Poll: A Question for My Readers

I lied. Here’s another pre-Realm-Makers blog post after all. XD

I could use some feedback from my readers on an idea I’m tossing around. So far, I’d say the response to the first two books in the Beaumont and Beasley series has been very positive overall–which has been a very pleasant surprise for me. I can’t thank you all enough for the encouragement you’ve given me. Partially as a result of all this feedback, I will shortly be on my way to the Realm Makers conference, where I’ll be having conversations with editors and publishers. I don’t really know which way that’s going to go. I’m keeping my options open. If I see a path to producing more books with some of the work of editing and promotion taken off my shoulders, I may go in that direction. But I won’t do anything that would in any way compromise what people have enjoyed about the Beaumont and Beasley novels. And the whole discussion may be moot, of course. It’s quite possible that nobody will be interested in what I’m offering. But I have received some positive comments from people in the traditional publishing world thus far, so I’m cautiously optimistic.

A couple of things:

  • As you know, I’ve lately been planning prequels to the series, which I’m very excited about. I think the people who have enjoyed my writing so far will really like them.
  • The main criticism people have offered regarding the books I’ve published too far is that they’re kinda short and maybe a little too fast-paced at times. I think people want more detail and more breathing space as they read.
  • The first two books could be improved upon. I’m not talking about massive story changes, just little tweaks here and there to give more detail and touch up the pacing.

So my question for those who have followed my books so far is this: What would you say to my combining the prequel concepts I have with slightly-revised versions of the first two books to create “expanded editions?” (Or “director’s cuts,” or whatever you want to call them.) The idea I have is that these editions would alternate between Nick’s first-person narration of the modern-day storyline and “flashbacks” to 3rd-person fairytale retellings. This would put the books more in the category of full-length novels than the almost-novellas they are now. It would also give me the chance to expand on the existing world in a variety of ways, continuing to build toward the massive events I’ve been teasing in the epilogues.

Then again, it could be a humongous mistake. This is all completely hypothetical at the moment; which is why I’d like your thoughts. Vote below, and feel free to share further thoughts in the comments. Your feedback on this will be extremely helpful as I pursue various options at Realm Makers. And it’s something I may pursue via self-publishing even if nothing comes of my meetings with agents.

Thank you in advance! 🙂

Do you want Expanded Editions of the Beaumont and Beasley stories?

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Comments (13)

  1. Daley Downing July 26, 2017 at 11:46 am

    This is just my personal perspective:

    I think combining the “prequel” so that people get more details to the background when it’s necessary at the time (like when Nick and Cordelia are inside the Magic Mirror, or when they’re looking for the Sea Witch’s tomb) is a great idea. Honestly, I prefer shorter books (usually between 200 and 300 pages), but indeed, if it’s too short, then it can feel rushed (and I mean any book).

    I can already see many benefits this could afford especially B&B. Not even a lot of addition (say, less than 20 pages per novel?) could be helpful for the reader.

    And I suggest mixing up how you choose to present this “extra” information. (Example: My reports/letters, etc. between each chapter that reveal important details to the reader without “info-dumping”.) That could help provide something else special to your series that sets it apart.

    And I *so* hear you on the struggle of promotion/marketing. Editing, I prefer to have completely under my control; but having someone else help out with advertising and sales is definitely becoming a driving factor in how I handle my series from now on.

    • Kyle July 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks so much for commenting on this! All in all, taking into account what everybody has been saying, I believe I should continue to write the books in the current format and keep the prequels separate. BUT, I think the prequels are very important, and I might actually end up bundling them together without actually mingling the two stories. So people will have the option of buying each book with its prequel together in one volume and saving money. Having given it more thought, I think that will work better in terms of storytelling. And for what it’s worth, I have a prequel book all planned out for “Tomb” that goes into a lot more detail about the original events of the Afterlands Little Mermaid story. So the stuff that was dealt with quickly in “Tomb” will be given a lot of emphasis in this one. Gotta write The Clawthorn Rose first, though. 😊

      • Daley Downing July 26, 2017 at 4:55 pm

        I *love* the idea of bundling the prequel and the “in real time” volume together. That’s a really great concept for new readers who may be trying to catch up on the series down the line. Also I think the plan to have a prequel for each “current” story is cool, too.

