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Topics - Puddleduck

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Writers' Cafe / what about horizontal text on paperback spines?
« on: November 16, 2017, 11:51:50 AM »
Just wondering what people think about putting the title/author text on the spines of paper books in a horizontal alignment rather than vertical (so you don't have to tilt your head to read it). Assuming, of course, short enough words and a thick enough book that the text isn't too small, what do you think about horizontal text? Is there some reason more books don't do it, or is it only that people want to do what's "normal" even when they have a thick book and short title, and horizontal text is abnormal?

Writers' Cafe / Amazon and copyright registration
« on: November 16, 2017, 08:17:02 AM »
So some people have been talking about Amazon requiring them to prove their copyright to their works or face the consequences. Okay. If the work was never with a publisher, it sounds like the only way to do this is with proof of copyright registration. So, just send Amazon a copy of the registration. Sounds easy.

Except that the time between applying for registration and actually receiving it is (in the US, currently) like 8 or 9 months. Which means that if you publish to Amazon and immediately file for copyright, you've still got a big window of time when Amazon might decide to ask for proof of copyright and you're unable to provide it, potentially resulting in whatever negative consequences Amazon threatens.

So what do we do? Not worry about it and hope Amazon doesn't ask for proof of copyright? Publish everywhere else first and wait to put it on Amazon until you've received the copyright paperwork? Hold off on publishing altogether until you've received the copyright paperwork (which means sitting for most of a year on a completed book before putting it up for sale)?

I can understand why people mostly didn't worry about this in the past, but given that problems with Amazon seem to be increasing, it seems like something we should be thinking about.

Writers' Cafe / compound word typos
« on: November 07, 2017, 04:58:21 PM »
When I run a spellcheck on my manuscript, I notice that the program flags a lot of words as misspelled that I've written as compound words but may in fact be two words. This happens a lot, so I don't have a lot of specific examples (because it's not just one list of words or anything either). But things like doorstep, backpack, footstool, stuff like that.

My problem is that I don't know whether this is a case of the program's dictionary not having real words and mis-flagging them, or if I have a tendency to use compounds when they should be two words.

So what I'm trying to figure out is: how do I solve this? Is there a good online dictionary that I can look up compound words in, to see if they're really compound words or two words? Is there some other resource? (I use Libre Office Writer to do my writing, but I've had this happen in Word too.)

Related, how big of a deal is it for readers if there are a bunch of compound words that should be two words? Will this annoy a lot of people if I'm unable to catch them? I mean, I'm usually pretty consistent about doing it one way or the other, since I spell them as compound words because that's how I understand them to be rather than as a one-off mistake.

I want to spell these things right, but it seems like a lot of dictionaries don't have a lot of real compound words, so I never know when the mistake is mine and when it's just an incomplete dictionary.

I'm a ways off from setting up paperback distribution still, but watching how Amazon appears to be phasing out Createspace, I don't want to use Kindle Print (will keep an eye and revisit when I'm ready to hit publish on the print books), so I want to use Ingram Spark. (I'd actually want to use IS in conjunction with CS anyway.)

So here's my problem: I've got some e-book covers from a certain designer. This designer offers Createspace paperback covers that you can get as an add-on. I asked if they can do covers for IS, and the answer is basically no. They said the CS covers sometimes work for IS, but they can't help me if they don't work. But I don't want to pay for paperback covers and then be unable to use them.

I don't want to get new covers entirely (at this point, at least). So mainly I'm wondering how different the requirements are for IS than CS and how difficult it would be to adapt CS covers for IS. I've asked if I could at least get the PSD files to make the adjustments myself (haven't heard back yet). But if not, how hard would it be to change a flat, single layer CS cover for IS? Is making a paperback cover from an existing e-book cover (without the PSD) something that I could hire a different designer for?

Does anyone have any advice/tips?

Writers' Cafe / How long does it take to get US copyright confirmation?
« on: October 29, 2017, 12:14:53 PM »
In mid-September, I submitted 6 works for copyright and immediately paid the associated fees. They're still showing as 'pending' status when I log in, and I haven't received anything in the mail.

