Epub joys and woes: New review of Yseult, getting reviews for Tears

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.

8 thoughts on “Epub joys and woes: New review of Yseult, getting reviews for Tears”

  1. That is one awesome review, we would all do well to inspire our readers like that. And book two is coming soon – even better. I can’t imagine why you wanted to get out of the “Celtic Revivalist” section (the what? wow, don’t think I’ve ever seen that one). This brings a much clearer view of why you made the shift and I’ve read similar reasons for transitioning into the new indie paradigm from many other writers. Nicely done, Ruth – keep soldiering forward. Have a fantastic week 🙂

  2. Thanks, Gene! Yeah, the way Yseult was being marketed in Germany was often frustrating for me, since it seemed to exclude so many potential readers. And interestingly enough, given all the comparisons I’ve gotten to Mists of Avalon, a number of my most avid fans in Germany are men. 🙂 But the marketing strategy of my publisher was shooting for completely different readers, who tended to get fed up with the detailed descriptions of battle scenes. Sigh.

    My mistake too, though, in trying to combine legendary romantic material with gritty historical realism and (as another review on Amazon US pointed out) trying to reach too many readers at the same time. But that happens to be the kind of fiction I most like to read. 🙂

  3. What a wonderful review, complete with a a favorable comparison to The Mists of Avalon, with Yseult edging it out. Truly, congratulations. Like the reviewer, I am not one to read romance or historical novels but my interest is piqued, although my reading list is long. Good for you, Ruth!
    Have a good week.

    1. Thanks, Karen! I don’t really think of Yseult as a romance (in the genre sense), since it ends tragically, after all. Besides, it’s full of battles and politics and all that stuff. But it does of course revolve around a love story. I wonder what it says about me that I tend to like love stories that end badly? *g*

  4. Hi Ruth. I swung by from ROW80, to find this is the second post I’ve read in this week’s ROW80 about the business side of writing. I really appreciate those of you who are sharing those feelings and the reality of what it’s like to have books out there in the real world.

  5. Thank you for the kind words and the link to my blog 🙂 I think you did a great job of portraying both religious sides sympathetically, and I would’ve never put Yseult in the Celtic Revivalist section, even if I’d known it existed. I also agree that it benefits from being marketed as a general historical fantasy novel. Some people might call it trying to reach too many readers, but I think it was well-balanced and realistic! I’m very excited to hear that there is a sequel coming out.

    I got a copy of If Tears Were Wishes during your free promotion, and will write a review for it when I read it. I’m not sure when that will be, though.

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