Look at me! Another week, another post!
I don’t think it’ll change your life, but I believe in it. You should check it out.
Anyway, today’s post is two-fold, and I’d like to post it now before I don’t win the Novelist competition so I don’t seem bitter and angry afterward. Firstly, I wanted to share my experience thus far with Inkitt. Secondly, I wanted to offer my thoughts on their most recent offering, Esper Files by. Egan Brass (Ryan Attard).
First things first…
I believe in Inkitt. I don’t know how successful they’ll be in the long term, but I do.
My experience as an unpublished author has only been positive. When I posted my novel back in September, I had intended to just let it sit there. I figured I could refer people there to check it out and give me feedback before I took it down. A month later, I had 19 reads and the Novelist competition kicked off. During that time, I had received some mass e-mails from the website, but for the most part that was all. As the competition continued, I decided to lean into it and started sharing my novel with my social media community. My readership spiked almost overnight. I must’ve caught someone’s attention because I received an e-mail from a real person at Inkitt.
Not a mass e-mail. An e-mail to me regarding my book. They wanted to help me boost my readership. Over the next few days, I worked with them to rework my blurb, teaser, and cover photo. I loved their new teaser… It may be better than my actual book. The blurb they worked out (whether by bot or person) needed some tweaking (which I did) and the photo was pretty great. Afterward, they posted my novel to their Facebook, Twitter, and in a couple of their reading lists.
My readership spiked again. It was neat.
I’d like to reiterate. I had engaged a real person. She was extremely nice.
[Addendum] I forgot to add. I received a mass e-mail last night from Inkitt…
5 Sci-fi Books I Need to Check Out… Yeah… The Shadow of Fate was #1 on the list.
THAT was cool.
Now, with all that said, I need to back up to early September when I saw their advertisement for the first time.
I decided I needed to research Inkitt before posting my book.
I wanted to be as certain as I could be that it wasn’t a scam.
A lot of the blog posts were disheartening. A lot of them accused Inkitt of spamming and trying to take advantage of authors. Most of them were from about a year ago and had responses from the CEO addressing the concerns. I determined, based on these posts, Inkitt was using whatever method they could to build their community.
They are a start-up company after all.
The most intriguing of posts, however, came from Ryan Attard… the author of Esper Files.
The post, How I Got My Agent(s), can be found Here.
This leads me to my review of Esper Files.
Knowing that the book would be released soon, I decided to wait until it was on amazon (link above).
I am glad I did, btw, as I was given a free copy from Inkitt.
I was excited to dig in to this one… It’s a steampunk superhero story… right up my alley.
I probably went in with a few preconceptions I shouldn’t have.
After reading Brass’ blog, I was expecting perfection.
I wasn’t expecting an author’s first novel.
In some ways, it reminded me of Eragon by Christopher Paolini.
You can obviously see talent there, but it isn’t quite as refined as it will be in a few years.
I couldn’t help but think that in a few years this will be the series people look at when they’re done reading his better, future series.
That isn’t to say that Esper Files isn’t good.
I just don’t think it’s particularly original.
That coupled with grammatical and spelling errors, a few action/adventure cliches, occasionally stilted dialogue, and a plot that isn’t as fulfilling as it could have been, I was disappointed.
Now I’m sure 15 year old me would have loved it.
And that’s the target audience.
27 year old me, with a master’s degree and years of reading under my belt, thought it was okay.
I don’t want that to deter you though.
I want this book to be successful.
I still think it’s worth reading.
There were a few moments I said aloud, “Oh, that’s clever.”
I just wish there were more moments like that…
The name: Espers – As related to E.S.P. Brilliant.
The protagonists and antagonists abilities are straight out of Heroes.
The concept is basically CW’s Flash meets X-Men, but set in alternative Steampunk Victorian England.
There isn’t a lot of mystery surrounding this specific book, though toward the end you start to see the foundation for the larger world he’s building. I think this series will get better as it grows. For that reason, I’ll be reading book 2: the Sky Cult.
There are a few extremely interesting characters, even if their powers aren’t.
The grammar and spelling errors were disconcerting because I’m hoping to get my work published with them. Brandy set my mind at ease though. Apparently, it’s a trend in publishing right now to allow some errors rather than pay a few more editors… Her employer doesn’t do it…But they’re th eexception not the norm. But hey, if it’s industry standard, who am I to judge?
In his blog, Ryan talks about author’s giving their work to people who aren’t afraid to tear it in half. I understand that. I have friends (and my wife) who have read Shadow of Fate multiple times now and have torn it to pieces every time. Afterward, not only has the story gotten better, but I’ve gotten better.
It also helps that my wife works for a publishing company (an academic one mind you).
I really wish I could’ve been one of those friends with Esper Files. Not because I’m anything special, but because some of the problems I saw are the same exact issues I’ve had to deal with in my novel.
I suggest you read it for yourself. I’d give it a 3/5 stars.
TL;DR: Inkitt = Good, Esper Files = Flawed but also Good.
Mr. Brass/Attard, if you chance upon this, I hope you take my words well. I think you’re brilliant, and I look forward to reading your work over a hopefully long and fruitful career.
Inkitt people, if you’re reading this, keep on keeping on. I, one author with a novel on your site, believe in what you’re trying to do. I’m also thankful for the opportunity to get my work out there whatever the result of The Novelist.