Articles tagged "book review"

Helix Review Author Round Up

Screen Shot 2013-11-22 at 10.13.03 AMBack in early August, we began featuring authors that have used the Helix Review to gain insight into their writing style and how to better market their books, so we could share what they learned with you. The Helix Review analyzes your book’s content and writing style and compares it to the most successful literary works of all-time, giving authors a valuable insight into their manuscript.

From my own perspective this has been a learning experience. Not only did authors share with us what they had learned from Helix, they also shared how they were implementing these insights into their work.

We’ve spoken to over 20 authors and I want to share some of the most valuable feedback my team and I heard:

1. Helix is instrumental in defining a direction and audience for your book.

  • “By comparing my book to another text that I have a great deal of respect for, and receiving a favorable review, I can proceed with confidence as I work on my next book.” – Read the interview with John Locke, author of Stuff I’ve Written So Far

2. Understand how your book fits in your genre and compares to similar books.

  • “I gained a sense of confidence in seeing that my writing is comparable to other works and measured favorably when compared to other books in the field. – Read the interview with B.D. Salerno, author of Forensics by the Stars: Astrology Investigates

3. Using Helix to narrow down your target publishers based on genre and style.

  • “The information provided in the 21 page report helped me target specific publishers, it has provided me with 10 other best selling books that I can compare and use when discussing books that are rated as similar in writing style.” – Read the interview with Gregory L. Truman, author of Hitting the Wall

Authors continue to inform and educate us on how they are finding the review valuable and how they are using it to identify new audiences for their book. If you are an author that has used the Helix Review for your book, we’d still love to hear from you. You can submit your feedback here.

For the complete list of Helix Review interviews, click here.

 

Authors using Helix Review featuring Kay Gossage

Screen Shot 2013-08-05 at 5.31.25 PMAs a part of our ongoing series looking at self-published writers who have used Helix Review, we interviewed Lulu author Kay Gossage, who wrote the fantasy fiction novel: The Sword Of Ages: The Tallah Trilogy. Helix, powered by The Book Genome project, basically allows authors to upload a manuscript and receive an incredibly in depth analysis of the book. 

Tell us a bit about The Sword of Ages:
This is a telling of one heroic cycle. When myths and legends are reborn. A time heroes and born as they battle against living myths from the grave. The evil Warlock Lord has reemerged out from the darkness of the past. His reign of fear and shadow long forgotten in his absence over the long years.    The Princess Katar of Tallah is loved by all. She is kind hearted and very beautiful. She is captured by the Warlock Lord to be his bride, thus setting in motion her path to destiny, and the young handsome knight Ridge’s as well.     In the castle of the Warlock Lord, Katar acquires knowledge that will drive her to set off on her journey to her final destiny. It is one she never imagined or wanted.     Ridge is called by fate as well and he sets out to rescue Katar. Along the way Delwin the Knight Master meets young Ridge and takes him to claim the mythical Sword of Ages. It is only yielding this legendary sword can one beat the Warlock Lord. Wilax joins the men and they set forth to rescue the princess.    Along the way friendship is found, respect earned, battles won and lost and truths revealed.    In the end, Ridge and the Warlock Lord battle and …

How would you describe your writing style:

I start with an idea and write a short form of the story, as complete or incomplete as I can in this first idea creating process. From there then I fill in the blanks and see where it goes. The Tallah Trilogy was a dream I had while pregnant with my first two children. Each book continuing from the previous. I generally write for the younger reader (middle school aged) but the books can be enjoyed by all ages.  I try to be descriptive and use dialogue to get points across versus narration.  I cannot say I have any one particular style of writing as I allow the story to form and take me along where it goes.

Why did you decide to try Helix:

I was interested in how my book ‘The Sword Of Ages’ flowed and compared to others in the Fantasy genera. I also wanted to see areas where my book excelled as well where I could improve my writing and promotion attempts.

What were you able to learn from the Helix Review:

The Helix Review of my book ‘The Sword Of Ages’ showed me words, concepts and ideas unique to my book as well as my books strengths and weaknesses. The Helix Review provided me with several books comparable to mine and allowed me to see not only how it compares to these other books but in several specific areas.

How do you plan to use the Helix information:

To hopefully become a better writer by strengthening the areas that scored lower in my future writing, creating a better and more enjoyable experience for both my readers and myself.

What would you tell someone considering trying Helix:

I was not certain at first about the Helix Review but after ordering was happy with the overall results. For the price it was a great way to get feedback that can help me understand my book and how it fits into the genera and along side other books.  I can also take the feedback and apply it to my future writing to create better and more full enjoyable creations.

For more information about Kay Gossage and The Sword of Ages:

Lulu Author Spotlight
Kay Gossage Website
Kay Gossage on Facebook

About the Helix Review

Back in May we launched an experimental new offering called Helix, and dubbed it The Personality Test for Your Book. Helix is powered by The Book Genome Project, a massive database of over 100,000 of the world’s best-known books. And basically, it gives you a way to upload your manuscript and get back an incredibly rich and unbiased perspective on your book.

Lulu authors are currently using Helix to gain a better understanding of their book for marketing purposes, and in some cases to gain insight into their writing style. For the first time, we’ve caught up with some of the earliest Helix Review customers to hear more about their book and writing style and what they hoped to learn from Helix.

If you are an author that has used Helix and would like to be featured in the future, please tell us about your experience here.

 

Jerry Martin on the Helix Review

From now until the end of October, Lulu is featuring authors who have used the Helix Review to gain insight into their writing style and explore new marketing opportunities for their book. Today’s interview is Jerry Martin, author of Moving Sideways, which he describes as mystery and drama. For the full schedule of upcoming interviews, click here.

