Important update:

Hello everyone!~  I know it’s been a while since I posted a chapter on here.  Book 2 is actually complete on Patreon and has been for a week.

To be honest, I’m not getting a lot of feedback here on my website anymore and I’ve been thinking about moving to Patreon exclusively with new book.  I know I have a lot of free readers, but this is a lot of work to update chapters in multiple places.  The main reason I post chapters is to get feedback, whether here or Patreon.  I’d like to hear your opinions on this subject below.

What would be a good compromise?  I wrestle with this a lot.  To be blunt, I would find a lot more readers with Kindle Unlimited, but I really don’t want to take these chapters down off my site… and with KU I’d be obligated to.  I also don’t like Amazon telling me what to do.

So in other news, Delvers 2 is written, and I’m shooting to release the published version (with an extra 2 chapters of content) on 4/7/2017!  The audio version should come about a month after that!

Thank you, everyone for being such awesome readers.  I really value everyone who reads my work or visits my site or I would have given up on posting chapters a long time ago.  I legitimately want to hear everyone’s opinion on where I should take this going forward as I transition into a full time writer over the next couple years.  What is your opinion?


PS: Please vote for this story on TWF. 🙂 

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The Ravager

Bezzi-ibbi watched in awe as his brother, Jason-ibbi fought the High Priestess to a standstill in the sky.  Such a thing, only heard of in ancient songs and history books, was actually taking place before his eyes.  The hair on the back of his neck stood on end and his tail bristled.

It was common knowledge that High Priestesses were the most powerful beings on Ludus.  To challenge them was death, yet Jason-ibbi was fighting Child Thief Biivan paw to paw.  Bezzi-ibbi felt deep pride as he watched his Clan brother fight against one of the most evil High Priestesses on the planet.  Jason-ibbi brought incredibly honor to the Jaguar Clan through his actions.

Even if Bezzi-ibbi died this day, despite all the hardship he’d been through, he could not be more proud of himself and his family.  And if he lived to see another sunrise, he would have the foundation to become a great Jaguar Troubadour!

Nearby, Bezzi-ibbi heard Gonzo whistle in disbelief.  He glanced over and saw Uluula with a hand over her mouth, her eyes wide as she witnessed her husband fight in a duel to the death in midair.  The rest of the group was watching with rapt attention too, the only exception being Mareen who lay in a fetal position, softly sobbing as she held herself.

Bezzi-ibbi hissed as he realized the last enemy, Liangyu had disappeared with her last two undead minions.  He had no idea where she’d gone, and there was just enough fog left to hide her passage.  Bezzi-ibbi couldn’t do anything about it now, but it bothered him that such a powerful enemy was unaccounted for.  She’d also escaped with any answers about what happened to Henry-ibbi, too.

The Jaguar Clan heir shook himself.  He needed to move.  He passed Mareen and gently placed a hand on her shoulder.  He understood.  Henry had been her heart song.  Bezzi-ibbi chose to believe that such a great warrior would somehow find a way to come back to them.  If not, he would merely be hunting with the ancestors before Bezzi-ibbi saw him again.  It was only a matter of time.

He had to find Yanno-ibbi.  He did not know if his uncle was hunting with the ancestors yet.

Bezzi-ibbi padded towards the Battlewagon, figuring it was the best place to start looking for his kin.  He feared the worst, but would not give into his worries.  He kept an eye out for any remaining undead creatures and also warily watched the sky to witness Jason’s fight.

He smelled the blood before he actually found Yanno-ibbi.  Bezzi-ibbi rushed forward and checked the older Mo’hali man’s pulse before sighing in relief.  His uncle was somehow was still alive.  He was terribly cut in several places, but the resourceful man had crafted tourniquets out of strips of cloth to stop the worst of the bleeding.  He was unconscious and his breathing was shallow, but he was still alive.

Bezzi-ibbi gritting his teeth and blinked away a handful of tears.  He didn’t have time for that.  He had to get to work.  He wasn’t big enough yet to carry his uncle so he hissed an apology before dragging him.  Mareen wasn’t at her best, but she was probably Yanno-ibbi’s best hope to survive.

Bezzi-ibbi struggled, his tired muscles screaming in agony as he pulled his wounded uncle by the man’s undamaged leg.  When he finally reached the rest of the team, he rested on his haunches in exhaustion.  It was eerie how everyone was silent other than Mareen’s soft sobs and Vitaliya’s occasional sniff.  Every gaze was fixed on the sky.

