Who Do You Write For? and a #steampunk treat, Dragonfly Warrior by Jay Noel


How do we gain traction as writers and as writer-publishers? Know your audience. Connect with your audience.

The first place an author should connect with audience is the trifecta – title, cover, blurb. The next place is on the page. Chapter one should open with what appeals to your audience and draws them in.

Space opera fans want to go to space. They want to explore new worlds and meet new civilizations. They want adventure and discovery. They love the unexpected.


So when a crit partner tells me to go more emotional or romantical in chapter one, I reject that advice. Those elements can have co-star roles, but they can’t take center stage. That’s sending the wrong signal to my audience, repelling them instead of attracting them.

The first time I rejected advice and went with my gut and knowledge [I’m a science fiction fan as well as creator] was kind of scary. I’ve grown a lot since then as an author, and now I listen to myself more often. What I know is important and isn’t something I should ignore. Ever.

An equally important voice I listen to is what my audience expects and wants. Now that I have a fan base, knowing what they want becomes more specific and easier. They tell me, and I listen. This is how I know the most valuable commodity in my tool kit is my mailing list. I send a message, many of them write me back and we chat.

My new series, which starts this summer, The Rifters, has more of a paranormal/urban fantasy slant than science fiction, but I used what I know about my fan base and developed elements in the story to appeal to them. It doesn’t mean a Backworlds fan will then read The Rifters, but there’s nothing wrong with making the effort. There’s nothing wrong with using reader data right at my fingertips. It’d be rather unwise not to. Yes?

My uber fans might be willing to try the first Rifters because they like my writing style. So it’s smart to add things in that might keep them hooked. That crossover of elements in Backworlds and Rifters could get Rifters fans to read Backworlds.

Our readers or potential readers are the only people we have to woo. We do not have to impress or cater to the entire planet of readers. If we do, we fail our true audience and our story. Twilight wasn’t for me, but I recognized that Stephanie Meyers connected with her audience from chapter one. That is what we all have to do.


 This is my January post for IWSG and IndieLife.


DragonFly Warrior


by Jay Noel

The Mechanica Wars: Savage Machines Are Afoot…

At the age of twenty, Kanze Zenjiro’s bloody footprints mark the bodies of those who stood in his way to protect the throne of Nihon. Now, the tyrannical Iberian Empire is bent on destroying his kingdom, and they send their steam-powered giants and iron spiders against him.

Zen embarks on a quest that takes him on the most dangerous journey of his life. To succeed, Zen must live up to his nickname, the Dragonfly Warrior, and kill all his enemies with only a sword and a pair of six-guns. He is called upon to somehow survive a test of faith and loyalty in a world so cruel and merciless, it borders on madness.

  • “This is like no other steampunk story I’ve ever read.”
  • “Samurais, steampunk machines, ninjas, pirates…this book has everything except for zombies.”
  • “I love all the allusions to mythology of this book. Reminds me of some King Arthur mixed with The Odyssey.”
  • “Asian-inspired steampunk How cool is that?”
  • “The action is intense! I couldn’t put it down.”

Ebook and Paperback: Amazon / B&N

Find Jay Noel


M. Pax News


Sorry for the lack of links this month for the memes. Although I enjoy the unexpected in my entertainment, I don’t care for it at all in real life.

I had a hard drive failure 12/15. No warning, no acting wonky, pffft, dead. That weeping you heard in mid December, that was me.  Fortunately, I back up current projects by emailing a friend every day. So gmail saved my ass as far as the most current versions of Worlds on Edge and The Rifters went.

My most skilled and talented Husband Unit saved more of my ass. That man used DOS, yeah DOS, to save all of my documents. All of them. Phew! I hadn’t backed up since June. With that said, large chunks of photos are MIA. Sniff. So yeah, you know what my resolution for 2014 is. Back up!

I have a new hard drive installed, a new version of Windows [I’m now on 8 and I kind of like it], and a newer version of MSOffice [MS no longer supports 2003 – thank you River Fairchild]. Anyway all of my previous links, etc… were lost.

I’m furiously working to get the first draft of Worlds on Edge finished [should be done this weekend, early next week at the latest], so am being lazy about looking up links. Forgive me.

So yeah, I signed a contract and paid money to my editor. Deadline is February 10th. Once the first draft is done, I still have the revision to get through. It won’t take too long. Revisions for the Backworlds are about word choice and tracking details. In some ways, series are easier that way.

