Arena Repackaged

Yesterday after spending the day doing so many different, mundane things I can no longer recall them all, I went to the mailbox and discovered a package!  From Bethany House.

It was my hot-off-the-presses copy of the new, repackaged version of my first published book, Arena, which will be releasing July 1.

Maybe. A quick check of the general Amazon listing, is confusing at best, indicating that the Kindle version is to be released July 1, but is  eligible for pre-order.  Even as you can get it on the Kindle for free now if you are a member of Amazon Prime. If you click through to the actual page for the book, there is no mention made of any pre-ordering or July 1 release, only the fact that it’s out of print and you can only get it for Kindle.

There’s also a new review up, giving it five stars from a person who’s read it three times, and should’ve stopped with her review there. Unfortunately she did not, going on to add “I had always hoped for a sequel to the story. Karen Hancock has not done much as far as a good story line since.”  🙁

Then there’s, which is worse. It has two entries. Arena, repackaged, but showing the old cover and saying it will be available for purchase June 16, and Arena showing the new cover but for the e-book which won’t be available until July 1.

Worse, each has a single one star review, and each one star review is written by a different reviewer.

The reviewer on the repackaged version entry didn’t think it was good or Christian and was disgusted by the  “(fairly graphic) sexual violence.” This one is listed as releasing June 15.

The reviewer for the e-book entry with the new cover was disappointed because “Unfortunately, this book contains much graphic horror and implied sexual abuses. I could not recommend it as a positive experience for anyone seeking to grow closer to God.” It is listed as releasing July 1, 2012.

[To be clear, the ebook is already available and has been for a year. The repackaged hard copy version will have the new cover and is supposed to release July 1, 2012. I’m not sure if you can pre-order. You should be able to, but the entry’s too confusing.]

It all reminds me of when Arena was first released back in 2002 — my very first Amazon review ever was a total slam, though the reviewer did give it 2 stars. I’m not sure why since he found nothing good in it. The odd thing was, he began his spate of reviews for Amazon on March 20, eleven days before Arena’s debut, and ended July 26 all in 2002. During that time he reviewed exactly 6 books.  One of his favorites, and the one he reviewed right after Arena, was “The Gospel of Judas” which, as the title suggests, explores “certain heretical ideas” involving the supposed discovery of a document that would cause the downfall of Christianity.

Looking back it really seemed like the kingdom of darkness at work. And so seeing how things are going now, it looks like that again. Which I think is cool.

In any case, please pray that the hardcopy will do well. If it does, maybe they’ll repackage the Guardian King series as well… 🙂

20 thoughts on “Arena Repackaged

  1. Jessica

    How exciting is this?!! I’ve been looking forward to the new cover since you announced it a few months back.. And I will pray tonight that this does well. I would LOVE to see new covers for the Guardian-King series…but only as long as Abramm is still on them of course. 😉 do you get a say in that?
    Thanks for all the updates, I love getting to follow my favorite author so consistently. 🙂

    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, Jessica! For the comment and the prayers.

      Alas, I get little say in covers. Unless I throw a huge fit, they’re left up to the marketers to determine. And even if I throw a fit, it might still be left up to the marketers. Not that I’ve ever thrown one, mind you. Or would. Though I might walk about my house howling for a bit. 😀

    2. ChristineLevitt (@cslev129)

      Love the new cover so much I almost want to buy another copy! Just thought I’d let you know that ARENA is my absolute favorite of your books, followed by THE ENCLAVE as my second, mainly because I love the contemporary/futuristic setting and love Pierce and Cameron as heroes. I do have all your Guardian-King books and find them moving and compelling with especially terrific landscape-emotional settings, but there’s just something about Pierce that is especially moving and awesome. Your writing has inspired me a great deal, I’m also working on my 7th story on [author: cslev] but eagerly and patiently awaiting SKY. Please keep working on SKY–it sounds amazing and truly there are no other fiction writers of your caliber out there, believe me I’ve looked! Thanks again and again for ARENA….christine 🙂

      1. karenhancock

        Thanks for this rundown, Christine. I love knowing how different people respond to the different books in different measure. Reminds me that this is God’s gig and not mine. I’m honored (and at the same time… bemused? befuddled?) to serve as inspiration for your writing, and urge you to keep on keeping on.

