After much deliberation, I have now reached my decisions regarding the questions I posted on Sunday. First of all, let me repeat how grateful I am to all of you for your feedback! I could hardly believe my eyes when only minutes after I had posted my questions, I started receiving well-thought, well-constructed arguments. In total, thirty-seven people have shared their thoughts so far. Thank you, all! You guys really are the best friends I could have on this journey!
Now, on to the decisions.
This was relatively easy, although you were almost evenly split on whether I should rebrand or not. I’ve decided to follow the suggestion to brand Schism as book number zero. Schism is a great little novelette, but this will make it clearer to readers that the series really starts with Rise of Prince, and that Schism is a prequel.
In the future, I’d like to revisit Schism in order to add several more subplots that have been in my head, thus turning it into a full-sized novel. Right now, however, I need to write the final book first. 🙂
As for the name, I really liked the suggestion of adding an adjective. However, I prefer short names, which is why I changed “Pearseus: Year 18, The Schism” to “Pearseus: Schism.” So, I’ll stick with “Pearseus: Vigil”, since no one actually said they dislike the word. Vigil, incidentally, really ties in with the story, as one of the defining lines is, “Holding lonely vigil over a world long gone.”
A lot of you made the point that it’s too good a book to share online for free. As authors, we deserve to be paid for our work, and I completely agree with that.
Several also made the point that it depends on what I get out of the free copies. My ethical bribe, as it is, is reviews. Runaway Smile now has eleven reviews – four more than when I asked you the question, a mere four days ago.
So, the question is, which is more important: reviews, or sales. Both are crucial to an author. This is like Sophie’s choice!
What tipped the scale in my mind was another point some of you made: that my Amazon audience and my blog one is not the same. I really appreciate you guys. You’re my community, and I have more in common with you than with most members of my own family! So, I’ve decided to leave the book available for free on my blog, and my blog alone, in order to share it with you.
I will, however, indicate that this is not something I can do forever. So, I have now added a sentence that makes it clear that my blog visitors can read it for free – for the moment.
Another point several of you made, concerned my future writing. I have already written six children’s books in total, and Dimitris is illustrating Musiville; the second in line.
Will the extra reviews generate sales? That remains to be seen. You see, I can’t use my normal marketing tricks with Runaway Smile. Amazon won’t let me drop the price under $2.99, because of the large file size (due to the illustrations). Also, it claims it won’t display properly on Paperwhite or older Kindles – only on Fire (I’ve tested it on Paperwhite, however, and it displays just fine, so I assume it has to do with the file size again). All this makes marketing a tricky affair. I hope that people will still buy the paperback edition, as one of the particularities of the children’s book genre is that paper sells better than digital.
You have, however, convinced me that removing the final pages would be a mistake, so I will either offer a couple of chapters in the future, or keep it here in its entirety.
Let me close by thanking once again each and every one of you! I read your comments with great interest, and they were instrumental in reaching my decisions. You are the best community I could ask for!