Official release will be March 24th. If any of you would like to help with a shout out that week or any time after, I’d be most grateful. SIGN UP


Sorry for being yappy. Hope you all had a great holiday and one free of a hard drive failure.




  1. January 8, 2014    

    Finding what advice to take and what to leave alone is quite tricky. I agree it comes with practice. Good job in nailing that part of this writing business. I signed up for your March launch. Always glad to help.

  2. January 8, 2014    

    You had me at the first chapter:) In fact, my optical physicist father is now a huge fan of yours, too! I love your writing style, so yes, I’ll be reading the new series and helping to promote whenever you need me! I’m relieved you got your computer debacle resolved. I had a hard drive fail over a year ago, losing most of my first draft *facepalm* Now I have backups for my backups:)

  3. January 8, 2014    

    Thank you to Alex for telling me I had neglected to turn comments on. If it doesn’t involve my WIP, I most likely messed up whatever it is. That includes making sense.

    It is a tough thing to learn, Lee, like learning what to emphasize and not in our writing.

    Thank you, Sam. :D

  4. January 8, 2014    

    “Rifters” is the coolest title ever. I love it.

  5. January 8, 2014    

    Great post on writing with the audience in mind!

    Congrats to Jay for his novel!

  6. January 8, 2014    

    Sorry about the hd failure. Crap! At least you didn’t lose anything too important. Congrats for being brave enough to try a new genre. The Rifters sounds like a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to it! :)

  7. January 8, 2014    

    I used to email myself a copy of my WIP every day so I’d never lose anything if my computer were to fail or terrorists stole my computer. These days, I have so many backups of my WIPs in so many places, it’s sometimes hard to keep them all straight. Hard drive failures terrify me.

  8. January 8, 2014    

    Hey, I can comment now!
    The new direction of your writing sounds awesome! Yes, I write to please my fans and potential fans as well.
    And sorry about the hard drive meltdown.

  9. January 8, 2014    

    It came to me in a flash of brilliance, Michael! I can’t wait to finish writing it and publish it.

    I think it’s important, Cherie.

    I wept and wanted to throw up at the same time, Lexa. Windows 8 comes with this skydrive thing for back up. I also have an external hard drive, which I will start to use – yes, I see you J drive, and I put my docs in dropbox now too.

    I hear that Ken. I had like all the final manuscripts, but none of the formatted files, which disturbed me. But now i have them all. Phew!

    Woot! Thanks for letting me know, Alex. My brain is barely functioning. It’s so preoccuppied with thinking up Backworlds crap at the moment.

  10. January 8, 2014    

    I see nothing wrong at all with crossover elements in your stories. Many people enjoy more than one genre and I’ll bet you’ll have a loyal fan base already intact for The Rifters!
    It’s great to see Jay’s book everywhere!
    Did you lose your gangsta cow pictures in the crash?

  11. January 8, 2014    

    Wow. A lot going on. I’m about a third of the way through Dragonfly Warrior right now. Extremely good.

    God advice about knowing who you’re writing for.

  12. January 8, 2014    

    Sounds like you are on a great path, Mary. Write on! ;O)

  13. January 9, 2014    

    I agree with you on crit partner advice. No matter what, you as the writer know what you want to achieve with your writing. Anything that doesn’t achieve the same thing, can and should be disregarded. :-)

  14. January 9, 2014    

    Wonderful, Mary! And so true. Trust your gut. Although the same formula to gain readership works for every book (nabbing the reader with the trifecta, the first page/chapter), the specifics in doing this vary greatly. Good to trust your gut. And here’s to Rifters!

  15. January 9, 2014    

    The new books sound like a lot of fun. And I do agree that you have to lerarn when to take advice – and when not to.

  16. January 9, 2014    

    Mary, I’ve learned that you’re very good at trusting your gut instinct! It’s your no.#1 asset!
    It works for you – every time (to my knowledge).
    The Rifters… sounds like you’re taking your stories to another level! Congrats!

  17. January 9, 2014    

    Yes, getting to know the audience is a valuable lesson – and that, for me anyhow, was difficult to learn until after having a couple books out.

    Oy! Glad you had the most important things backed-up & I hope it’s not terribly painful trying to get back the rest.

    Congrats to Jay!!

