May 14th 2023 Update

So, I was on vacation this past week, so I didn’t get a lot done. I did add a bit to Talyn: Unyielding, getting it up to about 100,000 words, though. Though there’s something else to share…

A few weeks ago I shared a survey, and I decided I should go through the results, at least my broad takeaways from them. Going over them in-depth is a little too much, especially since several allowed people to enter their own answers. I’ll take the questions in order. I had a total of 180 votes, but not everyone voted on every question, and one was someone coming back to clarify a previous answer.

1. Which series do you like most?

As you can see from the image above, the results are pretty self-explanatory. Ancient Dreams and Eve of Destruction take more than half the votes on their own, which doesn’t surprise me, since they’ve provided the vast majority of my income. I’m amused to see that Soul Bound didn’t get any votes, but not terribly surprised. Beesong Chronicles is rather popular, which I find interesting since it’s been only a modestly successful series.

The results contain a few surprises for me, mostly that Talyn’s Saga and Lilith’s Shadow are such low percentages, but it’s good information to have.

2. Which single book do you like the most, if any?

This result was pretty unequivocal, though some people voted for series, which might have changed the results somewhat. The majority of my books got one or two votes, but I’ll share the top five results.

  • 5: Talyn: Descent with 7 votes.
  • 3: Halls of Power with 8 votes.
  • 3: Sting & Song with 8 votes.
  • 2: Ancient Ruins with 9 votes.
  • 1: Marin’s Codex with 12 votes.

It seems people like tragedy, huh? More seriously, it looks like I may want to look at returning to something similar to Ancient Dreams and the like in the future, since three of the books are in the top results, plus the series. Not much else to say, aside from me being surprised that Talyn crept into the list. Joy isn’t a surprise at all.

3. Which aspect of my books do you like the most?

The image above shows that a lot of people couldn’t decide which was their favorite. Most of those were combinations of multiple aspects. I may need to remove the ‘other’ option in future surveys. The main takeaway for me is that most of my readers appreciate my main characters and the lesbian romance aspect, while fewer are concerned about the setting.

4. What series would you most like me to return to, or would you prefer something new? If the series isn’t listed, please state in Other.

Well, this was certainly a victory by a landslide, wasn’t it? 40.8% of the votes were for Beesong Chronicles, with 16.8% for Through the Fire in second place, followed by Lilith’s Shadow with 12.8% of the votes. One comment I’ve heard that I agree with is that it’s possible that Eve of Destruction and Talyn’s Saga got so few votes because they’re ongoing series. Soul Bound got a tiny amount of support, to my surprise, but all the series got some support, while new series got a bit of support.

I will say, this isn’t going to guarantee anything, but it does mean I’m likely to look at Beesong Chronicles more closely after I finish Talyn: Unyielding.

5. Do you have any comments for me, of things you’d like to see in particular?

This comment brought a huge variety of comments, which doesn’t surprise me. It took the longest to go through due to that. I distilled them down to the essence of what they meant to me, and here are the essentials of the top few recurring comments.

  • Readers want a lot more of Joy.
  • Readers want more stories.
  • My version of Science Fantasy is enjoyable.
  • Curiousity about elements Stars & Shadows (the setting of Lilith’s Shadow), or more books in it.
  • Some people would like explicit sex scenes, or more detail immediately before or after my Fade to Black transitions.

The top comment about Joy isn’t a surprise at this point, I hope! It amuses me, I’ll admit. The science fantasy part makes me hopeful, and I’m seriously considering that as well. Wanting more books is good for my career, so I’m not going to argue one bit. For Stars & Shadows, it’s on my list, but it hasn’t been quite as successful and is at a good ‘stopping point’. A few comments that stood out to me were that I should take care of myself. Thank you, I appreciate it.

Now, the elephant in the room, IMO, is the comments about sex scenes. I am unlikely to change things as it stands, however! I’ve considered publishing some stories with explicit material under a pen name before. I’ve got a couple of partially written manuscripts, but I’ll admit that I’ve been hesitant to share them due to the material. It’s a possibility… but it’d require interest, and I want to keep it separate from my current work. That said, they’d likely have a story flow much like my current stories in most cases. I like characters to build up to relationships, with rare exceptions.

Now that I’m thoroughly embarrassed, let’s move on.

