If you’ve looked in on my item pages for Dark on Amazon, you might have noticed the title change in the past couple of days. It’s the same book title, but now it says Juiced Edition. It’s time to explain why.
Since December and the first release of Dark, I’ve noticed an odd thing. Something that I probably should have anticipated, but which is hard to really expect unless you’ve lived in both the UK and the US, which I haven’t: our tastes are more different than I thought.
All of the reviews I’ve had on Amazon.co.uk have been 5-star (I’m honestly not blowing any trumpets here, you’ll see in a minute) and Goodreads range from 3-5, with only one of the 6 a 3. It’s not a bad average. But on Amazon.com, I’ve had 2’s and 3’s more than anything else. I might have had one 5 and a few 4’s, but the content of the reviews themselves seem to come back to the same thing: most of the readers on .com don’t like the amount of descriptives and “atmospheric” effects in the book. It’s not empirical, of course there are going to be American readers who like the added texture and British readers that would prefer it without, but the fact remains that there’s a rift going on between the readers who just want a story and those that like to read for the sake of the words themselves. I’m the latter, which probably explains a lot, lol.
It’s not an easy decision to take because in general I’m against abridgements of work. In the early days of audiobooks the hack-and-slash jobs done to cram an 18-hour book on to two cassettes would make me grind my teeth in frustration. But ultimately I don’t want to cut out people who might enjoy the plot and a bit of a different take on vampire fiction just because they don’t want to wade through extra material that is there for narrative colour rather than necessary for the plot. There are enough times myself when I’m mentally exhausted and put aside the Angela Carters and Joanne Harrises for a bit of Maeve Binchy or Lyn Andrews! I even have a thing for children’s books when I’m feeling ill. So for those that want a less exhausting read (or just a cheaper paperback, lol), I’m going to be releasing a Standard Edition of Dark in the next couple of weeks, allowing time for the retailers to list it, etc.
I want to make it clear that this isn’t an abridgement. There are absolutely no missing scenes, and only once or twice a whole missing paragraph; it’s very small cuts in a number of places, sometimes only one word, occasionally as many as five or six. It changes nothing of the plot, characterisations, or overall tone of the text. It’s just slightly streamlined. And the Juiced Edition is still on sale for anyone that likes the added atmosphere and enjoys the fancy stuff!
Finally, I plan to include a Smashwords coupon in the back of every Standard Edition so that if you enjoy the book and would be interested in seeing the full, uncut version, you can upgrade your copy to the Juiced Edition for only the difference in price – you won’t have to pay the full price again. 🙂 I’m not 100% sure how the coupons work and if they’ll allow what I have in mind, but that’s the plan, anyway.