Jason suddenly flashed into view, followed by Biivan hot in pursuit.  The Areva High Priestess snarled, savagely hacking at Jason with her curved sword.

Bezzi-ibbi crossed his arms in worry.  Jason seemed to be teleporting more often and his soul song was not as loud as it had been.  Meanwhile, Biivan didn’t seem to be tiring at all.  The evil demigoddess had Jason on the run.

She began pumping her arms, launching multiple exploding orbs at Jason, catching him off guard right after he teleported again.  He slipped away, but not before creating a shimmering shield at an angle to deflect and exploding orb.  The energy blast rocketed into the lake where it detonated, launching water and debris up into the air.

Bezzi-ibbi focused to maintain his balance as the ground shook, a wave of pressure washing over him.  Jason-ibbi is creating entire shields of null-time?  He shook his head in amazement.  His brothers were already becoming living legends.

However, his earlier assessment that Jason was tiring had unfortunately been correct.  The combatants were close enough in the sky now for Bezzi-ibbi to watch everything.  He was mildly worried that they were getting too close, but no place nearby was truly safe with Biivan throwing explosive energy around.  This fact was probably why nobody else was taking cover, either.

The Jaguar Clan boy’s ears pricked forward as he watched one particularly furious exchange.  The strikes and parries were so fast, Bezzi-ibbi doubted his Terran friends could catch each individual blow.

Suddenly, Jason managed to get a solid cut on Biivan and Bezzi-ibbi’s heart soared!  However, his heart fell again when Biivan snarled, backed off, and her body healed itself.  Even her silver singlet mended itself.

It wasn’t fair.  Jason’s intimidating dark form flickered, his glowing silver eyes narrowed and he began launching some sort of null-time attacks at Biivan, but Bezzi-ibbi had tracked the truth.  Jason was being worn down.

About a minute later, Jason had slashed his blade in the air, creating one last crescent of energy racing toward Biivan, but she crossed her arms over her body, generating a pale yellow shield.  After the wave passed, she stood proud in the sky again, openly sneering.  Smoke rose from her skin, but she ignored it.

Suddenly, Jason’s shadow form wavered.  His silver eyes faded away, the twinkling shadow that covered his body drifting off like smoke, and his limp body began to fall.

Bezzi-ibbi gasped and Uluula shouted, “Jason, no!”  Nobody could do anything but watch helplessly as he fell, though.  There was no way any of them could have made it to his point of impact in time to try catching him.  Uluula fell to her knees, landing bonelessly as she witnessed her husband’s defeat.

Bezzi-ibbi watched grimly as Biivan grinned, the evil woman beginning to follow Jason to the ground.  This was the end.  She’s probably kill all of them.  Bezzi-ibbi was resigned to his fate.  He was honored he was able to know such amazing people on his journey through the Day.

He slowly twisted his palms backwards in resignation, sure of his fate.  However, he was still looking upwards when when Keeja suddenly blurred forward and caught Jason in the sky!  Bezzi-ibbi gasped in surprise.  He’d forgotten Keeja was with them!

“What are you doing, Keeja?” screeched Biivan.  “You’re breaking the rules!  Dolos will have your head for this!”

“I do not fear Dolos,” replied Keeja with a sneer.  She floated over to Uluula and gently set Jason down on the ground.  “Stay away from him, he’ll be fine.  Just let him rest,” she ordered the white haired Areva woman.  Uluula nodded, spastically dashing the tears for her eyes.  Then slowly, stoically, she sat on the ground near Jason’s head, resting a hand on his chest.

Standing in midair, Biivan shouted, “You can’t do this, Keeja!  You are breaking the rules!  I’m going to kill every one of those pet mortals of yours and you are powerless to stop me!”

“So you admit you were trying to kill this man?” Keeja asked, pointing at the unconscious Jason.

“Of course I was, you bvantisti hrando!  I’m going to finish the job too, him and all your other little mortals!”  Spittle flew from Biivan’s mouth as she screeched, “There is nothing you can do!  You always follow the rules, like a good little pet!  All those stories, all the other High Priestesses being afraid of you.  It’s all a ruse!  You are nothing, a deceiver!  Who are you to judge me?  How dare you let this puking little mortal attack me?  They’ll all die!  I’ll make them suffer!”

