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Topics - TromboneAl

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I'm considering using the GDPR re-verification stone to kill two birds: 1. Re-verify. 2. Cull.

I'd use the Mailerlite template (after rewording the problematic "deliver" sentence).


Writers' Cafe / After the Drawer
« on: May 17, 2018, 07:04:42 AM »
I've always put a first draft away in a drawer for a cooling-off (and forgetting) period, but I added a twist, based on advice from a how-to-write book.

I wrote my WIP as part of CampNanoWriMo, did no editing while writing, and when I finished the first draft, I put it "in a drawer" for three weeks. Usually, after the drawer, I start right in on editing, reading the book in Scrivener so I can make changes right away.

The twist: This time, after the drawer, I put it on my Kindle and read it through quickly, in one sitting. It was scary to ignore all the (many)  typos and errors, but by doing it this way I had a real feeling for the book as a whole. More so than for any of my other books.

Writers' Cafe / Changing the Price of a Permafree
« on: May 15, 2018, 05:36:51 PM »
I know the subject sounds a bit like an oxymoron, but I want to change the "digital list price" as shown here:

I assume I can do that in my KDP bookshelf. I just want to confirm that that won't cause Amazon to sputter and it won't affect my permafree price matching.


Writers' Cafe / Mailing List Effectiveness?
« on: May 04, 2018, 10:52:09 AM »
On release of my latest book, I sent out an announcement newsletter (on May 1) that looked like this (Email Subject: Yesterday's Thief Prequel Published and On Sale! and, for resend: Al Macy's New Book Now Available):

I sent it to 4,189 of my more active subscribers (I have 5,501 total). Of those, 256 clicked on the link to the ebook on Amazon. I've sold 99 so far (made $35), though some of those sales may have come from a ReadingDeals and a ENT promo. That got the book to a rank of 5,128 for two days.

Even with 3-4 books released per year and additional benefits from the mailing list, it doesn't seem worth $168/year plus the time and effort to produce12-24 newsletters per year. I've concluded that I'm wasting my money because of a lot of deadbeat InstaFreebie subscribers. I may revert to the 1001-2500 plan.

Have you analyzed your new-release announcements and found them to be more effective than this?

Writers' Cafe / AMS Product Display Ad in Review 1.5 Weeks
« on: May 04, 2018, 09:50:04 AM »
Is it common that a product display ad is in review for over a week?

Writers' Cafe / Problems with Duplicate Titles?
« on: April 28, 2018, 10:30:43 AM »
I liked the sound-matchiness of the titles of my next two planned books in a new series: The Protected Witness and The Abducted Heiress.

However, there are already three books with the latter title.

Is that a problem at all?

And maybe the second title sounds too much like a romance book?

Any suggestions for a new-release announcement to my subscribers? Best subject lines, etc?


Writers' Cafe / Is This Title Worth a Book?
« on: April 24, 2018, 02:20:27 PM »
I was surprised that my Christmas book sells well (for me) throughout the year. It has outsold my other books in the last ninety days.

So, I'm considering doing a Christmas book for my sci-fi series. I like this title, but I have a tendency to like titles even if they're not actually good:

Christmas on Other Planets


Writers' Cafe / Current Linking Time, eBook & Paperback?
« on: April 22, 2018, 02:22:04 PM »
Does it still take about five days before the eBook and paperback version of a new book are linked?

Are there any ways to speed it up?

Last time I waited a while and contacted CreateSpace. They said there was nothing they could do, but hours later they were linked. Perhaps that was a coincidence.

Writers' Cafe / How to Search for a Premade Cover
« on: April 14, 2018, 05:05:53 PM »
Google is amazing when it comes to searching for an image. If you want a picture of a man climbing a mountain, you can find thousands immediately.

However, if you want to find a premade book cover that involves a man climbing a mountain, I guess the only way is to visit individual premade-cover sites, and browse.

Or is there a better way?

