Saturday, 16 January 2016

What makes a good book?

Don't look at me, I don't have the definitive answer. I like sci-fi anti-heroes that swear like sailors and definitely will stab you in the back, so my taste in literature is idiosyncratic to say the least.

But I do know what a lot of people think we, indie authors, don't have - a properly finished product. We get bashed (a lot) for stick-figure covers, editing where it looks as if we've treated punctuation like a game of 'pin the comma on the sentence', formats that make your eyes cross ... you name it, we've probably been bashed for it. Sometimes, because professional editing / critiques are just so damn' expensive, we don't even know what needs fixing because we've never been told it's an issue. I've had a lot of people respond to a review with something along the lines of: "Thanks, man, I didn't even know about that one."

So I was excited, relieved, and enthusiastic when I came across the blokes over at Indie Book Screener (

Why all the noise, you ask? Fair enough. I got all excited because they're a one-stop-shop for a response to indie-bashing (at least on the technical side of things).

Indie Book Screener evaluates the sample of your book on Amazon (no cost, at least right now) and gives a rating for the cover, the formatting, and the quality of the editing, which they then publish on their website with the cover and a buy link (yup, free publicity, ain't life grand?).

Here's what they had to say about Through the Hostage as a sample. Given that I do everything except my covers myself, I was a very happy author that morning. If you ask nicely, they'll even give you a few extra details on what they based your rating on, which is really, really valuable.

I'm hoping they stay around. Let's help them help us.

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