If you’ve been following the discussion on J.A. Konrath’s blog before the weekend where I guest-blogged about the success of my Jason Dark series — or its lack thereof — you will have noticed that there were a large number of comments, opinions and suggestions. In the aftermath of the public bloodletting I am currently in the process of weeding through these comments to separate the wheat form the chaff — to dig out the few gems that were there.
The idea of the guest-blog, for me, has always been to put my feelers out and see how other people perceive my books because as the author and publisher it is hard for me really see it in an unbiased way.
At the same time I am a very critical person, which can easily be evidenced by the way I conduct my business. Even J.A. Konrath took note of that, evidently, when he said “I’ve never seen a more professional self-published writer.” It was a statement that made me incredibly proud because it is exactly what I have been striving for for all this time. I see myself as a professional, not an amateur or hobbyist, and when I guest-blogged on Konrath’s blog, inviting comments, I looked upon it as a focus group.
I’ve been tallying up all the comments and sort of weighed them in my own mind. Naturally, there are some that I dismiss right off the bat others were truly thoughtful and offered insight into how other people look at books and authors they are not familiar with, even when that audience consisted mostly of fellow indie writers.
In response to the comments some of you might be interested to hear that I have already rewritten the opening of “Demon’s Night.” While I do not agree with all the comments that have been made on the subject of my writing, I did take Moses Siregar’s dissection very seriously and appreciated the time and effort he put into it. Since “Demon’s Night” was the first book I ever wrote, plus I rote it in English, which is not my native language, clearly there is room for improvement and I intend to take another close look at the story to see how I can make it a stronger contender in the field.
It also struck me that there seemed to be quite some confusion regarding the “series” character of the books, something I have noticed on a few occasions before. For some reason, people seem to be under the impression that the books are actually one big story arc that has to be read sequentially. I always felt that the fact that each adventure has its own title, a distinctly separate storyline that is outlined in the flap copy was enough to convey the episodic nature of series in which each story is an adventure of its own, featuring the same principal cast. Evidently, I did not do a good enough job because it became evident that the confusion was running deep.
As a result I will completely rebrand the way I am presenting the books. Each will be represented as its own, with a title that says something like Demon’s Night, a Jason Dark supernatural mystery. There will be no more volume numbers or overt references to the series as a whole as part of the book listings or descriptions and hopefully this will make it possible for people to hone in on individual books regardless for their place in the overall series. The subject matter – demons, vampires, angels or whatnot of each individual book will then become the focal point instead and hopefully this will give each book a better shot at its own life.
In the process the descriptions for each book will also be overhauled to make sure they are as crisp and gripping as possible — though that is a very malleable term all in itself.
In addition I will revise the covers of the books. I am not sure yet how to do this and which way to go, but the general idea is to create a signature look for the series to allow easy identification of the “Jason Dark supernatural mysteries.” In the process of this there is a good chance that I may steer away from the original cover artwork also, though, we’ll have to wait and see.
Either way, all the feedback I received as a result of the guest-blog has been tremendously valuable and I am grateful to everyone who made their opinions known.