A question of perception

It’s another ‘I’m an idiot, learn from me’ post today. It’s also long. Apologies for that but there’s rather a lot to say.

Recently I’ve been trying to get the initial ideas and machinery in place to launch a new book. There are several places where I’m stuck, mostly the same, old same old: you know, stuff like actually managing to write a blurb that makes it sound appealing or coming up with a viable title. There is also the aspect of things I might unknowingly stuff up.

OK, so I try to act with professional integrity. This is the internet. Whatever I do I will offend someone but I try avoid any dishonourable, shabby, dishonest or generally reprehensible behaviour if at all possible. I try to love my internetty neighbour the way I’d like to be loved myself.

However, I’m a writer and a flawed human being. I frequently offend people without even realising. Indeed, if life was a game I suspect unwitting offence would be my Special Attribute. A couple of things have happened, recently, that have made me very aware of this and concentrated my attention on the matter of how hard it is to achieve a good reputation on the internet, how difficult it is not to cause offence, however well meaning your actions may actually be. And how difficult it can be to gauge how others will react to your actions when the only guide you have is to imagine how it would feel to be on the receiving end.

It’s not just about trying to act with decency and integrity at all times. It’s about whether people think think you are. A lot of that is about what folks believe your intentions are. I think that no matter how genuine you wish to be, how honest you think you are being, or how principled you aim to make your approach, if you are selling anything, however obliquely, there are certain quarters of the internet where any attempt to connect on your part will be considered a hypocritical attempt to befriend people in order to sell them something. So far with me, it’s kind of been the other way round. But a couple of things have really surprised me, recently. Stupid things I’ve done without realising they were stupid.

On the up side, since I’ve made these monumental fuck ups, it means that by describing them to you at length I can ensure that you don’t have to. Here’s what I’ve learned from this series of unfortunate events…

The dreadful truth about titles.

I’ll fess up. I got in a bit of a muddle publishing my last two books. The main problem was that when I finished the third book in the K’Barthan Trilogy (as it was then called) I discovered it was a snadge over 300,000 words long. What to do? If I produced a paperback then, by the time I’d factored in the kind of discount that would pay the middle men (60%) I would have a book that cost about £25. So there’s book 1 at £9.99, book 2 at £11.99 and book 3 at £24.99. With books 1 and 2 ending on cliff hangers it does rather look as if I’m holding readers to ransom to find out what happens. Luckily there was a point where I could split it. So I did. But that cost more. Another £800 or so to be precise and another £90 plus 20% sales tax to upload it to the print on demand distributor I use.

With money tight, the question raised it’s head of spending a further £90 plus tax per book to change the word ‘Trilogy’ on the cover and front pages of the first two, to ‘Series’ in print. Also, what little traction the series had was as the K’Barthan Trilogy. I asked folks, took advice and tried to imagine how I would feel if a trilogy I was following had four books. The folks I asked reckoned a 4 book trilogy was not unusual and that no-one would mind. Since I’ve read the Hitch Hiker’s ‘trilogy’ and was delighted when it kept growing, rather than upset, I saved the £180 and went for the 4 book trilogy.

How wrong I was.

A couple of months ago the third book got a blistering one star review, slamming me for writing a fourth instalment. I paraphrase but the gist was like this:

“I know your game,” it basically said. “You’re just going to write book after book and never end the story, because you’re just a bastard writer! And all you bastard writers ever want to do is rip readers off and make us pay and pay so you can buy another set of gold plated wheels for your Mercedes Benz. Well I’m not reading any more of your crap you… charlatan!”

Fair enough, this case, someone has clearly watched too many episodes of ‘Lost’, and that £50 a month I earn from my writing may well look like the gold-plated-alloy-purchasing big time to some folks, but I was completely thrown. First that they were upset, second by the enormous gap between their perception of my personality and the real one.

OK, we all know the golden rule is DO NOT ENGAGE. NEVER reply to things like that.

I broke it.

I commented on the review apologising for causing offence, explaining that it wasn’t intended, that the story ends at the conclusion of the fourth book (in case anyone else reading that review wondered) and then I offered to send it to them for free so they could find out what happened. They never replied. I went and changed the title from ‘trilogy’ to ‘series’ in all the ebook files and on all the listings on every retail site I sell through – it already said it in the product desription. Naturally the retailers all accepted my chages except for Amazon who asserted that if it said ‘trilogy’ on the book cover (even if it’s too small to read) it will be called ‘trilogy’ until I pay the designers to change the j-peg and upload the new one.

