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Messages - Puddleduck

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Using Real Local Business Name in Novel
« on: Today at 03:53:11 PM »
I have a book set locally, but I don't use the names of any local establishments. I have several places that are based on local establishments, but they're fictional places. I'm not sure what the point is of using the real place names, anyway. If they're local places, only locals will notice or care about the names, and hopefully your book has a wider audience than a handful of people in your town.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Specialist blurb writers?
« on: Today at 03:51:43 PM »
So, you really believe that...***STOP! DON'T READ THIS BOOK!**** what good blurb writing is about?

How did you get that from what they wrote? I honestly don't understand how that's what you took from it.

And actually, as far as trad pubbed books go, my understanding is that sometimes they kind of do, by using the same language that the author used in their query letter. I've seen at least one trad-pub book where the cover blurb was pretty much word-for-word the query letter blurb.

I personally think blurb writing is one of those skills we as authors should learn to do ourselves. It shouldn't take an outsider to tell people what your book is about.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I think I'm done with plotting
« on: Today at 07:41:27 AM »
In context I know what you mean, but you set it up and I can't help myself...god forgive me. I think other people on the Highway would really beg to differ. Sure, you can go wherever you want, but not without consequences... :P

I think most plotters would say that they're not actually as fixed as a subway train. Most don't slavishly follow their outline if the story in the writing wants to make some changes.

Every time people bring up the plotting vs. pantsing thing, it becomes clear that a whole lot of people don't really understand what those terms really even refer to.

Hi Sean

I'm saying this as a reader of kboards and not as a moderator, but is there any chance you can cut down the amount of images in your thread? I find myself having to scroll past the same stuff over and over to see if there is anything new and it's exhausting on the eyes and a bit off-putting

Seconded. It'd be great if you could only post each image once, rather than repeating all the same images in each post.

3k isn't bad. I was expecting you to say 20 or 30k. In the book I was working on last (currently mostly finished), I had to backtrack and rewrite three times, I think, losing a total of about probably around 3-4k words. I write linearly, so what happened was I tried writing a scene one way, realized it just wasn't working, and had to backtrack and change either the POV or what was actually happening in the scene.

And for my first real novel, I fiddled with the beginning for years before I found the right way to start it. (Protip: start where the story starts. :P)

Writers' Cafe / Re: I think I'm done with plotting
« on: Yesterday at 04:57:44 PM »
A lot of people refer to pantsing as discovery writing.

Yeah, I'm seeing a similar thing. But isn't there some significant US tax date in April? Maybe your details get automatically resubmitted each year or something.

That date in April is the date by which everyone must file their taxes (or potentially get in trouble from the government). Most people (that I know of, anyway) tend to get them in some time before that. You can file them pretty much any time after the first of the year, after you've gotten the paperwork that you need from your employer and such to show your income. The document from Amazon showing how much money they've paid to you from sales is one of those documents.

Which is to say, the date in April you've heard of has nothing to do with the relationship between an author and Amazon, only between the taxpayer and the government, so there's no reason Amazon would be changing any tax information they have for an author based on that date.

I personally wouldn't, no. I don't think most readers care about awards, especially ones they've never heard of, especially when the book hasn't even actually won it. And personally, as a reader, I think bragging about it comes off as kind of pretentious. Not sure how many other readers feel the same way.

I think awards (in most genres/subgenres) are useful in that if someone is interested in the award and looking at who's won or who's been nominated, that could lead them to your book. I don't think they're of value going the other way, where someone's already looking at your book and doesn't already know about the award.

I think the promotional stuff is really cool.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What is going on with this review?
« on: Yesterday at 06:52:09 AM »
The thing is, while there are a lot of freebies out there unread, the book is now paid, so this is not an ARC situation.

Is this a book that you've ever offered for free? If so, it's entirely possible that this reader downloaded it at some point, has only now gotten to reading it, and can't remember whether it was an ARC or not. (Doesn't matter if you've actually put this book out as an ARC. If the reader reads ARCs, they may not remember which of the books on their device are ARCs and which aren't.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Content warnings?
« on: Yesterday at 06:49:30 AM »
Part of the possible problem with warnings (that is, authors putting warnings on themselves as opposed for looking for warnings in reviews) is that a lot of potential problems that readers will have aren't necessarily things that the authors themselves are even aware of as a problem.

