Saturday, 1 February 2014

How Glad Was I To Get A Review In Print!

I waited ages for this review for Big Brother in the Self Publishing Magazine (the link does work but zooming in trying to read it will do your head in!) I sent them a copy of the book months ago, and I was wondering if they would ever get round to doing it, but they did, and it's not bad. Of course there are a few criticisms, which is OK, but on the whole I'm quite pleased:

'This is an intriguing concept; bullied teen Ash starts receiving messages through a Facebook game from ‘Big Brother’ who offers revenge on all his enemies. Pulled into a terrifying world of violence inside and outside the internet, Ash is forced to make stark choices between right and wrong in order to escape Big Brother’s clutches.

This has teen appeal and is very action packed and gruesome with a good twist at the end. However, the plot is sometimes undercut by what the author tells rather than shows. Ash is also rather an ambiguous hero – he doesn’t seem overly bothered by the fate of those around him. Depiction of life on the estate is very bleak, and the bullies are given very little in the way of a back story.

With a tighter structure this could have been more powerful, and a more focused moral perspective would have given it more edge. But it’s a good read, and captures a teenage register quite well with an imaginative and original story.'

Getting a review in print for a self-published book is really hard. Most like Publishers' Weekly or Bookseller won't touch SPs with a barge pole, so I don't bother asking any more. There should be more mags like Self Publishing Magazine to help indie authors get their work noticed and they're full of really good tips to suggest how to make your work better.

And they've done me proud before. Read their reviews on Abbie's Rival and Epiworld:

Epiworld Review (also on

'This is a face-paced adventure Young Adult time-slip adventure. There are plenty of thrills and spills and many curious and puzzling questions about time travel.

There is the intriguing questions of the link between epilepsy and temporal displacement – already explored to some extent in Debz Hobbs-Wyatt’s short story Jigsaw and Adam Rapp’s 33 Snowfish.

There is a good balance throughout of dialogue, description and action, though just occasionally a character speaks out of voice. The characters are on the whole likeable and rounded, – even the “baddies”. The story arc is satisfying and the resolution works. This is perhaps particularly more so because Morait has drawn on the archetypal Oedipus story. Travis falls in love with his mother and kills his father.

On the whole, the novel is extremely well crafted though one more edit may have benefited it well. Nevertheless, a good read.'

Abbie's Rival Review

'This is an engaging chicklet-lit story about the ups and downs of three teenage girls and their early love lives. It paints an accurate picture of what it is like to be a teenager, and a girl of this age would probably take great comfort from reading about Abbie, Shireen, Colette and their potential boyfriends. The setting is realistic in a familiar, factual Liverpool, and in an equally familiar but fictional comprehensive school.

Tracey Morait creates believable characters and makes her story interesting through a well-balanced mix of dialogue, action and minimal exposition. The dialogue is very natural – maybe at times a little too natural, with some of the slang expressions becoming irritating. At other times, too, the voices can seem to slip. Just one more layer of editing would have been beneficial to this book.

Nevertheless, the pace is maintained, the plot works and there is always cause and effect. It is surprising that this book did not find a mainstream publisher.'

Interesting that they keep banging on about the editing...

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