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I use an older version of Photoshop - CS6. Tried to use MS Word and PowerPoint to design and it drove me crazy ;) Years ago I had about a week's worth of training in PS as part of a webmaster program and found I liked it. Since then I've taken one online course and pretty much trained myself via books and online tuts. I study covers and try to figure out how they were done. I'm sure my slap-dash education means I make mistakes and do things the hard way when there's an easier/better way though.
Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the market want today?
« Last post by CynthiaClay on Today at 12:25:15 PM »
neither do I want to slog through the modern equivalent of Beowulf.

If you were to put this statement up as a review with whatever stars (yes even a 1 star) I think it would be very useful to readers.
Writers' Cafe / Re: So much for my Bookbub
« Last post by LilyBLily on Today at 12:24:10 PM »
Try to lower the price ASAP. Plenty of people don't check their BookBub newsletter the moment it arrives. You might still be able to get some action.
I got the email this morning too. I was a bit surprised James didn't vet Inkitt first.

There is also a lengthy thread in the Absolute Write forum if anyone needs more info about Inkitt. I've been spammed by them on Twitter more times than I can count. Even creepier was when they listed me on one of their top 100 lists. I've never done business with them and I've certainly never spoken to anyone there.
Writers' Cafe / Re: Can an anti-stereotypical hero work in romance?
« Last post by LilyBLily on Today at 12:22:09 PM »
The external description can be the cliche, but his actions and attitudes can be different. I personally think it's a hard sell to deliberately tell readers, "This guy doesn't look like a hero." The romantic-looking hero is part of the fantasy.

OTOH, when I stayed where a swat team conference was being held, I saw a lot of men who clearly could take care of themselves and any heroine, too. But they weren't physically impressive in the conventional manner; they weren't big or heavily muscular.

Also remember that you're trying to appeal to several generations of readers at once. I'm not of the group that appreciates a man bun and a bushy beard a la Ulysses S. Grant, and kissing a guy who hasn't shaved in three days never was my idea of fun. Both looks are quite fashionable today, but if you get too specific, you can turn readers off needlessly. 
Not Quite Kindle / Re: What are you binge-watching?
« Last post by Tripp on Today at 12:19:43 PM »
It has been awhile since I looked at this thread and I got a few new ideas.  (went to Netflix and added a few to my watchlist)

I binged and loved the following lately:

Shetland - loved it.  I am anxiously waiting for the next season.  In the beginning the Scottish accent was so hard for me to understand that I had to use subtitles.  It got better as I got used to it.

Broadchurch - Another UK murder / detective series.  It mostly follows one murder in the first season and weaves the outcome of the first murder with an unsolved murder in the second season.  This unsolved murder is referenced in the first season.  It is available on Netflix and the third and final season premiers on BBC America on June 28th.

Sneaky Pete - not at all what I thought it was going to be but let me say that it was a pleasant surprise.

A Handmaids Tale - Depressing but very compelling.  Elizabeth Moss was really good and Joseph Fiennes played creepy really well.

Shooter - This is a USA channel original available on Netflix.  Produced by Mark Wahlberg who played the main character, Bob Lee, in the movie. Season 2 will be on USA the beginning of July.

Is it only me or does it seem like TV is in a Renaissance  with original and compelling programming?  I don't feel the need to go to the movies as there is a wealth of excellent programing available on the networks and streaming networks.
Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the market want today?
« Last post by CynthiaClay on Today at 12:19:08 PM »
I wasn't turned off by the literary quality of the prose. I don't care if the language isn't contemporary, so long as it's consistent. I might've found the voice interesting, but then words like "wee," "lass," "tyke," "cute," "daddy," and "farting-funny cushions" knocked me off-kilter. The characters and dialogue read as frantic, abrupt, and direct. I can't tell if I'm supposed to be wracked by the pathos of mourning, excited by the drama of the battle, or disarmed by the baby royal and the kitten.

Dragon-on-dragon carnage into literally an infant's POV is too jarring. I feel like you're trying to pull off something like The Sword in the Stone, and I respect that--The Once and Future King is my all-time favorite book--but it's coming across real muddled.

It's not the first time I've read indy fantasy about dragon shifters either.

None of this is a question of sophisticated language versus easy reading. I'd posit that GRRM uses more literary language and syntax, but his books are easier to read than yours, because his books are consistent in their composition, and realistic in their characterization. There's too many asks in this Look Inside. There's too many barriers preventing me from suspending disbelief and enjoying the journey.

If you're happy with your readers and their reviews, that's grand. I'm glad that your book has connected with people. If you want to connect with a larger readership--and I take that to the point of this thread--you're going to have to think about the writing itself.

We have to remember that writing to market involves the writing too, and not just genre selection. As some folks have already mentioned, fantasy's a great market. Sandell Wall is still at #1,536 with his shot-in-the-dark debut novel, released about five weeks ago and unheralded except for AMS ads. I don't want you or other people walking away from this thread thinking that the genre was the problem. That does a disservice to fantasy, and to the principles of writing to market.

There's some interesting stuff here, like the epigraphs. I think you could be successful in fantasy, or I'm sure you could find another popular market instead, but either way, you've got to tighten up your shot group. The writing needs to be fixed before you're going to have a shot at commercial appeal. Dragovian's right: fixing the covers doesn't help if they're promising an experience the writing doesn't deliver.

These are really useful comments. Let me recap to make sure I am getting your points right. There is too much jumping back and forth between extremely different types of scenes, certain types of words bother you, and you'd prefer a more cause-and-effect type of plotting. Why do those particular words you mention jar you? If I have you right on what is bothering you, it is all important to know. Thanks!
There's another thread on this here, and a web search should turn up everyone's objections from elsewhere. The main thing is, these "contests" do nothing for a writer except set them up to be taken for "services" that will cost them money and have no proven value. Most "contests" people are conned into entering have no reader base and nothing to show that they are anything more than a scam to separate the writer from their money. Sure, you could pull your stuff from the site, but it's probably going to be difficult, and a lot of people wouldn't do it anyway, having been led to believe they are going to get valuable help, so it's worth it to continue.
Writers' Cafe / Re: Can an anti-stereotypical hero work in romance?
« Last post by C. Gockel on Today at 12:09:21 PM »
I think Rosalind James has written some heroes who aren't taller than their leading ladies, but could be wrong on that.
Writers' Cafe / Re: Urban Fantasy and Historical Romance Book Covers
« Last post by SA_Soule on Today at 12:08:27 PM »
Your new premades look amazing!
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