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Old 03-06-2012, 10:45 AM   #1
Jim Chaseley
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"Z14" - A Humorous Story About A Cyborg

Hello there Mobilereaders!

"Z14 is a cyborg, he’s a killer and he’s a collector of cuddly toys."

I have a fun, new novel that I'd like to share with you, which I'd also urge non sci-fi fans to take a look at, too, as the sci-fi just happens to be a setting where some fun characters get to do their thing, as the story unfolds.

The story is about a cyborg who lives in a cave, on a planet colonised by millions of humans, who's ancestors were uprooted from Earth by an unknown entity.

Z14 is an assassin, because being one just "feels" right. He has plans to get to Earth, to find out more about himself, but they are quickly rendered irrelevant when a clue comes to find him! Although the "clue" doesn't survive the encounter. Well, not entirely, anyway...

From then on, it's explosions, strange lizards, even stranger aliens and hopefully a few laughs - even if some of them come through a grimace.

(Contains some swearing and violence)

The book's been out for a month now, and at the time of writing I have 86 sales and some encouraging feedback. A Goodreads group has just put the book forward as one of their monthly reads for March.

I'm just waiting for the book to filter through Smashwords' system, to reach Barnes & Noble and all the others, but you can still get it in multiple formats directly from Smashwords.

Oh, I have some great quotes from a four-star Amazon review that paint a picture for you of what to expect:

"...would make Asimov shudder..."

"Not for the intelligencia"

"Do not expect subtlety..."

Thanks for reading, and here come the links! (My avatar is the cover image)

Amazon US - http://www.amazon.com/Z14-ebook/dp/B0075YUGNK
Amazon UK - http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0075YUGNK/
Smashwords - http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/136412

(Edit to add two more links)

Barnes And Noble - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/z14-...itm=2&usri=z14
Kobo - http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Z14/b...3BQ/page1.html

Regards,
Jim

Edit: I know these sorts of threads often become a once-a-week author bump-along affair, but I'd really appreciate you posting. Anything at all. "Tried the sample, didn't like it because..", or "Your blurb has put me right off...". Anything at all Cheerio!

Another edit: My website is http://www.jimchaseley.com and I am on Facebook as JimChaseley.

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Old 03-14-2012, 06:21 AM   #2
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Dear MobileReaders,

I've just passed 100 sales, but things seem a little slow. Please tell me, what's putting you off trying my book?

Is it genre? Price? Blurb? The actual sample/Look Inside? Something else that I'm just not getting?
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Old 03-14-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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Checked out a bit of the sample and personally I don't much like your writing style, though I could probably forgive it if the rest of the sample grips me. You're writing a first person narrative and have fallen into the trap of peppering the text with "I" until reading it is like getting pelted with tacks. But that's just me - many will tell you that "I" is invisible in the reading, like "the" and "and". Just not to me.

Sample Chapter 1, up to the email, which I imagine isn't even a whole page, "I" appears about 20 times.

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Old 03-14-2012, 08:59 AM   #4
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Hey thanks, that's actually a really useful bit of info. It's feedback I can take away and have a good think about. Over-dependance on "I". It just wouldn't have occurred to me, I guess I find it to be "invisible", as you said.

Everything else I've ever written (not published as of yet) is third person. I don't know why I made the switch with this. It just felt comfortable whilst writing it.

Thanks for taking the time to stop, look and provide feedback. It's very much appreciated.

I'll have to go and check now, but maybe the "I" usage tails off a bit, when he stops "introducing" himself to the reader, and once there's more than just him involved.

So many times, you see people like me ask for feedback and then stonewall when they get something they don't want to hear. I'll take on what you've said, and look for ways to act on it. A good excercise will be to rewrite that first passage. The one thing I'll say in defence of this particular story, against the point raised, is that it is very much about him, about what he's thinking and what's going on in his head. It's also about exploding lizards and self-destructing cyborgs though, I don't want to imply it's "deep", because it's not. (None of that means I can't attempt more creative ways of putting it down on paper, I know)

Edit: Did the rest of the sample grip you, dadioflex? I'm wholly accepting that I can only please a certain percentage of people, but knowing how to seek to broaden my appeal will be invaluable.

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Old 03-14-2012, 10:01 AM   #5
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I read the rest - skimmed it , to be fair.

There's a style of humorous writing which utilizes an over-wordy, pompous tone to produce a comic effect. You should take heart that you've mastered half of that equation.

The main character is a jerk, obviously, prone to navel-gazing and with distinct "Mary Sue" tendencies - it remains to be seen whether he faces any challenges which DO challenge him - how does he do in the encounter at the end of the sample? That's a rhetorical question. If he triumphs yet again, you might consider that part of your problem. Conflict is nothing without struggle.

I can't see me buying the book based on the sample - but I can see how someone else might. The tone is quite similar to the Hal Spacejock stories, except those two main characters are very fallible, and therefore identifiable. In my opinion.

A tried and true technique to sell ebooks is to give something away for free - perhaps a short story detailing one of his earlier hits, what went wrong and how he overcame it would serve as a better introduction to the character. There's a constant stream of detail about the world he inhabits evident in the sample and that's very encouraging.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:14 AM   #6
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Thanks again, dadioflex. after 102 sales that's my first critique from someone who hasn't enjoyed it. So it's nice to have some balance. Painful as being the one being balanced can be!

"There's a style of humorous writing which utilizes an over-wordy, pompous tone to produce a comic effect. You should take heart that you've mastered half of that equation." - Ouch! That's a lump taken, right there.

