Sunday, April 7, 2013

USP Critiques: Ascension by Kara Dalkey

If you hang out in writing forums and critique groups, you will get a long list of what not to do in your novel.  What these people don't tell you is that most published authors break almost every single one of these rules in the normal course of writing.  So you begin to wonder what makes such works sell and, in fact, frequently earn four or five stars? 

The answer is the unique selling point.  The work has some combination of story elements that engage the reader far more than its flaws interfere with the reading experience.  You just have to make sure your market or target readers like your USP. 

For example, take the first book in this critique series, Ascension, Book One of the Water series, by Kara Dalkey.  First, it has a gorgeous cover--not something the author can always control.  It also has great copyediting--not something the author can always control either.  What the author can control is content, and in this case, the pure imagination that goes into this work.  When I notice something original and imaginative in fantasy, especially when spinning an ordinary concept like mermaids or Atlantis, I sit up and take notice, because it is not a skill many fantasy authors have, especially not on a consistent basis throughout a work.