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Writers' Cafe / Re: Covers?
« on: April 15, 2018, 10:27:03 AM »
I like the second image but the brightness of the helmet light on the central figure makes it too hard to see the rest of the image.
If you were to erase the helmet in the center, but leave the two outer figures, then put some sort of nighttime, snowy background between them. That would leave the middle open for the title and author text.

Similar issue with the first cover, but instead of one central light drawing too much focus, you have too much diffused light and it feels washed out. That being said, I don't think reducing the amount of snow is the solution, but maybe darkening the whole image slightly and reducing the glare from the orb on the top left and the glare from the snow just below the armored figure would make it easier to look at.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Dev Editing & Beta Read for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: April 15, 2018, 10:17:21 AM »
Just finished my first pass through the feedback I got from Dustin on my new sci-fi detective novel. I've carried out the 'easy fixes' suggested in the comments he added to my manuscript.
Now I've got the big things to do - character enhancements, plot tweaks, etc. Most of these were detailed in the separate editorial letter he also produced.

The feedback was a perfect mix of being straight about problems and highlighting good bits. Definitely planning on using again!

Thanks Alasdair,

I think that balance you mentioned is important. I don't believe in the compliment sandwich method, but highlighting the good bits is what makes for an effective read. If I know what an author's strengths are, I can bring those strengths to bear upon any problems that arise. The comment might be something as simple as "lol", but that little chuckle makes a nice reference to point toward if the following chapter needs more levity.

I appreciate the kind words, and I thank you for sending such a clean draft. Being confident in the strength of your prose and your plotting allowed me to focus on higher-level storytelling and hopefully make some meaningful observations there. I actually find MORE to say the LESS mistakes there are. Hope I get to read some more.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Dev Editing & Beta Read for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: April 13, 2018, 09:22:09 AM »
Wow, I'm blown away by how great you all have been to work with.
Even more surprised at the repeat business I'm getting from the fast writers of kboards.

A year ago I was still editing for fun. Now I'm close to being full-time.

But scheduling is becoming a problem. 

April is full. May has one slot open. I would encourage anyone able, to book ahead of time. (You don't have to pay ahead of time, and I won't hold you to the date, but if you're reasonably sure what month you'll be finishing your next book, get on the calendar now while I still have openings.) Anyone who books six months ahead of time will lock in the current rate and get a 15% discount.

Any kboards editors want to chime in with their own scheduling best practices? I had considered starting a thread about scheduling but that would have bordered on self-promotion and I didn't want to give the mods a headache on friday the 13th.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this company legit? Author Incubator
« on: April 09, 2018, 04:23:15 PM »
I would caution against even well-meaning jokes, if they could be misconstrued as thinly veiled threats. Especially when posting from a new account with so few posts to its credit. It's harder to judge the tone and intentions of someone with whom the community is not familiar.

But I thank you for taking the time to look into the matter and your even-handed treatment of the subject, acknowledging the shaky evidence on both sides.
My take on why some reputable business publications have reported on this company:

I think the self-help space has more room/tolerance for this kind of company and a greater willingness to gamble. Regardless of whether the company is using their clients money wisely, there are more folks in that community for whom these fees are a drop in the bucket. Though plenty of others sinking their life savings into their first book, I'd wager...

Also, if one of the publisher's strategies is to use books as a marketing tool for promoting services as a speaker and consultant, then theoretically a small number of sales could net you a large amount of money from other sources. It does give the publisher a certain amount of deniability when making claims about profits.

Edited to remove quote of now-moderated material. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this company legit? Author Incubator
« on: April 08, 2018, 04:15:50 PM »
Thanks OhMo, for looking into it.

I've seen all I need to see.
It's not a blatant scam, so I'm going to keep my trap shut and let said friends make their own choices.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this company legit? Author Incubator
« on: April 08, 2018, 09:41:50 AM »
Never heard of it so I Googled, didn't read it all, just enough to say RUN! :)

Edited to remove link. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

See, I read that. Then on the second page, the owner of that website claims that the owner of the company once flirted with him and said he was her ex boyfried even though he wasn't...wierd.  A red flag on both parties.


