Tag Archives: 2nd Edition

The Importance of Beta Readers – Book 3

Hey everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2019 was an absolute success, and with almost a week to spare, I finished the third novel of the Sword of Dragons series!

Finishing was a massive rush of satisfaction and relief – I’ve stalled on book 3 almost as much as I stalled on book 1 back in the day, mostly due to life events.  NaNoWriMo came at the perfect time, and I was able to buckle down and power through the second half of the novel.

Additionally, I’ve gone through an immediate first edit!  However, this served more than just a single read-through for prose or grammar or anything like that – I changed course in several ways on this book since I first started writing it, and that meant I had to go back and retroactively correct incontinuities in the first half.

This time, however, now that the second draft is complete, I’m doing something I’ve never done before – allowing beta readers to read it before the third draft.

Why Early Beta Readers are Important

To be honest, I should have allowed people to read books 1 and 2, and The Orc War Campaigns, long before I did.  Especially Burning Skies, however, because it was only after it was published that I received a valuable piece of feedback about the ending.

If you’re lucky (or unlucky) enough to have read the 1st edition of Burning Skies (the old cover can be seen on the right,) you may remember the final battle against Nuuldan ending with Cardin basically watching someone else defeat the villain.  In many respects, it was a Deus Ex Machina conclusion.

So for the 2nd edition, I made Cardin more directly responsible for overcoming the villain, without sacrificing the inclusion of those who came to help him (I’m trying not to spoil the book too much, in case you came to my blog having never read my books :) )

If I had given this book over to beta readers earlier and asked for plot and character feedback, someone might have caught that plot point and the 1st edition might never have had that blemish.

This is why I encourage any and all writers to allow at least one person to beta read very early.  Either after a first or second draft.  In that case, I would recommend asking them not to focus as much on grammar and sentence structure (you can fix that in your next draft and ask an editor to focus on that, or at least subsequent beta readers, if you’re like me and can’t afford to hire an editor.)

Which brings me to another point…

Writers and Egos

One thing I had to learn very early on as a writer, and sometimes is a lesson I have to be re-taught – if you have an ego about your writing, it’s going to get bruised or even shattered at some point.  This could be in a writer’s critique group, or it could be reviews of your published works.

But in my opinion, it is vital to drop any ego when it comes to beta reading and early feedback.  You may think you’ve come up with the absolute best story, or the greatest characters, or the most engaging plot, but it is entirely possible that a beta reader will come back and say, “Um, this didn’t work.  I think you need to find a way to fix the plot.”  Or “This character is exceedingly boring.”

In fact, I received that last bit of feedback from an agent for another book series I’ve been working on in the background, and while at first I felt a little ego bruising, I realized she was right.  I’ve started working on fixing that while I let Sword of Dragons book 3 simmer for a while and wait for beta reader feedback :)

If, after setting aside your ego, you feel like the beta reader may still be incorrect, get a second and third opinion.  If everyone you let beta read agrees that something doesn’t work, do your best to fix it.  Ask them why they think something doesn’t work, and if you’re stuck on how to make it better, ask them their opinions.

Ultimately, however, this is your story to tell.  The final decision will always be yours, and the advice I’m giving today is with the assumption that your goal is to write something that a lot of people will want to read.  If your goal is instead to just write your story your way and you’re not as concerned about how well your book sells, that is perfectly legitimate.

If there is one universal advice about writing, it’s that we should all do it for the reasons we want to, not for the reasons others tell us we should be doing it.

Thanks for reading, everyone!  Happy holidays!

-Jon Wasik

The Sword of Dragons – 2nd Edition Cover Reveal!

Hi everyone, today is gonna be one jam-packed blog!  It’s been over a year in the making, but the 2nd editions of the first two novels in the Sword of Dragons series, along with the print edition of the Orc War Campaigns anthology, finally have a release date!  This also means that I finally show off the covers!

If you’re new to my blog, a long time ago I announced that I was working towards this goal.  One of the many changes in the 2nd edition was a unique title for the first book, previously just titled “The Sword of Dragons.”  Now it is known as “Rise of the Forgotten”!

