An Update on CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and a Heartfelt Thank You

Hello, friends. Happy August 13th. I hope your respective summers are going well. Mine has been… interesting, to say the least. Writing has happened in spurts and fits, and as of this morning, the sequel to my debut, ENDWORLD – A Novel is 181 pages “to the good.” The process has slowed down a bit in the last few weeks due to a few, extenuating circumstances and to the fact that the portion of CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD that I am currently writing is, arguably, the toughest portion of any of the books to write. I knew this going in and was prepared for this section to take a while but once I’m through it? I have a feeling that the rest will come pretty quickly. I’m still shooting for an end of year finish and a 2014 publication. Not to mention my as-of-yet unrevealed mystery project which I hope will appear sometime between now, and then. But I’m not going to tell you about that one yet. All I’ll say is this: It’s different, but it is related to The Endworld Series. Curious? Stay tuned.

So that’s the latest on the sequel and my other undertakings. My editor already has the first two parts of CHILDREN and is reviewing them, currently. Optimally, I’ll be able to publish a preview sometime within the next few weeks or months, i.e. the Prologue, and maybe the first chapter but we’ll see. No promises. But I’d love to give those of you that have read and enjoyed ENDWORLD – A Novel a taste of what’s ahead for William. Which is the other reason why I’m writing this little update, today.

I know I’ve been somewhat persistent in my requests for reviews over the last few months. I think I’ve explicated my reasons for that pretty extensively. In short? Reviews = Visibility. And I am pleased to report that as of today, ENDWORLD – A Novel is up to 13 total reviews over multiple platforms. Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to publish their feedback, good or bad. Thankfully, the bulk of it has been good. If you’re wondering what people are saying, here’s a little sampling:

Engaging and entertaining. In his freshman novel debut Frank has a well written and captivating story. I would disagree with another review that said he spent too much time on certain parts and that descriptions were too lengthy. I felt that the sections that were slightly more descriptive were there to give the reader a fuller and more vivid mental picture of what was happening and did just that. I enjoyed the book very much and from the end of chapter one was hooked and had a hard time putting it down every night to go to sleep and looked forward to reading more the next day. As an avid reader I can often times predict the ending before I even get there. I was pleasantly surprised several times with interesting plot twists. I enjoyed the adventures of William McNuff and Maria Markinson and look forward to hopefully new adventures down the road.

Great Story – Hope to see it on the Big Screen! While not the typical genre of book I tend to read, Endworld – A Novel by Frank Marsh roped me in with a story that builds like a crescendo. The images are well detailed and I can easily see this turning into a Big Screen action/love thriller reminiscent of the Terminator days of my youth. These characters are dear to my heart, and I can’t wait until the next book is released. It’s a highly recommended read for someone looking to escape life for a while with a mental adventure! Congratulations, Mr. Marsh! Keep the story coming!

Great Book! Fantastic book! It really draws you in and you can’t wait to find out what happens. I had to stop myself numerous times from reading ahead (a big weakness I have with a great read!). Good first published book from this author. I can’t wait for the next book (and the rest of the series) to be written!

Book Club Alert! Endworld by Frank Marsh – Book CLUB readers ALERT! A fresh new author offers plenty to discuss in this fast paced novel, from saving humanity to the gentle curiosity of young love. Not just a lesson of the trusted zippo lighter but the parallel of the deceitful friend. Young William and Maria leave their safe controlled homes to explore another existence without the Robotic Administration. Is Freeworld One just a fantasy, or could it really exist? A good meaty book for summer reading. Five Stars in my log!

Great Book. This book is a wonderfully written coming of age story about William and Maria’s journey from a machine controlled life. Their journey has many twists and turns. It is an exciting story! A must read!!!

There are more, and I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone that has taken the time to tell me their thoughts, either publicly or privately. My appreciation to you, you, you and YOU cannot be measured. The fact that so many people have purchased and read ENDWORLD – A Novel or are in the process of reading it, currently, is really all the reward I require. As I’ve said before, I was never in this to make money. If I make money doing what I love doing terrific. But the sheer fact that I am doing it is incredible. It’s a dream come true. That’s due largely in part to you, All of you that have supported me. And I promise you that I will continue to do it, come what may. Pinky swear.

