Friday 26 June 2015

Would you BUY or PASS (6) ?

My weekly contribution to Rosie Amber's Friday Five Challenge ~ if you know what it's all about, please go down to the line of green stars to see my choice for this week.  If not, please read on!

The Friday Five Challenge is an interesting exercise for writers ~ it shows the little things that can put potential readers off that click-buy.  We click on a book because the cover appeals to us, but can be put off a purchase by the blurb, the price, or the reviews.

Anyone with a blog can join in ~ here's what you do:


1) Go to any online book supplier
2) Randomly choose a category
3) Speed through the book covers, choose one which instantly appeals
4) Read the book bio/description, and any other details
5) If there are reviews, check out a couple
6) Make an instant decision: would you BUY or PASS?

You can check out others' contributions on the #FridayFiveChallenge (click to see them) hashtag on Twitter


This week I put a favourite subject of mine, Plantagenet Kings, into the Amazon search.  This was the first cover that appealed to me ~ Richard II is a king I know of only through Susan Howatch's brilliant The Wheel of Fortune and the BBC series, The Plantagenets.  This was my choice ~ DEATH KEEPS HIS COURT by Anselm Audley.  Alas, I didn't notice that it was a Kindle Single (a long short story of 78 pages), but my choice was made!


Sprang out at me ~ my eye always zooms in on mediaeval type drawings.  Very nicely done, I thought; I like the way the background looks like old parchment or rough sackcloth.

£1.99 ~ a bit pricey for 78 pages, but not too bad.

Richard II was young, handsome, and elegant. Last living child of the brilliant Black Prince, he came to the throne bearing the hopes of his people on his shoulders. His court glittered; his tastes were refined; his portraits shone with gold. Regal, composed, aloof, he was the very picture of majesty.
He became a murderous, capricious tyrant. His favourites plotted against his family. He rewrote the laws of England to give himself absolute power. He raised an army against his own subjects.
His subjects deposed him. Twice.

This is the story of the forgotten civil war of 1387, which saw Richard set against his brave, ill-starred uncle Thomas of Woodstock. Of how a boy’s bright promise turned deadly, provoking his nobles to fear, flight, and finally open war. Of how a humiliated King set out on a course of vengeance which would cost him his life and sow the first fatal seeds of the Wars of the Roses.

From royal banquets to battles in the mist, Death Keeps His Court tells a tale of real-life tyranny, treachery and tragedy in the age which inspired A Game of Thrones. 

Makes it sound interesting, if slightly over the top; I can't see how a story such as this could be done justice in 78 pages, and the style is a tad eccentric.  I think the tenuous tie-in to A Game of Thrones is a bit naff.

Nine very short ones, three by people who've reviewed nothing or almost nothing else, a few mentions of it being interesting but too short.  It's selling well, ie, it's at #2061 in the overall chart and #1 in three genre charts.  This amused me: one of the 4* reviewers has given classic Victorian comic novel Three Men In A Boat by Jerome K Jerome a paltry 1*; as this is one of the most stunning pieces in the history of literature, I don't rate his opinion too highly!

Would I BUY or PASS?
PASS-ish ~ I certainly wouldn't buy it at 1.99, unless it had a lot more reviews that had something to say other than 'interesting read'.  I would, however, download it via Kindle Unlimited, and probably will do once I've given one of my current ten back, just to see if it's any good.  So it's a half and half, really!


  1. A good way to try books if you’re uncertain about buying.

    1. It is indeed, my ten are always used up. Problem is, I disapprove of it on principle, and my own sales have gone down since, of course - but I can't complain because I use it myself!!!

  2. I'd be interested to read this book, but would probably be left wanting more from just 78 pages. Like you I dislike books that claim to be anything like other famous books or TV series, if your book can't sell by itself then it needs to be a better read. I do think that it has out-priced itself for a short book in a saturated book market.

    1. Yes, it's really cheap, that GoT reference, isn't it?! If it wasn't for being able to get it free on Kindle Unlimited I'd consider it too expensive, for sure.

  3. After that breathless blurb, I wonder how much more could actually be said in 78 pages? I'd agree with the pass. But it does seem like this is a brilliant topic for... oh, I don't know—perhaps a modern interpretation?

    1. Ha ha - alas, Susan Howatch has already done it, set in the early 20th century, and far, far more wonderfully that I could ever dream of doing!!

    2. Or even THAN I could ever dream of doing....

  4. I like the Pass-ish category - more yes than no, but a bit wavery!

    1. Yes, Kindle Unlimited allows one to waver!!

  5. Kindle Unlimited is such a great way to sample books that we are on the fence about. :)

    1. Isn't it just? From a writer's point of view it's made my actual sales go down, BUT I also wonder how many people might have been on the fence about mine, and been pleased they tried one on KU - it's happened to me, so I'm optimistic! :)

  6. I probably would have had a look at this too - but the blurb would've put me off. I've not used Kindle Unlimited, might have to look into it.

    1. It's fab, Alison, it costs about 7.99 per month and you can have 10 books out at a time; I just return one I've read each time I want something else. Only problem is that sometimes you end up returning unread ones too, if you've got too many out, which is why I like to buy them instead, to give the author the sale, if I'm pretty sure I want to read them.