The Book Corner / Pls Recommend Chase Book
« on: April 14, 2018, 07:12:53 AM »
I'm looking for a book that involves the government chasing someone. A kind o cat-and-mouse thing where the chasee is always a step or two ahead of the government.

I'm collecting ideas for the final half of my WIP in which bad guys in the government are chasing the good guys.


Writers' Cafe / InstaFreebie Bug: Hundreds of Emails
« on: April 07, 2018, 07:13:12 AM »
Anyone else see this in their inbox?

They're all the same. I reported it to IF.

Writers' Cafe / Pls Comment on Cover for my Stormy Daniels Book
« on: April 01, 2018, 07:00:43 AM »
Please give me your thoughts regarding this cover. It's a novella in which one of my characters meets Stormy Daniels.

Click here to read the blurb.

And before you comment on property rights issues, click here.

Writers' Cafe / Spoilers Don't Spoil? Put Them in Your Blurb?
« on: March 31, 2018, 05:11:11 PM »
I've often wrestled with how to make the blurb exciting without giving anything away. This is especially problematic in my next book, because the fun part of it (where the MC is de-aged from 60 to 16) doesn't happen until 75% of the way through the book.

But I recently stumbled across this article which cites a study from 2011 that found that spoilers increased the enjoyment of a story (but only if the spoilers aren't part of the story itself (as, for example, in the blurb):

Conclusion: Writers use their artistry to make stories interesting, to engage readers, and to surprise them, but we found that giving away these surprises makes readers like stories better. ... Indeed,  it  was  only  spoilers  external  to  the  stories  that  enhanced  readers' delight; there was no benefit to our editing the stories themselves..

Actual study PDF:

Let's Talk Kindle! / Oasis 2 Button Glitch (Solved! It's the Clock)
« on: March 27, 2018, 05:31:19 PM »
Occasionally, the button on my Oasis 2 fails to advance the page (1/30 times?). Others have seen this:

I'm noticing this more, and it's starting to bug me. Anyone know any more info on this?



Writers' Cafe / Friend Says, "Ad Effective," but Rank is Low
« on: March 21, 2018, 10:35:11 AM »
When checking my weather app on my Android device, an ad for a friend's book appeared at the bottom. I took a screenshot and sent it to her.

She said that the ads were effective (being run through Mailchimp's Google AdWords).

But the rank of the book is 142,000 (selling less than one per day).

Do you think she's fooling himself, or could the ad be effective in some other way??

Today I realized that the InstraFreebie giveaways that are automatically generated have opt-in set to optional.

Is there a way to change that default? Should I edit each new giveaway and change it to mandatory?

Writers' Cafe / Blurb Crit Please
« on: March 14, 2018, 01:36:17 PM »
Please help me improve this blurb:

Romanian Jewel Thief Viviana Petki knows she has kleptomania, but is she a sociopath, too? Returning to San Francisco from Saint-Tropez, where she stole the priceless Portensia diamond, she escapes the suspicions of US Customs by slipping the diamond into someone else's suitcase. Only a sociopath would frame a random stranger without a second's hesitation, yes?

The hunt is on to find the suitcase's owner and retrieve the diamond. But the search leads to much more than she'd bargained for. What she finds imperils not only her life, but that of her fourteen-year-old cousin--the one who has an unnatural ability to open safes.

If Viviana can't conquer her demons, she'll spend the rest of her life in prison. That is, if the mob doesn't kill her first.

The Day Before Yesterday's Thief may be read as a standalone book or as a prequel to the Eric Beckman series.


Writers' Cafe / Amazon Auth/Central Blurb Bug Driving Me Crazy
« on: March 12, 2018, 08:47:09 AM »
Just happened to notice that some of my blurbs have the wordmerge bug, and they've been that way for a while. That is, although the blurb looks fine on AuthorCentral, some of the words are smushed together on Amazon:

I thought I fixed this one yesterday, but it's still there. Note that I've made changes only at AuthorCentral.

