Post-Convention Thoughts & Takeaways, Part 2 (Or are we at 3 now?)

I don’t recall offhand if I made a post like this after my second convention, but I know I’ve done this once before, and now, after my 3rd convention, I have some more thoughts & observations to share.

The convention, Icon, here in Israel, took place about 2 weeks ago now. It was my biggest convention yet in several ways, being the longest (3 days), and, fittingly, my most profitable.

This time I (kinda) had one new book out, the Hebrew translation of Light Unto Another World Volume 1. Unfortunately, hard copies didn’t arrive on time, so all I had was the proof to show off, and I could take orders. So, unfortunately, I can’t make any proper statements on how well it did, since anything that’s not physically there is always going to sell much fewer copies.

Once again, Light Unto Another World was my best seller, followed by The Dragon Hand. I did sell one copy of A Greater Duty, but fantasy is still the firm winner genre as of now.

The biggest takeaway from the convention, and probably the best piece of news overall, is that more people know who I am now, and I’m reaching the point where I’m getting reader feedback at cons. I was visited by a few people who’d read at least one of my books before, several of whom bought the next books in the series (primarily Light Unto Another World.) And at least one person who couldn’t buy my books last convention returned & did so this time. Reader feedback has been extremely positive, and it’s just fun interacting in person with people who’ve enjoyed my work who aren’t people I know personally.

Also, one person who enjoyed my epic fantasy novel The Dragon Hand asked about the sequel, so I’ve decided to get back to that; I’ve now finally finished the outline.

But back to the con as a whole. My setup is, one step at a time, starting to look more professional. Got a proper sign holder this time, and I’m planning another couple small upgrades for next time.

As this was another outdoor convention, and still at the tail end of summer, I decided to just go with the horns instead of a full costume. (Also, pro-tip, if you’re going to do an outdoor con, get a portable shade tent. You’re going to want one.)

Another upgrade this time; nicer giveaways! I got some pretty nifty bookmarks printed, and many more people took those compared to my old business cards; who’d have thought readers like bookmarks?

I had new table neighbors this time (and we ended up shade buddies.) Something else I’ve learned doing cons is that, while it may be clear that outside the convention you might have fairly little in common (in terms of politics or other ideological leanings) there’s a comradery among everyone selling their stuff at places like this. We’re all there to make money, and people are always willing to chat, share tips, and commiserate about the damn sun in the sky. Considering how much drama we always hear about online involving conventions, it’s been really nice to see this side of it.

I’m also seeing the progression of my own learning from con to con. This time, I had *nearly* enough small change for the whole thing.

I won’t drag this on too long, but I do want to emphasize that I highly recommend that any indie creator, whether you do books, comics, or whatever, at least try out a local con. Tables shouldn’t be too much, and there are so many benefits beyond making a bit of money over the course of a couple days. Even just passively, you end up networking and meeting interesting people. Last con, someone I met got my in touch with the woman who translated Light Unto Another World Volume 1 into Hebrew, and I met her in person for the first time at this convention. She and her husband even ordered a copy of the finished product!

It’s also just fun, experiencing a convention from a different angle (and it’s extra fun when friends or family attending stop by to say hi). Though, if you want to do anything involving leaving your table for more than a couple minutes, you need to bring or find a partner lol. My only mini excursion over the 3 days was one quick trip to the secondhand store where I made my only convention purchase: All 10 books of Roger Zelazny’s Amber series, for less than $15 in total! (They’re not in order here XD.)

That’ll about do it for now l just wanted to share the quick recap & brief thoughts.

Next up, I’ll be keeping an eye out in case there’s anther con before the next one I already know about. I can’t wait for it too; by next time I’ll have physical copies of my Hebrew book here, and will probably have at least one new Light Unto Another World Volume for my readers. And, within a year, G-d willing, I’ll finally have something to offer the people who stop by seeking manga as opposed to light novels; I’ve got most of Amaranth Angels Volume 1 scripted, and I just arranged with my artist for work to start on that in January.

Onward and upward!