How long does it usually take a copyright registration to go through and be finalized? It really seems like a month and a half is a long time for this.

Writers' Cafe / So I got a terrible review today...
« on: October 19, 2017, 06:52:06 AM »
I got one of those really awful reviews. You know, the eviscerating, tear-it-to-shreds, "you're a horrible person for writing this" kind of reviews. I didn't actually read the whole thing. Once I saw words like "crap" and "despicable", I just skipped past. (An alert had come to my email inbox, so I didn't go looking for the review.) But I did glean enough to note one interesting thing.

This was a story that, when I was originally writing it, I'd been posting it online as I went. And while most people who left comments were enjoying it, I did get some very vocal complaints that the female main character was not reacting in a certain way that these readers thought she should have. (A way that, BTW, if she had reacted as they wanted, the story would have basically come to a screeching stop. Not that they ever acknowledged that.) So as I wrote, I tried to explain in the text why she was acting this way and not in the way these reviewers wanted. I tried, multiple times through the story, to work that in to help these readers to understand why she was acting the way she was.

And now, long after the story has been completed, I'm still getting awful reviews by people who thought she should have reacted in this totally other way.

It was an interesting reminder (in the way that slaps to the face are interesting) that I need to stop worrying about what anyone else thinks of my story and write it the way I want. Because people who are going to have fundamental disagreements with the way my characters are acting are often going to continue to have those problems no matter how clearly I try to explain why the characters are acting the way they are.

I'm leaning more and more toward writing basically in a vacuum of my own thoughts and then putting the story out into the world and letting it sink or swim. Because the vast majority of reviews I've gotten for that story have been good, and it's an exercise in frustration to try to mollify the furiously unhappy.

I'm trying to figure out what's the best font to use for the paper version of my book (I'm planning on doing all interior formatting myself). I like Garamond, but I understand that's a very expensive font to use. So I'm wondering if anyone knows of any similar fonts that are either free for commercial use or cheap (say, under $50 for unlimited usage) that would be appropriate for printed book interiors. I'd want to be able to either get it totally free or for a single, one-time fee (this isn't something I want to have to do upkeep on).

I'm also interested if anyone has any other, general recommendations for free/cheap fonts that I could use in this way, which would be appropriate for a contemporary fantasy on the longer side (over 100k words, so not a font that's too wide/space-consuming).

And while we're at it, do people usually do single space or 1.5 spacing for print interiors?

I'm considering attempting to write a to-market urban fantasy story, only I want to do one with a male lead. What I'm wondering is what people think about using my usual female pen name or if I should make a new, male or gender neutral name to use.

I'm wondering if readers will be more critical of a first person male narrator if they know the author is female. Or if there are any other concerns or things to consider regarding female-written first person stories with a male main character.

This came up on another thread, and it really made me wonder. I'd been planning on trademarking my publishing company name and logo. But someone pointed out on this other thread that if you trademark something, you're legally required to defend it in order to keep it. And I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have the money to go through the legal proceedings to defend a trademark, at least not until I start making a lot more money than I am now.

So I was wondering what everyone thought on the subject. Should I trademark my publishing company name or not? Would it even do me any good if I don't have the funds to pursue defending it if necessary?

Writers' Cafe / Looking for a weirdly specific analogy/simile
« on: September 26, 2017, 01:33:49 PM »
I need a fill-in-the-blank for some dialogue. It's one vampire talking about how this other, really powerful vampire won't tolerate any other vampires in his city. The line is basically, "He squats over [city] like his own personal [???]." I have this image of some mythological creature really basically squatting/hovering over a city, and something in my brain is telling me there's some "slouching towards Bethlehem" style mythology/poetry/classic literature reference I can use. I just can't think what it might be? Does anyone know of something like that? If not, does anyone have any other suggestions for metaphors/similes that I might use? (The tone is meant to be that the speaker is partly afraid of this vampire but also partly mocking him.)

Edit: I think I got it! "He looms over the city like Ozymandias." Thanks, everyone!

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