An Interview with Jerry Martin

Jerry Martin, Author of Moving Sideways

 

Give us the Moving Sideways pitch

Follow Detectives Debra Thomas and Eugene Willis through a dangerous world of biker bars, drugs, and guns as they search for the wife, Kari Cole, of a prominent Fort Worth lawyer, Tyler Cole, after she goes missing. Is he guilty or the victim of an elaborate scheme?

How would you describe your writing style?

For me, a mystery is just another story without a compelling romance with the hero overcoming a villain that seems unstoppable. The conflict the story is built on must have the elements of danger, love, and action.

Why did you decide to submit Moving Sideways for a Helix Review?

Feedback is an important process to develop as an author. Writing is a passion, but it is also a skill that must be honed as a professional athlete. If you train using the wrong technique or form you will polish imperfection. The Helix Review compares your work with the best in the industry… what could be better?

How are you going to use what you learned?

Advice, feedback, and critiques from test readers or an editor are valuable, but you are limited to the perceptions of a few people. There are many dimensions of writing and multiple theories of how to improve as a writer. What the Helix Review did for me is to compare my work against the best authors in the business regarding specific dimensions with enough depth to make the feedback actionable.

What would you tell someone considering trying Helix?

No matter how long you’ve been writing or published, there is no better way to get valuable comparisons for your work for the price of the Helix Review. This is something you shouldn’t pass up… I will continue using the Helix Review for all my writing.

For more information about Jerry and Moving Sideways

Moving Sideways on Lulu

Jerry Martin’s Website

About Jerry Martin

Jerry Martin on Facebook

About the Helix Review

Back in May we launched an experimental new offering called Helix, and dubbed it The Personality Test for Your Book. Helix is powered by The Book Genome Project, a massive database of over 100,000 of the world’s best-known books. And basically, it gives you a way to upload your manuscript and get back an incredibly rich and unbiased perspective on your book.

Lulu authors are currently using Helix to gain a better understanding of their book for marketing purposes, and in some cases to gain insight into their writing style. For the first time, we’ve caught up with some of the earliest Helix Review customers to hear more about their book and writing style and what they hoped to learn from Helix.

If you are an author that has used Helix and would like to be featured in the future, please tell us about your experience here. – See more at: http://www.lulu.com/blog/2013/08/how-authors-are-using-the-helix-review

 

 

 

 

What to Read?

Finding recommendations for independently published books can be difficult. Over at The Guardian, Dan Holloway explains:

“As a reader, I believe life is too short: if I want a great thriller, there’s enough Mark Billingham and Tami Hoag to work through. If I choose to read self-published books it’s because I want something different.”

Holloway also outlines resources for finding well-reviewed self-published books. There’s the Indie eBook Review, which reviews recent self-published books, as well as IndieReader, which does an incredible job writing thoughtful reviews of some really interesting self-published books. All in all, Holloway paints a portrait of a burgeoning literary culture surrounding independently published books, one that’s sure to grow as self-publishing becomes the dominant force in the literary marketplace. As a writer, it’s incredibly important to keep track of who is writing reviews and what kinds of books garner attention, especially if you want your title to find a large audience.

Another great resource is Booklamp.org, the “home of the Book Genome Project. Similar to how Pandora.com matches music lovers to new music, BookLamp helps you find books through a computer-based analysis of written DNA.”

A great way to make sure your own book gets reviewed is to look into some of Lulu’s reviewing services, including options to have your book reviewed by Kirkus or Clarion reviews.

So, where do you find help selecting books to read? What websites or book reviews are helpful? Do you think self-published books are getting the right amount of respect from reviewers? Have you ever reviewed someone else’s book online? Let us know!

Additional Reading:

Good News / Bad News from BRAGMedallion.com

The good news: According to publishing industry surveys, 8 out of 10 adults feel they have a book in them. In the past, few were able to realize this dream. However, the emergence of self-publishing companies such as Lulu and print-on-demand technology has made it possible for anyone to publish a book.

The bad news is that with so many new titles it can be hard for readers to find the true gems. Furthermore, as the understanding of what it means to self-publish evolves, we still sometimes see authors go the self-publishing route with the misunderstanding that their book does not need editing and so books go into print with grammatical and spelling errors. That’s where we come in. At B.R.A.G. MedallionTM, we hold indie authors to a higher standard: The decision to honor a self-published book must be unanimous among the group of our readers who review it.

Thus, our advice to budding indie authors is twofold. First, read before you write. The best guideline for writing a good book is to read the work of others―both to learn what is good and to avoid what is bad. Second, after you write your book, have it professionally edited. This constitutes line editing, preferably, or proofreading at a minimum. Nothing turns off a reader more quickly than a poorly written book. To help Lulu authors find high-quality self-published books, they should visit www.bragmedallion.com. It is an online community that welcomes all those who seek to learn how to become better writers, and those looking to gain recognition for their work. There, they will find a list of books by talented indie authors, as well as relevant advice and commentary from the world of self-publishing.

Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Self-Published Book

As self-published authors, we find that it’s often in our own hands to promote our own work. We make daily efforts to find new and innovative ways to spread the word, inspire readers and gain recognition. At Lulu, we are always thrilled to see self-published authors succeed, and we are particularly grateful to the people and organizations that dedicate their efforts to supporting the community of self-published authors.

That said, we are happy to share with you a great new opportunity for self-published authors brought to you by Margaret Brown of Shelf Unbound Magazine. If you don’t know Shelf Unbound, I highly recommend checking it out.

And without further ado… the competition details below in the words of Margaret Brown herself:

Seeking Best Self-Published Book

We launched the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition for Best Self-Published Book a couple of weeks ago. Word of mouth. Social media. Modest expectations. I immediately got a rather scathing email from an industry guy questioning my ethical integrity – how can I justify charging $10 entry fee when there are no self-published books worthy of even being read, he asked.