  18. January 9, 2014    

    Sci-fi and fantasy fans don’t always cross over, River, but I hope to keep a chunk of them and widen my audience with this series. I did lose some of the gangsta cow photos.

    I can’t wait to read Jay’s book, Rusty.

    I hope so LuAnn. I’d like to break out this year.

    Exactly, Misha, and we have to trust ourselves enough to distinguish and reject.

    Yes, they do vary widely, Michael, which is the fun. You can get it all right and still struggle. It’s the way the business bounces.

    I can’t wait to get back to writing it, Simon. I’m immersed in the Backworlds for the time being.

    Thank you, Michelle. I became better at it over the last year. I’ve become more confident over the last year. I made some mistakes listening to others when I knew better. That’s when I decided I had to weigh more heavily in the equation. :)

    We do gain more insight with books out there and reader feedback, Nicki. I have to thank Michael Offutt for telling me to put a spaceship on the cover.

  19. January 9, 2014    

    That’s an encouraging post as I sometimes don’t know when to trust my instincts and when not too. Getting more confident though. Thank you.

  20. January 9, 2014    

    I can definitely relate to rejecting what’s been suggested based on gut, because I’ve been there too. Although, I don’t necessarily plan based on my audience either :/ I probably should. But I tend to write for entertainment as much as growing emotionally and spiritually. So I guess I hope others will have a similar experience when they read the work. But, you made some good points here. I’ll have to think about working on that some :)

    Also, congrats to Jay =)

  21. January 10, 2014    

    That’s some good advice. I’ve been pondering the audience for my current projects and to be honest, I’m not sure what exactly it is yet but I think I’m going to start making a concerted effort to figure that out.

  22. January 10, 2014    

    Instincts have a lot to tell us, Debbie… so I used to learn after the fact.

    There’s nothing wrong with putting elements in to appeal to fans we’ve already worked hard to win EmilyAnn.

    I had that problem with the book not selling, Kathy. So it helps to figure it out.

  23. January 10, 2014    

    Yes, always, always go by your core instinct! Wise advise. Looking forward to The Rifters.

  24. January 10, 2014    

    On my job hard drives go out with frightening regularity. Sorry if you lo s too much. Know your audience is great advice.

  25. January 10, 2014    

    Thanks for the props!

    And my heart sank when your computer’s hard drive failed like that. Every writer’s nightmare.

    And I’m looking forward to THE RIFTERS!!!!!!

  26. January 11, 2014    

    I love that you interact with your fans via your mailing list. That is so cool and awesome! I’m sorry your hard drive crashed – I always worry about that!

    I got Jay’s book – woot! And a signed copy to boot! :)

  27. January 11, 2014    

    Hi Mary – despite the glitch .. I’m glad things have been sorted – I’m sure there was a very big pit of the stomach hit … but backing up all the time will make a huge difference ..

    Good luck with your new book/series … and exactly you just want readers to come back – we can’t be there for everyone … you’ve got a great following .. have a fun 2014 – cheers Hilary

  28. January 11, 2014    

    Of course I would love to help with the release. Yay!
    And I can’t wait to read The Rifters. :)

    I think my biggest problem is I have no idea who my audience, or intended audience, is. I definitely have a lot of work to do.

  29. January 12, 2014    

    It’s great you followed your guts. I’m sorry about your hard drive. I’m glad your husband stepped in.

  30. January 13, 2014    

    I’m glad you didn’t lose any writing, but losing pictures is horrible. I lost one memory card’s worth of pictures, and it still makes me ill to think of it (it was months in the life of my kids, vacation photos, my son’s first play, Halloween, etc.) Since then, I’ve learned to empty the card onto my laptop and, something I’m starting now, back up my photo archives to our server.

    I think most people read more than one type of genre and story, so exposing one set of stories to the fans of another is completely valid.

    The Warrior Muse

  31. January 14, 2014    

    You are so right. Writing books is like raising kids, sometimes only you know what best for your baby. And when you need advice, it’s best gotten from people who know your darling too.

  32. January 14, 2014    

    We do judge books by their covers. That is why covers are so alluring.

    Thanks for reminding us though that utimately we have to know our readers well enough to make a connection.

    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com )

  33. Brinda Brinda
    January 17, 2014    

    I’m so happy that your books are going to audio. I listen to several audiobooks a month. Audible.com is wonderful.