Hi everyone! I hope you all are feeling as good as I am this weekend. This post will probably be a long one. I plan to do these posts around a week after each book launch, and give my thoughts on the feedback, criticisms, lessons learned, and changes I’ll be making going forward. There will also be a small book 2 update at the end so you can follow along with my progress. I’ll continue to update you at least once a week, as you can see from my post history. If you have not so already please consider leaving a review about the book on Amazon. I’d really appreciate it! Book link here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08L3RLNSD Now let’s jump right in!
First, I want to start off by detailing my goals for writing book 1:
- Create an adult character driven fantasy narrative that was action packed, had tough conversations, and showed character growth. It would also be the jumping off point for a 5-6 book saga based on my current outlines. I have a story to tell and once it’s done, it’s done.
- I wanted there to be erotic scenes that felt natural and not forced.
- I wanted the main character be male but ambiguous so that the reader had an easier time self imposing themselves into the story. As a white guy, I am so tired of seeing generic white guy #5 on a cover. That’s why you’ll always see me be vague when describing Tempest, and why you’ll never see what he looked like. This is about inclusivity and is important to my stories.
- I wanted it to match the same level of quality that the prominent authors of this genre are known for. (Always an area for improvement)
- I wanted to see if this was something I was passionate about and that I would like to continue doing. (The answer is a big yes!)
- I wanted to at least break even with all the costs associated to writing it. (So far we’ll see)
Feedback and Criticisms:
So far, the response to the initial book has been positive. It’s currently sitting at a 4/5 stars rating on Amazon, which I believe is a fair rating based on the initial criticisms I have a received. I have had several people reach out to me and say they really enjoyed the book and can’t wait for book 2. This means so much to me and has really fueled my desire to continue down this path of writing. I want to continue; I want to improve, and I want to succeed. So to everyone who has read my work so far, even if you hated it, thank you! Now I want to jump into some criticisms that the book has received so far. This is not an opportunity to disagree, but an opportunity to give my point of view and if/how I will address them. WARNING THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!
- Too many perspective changes.
- Response – My editor called this out, so it was something I was aware of. However, based on their input, they felt that I handled it well and it wasn’t too distracting. I think this is valid and something I am going to focus on improving going forward.
- There are too many questions left unanswered, and it feels like I had forgotten they were brought up in the story.
- Response – I had always written book 1 to be the start of a journey. I have written this to be a five book series which many of the questions asked will be answered in book 2. This is a valid criticism but note that it was done intentionally to create a sense of mystery and entice readers to want to read to find out more.
- The plot feels fractured, like a giant fetch quest.
- Response – I used the hero’s journey to plot this. The entire book is centered on the idea that Tempest and his companions journey across the world to find out if he is in fact The Aspect. The journey along the way had to have conflict and struggles, otherwise, it would have been rather short. I am definitely taking this to heart and digging in further to see how this could have been handled better for future books.
- The companions say Tempest has multiple powers, but he only uses one.
- Response – Tempest has the ability to cast healing magic and force magic. Thanks to Ella’s alchemy, he didn’t have to use the healing magic too much, giving him the opportunity to use more force magic. His powers will continue to grow throughout the books.
- Not enough descriptions where it mattered and too much where it didn’t.
- Response – Definitely something I am being mindful of moving forward. I had a fear of doing too much description to the point where the book became boring. That’s why the atmosphere and surroundings were always prioritized so I could set the scene. I’ll work harder on this.
- Tempest is a conduit for the side characters and doesn’t play a lead role.
- Response – This is 100% true. Tempest is like a lost puppy trying to figure out his way in the word. He has to heavily rely on his companions. I wrote him this way because I wanted to show him grow as a character over the series based on all the events that have and will transpire. Now that he has accepted he is The Aspect, you will see him take charge and own his responsibility. However, this is a story about Tempest and the harem, so the side characters will play major roles along the way too.
- For a harem lit there was little smut and not enough harem
- Response – There are a couple things I want to address with this one. First was my fear of getting banned by Amazon due to content. Since this is my first book writing about monster girls, it can be hit or miss on what is allowed and what is not allowed. I played it pretty safe on this one. Second, I never intended this to be a smut focused novel. It’s always been adventure and plot first, with sexiness added in where it made sense. I actually remember thinking about whether the number of sexual encounters was enough for a harem lit book and if I could add more. I ended up deciding not to because I couldn’t make it fit without making it seem forced or in a situation that could get the book banned on Amazon (non-consensual). Finally, the harem will continue to grow throughout the series. I do not have the intention of adding a character for no reason. There must be a reason why they want to join Tempest for his journey. In book 2, Tempest will be publically announced as The Aspect. That reason is sufficient however, book 1 had those restrictions in place.
Efforts to Improve Quality & Beta Reader Sign Up:
In book 1, I used two alpha readers and paid to have the book copyedited. However, even with all of that, there were still a few errors that slipped through. As such, I am opening sign ups for beta readers HERE. If you are interested, please read and fill out the form. You’ll get access to the content before anyone else, and help make the series even better. I have also purchased some additional programs to help with readability and grammatical corrections. That will give me a trifecta of beta readers, copy editor, and writing programs which should hopefully improve the writing quality.
Book 2 Progress Update:
Yesterday I finished chapter 5, and the book is sitting around 21,000 words right now. With my progress so far and my planned PTO in December, my intention is to finish the first draft of the book before the end of December so I can pass quality checks and publish in late Q1 2021.
People Love Riika:
As part of the marketing campaign, I have posted art on various subreddits and websites. Riika was the first concept art that was completed, which is available on my social media. However, on Reddit she received almost 3000 upvotes at the height of the post.
In the event that you did not see the artwork of Riika which was posted on my social media feel free to take a look below. I love how she turned out!