“I think not,” replied Keeja, unruffled.  She pointed at Jason and snapped her fingers.  His sleeve fluttered down to the ground, revealing the mark Dolos had placed on him.  “You just admitted to using lethal force on a priest of Dolos, personally chosen by his hand, no less.”

“Wait, what?”  Biivan’s expression went from cruel to confused to frightened in an instant.  “All Priestesses are female, and—”

In a blink, Keeja was simply gone.  Her movement was so sudden, so fast, wind billowed out in every direction, kicking up dust, dirt, and rocks from where she’d been standing.  With no warning, Keeja appeared in before Biivan in the sky, her hand effortlessly immobilizing the evil High Priestess by the wrist above her sword hand.

Keeja’s expression was devoid of emotion, cold.  Bezzi-ibbi swallowed.  Keeja the Ravager, he remembered her ancient title.  Bezzi-ibbi had secretly wondered how Keeja had such a dangerous reputation after he’d observing her lazy, silly behavior the last few months, but the name didn’t seem so farfetched after seeing her new expression.

Biivan struggled, trying to kick Keeja to get away.  Keeja just smiled, effortlessly blocking each attack with her free hand.  When Biivan tried forming an energy blast at point blank range, Keeja casually punched the other woman in the jaw.  The wet crack from Biivan’s jaw snapping followed by the snap from Keeja breaking the wrist she was holding was sickening and somehow loud enough to reach everyone on the ground.

The dark Areva woman’s glowing, curved blade fell from her nerveless fingers, twisting end over end before hitting the ground near the Battlewagon.  Biivan gasped in pain and fear, the sound sharp enough to reach Bezzi-ibbi’s ears.  He watched the unfolding spectacle with wide eyes.

Keeja’s voice was cold as she said, “You were not tricked.  You were careless.  You didn’t scan. You made assumptions.  I am truly not sorry for you.  You are vermin with a power complex.  If I were to claim I didn’t get any satisfaction from doing my duty in this situation, I would be lying.”

“No, wait, I didn’t mean to say that–”

Keeja held Biivan steady, her iron grip on the other woman’s broken arm prevented her from escaping.  With a detached calm, Keeja brought her other hand up, pointer finger extended.

“No, please, you have–”  Biivan’s last words remained forever unfinished as Keeja’s finger erupted in an eye-searing energy beam.  Bezzi-ibbi had to look away.

When he glanced up again, the afterimage of the attack was still burned into his vision, but Biivan had been reduced to a headless corpse.  Keeja dropped the body, letting it fall to the earth near her discarded sword.

Keeja shook her head and became her normal self again.  The change was immediate.  She called down, “Don’t touch that body.  It might still be dangerous and I want to see if I can crack her n-space storage.”  Bezzi-ibbi found Keeja’s sudden change in personality slightly disturbing.  Henna-ibbi had always said, “Beware a hunter whose garb changes too often.”

Which personality was the real Keeja?

The High Priestess’s clothing billowed in the wind as she hovered in the air, putting her hand to her chin in thought.  After a moment she looked up at the sky and shouted, “I give this kill to Jason James Booth!  He was instrumental in the death of Biivan, a High Priestess of Dolos!”

Bezzi-ibbi cocked his head after the announcement, alert for any new developments.  However, nothing obvious happened. He shrugged and moved over to the rest of his group, most of whom almost seemed to almost be coming out of a trance with the battle in the sky being resolved.

Bezzi-ibbi was a brave boy, but Keeja was terrifying.  He’d prefer to be standing with his friends when the demigoddess floated back.

Vitaliya suppressed her raging emotions out of necessity after the battle was over.  Only a couple more undead creatures were discovered wandering around without direction, and immediately put down.  The Death Witch had fled.  One other attacker, the big, armored woman that Mareen had fought was missing too.

Vitaliya was irritated.  Leaving enemies behind was unfortunate, especially enemies who had taken her Aodh from her.  Her cousin was delicate and special… She ruthlessly suppressed her thoughts.  She couldn’t cry.  There would be time to figure out how she was going to find little Aodh once the group got moving again.  Aodh being sent away, being lost was the only possibility she was willing to entertain.

She couldn’t bear thinking about what that horrible woman had said before, about Aodh being dead.  She rejected it.

