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Ashlyn Chase: How Readers Can Improve a Book
Thursday, January 9th, 2020

First, let me say how happy I am to be releasing this novel, Where the Howl Are You?

It was just published as the final book in the Be Careful What You Summon series. The first book, Vampire Vintage, came out a while ago, but the second and third books were long overdue. It was hard to get to my Indies when I had traditional contracts with deadlines, then first, second, and, sometimes, third edits, plus marketing, etc., demanding my time.

Anyway, I rewrote and rereleased Vampire Vintage first. Tiger’s Night Out, book 2, was released a year ago—January 2019. And now, finally, with the release of Where the Howl Are You?, the series is complete!

Pushing forty, Ronda Calhoun did a summoning spell with her single friends to find immortal mates, figuring they might appreciate women with a little more maturity and experience. For all the others, it worked! So why isn’t her immortal showing up?

Private investigator Nate Smith didn’t know what he had back when he and Ronda dated in High School. Now he knows she’s the one he wants to spend his long life with. Arranging to run into her isn’t a problem, but confessing he’s a werewolf could ruin everything!

Get your copy:

But this article is about how readers helped me with all of this…

First of all, book 1, Vampire Vintage, needed a new professional cover. It was previously published by Ellora’s Cave and I had to update it. Amanda Walker did an awesome job, and even made bookmarks to go with it. (Email if you want a couple! I’d be happy to send them. 🙂 )

One of my readers loved the first book so much, she became, not only a fan, but a friend. Knowing she was hoping for the other women’s stories to be told spurred me on.

Book 2 needed a cr*pload of editing, beta reading, and proofreading. Half the book took place in India, so certain words and phrases were checked with a West Bengal local. Most importantly I needed encouragement. My beta reader provided that with an enthusiastic, “It’s ready! Publish it!” So I had the cover made by the fabulous Syneca Featherstone of Original Syn and after a professional proofreading, that’s just what I did.

On to book 3. It had been previously published looong ago by another epublisher under a different title. I dusted it off, rewrote it completely and figured the five or ten people who bought the original version probably wouldn’t remember it anyway.

Then I needed a new title. I ran a few past my street team and one of my long-time members came up with a suggestion I hadn’t even thought of! Where the Howl Are You? was the PERFECT title, since our heroine, Ronda, had to wait so long to have her HEA, too.

Part of the fun (at least for me) is getting feedback from readers. A reader taking the time to express their thoughts in a review or word-of-mouth social media post is awesome! I take the good with the bad, and sometimes I’m able to improve a book if it gets a “second time around” publishing opportunity. Like Death by Delilah—a novella from my Ellora’s Cave days. There was a scene that awoke a reader’s “Ick factor.” That sometimes happens with erotica. The novella itself garnered a lot of contest wins and nominations, so when I had the opportunity to rewrite it, I changed that scene. It’s now part of an anthology with two other related novellas called Immortally Yours.

Sometimes, I get that feedback well before reviews. My proofreader Dianne Donovan is fabulous at catching every last pesky typo…and she doesn’t hesitate to give me her honest opinion of the book itself. I’m delighted to tell you she loved this one! However, I just got a “meh” advance review from a reader who didn’t like how the hero never shifted. That was one of the things that tickled me. He was so afraid he’d scare her off, he disappeared rather than let her see him shift. That didn’t mean he didn’t keep an eye on her. Wolves are by nature very protective of their chosen mates. And when she found out what he was, she didn’t get all girly and scared…she was more like; ”Why the hell didn’t you say so?” She had been waiting for her immortal for two years!

So, those are some of the examples right off the top of my head. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for all the support, encouragement, and honesty of my readers. Have you ever wanted to write to an author about their book? What’s stopping you?

One comment to “Ashlyn Chase: How Readers Can Improve a Book”

  1. Delilah
    · January 16th, 2020 at 11:41 am · Link

    Ashlyn, I loved reading how these stories evolved! Thanks for being my guest!

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