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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, gang.

This book, my first, had decent sales during the season, and quite a few outside the season, but I wouldn't mind a little critique if you have any suggestions.
Reviews have been very positive (even those from strangers!) but this upcoming season I'd like to see if I can get some more traction with this story.

http://www.amazon.com/Halloween-Host-Holiday-Novel-ebook/dp/B00NF9WQEQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1425413317&sr=8-1&keywords=the+halloween+host

The cover is my own work (I'm an illustrator). The semi-Art Nouveau is intentional as are the elements, which appear in the course of the novel. I wanted spooky but fun, since the book is rather family friendly and not a horror novel.

I can't help but wonder if the blurb works. Granted, all blurbs can probably use more punch, but is this one weak or off-putting somehow?

I guess I'm trying to determine if discoverability is my issue, or if there is a glaring flaw in my presentation.

Just a side note - I haven't got an Authors Page yet, and I'm working on getting my website ready in the next month or so.

I look forward to reading your opinions, and thanks in advance for taking the time to consider this.
 

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The blurb needs something but not sure what.  Can you post it here?
What age group is your book for?  It looks like a kid's holiday book.
 

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The very first line of the blurb, "Arthur Brim owes a debt, and Halloween itself has come to collect" sends the signal it's a Dr. Seuss type book with rhymes. Was that intentional?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cinisajoy, here ya go...

Arthur Brim owes a debt, and Halloween itself has come to collect.

If he fails to pay, every Halloween will become a bitter reminder of a broken promise to his son. To satisfy his debt, he must open his home to the spirits of the holiday.
Reluctantly, Arthur agrees, and soon meets the otherworldly members of the October Senate.

His guests, both frightful and fantastic, test his willpower and rattle his resolve.
They alter his house.
They shake his senses.
Soon, Arthur begins to doubt that he will be able to pay his debt as the Halloween Host.

There's a knock at the door.
Another visitor has arrived, and Arthur has no idea who, or what, is waiting on the other side.

The Halloween Host is a modern holiday fantasy for all ages that love the spookiest and most magical night of the year.


And no, the first line rhyme wasn't intentional, but sometimes rhyme and alliteration appear in the book. It's not a children's book per se, but I was aiming for family-friendly, in the same way as "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" or Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" - safe but with dark elements and a few somber themes.
 
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I really like the blurb and the cover (and the pages I saw when I 'looked inside').  Aside from discoverability (let's face it, an issue for many of us), it could be simply that it's viewed as a seasonal book given the Halloween theme.  That being said, I'm a big fan of Gaiman and loved The Graveyard Book so I'm going back to Amazon to buy it now.   
 

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I don't have a great eye for covers so I won't comment on that, except to say that it looks OK to me.

The tagline of the blurb is a cracker. It's awesome.

After that, the whole thing starts to loose a bit of focus. Most of that might be attributable to the point halfway through where the formatting is strange. There are too many single lines that might (or might not) be meant to be paragraphs.

I also think you need (just a hint) of how the fictional world works. For my taste, there are too many strange things going on without explanation. I'm not suggesting that you bog things down by explaining everything, but just grounding the reader a fraction more might help.

Does the last line add anything that a reader hasn't already figured out? I'd be inclined to remove it.

Also, I love the alliteration.

Hope that helps.   
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Rich - not yet, but I'm working on that. In fact, I'll be using the same style to illustrate the characters from "The Halloween Host" and I'll have those on my website soon. I may also include an illustrated edition of the book in the future.
Thank you for the compliments.

I've been thinking about getting into freelance cover illustration.

Jack, good ideas. I may drop that last line, and perhaps add a bit more detail to the blurb.

However, the biggest thing I'm getting out this thread so far? I have a childrens/YA book, and haven't marketed it as such. I honestly didn't think that would work, since the protag is a divorced father. I decided to play it safe and label it as a modern fantasy.
I wonder if I should rethink that.

 

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Discussion Starter #10
Augusta, I see now that you meant my book. Thank you!

You are my very first UK purchase, in fact my first purchase outside the US.
Wow.
That's kinda neat.

 
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1) It's really tough to comment on seasonal books. If it did well during Halloween then why do you want to change it? If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

2) In my experience, books that have a mostly text cover do 25% as well as books that use images. It'd be worth it to create a cover that uses no more than 10% of the available space for the book title, and test it for a few months now.

Remember, when people ar epicking out one book to click on, from a sea of covers, an illustration of a monster or a halloween image will always win over text focused. Except for people who ae not visual (and they are the minority).


3) What's your area of specialization? If it's fonts then using fonts as the key part of the cover might make sense. However, if your speciality isn't fonts then I'd very strongly recommend not making it your specialization area. Fonts are a very difficult thing to get right and different people have different favorite style fonts. You might be losing 40% to 60% of your potential customers because of your font choice.
 
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