I chalked it up as something to watch and a change to do when I brief the designers about my next book.

During last year, I entered both books for the excellent Wishing Shelf Book Awards. When the feedback came through I was very surprised to discover that readers there, too, had commented negatively about my writing a ‘trilogy’ of four books.

Clearly, something that hadn’t registered with me was really pissing other people off. So what have I learned from this litany of amateurism?

  1. Give yourself options.
    My four book ‘trilogy’ has royally ticked off a whole bunch of people. Folks I will never get back. Folks who will consider me a wanker forever and spread their opinions near and far. But the problem would never have existed if I’d had the wit to call it the K’Barthan Series from the get go. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so learn from mine: if you’re writing a trilogy then, in the name of the almighty don’t call it that. Call it a series unless it’s actually finished, has three books the same length, and you are about to publish the first one.
  2. Give yourself some slack.
    Accept there are some things you can cover with research and some things that only experience will show you but.
  3. When experience does kick you in the teeth, learn from it.
  4. If you can repair the damage, do it as soon as you can but think it through, don’t hurry it or you may just make things worse.
    OK, so I can’t afford to get rid of the bloody ‘trilogy’ moniker until the entire series is edited at the end of November. The covers, I can, and will, change sooner. For now I just have to accept that I’ve fucked up, chalk it up to experience and learn from what I have done.

The grim truth about interacting on the internet.

The second smack in the face from reality came this week.

Recently, I’ve had a facebook ad running which offers the first two books in the K’Barthan Series to anyone who joins my mailing list. I’d heard that a good way to identify a market of people to show your ad to is to choose an audience who like books by an author similar to you. It then suggests you make reference to the author you, and they, know and love and suggest that if they like that stuff they might like yours. I’m always a bit leery about this, I mean, all those reviews saying I write like Adams are just setting folks up for disappointment because I don’t. But I thought it might work with a humorous bent if I aimed it at Pratchett readers.

After a bit of tweaking and watching and tweaking I ended up with an audience who liked Terry Pratchett books and an ad which referenced CMOT Dibbler.

OK, in my defence here, I wrote the copy while Sir Terry was still around but this is what it said:

“If you like funny British science fiction and fantasy why not check out this freebie: The K’Barthan Series stands complete at four books and I’d like to give you two of them. Yes, this all sounds a bit CMOT Dibbler school of marketing but I’m hoping you’ll find a lot more quality literary meat in these books than there is REAL meat in CMOT Dibbler’s sausages.

All you have to do is tell me where to send them – the books, obviously, real sausages will not be involved.”

Then there was this picture and the title and caption below.

FACTWSfacebookAd

“I’M LITERALLY cutting my own throat here.

If you love a bargain, help yourself to two award winning funny sci-fi fantasy books, Few Are Chosen and The Wrong stuff, parts 1 and 2 of the best selling K’Barthan Series are usually £4 but they’re free for a limited time. To grab yours click here.”

To start with, I got sign ups, shares and a couple of joky quotes about the quality of the meat – is it named? Yes it’s called Bob. In other words, exactly what I expected. Then a few days ago, from New Zealand, this:

Pep A: Ripping off a Terry Pratchett character to sell your book? Poor form?
Pep B: Poor form? Fucking shameful.

And I looked at it and I thought… what happened there? And then the ad got this comment:

Pep C: Well. He’s dead now.

And the penny dropped.

Yes M T you daft, fucking moron! He died. And so suddenly this ad is not joking about characters we know and love from a favourite author. It’s trampling over people’s memories of a great man and maligning the dead. Events can cause changes in perception. And I completely missed that. So I’ve removed the ad. Because although it was working really well I didn’t think of that, and while, personally, I think it’s a bit weird to be offended, I do absolutely get why someone might be.