Mareen was the most shaken and the least emotionally stable of the group.  She’d still somehow managed to pull herself together to stabilize Yanno-ibbi’s injuries and heal a few other wounds the group had sustained, but after that, she climbed into the back of the Battlewagon by herself.

Everyone left her alone to her grief.

The mood among the group was grim.  They’d all survived, but Henry and Aodh were missing, and everyone had been bloodied and bruised.  They could all very easily have died.

Eventually, everything that could be salvaged had been.  Only three magicycles still worked, and one was sluggish now.

The group stood in a loose semicircle around Keeja.  Jason was lying on the ground, still unconscious, Uluula cradling his head in her lap.  When Vitaliya had first met the white haired Areva women, she hadn’t liked her much.  Now she had to concede that Uluula was a fierce warrior and had a backbone made of bronze.  She’d earned her respect.

“Why won’t Jason wake up?” Uluula asked.

“Because he’s dying,” Keeja replied offhandedly, rummaging around in a sack she’d placed on the ground.

“What?”  Uluula still sounded calm, but only just.  Her voice rose slightly in volume, her eyes narrowed dangerously.  “You said he’d be fine.”

“I lied.  He’s dying.  But luckily, we can fix him.”

Uluula gritted her teeth and restrained herself with obvious effort, all while holding Jason’s head protectively.  “Please do what you can, if you can find the time, of course.”

Keeja ignored the sarcasm.  “I can definitely find time to help Jason after he displayed so much potential.  He also allowed me to kill someone I have deeply despised for several hundred years.”  She looked up at the sky, mumbling, “That was so, incredibly satisfying.”

Keeja suddenly turned, holding a hand out to Jason and her vision grew unfocused for a moment.  Before Uluula could even say anything, Keeja grumbled, “Yes, I’m fairly sure I’m right…”

From her sack, she produced a box.  It looked like the boxes that appeared after an orb-Bonded person was killed, the boxes that held an orb or a spirit stone.  However, this one was several times larger.  It had Jason’s name on the lid.  “I found this by Biivan’s corpse,” Keeja said ffhandedly.  “It’s Jason’s reward for killing Biivan.”

“But you killed Biivan,” Vitaliya stated, confused.

“Yes, we all saw it,” said Gonzo.  Thirsty just nodded.  He’d been quiet, withdrawn ever since the battle ended.

“No, I had enough reason to give the win to Jason, and even though killing a High Priestess was not part of Dolos’ game, Jason has been rewarded.”  Keeja opened the lid to the box and Vitaliya gasped.  She couldn’t even count how many spirit stones were in it at first glance.  Keeja handed a spirit stone to Uluula.  “Get him to swallow that and he should recover.”

Uluula eyed the demigoddess out the corner of her eye, but eventually complied, rubbing Jason’s throat so he’d swallow the spirit stone.  As soon as he did, color almost immediately returned to his cheeks and he began breathing easier.

“There.  Now we wait,” pronounced Keeja.

“Why don’t we just leave now?  I want to quit this place,” announced Vitaliya.  The sooner they began to move, the quicker she could begin formulating a plan to look for little Aodh.

“No!”  They all turned to see Mareen standing up in the back of the battlewagon, her face wan.  “We can’t leave Henry behind!”

Vitaliya glanced around and saw some of the group looking down awkwardly.  She pressed her lips together tightly when she noticed they pointedly weren’t looking at her either.  Aodh is not dead!  I’ll show them, she thought.

Keeja looked Mareen in the eye and said, “Henry is not anywhere nearby.  I would sense it if he was.”  Mareen seemed to deflate a bit and settled back into the rear of the Battlewagon, ignoring the rest of the conversation.

Gonzo spoke up, patting Vitaliya on the shoulder.  “We should wait for Jason to wake up since High Priestess Keeja said he will.  None of us are still any good at driving the Battlewagon.”

Vitaliya nodded.  Her trainer was right, and more importantly, he knew about Aodh.  He would help her look for him, she was sure of it.  Not for the first time, she was grateful that Gonzo had been the trainer assigned to her.  It eased some of the burden she felt.

“Okay fine, let’s wait,” said Bezzi-ibbi, shrugging.  With that, the Jaguar Clan heir lowered himself to lay on the ground next to his unconscious uncle.  His intention to take a nap was clear.  He was obvious done with the conversation.

