I’m thrilled to shout out about some big changes happening to The Last Peak series!
THE BIG PICTURE:
Several months ago, I took a hard look at both of my apocalyptic series to see if the branding was the best it could be. Branding is a fancy marketing term for the cover, the title, the blurbs, etc. for a book, a series or whatever. It’s vital to get the branding right because that’s how you initially communicate with potential readers to let them know if this is a story they might want to read.
For example, if my post-apocalyptic survival fiction had covers with emerald dragons and heroes wielding flaming swords, I’d be confusing a lot of people and probably making more than a few of them angry as well. Don’t want to do that!
One series needed a simple fix. The Recovering Eden series changed to the Extinction Crisis series. Better name! Looking at The Last Peak series was a whole other ball of earwax. There were big problems from top to bottom.
I did the covers myself a long time ago and they’re okay. They just don’t communicate the thrust of the story. Not quite so misleading as dragons, but not good either. The same with the titles and series name. The Darwin whatever. Together, the covers and titles suggested more of a medical thriller type series. Like Outbreak or something similar.
So, I’ve had my amazing cover artist work up new covers and I’ve come up with new titles and series name. It is now the Edge of Survival series with book one through three being The Last Day, The Final Collapse, and The Fragile Hope.
And here’s the crazy thing on the first book in particular. Throughout the book, many chapters start with the heading “The Last Day” to let you know where we are in time (because it jumps back to Mason’s past in several chapters). There it was! Staring me in the face the whole time! And I still went with The Darwin Protocol!
I may be stupid, but I can learn! Haha!
A BOOK’S JOURNEY FROM POO TO WAHOO!:
For the sake of high comedy, I thought it would be fun to show you how the cover (and title) for the first book has changed since its first iteration. It makes me laugh and cry at the same time.
Quite an improvement, right? The first one is plain terrible. The second is good, just not right for this series. The third one nails the cover, the title, and the series name. I love it!
BIG STORY IMPROVEMENTS:
In addition to the cosmetic changes, the first book got a major story facelift. Here’s a list of the notable changes:
1. Cut around 3,000 words from the first half of the book. That’s around 12 pages! Most folks love the story, but a common theme among the critical reviews was that it started too slow. That it took too long to really get going. I went back and read it and… AGREED! The first half has much better pacing now!
2. Combined quite a few chapters that were split for no obvious reason.
3. Improved a huge number of awkward or choppy sentences. It now flows much better.
4. All three books have 95% of the curse words removed. The Extinction Crisis series only has a few pottymouth words per book and I’ve come to like that level. After going back and reading The Last Day, I was shocked at how many curse words it had. Hey, cut me some slack! It was my first big novel and I was learning! Hehe. In any case, all three books now have the vast majority of the swear words removed. I’ve kept a few choice ones for effect, but no more sprinkling them all over the lawn like over-used fertilizer.
5. All three books have been reformatted to produce better looking ebooks and print books. I’ve moved to a new formatting software, and it outputs much better looking end products!
6. The other major criticism that I’ve seen in the critical reviews for The Last Day concerns Mason’s reaction after what happened at Whole Foods. I never thought much about it because I was always working on new projects. Well, I went back and took a look… and they’re right. The emotional tone of the scene is all wrong. Something really bad happened at Whole Foods and the next scene has Mason at home playing ball with his dog like he doesn’t have a care in the world. So, I went back and reworked that scene to better reflect how he would feel after such a disaster. The emotional beat feels much more appropriate now.
7. In The Fragile Hope (book 3), I changed the storyline so that the dog doesn’t get hurt like it originally did. A similar thing already happened in book 1 and it felt repetitive. Plus, I love dogs and that was just too much dog suffering for one series! Someone call PETA and tell them to stop sending me threatening emails.
So, that’s all the updates! The changes will filter through to all the relevant places over the next few days and then we’ll be set going forward.
WHY DOES ALL THIS MATTER?
I wanted to hopefully minimize confusion about the books and series in my catalog. Also, I wanted to say that I’ll be returning to the Edge of Survival series at the beginning of 2019! If you ever wondered what happened to Mason and the West family and friends, you’ll be getting more of their story next year!
The current plan looks like this…
1. Finish Sole Chaos, book 2 in the Extinction Crisis series. I’m two-thirds through the first draft and it’s turning out awesome!
2. Write Sole Refuge, book 3 in the same series. Already have some of the big beats in place and it’s going to be a scorcher as well.
3. Write The Desperate Fight, book 4 in the Edge of Survival series. I’ll have to read through all three books again to get caught back up, but I’m looking forward to pushing that story forward.
That’s all I’ve got for now.
Thanks for reading!