Have I replied or apologised? Well… no, because of another particularly important thing that I’ve learned about the internet, so that you don’t have to is that it’s bat shit crazy, and also:

  1. The international nature of the internet is a two edged sword…
    Yes, you can talk to the entire globe. Unfortunately, not all of it thinks the way you do. That means you can and will offend thousands of people effortlessly and unwittingly at the touch of a button: not just people in Britain but folks all over the world.Seriously though, I’m not American, from the RSA, Kenya or Zimbabwe. I’m not Australian, or a Kiwi, or Tasmanian or from India, Pakistan or South East Asia. I’m not from Holland, Germany, France, Russia or any of the myriad other places where people speak English and read my books, in English. I lack the instinctive grasp of other cultures that will enable me to see the point when funny becomes offensive to them if it doesn’t to someone British. But because I’m speaking English and they speak English too, THEY EXPECT ME TO.
  2. The internet contains a huge gap in perception.
    The aforementioned gulf between the spirit in which I act and interact on line, who I think I am, and what others perceive me to be. Frankly, it’s enormous. 90% of communication is non verbal and boy does it show on t’interweb – mainly through the medium of folks becoming very suspicious of one another. And what that equates to, if you’re selling anything, anywhere on line, is an assumption that nothing you do is genuine. That everything is crafted, honed and perfected with your eye on the next sale.So while you’re trying to just be, write a blog, do stuff, keep people informed, have a presence that’s just yourself: a benign and friendly presence, there are folks out there who will dismiss it as the work of a rapacious scammer who sees everyone as a potential victim (including them, unless they’re ‘careful’ a.k.a. prickly, aggressive and ready to take offence at the drop of a hat).
  3. 3. People are going to drop their weird shit onto you.
    There’s a saying, ‘you can please some of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.’ I understand this but it seems that in today’s world, if you do anything that might put your name into the public domain, like paint, write, make music, act etc you are expected to please everyone, all of the time. Worse, if you don’t, no quarter will be given.Genuine mistakes, or simple errors of of judgement, far from being forgiven, are seen as an act of cynical aggression towards your innocent audience. A lot of people out there don’t really like themselves. They think they’re cynical, cold hearted conniving little shits, and guess what? Because they believe that about themselves they’re going to believe it about you too.
  4. Give them some slack. Try to stay positive and accept that sometimes you will offend others and it can’t always be helped.
    Long ago, I decided not to worry about the nature of the net. I am who I am and it’s hard to be anyone else. I know I will make mistakes and all I can do is try not to. It’s worth making peace with yourself and accepting that sometimes, no matter how benign you want to be and how hard you try to avoid hurting people, you will cause offence. Sometimes all you can do is apologise, chalk it up to experience, learn from it and move on. Sometimes our attempts to interact with people we don’t actually know personally, can be interpreted, by some as evidence that we’re out to get them in some way. It doesn’t matter how much cobblers that is, they’ve been burned by others and but there’s no way we will ever convince folks like that of our good intentions. There’s no point even trying. Indeed, the only thing you can do about them is hope to heaven that they never, ever find you.

So what can we do? How can writers or artists or anyone creative who interacts regularly on the internet behave ‘well’ without becoming too slick, too spun and anodyne?

Perhaps we can’t. Or perhaps all we can do is our level, genuine best to avoid saying anything that would offend us if you were on the receiving end. Do unto others and all that.

If you’re laid back and you write humour which, by its nature, is subversive you will undoubtedly prick the bubble of the pompous at some stage. But you may also stuff up and the way I have though sheer naivety, lack of foresight or plain ignorance and unwittingly offend many, many folks – good decent people who you don’t want to upset. When you do, I guess the only course is to chalk it up to experience – apologise if appropriate/possible and move on.

Few people do things deliberately to offend, whatever many internet users think. Most of us offend because we’re human, and flawed; and that’s natural. If we never cocked it up we’d be actual God. Because perfect is impossible unless you’re Allah, right?

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54 Comments

Filed under General Wittering

54 responses to “A question of perception

  1. Ouch. That’s a couple of rough patches. I’m always leery of using the names and characters of other authors because of stuff like that. I see a lot of authors using them in book blurbs too, which is weird. Hope you recover from everything.