Vitaliya envied the boy.  She wished she could care so little, too.  It must be nice to have no responsibilities.  Meanwhile, she felt the weight of an entire country crushing down on her.  The responsibility, the duty she’d possibly failed at—she couldn’t think about it.  She couldn’t dwell on it or she’d have trouble breathing.  She had to focus on solutions to her problems.

She wished Jason would hurry and wake up.

Click on the book to vote for Delvers LLC! W2chools

  • Nuit Blanche

    Well, I already explained when I joined your pool of reader a long, long time ago (well it feels like it at least) why I don’t have the means to purchase everything I read, it’s unfortunate but if you feel you have nothing more to gain by publishing your story freely, we can’t really expect you to continue, it would be shameful coming from freeloaders like us !

  • Tobias Arboe

    I have to agree with Nuit Blanche; it would not be fair to freeload. I alse get the critique part – makes the story better, and publishing is a way of income. Whatever you do i plan to at least buy the books, so there is always that.

    I still miss some explanation about why Jason suddently turned all fiery vengance demi-god, but i expect that is gonna be explained in the last two chapters. Because i live where i live i think dates a reversed here (so its dd-mm-yy); I expect the book to be out next month, mostly because i reeeeeally can’t wait to read the last to chapts. Anyhow, nice work once again

  • 14Simeonrr

    i understand the need to want people commenting about your work because you want to improve. But more often than not i find it very hard to give my opinion about a work because who am i to say what is good/not good.(unless we talk about grammar because if that sucks its just bad luck ur story suck) (which doesnt apply to this story because your grammar is very good)

    • Blaise

      My editor would disagree with you…lol. I get my drafts back and it’s just red everywhere. 😛

      • 14Simeonrr

        well i geuss your editors deliver on their work then ;).

  • icefest

    Cory Doctorow has written a really nice passage about copyright, obscurity and how that applies to authors. It’s in the foreword of this book:
    Relevance to you?
    In the short term, moving to patreon will be easier for you.
    In the long term, continuing to publish here is much more likely to increase your readership numbers and move more people over to patreon.

    • Blaise

      Thank you for the data.

      • icefest

        If you are interested in finding how the change will affect your long term patreon outcome ask on there where people signed up from.
        1) Read your online story then joined patreon
        2) Bought your book then became a patreon
        3) Found you on topwebfic then joined patreon
        4) Found you on goodreads then joined patreon.

        • Blaise

          That’s a great suggestion, but my motivation is not to maximize my Patreon. It’s to maximize my ROI, ROI in this case including comments and reader interaction. In the past, my serial stories functioned as a de facto alpha reading group. Lately, the last few weeks, I’ve gotten much, much more involvement and feedback from my Patreon readers than on the website, here.

          • Nnelg

            I think that may just be an effect of active readers moving their feedback to the “highest” available channel.

            For example, I posted my comments on RRL before I started reading them here (because it was one chapter ahead). If I were to subscribe on Patreon (which is in turn ahead of this blog) I’d start reading (and commenting) there instead.

  • Brent Chance

    I believe something that hurts people’s inclination to comment on your chapters is your site’s design. Specifically the background choice combined with the color of commenter name text. The gray color you’ve chosen blends in heavily with the background and the gray block at the top of your comment section. I have a hard time scrutinizing who is commenting because of it. This is is from the perspective of a tablet user, if that matters.

    Regarding critiques of your story itself, I’m in the same boat as 14Simeonrr. I make it a point to not be too opinionated, as I find it blinds me to other’s perspectives if I am. That said I can provide some insight as to what I think about both this story and SOO.

    In general, I prefer more world building and trope subversions than what your stories tend to have. What I do appreciate about your stories tho is the variety of characters. Particularly in Delvers, where each character adds new perspective and in their own way builds your world. Something I am on the fence about is how petty and reactive your characters tend to be. On the one hand, the shallowness and lack of well thought out intent comes off as not particularly deep or meaningful. But on the other hand pettiness is an aspect of human nature. Additionally, this pettiness appears to be inspired by RPGs and MMOs, which is something I can relate to and have a certain fondness for.

    Finally you haven’t triggered what I consider to the biggest sin a fictonal story can commit: denying characters of a sense of agency. Classically, this would take the form of a heavy hand of Deus Ex Machina, but I’ve seen other variations such as protagonists denying the agency of others or rendering the accomplishments of the protagonists as meaningless (The Hunger Games did this).

