Reader comments really make my day—even more so than new sales.
Don’t get me wrong. When I receive a notification telling me someone purchased one or more of The Renegade Chronicles, I grin like an idiot.
But digesting a reader’s genuine reaction to one of my novels, well, my soul does a little happy dance every time.
As I’ve mentioned before, copious online reviews can lead to fiscal benefits for an author. Even better, reader feedback lets me know what “worked” in the story, what didn’t, my strengths as a writer, and my weaknesses. All of which will help make my future books stronger.
For The Renegade Chronicles specifically, here are a few things I learned. Some of it came as a surprise, while other observations reinforced what I always hoped to be true:
- The bad news: Rebels and Fools (Vol. 1) is a slow starter. I thought I jump into the action relatively quickly, but apparently the pacing wasn’t as brisk as I had hoped. Lesson learned.
- The good news: Once they make it a handful of chapters into Vol. 1, readers tend to get hooked—and then go on to Vols. 2 and 3. Few things sound as sweet to an author’s ears as “I couldn’t put it down.”
- The series features strong female characters. To be blunt, most of my characters are dudes. But I’m happy to hear that ladies who do get “screen time”—including Leslie Beryl, Lilac Zephyr, and Opal—hold their own!
- It’s OK to kill off characters. This can be controversial, but fortunately there are those who (like me) appreciate high stakes. While I’m no George R. R. Martin, I don’t shy away from the deadly consequences of battle. (See also: “The problem with invincible protagonists”)
- Vol. 3 has some unanswered questions. There’s a fine line between leaving the reader wanting more and leaving the reader unsatisfied. The feedback leads me to believe most readers fall into the former camp.
At the risk of tooting my own horn, here are excerpts of comments compiled from Amazon.com and Goodreads.com:
Rebels and Fools
“This book is a great big step into a world that keeps you pleasantly off balance by feeling uncannily familiar and strange at the same time.”
“Williams’ characters are an unlikely unity of the honorable, criminal, and the witless… Their travels are filled with battles, rescues, victories, and losses. I’m looking forward to the next installment in Heroes and Liars.”
“Fantastic! The boy and I are reading this series together before bed. He’s eleven, and he loves it. I’m quite fascinated by it myself.”
“A compelling start to the series.”
“My favorite of the three. A great fantasy trilogy.”
Heroes and Liars
“In this second installment of Williams’ epic yarn, he makes good on the adventure, camaraderie, and intrigue promised at the end of the series opener Rebels and Fools.”
“I could not stop reading! The second volume in this trilogy is action-packed from start to finish.”
“Just a very enjoyable read with another very nerve-wracking ending.”
“Excellent follow up to the first book.”
“…enough questions linger as to the characters’ true motives to keep my interest into the third book. Bring on Martyrs and Monsters!”
Martyrs and Monsters
“…The Renegade Chronicles is a very solid introduction into (the fantasy genre).”
“The last volume in the trilogy is nearly as full of action and intrigue as the second book. Secrets are revealed, and the battle between humans and monsters gets vicious.”
“Many questions answers. Many new questions raised. Great closure to many plot lines without feeling too tidy.”
“While this isn’t my usual genre, I couldn’t put it down. The books are action packed and full of mystery, magic, and a dash of romance.”
“I hope we haven’t heard the last from these characters…I’m craving more!!!”
I’d love to write more about the people and places of Altaerra. Truly, I would!
As a matter of fact, I have years—yes, years—of these characters’ lives mapped out beyond what has been published so far. Which is why there were so many unanswered questions at the end of Martyrs and Monsters; these heroes’ (and anti-heroes’) tales are far from over.
The Renegade War foreshadows a continents-spanning conflict that will prove to be much more catastrophic than anything the cast has faced before…
But in order to justify the writing and publishing future fantasy novels, I must sell a heck of a lot more editions of the first three volumes. In the interest of building my readership, I’ll include a list of handy links for those interested in reading, referring, and/or reviewing The Renegade Chronicles.
I can’t wait to hear from you!
- Rebels and Fools
- Heroes and Liars
- Martyrs and Monsters
- And if you’ve read them all, repurpose your other reviews here…