IIRC, it's related to pasting text into the description on Author Central. Anyone remember the fix for this?

Writers' Cafe / My New Book-Writing System
« on: March 09, 2018, 04:33:36 PM »
I'm working on the third book using the following system, and I'm quite happy with the results. This is how it works:

1. Spend one month researching, plotting, outlining, freewriting, timeline, blurb, character brainstorming, etc.
2. Don't allow any actual writing during that month.
3. When the month is up, start writing, and write the first draft in one month.
4. Edit and revise while doing Step 1 for the next book.

Step 2 seems to create a pent-up desire and drive to write. Also, ideas percolate.

Anything Else Amazon / Amazon Online Reader Search Fail
« on: March 09, 2018, 07:30:08 AM »
When reading a book online (Your content and devices), I find that the search function fails dramatically. It just seems to choose random character strings:

Writers' Cafe / Older Nooks Have Problems with Some Characters?
« on: March 06, 2018, 09:25:27 AM »
One of my beta readers is reading my WIP on an older Nook. She reports that the "ă" character displays as a question mark in this sentence:

My uncle sat on a stool at the kitchen counter next to a bottle of tuică, a plum brandy.

I'm hoping that that is only true with the older Nooks. Anyone know?


Let's Talk Kindle! / Deterioration of USB Port?
« on: March 06, 2018, 09:16:45 AM »
There are some advantages of sideloading docs via cable, but I worry a bit about deterioration of the USB port caused by frequent plugging/unplugging?

Are my worries unfounded? Has anyone had problems with the USB port?

Writers' Cafe / A Reason to Collect First & Last Names for Subscribers
« on: March 05, 2018, 08:32:46 AM »
I've always been afraid to ask for first and last name in my newsletter signup forms, figuring that some may object to giving out their full identity. I currently ask for "Name," which kind of makes the last name optional.

But here's a situation in which knowing the subscriber's last name is important: Matching an Amazon reviewer with a subscriber.

Only one to two percent of readers leave reviews, so it's a great idea to send ARCs only those who have left reviews. What I do is go through the Amazon reviewers and try to match them with newsletter subscribers. Even if I don't have a subscriber's last name, I can often match them (last name may be in the email address or they may have an unusual first name), but having first and last names makes it easier.

Writers' Cafe / Stupid Puns for Writers
« on: March 03, 2018, 05:37:37 PM »
A dangling participle walks into a bar. Enjoying a cocktail and chatting with the bartender, the evening passes pleasantly.
 A bar was walked into by the passive voice.
 An oxymoron walked into a bar, and the silence was deafening.
 Two quotation marks walk into a “bar.”
 A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.
 Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.
 A question mark walks into a bar?
 A non sequitur walks into a bar. In a strong wind, even turkeys can fly.
 Papyrus and Comic Sans walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Get out -- we don't serve your type."
 A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.
 A comma splice walks into a bar, it has a drink and then leaves.
 Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.
 A synonym strolls into a tavern.
 At the end of the day, a cliché walks into a bar -- fresh as a daisy, cute as a button, and sharp as a tack.
 A run-on sentence walks into a bar it starts flirting. With a cute little sentence fragment.
 Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.
 A figure of speech literally walks into a bar and ends up getting figuratively hammered.
 An allusion walks into a bar, despite the fact that alcohol is its Achilles heel.
 The subjunctive would have walked into a bar, had it only known.
 A misplaced modifier walks into a bar owned a man with a glass eye named Ralph.
 The past, present, and future walked into a bar. It was tense.
 A dyslexic walks into a bra.
 A verb walks into a bar, sees a beautiful noun, and suggests they conjugate. The noun declines.
 An Oxford comma walks into a bar, where it spends the evening watching the television getting drunk and smoking cigars.
 A simile walks into a bar, as parched as a desert.
 A gerund and an infinitive walk into a bar, drinking to forget.
 A hyphenated word and a non-hyphenated word walk into a bar and the bartender nearly chokes on the irony.

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