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Authors, especially of Trilogies, please read this post by Mary…
    NOTE: The post contains Adult Language and references that may offend, but please ignore these and understand the Message in order to avoid the same pitfalls…

  3. Mary, take my advice and remove the reference to Allah to avoid extreme unpleasantness from his followers…

  4. That’s a really honest post. I’ll start with the simple. To me, with my black and white mind, a book of four doesn’t sit well as a trilogy. It’s the sort of thing you could pass off as humour if you were TP. Maybe. But Am’s rules sound sooooo pernickety. And, the sad truth is, there are a lot of people who get off on slagging someone off on the Internet. Hell, I got a FB pm telling me how mala I was and that she’d denuncioed me. She didn’t bother saying what she was complaining about though!
    Secondly, my personal view is that it’s not relevant whether or not TP is dead. So are Shakespeare and Dickens. Death happens. I really don’t think you dropped a huge bollock there, but … just my opinion.
    Thirdly, yup people are weird. And, it’s well known that British humour, or at least acid, biting, irony, parody style British humour is not always understood. It’s also such a fine line trying not to offend others. I think, as a creative work of art, which is what a book is, it’s not the same as a blog post, everyday speech, newspaper stories etc. Look at Rushdie. An author can write whatever they want, it may sell or not. And, to a large extent, I think it’s valid to extend that to the marketing strategy too.
    Just sorry you’ve had a bummer with some crappy reactions from people. At least there are nice ones out there too.

    • Thanks. I think it’s just something I should learn from and chalk up to experience. The financial issues surrounding changing the trilogy name will shortly go away as I’ll be speccing (mwahahahargh! Omg, iPad has just changed speccing to spewing, sorry digression there) a new cover so the changes can be done with that. The innards of books 1 and 2 are done and 3 and 4 will be sorted soon – after the big edit. We’re nearly out of the woods.

      Cheers

      MTM

      • I’m just being very literal with the trilogy thing. I think Dylan nailed it nicely. It’s certainly not something to give someone grief about …
        I agree, I think it will be good to polish off K’Barth – in a nice way – before Christmas and that will leave you clear to write about scary black lobsters, or whatever takes your fancy. And, let’s not forget, K’Barth has got some pretty good reviews and awards.

      • Ah I know it’s literal but the fact the wsa feedback mentions it, too shows that it is worth addressing and for those starting a trilogy, not worth exposing yourself to. And you’re right. I think Dylan does nail it.

        The next one up is space dustmen. It may take less time judging by the amount that’s going on in my head. I want to do more stuff set in K’Barth, too. But I must finish Boldrort the Gargoyle Wrangler, as well, before McMini grows out of it.

        Cheers

        MTM

      • I tend to put on an objective hat rather than a personal one when looking at these things. What I might like, isn’t what I would professionally recommend I suppose.
        Space Dustmen? Boldrort? You can’t have any spare space in your head!

      • When people ask me what my head is like I tell them to go watch the big scene at the beginning of cars 2. There’s usually something like that going on in my head the entire time. 🙂

        Cheers

        MTM

      • I think I nailed it, too. *Dylan wanders off admiring his own brilliance before walking into a lamppost*

  5. Annie

    Ahhh, sorry you’ve beeing having a crap time of it, and I’ve been too busy with New Job to notice. All I know is that you’re the loveliest, funniest and warmest of friends and I know that in your heart you would never set out to upset or offend anyone. I’ll happily set anyone straight who disagrees.

  6. I’m really sorry you had such a bad experience, MT. My thoughts, for what they’re worth, is that I don’t have a problem with a trilogy overstitching. If I loved the books enough to make it to book three, finding out there’s another is a bonus.
    As for the Pratchett pratfall, I personally don’t see you’ve done anything wrong, and although I can see how some may believe you’re taking advantage of the author’s death to promote your book, it really speaks more about them than it does you.
    I believe with online life as with offline life, as long as you stay true to yourself, it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.

    • Thanks for the heartening words. I absolutely agree that being true to ourselves is all any one of us can do. Also I guess it’s always going to be a bit dicier when you’re putting your ideas out to a new ‘cold’ community who aren’t familiar with them.

  7. Sorry you’ve had such a rough patch. People can be so mean. They don’t give you the benefit of doubt, but instead go on the attack. The internet can be a scary place.

    • The internet is full of nutters, that’s true. The international thing definitely exacerbates it sometimes though. Here we are, all human, all the same and yet so, so different. 🙂

      Cheers

      MTM

  8. Rotten luck. So sorry you had to go through all that. 😦

  9. MT, sorry you ran into trouble quite unintentionally. I tangled with a particularly nasty fellow author on Amazon back when I first pubbed. She posted some brutal comments on the forums and an ugly tag on my first book (before Ammy did away with that feature on our product pages). I stupidly replied to her which only egged her on. Learned a painful lesson and have kept my mouth shut ever since, but it took a long while to let go of my injured feelings. I hope you recover from yours and move on. That’s all we can do in the end.