  2. E.B. Dawson July 26, 2017 at 11:54 am

    So far I like that they are short and “episodic” if you will. I think it lends well to your style. You have a lot of material to work with. My suggestion would be to diversify as you move forward, ie, keep the Beaumont and Beasley series short and action packed, but maybe the prequels could be full-length books with different pacing?

    Just an idea. I think it is good for the biz when authors write great stories a bit outside the rules…Also, I would hate to see you lose your forward momentum just to try to get a more “traditional length” novel out. But obviously, that’s your call.

    Whatever you do, I support you!

    • Kyle July 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm

      Thank you!! That’s exactly what I had in mind for the prequel series, and what I think I’m going to do after all. I envision them as very different in tone, more like movies than a TV series (which is kinda how I see B&B). So I’m really grateful for your input, as always! 😊

  3. Deborah O'Carroll July 26, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    So, I understand your points on these issues, but PERSONALLY I love the books as they are and think they’re perfect as-is. 🙂 I personally enjoy shorter books, and I think starting out small is a great way to hook readers into the series — though I would not at all complain if they get longer later on. I did like the longer length of “Tomb” BUT I also loved the quick read that was “Beast”.

    Also, I think a more novella-sized first book can hook readers more, especially if one tried the first-book-for-free-to-hook-people-into-buying-the-series marketing trick I’ve seen some people use with a degree of success; not suggesting you do so, just saying that I don’t see a problem with the shorter size of particularly book one. 🙂

    Personal pet-peeve: I have seen WAY too many Indie authors fiddling around endlessly with their first book(s) in an attempt to get them “just right”, with the unfortunate result that the loyal fans who have been there from the beginning end up having read “outdated” versions, and nobody (except authors, I suppose) has time to keep revisiting that material every time it’s updated. It makes it feel like it’s not REALLY published or finished or in any way “set” which alarms me sometimes. I have nothing against fixing typos and such small things as that, but any sort of “expanding” and “updating” always makes me wary. It can feel hard on people who already bought it or invested time in it too. I think Indie publishing brings with it the tempting feel that it’s all under the author’s control and therefore this means they can tweak it forever after, but I think that can be a major sidetrack from continuing forward momentum on a series, as well as a (potential!) frustration for readers. I still think that published is published, and expanded editions, while they might be immensely fun, just seem like rewriting already published stuff which I… don’t always like. >.> So I, personally, would prefer just to get new stuff as new books, period.

    Sorry for the rant! I still say absolutely do whatever YOU think is best, because ultimately they are your books and you know best! 🙂 (Like Mother Gothel but in a totally nice way. XD) I just personally love the books as-is, and I feel like alternating flashbacks would mess up the awesome flow they currently have. I feel like the Nick series and the Prequel series should be separate because to me they “feel” different. Like, I mean, they’re before and after “The End”, right? So to me, that just seems like they should be separate. Just my opinion. XD Also, I will not complain AT ALL if the books besides “Beast” and “Tomb” start getting gradually longer, because I love every second of these adventures. 🙂 But I also adore them how they are. ^_^ I also appreciate how you are concerned with asking the fans’ opinions, regardless of what you choose — which is your decision, of course. ^_^ Whatever you decide, I’m sure it’ll turn out great in the long run. 🙂

    SO SORRY FOR THE LONG COMMENT. Apparently I have a lot of thoughts on this. XD *cough* Have fun at RM!

    • Daley Downing July 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      I can definitely understand — as a reader and as a writer — the perspective that constantly switching up editions could tick off fans. And I think if an author chooses to make some changes, it should be a one-time, hard-thought-out deal. Maybe the original edition can be offered to new readers for a discount? And the new edition to long-time readers for a discount? For example, I’ve already decided that when I re-release Volume 1 later this year (with the new cover design but all the same content), I’ll try to arrange for anyone who bought my first edition but wants this new copy, too, to either get it cheaper than the regular price, or I’ll send them free merch or something.

      Now, with regards to specifically B&B, there were places (especially in book 2) where I felt a little lost, and some additional detail from Before the End would’ve felt like a huge help. I am definitely looking forward to *at least* the prequels. Part of the reason I’m proceeding with a prequel or some other sort of companion novel to Volumes 1-4 is because there are several ideas from my world/characters that I want to explore more. And as a writer, I can certainly see from Kyle’s POV that he wouldn’t want new readers to suddenly get lost if he abruptly packed much more background into later books (like, numbers 5 and 6 in the series) than earlier on.

