The aftermath of the bloodletting

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.


8 Replies to “The aftermath of the bloodletting”

  1. Shaun Jeffrey

    As long as you get something out of it, then it’s not been a wasted exercise. I followed the responses with interest, and while some offered genuine insight, others could be taken with a pinch of salt. Which is which is for you to determine 🙂 Good luck and I hope what you do take out of it helps.

  2. Guido

    I agree, Shaun. One has to be careful not to go overboard. A reminder is necessary all the time, that these are opinions – no more and no less – and as such every bit as fallible as mine or yours.

  3. Helen Hanson

    You are a brave man.

    I went to your JD website some time ago. I thought the theme suited the work. It struck me as professional and provided what, I would think, fans would be seeking. Those were my first impressions and current 2 cents.

  4. Monica La Porta

    Hi Guido,
    I have just read the discussion on Konrath’s blog, and although my comment is not going to add anything useful, I only wanted to let you know that I like your name, and that I disagree completely that you should change it to gain fame. Names, either yours by birth, or chosen, are important because define us. Good luck.

  5. Stig

    Hi Guido,

    I think you would do well to include a direct link to your books, or at least one of them, in the sidebar here on this blog. Under “Currently reading” you are doing a good job of advertising other people’s books. With “Points of interest”, I understand that the intention is to drive traffic to your website, but you’re making potential buyers jump through a lot of hoops (or clicks) to actually get to your product pages on Amazon. Why not include one or more direct links directly from here?

  6. Guido

    Thanks for your feedback, guys. You’re making a good point, Stig. I do have a tendency to understate my own work and end up giving the spotlight to other people’s efforts.

  7. Joe Menta

    I just read “Demon’s Night” (the chat at Konrath’s blog finally got me to take the plunge), and I enjoyed it. Alas, I just missed the revised, less expensive version of the story, but so be it.

    I’ll write a review and post it on Amazon and my blog, but for now I want to recommend that you NOT de-emphasize the order in which the books should be read. When it comes to series characters in books, the first thing American readers want to know when they hear about a series they might enjoy is, “Okay, what’s the first book in the series?” Americans like to read their series installments in order.

    Also, by telling readers that the books are self-contained and can be read in any order, you’re also sending a (hopefully unintended) message that the ongoing characters don’t change, evolve, or grow from book to book. Communicating that each book tells a separate, complete story is fine, but I think you should retain the Volume 1, Volume 2, etc. designations. You could always make the numbering smaller and place it in a tiny corner of the cover, but I think you should retain it.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Good luck to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.