    • Blaise

      Yeah, I’d like to fix the color combination problem, but I’m good at changing site code. It’s a small miracle I have what I have now. :/

      • Brent Chance

        If you know how to update css files I can provide you with the code you need to change it.

        • Blaise

          It would be a change to the theme, right?

          • Brent Chance

            I was referring to directly editing the styling code for your site, but it seems you’re using a CMS (content manage system) to handle the site layout. Which is fine, we just have to figure out where you can inject the code. If the theme section of your CMS has an area where you can enter style code, then this code should suffice to change the color of the usernames:

            .publisher-anchor-color a
            color: #656c7a !important;

            You can change the ‘#656c7a’ part to whatever RGB color value you want.

            The ‘!important’ part tells the webpage to override all other styling conflicts with this one. Normally, this wouldn’t be needed, but you have another part of the webpage code overriding all other styles on the user name color, so we have to override that override with our own.

          • Blaise

            That didn’t work, but I am admittedly a noob.

          • Brent Chance

            Yeah, I can’t really give any more direction than that without directly seeing what you’re dealing with.

          • Blaise

            It turns out the problem is that Disqus can’t be altered via the site.

          • Brent Chance

            Ah, ok, that makes sense. Disqus is likely injecting a tag into your page, which is given priority over normal CSS, which is probably what is generated by your site’s theme editor. It’s still possible to override the styling, but you’d need direct access to your page’s code so that you can add a tag of your own.

            Or maybe Disqus allows editing of its styling? That’d be the easier route if available.

          • Jquery direct manipulation otherwise?
            And then were getting kinda esoteric.

            Personally, I enjoy the stories, and would only comment if I caught a spelling/grammatical error and no one else had (like “She’s probably kill all of them.”)

            If I can suggest though, it might be worth investing some time into looking for some form of plug in that would enable posting to multiple places in one go, just to remove some manual work.

            Ah, you CAN set values for #disqus_thread (like I just turned the background red to test this), which is part of your page and not the disqus source. But I also tried modifying .publisher-anchor-color a
            color: #656c7a !important;
            } and that worked too.

  • Nnelg

    Hm, comments… Well, I just don’t know what to say, since my area of interest focuses more on what one might call “setting and mechanics” than characters, and the story has been focussing on the latter for the past few chapters.

    About Patreon, I’m currently not supporting *anyone* and frankly, although I *do* like your work, there are several other works I like even more. So, if you moved to Patreon-only I’d sadly accept it and move on…

    There are a few things you have to keep in mind with switching to Patreon-only, though. It boils down to a major paradigm shift to traditional media (content is created first, the the consumer pays for it) from modern digital media (the consumers voluntarily invest in a creator, who creates content that can be consumed freely). The two are fundamentally different, with different cultures etc.

    For example, a Patreon subscriber isn’t just paying for his own benefit, (rewards notwithstanding) he’s paying so the work can remain free for everyone. So, you might see a lot of people reduce their subscriptions to the minimum (or even remove them entirely) if this work is no longer available to a non-paying audience.

    • Blaise

      That last part of your reply is an /excellent/ point I had not considered. So far I’m leaning towards keeping the serial on the site, here.

      It’s just…I’m really making a lot less in sales by not being on KU. There’s a reason so few other web serial writers keep a serial long term.

      From a purely logical perspective, I should stop posting chapters and just sell my book via Kindle Unlimited. I just really, really hate being told what to do by Amazon. It rubs me the wrong way.

      • Nnelg

        Again, there’s sort of a cultural difference between traditional and crowdfunded media. KU has a larger audience because the mainstream is still used to the traditional style, but the *real* question is how much of that audience would be interested in your work.

        I don’t expect a mainstream audience to be familiar with most of the litRPG elements you use; your work may not rely as heavily on them as many other works, so it might not be a big issue, but it’s still something to consider.

        The second big consideration is the romance. Mainstream readers will likely have very different expectations for romance than what’s presented in your work, which will probably be jarring for many. Polyamory alone will be difficult for a lot of people to wrap their heads around (unlike with the crowdsourced culture, where the majority can be expected to at least have come across the “harem” situation frequently seen in Japanese media before). Also, I think they may desire something more sappy?

        Other than that… Your action scenes can speak for themselves (although I do feel this last one edged on DBZ-ish territory in a bad way, you seem to have pulled back just in time: as long as you don’t don’t dive right back in it’s still good). I can’t speak for characterization because I suck at judging that, but I suspect it’s pretty good overall.

