After almost half a year, Beneath the Vault of Stars (BVS) has three reviews.1 Two of those reviews are from Mom and Dad (thanks, guys!). One of the best ways for new authors to gain an audience comes through meaningful reviews. Reviews written by real people who’ve actually read what they’re reviewing. While it’s possible only three people have read BVS, I’d like to think that maybe one or two others have as well. If that’s you: this post is your invitation to write your own review!
I have nothing to offer to anyone kind enough to spend a moment of their time telling others what they thought about the book except gratitude. As far as what makes for a good (compelling?) review, I have no “scientific” formula. However, when I read reviews for books, I’m looking for a few things:
- Story/plot. Is this an engaging narrative? Am I getting an enjoyable return on my time investment? Will I turn the last page wanting more, or will I feel cheated of my time?
- Characters. Am I reading about one-dimensional cardboard cutouts or realistic personalities whose fates I care about?
- Style. I’m probably an anomaly in that I enjoy the occasional $1.00 word sprinkled here and there throughout a story, but more than mere vocabulary, has the author crafted clever turns or phrase, or painted engaging word pictures that help me see his or her world with razor-sharp clarity? (Whether it’s a realm replete with vibrant colors or dismal grays?)
- Format. Less an issue with “real” publishers, but for indies like myself who wear all the hats, has the author done an admirable job laying out his or her work? Is it free from typographical errors or formatting glitches? What stands out: the words or how they’re presented? Format, in my opinion, is one of those things that should be “invisible” when done right: I shouldn’t really care where the page numbers are, what the margins are, etc. If such things are arresting my attention, the formatting probably needs some fine-tuning.
How does BVS stack up when measured against the aforementioned metrics? You tell me! Worth reading or a time rip-off? Do you care about Kalas and the others? Accsessible? Does the technical structure of the chapters help or hinder you while you read? I know I’ve had to revisit the text a few times to tweak a few (or more than a few!) oversights on my part! I think I’ve corrected all the grammatical issues I discovered, but it’s entirely possible (probable?!) I’ve missed a few or introduced others!
If this post comes across like begging, that’s probably because it is. As I’ve told anyone who’s asked, I’m not a marketer, and I don’t know the best way to generate awareness for BVS. I suspect I’ll have the same issues once I finish writing Between the Lion and the Wolf, too. (I’m working on Chapter X now—Part I is almost complete!) With a greater number of reviews, hesitant readers will have a better idea of what they’re getting themselves into. Favorable or other-than, I’d love to know your thoughts about Beneath the Vault of Stars, and I’d like to think others would, too. For everyone who’s read BVS and has not yet written a review, please: schedule a few minutes to share your perspective with the world!
Thank you for your help!