I’m very grateful to all the bloggers I have contacted for their honest reviews. Everyone has been very professional and their passion for books and their blog sites is very admirable. I’d also like to thank the people who have won a copy of my book through a giveaway for reviewing it as well. Just as a warning, this self-critique contains some spoilers about what happens in The Super Spud Trilogy.
- I need to work on character development. I always planned to have many characters in the book, and due to their vulnerable nature, some of them couldn’t last long. I couldn’t make them seem invincible when the magic rules are so strict. However, I should have realized that even with a book like mine, readers like to feel attached to a character so I probably should have kept Colin alive longer and focused a bit more on dialogue. Colin's adventure probably is too short and I should have taken some chapters from Cougar's adventure. Book four certainly addresses this issue and sees core characters which feature throughout the book. Readers have also said they had trouble keeping up with the number of characters. Paperback readers have commented that the obituary was helpful, but e-readers don’t have this ease of access to quickly flip back and forth. So I do emphasize with any readers who may have had trouble.
- Level of violence. In hindsight, I probably should have toned down the level of violence. Although a lot of it is comic in nature, the use of thumbtacks, hedgehogs etc… I probably didn’t need to be so gory in my descriptions. I didn’t want this to be a kid’s book, however, due to the references, cynical humour and my general style of writing. I also wanted to make the evil Super Spuds as evil as possible, as evil is a strong word, so they had to be super mean. I don’t think a writer should ever force themselves to write something that is not their natural style, but then again, it might be fun to go back and re-write it – or re-edit, at least – for children. By this I mean no violence, more fun and a stronger sense of good morality (take out the gambling, killing humans, blowing things up…).
- The cover. I actually liked the cover, with its creased appearance and the ‘guideline amount’ reference to Walker’s crisp packets in the bottom left. Some people have commented it is too simple and looks like a kid’s book, which may deter potential readers. Ideally, I’d have liked an illustrated Super Spud to be on the front but I was happy with the design and I have no regrets. I thought my cover designer did a great job and I’ll see what I can do for the next book.
- Some people have commentated that the book is too predictable in places, which I agree with in parts. Sometimes it was deliberately predictable, but others parts I could have worked on more. For example, recruiting and using the generals to save the day most of the time. But, I also had feedback that a reader never knows what is coming next, like a falling satellite blowing up a postal train. I’ve tried to create my plots more diverse and unpredictable for book four, so we’ll see.
Right, that’s enough dissing my own book for one day! My marketing manager will probably give me a slap on the wrist. The reader is the number one priority though, not me, and I’ll always welcome any feedback to enable me to create a better and more enjoyable story for my audience. Overall though the feedback has been positive, with many great four and five star reviews and it's very rewarding knowing someone has read and enjoyed your work.
Also, I will have another international giveaway on Goodreads from September 15th to October 3rd, so please feel free to enter for a chance to win. Coming very soon I will also be hosting two competitions, one for the best drawn Super Spud and one for best new flavour idea. There will be great prizes for both competitions.