There's an interesting and unexpected side effect of releasing The Gift of the Bad Guy
: I'm getting reader e-mail in a way I never have before, even when I have a visible contact address on the MU website (which I do now). I attribute this to the fact that the people who've purchased and read GOTBG are mostly if not entirely MU readers and they're used to being able to comment on what they read from me.
And of course I'm used to getting comments, so I don't regard this as a bad thing. But a reader/author email is one-on-one communication, typically, so I wanted to take some time to address the feedback in a general sort of way. I'm going to be paraphrasing things because I didn't seek permission to quote people here.
Two of the first pieces of feedback I got were in the form of someone on Facebook likening the book to a TV pilot and an email from someone who said she was surprised that it was a "day in the life" type story. I enjoyed reading both of these things because they gave me a feeling of Oooh, I nailed it.
Those both pretty much sum up what I was going for with this piece.
Its follow-up Working Class Villain
is going to give a wider look at the world by basically showing you a typical week for Marie. This isn't to say that the series is going to follow the day-to-day minutiae model of Tales of MU. There's an arc there. But it's going to be seen through the lens of "I'm a professional antagonist, and this is my life."
As far as the arc-vs.-minutiae angle goes, I had another insightful reader say "This is another one of your anti-stories, isn't it?"
They made it clear that it wasn't exactly a complaint but they were expecting something different. Well, in my defense, I believe GOTBG is something different. There are only so many ways to follow a conventional model. There are a lot more ways to go off in a different direction. Anyone who's spent much time reading my stuff probably has noticed that I think shaggy dog stories are high art, but rest assured The Gifters Saga
isn't one of them.
More than one person (two, to be precise) remarked that it's shorter than they expected. Neither of them seems to be disappointed or upset about this, but it's one of the things that leaves me shaking my head. When I started talking this book up, I thought it was going to be 40-60 pages. I sold it on a sight called LitSnacks
that proclaims itself on the front page to be a home for works of around a hundred pages or under. The final version of GOTBG clocks in at right around a hundred pages. I'm going to add an approximate page count field to the story page on LitSnacks, but that aside I don't know what more I can or should do to let people know what they're getting.( Under this cut is discussion of story/plot details, which I don't think necessarily count as spoilers but are cut for the courtesy of people who want to read without knowing them. )
I had one person helpfully pointing out some typos that made it through. I was disheartened to see this at first, as I spent more time going over this story than anything I've written before, and had other people go over it, too. But it was three mistakes in a hundred pages. That's pretty good. If a large enough number of people get a hold of copies with the typos, I will hear from someone who tells me how unprofessional they are and how they don't see typos in "real" published books, but that is of course bullshit so I won't worry about it.
The most frustrating thing is that one of them (a "know" that's missing a "k") I k
now I fixed at one point, which means that at some point I ended up working in the wrong file or saving over the right one. It's possible I'd fixed the other errors at the same time, but I don't have specific memories of them. In any event this highlights what I was saying before about the importance of processes. I ended up with multiple copies of the file as I was putting it together because I had no process for how to handle creating a final copy from multiple draft documents.
That's a "learn and move on" thing.
Now, the single most common piece of feedback I've received is "When is the sequel coming out?" That is a good thing to hear! Unfortunately, I don't have an answer. In order to avoid a repeat of the rather dysfunctional spiral I was in towards the end of The Gift of the Bad Guy
's production I'm not going to set a release date until the thing's all the way nailed down. It's probably going to be a matter of months, rather than weeks or a year. I suspect major new (as opposed to adapted from serials) offerings from LitSnacks will be a quarterly thing, but that's not to say that Working Class Villain
will follow exactly three months behind The Gift of the Bad Guy