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Messages - PermaStudent

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As a reader, my first impression from the cover was that the book looks like a Lara Croft-esque adventure.  It takes some effort to see the glowy hand on the tropical background. And, for me, that tropical background is also an issue: your premise of an island paradise and a "tropical, sun-soaked urban fantasy series" seems contradictory.  I like my urban fantasies set in cities (even small ones), and I like to know we're going to be hunting (or at least meeting) things that go bump in the night, there will be some cool magic, a touch (or more) of mystery, dark secrets, maybe local or personal history mixed in... And your cover isn't communicating that to me. Too much bright and sunny, not enough dark and mysterious. That alone would make me pass.

And that's not to say the beach is  a bad setting.  It can work, but your sales pitch needs to reflect the darker side of paradise.

The blurb could be smoother and (based on information from your reviews) mention more of the urban fantasy elements your MC will be interacting with.

The look inside was a little slow for me.  It had action, but I felt like I was waiting too long for the main plot to present.  Your book is also description heavy whereas I prefer more witty dialog.

Just one reader's opinion.  (I also write the stuff, but I'm not a bestseller, so take that for what it's worth.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: trad publishing called and I picked up the phone
« on: March 20, 2018, 08:01:10 PM »
Congrats, Gene! I can't wait to see where your journey takes you next!

You should be able to clear up that message by going to in the browser where you've installed the browser extension.

I'm not sure what magic happened, but I left it alone while running out on an errand, and now it's working beautifully!  Thank you for continuing the improvements on this great product.

Viewing from my Android phone isn't working.  I logged in and it says my session has expired and I need to log in.  Unfortunately, I don't see a way to force log out in order to log back in (but maybe I'm just not seeing it?).

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Writers' Cafe / Re: What Would It Take?
« on: March 08, 2018, 02:53:37 PM »
Agreeing with Usedtoposthere, C. Gockel, and others.  Even if you're young and single, if you plan on having kids someday, know that your cost of insurance in the US will be a Big Deal.

My real life numbers: We pay $585/month ($7,020 yearly) on our insurance plan.  The deductible is $600, we have $25-50 copays, and our out of pocket maximum is $5,500 (no, those monthly payments don't count). That sounds like a lot, but bills for delivering my first child amounted to more than $20,000.  After insurance, we paid around $2,000, and that's just for a healthy baby.

...A healthy baby who went on to develop a 10-day mystery fever that required a 3-day hospital stay at nine months of age.  It was two and a half weeks into the next calendar year, so the out of pocket max had reset.

And our insurance is actually pretty good, because I know people who owe $10k after insurance for emergency cesarean deliveries. If you live in the US, do not underestimate your potential medical bills.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Write the Blurb First?
« on: March 02, 2018, 05:50:55 PM »
Yes, I've written the blurb first for my last few books.  It serves as a good starting point for the outline.  The details of the blurb often need to change after I finish a detailed outline or the final draft, but at least it serves as a starting point.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: What Would It Take?
« on: March 02, 2018, 02:15:56 PM »
I'm at home with two small kids (I was previously a financial analyst), and I debate this question a lot even though I've technically already quit my job to write.  I already make enough to do this "full time" if I wanted to, but in my case, that would mean hiring childcare and getting a maid.  Full time childcare is a Nope, because that decision was already made: I had a job that paid great and decided I wanted to be the main influence during my children's early years.  Even if I was making crazy money on my writing, I'd still be spending most of my daylight hours focused on my kids.  As for a, I'm just kind of weirded out by someone coming in and cleaning up my messes for me.  Maybe that will change. Lately I've thought about hiring a general household assistant for a couple hours a day, so we'll see.

Taking into account taxes, insurance, retirement, rainy day situations, etc., I've worked out that I would need to be making in the range of 20-25k a month for my spouse to leave his job.  We live in an expensive area. We don't plan on moving because our extended family lives here, too.

