Friday, 28 June 2013

Lessons from Dead on Demand


With our next Morton novel around the corner, we'll be doing numerous posts about what it's all about over the next 2 months. But before we get to what it is, I'd like to talk about what it's not.

You all know Dead on Demand was our debut. We wrote whatever we fancied with little regard for convention. In doing so, we did some things in a less than perfect manner.

So what are we going differently?

·        Fully British - no concessions to Americanisms. It's set in London. Let's keep it authentic rather than letting US phrases creep in (e.g. John Doe instead of Joe Bloggs).

·       3x Pro Proofing. We did one content edit, and one proof last time. Then had to do another proof four months post release. Part of that was timeframe. Our writing wasn't clean enough to get away with it. I expect that wasn't helped by the timeframe of the 90 days challenged. This time, we've taken it much slower, had more alpha readers on it and we'll be using multiple rounds of proofing to try and get the best product we can done.

·        Less shock value. We like strong plotlines, but in hindsight the more excessive elements of Dead on Demand were unnecessary. Violence for the sake of violence is counterproductive.

·        More expert consults - You'll notice a research heavy element or two in this one. Last time we covered some stuff in fair detail e.g. taipan neurotoxins. The problem here is always balancing 'enough to satisfy the majority' with 'brief' with 'reasonable time taken to research'. Anything we do isn't going to be expert testimony, but it's all got to pass the wikipedia test.

·         Less head-hopping. I love multiple stranded books that bring it all together in the finale. But less complex threads make for a more readable story, and thus more commercially viable fiction.

·         No free run. Last time, the exposure was excessive. We reached outside our target market, and that was reflected in the run of reviews that dropped the average quite substantially.

·         Print and eBook at the same time - if we can manage it with our self imposed deadlines.

·         More ARC copies - see previous post for how to get one!

·         More backstory for Morton. He's not going to be revealed all at once - we've got a few more planned yet - but you'll get inside his head a bit more.

If you still haven't grabbed Dead on Demand, it's still 99c a little longer.

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