Bad News First
Sometimes we stumble out of the gate and fall flat on our face. That’s definitely what happened with Monster Girls. It doesn’t help that Amazon still hasn’t set it to perma-free, despite my daily attempts to get that changed, but beyond that I believe I failed in successfully communicating the intention behind this series, which in turn has led to an influx of disappointed readers. This isn’t to say that Monster Girls is a failure–far from it. The book is selling very well despite the initially poor reviews on Amazon and it’s rating on Goodreads (at my last check) was actually higher–a serious rarity. But I have learned a valuable lesson in marketing and communication.
There are three primary pieces of negative feedback that I’ve been getting since the book’s release.
- Oh my God there’s sex here!
- It feels rushed.
- It’s too short!
My take away is thusly…
Yes there is. I didn’t market it as an adult book well enough. I did want the sex scene to feel out of nowhere and a little confusing, because quite frankly, it is a very WTF moment. My mistake as a story teller was relying on explanations in future issues to make things clearer. Nairy’s story, if chosen by the patrons of the series, will further elaborate on this. As will others, though it probably won’t be as prominently discussed. I must keep in mind format and distribution going forward.
Lesson learned. I wrote it fast because I was writing 2 other books at the same time. I thought the rushed pace would give it a feel of urgency and bring readers hungrily to the next installment…except that there is no next installment yet. I think that this means it will do better when there are more issues out, especially as the format of this particular series gets understood. Most importantly from a craft perspective, I’ll need to work on my sense of pacing and narrative tension.
It seems that I have allowed my own perspective to color things. I have gotten used to scrolling down to see how long a piece is before I purchase it specifically because I don’t necessarily like spending money on shorter pieces of fiction. Apparently I’m not alone in my dislike, but the average Amazon customer doesn’t scroll down to check. In hindsight, why would they? The book was doing amazing in the short fiction categories, but that wasn’t because people were going out and specifically looking for short fiction. They were expecting a full length book. If I picked up something, expecting a full length novella, if not a full novel, and only got a few chapters, I’d be pissed too.
I got so caught up in the idea of this reader-driven serial, that I forgot to effectively communicate that that was what it was. A series of short installments where readers elect what happens next. The original concepts was to be a series of short one-off’s featuring a different monster girl falling in love with a different person in a monthly, 10k story. I found that I HATED doing that. I like to have characters I can play with for a while and so, Modern Adventures with Monster Girls was born.
What has taken me a while to get my head around is what it actually means that the primary complaint has been the length–PEOPLE WANTED MORE! They STILL want more. I will be revisiting ideas on how to capitalize on this for both my own sanity and reader-enjoyment. I’m not in a position to expand the individual length of the serial at the moment–I’m writing too much. But I may reconsider it’s distribution. There’s going to be a minimum of 6 issues, one released each month through July. At that point I will take a step back and fully evaluate this project, as well as my others.
Now For The Good News
You may have noticed I haven’t talked a lot about Lightfall, specifically. At heart I’m a story teller, not a marketer, and while I believe that the best marketing is story driven, please note above where I mention that I am TERRIBLE at communication. I didn’t know how to tell Lightfall’s story in a way that would grab interest. So I focused on Monster Girls, thinking that the idea of being a part of the story telling process and getting to specifically choose what parts of the story get explored and with which characters, was something I could more easily explain and would be a draw. In fact, I was banking on Monster Girls being free on Amazon in time for Lightfall’s release date so that I could run a Freebooksy sale and use MAMG as a lead magnet to help boost Lightfall’s sales.
Lightall. Doesn’t. Need. Help.
It’s sales, with absolutely no help, are almost as good as Monster Girls. It’s broken into the top 100 in three different categories. Admittedly two are very similar (LGBTQ Sci-Fi and LGBTQ Fantasy) but it’s also in the top 100 superhero list. It’s not that I didn’t think that Lightfall wouldn’t do well or wasn’t good, I just thought that it would be like The Horned Mage, where the more books out in the series there were, the better the whole thing did.
The biggest thing slowing me down producing the Lightfall series is actually editing and cover art. With Horned Mage, I hired someone to put covers together using stock art and Photoshop. I could be ready to go and have those covers done in a day or two. Actually hiring artists to do my covers has been fun, but it also takes more time and planning. and speaking of planning, Lightfall is plotted out through book 5, so there’s at least 4 more coming as quickly as I can get them to you. I’m experimenting with putting this series in Kindle Unlimited right off the bat, so if you’re subscribed to that program you can get it for free.
If you haven’t gotten your copy yet, it’s very different from what I’ve done before but I had a lot of fun writing it. I hope you enjoy reading it. Please leave a review if you did! Those really do help.
I’m learning. Both as a creative and as a business person. I’ve had some problems launching my new projects this month BUT WHAT AMAZING PROBLEMS TO HAVE!? Hard lessons, necessary lessons, and I will take them to heart going forward.