Following feedback from readers and from a new editor, Aviva Layton, I have made some minor changes to Ten Directions. In anticipation of a relaunch of Ten Directions in the United States through the Dart Frog alliance with Indie book stores, and in celebration of Ten Directions being named as one of Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2018, now seemed to be a good time to release these changes.
In making these changes I followed Aviva's general advice on improving the opening for readers who may not have a science fiction bent. She had some other useful advice involving some radical restructuring such as removing one of my 5 protagonists, which I was unable to follow for the following reasons.
1. I have radically restructured and completely rewritten the novel at least 4 times and felt the time was right to move on to other projects, such as revising the sequel to Ten Directions.
2. The book has already been released.
3. The characters were meant to cover a range of perspectives on a future Earth where human society has changed to be centred on the ecological stability of the planet. Loosing one of these perspectives would result in missing an important perspective on this future.
4. The characters are written to match each of the 5 Dhyani Buddha personality types and my hope was that different readers would chose their favorites based on their own psychological affinity to particular characters. This has worked. So far I have readers who identify most with August, Aurora, Kalsang, Francesca, and Calvin30. What would I say to them if I deleted their character? By sending Ten Directions out into the world I have lost control.
5. I am attached to these characters. They wrote the book with me. Who am I to tell them that their contribution has been inadequate?
6. Her advice is most likely correct and the above are excuses, but in the end it was my executive decision to make as the author.
In any case, the advice Aviva gave that I did follow greatly improved the opening, which now includes her recommendation to start with a brief summary of the previous century on Earth looking back from the Ten Directions start date of 2141 a.d. This approach is similar to that of the rolling golden text introducing a Star Wars movie in order to make the other-worldly story line more accessible to a general audience. Some readers have confided in me that they got bogged down in my ad hoc references to this history in the opening chapters and this was where they put down the book. Even though I had explained the history and terminology in an appendix, many readers did not flick through the book before starting and were unaware of the Appendix. By providing this context upfront my hope is that these historical references in the narrative this will become less of a speed bump for readers.
The back cover also now includes review quotes and various accolades which Ten Directions has been honored with. In addition, the font size is smaller resulting in a book which is more economical for book store owners to purchase.