Example: In certain genres (like grimdark fantasy) I've taken to looking at the negative reviews specifically for mentions of sexual violence against women, especially when used as a plot device or motivation for the male character. Also, poor characterization of women in general. These books are almost always by men. The male authors obviously don't think that what they've written is poor characterization of women (or they probably wouldn't have written it that way), and they would probably explain how the sexual violence against female characters was totally necessary for the story (even if female readers would disagree). So even though that's one of the things that I as a reader look for in determining whether I should bother reading a book, I don't ever expect to find an author putting up a warning about it because an author's never really going to say, "Warning: contains sexist portrayals of women and unnecessary sexual violence against them."

And if there is a male author who's aware enough of the problem this kind of thing poses for a lot of women readers, he'd probably be aware enough to not write the book that way in the first place.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What is going on with this review?
« on: Yesterday at 06:39:39 AM »
They might do a lot of ARCs, forget which are ARCs and which are normal freebies, and include the disclaimer on everything to be safe.

I guess that solves my internal debate as to whether to put my new titles on CS vs Amazon Print. CS is on the way out anyway, we all know that, so it's doubtful Amazon will fix or update anything there.

Personally, it helps solidify my decision to go with IS when I'm ready to do paperback.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Opinions on my cover
« on: Yesterday at 06:34:03 AM »
I like it, especially the figures in the bottom part. And I like the tagline myself; I think it clearly conveys the hook.

Somebody needs to start a petition or something to change that. I'm in desperate need of a bra review site with worldwide attention. I have a lot to say about those people who sell those lame boob-wire poking contraptions. If I can save one delicate boob from what I have endured, it will be worth it ;)

This needs to happen, for real. Recently I bought a bra from the Gap. It's super pretty and fits perfectly, except ... a tiny bit of the trim around the top of the underwire keeps irritating me. If there was even one review, I might have been saved from this madness.

I solved this problem by deciding not to wear bras anymore. Seriously, y'all should try it. It's the best. "Ugh, you know that awful pain from wearing a bra all day and how great it is to finally get it off?" "Nope, not anymore!"

As for reviews, though, I typically don't buy clothes online. On very rare occasions I might, but off-the-rack clothes are such a crapshoot anyway, that's a hassle I don't need. There might be fifty "fits perfectly and looks great!" reviews, but that still doesn't mean it'll fit perfectly and look great on me.

However - I am always on the look out for what I call kernels of truth; things that can be improved. So I'm honestly more interested in reading negative feedback than I am positive feedback.

That's a good idea, I think, if we can manage to read the criticism without getting bummed. I read a mostly positive review of one of my stories once which had a couple criticisms, and I was like, "Yeah, that's fair. I should watch out for that in the future."

It really seems like something as significant as a payment change should be one of those where your existing email address gets a confirmation email to which you then have to reply to confirm the change. It's really sloppy on Createspace's part that they don't require a double confirmation for something so critical and such a big target for hacking.

Not sure why books seem to attract that kind of thing. I was annoyed I bought a bra from Maidenform that ended up poking me with the underwire, but I never thought I should leave a review to tell the world what a crappy human being the owner of Maidenform is or that he should stop breathing air or anything.  ::)
In any case, hang in there. It sucks.

I suspect it's the fact that there's an easy outlet and a ready audience. There's not a big bra-review website where you could post that and have lots of people read and agree with you, like books have. If someone's looking to be incendiary and get people to read their words and get people to agree with them and "like" their review, books have at least two good places where they can do that. Plus more likelihood that other people have also read the same book (as opposed to trying on that particular bra). If there was a Goodreads for movies, I bet it would be exactly the same, if not worse.

I think about those Twitter rampages where a group of teens decide they don't like an upcoming book (possibly because it has the word "black" in the title). So they go on a smear rampage against the author ... for a book that's not out yet and none of them has read. They did it to Maggie Steifvater's latest book, if I recall correctly.

What's an author to do in that case? Just ignore it and wait for the mob to get bored and go away?

That's definitely getting to be more and more of a problem, especially in certain genres. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there's much an author can do about it, even if they want to, aside from reporting abusive reviews that get posted on Amazon (much of the abuse is elsewhere) or reporting actual criminal activity to the police. I'm not sure how much of an actual effect this has on book sales. I remember this happening with pretty much all of Stephenie Meyer's last couple releases (a lot of people vehemently think she should stop writing and will one-star anything she dares to publish), but those books probably still sold a lot. Then again, she's established. If/when this happens with a debut author ... I don't know.

It's not just that they didn't like the story, they hated it, your characters and you as an author so much, the entire review seems to be an attack against you personally for even existing.

This is the part of your post that stood out to me, especially the word I bolded.

Obviously, if someone is actually saying that you the author are a terrible person because of what you've written and you should hurt yourself or be hurt because of it, yes, that's a personal attack and should be reported.