        In total, it seems there is plenty to appeal to a mainstream audience: the real question is how many will be turned away by the unfamiliarity.

        • Blaise

          I was KU for 3 months. I have hard data points. There is really no uncertainty to my statements here. I really don’t want to come off like a douche, but I think you are grossly underestimating the sales I already have. I’ve been contacted by traditional publishers who want to represent me.

          So far, by quitting KU in Jan and staying off of it, I have missed out on a significant amount of revenue.

          To be clear, I already consider myself a professional writer. I’m just trying to gracefully transition into a full time career.

          I know in detail what a lot of other authors are making and who their demographics are. I assure, you, I already know the answers to the questions you posed.

          My dilemma is about where to spend my time, and what to do with my brand. If the question were just about making more money, the answer to that is 100% obvious.

          • Nnelg

            I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to to imply anything; I personally don’t see ‘niche’ as an insult, and was just trying to supply some food for thought.

            If you have hard data about sales on KU, then that absolutely trumps any sort uninformed speculation.

          • Blaise

            Sure, but like I said, this is not just about the money, which is why it’s so agonizing. Honestly, the whole experience is making me better understand why so many authors would prefer to just write and give their work to a publisher to deal with.

  • kirk

    I’m gonna re-iterate something somebody else commented below and say short term you may make more money moving to patreon but you will limit yourself. Anybody willing to subscribe that is currently reading will subscribe to keep enjoying the book but you will get hardly any new subscribers after that without a free site being available as well. Personally I think you should go the route of having both a patreon and a free site.

    • Blaise

      That seems to be the consensus so far and it’s what I’m currently leaning towards. I really don’t want to disrespect my readers, it’s why I’m asking everyone in the first place. I just need to figure out how to allocate my time since I have so little of it. 🙁

      • kirk

        This already isn’t an every day story or even a one a week story so I wouldn’t worry about it. The perks of having a free story means you can set whatever schedule you want and ppl have to deal with it. Most of us that read serials read quite a few so were not like dying if we gotta wait a bit longer for one of them to come out. Beyond that you have skills and your work is worth the wait

        • Blaise

          Thank you. I sincerely appreciate your words.

    • Jonathan Schmidt

      Jeah, I 100% agree with this.

    • Adam

      I really agree with this. It really depends if you want to make more money or want more people to read your content. Going onto a paid website will not help you increase publicity.

  • Jeffrey Hawley

    The biggest issue I see with feed back is separating the comments between chapters. I read a couple different authors weekly up loads and it seems the ones with the most feedback have a separate comment list for each chapter. So if you go to the comments at the bottom of page for a certain chapter all those comments are for that particular chapter.

    • Blaise

      This is good feedback, thank you.

  • Unmaker

    Re: ‘not getting a lot of feedback’

    I have a script blocker on my main browser. Even with it off for your site specifically, I can’t tell you have a comments section. I had to allow all scripts on page to see the comments section, which I normally don’t do. There are other sites with Disqus that at least show a placeholder and a message to let people know a comments section exists – see as an example. I am betting that other people with script blockers don’t even know you have a comments section because they can’t see anything even with their script blocker off for

    Sites that don’t require registering to comment get more comments.

    I don’t remember if you have ever posted a note like the above. Semi-regular reminders that are posted as part of the actual page rather than in the comments section will also help.

    In short, make it obvious, make it easy, and occasionally post a polite reminder.

    • Unmaker

      On a different topic, spelling and grammar errors in the chapters are frequent. For this chapter:
      She’s probably kill >>> She’d probably kill
      when when >>> when
      Jason was lying >>> Jason was laying
      ffhandedly >>> offhandedly
      lowered himself to lay >>> lowered himself to lie (I lie down, I lay things down)

      All those are from an automated check.

      I am (frankly) pickier than most people about this sort of stuff, but I am bringing it up because of “To be clear, I already consider myself a professional writer.” I write technical manuals and reports and my normal routine before sending something out is to spell check. Even freeware like OpenOffice has spelling and grammar checks.

      • Blaise

        My published novels are edited 3 more times past what is posted here.

        To be blunt, I really don’t care to spend a lot of extra time creating a perfect rough draft for non-paying readers, especially since the draft will just need to be edited again, anyway.