That is a crazy story. The hot tub part alone is . . . well, I thought you must be exaggerating.
So did I, and then I scrolled, and then there it is.  D:

And after other recent shenanigans, this underlines it.  I will never, ever, ever participate in a multi-author box set.  Ever.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Pre-order or not to pre-order for sequels?
« on: February 23, 2018, 06:14:48 AM »
I'm wide, and in the past I've done my sequel pre-orders for up to three full months.  I've done it that way because back matter and series page are my main discoverability for my readers.  I'm not incredibly active on social media, and while I do have a mailing list (only about 200 people last I checked, but all organic signups), I know the majority of people who read and go on to buy the next in series are not on that list or following my social media.  Having the book up longer nets me more sales because I can't count on contacting those readers beyond the backmatter of the last book they've read.  But that's just me--If an author has a very large and engaged following, they can probably bring the numbers to rock the algorithms in a one day push to make up for anyone who they might have netted in a pre-order.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Where and when do you write?
« on: February 21, 2018, 06:35:49 AM »
I mostly write at night on my couch.  Sometimes I write on my treadmill desk, but I mostly reserve that for administrative stuff.  I dictate when and where I can while chasing my kids.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 'Choose your own adventure' Books
« on: February 20, 2018, 04:47:10 PM »
"Choose your own adventure" comes up every so often here.  Yes, you can make them, and several do exist for adults (erotica and not). No, you cannot call them "choose your own adventure", because it is trademarked.

Invent your own term or else.   ;) 

I haven't read these novels in years but loved them when I was a teen.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Have your Amazon review numbers gone stagnant?
« on: February 11, 2018, 04:51:58 PM »
I noticed this phenomenon on my older titles.  When I promo them, I can usually count on picking up a handful of reviews, but not for the last several months.  My latest publication (an omnibus edition), however, has been picking up reviews at a regular rate.  So... I have no idea.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How detailed are your outlines?
« on: January 31, 2018, 04:11:53 PM »
My latest outline, for a mystery novel, ran 3-4k words.  It's a little more detailed than my usual outline because of the mystery elements.  I go chapter by chapter and give a few sentences description and what needs to be covered.  I also keep ongoing series notes on the characters, locations, history, etc.

I keep the outline tight enough that I can reference it and see where I need to go, but not so tight that I can't follow an awesome plot twist.  Sometimes I outline and better inspiration comes along--that's fine.  I just rework my outline to include the best of everything and keep going.

Thank you all for your thoughts!  I'll get Premium for the transcription feature.

Arches, thanks--it does help.  I have read Elizabeth Ann West's thread, and a boatload of reviews on Amazon, and it seems to be some versions cause more crashes than others or are missing desirable features.  I just wanted to ask regular heavy users if the versions on sale now are duds (or not as great as something else) before buying.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 13.0 is an Amazon Deal of the Day for the next ~16 hours.  Here's the link for anyone interested:

Premium 13 ( and Premium 13 Bluetooth ( are also on Deal of the Day.

I don't currently own Dragon, but I've had my eye on it.

Dragonriders, if you see this in time, can anyone comment on how Dragon compares to Google's voice recognition? Does Home 13.0 work well for writing dialogue-heavy novels, or would you recommend a newer/pricier version?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Thousand Words a Day Club 2018
« on: January 25, 2018, 06:05:28 AM »
2,296 yesterday. 

Writers' Cafe / Re: Your process in choosing an editor?
« on: January 24, 2018, 07:11:35 AM »
Also, if you (general you) are in the US and planning to pay an editor (or anyone else) more than $600 over the course of the year, make sure to read this thread on taxes:,166808.0.html

And as always, never use the "friends and family" option on Paypal when paying a business expense.  It gets everyone in trouble.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Your process in choosing an editor?
« on: January 24, 2018, 07:01:42 AM »
I'd like to learn how you went about choosing your editor-what did you look for on their website? What standards did you hold them to? Did you ever have to drop an editor? Anything you have to share about your process, please share! Hopefully I'll be ready to hunt down my own editor in the next couple months and I want to be as prepared as possible.

Sorry for the wall of text. (...But you did ask a writer.)

