Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Switched by Amanda Hocking

So I borrowed "Switched" by Amanda Hocking from the library. This is the first book in the trilogy that she self-published and everyone was talking about last year. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I can see why the books were so successful; they are compelling to read. And they would appeal to the teenager/young adult demographic.

I can also see why agents passed on it. I had trouble feeling sympathetic to Wendy the main character. Then when I got to page 247, I stopped reading and skimmed to the end.

The story is that she is a trylle (troll) changeling who was switched at birth with a human child. When she was six years old, her mother tried to kill her. The story begins when the a Trylle tracker finds her to take her back to the Trylle.

In the Prologue (which is very well done as a Prologue), Wendy is six years old and at her birthday party. She is a total brat. She hates everything. She complains about every birthday present that she gets. Whine. Whinge. She goes into the kitchen where her human mother is cutting her birthday cake. It's chocolate. Wendy throws a temper tantrum because she hates chocolate and it's her birthday; she should have the kind of cake that she wants blahblahblah. Aaannnddd her human mother loses it and tries to kill her with the cake knife. Now let me say that I do not condone child abuse or hurting children in any manner. However, there is not a parent alive who in the same position would not have to exert a lot of self-control not to do what Wendy's mother did. Yes, the mother is a psychotic bitch from hell, and yes, she should not have tried to kill her daughter, but the kid is an unreasonable, irrational, BRAT. If I were in that situation, I would have to put the knife down, go outside and kick a tree or something, and I have the patience of a saint, so I don't have a whole lot of sympathy for the child character.

So the story begins and Wendy is 16. She is not so much a brat anymore, so she is somewhat likeable.

Then she gets to Forening where her trylle mother and the other trylle live. And nobody answers her questions. Nobody tells her anything about how the society works or what is and isn't allowed. Nobody tells her what is expected of her. And her mother yells at her and is nasty to her over all the mistakes she is making. In other words, all the adults are stupid and don't know enough to explain the cultural differences to her, even though all of them were changelings too and should know what she is going through. I got to page 247 and I couldn't take the adults are stupid to move the plot along thing any more, so I stopped reading and started skimming.

If you're a parent or an older adult, then you might have the same trouble with the story that I do. I think that teenagers and younger adults don't have the same problem with the story because they don't have the life experience to draw on that I do.

Amanda Hocking is a very talented writer, and while I won't read the rest of this series, I will check out her new series which is coming out soon.  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Take on the Usefulness of Social Media for self published authors

Ewan Morrison has an interesting article on The Guardian: Why Social Media Isn't the Magic Bullet for Self-epublished Authors. 

There are some rather startling statistics like this one: A pizza joint in New Orleans hit 70,000 people with a Facebook ad and picked up ONE new customer. And this one: Only 70 self-epublished authors in the world in 2011 sold more than 800 ebooks a month.

If you want people to buy your book, then you need marketing techniques that are going to work. I think it's an interesting article and well worth your time to read and think about. You can find it here.