Fanmail

My final editorial review of The Dragonprince’s Heir is done. I finished it around 10:00 last night, then sat up for another hour tweaking the custom metadata file we use to turn a Google Doc into an actual e-book. Then I wrote a little personal letter to tuck inside the back of the book, ran BookMaker, and mailed out copies to a couple hundred people.

My name is Taryn Eliade, firstborn son of Daven Carrickson. I’ve been called a nuisance and a little lord, a kingsman and a traitor. I’ve been called the dragon-born son and the heritage of Chaos. I was born the Dragonprince’s heir. In the summer of my fourteenth year, at the waning of the dragonswarm, I went on a quest to choose my destiny.

When I woke up this morning, I already had answers. Nobody had sat up all night to finish the book (or if they did, they were too tired to email me), but I had lots of gracious “thank yous.” Those weren’t at all necessary (as I’ll explain below), but they started my day bright.

I also had one fan who’d caught a typo. He was terribly friendly about it, and I was grateful for the heads-up. (It’s already fixed in the source document. Digital bookmaking is a wonderful thing.)

Anyway, as I was making that correction, I glanced down the page and saw this little exchange:

“Those are dangerous words,” I hissed.

Jen’s eyes glittered like a viper’s. “Less dangerous than yours. I only insulted a king. You insulted Caleb Drake.”

(That link isn’t in the actual ebook, it just seemed appropriate here.)

I know it’s not cool to be impressed at your own writing, but when I saw those lines I fell in love with Jen all over again. She’s a relatively minor character in the book, but (for me anyway) she stole the show.

It’s been an interesting week. I’ve split my time between sending out fanmail to people I respect in the desperate hopes of making a connection so I might generate some real publicity for the KickStarter campaign (in its last week, and not even 20% funded), and checking my email for the WordPress comment notifications which, by and large, read like fanmail sent to me!

That still blows my mind. I know a lot of people are buying the books (I check the sales reports obsessively), and I have a lot of followers at Facebook and some wonderful reviews at Amazon. But it still comes as a shock when someone takes the time to contact me directly, especially if it’s to say my books robbed them of sleep or inspired their imagination or left them wanting more.

Those are the things I live for as a reader, and it’s almost unbelievable that I’m getting to have that impact as a storyteller now. You’d be surprised how much time I spend just smiling at my computer monitor.

So, last Saturday I posted saying, “Leave a comment if you want an Advance Reading Copy of The Dragonprince’s Heir.” That was a shrewd, soulless, calculated business tactic. Positive reviews (especially at Amazon) directly and measurably impact how many people hear about the book and end up reading it. When I offer ARCs, I’m doing it as a greedy corporate mogul, to drive the machine of business. Or something.

And your response to that offer left me speechless. For four straight days, I got a constant string of comment notifications from Amazon. It’s like I posted a blog saying,

“Make me feel good about myself!”

And the internet obeyed.

I just wanted to take a moment to express my thanks to all of you. It’s because of my readers that I get to be a storyteller, and that has been my biggest dream my entire life. Thanks for reading, thanks for visiting the site, thanks for recommending the books and posting reviews and leaving comments and sending fanmail. Every bit of that is amazing.

Most of all, thanks for liking me. I like you, too.

Sincerely,
Aaron Pogue

9 thoughts on “Fanmail

  1. Ben Hanrath

    I’ve absolutley loved the series so far.
    It is my second favorite series yet (my favorite being the night angel trilogy) and that is saying something because i read constantly.
    I read it through the night finishing at 4 am and I instantly looked up when the next one was coming out.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write those books they have even inspired me to start writing.
    Carry on!!!!!!

  2. Lauren B

    No thank you Aaron (I hope it’s okay I call you by your first name). You are an awesome writer and shouldn’t be surprised when you get the praise you deserve. Thank you for your stories so I can escape reality for a while and thank you for the ARC.
    Lauren

    1. Aaron Pogue Post author

      By all means, call me “Aaron.” That goes for everyone here!

      A couple years ago, before I even started on my Master’s degree, I taught a Technical Writing course at my alma mater as an adjunct professor.

      It’s commonplace for adjunct professors to get called “Doctor” by mistaken students, and it’s considered a point of professional courtesy that professors who aren’t Doctors should say so in these circumstances. I know this, because my dad (who is a PhD, a licensed therapist, and has been almost every kind of professor) once explained it to me.

      So as I entered my first semester as an adjunct professor, I was just waiting for the day some student called me “Doctor Pogue” so I could shake my head and answer, “Please, call me ‘Mister Pogue.’ ‘Dr. Pogue’ is my father!”

  3. Dustin Metzger

    The best sort of corporate moves are those that leave both party’s feeling like they came out on top. Giving your biggest fans a chance to get an in-progress copy of your work in exchange for nothing more than a review sure strikes me as a big win in the cost/benefits equation.

    And you’re right, that line made me fall in love with Jen too. I’m not quite done with the book yet so I don’t know where things go from here, but I for one give her a massive vote of confidence at the 80% completion mark for a bigger role in your next endeavor.

