Many readers are familiar with suspense novels and thrillers where the protagonists have a specific goal that they want to achieve and must deal with obstacles in their way, look for clues, and fight the bad guys.
Usually, the focus of these kinds of novels is on an individual, their choices, and the consequences of these choices.
A couple of examples of such plots:
Although Dystopian Fiction (also called Speculative Fiction) can include thrillers, it doesn’t have to.
Dystopian Fiction needs to be evaluated as social commentary. It’s often based on current events that seem harmless, imagined as part of an exaggerated trajectory which could one day become dangerous to humanity. It explores not only society and politics as a whole, but often delves deep into human nature and exposes the good and bad qualities of characters facing a new-to-us reality.
Dystopian Fiction deals first with society, then about the individual’s place in it.
A few examples of such plots:
When reading Sābanto, the reader should first focus on the post-war world, the degradation of the quality of living for most people except a few, and the political situation that is developing. It is important to note the sentiments, opinions, and values that people have. Only then can we understand the characters, their fears, goals, and their actions, because they are products of the society they live in.
Photo by Maisie Kane
Book reviews are very important for all authors, but they are especially crucial for independent authors, who rely heavily on reader feedback to promote their book. When a potential new reader scrolls through random books, they will often be looking at the ratings of the books before checking their descriptions and exploring further. That eye-catching high review combined with the book’s cover is what strikes interest in new readers. The third thing they’re likely to look at before deciding whether or not to purchase is the content of the reviews.
Positive reviews are not the only thing that makes a book successful. When selecting a restaurant in a town you are visiting, a place that has not been reviewed at all is unlikely to rank highly on the list of restaurants you’ll consider visiting.
The more reviews a book has, the more attention it is given in stores like Amazon, because it is a sign of high interest and a wider reader base, resulting in the book being treated with more importance. Books with more reviews are often featured as books that might be of interest to potential buyers. For new releases this process starts at fifty reviews.
Writing a review should not be a long and tedious process. There is no reason to think too hard about the words that you want to put there. It doesn’t need to be long or detailed. A simple ‘I liked it.’ will go a long way and will be greatly appreciated by the author.
If you want to write a more detailed review, think about what you liked and disliked about the book you just read. That’s it. Write that down and you have a good review to post.
If you want to write a longer, more detailed review, here are things that you might want to include:
The worst review, however, is the one that was never written.
When I finished the first draft of Sābanto, I knew that making the manuscript ready for publishing was not something I could do alone. I knew I needed help, and lots of it.
First it needed an English edit. I didn’t think any professional editor would look at a manuscript that didn’t make grammatical sense. While I was waiting for my friend to read and correct the manuscript, I wondered what the next logical step would be. I knew I needed beta readers, but after that I had no clue what else was required.
I began to look for an editor. I didn’t think my story needed a developmental edit. It had a beginning, a middle, and a surprise ending, and I felt it was more or less complete, but in order to ensure I had a quality story, I needed an honest, independent opinion. This was where my editor came in and evaluated the manuscript.
When the evaluation came back, I admit, my heart sank. It felt like I’d gotten a school exam back, one I was positive I’d aced, and instead found it all marked in red with everything I’d gotten wrong.
Looking back at the edits and all the hard work that I put into improving the story, I do not regret getting an editor. I can’t imagine doing all this work without a professional walking me through the process.
Below are what I have found to be the five main benefits of editing with a professional.
Yes, editing is expensive and it does take time, but the results are worth the money and effort. I’ve read countless books and stories that weren’t professionally edited, and it showed. These books stick out, and not in a good way.
With my manuscript nearly complete, this past fall I started to look around for cover designers. There are many out there and it can be really hard to decide who to hire. Here are some guidelines based on my experience.
How to prepare
Before you reach out to talk to any designers, prepare the following:
I wanted a minimalist, simple design for my book. There were two things that made me choose the designer I did for Sābanto. Ana is a Canadian entrepreneur from Vancouver with an illustrator available on site. When reviewing her previous work I was confident that the minimalist design I was looking for would be attainable. We discussed ideas and everything was set into motion.
I’ve joined a lot of author communities during my journey through publishing, and once I started receiving the first drafts of the design, I decided to share it for some feedback. Here’s what I got:
I decided not to be a sheep when it came to cover design, and it could turn out to be a mistake on my part. I’m prepared to take the blame, but they always say that a writer needs to find their own voice and be unique, so as to stand out from the crowd. Why not treat cover design the same way?
Whenever I go back to the feedback I received, it reminds me of an image I saw not too long ago. A bookstore was re-arranging books to increase sales, and they’d put all the books with covers featuring shirtless men on display. They called these “Where is my shirt?” books. It makes me wonder how the readers of these books know which ones they’ve already read, because they all look so similar.
In a sea of dystopian fiction books with red and black covers, I hope my light-covered book will stand out. As the meme says: “In a world full of princesses, dare to be Batman!”
In conclusion, a quick note to readers: don’t judge a book by its cover. Or, maybe do, and grab the one that stands out.