        Once again, people who actually buy my books and support me monetarily would know this, and this smarmy response is exactly the type of thing that makes me not want to bother with online serials anymore.

        Also, “lying” was the correct word there.

        • Unmaker

          I read your reply and reread my comments. In short, I made multiple errors and presented myself badly. This post is part mea culpa and part apology. There is a point I want to make in here also.

          You implied in the note that you wanted more comments. I still think my three suggestions are technically correct but the final sentence now looks like “failure mode of clever” territory ( and I apologize for that.

          As far as laying/lying, I quickly used a grammar checker and did not review the results, which looks somewhat hypocritical in retrospect considering the topic I was commenting on.

          “You could spend a few minutes on Amazon or with a Google search and probably get a pretty good idea of my sales.”
          I just did and it is still not obvious. I can see sales ranks as well as review counts/scores on Amazon and I can see hit counts on Google, but that doesn’t clearly translate to numbers sold or income. Your Patreon page tells me $452 per month. As an author I bet you are extremely aware of numbers sold and income, but I don’t think they are obvious to a casual search by someone who has never had to look up that information before.

          As far as the typo situation, I made three mistakes:
          1) I made the assumption that you had time to do review before publishing. Your original cover page stated otherwise (thank you,
          2) The cover pages, both the original and the current versions, make it clear that the free version is a rough draft. I had also
          forgotten that.
          3) I posted while I was irritated. That was a netiquette failure on my part.

          As far as why I was irritated, I am going to expand on it at the possible cost of you thinking I am a deliberate a** instead of being socially awkward.
          —I don’t care about typos per se: one of my favorite web serials, Practical Guide to Evil, has plenty of them. You can find my occasional posts there under the same handle.
          —I don’t equate professional to sales, rankings, stars, or web hits.
          —I equate professional to results.
          So it does not look good to me when a professional publishes work with errors that are relatively easy to find and relatively quick to fix. Yes, you put lots of disclaimers in. Yes, you may be using the free readers as free editors. Yes, you should reserve your previews, your additional content, and your fully-edited versions for paying customers. Yes, it is your option to reserve all of your content for paying customers. But your public works are both your most accessible portfolio and part of your advertising – if they look bad you look bad. And if you say you are a professional but your public works show basic, easy to correct errors, some jacka** is going to call you on it, even with the disclaimers in place. Worse, multiple people will notice and think worse of you, but never mention it. One service industry review showed that one person will actually complain out of 25 people who are dissatisfied. That statistic is dated and not fully relevant to your industry, but idea that counting complaints vastly underestimates actual dissatisfied customers is probably still true.

          And even though I made several mistakes and was rude, I was not knowingly, deliberately attacking. You are in Texas, do you know Drew Hayes? Part 8 of what he wrote here:
          comes to mind.

          • Blaise

            I know Drew pretty well, actually.

            So the irony of all this is that sunsetting my serial would be the easiest way to mitigate all of these potential problems you brought up, as well as make me more money.

            Thank you for adjusting the tone of your reply and giving me logical points to ponder. That said, it all still feeds the, “Shut down the serial” argument. I’m not sure if that was your intention, though.

            I will reiterate: I don’t need the serial to make sales, and I could easily move everything to be Patreon-exclusive where I receive pretty much nothing but positive comments or constructive criticism. It’s actually the logical thing to do. Several other indie authors have gone this route.

            The only thing keeping me from doing so is respect for the folks who have been with me from the beginning. That’s it.

  • 137

    Here’s my two cents on the story so far: Fairly interesting twist on a familiar premisewith decent characters and good pacing. You’re definitely something right, as I keep coming back to check for updates. The whole “fall in love with the first attractive woman you see”-thing for the two protagonists was kind of jarring, but whatever.

    I’m a little more skeptical of the sudden powerup of Jason, though. I’ll be waiting to see how you handle that. Also how you handle Henry’s disappearance. It would be kind of nice if they never find him, just to show that the stakes are real.

    • Blaise

      I think everyone is going to be pleased. 😛 Delvers started off as my protest at stupid Jlit tropes, and part of the series will always have that spirit.

      • 137

        Well, colour me intrigued.

        • Blaise


    • Blaise

      Plus, fantasy always needs a bit of that love at first sight sort of thing. The only series I know of that has characters searching for love and failing horribly at is is Urban Fantasy…and I have -0- interest in writing that. 🙂


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