However, I feel the need to point out that a criticism of the book itself, no matter how harsh, is not a personal attack. We as authors get very personally involved with our work, so it can feel to us that someone hating our work and saying so is a personal attack against us, but we need to remember that this isn't actually true. It's perfectly okay for a reader to loathe a book, the writing, the characters, and everything about it. It's perfectly okay for them to say so. These are not personal attacks against the author.

I've read books by authors I really like where I absolutely hate some parts of the story and think they've made extremely bad creative decisions. I've said so in reviews. That in no way means that I think lesser of them as an author or as a person. All it means is this book was awful, in my opinion. I may even have that opinion about everything certain authors write, that I think that person is a terrible author. You know what? That's still not a personal attack. Because "You're a terrible author" actually just means "All of your books are very unlikable to me, I don't like the way they are written or any of the characters, and they actually frustrate me a lot when I read them." It's still about the writing itself. There's an author I've met in person a couple times and have had conversations with. She's a very nice person. I really want to like her books because I like her as a person. But I don't. I still think her books are bad, and I could talk to someone at length about why I think so. That doesn't mean I think she's a bad person or even that I think she should stop writing.

Actual personal attacks (like telling someone they should commit suicide or telling someone they should not write anything ever again or telling someone they're a horrible person for having written this thing) are bad and should be reported. But we need to remember where the line is. As long as the reviewer is talking about your book (including things like creative decisions you made for the book and approaches you took), no matter how much they're ripping into it, it's not a personal attack against you.

I've gotten personal-attack comments from readers as well as rather harsh comments on the story itself (that weren't personal attacks). None of it is easy to take, for sure. But for the actual personal attacks, I try to stop reading once I realize what it is (an imperfect solution, since some of that has already gotten into my brain by that time). For the harsh reviews that aren't personal, I usually just chalk it up to, "Well, not all books are for everyone, and there are a lot of other people who really liked my book," and try to shrug it off.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Content warnings?
« on: April 20, 2018, 03:23:36 PM »
I think if it's apparent from the Look Inside, you're fine.

I think this is true for a lot of things, in conjunction with this:

There are certain things I almost expect (and am not surprised to see) in certain genres. Romance categories like historical, paranormal, fantasy...I expect to run across lots of trigger issue subjects. If I'm looking at erotica or dark, anything is possible. Even in categories such as women's fiction, I expect to sometimes find heart-wrenching stuff. In the sweet romance categories, well, no, I have way different expectations. If I'm reading a book that has content grossly out of wack with what I expected, something was usually missing from the blurb or it was miscategorized.

As a reader, it doesn't matter to me if there are warnings or not, it's not going to keep me from the book if the blurb and sample is enticing. As an author, though, I do tend to look at what the big pubs and bestsellers are doing. I'd never put anything like that on a cover. Up in the air over the rest.

As a reader, I'm trying to use the look inside more, to catch things that are immediate apparent before I spend money on a book I end up dumping a short ways in. That feature is there, and if you can make it fairly clear early on what kind of book it is, then a lot of time, a trigger/content warning isn't necessary because the reader had a way to find out about that stuff if they'd wanted to. If I open a book now, and there's tons of swearing from page one, and it bothers me, at least I know I can kind of blame myself for not taking a minute to check before I bought. (This obviously doesn't cover every potential objectionable bit of content, but it can cover some things. Like if someone dies in the beginning, there may be violence elsewhere in the book.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Book Signing Tips?
« on: April 20, 2018, 03:17:45 PM »
I've gotten autographs on books with a lot of book-specific phrases. Things where the author is trying to be clever/cute. Like, "Find your light!" for a fairy book, or whatever. I personally tend to find those annoying. As a reader, I much prefer a simple "Enjoy" or "Thanks for reading" or something like that. Something a normal person would say. I'm also totally okay with them just signing their name and not having any phrase.

You might want to be careful with how your sayings could come across, too. I went to a Bruce Campbell book signing once, and the autograph included the phrase "Gimme some sugar, baby"--which, as a college student, I would have found extremely weird if I hadn't known it was one of his characters' catchphrases. (Though I'm really curious if he wrote the same thing on books he autographed for men.)

Larry Correia's signature is a single squiggle and a monster smiley face. Seriously, I brought a book to one of his signings once and he opened it and went, "I've already signed this." I didn't realize because a) I'd bought it from Amazon, and I've never otherwise received a signed copy when I ordered a regular one, and b) his signature doesn't look anything like a human person's signature. So I guess that's why he adds the smiley face. Naomi Novik also drew little dragons when autographing her Temeraire books. So a little drawing is also a fun way to go, I think. If you can come up with something suitable, which you can repeat easily many, many times.