All that said, I’d still love to hear from more of you so if you haven’t gotten back to me or published a review, yet, please do. If you’re still interested in a free copy in exchange for an honest review get in touch with me via any of the ways listed in the “About Frank Marsh” section. Email, FB, Twitter DM… or just here in the “Comments” section. That offer is a standing one. Always.

Remember, ENDWORLD – A Novel is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, in the iBookstore and on various other platforms, both electronic and traditional (in paperback). Links to all can be found under the “Where to Buy” tab on this website. If you’re still looking for a good, summer read (heck, I’m going on vacation this weekend and am looking for something to “dig into”) I urge you to pick it up. Not because I wrote it. Well, maybe a little bit. No. Pick it up because you’re looking to get lost in a good story. Twelve out of 13 people can’t be wrong, right?

Happy reading, everyone. Have a great rest of your summer!

F.

The World Loves a “Troll,” Sarcasm Fully Intended

So last night, I received my first negative review of ENDWORLD – A Novel. Not a bad ratio, really: 10 total, positive reviews to one negative (six on Amazon, one on Barnes and Noble and three on Goodreads = 10). Don’t worry: I’m not going to spend the next x-amount of paragraphs defending myself. I’ve always said that I did not expect everyone to like it. I don’t enjoy every book that I read. Why would I expect the entire world to enjoy mine?

It’s not the fact that it received a bad review that is… for lack of a better phrase, “sticking in my crow.” It’s the fact that while there’s no way to be sure, I have a feeling the person that called ENDWORLD – A Novel “awful” is a “troll.” For those of you unaware of what a troll or “trolling” is in modern day, net-speak, look no further than my good friends at Wikipedia:

Troll (Internet): In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally, or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion (Source: Wikipedia). 

Mind you, this is just my opinion. The reviewer may not be a troll. He may be nothing more than a person with no command of basic sentence structure. But me? I’m going with a troll.

Normally, I wouldn’t react like this. I’ve encountered trolls before and have given them about as much thought as I give a non-existent boil on my a**, i.e. none. Maybe the reviewer really did give ENDWORLD – A Novel a chance and determined:

Awful! this junk is just not my bag! Could not get through the first 50 pages, kept falling asleep. I need to stick with action thrillers 

Poor grammar and sentence structure preserved 100% from what he wrote on Amazon. Incidentally, the same party has only ever reviewed one other book, and he did so on the same day–yesterday–that he reviewed mine. The review is of The Last Man: A Novel by Vince Flynn and it states:

RIP vince Flynn. Written when Vince was in cancer therapy, I believe, this might not have been his best but was still Mitch Rapp as I,ve grown to love him. Looking for some one to continue the Rapp series in Vince’s memory. 

Again, poor grammar and sentence structure preserved 100% from what he wrote on Amazon. He gave that book five stars. I include it herein as a point of comparison (he gave my book one star) only. I’ve never read anything by Vince Flynn so I’m no judge of his work. This isn’t about him, God rest his soul. It’s not about a bad review. Again, that’s not what’s “sticking in my crow.” It’s about a conclusion I came to last evening as I read his review of ENDWORLD – A Novel. That conclusion?

This guy is a complete, f’n troll. 

It’s written all over his profile–really nothing more than a name and a list of reviews; no point of contact, no picture: Nothing–and his piss-poor command of punctuation, capitalization et al.

Perhaps I’m wrong. Maybe the reviewer really is legit and it’s just a poorly written review. If he is and he really hated the first 50 pages that badly then I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse. Dear reviewer: I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy ENDWORLD – A Novel. I’m sorry you weren’t willing to give it a chance beyond 50 pages. If you’d like, I will personally refund you the price of your purchase. Please email me at madchronicler@verizon.net with a copy of your receipt and I will either cut you a check, deposit the money into PenPal… whatever you’d like.

But I don’t think you will. You see, a legit reviewer, not interested in sowing discord but in warning other people not to “waste their money” on something like my novel would have given… well, a basis for their argument. All you did was wave your proverbial finger at it and call it a name. If you’re more partial to “action thrillers” that’s cool. I like them, too. But don’t torpedo someone’s rating and potentially their ranking on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or any site without a little back-up. I’m not saying debate me in a court of law. Maybe just… why? What about it was “junk?” Is it edited poorly? Let me know and I’ll talk to my editor about it. Is the writing not your style? Okay. That’s your opinion. I’m not going to change how I write for you but I will take it into consideration, especially if more people complain. Were you looking for more action and less exposition? Then I’ve got good news for you: Once you get passed the first 50 pages (bear in mind, I am setting up a trilogy of novels at the least here, and not one book) things pick up. Why? Give me a bit more and I’ll take you seriously. If you can’t? Well then. I guess you really are just a troll. Or someone with no command of basic sentence structure. Enjoy your chosen profession, whichever one it is. End rant.

