As I offered advance review copies of Spark to reviewers, I’ve had a few people ask me if this was much different than the original release. The answer is truly, that depends on who you ask. Ask me, and I’m going to say it’s vastly different. Ask a reader, and they’ll likely not notice a ton of difference unless they pull out the original and compare it to the second edition, which I do below. I show how the opening scene in Spark has changed to give you a taste of how the narration has tightened. I also discuss a few other changes.
But first, why am I treating this like a full-on new release?
My North Star Trilogy was released in 2013 and 2014 when the MM Romance genre existed in a quiet corner of the world. We didn’t have a ton of authors and we certainly didn’t have a huge readership. That’s changed a lot in the last several years. After Damon Suede spoke at RWA or RT about MM Romance being the fasting growing subgenre of romance, we’ve seen a huge uptick of readers. Readers discovered this fantastic genre and then told their friends who told their friends. It’s great to see so many new readers!
By that point, Spark, Fusion, and Flare were no longer on any best-seller lists, the USA Today “Happily Ever After” Recommended Reads articles touting the books were buried under hundreds of newer recommendations, and the Rainbow Award Finalist distinction was likely forgotten too. The books were buried in the Amazon listings, so new readers likely never heard of them, and I didn’t have the ability to advertise on Amazon to boost visibility since they were with a publisher. Add in the fact that I’ve hardly had a new release in years, and it’s no surprise sales fizzled to nothing. Posy who? Despite readers recommending the trilogy to other readers, it is still nearly invisible.
When I was assured I’d be getting my rights back to this series, I dove into my manuscript and discovered how green of a writer I was back in 2012. Since then I’ve grown a lot, I’ve fixed writing techniques, and I’ve toiled over my craft to improve. I’ve learned about marketing, what sells, what doesn’t, and how to take charge of my own promotion, which I didn’t do before.
The first thing I wanted to change was the covers. At author events, I’ve had readers not recognize Spark, Fusion, and Flare as romance because of the more abstract covers. Romance sells better if there are photographs of people, so I hunted town images that would fit Kevin and Hugo. I wrote about this process over at Two Chicks Obsessed, if you’re curious about the cover redo.
But what’s actually different in the second edition of North Star vs. the first edition?
Mostly it’s how the story is told. The narrative is crisper and will read at a faster pace. I cut out a lot of unnecessary words and simplified sentences that made reading a bit clumsy. I’ll show examples below, but first, the climax . . .
With Spark, I increased the stakes and made the major conflict more intense. Some readers stopped after Spark and never picked up the rest of the books, so they never witnessed Hugo and Kevin’s HEA. That could’ve been because the climax I initially wrote was too weak, or it could’ve been a number of other things. It could’ve been the $6.99 price and the book not being on Kindle Unlimited. Who knows?
I focused on what I could control. My goal was to fix as much of Spark as possible so people were invested enough in Hugo and Kevin’s HEA that they picked up Fusion and Flare to get there.
And in Flare, they get their HEA! Oh, do they get it! 😀
But first, that meant significant edits, new covers, and new summaries. Heck, I was so green back in 2013, I didn’t even know that a tagline could help sell a book. Haha. I’ve learned so much!
So, do you need to buy the new books if you have the old?
No. The heart of the story remains. I didn’t change that. If you were happy with that, no worries. If you want to see the new books, they’ll be on Kindle Unlimited the second I can ensure exclusivity, so feel free to borrow them. As for cost, they will be priced at $3.99 through the release blitz then go up to $4.99.
So what did I change?
Let’s look at the opening scene from the first edition of Spark and compare it to the second edition. The first edition scene is 373 words. The second edition scene tells the exact same story in 290 words and it’s more engaging.
A GENTLE kiss barely brushing against Hugo’s mouth startled him away from a peaceful, inattentive moment. He didn’t mind. He lay on soft grass cooled by the shade of trees. Kevin hovered upside down above him with his nose near Hugo’s chin. He felt a second kiss, almost softer than the first, bottom lips dragging and pulling against each other as Kevin lifted his head away and came in for yet another.
