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May 19, 2013

With Dark Child in the world, a rant about obsessive checking of rankings and call for reviewers - yes that means YOU!

 Hello. My name is Adina. It's been almost three months since my last drink blog post.

Wow, this cover actually matches the background colour on my blog. Pure coincidence.

It's finally happened. I've crossed over to the other side. The 'published' side. I'm starting to think of it as the Dark side. Because the last few months have been mad. Manic. And also, inevitably, filled with huge amounts of frivolous time wasting and not much actual writing. And it kind of goes without saying seeing as this is my first post since early February that I haven't been blogging either. Or visiting any of you. :-( Most of this I blame on the sustained state of heightened nerves arising from the fact that I've had four books released in four months, with another two releases still to go next month. They're all actually the same book: Dark Child. But as it's been released as a digital serial, one new episode has come out each month, each attended by a flurry of tweets on Twitter, and updates on Facebook, and hours and hours (oh, let's be honest, days and DAYS) wasted obsessively checking sales ranks and figures on Amazon and the iBookstore. Why did nobody tell me it'd be like this? Actually, they probably did, but back then I wasn't listening. I just wanted to be published!

It's true though. For me, anyway. With a digital book release the problem is that you CAN keep a constant eye on it. With a print book, once the publisher has sent it out to bookstores it's months and months before you have any idea what has sold. You're pretty much forced to put it out of your mind. But digital makes information so much more accessible, with ranks that actually change hourly at some retailers. It's an obsessive author's nightmare. I think I'll have to work through this new addiction with checking every single new review and watching rankings like a hawk until I'm good and sick of it, and then I'll be able to move on. Because it's certainly not helping me get any other work done!

Enough of the rant - but that might go some way toward explaining what I've actually been doing in the last little while. (I've also had sick kids, which is never fun, but they're on the mend now.)

Anyway, next week, I will have to put on my extremely-professional-published-author hat, because I'm on a panel with my agent and publisher at the Sydney Writers' Festival talking about Dark Child and the entire process of how it was turned into a digital serial. Talking about it might give me some perspective! It has been an exciting ride, that's for sure, from the first introduction of the idea by my publisher Joel Naoum of Momentum, up until now. I was terrified at the thought initially, mostly because I felt it placed a lot of pressure on every single part of my book to perform; each of five 'episodes' has to carry enough weight to be satisfying, and yet leave enough enticement for the reader to continue. Obviously I ended up going for the idea though, given that publishing a first novel is pretty much jumping in the deep end anyway...

There have been a few readers who hated the serialised approach, and just wanted the whole book. And of course, despite (I think) being the minority they were the ones who weren't shy about leaving reviews. Isn't that always the way? (though I don't mean to imply I didn't get some lovely positive reviews too - I did, and I appreciated every word!) For the ones who wanted the whole novel as one, yes, you're getting it! The Omnibus edition is coming out 1 June, and contains all five episodes of Dark Child - it's the complete novel as I originally wrote it.

So yes, for readers who prefer their novels as novels it's possible to skip the serialised experience entirely. But as a bonus of the serialisation, the publisher is able to make Dark Child: Episode 1 (the first 20,000 words or so of Dark Child) available free for most of the forseeable future, letting readers try the first part of the novel before they decide whether to invest in the Omnibus. So go and get your free copy of Episode 1! It's a nice meaty length that's much longer than most samples, so I'm really happy about that. (and see the bottom of this post for an offer to get a copy of the Omnibus free and review the entire novel)

The final serialised episode of Dark Child, Episode 5, will be coming out concurrently with the Omnibus in just a couple of weeks. Here's a cover pic.

And now I'm feeling reflective, and thinking 'where to next?' Because I always intended for Dark Child to be more than a stand-alone novel. I'm already working on a sequel. But what will that be called? Will I try serialisation again, and start the next round off with Episode 6? Do I call my next novel/serialisation 'Season 2', to mimic the style of television? Author John Scalzi is rumoured to be doing with his recent serialised collection 'The Human Division' which was a novel released over 13 weekly episodes.

You used to just be able to release a book, and then its sequel. Not too many issues with how to label or promote a book in those familiar circumstances. But in this scenario...I admit I'm finding it all a bit confusing, and want to make sure readers won't feel the same. Thoughts, advice, in the comments please? And also questions about anything else. And comments telling me what YOU'RE up to to get me up to date and help assuage my guilt for not visiting.

Seeking early reviewers:
A special offer for readers of this blog (and any other lovely reviewer types you want to refer on). I know most of you are writers, but if you're someone who also reviews books on Amazon/iBookstore, Goodreads, or your blog, (hey, preferably ALL those places!) and you'd like to review Dark Child, (read about it here to be suitably enticed) then please comment below or otherwise get in touch BEFORE 31 May 2013. The Omnibus edition is being released 1 June and will be available for review very shortly and I'd like to make the offer here first, 'cos you guys have been with me since the beginning! And you're awesome. And there really aren't very many of you still reading this blog, so, um, yeah. If you're one of the loyal few, have a free (digital) copy on me. Or, you know, on me and my publisher.

I kinda hope my publisher doesn't read this. Except I did link to them on Facebook. So they might.

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers (and sisters)"
Shakespeare, Henry V


Suze said...

