“First” vs. “Second”

Which is scarier: Releasing your very “preceding all others in time, order, or importance” book, or releasing your “next to the first in place or time”?

On the one hand, Book One of the Wilderhark Tales was my chance to make a smashing first impression. Most of my intended audience had little to no idea who I was, or didn’t know much about my writing style beyond what they’d read in Ever On Word blog posts or the odd short story here and there. Essentially, “The Swan Prince” was my big “HERE I AM” to the world, and set up a precedent for what people could expect, both from my authorial style, and from the Wilderhark series in particular.

To my continual glee, my self-publishing debut was very well received! We got some nice buzz going during the launch week, I’ve accumulated a treasured number of flattering reviews, apparently sales aren’t straight-up dismal, I was able to talk my local library into purchasing a copy (if you happy to be anywhere near Waukegan Public Library, run in there and demand to borrow it!), and – glory of glories – it even won the Reader’s Choice Award during July’s Blogger Book Fair! The Wilderhark Tales were off to a great start!

Then it came time to follow up with Book Two.

I was a little bit nervous going into the publication process for “The Stone Kingdom”. It wasn’t only a matter of putting out a great book anymore; now, there were expectations to live up to.

As I hope should go without saying, “Stone Kingdom” isn’t simply a clone of its predecessor. There are some notable similarities within the storyline, we do see some familiar faces from “Swan Prince”, and there is consistency within the narrative voice. But apart from that (and, of course, the well-known fairytale references), everything’s all new.

What if readers didn’t connect with the new protagonists?

What if they felt the story was somehow a letdown?

What if they thought it was too X or not Y enough or what in the Z was the author thinking?!

Well, it was simply a risk I had to take. I’d written the book. I’d promised the book. By jolly, I was going to deliver the book, and Z take the consequences! (I’m really starting to take a shine to “Z” as an expletive…)

And— say what? How now? Egad, my advance readers gave a really positive response!

Wry wit, clever twists, and, of course, dashing love interests,” they said!

Not only fun and funny, but relevant and wise,” they said!

Even, “I will go as far as to say that this one was better than the first.” (“Eeeeee-wow!!!” I said.)

And Edgwyn has to deal with the fact that everybody loves him. (“‘Nyeh, nyeh,’ she said,” he grumbles lightly.)

Looks like ya done good, “Stone Kingdom”! I am very proud of you.*

*I’ve actually been proud of the book for years before its publication. It’s one of my favorite Wilderhark Tales. ^.^

Books One and Two of  The Wilderhark Tales, as photographed by happy reader Steven Bourelle.

Books One and Two of The Wilderhark Tales, as photographed by happy reader Steven Bourelle.

Hu-u-uge thanks – thanks THIS BIG – to everyone who’s already purchased/read/told me they love “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)” so far. (Please don’t forget to tell the retail sites, too, with an honest review! …or a lying review, if that’s how you roll, but I think most of us would much prefer your honesty.) And if you – yes, you; don’t pretend to look innocent, you know I mean you – haven’t experienced the book yet, wait no longer! Nab a paperback via Amazon or CreateSpace, or an e-book for your Kindle or Nook! The people have spoken: The read’s “well worth Wyle”. ;D

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