Oh, and whilst it was rhetorical, I want to mention the sample-ending encounter: He does win, but it sets him up for a fall later. His confidence becomes over-confidence and that leads to the inevitable. I spend time building up the fact that he's the big fish in his pool, and more importantly he darn well knows it, but there's always a bigger fish.

Yeah, I've been contemplating that exact strategy about the short story, it's a great idea. Stick my free sample in at the end, and sit and wait to take a few more lumps! Hahah. *nurses bruise*.

Edit: More opinions very much welcomed, be they more or less favourable than dadioflex's. I'd just like to point out at this juncture that I have 11 positive reviews on Amazon** so far, and a not unkind 3-star one, spread across the UK and US sites. A particular Goodreads group have put me forward as their monthly recommendation, with a "Highly Recommended", um, recommendation.

Oh, and I've already looked at my opening 500 words for the Z14 sequel and eliminated a few spurious "I"'s Even if it hurts, I'll listen. Feel a bit sick, though.

** I know, I know, Amazon reviews aren't exactly things held in high regard. But they are opinions, which is what I seek.

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Old 03-14-2012, 11:52 AM   #7
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Hi Jim

If I may, I have a couple of thoughts for you. I will read the sample later when I have time but I thought I might add to the comments made by dadioflex.

If you have a short story put it out there for free now. Why? There are hundreds of free books being put out by Amazon at the moment. I have downloaded over 900 in the last 3 weeks alone and it shows no signs of slowing down. I have been pretty ruthless as well. In that time I have purchased a dozen books by some of the Authors I have been introduced to by the freebies. I also have several more in my wishlist.Tell me why I should buy your book? A free story might just do that. Put it at the end of your paid for novel and it is a waste of time. Those who read the whole book will have made their mind up about you by the end and people like me (there is a lot of us) will probably just skip the book for one of the many freebies.

As an aside, dadioflex likening it to Hal Spacejock certainly has my interest.

Good luck
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:03 PM   #8
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Hi Stormchild,

I must have explained myself badly. I meant what you've said. I'd put my short story out for free, on its own with a few chapters of this current book thrown in at the end. "If you liked this story, here's the novel". It's a great idea, and one that I think i first read on this forum. Or perhaps it was Kindleboards. (I don't have the short story yet, but I could write one quite quickly. The outline is already forming in my head).

I certainly know it's hard competing for your custom with the free books that are out there.

I have no idea what Hal Spacejock is, so I'd better check that out. I might like it!

And thanks, I hope you enjoy the sample - but that you'll let me know either way. It's sobering to run into negative comments after a good run of positive feedback. But every drunkard needs his strong black coffee now and then!
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:08 PM   #9
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I will read it I promise and will come back with comments. I always have time for an new Author who is prepared to listen and learn (within reason of course).

I am guessing you will like the Hal Spacejock series. Truly hilarious.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:13 PM   #10
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I shall Google it as soon as I get home. I definitely wouldn't call Z14 "hilarious", even at its funniest. It's more likely (hopefully) to drag a chuckle out of you, or a kind of smile through a grimace, at some of the situations.

I can definitely see where dadioflex is coming from with the "Mary Sue" comments (although I had to look that up!). If I'd known how eBooks and sample portions work before publishing I'd have brought forward the bits that make it obvious that Z14 is not a Mary Sue at all. He gets his arse substantially kicked plenty of times. In fact he suffers a lot worse than that.
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Old 03-14-2012, 01:54 PM   #11
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OK. I have read the sample and it just cost me a couple of quid. Grrrrr
I understand what dadioflex was saying about the 'I' thing but It did not bother me. Maybe a little over descriptive in places but I finished the sample and wanted to finish the story. That's good isn't it? I still recommend you write a short, preferably in the same universe and put it out there.
Now to find time to read the rest of the bloody book. Pah, Authors, who'd have em.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:00 PM   #12
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Can I also recommend you create a website for those of us who don't Twatter. Also a Facebook page. I know several Authors who use Facebook greatly to their advantage.
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Old 03-14-2012, 02:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormchild View Post
Can I also recommend you create a website for those of us who don't Twatter. Also a Facebook page. I know several Authors who use Facebook greatly to their advantage.
Stormchild, thank you so much. I just had my post deleted because I mentioned my website. It's in my profile, if you want to have a look.

Thanks for taking the plunge on me. I hope you enjoy the book.

(I've added my website to my first post in this thread as well. I'f I'd just get around to putting it in my sig, I'd not have this problem! Ha)

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Old 04-17-2012, 04:53 AM   #14
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I have finally got round to starting the book and am already halfway through. It is an excellent read so far, I just wish life didn't get in the way of reading so that I could finish it. It's a case of only getting to read at bedtime and then it is 10 pages.......ZZZZZZZZZ.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:21 PM   #15
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Well, that's good to hear, thanks.

It makes a nice "other side of the coin" tale, in comparison to Dadioflex's experience with my sample chapters. Since you bought it, I've actually had about 5 more reviews (mostly on Amazon.co.uk), all of them 5 stars, apart from one 4.5.

One of the 5 stars actually quoted how much she hated the main character to start with, but came to really enjoy him. But mostly the recent feedback has been that it's just good, silly fun. (Albeit a bit crude and rude at times! )

10 Amazon.com reviews, 4.7 average.
17 Amazon.co.uk reviews, 4.6 average, which includes a nicely balanced 3 star review.

I can't wait to hear what you think when you've finished it, Stormchild, and thanks for the little morale boost so far.

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