My books are all of course available on Amazon; check them out if you haven’t yet, and if you’ve read & enjoyed them, consider leaving a quick review either on Amazon or Goodreads; it really helps!

Until next time–hopefully soon!

4 thoughts on “Post-Convention Thoughts & Takeaways, Part 2 (Or are we at 3 now?)

  1. I was there on the first day and bought Light Unto Another World volume 1. It was great, and I immediately bought the rest on Amazon, but you really need to revise volume 2. It’s by far the weakest in the series. Volumes 1,4,5 are great. Volume 3 is okay. Volume 2 is, let’s face it, bad. I do really look forward to the next 5 volumes and plan to buy them as soon as possible. I’d also like to comment that there were problems with the print quality.

    Do you sign books? When’s the next convention you’ll attend, as I’d like to bring my copies to be signed.

    1. Thanks for reading! As for Volume 2, I don’t believe in changing an already-released book (apart from correcting missed typos or things like that.) Additionally, the rest of my readers who’ve given me feedback enjoyed Volume 2; but everyone’s opinions are different.

      I’ve been made aware of an issue with the chapter titles looking off in print versions, and I’m trying to figure out exactly how to fix that. They’re all printed by amazon, so beyond what I can control in the manuscript itself, I can’t do anything about their print quality (which is generally pretty good.)

      I’m more than happy to sign books, and I plan to be at as many conventions as I can manage going forward. As of now, the next one I know about that I plan to attend is Harucon in March.

      1. (Written in the style of Zhang Xuan from Library of Heaven’s Path)

        Your story had 13 flaws in total. Are you sure you want to hear them? Very well then, but you better prepare yourself.

        The first flaw is that after Uriel exits the sewer he immediately encounters Ahmed and Mike, yet even though he could, he chooses not to shoot Ahmed immediately on site. This is out of character and stupid.

        The second flaw is that after escaping from the city and meeting with the the rebels the battle with the kingdom’s forces is written in a very mechanical way that lacks emotions, motivations, or thoughts. This makes the scene shallow, meaningless, and boring. There is no emotional connection, and the arbitrariness of the action even makes the scene confusing. This flaw exists in all action scenes in this volume.

        The third flaw is that despite being in the middle of the kingdom and near the capital, somehow only the rebels were able to bring reinforcements, so that when the kingdom withdrew from the battle the rebels had the leisure to lounge around and reorganize before escaping.

        The fourth flaw is that there is very little description of life in the bunker, so that hiding in the bunker becomes a shallow and meaningless fact for the reader.

        The fifth flaw is that when Uriel says that he has a plan for infiltrating the capital to gather intel, he never explains his plan, and with how he goes about things it looks like he just has a vague goal and is making it up as he goes, which hurts his credibility in the eyes of the reader.

        The sixth flaw is that when leaving the capital Uriel decides to try climbing the wall instead of simply staying in an inn for the night. This decision is even more impulsive and rash than something Sela would come up with, and is out of character for Uriel.

        The seventh flaw is that you introduced Akirui by having her rescue Uriel from the desperate situation he stupidly and needlessly placed himself in, which feels like a cop-out.

        The eighth flaw is that the novel is way too preachy. Volume 1 was already borderline, and this novel increases the preachiness. In most cases you can say essentially the same thing but with far fewer words, which would make it feel less cringy and tedious.

        The ninth flaw is that this novel has little to no character development or development of character relations.

        The tenth flaw is that when faced with a superior force and a chance to escape, Uriel chose to stay and fight.

        The eleventh flaw is that when Uriel was cornered you had a new character, Revi, show up out of nowhere to rescue him, which feels like a cheap cop-out.

        The twelfth flaw is that you’ve turned Uriel’s rifle into a mere decoration, as he never uses it.

        The thirteenth flaw is that the story has no true climax cliffhanger. Because it’s so heavily laden with non-stop poorly described action it all feels samey, with no real high points or low points and doesn’t leave the reader wanting more, but instead leaves the reader wanting to take a breather.

        In short, you need to make preaching more succinct while fleshing out everything else.