I've had great experiences and awful ones.  I met my editor (the one I use most regularly) through a friend.  Not a writing friend--just someone who happened to know someone else who does editing.  I asked about her background (she has worked as an editor for several popular magazines in scifi/fantasy) and she did a 1k copy edit word sample for me to demonstrate the problems she identifies (copy edit, light line edit where she sees it) and how she identifies them (track changes with comments in Word).  We discussed payment at $1 per page for specific formatting specs in Word for a regularly monthly gig and we've both been happy with it ever since.

I found the worst editor I've ever met on Kboards, and the editor was (at the time) highly recommended by others here.  I asked for a 1k word sample, which came back looking great with copy edit changes, and I skipped the background questions based on what was posted here.  We discussed payment and agreed on a flat rate for the whole novel.  I got the book back (suspiciously fast) with a paypal bill (significantly higher than agreed, because "it was more work than she thought"), and basically the last 2/3rds of the book wasn't copy edited (fan-freaking-tastic, there go my writing hours for today...). I can only imagine she was doing pristine jobs for the big names here, and slacking on the no-names to pick up more money.  Needless to say, no reference or further work for her.

My paranoid process for hiring editors online looks like this: I ask for prior editing experience and spot check some publications to be sure it's legit--if they haven't been at it for a year, fogeddaboutit, they might be shutting down and restarting every time their rep catches up with them.  I might even email a few of the authors to ask their experience.  I google the editor online to see if any red flags pop up.  I ask for a 1k word sample to be sure we're clear on the type of work being performed.  I make sure we are crystal clear on the payment arrangement and get it in writing.  I also send smaller projects (~30k words each) until they have built trust that they are doing honest work for the money and they aren't going to disappear with a deposit for a whole novel.

That sounds like a lot, but I'm looking for editors to work with over and over.  It's worth an evening of googling and emails to be sure I'm getting someone who does quality work.

Genre and any existing following you have will matter, but short works are generally a hard sell. YMMV, I know some have found success with shorter works. I wrote a series of 30k novellas that had mild success (by my standards at the time) before falling off into obscurity.  I put them into collections, and they are doing better (but not great) now. 

If it matters, the increased length of the collection may open more advertising options to you.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KBoards Survey
« on: January 23, 2018, 02:30:21 PM »
Done.  Thank you for taking the time to consider our feedback.  :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Barnes and Noble finally getting its act together?
« on: January 23, 2018, 01:19:10 PM »
"Is Barnes and Noble finally getting its act together?"

I hope so, but color me skeptical.

Right there with you.  They've set me up for disappointment before.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How much do you spend on editing?
« on: January 22, 2018, 01:05:32 PM »
Maybe people think they can't afford an editor.

Part of me wonders if the lack of quality editing is in part due to a lack of quality editors, or a deluge of inexperienced ones targeting indies.  When I found my current editor, I decided she was a keeper because her work is that good.  I've run into several, though, who charge more and deliver inferior edits.  One burned me badly.  I wonder how many authors have their book "edited" and never check the quality of the edit before publishing? Or else have had editing money stolen (or just received a bad edit without refund), and decided not to venture into those waters again?

Writers' Cafe / Re: How much do you spend on editing?
« on: January 22, 2018, 12:30:51 PM »
My editor charges about $50 per 10k words for a single pass, and my corrections usually fall somewhere between a copy edit and a proofread.  However, I write a pretty clean draft to start.  I also do an initial editing pass before I send it to her.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The Nightmare That Is Pre-order
« on: January 22, 2018, 12:14:34 PM »
I'm so glad you made the deadline, and congrats on all of those pre-orders!  Give yourself a good break (no longer than 10 minutes) and then get back to work on the next book.  ;)

Does this sound like you? Or am I the only one?

The files I upload to pre-order are finished except for the final proofreading pass.  People will have different opinions on this, but I prefer alpha readers to betas.  They read the book before proofing so I can fix the problems from largest to smallest (i.e. plot holes>continuity errors>proofreading).  The heart attack scenario you described is precisely the reason I don't upload a pre-order until the book is virtually done.

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