  2. Patrick Aquilone

    I gotta tell you that I disagree. I actually think that out of all your books (which are all great) that the weakest is “Arena”. Now, by weakest I am not saying it is bad just compared to your later books (Legend of the Guardian King series and Enclave) that it is not as strong. But that is personally.

    And personally, I know as a writer exactly how you feel. I write what I believe God has given me and I am almost getting ready (about 6 months out give or take since I am not working two jobs) to put out my first book (ePub because I have no idea how to get an agent or write a proposal or pitch). I put out part one of the seven part story (part one is 40k words kind of like a novella) and had many people download it when it was free. I got three reviews that were positive. Yeah! But I also got an email that was from a friend who did not like it at all. Do I focus on the three good ones, nope. I remember the email. Although I am trying to tell myself that it is not about that. So, I know how you feel.

    But know that my family (that is my wife, my two teenage daughters and, well not my son yet because he is nine, and me love your books). And we can’t wait for the next one. Of course on the other hand, we don’t want you to rush the other one either. LOL!!!

  3. Erin McFarland

    ooooo love that new Arena cover!! The Guardian King series is one of my all time favorites, so that would be awesome to see what they would come up with for those. As someone who is an aspiring writer, I dread the thought of reviews…the not so kind ones that is. Thank you for the reminder the there’s a bigger thing happening…spiritual warfare at work when HIS name is being proclaimed. Praying for the new hardcopy release!

    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, Erin! Glad to know you like it! Thanks for the prayers, too. As to negative reviews, they do take a bit of getting used to. More and more I’m realizing the truth that in many cases, it doesn’t mean I’ve done something wrong. It might mean the reader is literally incapable of understanding and/or appreciating what I’m doing — an unbeliever, after all cannot understand the things of God and they are foolishness to him. It’s good to recall those things when one starts to get too subjective, not as a means of censuring the reader, but rather in keeping the right perspective!

  4. lisa

    You are a light…as is your writing. Arena was good. I will say that the Guardian King series is the best you have written :-). It has been read countless times by me, and it will never leave my shelves. I buy them for those who express the desire to read it. Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light! Thank you for your devotion to our Shepherd…Go with God!

  5. Lois Ann

    Don’t let those bad reviews get you down – the kingdom of darkness is definitely at work there. Your books are amazing! I will definitely be buying a hardcopy of Arena! And it would be awesome if the Guardian King series were available hardcopy too. I’ve only read them through the library and always wanted copies of my own. Keep up the good work!

  6. KC Frantzen

    Know you know this, but the ONLY reviewer who matters is the Lord.
    If you’re making a difference in someone’s eternal future and doing it according to His will and plan, that’s all you need.
    The dark side can rant and rail but… as Corrie ten Boom said (paraphrased) – “I read the end of the Book!”
    Congratulations on the repackaging – hope it untangles soon!!!

    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, KC. I love the image “rant and rail” produces in my head! And the fact I, too, have read the end of the Book! Just last week, in fact.

  7. Nona

    Well I for one am looking for the release, and I certainly hope it is made available on the Nook. :o) If not, I am perfectly happy with getting it in either hardback and waiting for the Nook release or getting it onto my Android phone with the Kindle app.


    1. karenhancock

      I’m pretty sure Arena’s already available on the Nook. I just can’t get the Barnes and Noble page to come up right now to confirm. I know that I get royalties on the “ebook” version as well as the “kindle” version…

      Okay, back to work on Sky…

  8. Stacey Medaris Clements

    I am praying that Arena does really well. I thought it was an amazing allegory for the road to salvation. It’s been a while since I read it and I don’t have a copy, so I will have to buy the hardcopy when it is released. I pray that God will use it again to bring more people into His kingdom!

    My favorite books, though, are the Guardian King series. I have read them 4 times and have even read them out loud to my sons (with a bit of age-appropriate editing). God has used them many times to speak into my life. Thank you for continuing to let God speak through you!


  9. jessie1089

    I absolutely love Arena, and can’t wait to get the repackaged book! Ms. Hancock, please don’t let those negative reviews get you down. I personally own over 700 books (at the age of 22) and Arena is one of my favorites 🙂

    1. karenhancock

      Thanks, Jessie! I appreciate your encouragment. Don’t worry about the negative reviews. They come with the territory. 🙂


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