  4. Jonathan

    Review:
    Aaron Pogue’s new book ‘The Dragonprince’s Heir’ is quite a piece of literature. Instead of following Daven, the much loved main character of previous books in the Dragonprince series, it follows his son, Taryn. At first I was a bit skeptical of this point of view, and in fact was more than a little put off by this development, but I decided to give it a try anyways. I was impressed. It’s not quite perfect, and occasionally I found myself drifting as compared to the previous books in the series, but then I realized that it was from a young (and somewhat spoiled) teen’s point of view. After making that realization the story was much more interesting. I can tell that Aaron Pogue put a lot of thought into making a story of a child living in his father’s shadow quite believable, aside from the unrealistic side. As for some hints to the story; I will say that the ending is not at all what I expected and that I wished that the book was longer. I am hesitant to point out what I perceive to be faults in the story because they may have been intended by Aaron to add a sense of realism to the story. Overall, I preferred the first two books in the series, but this was superbly written as well. I would recommend picking up a copy of this over just about all the books in the teen fiction section of the local library. I won’t claim that the Advance Reading Copy is perfect, but Aaron will certainly do his best to fix that minor issue by the final release.
    Note- Permission is granted to use this review on the following websites Amazon.com, Barnsandnoble.com, and Goodreads.com. Just be sure to mention that it was written by avid reader who was lucky enough to get an ARC of the book.

    Thank you Aaron and I hope you’ll send me a copy of your next masterpiece as well. I have high hopes for your career. I’d love to share book recommendations sometime. Some of my personal favorite series other than the Dragonprince series are the Eragon (Inheritance) series, Wheel of Time, and the Lord of the Rings. I have many others, but those seemed like a good start. What series do you like?
    – An avid reader

    p.s. I already wrote this under a different post, but I think it fits better here.

  5. Jackie

    Hi,

    My husband loves this series and keeps asking me to check Amazon to see whether the 3rd sequel is out yet. Will you please let me know when it’s available for purchase?

    Thanks so much!

    Jackie

    1. Aaron Pogue Post author

      You might have found the answer already on this site, but the book should be available in digital format on Tuesday, June 26th.

      Making a paperback requires a lot more formatting and a lot more turnaround time, but that should be available within a week or two after the 26th.

      I’ll try to remember to post again once the actual sales page is live, but I can guarantee next week will be hectic and I’ll let some things slip through the cracks. If you want to be safe, you can sign up for email notifications of all my new releases and get a message as soon as it’s available.

  6. Justin Merritt

    I have to admit. When I first started the final book in the Dragonprince Trilogy, I was a little skeptical following Taryn, but only because I absolutely loved Daven and how “Dragonswarm” had ended. Though you really did not disappoint Mr. Pogue. I LOVED this story! Now it seems my skepticism is directed more towards wanting this series to never ever ever end. I just want to know what Taryn does to reunite the kingdom. I love how real the impossible seems in these stories. Thank you so much for the ARC. I actually finished the book a couple days ago, and I haven’t stopped wondering since I finished it what possibilities are in store for a hopefully-not-permanently inferred Taryn-future. (that’s my subtle beg for more Dragonprince novels)

    1. Aaron Pogue Post author

      I mentioned in this post how (stupidly) surprised I was at all the kind comments I found in the offer for the ARC. Now that those ARCs are being read, I’m (stupidly) surprised all over again to be receiving feedback–mostly email–from all the people who’ve read it.

      And the response is so valuable to me as a writer. So far, they overwhelming agree with what you said. “I was angry and disappointed to discover this book skipped ahead and focused on Taryn instead of Daven, but by the end I loved it!”

      That satisfies me as an author and a storyteller, but it might have been a really stupid move as a salesperson. I can’t count on all my readers to show the same trust and patience that these ARC readers have. That makes me sad, because I’m extremely proud of everything accomplished in the last two chapters of this book.

      Another message I’ve heard more than once, and one that rang true to my own experience as a reader, was a mixed excitement and fear going into this book, because after all the emotion and excitement of connecting with these characters throughout the series, it’s about to end. As a reader, I always approach the end of the last book in a series with a great deal of regret, because I don’t want to stop spending time with these people I’ve come to know.

      Part of my goal as a writer is to tell stories that do contain a complete and satisfying story arc, that do provide a satisfying resolution and a definite end, but at the same time, that leave the characters intact and accessible within my readers’ imagination. It’s not my goal as a storyteller to tell you everything that ever happened to a character, it’s my goal to provide you with so clear a picture of the person and the environment and to incite your imagination so you can go on experiencing that character’s adventures as long as they interest you.

      That’s precisely why I skipped ahead to Taryn’s point of view in this story (and then, over the course of the book, had strangers tell him story after story about his dad to help fill in the gaps). It provides a clear conclusion to all the troubles I started when Othin interrupted Daven’s afternoon outside Sachaerrich, it gives you touchstones and reference points to guess at all that happened through the long and troubled years, and it leaves the rest open for you to imagine and explore.

      And now there’s Taryn. Now there’s a whole new set of possibilities. I’ve told enough to let you guess what he could do, without limiting it to just what I have time and imagination to put down on paper.

      None of that is to say that I’m done. There will be dragonrider stories set in the interval between books 2 and 3. There will be stories in the future and stories in the past. There is still much not to say (not all of it happy) about Daven and Isabelle, Caleb and Taryn, the dragonriders and the Order of Caleban Knights.

      I am not done with these people, but more importantly, neither are you. I only ask, next time I introduce a new one, that you approach the tale with hope (if not with trust), that I’ll give you someone else to miss and to imagine after the last page is turned. That’s my highest goal and my driving motivation.

      (And this will definitely become a blog post soon.)

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