Just when our heroes thought it was safe…
The Royal Gift: 2017 New Ending Edition is the return of The Common Kingdoms’ first story, with every chapter updated to make the reading more enjoyable. You’re invited to become a beta reader – a test reader of the 2017 version of The Royal Gift, which will be releasing later this year.
To become a beta reader and get a free copy of The Royal Gift, read on.
What is The Royal Gift About?
The Royal Gift is a story of hope and follows the quest of teenager Aldora Leoma as she strives to save her father and everyone she knows. To save them, she must locate the just-stolen Dagger of Protection – a magic artefact belonging to her village and originally created by the kingdom’s best known sorcerer to protect it. Being closely familiar with her village, Aldora knows she has only eight days to rescue the villagers before their supplies run out. She has barely any knowledge of the kingdom’s geography, and doesn’t know how to track down a thief, so when the talking Prince of the Cats offers to accompany her, Aldora doesn’t refuse.
After rescuing the law enforcement soldier, Royal Official Raneth Bayre, from his family enemy, he joins her side too, bringing with him knowledge and allies that can help her achieve her aim.
With time running out, and no understanding of why somebody has taken the Dagger of Protection, Aldora must keep putting one foot in front of the other, despite her fears, so she can save her father.
The Royal Gift is best suited to readers that love fast-paced fantasies in atypical fantasy settings, enjoy talking cats and often read teen or young adult fiction with elements of crime, magic, adventure and action.
The Royal Gift had an amazing first year – 13,465 readers grabbed a copy on Amazon, Kobo, Inktera/Page Foundry, iBooks and other locations online and offline, but there was one thing that readers kept reaching out to me about – the ending.
A lot of readers, despite loving The Royal Gift, didn’t feel the ending had enough OOMPH, and after hearing from a few different readers, I happened to agree.
I didn’t make Aldora suffer enough. Aldora didn’t do enough heavy-lifting at the end.
- Completely Updated POV Style:
- Each chapter has been remastered to follow one specific character’s point of view. Aldora’s or Raneth, with one being in Prince Pedibastet’s point of view. This huge change was added as during the rewrite of Shotput of Power (book three) in preparation for it’s first release in 2017, I started doing this naturally to Shotput of Power. Beta readers for book three agreed that this made the characters feel even more like real people they could relate to, and gave them more interest in rooting for Aldora and Raneth to succeed.
- It made sense to me to go back to The Royal Gift (and soon book two, Threat) and rewrite them into the same point of view style to match Shotput of Power.
- Revisit to the Atypical Elements of the Fantasy Setting:
- The Royal Gift has been through many complete rewrites – the first draft was written in 2003 with new full rewrites taking place in 2005, 2006, 2009 and the (publication draft) 2014 released edition. In between each of those, general tinkering and edits took place.
- A few readers noticed that the Giften Kingdom (the kingdom Aldora and Raneth call home) had some mention of televisions, whilst the characters were walking around with swords strapped to their weapon belts. Expecting a typical fantasy, a few readers got rather irritated or confused by this. I and my editor felt the previous edition’s mentions and even a scene discussing the mixture of technology explained the way Giftens had to rely more on non-electrical and advanced technology due to the Importation Tax. For whatever reason, some readers needed more, so I returned to these mentions and have done my best to further highlight WHY there is a mix of non-eletrical, some gaslights and some electrically-powered items around the kingdom.
- For those curious: the Southern Kingdom are more advanced in technology than Giften is. They’re responsible for designing all components of a kingdom’s working electricity system, which means Giften has to import every single part (and the electricians too). Some Giftens have opted to pay the enormous tax to import these items across the border, but most prefer not to due to the cost. Whilst most Giftens do have fridge-freezers and a gas cooker running on stand-alone generators, almost zero at the start of the series have televisions, inbuilt electic in their homes and definitely no cars or guns. As the series progresses, we start seeing the impact the lowering of the tax has on Giften life – they start importing cars, guns, televisions in bulk, electric cookers and start building more cinemas.
- The other thing worth noting when I was working on this element, was that some readers didn’t like that there was a talking Prince of the Cats (also explained in every book). Readers who told me who their favourite characters were, helped reveal that out of the readers that enjoyed The Royal Gift, Pedibastet was the firm second favourite character out of the trio of main characters (Aldora, Raneth and Pedibastet). Knowing that the product description and backcopy of The Royal Gift made a firm point of saying, “Aided by a talking prince of the cats…” it’s clear that some readers picked up The Royal Gift because it was free at the time on Amazon and didn’t make sure it was something they would enjoy. This happens in every industry, but when looking at the technology issue, I realised that a lot of that issue was being caused by the same thing – readers that prefer a typical fantasy setting rather than an atypical one. There’s nothing I could do about that reaction by readers who wouldn’t normally pick up The Royal Gift other than to highlight the difference in product description on Amazon or when talking or marketing the series.
- New Ending:
- The main cause of updating The Royal Gift one final time was to deal with the issue that the ending could have been stronger. I love listening to my readers, and the more strongly I agreed with your opinion about the ending, and the more feedback I got regarding the ending, made it clear one last rewrite had to be done for everyone.
- The 2017 New Ending Edition has a completely brand new Chapter Sixteen! Whilst the other chapters have been heavily edited for the new POV style, Chapter Sixteen was put into Aldora’s point of view and rewritten from scratch.
- The attackers are now a major issue for Aldora and Raneth to clean up.
- Aldora has to make a dangerous decision that could kill the villagers and her father that she is trying so hard to save.
- Aldora and Raneth have to rely on themselves, NOT the army, to save the villagers.
- Special Edition Hardback:
- As well as the paperback and ebook, to celebrate the updated edition and my final changes to The Royal Gift (unless any of us spots a typo or UK grammar issue or something that needs a major fix), there may be an illustrated hardback copy released.
Become a Beta Reader
The Royal Gift 2017 New Ending Edition needs test readers! As a beta reader, you will get a free ARC (advanced reader copy) of The Royal Gift in return for feedback. I’m aiming for around 500 teens and young adult readers who already enjoy fantasy (especially atypical fantasy settings). The first 100 beta readers* will get a paperback copy and all beta readers will be sorted into three of my ARC Readers Club Houses – Soggy Griffins, Fiery Fairies and Spitballer Dragons. Each ARC House has the chance to win lots of bookish goodies (including candles and bookmarks) if they are the house that give the most feedback.
Sounds good right?
To become a beta reader of this edition of The Royal Gift, you’ll need to sign up below with your name and a real email address. When this edition is ready to release the ARCs (expected to be between May – August 2017), any new beta readers to the series will be sorted into their house and have The 2017 edition email or posted to them.
*Paperbacks are more likely to be given to bookbloggers, bookvloggers and bookstagrammers but all of the first 500 people who ask to be a beta reader will get a copy digitally if not as a paperback.
PS: Maybe this is obvious, but… Skim-readers are politely asked to stay away. Beta readers need to be readers with an interest in reading the story and an interest in providing valuable feedback to further improve the book.