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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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Took a look and wanted to let you know that I had.

I have nothing particularly useful to say, however. There's nothing "wrong" with anything you have going on there. It didn't particularly pull me into the story. Not my thing personally.

I am a teacher, I doubt that my school district would bring in the school board to ask people to talk to the press. We're always told specifically NOT to talk to the press about anything at the school if we're asked. I also don't understand how a teacher leaves her classroom to tell another teacher to come to a meeting when her planning period is next period. Who's watching her classroom? Couldn't the office have sent a student with a note? But that kind of stuff isn't important to the enjoyment of the story, really. I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'm nitpicking, like people who are doctors who watch medical procedurals on TV.

You might want to consider a different cover. At first, in the thumbnail, I thought your book was a how-to book. I didn't see the bullets until I clicked on the page and the font doesn't thrill me.

I will say this. I kind of got the impression that this is less a story and more an essay on your own beliefs about some issue. Whether that's political bias or homosexuality, I couldn't tell. I think I agree with your beliefs, but that isn't enough to make me want to read the story. In short, for me personally, the stakes are simply not high enough for me to get interested. But. That's just me. My interests tend to skew towards the action-packed. There are other people who have completely different tastes than me.

Overall, this whole thing sometimes comes down to luck. I wish you the best of it. I'd also recommend leaving it up there. Don't take it down. Make your fixes and upload the new copy. You never know what will happen. But stop worrying about this book and write another one. You can drive yourself nuts trying to figure out why things don't sell.
 

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Stuart, your price is still pretty high for an unknown author. Why don't you try experimenting with that for a while and see what the results are? And your cover is okay, but it isn't the most dynamic, so I think you could make it more appealing visually. Both of those things are hugely important when it comes to that critical moment when someone is browsing for something to read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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I just grabbed the sample but even without reading it I think you've got issues on the "big three" factors.

Cover. No. Bullets and yellow pencils says "Columbine" - not someplace I want to go. Font, composition, color scheme, graphical theme - all need work. Strike one.

Blurb. Makes it sound like a treatise on educational reform. Your author bio there isn't helping you. Strike two.

Price. You have no platform to support this price level. Your blog and podcast seem to be defunct and your Amazon author page is missing. Strike three. You're out.

None of those are big, time consuming fixes - although changing the price is the only easy one. The cover, you know about. The blurb will take some work.





I'm not your target audience, so take it with a grain of salt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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Crenel said:
All good stuff for me to think about. Thanks!

For what it's worth...
Cover: While the story is definitely not a variation of a Columbine type of tragedy, Columbine is referenced in it (negatively) and it does deal with hints of violence connected to an education setting, so I'm not sure it's a bad thing that you made that connection to some degree. However, in thinking about the design, I expected the word "revolution" to hold enough weight that it wouldn't sound like a story based on the Columbine event, so I don't want that association to be too strong.
I live in Colorado. "School" and "bullets" says "Columbine." In this case the graphical message is overwhelming the textual one. The word "Revolution" with it's outlined font is lost. It needs to be scaled up if you want it to be the strongest message.

Crenel said:
Blurb: OK, back to the drawing board! Definitely not primarily about educational reform; in fact, that's mostly absent. Hmm...
"When an art teacher at the school triggers a local controversy about how teachers may influence students beyond their basic education, the school administration draws Dan into the fray, along with math teacher Karena Walsh."

This is an educational "hot button" topic. The perception of a school or teacher's liberal/conservative agenda is one of the key flash points. This made me think that you were writing a story with that as a theme. You don't mention the art teacher's name, nor do you tell us what the trigger was. While that might not be central to your story, the fact that you referenced it without giving me any details sets up a "meh" reaction for me.

Crenel said:
Price: Definitely open to experimentation on the price. Not sure what you meant about the blog being defunct, since I posted to it two days ago, so I'm curious what blog you were looking at. I did make some recent changes and might have left some loose ends. And I have multiple blogs for different things, not all of which are very active. I've been thinking about how to split off my author-related content on my site so readers and potential readers would not be confused or distracted by other content, and this gives me more motivation to tidy that up.
No caveats necessary, I appreciate your thoughts and the time you spent taking a look at it.
I found all of your sites, I think. I looked at "By the Campfire with Stuart" at "just-stuart.com" in depth since that one seems to be your main "fiction" blog. I called it defunct because - except for the two posts you made a couple weeks ago - your only other post was one from March 11. To me, this is not an "active" site. (You might consider revamping that site to give it a little more graphic cohesion as well, but that's a different conversation.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 

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Crenel said:
The reason I'm so concerned about what I do with this title is that my decision will have a major impact on what I do overall when it comes to publishing my work. If I keep this one on the market, my plan is to formalize the self-publishing business I've found myself in, which will encourage me to get the next title ready to publish. On the other hand, if I take this one down, I probably won't self-publish any more novels, and nothing more of mine will be published (at least with a price tag) unless a traditional publisher accepts my work. Complex issues and significant decisions...
There's no reason to ever take this down. This book is "ruined" for trad publishing unless it takes off and sells thousands of copies, but having a self-published novel out there won't hurt your chances of getting a different book published. Unless you've gone out there and gotten print books in Barnes and Noble catalogs and gotten it stocked in chain stores, you're not a blip on the publishers radar. You don't have any sales numbers that would keep a chain store from buying your books. (And God knows what's going to happen to chain stores anyway). That's the only reason people say having low numbers is bad for traditional publishing. Because chain stores won't order what hasn't sold. So if you're in their database, and they notice they ordered 50 of your books and sold 2, then that could spell trouble for your selling traditionally. Otherwise, this book does nothing bad for you. Leave it up. It'll make you a little bit of money. (Even if you did have trouble selling a book because the self-pubbed book, you can always write another name. Clean slate.)

If another of your books, either self or trad pubbed does well, that will help this book. This is why indie publishing is so awesome. It's a win-win, even if you don't, um, win. :p

I just don't think you need to feel that you're in an either/or situation here. You can both self-publish and traditionally publish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Content removed circa September 2018 after realizing this forum was bought by VerticalScope -- a foreign corporation with seemingly suspicious motives and a bad attitude apparently attempting to grab rights retroactively. They can have the rights to this statement!
 
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