This is the review I received from Piers Anthony, which will appear in his Mayhem 2016 newsletter. He did point out that I should remember that it is only one opinion. I suppose this means not to grant it too much weight, though I am still very excited about it.
I read Elf Mastery by Bryant Reil. This features the teen elf girl Kyla, talkative, impetuous, nervy, who comes to college and meets all manner of other creatures as students, teachers, and other personnel of the institution of Equinox. Such as the demoness Lili who turns fiery when annoyed, as she often is. The nymph Eunoe, pronounced YOON-way, who is a good deal more than she seems. The dryad Aspen, who can do remarkable things with wood. And her roommate Aura, an air spirit who looks ghostly and controls the wind. When there's a dance they have no dates, so Kyla challenges some boys to physical combat: if she wins, they are dates. She promptly loses, as she knows nothing about it, but Aspen bails her out. This is the general way of it: Kyla dives in first, and finds out what she's into later, to the frustration of her more sensible companions. They soon encounter a plot to blot out all the light so the lord of darkness can rule. It's a serious threat; first the stars wink out one by one, then the sun goes dark. Somehow Kyla blunders her way into saving the world. This is one wild adventure with unusual twists, such as a fight between a powerful dwarf and Lug, an earth elemental formed of rocks. When the dwarf goes after Kyla, meaning to kill her, Lug goes after the dwarf. But the dwarf has magic, so that his touch makes Lug collapse into a pile of rubble. But the moment he lets go, the rubble re-forms into Lug, so that the dwarf can't chase Kyla. Lug's job is to make the world revolve by pushing it from the center; when the pushing stops, so does the world, and there are no days or nights. It's a fun story with its own peculiar logic, and I suspect there is more coming, because Kyla has yet to have a romance despite being pretty enough.
Piers Anthony read my book and will review it in his Mayhem (May) 2016 newsletter! This is a big deal for me that he took the time to read my book and respond to my emails. My family is very excited as many of them are fans of his. Kind of a big deal when you're starting out like me to get some positive acknowledgment like this! I am very appreciative that he took the time to read it, and I am going to make it a point that, whether or not I am ever successful, that I will take the time to help other people succeed. Helping people feel validated for their efforts is an important step in helping them do the work required for success.
Well, it's been a few weeks but I finally got my first review! It has been a nerve-wracking experience to say the least, but it came in at five stars so that was exciting. The reader was left be a mother who left the comment on behalf of her ten-year-old son. Ten is younger than my intended audience, but I did fully intend that the story would be appropriate for a younger reader, though I'm not sure all the nuances will be clear and it does get a bit dark later on.
Very nice to know someone, somewhere is enjoying the book. That is what writing is all about!
Still waiting to get the cover finalized for the paperback version of the book. I was thinking about doing an audio book version as well, but as I can't afford to hire a professional actor I'll have to narrate it myself. This might turn out ok, as I have often been told I have a good voice for narration and radio, but we'll see. I don't think I want to go nuts on the characters voices and sound effects, though. Mostly because I'm not good at doing voices, but also because I don't really like it when podcasts and ebooks have one person doing all the voices and the narration is drowned out in sound effects. It seems to be a popular way to do things but not for me.
Had a feature on Nyareads a few days ago - figure I should link it here!
Well, I went form a personal best yesterday to a total flatline today. No KENP, no sales. Still awaiting the first reviews and keeping my fingers crossed. Self-publishing, exciting as it has been, is a bit of an up-and-down. My days are alternating extremes of highs and lows. At least it's an adventure. I think I've said this before, but if you're thinking of going the self-publishing route, don't think finishing your book is the end! It is just the beginning...
Well, I'm currently at a 701 KENP on Amazon for today. KENP is how many pages of my book(s) that have been read through the Kindle Select library. 701 is my personal best so far, and the day isn't over! Now, lest I be misleading, 701 KENP is not a lot. I have been told that my royalty generally works out to about 1/2 cent per page read, which means 700 pages read made me $3.50. If I want to make a living, I probably want to get up to about 30,000 pages read per day, which would be about $150.
However, a personal best is a step forward. As long as I can keep the numbers going up, I'll get to my goal of being a professional author eventually! Of course, this generally means writing more books, and I am currently in Chapter Seven of the sequel, which I am currently calling Elf Doubt.
I got an author spotlight at NyaReads which can be found here:
So two long nights of marketing are starting to work out!
Looks like my marketing work might pay off. I sent two whole nights sending out requests to people with book review blogs to read and review my book. I've heard back from a couple so far, and even more exciting, I have a famous author who agreed to read it! He said if it's any good he'll give me a review; if not he'll let me know that it's rubbish. So that's a little nerve-wracking but very exciting. I'm not going to name the author until it has actually happened. I know he's a busy guy and it could easily turn out he won't have the time.
Anyway altogether a better day than yesterday. Slightly higher KENP. What that means is that people use the Kindle library and read the book for free. They get a book a month, I think, and authors make money from a pool based on per-page readings. I've been told it comes to about half a cent per page read. The problem is it looks like someone today just read Chapter One, and there's no way to tell if that's a 'I tried one chapter and gave up' or a 'I only have time to read one chapter a day' sort of thing.
Anyway I've been wondering how I will react if this author just tells me the book is rubbish. I think the most likely criticism is the editing, as I couldn't afford a professional. That's my number one recommendation to anyone out there who wants to self-publish, though. Get a professional editor. I scoured the book fourteen times and still keep finding things, and in some parts still mix up en-dashes, em-dashes, and ellipses. Guess I'll see soon as I do have a couple bloggers reviewing the book as well and if the internet is good at one thing it is spotting errors. At least with an ebook I can update it if there are any issues.
Anyway I'm committed to finishing the series (it will be three books, if I haven't mentioned that yet). I like it and I think it's just getting better an better. I guess I'm really writing for myself, and hoping someone else enjoys it as well.
Amazon readership has flatlined for a couple days. I knew coming it it might be a very slow build but it is discouraging. When you write a book you really hope people are going to be all over it. And I knew, coming in, that a lot of people work really hard and with a lot of dedication on projects that end up missing with the target audience. (As I write this 'Batman v Superman' comes to mind). So I wonder is the book as good as I thought it was?
I decided that for me, it is. It will be a trilogy, and it will be written even if I'm the only one who enjoys it. I write for me, ultimately.
Of course I know, in my head, without any reviews logged yet I don't know how it is being received by the people who have already downloaded it. Hard not to worry, though. The major problem with self-publishing is marketing. Hard to get word out. While self-publishing has made it much easier to get a book on the market, it has also increased competition.
How will I respond if reviews do come in and they are terrible? Well, I'm still going to finish the trilogy. I love it, I enjoy telling the story, and I will continue to work on it even if I'm the only getting getting any enjoyment out of it.
Bryant Reil currently resides in Kelowna, BC. Recent accomplishments include completing a Master's degree, and having finished two books, Elf Mastery and Elf Doubt. The third book, Elf Righteous, is underway.