    • That sounds harsh. It’s folks like that I worry about. 🙂 I’m not too sore, just annoyed with myself for letting those things happen, or at least, not seeing them coming.

      Cheers

      MTM

  10. Interesting! I too wrote a trilogy, but when I published the second book, I chopped it into two volumes, thus making it a trilogy in four volumes. I wrote blog posts about that and everything. Luckily I came to my senses and when I had professional cover images designed, I changed it to a series. Even so, when I sent the images to the Book Designer’s monthly ebook cover design awards (June 2015), Joel Friedlander did comment that books with both a volume number and a series number might be confusing. I don’t think so, but then I’m a cataloguing librarian…
    As others have said, your errors don’t seem all that serious and the best policy is to move on.

  11. You’re being too hard on yourself because you could not have predicted these things so you couldn’t have prevented them. It’s now OK to compare your work with Douglas Adams because he’s been dead longer. Writers die. Your timing was unlucky. Give it a few years and use the same marketing. Unless you’re dead.

    Your writing is funny. Humour always upsets somebody. (see my funny/ tasteless comment above) You have to accept that.

    Just as many readers are angry at the endless series as as at a 4 book trilogy – you slightly misjudged how long your finite story would be but many writers DO milk the ‘series’ notion and you paid for their sins, not for yours. Calling it a series might have lost you many readers who wanted an ending – and they will get the ending you promised, just later. And yes, change the cover!

    P.S. I decided ‘The Troubadours’ is a Quartet, for all these sorts of reasons. I am researching pre Book 4 and I will make that The Ending if it kills me and all my characters 🙂 Watch this space.

    • Thanks. You’re right about humour, too. That comment made me laugh though. Quartet was probably the word I should have used. Good luck with ending it though. 🙂

      Cheers

      MTM

  12. Glad you got that off your chest Mary! I was pissed off when I bought your books as I received, 2, 3, and 4, not 1. Being not very computer savvy, I didn’t bother to do anything about it. I dare say when the grandchildren are at the right stage for reading them I’ll see if they need 1!! I’m glad you’ve fixed the word trilogy on the title page.

    • 😉 Sorry to hear about missing book 1. I’ve dropped you an e-mail about it! If you have an e-book reader I can e-mail it to you. If you’re looking for the paperback version I can send it to you.

      Cheers

      MTM

      • Hi Mary, ‘Few Are Chosen’ arrived in the post today, and I do send my very grateful thanks! I can’t wait to hear what Mackenzie thinks of it!!
        It will make it easier to understand, having book no.1.
        Best wishes and huge thanks! Barbara

      • Delighted it reached you. I hope it goes down well.

        Cheers

        MTM

  13. Ah Mary, as a fellow humourist I feel your pain. I had no problem at all with a trilogy in four parts (being an Adams fan I got the joke, you see). I’m sure that I’ve offended someone somewhere – If I haven’t then I’ve not been trying hard enough.

    Just don’t beat yourself up, and whatever you do, don’t stop writing!

    • Thanks Will have no fear, I am not just doing the edits on a new book, I’m ready to spew out loads more books. And you’re right about offending people so at least I’ve been putting some decent effort into it.

      Cheers

      MTM

  14. I agree,it’s all a huge learning curve and cheers for the tips. Don’t beat yourself up about it though, for as long as we are writing and promoting our work, we will win some and lose some. Can’t keep everyone happy.
    I know what you mean though about the series / trilogy. When I wrote my first book, I thought it would be the first. While the second one wouldn’t be described as a sequel, it’s certainly a companion book and yes, I’ve thought of a third book now -to complete the ‘trilogy’. Will there be more? Much depends on the reaction from readers.
    Best of luck with the new book xx

  15. Jaq

    There is a small group of people who actually go aroun the Internet looking for things to be offended about. They’ll find something, no matter what you do. Move on and don’t let it get to you. My personal troll following don’t even remember what I’m supposed to have done, as was evidenced when someone on the Booklikes site cited a common offence that in fact I’ve never even been accused of before. I’m just one of the 200+ authors he’s not supposed to like because, um, his friends all follow the same list (for the record, my offence was expressing the opinion that down-rating books they’ve never read as part of a group attack because one person had an issue with the author was unethical. Apparently authors aren’t entitled to opinions on ethics. The one person in my case was a stalker who followed me around the Internet for years, but her Internet ‘friends’ don’t realise she’s a nutter.)