Hugo could feel Kevin’s soft breaths fan out over his mouth, could taste him, making him want to kiss again and again. And deeper. But Kevin kept it all sweet and tender, lips on lips, the sensitive pull and drag almost ticklish at some points.
A raindrop fell on Hugo’s cheek, but he ignored it. Nothing would pull him away from this perfect moment.
His tongue drifted up just a bit, lightly grazing Kevin’s lower lip as he moved toward Kevin’s chin, and the quiet, wet sounds of their mouths moving together was sinful to Hugo’s ears.
Another raindrop, followed by several more.
Hugo refused to give this beautiful instant up to something as trivial as getting wet, so he tilted his head, opening his mouth for something deeper—something that might ground them enough to ignore the rain that seemed to be coming down harder with each passing second. Kevin licked into Hugo’s mouth, intensifying the kiss, seeming to pour all his love into Hugo’s lips. Hugo tried to do the same, to share the moment with their mouths. They seemed to be informing each other of their love in a way their words never were able to manage.
Then water poured from the heavens, and they were drenched.
Kevin pulled away, quickly helping Hugo to his feet and dragging him by the hand away from the wooded meadow and toward the trail.
If Hugo had known that was to be the last kiss they would share, he would’ve stayed, kissing Kevin with water dripping down his face, into his ears, his mouth, his eyes—his clothes soaking through, his body getting cold. But he had run away from the green meadow framed by trees, following Kevin as tiny purple and pink flowers became a blur the faster they ran.
A gentle kiss brushed against Hugo’s mouth, startling him away from a peaceful, inattentive moment. He didn’t mind. He lay on plush grass cooled by the shade of trees. Kevin hovered above him with his nose near Hugo’s chin. A second kiss, softer than the first, bottom lips dragging as Kevin shifted away and came in for yet another.
Breaths fanned over Hugo’s mouth so he could taste Kevin, making him want to kiss again and again. And deeper. But Kevin kept it sweet, tender, lips on lips, the sensitive pull almost ticklish at points.
A raindrop landed on Hugo’s cheek, but he ignored it. Nothing would drag him away from this perfect moment.
His tongue drifted up, grazing Kevin’s lower lip. It sounded sinful.
Another raindrop, followed by several more.
Hugo refused to give this beautiful instant up to something as trivial as getting wet. So he tilted his head, opening his mouth for something deeper—something that might ground them enough to ignore the rain that came down harder with each passing second. Kevin licked into Hugo’s mouth, intensifying the kiss, seeming to pour all his love there. Hugo tried to do the same, sharing his love in a way his words never managed.
Then water poured from the heavens, drenching them.
Kevin pulled back, helping Hugo to his feet, tugging him away from the wooded meadow.
If Hugo had known that was to be the last kiss they’d share, he would’ve stayed. Kissed Kevin with water dripping down his face, into his ears, his mouth, his eyes—his clothes soaked until he shivered. But he’d run away from the green meadow framed by trees, following Kevin as tiny purple and pink flowers blurred the faster they ran.
Same story but told better. There are fewer words to trip you up, and the narration gets you to the good stuff quicker. What that meant for Spark is this: despite expanding a few scenes, I ended up cutting 14,000 words from the entire book. For Fusion, which is still going through final edits but without scene additions, that meant I cut about 9,000 words. And I have no clue how many words I’ll cut from Flare.
I hope this helped you decide if you want the new editions or if you’re happy to stick with the old. If you’re not signed up for my newsletter, consider subscribing. If I am lucky enough to get a BookBub Featured Deal, I’ll be sure to let all my readers know about that so they can pick it up at a reduced price. Same with Amazon Countdown Deals.
All three books are up for preorder on Amazon. Click on the images to buy.
I LOVED these books, guys. This series is fantastic, and I fell head over heels for these characters.
~Mrs. Condit & Friends Read Books – Jules Lovestoread
I highly recommend reading all the books in the series, and I applaud Posy Roberts again for creating these subtle stories full of interesting, lovable characters and authentic, relatable life events.
~Prism Book Alliance – Christine