I've received some very supportive comments from first readers, but then my alpha readers are the absolute top with great taste … and they're always positive with any criticism. The Griffin Boy's real test would be attracting new readers – and keeping them interested!
Although "The Griffin's Boy" is going through a final polish, I felt confident enough in this story to offer it for free, in advance reader copy form on Smashwords.
For an experiment, we took advantage of Smashword's latest tool for authors, the option to serialise stories. We thought offering "The Griffin's Boy" in three parts might provide a rough gauge of the "entertainment" factor: If readers enjoyed the first part, they'd be back for more.
The results were astonishing! Thankfully, over two-thirds of readers seemed to have enjoyed part one, as they downloaded part two. But it gets better! The download numbers for the third and final part of "The Griffin's Boy" is only lagging behind the download figures of part two by six readers.
So it's safe to assume that less than one third of downloads either didn't hit the spot, or were simply grabbed as a freebie and may never actually be read.
However, almost every reader who grabbed part two of "The Griffin's Boy" also downloaded the third and final part.
Of course, free is very different to paid for; but our little unscientific experiment appears to show that having started, most readers wanted to finish reading "The Griffin's Boy". In my book, that's a success!