I've been to signings (as a reader) where we were asked to put our name on a post-it (makes sense) along with a phrase if there was something we wanted the author to write. I never really understood that last one. If I were doing a book signing, I wouldn't let people put words in my mouth like that. "Yes, make it out to James, and make sure it says, 'You're totally hot and I'm madly in love with you.'" Um... no.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Content warnings?
« on: April 20, 2018, 02:46:24 PM »
There are definitely topics where it could be both thoughtful and appropriate. (Though I agree with the others that it shouldn't be on the cover).

I recently had a situation that made me chuckle. I had considered putting a warning (at the end of the blurb) on the series in my signature, that some of the themes might be offensive to Christians (just to avoid a mass of one star reviews) but eventually decided that the kind of people who would be offended were not the kind of people who would pick up a vampire book. (My own husband won't read them because he thinks they are 'occult'). What surprised and amused me was that those people did and then emailed me to say how much they loved the biblical references!

So... you never know. It might be worth leaving off because people actually like the way you handle the content.

I'm working on books about Christian vampires (vampirism being unrelated to demons in this world). I'm definitely not intending to market it specifically to the Christian market for the reasons you mention. I think part of the problem with "some themes may be offensive to Christians" is that I personally can't think of many "themes" that would be universally offensive to Christians--except maybe explicitly anti-Christian/anti-Christ/anti-God sentiments. For pretty much everything else, how those themes are handled would be what matters, not that the theme exists in the book. And even that will vary wildly in how it hits people. Other people think any magic in a book at all is Satanic (though I think those people are a vocal minority). So I definitely don't think a warning in the blurb would be a good idea in cases like this. If I want to know if a book is offensive, I usually check reviews. If it really is offensive, usually someone will point it out--and hopefully explain why they think it is, so I can determine if I'd agree with them.

As for trigger warnings in general, I once actually tried to write out all the potential "triggering" elements in one of my books, and the list ended up being so long (and in some cases, spoilery) that I gave up and decided to only do it as an exception, when there's something that really seems out of the ordinary of what people could reasonably expect for the genre I'm writing.

I've begun seeing a lot of "steamy love scenes" or "clean romance with nothing explicit" descriptors on romance blurbs, which I actually appreciate. I read both types, but I also like to know what I'm reading going in, to set my expectations appropriately. I think of this more as a rating system, though, which I kinda wish books had, even unofficially. It's not a trigger warning so much as just a content description.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trad pubs in AMS
« on: April 19, 2018, 02:06:58 PM »
I wonder what percentage of readers who typically buy or read urban fantasy authors that are in KU would buy a traditionally published ebook at a $13.99 price point.

I also wonder what UF readers are unaware of those books. They're advertising some of the biggest-name UF authors, books that don't really need advertising.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Content warnings?
« on: April 19, 2018, 01:57:44 PM »
I'm actually thinking of having a warning for one of my books in the blurb one of the death scenes is very traumatic. Especially if you've recently lost a baby.

I have a family member who recently had a baby (healthy, though it was a difficult birth), and she now can't read/watch anything where kids are in danger or hurt. Which I didn't really know was even a thing, but there it is. (Though she was more sensitive than many when it comes to depictions of violence already.) So I think content warnings like that can be appropriate. I just wouldn't put it on the cover. Somewhere in the description, sure, maybe.

I see people jumping on the Reverse Harem in that genre. I considered being the first to do reverse harem in cozy. It's nice to be the first.... and also the last hahah

But seriously. I have gotten a ton of mileage out of hot trends. I've done billionaires, sassy BBWs (remember when that was the new hotness?), and all sorts of stuff. My current niche was super hot 2 years ago. Pretty saturated now, but I love what I'm writing, and that counts for something.

I haven't actually read any "reverse harem" books, but I like the idea of doing a "PG" version of that, where it's not sexual but it's still one lead woman surrounded by lots of hot guys. Maybe I'll try to do that at some point, but by the time I get around to it, it'll probably be an outdated trend anyway.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Looking to Acquire Established Ebooks
« on: April 19, 2018, 01:52:16 PM »

Definitely try again.  Season 2 is when the show's main arc really gets cranking, and Season 3 is when the really cool stuff happens.

I could never get into this show. I'd flip to it, then immediately get put off by that ridiculous fan hair. Which is probably a silly response, coming from a lifelong Trekkie. I do need to go back and check it out, though.

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