6. Which secondary character of my series would you like to see illustrated who has not been illustrated before?

Ah, a much easier question! I got lots of suggestions, including the kobold Krak from Eve of Destruction, Ra from Lilith’s Shadow, or even the Flower Mink. Actually, I have art of the last. Here:

That said, here are the suggestions that got the most people suggesting them. All but Fya got the same number of suggestions. Fya solidly took the crown with more than ten percent of people suggesting her.

  • Fya
  • Alaseenah
  • Moon & Star
  • The Guardians from Talyn: Descent
  • Timmy & Tammy

I’m likely to use some combination of these for a vote among my patrons this coming week. I think Fya should be in a cheerleader outfit…

Now, the questions about Audiobooks.

7. Which narrator I’ve had do you like the most? This is specifically regarding their voice and performance, not the content of the audiobooks

As you can see, 44.7% of people who responded hadn’t listened to enough audiobooks to choose. Of the remainder, it was a dead heat between the two narrators Podium hired (Abby Craden and Tess Irondale) and Sarah Beth Goer, though Reba Buhr came from behind toward the end. Even so, the percentages weren’t different enough to draw any solid conclusions. I’m happy to see a lot of people liked each, honestly.

8. Is there a narrator who you’d like to see narrate Ancient Dreams? Please remember that my budget is limited, and the chances of getting anyone famous is unlikely. Also, I’m specifically looking for female narrators.

Oof, this one was complicated. Lots of requests, many of them from among my past narrators. All of the ones who got more than one mention (and the number) are as follows.

  • Tess Irondale 8
  • Abby Craden 8
  • Andrea Parsneau 7
  • Sarah Goer 7
  • Reba Buhr 5
  • Amy Landon 2
  • Angela Dawe 2

I’m obviously not deciding purely on this. I need to do some research and find out who the best choice would be, plus that doesn’t confirm that I could pay their fee or that they’d be available. I have a large amount set aside for this, though. Large for an indie, anyway.

Anyway, that’s the results of the survey! I hope you all found it as interesting as I did!

4 thoughts on “May 14th 2023 Update

  1. “… though some people voted for series, which might have changed the results somewhat.”
    I… might’ve thought Ancient Dreams was also the name of the first book in the trilogy. 😅


  2. Have to say, that I’ve kind of dropped off your newer books. Still love them when I’m in the mood, but I just haven’t really been in the mood for the genre you write (more into “real world” fiction books, as of late). C’est la vie 🤷‍♀️

    That being said, I listen to audiobooks more than read (dry eyes, body issues, and allows me to have background noise). Regardless, that means I’ve heard many different voices, and none of them are bad. Ancient Dreams, I feel would do well with someone that has…how do I describe this…’ethereal’ properties to their voice or able to modify their voice to do so. That being said, none of the above listed you can go wrong with. Solid voices I’ve heard multiple times

    That was the main thing I wanted to say. However, I will give you my personal opinion on book series. Beesong Chronicles… not my cup of tea, but that doesn’t matter compared to the masses
    Lilith’s Shadow and Soul Bound universes are highly underrated (gotten my mileage out of them). I would love to read more from them. Lilith’s Shadow is definitely at a great stopping point, so it doesn’t bother me if you never come back to it. However, I would love to see a rewrite/update of the 1st 2 books in that series because…well… they show how far you’ve come in writing. That’s wonderful to see, but I think they deserve to be brought up to the rest.
    Last up, Eve of Destruction… no comment besides love it, but I need to catch up with it (as I said…just haven’t been in the mood)

    Sidenote: I concur with Ra from Lilith’s Shadow. It would be cool to see both male and female forms in picture form


  3. I totally get that on not being in the mood for a particular genre. I used to read several authors voraciously, and I just… don’t, now. At least not much.

    As for Ancient Dreams, that was precisely why I’m going to have it re-recorded. The original audition for Ancient Ruins had that for Sistina, but the final product didn’t, which was frustrating in the extreme. I mostly blame the producer, I’ll admit. Regardless, it’s going to happen in part so that I control all of my IP again, rather than being locked into a contract with someone else. He’s gotten his money’s worth and then some.

    That said, while Beesong may be incredibly popular, it’s ironic that it’s not even half as successful as Eve of Destruction, or a fifth as successful as Ancient Dreams.

    No comment on the other aspects, other than the fact I would like to see Ra/Raet as well. ^_^


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