      • Deborah O'Carroll July 26, 2017 at 3:25 pm

        I’ve seen authors successfully pull it off, with tricks like you’ve mentioned etc., so I’m not saying it couldn’t work, I’m just stating a general preference. 🙂 (I wrote a post vaguely on this subject once upon a time, sooo I guess I just have thought a lot about it? https://deborahocarroll.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/frustrated-rants-of-a-victim-of-self-publishing/ It’s not totally relevant here, just saying I’ve had some thoughts. :)) And I’m not trying to attack people who do this! Sometimes it is the best thing to do, and I think (for instance) since you’re going to be re-releasing Volume One with a new cover/new printer etc., that’s totally fine and makes sense. 🙂 I think whatever Kyle decides to do will be awesome! Just saying I like the books as they are. ^_^

        Yesss, I’m looking forward to the prequels as well! 😀 I think that’ll be great fun. 🙂 And I’m intrigued about a companion novel/prequel to yours as well!

        • Daley Downing July 26, 2017 at 4:52 pm

          I totally understand not wanting to tick off your loyal readers. (Believe me, I do!) I know a lot of Kyle’s readers are perfectly happy with the format as is, and for the most part I like it, too. My thought was that there are always scenes where a little more backstory/details would be nice — but that’s also my own reading preference. Truly, I feel the prequels are *necessary* (poor Kyle probably thinks I’ll be locking him in his house until he finishes and prints all of those, lol, I swear not). Not just as a fan of the series, as a writer myself — I could see how much potential there was to expand the world right from the start, and as a reader, I certainly wanted to know more.

          Thank you! Most likely I won’t be starting on anything “supplemental” until after finishing Volume 4, but time will tell.

    • Kyle July 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Wow. I can’t thank you enough for this. SO very helpful and encouraging; exactly what I needed to hear. And I’m glad you made it long, because every word is important. I’ll be doing kind of a general response to everybody in a follow-up blog post, but for now I’ll say that I don’t think I’m going to go in this direction after all. Sounds to me like it would be a mistake. And hey, if most people are cool with it, I’d rather not have to go back and re-do stuff I’ve already done anyway. I spent years doing that, and almost never published anything as a result.

      Thank you again, and God bless you! 😊

  4. Rebekah July 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    Hmm. Interesting idea. My first personal thought. . . no? I think a lot of the appeal is Nick’s naration, and I don’t know what cutting into that would look like. (I’m not saying people wouldn’t like you to write third-person, I’m saying that part of B&B’s fun is Nick’s first person.)
    It is a little short, and fast-paced I suppose, but I liked both–one can just snarf it up in a beautiful thrilling sitting or two. I don’t think the pace or the size is a *bad* thing personally. I do love the idea of MORE with them but that’s what book 2, 3 etc are for. ;D So I didn’t think it was too small, knowing there’d be more later.
    Traditional would be cool–more people would read it! Maybe. Just watch out for “small presses”. 😉 I’ve seen lots go out of business and therefore kinda end access to some of my favorite stories. 🙁 But maybe you know that already. 😛 And there are some that seem pretty okay like Enclave. . . though even they just went though some finacial trouble.
    But with all of this, it’s very much YOUR deccision ’cause, you know, it’s your book. 😛
    I like long books usually, but I also think some books are meant to be 120 something pages, and some are meant to be 1,000 pages–it depends on the book! And the aurthor too. Some people can’t get a story over 50k words EVER. Some can’t possibly write a book that isn’t 100k+… And neither is a “bad” thing, I think. 🙂 I liked The Beast of Talesend the way it was. 🙂
    I also think there is a time to listen to your readers. . . and a time to ignore them and do what you know is right for your story. 🙂 So again, your call. 🙂 *thumbs-up*
    (Only 2 chapters into book 2, so I can’t speak for it, but I’m really enjoying it so far! Molly’s nuts. XD I like her. And Crispin!! <3 🙂 )

    • Kyle July 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm

      You have no idea how happy I am about your liking Molly. *reaches across the internet to give you a virtual hug* Thank you!! Everything you’ve said is extremely encouraging and helpful. (And I did not know that about small presses, so I’m very glad you told me!) This is definitely a time to listen to my readers! 😊

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