a sense, speaking to himself in thought form. YMMV, but I'd imagine they'd probably come off better as his observations within the prose rather than internal dialog.

my editor said using italics to represent thoughts was ok. as long as i didn't write "he thought, thoughts thoughts thoughts"
in other words, it was ok as i long as i didn't write "he thought" and made the whole thought-segment italicized at the same time. writing "he thought" is redundant when the thought passage is italicized.. that's what she said

Sorry, went for the shortened version. I meant that the word gaze already appears in a paragraph shortly before it heads up the other one after "He saw". There's a lot of sense filtering happening in the opening section, so the repeat stood out even more for me.

i will get my editor to look at my first opening scene (the one i rewrote). i probably made a lot of mistakes
my editor added in the "full line between paragraphs" formatting. i thought it was bad at first, but i then i looked at lot of other books in the genre and saw them do the same thing. you probably are going to ignore what i am about to write and think "well, let him think whatever he wants" but i don't think it's the paragraph formatting

Your editor steered you wrong, here. I don't think it's the sole cause either, but it's another red flag. Like I alluded to before, everyone has their own list of red flags which may or may not apply to the bulk of readers. But you're hitting a lot of them in a short span, and it's going to turn off some readers even if each of them alone affects very few on its own.

why is it that whenever i post on this website, some older male author who happens to write in the same genre goes up to me and criticizes nearly EVERY DAMN thing (OUT OF AMUSEMENT???). are you friends with timothy ellis? if not, you should be, i think you'll find that the two of you are very alike

I think you're taking David's comments too personally. (Tim's too, I suspect, but I don't know what he said.) It's important to remember that people are trying to help you, even when their comments are on the blunt side. If you disagree, it's your book and your right to ignore their advice, but it's best to thank them for their feedback and move on (or politely ignore it if you can't bring yourself to do that.)

Your older blurb (below) was better. I have a few comments inline...

==begin blurb==
Massive space fleet battles. (I suspect this turns off more readers than it attracts in a blurb.)
Genocidal aliens at humanity's doorsteps.
In depth strategic and tactical warship combat.  (I suspect this turns off more readers than it attracts in a blurb.)

Humanity's last chance for survival rests with one fleet commander's desire to win no matter the cost. (What's the cost that's worse than the alternative--extinction of the human race?)

Sector General Harvey Yamato has fought a long hard war against the alien reptilian menace. He's sent fleets and armies into the fire, sacrificing billions to save billions — all to exact a stalemate across a wide front of star systems. But when the bad guys aliens discover a way to warp behind our the front(two words)lines, their fleets manage to and ravage our industrial worlds — our warship production core. (..."crippling humanities defenses", or somesuch...)

Now, with 600 billion humans dead, twenty star systems lost, our forces depleted, and the enemy at our homeworld's Earth's doorstep, only Yamato's decimated home fleet stands between the warmongering aliens and Earth's obliteration extinction.

Can an exhausted leader rise to the challenge one last time? Can Yamato's clever strategies turn the tide back into our favor despite all the odds stacked against him? Can the remnants of humanity's battered warships protect Earth and our last survivors? (I'm wondering if these questions add or detract. Consider cutting it entirely. Maybe test with an without for a week and see if there's any difference.)

Everything is on the line in... the Battle of Sol.
==end blurb==
Writers' Cafe / Re: New cockygate/stuffergate article on The Verge
« Last post by jb1111 on Today at 07:34:12 PM »
I suspect it takes a lot of effort, organization, capital, and brass round-shaped things to really pull it off. It's quite a commitment. It requires an abundance of really dark energy.

And of course, it takes a market for schemes to work. I think that's where things got really skewed. I'm not sure what came first, the scammers, or the market for scammers, but I doubt the market for ex-navy seal bad-boy billionaires is really so huge. That's where the bots came in, both for lifting ranks and generating page reads.

Dark energy? It's just energy. It's making money. While I don't agree with the tactics because of the apparent unfairness of it -- especially when viewed by someone like myself who merely writes and puts books out with a minimal amount of marketing tricks -- business itself isn't necessarily fair. One could say that business energy is 'dark energy' by default. You run a business to beat the competition. Is that dark?

I think the market is obviously huge for such themes as ex-Navy Seal bad boy billionaires. 50 Shades proved that. The massive market in books featuring ex-military and military characters is also evidence of a market for such themes that is thriving.

Perhaps certain sectors of the bad-boy romance market is exaggerated by bot farms and the like, but one could say the same thing about some other genres where there have been issues lately.
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