I have been a published, indie author now for a little over a year. In that time I have published 3 novels making a series of my original book, "Bloodlines: Cove Point Manor". My original intention was to have only 2 books with the same characters and theme, but after reading the feedback of my readers, I decided to write the 3rd book, and brought back several of my reader's favourite characters from the original storyline.
The reader feedback that has been provided has proven very valuable to me as a new author. My readers have pointed out grammar and formating issues, as well as what they did and did not like about each of the first 2 novels. The end result for me has been an improved editing and formatting process, as well as ideas for a continuing storyline.
I have to admit that receiving criticism is not always easy, but once you learn to put emotions aside and pay attention to what your reader is saying, it can be extremely helpful. I fixed the formatting and grammar issues in my first novel and republished a corrected version. This ended comments about formatting and grammar (except for 1 "troll" who's comments clearly indicated they had NOT read the story) in the original book, and by the time my 3rd book was published, similar comments had disappeared.
My 3rd book, one which I had never considered writing, was written in response to reader's requests for more of the same storyline, and in it I brought back several popular characters from the original story. Additionally, the lessons learned from publishing the first 2 books served me well, and the formatting and grammar issues now seem to be behind me.
Reader comments provide the author with valuable information. Their comments let you know what they do or do not like about your story, and often point out issues that you and your editors and proofreaders may have missed. Use these critiques wisely, make changes that will satisfy your audience, and apply the lessons learned to your future writing.
I am now faced with an interesting dilema as an author: do I continue writing more novels in the Bloodline's series, or write something completely different? I have a solid audience of readers who love the Bloodlines series and the characters I have introduced to them. My readers have told me that they want more of Alex and Maggie and their adventures both in the physical and supernatural worlds I have created.
As an author I am tempted to write different stories, but I also do not want to disappoint my readers. I had originally envisioned writing individual stories with new characters, but have to admit that I have grown attached to Alex and Maggie and the world I have created for them. It is a little hard to explain, but to me, Alex and Maggie are real; they are my "children", and I am curious to find out what other adventures await them.
I have not yet started on my 4th novel, although I do have some ideas running through my mind. I have had several readers tell me that they would like to learn more about the history of Alex's family, and Cove Point Manor, and I am seriously considering the idea of writing a prequel that will better explain the Farnsworth dynasty, and the building of Cove Point Manor.
If you are an author, pay close attention to your reader reviews. The feedback that your readers provide is invaluable and will almost certainly make you a better author, and will help you to write stories that will keep your readers coming back for more.