Today for Fun a Day Reseda, I’m going over the results of The Ghosts of Reseda High beta. Thanks to all of you who participated. I appreciate your helpful and honest comments.
The feedback I got on the book was mostly positive. I found this reassuring because it shows I’m on the right track. You also pointed out that the manuscript has changes that need to be made. I also found this reassuring because I know the book has room for improvement. With how competitive the book business is, it’s not enough for a story to be good — it has to be great. Your feedback will help me do that.
Your feedback also revealed some interesting things about the book business.
The majority of you prefer paper books over eBooks. Like most people, I thought Kindles and iPads would eventually reduce the need for paper books except for mass-market and other staples. Time to rethink that strategy.
I also need to rethink how I publish the book. When I asked for an ideal price for a paperback, most of you chose the USD 8.00-10.00 range. When I’ve used print-on-demand publishers, the retail price tended to be higher than that. So, I will submit The Ghosts of Reseda High to a traditional publisher. Even though I like the freedom of independent publishing, a traditional publisher would be able to produce the book so it meets the desired price point.
Yet another common belief challenged: Most of you prefer buying books at bookstores. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be many bookstores left in the San Fernando Valley, and the Barnes and Noble at Topanga Plaza closed not too long ago. So, if you’re a Resedan who wants to open a business that bolsters the community’s image as an art center, here’s an opportunity. (Update: Here’s why.)
Back to the novel (spoiler-free comments):
You seem to like the characters in the story. Most of you read the book to the end because you want to know what happens to them. You felt that you could relate to them and they seemed realistic. You like when you “get” a character, and you’re quick to pick up when dialogue or a situation seems unnatural and clunky.
You want more out of the conflict with the main antagonist. I recognize that I need to do more work with that character and develop the reasons for the conflict. (I can start by following my own advice.)
Most of you identify this as a YA book for readers age 13 and up. This is as I intended. Most of you feel that the level of profanity and sexuality seem unnecessary, even though it didn’t distract from the story. I’m reading some YA fiction to get a better idea of what level is appropriate for that age group (although some YA authors have no problem with profanity).
Overall, most of you would give the book 4 or 5 stars on Amazon, with an average score of 3.9. That’s better than Fifty Shades of Grey at 3.4, but I believe I can do better.
I will go through your comments in detail this month, and let you know my progress on this site. If you won the drawing, you will receive an email from me in the next few days. Thanks again for all your help.