At the start of the year I set myself the goal of reading ten books for the annual Goodreads Reading Challenge. As I mentioned in a blog post earlier in the year, the reason for setting such a modest target was that every previous reading challenge I participated in ended in failure. This was typically the result of never having enough time to read as many books as I would like. But this year, much to my surprise, I read my ten books by the end of January. At the time, the ease with which I successfully completed the challenge caused me to contemplate the possibility of reading fifty-two books by the end of the year―an average of one book read a week―although I’d settle for twenty-five. Today this seems like wishful thinking.
Reader reaction to the protagonist of a story will not only influence whether they like a book or not, it can also make or break the fortunes of that book; maybe not in terms of the critical response, but certainly in the commercial sense. This is an observation I was very conscious of while writing my first novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers. I realised early on that my protagonist, Kayden Jayta, was a character who many readers would struggle to get behind. In fact, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to me if most of the people who end up disliking the book do so primarily on the basis of their dislike for Kayden.
I like to think that most books have a natural audience: specific readers whose preferences all but guarantee they will enjoy those books. With that being the case it obviously makes sense for authors and publishers to identify the type of reader who constitutes the natural audience for the books they want to sell. By specifically targetting the appropriate audience no time and money is wasted marketing books to the wrong readers. It obviously wouldn’t make sense to market a book like Altered Carbon to readers who favour Regency romance novels, for example.
Get your minds out of the gutter people; the title of this post is in reference to how many newsletters a year I’m currently committed to sending out to my mailing list subscribers. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that sending it out on a quarterly basis isn’t regular enough. As a result I’ve decided to make it a monthly thing, starting this week. I think once a month is frequent enough for the purpose of keeping subscribers up to date, while not being annoying to the recipients.
By now you should all be aware that the re-release of my debut novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, was last week, Monday. You should also have noted the most readily apparent difference between the first and second editions of the book: the cover artwork. Once I had decided to move ahead with a revised second edition, I knew that the book’s outer appearance would be the most crucial factor in improving its fortunes over its predecessor―even more so than the editing. This post will give you a little insight into my thought processes when it came to the design of the new cover.
As you know, the second edition of The Exercise Of Vital Powers was released a week ago today. But how has it been faring in that short time? Do I have a bestseller on my hands? Am I giving J.K. Rowling a run for her money? The answer, of course, is no. Consequently, I won’t be relinquishing the “Worst Selling Author” moniker any time soon, although it is worth mentioning that the new edition has already sold more copies in a week than the first edition did during its eight months on sale. Admittedly, that’s not saying much, but I consider it a good sign that things are moving in the right direction.
This is just a quick update to let everyone (who cares) know that the second edition of The Exercise Of Vital Powers is now available to purchase. You can currently buy the ebook from Amazon and Kobo, though it should also become available at Barnes & Noble and iBooks at some point today. For readers who prefer paperbacks, it’s only available from Amazon at present and I have no idea when that will change.
With the imminent re-release of my debut fantasy novel, The Exercise Of Vital Powers, some people might wonder why I would go to the trouble and expense of publishing a new edition so soon after the original release last year. There were a number of factors that made the publication of a revised second edition a desirable proposition, eventually, but my decision to pursue it sooner rather than later was prompted by necessity.
For those of you who have not been paying attention, pre-orders for the second edition of The Exercise Of Vital Powers became available at the start of the week. Anyone wanting to do so can order their copy from Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble or Smashwords.
This morning I made the (long overdue) decision to wave goodbye to Twitter. Last night it finally dawned on me that I derived no benefit from my presence on the micro-blogging platform, and that the time and effort wasted on it would be better utilised elsewhere. Yes, it’s essentially an admission of defeat, but it’s one less thing for my to worry about, and an opportunity to focus my energies in areas that will actually advance my writing career.