They say that you never forget your first negative review and admittedly? I’ll never forget mine. I’m not upset. ENDWORLD – A Novel still has a 4.3 star average on Amazon/is up to seven reviews. Four more positive ones get me over my goal of 10 so ladies and gentlemen? If you are reading this right now and you read the book, regardless of what you thought of it, please post a review. Whether you do so on Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Goodreads is your call. Like I’ve said numerous times before now (and mentioned above), I don’t anticipate that everyone is going to like The Endworld Series. That’s fine. That’s part of being “public” and not “private.” And if my rating drops because more people dislike it than like it okay. So long as they offer a reason or reasons. Regardless, I’m still confident in what I made “public.”

My offer of a free e-copy for an honest review remains, as well. It’s a standing offer. Anyone reading this that’s interested? Leave me a comment, email me (address above), DM me at “madchronicler97” on Twitter, message me on Facebook… whatever you want to do, and I promise: I’ll oblige.

The only way to combat trolls or people with little to no command of the English language in this day and age–’cause there really is no way to prevent them–is to counter them with real, legitimate critiques and that’s what I’m asking for. In the immortal words of Jerry Maguire, “help me help you.”

I’d be happy to.

Of Offers, Reviews and the Problem with Sequels

“I’ve been here before.

“You may remember me from the past if such a concept can and does exist here in Endworld. Past, present and future? All are meaningless in a place where we humans live from sunrise to sunset. Time, as I have mentioned incessantly, has no significance here. It never has…

“And it never will.”

Excerpt from the Prologue to CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD, “Full Circle”

So begins (with a couple of sentences omitted so as to not give anything away to those of you that haven’t finished ENDWORLD – A Novel yet) the sequel to what one person called my “Freshman novel debut.” The book is entitled CHILDREN OF ENDWORLD and it is 34 pages to the good, presently. Admittedly? I’m very happy with what I’ve written so far, but 34 pages is nothing. I’ve still got a long way to go. As I’ve said before, perhaps as incessantly as William MacNuff refers to time or the absence thereof in Endworld, what I think of it doesn’t matter. What matters is what you, my readers think of it. And the finished product is still a ways off. Not too long, though. Something tells me that when I 100% commit to writing it it’ll consume my mind, body and soul like it’s predecessor did. It’s tough to say when it’ll be done and be available, but optimally? I’d love to have it done and out by this time, next year. I like May. May’s a good month for book releases. So tentatively? May, 2014. That’s my goal. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, the best I can definitively offer you is a blog entry here/over on Random Musings, or an update like this one. I’ve been toying with putting a completion graph up on the “About THE ENDWORLD SERIES” tab but have decided not to. You don’t need to see that (though I ate up Brandon Sanderson’s while he was working on The Wheel of Time Series). I’m sure I’ll write about it plenty between now and then. Besides, trying to put a percentage on “doneness” when it comes to writing a novel is, I have discovered, no easy task. Even if I use the first book’s page count and my treatment as a baseline. I guesstimate that by the time I’m done, CHILDREN will be as long as, if not longer than ENDWORLD was. Is. Sometimes, Tense really messes with me.

I’m quickly discovering that the problem with a sequel–even one that I originally wrote X-amount of years ago and am now rewriting–isn’t getting back into the minds of my characters. If you love your characters like I love mine, continuing their story is not a problem. If anything, it’s intoxicating. It’s not the writing process, either: I can already see a “Sophomore” maturity in CHILDREN that ENDWORLD doesn’t have.  The problem with writing a direct sequel (not a three-quel, a four-quel, et el) so soon after you published the first book is this: THE ENDWORLD SERIES is not an established commodity, yet. I still have no bleepin’ idea what people think of it.