Dear Adina,

WOW. Reading this post provides so much food for thought. What it seems is that the nature of how we tell stories is shifting due to the manner in which we distribute. I can see, quite clearly, how you feel overwhelmed by this -- let's face it -- unprecedented scenario.

We are forced to grapple with more information than the brain has evolved to handle. Even in trying to decide how much to write in this little comment box feels an exercise in focus, recall and processing that exceeds the typical Sunday morning pace. (It's Sunday morning, do you know how your serialized digital accomplishments rank?)

All right, srsly.

'Talking about it might give me some perspective!'

Yesterday, my 9-year-old daughter and I went a little further down the road on the boys/her body/sex talk. Talking about it was a hugely beneficial exercise in even helping *me* to compose my thoughts -- which, when not forced into the light, are nebulous abstractions and principles at best. But having to talk to my little one, well that brings it into the realm of 'no room for fuzzy thinking.' It must be pragmatic, meaningful, useful.

This will happen for you, too. You will learn as you move forward. You will learn from error and you will store, process and recall at will with more efficiency as this 'scenario' continues to train you. And, hopefully for the rest of us!, you will report, so we can learn and be stretched with you.

Well done. On all of it. And I'm sorry about the sick kiddies, its own huge stress. :( I am very glad they are on the mend.

I'll tell you what my sister told me the first month after I had my daughter and was weeping in the kitchen at 2am in the morning knowing I didn't want to allow another drop of formula to pass her lips. (I was nursing and supplementing with formula so that I could sleep for more than two hours as pumping was not working out for me.) She said, 'Do your best. You can have no regrets because if you do your best, there is nothing else you could have done.'

Denise Covey said...

Hello Adina. I wondered where you'd gotten to. You have been super busy. I guess my time is coming but I doubt I'll be as obsessive as you have been, lol! But we probably all say that.

All the best to you and your publishing career!!


Carol Riggs said...

No wonder you've been busy! Wow, a serialized novel. It has an AWESOME cover, too--I love the faint blue buildings and whatnot in the background, and the gorgeous face and colors. CONGRATS!!!

Hart Johnson said...

I didn't realize you were publishing serially! I'm very interested in that, as I have a couple projects I think are well suited for that. Good luck with your professional appearances next week!

Adina West said...

Suze - your comment has improved my sense of perspective already, such is your wise and calming influence. I'm glad my daughter isn't quite old enough for such discussions but my time will come...

Adina West said...

Denise - I never thought I'd be this obsessive either! I suppose it's really no worse than my former Etsy addiction. This too shall pass. :-)

Adina West said...

Carol - I have to say the beautiful covers have been one of the great positives of serialisation. The cover you're referring to is of the combined Omnibus edition, but for the serials/episodes I've had five different covers with different colours and background pics but the same overall theme. Very happy with them. :-)

Hart - email me if you want to chat about the pros and cons of serialisation and the best way to go about it as I've had plenty of opportunity for reflection!

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Meg Stephens said...


I loved reading d 5 episodes but Im interested to find out what happens to Kat, Alek and Amarok. Looking forward to episode 6 or whatever u wish to call it :-)


Anonymous said...

I dont think i will mind what name you give the next book i just cant wait to read it! Your fans are waiting so take your time as i dont think any of us are going anywhere. I am realy looking firward to finding out what happens to kat next! Well done and good luck with any future projects x

Misha Gericke said...

Heya! Just want to check how it's going. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Adina,

I have just read all 5, i love them.

Do you know when the next episode will be coming out?


Adina West said...

Hey there to the last few commenters, and thank you for dropping in to say hi!

I've been off the grid, busy writing on that sequel y'all are waiting for, so that's why I have been neglecting my blog. Which really isn't so different from usual. *Sigh*

I really think it's time for a quick update post, though. Maybe with a little teaser for Episode 6. Soon....


dylan vandyk said...

Really looking forward to the sequel! It's been a little while since episode 5 and I'm keen to learn more about the characters and see where the stories goes. Personally I'm quite a greedy reader and like to consume the story quickly, often reading a book twice in a row so I can relax into the read second time round, I struggled a bit waiting patiently for the release of each episode.

Adina West said...

Hi there Nic,

If you struggle with the serialisation aspect please keep in mind that 'Season 2' or 'Episodes 6-10' or whatever they end up being WILL also be released in combined form as a full novel-length omnibus, so you may prefer to read that way. It's still a few months off, but I've handed my draft to my publisher and I'm waiting on feedback before starting edits...

Did I mention I'm not at all patient? ;-)

tori walker said...

Hi adina
I read all 5 books in 2 days and am biting at the bit to find out what happens next to kat and the others :) I am Very glad to hear the series is continuing and I do hope you don't loose your obsession with this series :)
I hope that your next season comes out soon I can't wait to read it

julie nash said...

Awesome books cant wait for the sequel. Well done I couldnt put it down.

Adina West said...

Yikes, this is shameful, more action in the comments section than on the blog. I really need a new post on this blog. BUT I have a new book! Dark Child: Covens Rising, the sequel to Dark Child: The Awakening (which used to just be called Dark Child), is coming out in July 2014. You will see cover art here on this blog very soon...

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