        Also, please understand that I’m giving this feedback because I like your serious and care about its success. I look forward to the next 5 volumes and plan to purchase them as soon as they’re available.

  2. First off, I do genuinely thank you for elaborating on what your issues were with the book; too many reviews with criticism don’t bother, or worse, just give a ranking and don’t write what they didn’t like, which helps no one (had a couple reviews like that on Volume 1, and they kind of annoy me.)

    Also, as I said in my last reply, your critiques are definitely fair and valid, since most critiques of books are subjective. That being said, I will provide responses to at least some of them here. Not necessarily to change your mind, but to explain why, even if I were open to revising the book (I’m not, for reasons of artistic integrity and because if I made changes to books based on every critique I receive, it’d be a mess—things that are objectively mistakes, like typos, are an exception of course), I don’t consider them problems that would necessitate any changes. (I did briefly revisit the relevant sections of the book, so I’m not relying solely on memory here.)

    The main areas where I disagree are the two “convenient rescues” you mentioned. The first, following Akirui’s arrival, she didn’t swoop in to rescue them. Her (literally) crashing into them is what gave away their position. Uriel & Sela were being pursued, and things were still tense, but they were ahead and reasonably confident the enemy didn’t know exactly where they were, so they didn’t need rescue—until the noise and unprotected light following Akirui’s arrival. Her saving them basically just made up for her revealing their position.

    And with Revi’s rescue, it is mentioned that she’d come to find them, and since they were on a mission, their location was known (plus scouts that had been sent back could have run into her to provide extra details.) Can you argue it’s a little convenient? Maybe, but it’s not completely out of the blue in my opinion.

    I would say that I maybe could’ve put some additional details in to make my setup & intent more clear in both cases (I don’t claim the book is completely flawless), but there was thought put into the logic & logistics of both scenes, and my beta reader didn’t see it as an issue when he provided feedback on the story.

    As for Uriel’s rifle, he avoids using it if not necessary because he has a very limited supply of bullets and no way to make new ones. Even later on, as they develop firearms, there’s no way (at least not yet) to make ammo for his gun, since the modern bullets are much more difficult to make, and the powder inside is also different and much harder to make. Modern (smokeless) gunpowder vs black powder. That’s why in book 1 also, he only uses it in combat 3 times; the first encounter when he had no other options, against the demon, since it was his best shot at killing it, and at the palace where, again, he had no other option. Every modern bullet is a potential game-changer and thus he needs to be very selective when he uses it.

    I’m not going to respond regarding comments on character development or things like some of Uriel’s choices, or “preachyness,” since opinions on things like that are too subjective and what might be an issue to you might not be to most other readers. (Also, that would make this much too long.) Though I will say that while Uriel is a very intelligent man, he isn’t perfect and can, at times, make less than ideal decisions, especially when there isn’t much time to consider them. It’s also worth remembering that his military experience was that of a tank commander, so most of what he’s doing now is outside the scope of his specialized training from back home.

    I will grant you that this book’s pacing is probably not my best. It was meant to be pretty fast paced and action-heavy, reflecting Uriel trying to get a handle on a lot of things in a short time as he figured out what to do next, but it is possible that it ended up feeling a little rushed in some areas. It’s definitely not perfect, but almost no book is, so I completely stand by it and will let it stand as is.

    Is it the best book in the series? No. That title isn’t static, and as of now, I’d say Volume 9 or 10 holds that honor.

    Is it the worst in the series? Maybe. One book has to be the worst if one can be the best. If Volume 2 ends up being the worst book in the series once it’s all done, I’ll happily take it.

    Again, I want to thank you for your honest feedback (and for caring enough about the series to provide said feedback), even if I disagree with much of it, and I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying the series overall despite your opinions on Volume 2. I look forward to seeing your reviews of Volumes 3-5!

    G-d willing, I’ll have at least 1 or 2 of the new volumes out, and copies in hand, by Harucon, if you prefer to get them there as opposed to via amazon.

    One last thing, was the print issue you mentioned the slightly off chapter titles? Since if it’s something else I don’t know about yet, even if it’s an amazon thing I can’t control, I’d like to know what it is.

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