That’s not an implication of anyone. It’s a long book, and it’s only been out for a few weeks. I know how difficult it is nowadays to sit down and commit to just reading. Unless I’m on a vacation somewhere the majority of my reading is done post-10 PM at night and pre-passing out between 11 and 11:30 PM, a fact that my wife is graciously accepting of. Or so she tells me. I know reviews are forthcoming (for better or for worse, though most people that I’ve talked to really appear to be enjoying it) and I know that the book has sold modestly and to my initial expectations. But a big part of my motivation for writing not only it, but anything has always been interest. Not just my interest, but the interest of my potential readers. That said…

Are those readers–you–happy with ENDWORLD – A Novel? Is it fulfilling your expectations? Exceeding them? Falling short? I’m dying to know. Even if you’re still reading it, are you on-board with William, Maria and their adventure or are you jumping ship? Be bluntly honest with me, guys. My ego = A non-entity here. If you don’t want to do it publicly, please do it privately. See the “About Me” section of this site. You can contact me any of those ways. I promise I’ll get it.

The public version of ENDWORLD – A Novel will be three weeks old this Saturday. The private version has existed for much, much longer as those of you that know me and have been following me know. So far, this is a sampling of what I know people think about it:

“This book is a wonderfully written coming of age story about William and Maria’s journey from a machine controlled life. Their journey has many twists and turns. It is an exciting story! A must read!!!”

“Started reading this book the other day at the recommendation of a friend. So far, I’m really enjoying the book! I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

“In his freshman novel debut (at least to my knowledge) Frank has a superbly written & compelling novel. At the end of two chapters I was completely sucked in & have a hard time putting it down every night to go to bed. I can’t wait to see how it ends!” 

I’d like to thank the people that published those reviews (one on Barnes and Noble and two on Goodreads), as well as those of you that have given me generally positive feedback in other ways (on the phone, via DM, via Facebook, Twitter et al). I haven’t heard “it sucks” once and that, for me, is an epic win. That’s not to say that someone, somewhere isn’t reading it right now and thinking that. Believe it or not? If that person is reading this right now, I want to hear from you. I need to. Again, my ego = A non-entity. Publicly or privately, get in touch with me and let me know. I promise that I’ll do everything in my power to explain either A.) What I was thinking or B.) How I’m going to “fix” it moving forward.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Reviews = Visibility. And viability. No one wants to read something that their next door neighbor says is good. They want to see a sampling of people that feel the same way before they spend their hard earned money on it. Over the past couple of days, I’ve been soliciting reviews from book review sites ranging from the big–circulating, national newspapers–to the small–bloggers that will give you their honest impressions in exchange for a free copy. I’ve not yet tapped the “Big Boys” like Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews et al, though I did send an inquiry to the American Book Review. So far, the responses to my inquiries have been… timid, and by “timid” I mean “borderline non-existent.” So while I’m not putting those requests in the can and will continue to pursue them, I’m shifting my strategy slightly. To?

To this. Here’s what I’d like to do. Scratch that: Here’s what I’m going to do. I’d like to offer a free copy of ENDWORLD – A NOVEL (yes, I said “free”) to five people in exchange for an honest review. Those five people will be the first five people that either A.) Comment on this blog post, B.) Comment on my Facebook Author Page once I share this or C.) “Tweet” me once I Tweet this. Notice that the words “comment” and “‘tweet'” are in bold. That’s because “likes” don’t count (sorry, “likers.” You can still “like” all of the above but leave a comment. Even “hi” works). The only condition? Like I said (no pun intended), an honest review when you’re done. That’s it. No further strings attached. You can have your copy in either EPUB, MOBI or PDF. No print, please, at least not this round. I don’t have any spare print copies, right now. Maybe the next.

Interested? This offer is open to anyone that wants to take advantage of it. I repeat: Anyone. All you’ve got to do is post a review to one of the sites that my book is purchasable from (see the “Where to Buy” tab) when you finish it. An honest review. Don’t just tell me the book rocks because I gave you a free copy. I trust that what I wrote is viable and can stand up to a critique (though I may end up regretting that later). FYI, though: I’m going to repeat this offer in a separate Tweet and a separate Facebook post a bit later tonight for the people that don’t feel like reading my ramblings. But I’m going to give my followers here first dibs. And on Random Musings. I’m going to re-blog this over there.

Ready? Set? Go. My offer is now on the table. I look forward to hearing from you soon! Take care.

F.