Back to The Beginning

There’s officially a new version of The Beginning available, and I’ll tell you exactly how to get it without spending a cent (unless you haven’t already bought it, in which case, you’ll need to spend $0.99 to get it).

But first, let me explain what I changed and why. (If you don’t give two shits about the why, that’s understandable and you can scroll down to the heading “Updating your Kindle version.”)

When I first wrote The Beginning, I didn’t realize it would be a series. I actually imagined that Jessica Christ would be one big, stand-alone book. Granted, it would be one hell of a tome, but so was the prequel, right? Long books run in Jessica’s family.

Except, as I was writing it, I realized that the upper price limit for an indie ebook on Kindle was $9.99, and even if I could have priced higher, I couldn’t actually make it more expensive and expect anyone to buy it. As much as we all want to be artists and not give a shit about money, uh, sorry if this comes as a surprise to you, but I do give a shit about money. Besides, the story naturally formed separate arcs that would work better for a series.

When I started Jessica’s story, I wrote all the way through  AGC 15 (most of the way through book 2) before I was like, “Oops. Gotta break this up.”

But the narrative arc was disrupted, and I struggled with how to end book 1 so that it felt like the end of the first book in the series rather than just the cut-off point in an “oh shit” artistic moment, which, admittedly, it was.

My struggle didn’t conclude well, in my opinion, and I’ve always kind of hated the way book 1 ends. It didn’t feel finished. The themes weren’t fully developed, and Jessica’s conflict in it needed some serious fleshing out followed by a bit of resolution.

The read-through rates from book 1 to 2 made it clear that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way, and that’s nagged at me like a mofo for the past year. The read-through from book 2 to 3 and book 3 to 4 and so on is great, but I wasn’t getting new readers to book 2, and besides that having a negative financial outcome, it signaled to me that the story wasn’t as strong as it should be to start off a series that deserves to be read, goddamn it! (Obviously, I’m biased on this point.)

So I did what any good, self-flagellating perfectionist would do and made a list of all the things wrong with book 1 that I wanted to fix. Then I handed it over to a mega badass editor with instructions to “please tell me how to fix this.”

The process was a little more complicated than that, but not by much. She came back with incredible notes of where the pace dragged and where I could build more.

After book 5 was released at the end of September and I took a couple weeks off to clear my head, I revisited book 1 to make it what I thought it deserved to be. I spent three weeks chipping (and sometimes slashing) away at it.

While there are changes throughout, the biggest alteration is at the end. I added two full scenes to the end that make everything come together nicely. But to get the full impact of it, you really should start at the beginning and read all the way through (tip: there’s now a hidden section where God explains the real story of Noah’s Ark).

I can honestly say this new version is way better. And the updated version is live on Amazon as of about a week ago. So if you liked it the first time around, you’re going to love it now. And those finding The Beginning for the first time will have a much richer experience to jumpstart their fun with Jessica McCloud.

Without further ado, here’s how you update your current version of The Beginning through your Kindle reader without paying another cent for it.

Updating your Kindle version

  1. Go to www.amazon.com and sign in to your account.
  2. In the top right menu bar, hover over Accounts & Lists to access the drop-down menu:

    Hopefully, you have more exciting recent purchases than I do. If not, good luck with the allergies!
  3. Click on Your Content and Devices:

    Here’s a zoomed in picture of where you should click, in case you thought I was just screwing with you about it being a real thing. Nope, it’s real, and you should click right on its stupid orange face.
  4. You should see the following, and if you don’t, you’ve already messed this up and I don’t know what to tell you:

    I cut off the bottom of the screen in this screenshot because I didn’t want you to creep on all the books I buy. Just assume they’re all the Kama Sutra but like, expert-level guides. Because I’m so good at doing sex.
  5. Scroll down until you see The Beginning by H. Claire Taylor.
    (Note: I didn’t buy my own book because I’m too busy being good at doing sex, so I can’t show you that example exactly, but here’s something similar in the orange box.)
  6. Notice the Update Available button on the far right of the row? Here’s a closer look:

    Click that button. Click it so hard.
  7. When you see this message pop up, don’t freak out and, I don’t know, emergency restart your computer or anything. There’s really no need. Just make sure your Kindle device has its wireless and Whispersync enabled, then click Update.
  8. Congratulations. You now have the new version of The Beginning and can read it at your leisure when you’re not busy doing consensual sex to someone you love.

And for those of you who haven’t yet purchased it, The Beginning is available on Amazon.com for only $0.99.

Click to buy The Beginning.

2 thoughts on “Back to The Beginning

  1. Bob Prager says:

    I’m not sure your read-through concerns about 1 to 2 vs. 2 to3 and so on are really valid. 1 is available for a low-enough price that many people would be willing to give it a try, but found themselves so put off by the tone and humor there is no chance they’d go on. You’ve received reviews from this group! I’d anticipate that once readers got into 2, they’re (we’re!) hooked.

    • hclaire says:

      I suspect that’s a little bit of it, Bob. I definitely don’t expect a book with God depicted as a wild hog to appeal to the masses as much as a sci-fi book that hits all the tropes. But the conversion rate was still pretty low, and I figured if I can get 10% more people from 1-2, then they’ll read all the way to the end, and I’ve made everything else easier from here on out. I can already see it’s helped the conversion rate on my sales, even as I lowered the price of book 1 to $.99 (which usually means worse conversion rate since *anyone* will buy a book for $0.99 without basic self-vetting).

      Thanks for being one of the folks who reads on through, Bob!

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