For me, one of the nicest things about switching from an emphasis on traditional publication to indie is that I’m getting a lot more direct feedback from readers. Ok, direct feedback isn’t always good, as we know, and I tend to approach reviews of a novel that I spent years writing with a certain amount of trepidation. Which is why I do not haunt Amazon, waiting to see if another review will show up — and that in turn is why I’m a bit late reporting about the lovely new review of Yseult by Kriti Godey:
… I opened up Yseult to flip through it and see what kind of a book it was. I’m usually not the biggest fan of romance, even though I love fantasy and historical books, so I wasn’t really expecting to get sucked into this book like I was. I started reading, and couldn’t stop….
The book is much more than a love story. It is truly an epic, exploring the conflicts between paganism and Christianity, political maneuvering between the various kings of Britain and Ireland, the wars between themselves and with the Saxons, and a lot more. It reminded me a bit of The Mists of Avalon, although Yseult was much more fun to read. (Complete review here.)
Now that’s the kind of comparison I like! I also really liked that she thought the way I portrayed the religious conflict of the time as “almost unbiased,” something I was aiming for while writing the book. I tried hard to show the advantages of both the old religion and the new. My “bad guys” are not one religion or the other, they are people who use belief systems for their own purposes, i.e. hypocrites. The German translation got locked into the Celtic revivalist corner pretty quickly, however, which made me feel a bit powerless. It’s wonderful to be reaching readers now who seem to understand better what I was trying to do with that novel. Thank you, Kriti!
Reviews and editors have been the theme of the week for the latest reassessment of my writing goals. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve decided to move contacting book blogs higher up on my list of priorities. As compared to the couple thousand downloads both Yseult and Never Ever After got during their free promotions, If Tears Were Wishes came in at a little over 600 (assuming Amazon is reporting correctly.) I did much the same pre-freebie promotion for all three ebooks, but there was one major difference: If Tears Were Wishes didn’t have any reviews.
I was a bit frustrated by my first few attempts contacting book blog sites when Yseult first came out, but now I realize I just have to keep on plugging, finding more possible venues. Basta.
At least I’m making consistent progress on Shadow of Stone. I’m over three-fourths through on my final editing pass, and this weekend I contacted a number of freelance editors about prices and availability. In the next few days, I’ll be sending out samples to those who responded to try and find the best match. Fairly soon I should be able to announce a release date for the follow-up novel to Yseult.
But as I’ve noted before, most of my writing life these days tends to revolve around the many aspects of the business side of things. Mostly I feel good, since I’m more in control, but I do hope that someday I will have the marketing beast better trained and will have more time for fiction.