C. Hoyt Caldwell named Author to Watch

Regular Guy Reading Noir

Regular Guy Reading Noir

My alter ego got a bit of an alter ego-boost on the Regular Guy Reading Noir blog with a review of The Closeout Kings.  It was quite unexpected, and a fantastic way to “closeout” 2014.     Here’s a sample of the review:

He makes each character come to life with background stories and motivations. Each action that is made by the characters is believable and the characters jump off the page. The bad guys are shown to have traces of redemption and you ache alongside them as you are pulled into their world and understand what makes them kick.

I’m humbled, elated, happy, and a little sleepy.  Thanks so much to Regular Guy. Click the link below to read more, and see what other books made the blog’s hit list.

Author to Watch.

The partial results of the survey

The survey says...

The survey says…

Not all the results are in, but I have enough feedback to move ahead with final rewrites and publish The Closeout Kings. If you haven’t finished reading or you have and you haven’t taken the survey, it’s not too late to stand up and be heard. I’ll still keep checking the survey site for more results until I actually publish. I may even use some of the comments in the survey for marketing copy. Here’s the link to the survey in case you’ve misplaced it. http://WP3628306.polldaddy.com/s/the-closeout-kings-beta-reader-survey

You may not want to read beyond this point if you haven’t taken the survey yet because I’m going to discuss the results… now!

I’m not terribly adept at math, so I tried to make calculating the survey as simple as possible. For starters, 10 out of 22 people filled out the survey. Based on that, I assigned a participation score of 3.2 to the book. That’s the only thing that really had any kind of guess work in it at all. If you’ve taken the survey, you know that participants were asked to rank various aspects of the story with a 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 – 5 being the best score. This is how the participation ranking worked out on that 1-5 ranking scale.

5: 19-22 (Completed surveys)

4: 14-18 (Completed surveys)

3: 9-13 (Completed surveys)

2: 4-8 (Completed surveys)

1: 0-3 (Completed surveys)

You can see that gives The Closeout Kings a ranking of a little over three. Participation denotes interest. Interest denotes readability. Readability denotes salability. That’s why I included it in my final scoring. Now, I am aware that other factors are involved when it comes to a volunteer beta reader’s participation. Life does get in the way, and they may not have anticipated that it required as much of their free time as it did. I would have been thrilled if five people took the time to read the book and fill out the survey, so I am not complaining or upset in the least. On the contrary, I count it as a victory.

So here are the rest of the rankings. Keep in mind; all scores are an average of the 10 respondents’ rankings.

1. Characters: 4.6

2. Plot: 4.7

3. Humor: 4.4

4. Balance: 4.6

5. Setting: 4.5

6. Page-turner factor: 4.8

7. Step: 4.5

8. Kenny: 4.4

9. Dani: 4.4

10. Boss: 4.3

11. Final Conflict: 4.9

12. Ending: 4.6

If we add in the participation score of 3.1, we have an overall ranking of 4.5 for the book. How can I not be pleased with that score? I made the survey anonymous to relieve some of the unease people may have had about being critical, so I trust that no one spared my feelings. Some folks let me know they filled out the survey, but other than that I don’t know which of the 22 people in the beta reader group completed the survey.

What does this tell me? It tells me at the very least that a major rewrite is not in order. I may look at Boss’ character and see if there’s anything I can do to improve him, but they won’t be huge changes. Had I seen scores below 4, major changes would be called for, and if more people fill out the surveys before I finish the final rewrites that might be the case. As of right now, I don’t anticipate that will happen.

Thanks to the comments I got more in-depth feedback than the ratings. I’ve addressed some of those made about Kenny, and I’ve heard from a couple of people that I need to make some changes to the firearms used and other details like that. All of this is super helpful, and it is much appreciated. I owe all of you a debt of gratitude for the time and attention you donated to this process. THANK YOU!!!

BTW: The recommend question wasn’t a comparable ranking (4.4), so I didn’t include it in the overall ranking of the book. Most would have recommended it to people who like thrillers, and the others would have recommended it to anyone who likes to read.

My favorite Bad Way Out audiobook excerpt

I’m going to be posting segments from a quick little interview I did with Dan Wallace, the narrator for the audiobook version of Bad Way Out.  I’ll probably get it on the blog on Saturday.  Until then, here’s the segment of the book that Dan captured beautifully.  While it has no official name, I’ve dubbed it The Party.  When Dan reaches the pivotal moment in this scene, I still get a little emotional by his perfect read.  I’ll let you, the listener, guess what that pivotal moment is.