    As for the cover issue, I suggest getting a graphics program and controlling your own titles, even if you get art elsewhere. That’s what I do. If I want to add or change a subtitle or anything, I go type it in. No cost.

    • Yeh, I know the folks you mean. I’ve had a couple of warning one stars from them on sites off Amazon just to let me know what they can do if I cross them. That was after an argument about ethics. Good advice re the graphics programme. I have a really old one which doesn’t read modern files very well so I may just need to update it.

      Cheers

      MTM

  16. Jemima Pett

    Well, as you know, my trilogy turned into a series, but at least the first three books actually were a trilogy and you could stop with them. If I was to nitpick (would I do that? er…) I’d say yours are really a serial, since the books are not self-contained. But since I’ve just finished the last one, and adored it, definitely the best of the four, who cares? Oh yes, you care. I would too. I just ran foul of some imaginative nastiness on a forum, but fortunately others rallied round while I wondered what to say, so I didn’t have to say anything.

    Being a Brit, I completely love the four-book trilogy. But as someone else said, lots of people don’t get Brit humour, especially irony, and a colleague and I used to enjoy ourselves greatly emailing ironic comments to partners in European countries who we knew wouldn’t see the funny side. I also laugh out loud in the theater in completely different places from an American audience. We can only be true to ourselves, while at the same time raising our own awareness of how other people might see things.

    It sounds like you’ve handled it very well. All that you need now is for the hurt to go away.

    Do you fancy doing Norwich SciFi Con together next October?

    PS I’ve started using Gimp for my cover files. It was recommended to me, and I’m coping okay with it so far 🙂

    • Thanks and yes, in theory, I would. It depends how my edits and stuff go… I’m hoping to get a book out in tome to sell it at Bury Christmas Fayre…. The intensity has been ramped up today when McCat destroyed my computer by knocking a pint of water over it.

      Cheers

      MTM

      • Jemima Pett

        Hope your computer is better. I came back for another read of this to help myself feel… not alone in failing to communicate across the water. Will Message you on Twitter – I don’t often do that, so feel the need to ask people to check 😉

  17. Well I’m sorry you had those experiences, it was a hard way to learn. But I cant believe how touchy those people were, in fact how ridiculously petty! I have a feeling that they are the kind of people who hide behind the anonymity and distance of the internet, and would never have the guts to complain face to face. Yes never interact with the buffoons… ever! These are the kind of people who give a book 1 star cos they havent read it yet but the cover looks nice. Dont waste your breath! 😂

  18. I like the idea of book 4 in a trilogy, if the series was clearly humorous in tone.

    I think a lot of the “offended” people on the internet aren’t as offended as they claim, and many of them probably aren’t offended at all. The small handful who are actually offended probably aren’t part of your target market to being with.

  19. Owie! Sorry for that painfulness Mary. Maybe you should have gone – book one – book two – book two and a half (in the spirit of our much loved Terry) and then book 3. Voila! Three books. It’s scary to come up against the meanies though – so it’s lovely to see that you’ve risen above them. XX

  20. I’m sorry to read it’s been a bit of a crap learning curve lately (I have found lately that learning curves tend to be mostly harsh, which is disappointing). I have also learnt that people use the internet to vent the unreasonable rage they manage to otherwise supress in daily life. If it were me, just so you know, the fourth book to the trilogy wouldn’t bother me. If anything, especially if I loved the story, I would be delighted there was a surprise book!! Don’t let the meanies get to you, you are doing your best (and I bet they fuck up all the time but they would never admit it!). Chin up, buttercup. xx

  21. This is a shocker to me – I have just published my first book in a series, and people are eagerly asking for more. Are your cliffhangers so abrupt that people are left with “unresolved” feelings? Everyone always says that writing a series is the best, so I’m bewildered why you’d get hate mail for writing more books…sorry to hear that.

    • They are total cliffhangers but, to me, each episode of the quest is resolved but they are Empire Strikes Back level cliff hangers.

      The review is something I chalked up to experience but the reader comment from the book awards did ring alarm bells as I rate them highly as an arbiter of quality and good practice, so if one of them thinks I’m doing it wrong that is a worry. I think it is the cliff hanger endings combined with the extra book that caused the problems. It probably wouldn’t have mattered if each book had been a stand alone adventure.

      Cheers

      MTM

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