So without further ado, I give you book 1’s new cover!  (Click image for larger version)

Rise of the Forgotten full cover! Artwork by Vuk Kostic

But wait, there’s more!  As I said, this is a triple-book release event!  So I now give you the cover art for Burning Skies:

Burning Skies Full Cover. Artwork by Vuk Kostic

And finally, the one cover I’ve given no hints or previews to whatsoever over the past year, the cover for The Orc War Campaigns:

The Orc War Campaigns Full Cover! Artwork by Vuk Kostic.

One of the things I’m hoping you’ll notice right off the bat is that the artwork is a similar style across all three.  In my search for cover art, I was fortunate enough to find an artist on Shutterstock named Vuk Kostic whose artwork was exactly what I was looking for, and he has posted copious amounts of artwork with dragons!  So it gives me a large pool to choose from :)

I am very happy to have spent the money to purchase the rights to utilize his artwork, and at least for the time being, I plan to utilize his artwork for all future Sword of Dragons covers.  I highly recommend checking out his Shutterstock page to see what else he has, he’s a fantastic artist!

There’s been far more done to the books than just shiny (actually matte) new covers!  I have proofread all three books several times over the past year and found numerous items to change, some of which I noted in my previous blog.  The pacing and flowing should be a lot better, and this will make them even more enjoyable to read :)

Not to mention maps!  There are maps inside the books!!!

Release Date Announced

Even better news, I’ve officially settled on a release date for all three books…and it’s just around the corner!  Drum roll, please….

November 16th, 2018

Yup, you read that correctly, this coming Friday!

Image Source – http://survivor-org.wikia.com/wiki/File:1723893-875275-firework-streaks-in-night-sky-celebration-background.jpg

In fact, as soon as Amazon approves everything, the Kindle editions will be available for pre-order!  I’ll update my facebook author’s page as soon as I get notification with links to where you can go to pre-order!

Unfortunately KDP has no method for allowing pre-orders of the print editions, but fear not!  As soon as I possibly can, this Friday I will post links to them once they are available!

Thank You Followers and Fans

I want to thank all of you, my readers, my fans, everyone.  This has been a tremendous effort that has been on top of considerable life changes.  Since I began this undertaking, I lost my Mom, married my wonderful Starshine, and moved.  Through it all, I’ve received nothing but encouragement and support from everyone.

It means the world to me.  I hope you all feel like this was worth it, and I hope you enjoy.  I look forward to hearing what everyone has to say about them!!

Thank you for reading :)
-Jon Wasik

When Is It Too Soon?

Hi everyone,

I apologize that today’s blog post is such a short one, we’ve had a family emergency and my mind is just…not in the right place for writing a blog.  However, I didn’t want to leave you all with nothing this week, so I thought I’d answer a question I’ve been asked by a couple of people recently.

Cover by Christian Michael

“Why did you announce the 2nd editions of the Sword of Dragons so early?  If people know that there’s going to be a 2nd edition sometime soon, doesn’t that mean few people will want to buy the current editions?  You won’t get many sales between now and then.”

That’s true, and is one of the things I considered when deciding when to reveal those plans.  However, for the same reason that I made the announcement so early, I’ve not been buying any more advertisements for the books.

I would feel guilty, trying to get people to buy my books when there’s a newer, better version on the horizon.  I already feel bad since I know there will be some people who already have the 1st editions that will want to buy the 2nd, and that in turn has fueled my desire to make the 2nd edition as good as possible, to make it worthwhile.

When I said that, someone replied, “Who cares if they have to buy two versions?  You want to make a living off of writing, right?  Then you should try making money anywhere you can.”

Is that the right way to make more money?  Possibly.  But is it the right thing to do?

It’s no secret, I want to be able to make enough sales to one day live off of writing.  But I don’t want to make my entire focus be on money, because I’m afraid if I do that, I’ll lose my real focus –  Telling stories the best way that I can.

Progress on the 2nd Editions

I’m more than halfway through Rise of the Forgotten’s edits, and I’m finding that all of the chapters I wrote just before, during, and just after my writers block all those years ago need way more work than any previous ones so far.  And that makes sense to me, since I had a really hard time getting the story out back then.

As for the maps, the map of Edilas (the continent where the 4 kingdoms are) is complete except for a couple of details.  Test prints came out wonderful!  I need to get the world map cleaned up and a couple of final details on it, and then I need to get Devor ready for book 2.

Projected completion of 2nd editions is still in the air, but I’ll definitely let you all know as soon as I know :)

Thanks for reading!
-Jon Wasik