They are hiring staff and editors. (I don't live in the area but I'm looking for a friend.)

I'm not saying they are a vanity press. That is for other people to determine. But even if they were, some vanity presses aren't bad to work for, even if I would never publish with one.

I'll edit my original post to make it more clear.

Writers' Cafe / Is this company legit? Author Incubator
« on: April 08, 2018, 09:16:27 AM »
Anyone familiar with Angela Lauria's company "Author Incubator"?

Edited: They are hiring staff and editors. (I don't live in the area but I'm looking for a friend.) So I'm curious what kind of business they run, not whether I should publish with them.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Dev Editing & Beta Read for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: April 06, 2018, 08:22:46 PM »
I expect I'll need some eyes in May or early June.

Looking forward to it!   ;D

A lot of people have books coming out this summer. I expect June/July to fill up fast.

Let me know if you want me to set aside a week for you in June.

No obligation of course, you can cancel or reschedule if the book isn't ready by then. (Someday that policy might not be practical, but for now I like it.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: April 03, 2018, 11:11:25 AM »
I know a lot of people are finishing books this summer. If you think you'll be ready, sign up now, there's no penalty if you don't finish in time. But it helps me to build my calendar.

April is a busy month. All of my freebie slots are closed for now. And paid slots for april are probably full too.

Still have slots open in May, but with Nebula Conference, not as many as usual.

June I expect a lot of submissions from repeat clients. Book June early if you can.

PS. Thanks everyone for the testimonials. HC, Rex, Kal, Vidya, y'all are awesome!
Even if you don't hire me again, I am happy to be an occasional sounding board .
I never forget a story. So anytime you have an idea for a sequel and want to run it by someone, I'm already up to speed and I love spoilers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Mystery Fest Key West?
« on: April 01, 2018, 02:44:53 PM »
Not a mystery reader or a mystery writer so I probably won't be attending.

But I do live in the Keys and would happily meet up for a kboards luncheon.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: March 27, 2018, 08:32:36 PM »
If you're still available, I'd like to use you with my first book in my first series (first time author). I should be finished with Book 1 by the end of April.

Awesome! Send me a pm and I'll put you on the calendar.

A Beta Read will work on about any draft.

If it's a Line Edit or a Developmental Edit, the more rounds of self-editing you've done first, the more effective it will be. (We would chat before I schedule either of those, to make sure I'm a good fit and know the genre.)

Good luck regardless.
First books are always a challenge. My first didn't turn out well. I had to take it down twice and rewrite it. Things I learned from my first book: Make sure the first book has a good ending, don't just say to be continued. If you can make it stand alone, even better, then there is less pressure if you decide to switch series or not finish right away. And plan your series meticulously because if you let things get too complicated, it gets very tricky to tie up all the loose ends in book three.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: March 25, 2018, 09:22:20 PM »
Add me to the list of authors who had great help from Dustin!

It was well worth the wait to see his feedback on my WIP novel. Even though it wasn't his usual brand of sci-fi, he was able to give me some great pointers on what worked and what didn't.

Thanks Kal for letting me read it, glad it worthwhile for you too.

True it wasn't exactly my genre. I don't have much to say when it comes to the military and thriller elements of a story, but you have plenty of epic worldbuilding and space opera heroics that I can work with, and story is universal.

I would say my strongest genre is fantasy, big epic series with long character arcs because that's what I read the most of. There was a time when I worked almost exclusively with literary fiction, so I'm pretty comfortable with that too.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Developmental Editing for Scifi/Fantasy
« on: March 25, 2018, 06:41:16 PM »
Why not offer both beta reading/manuscript critique and also dev edits? You could have different prices for both and perhaps a discount for those who choose to do both.

I offer both, I just promote one more heavily than the other.
Not sure I'd bundle a Beta and a Dev together because they cover a lot of the same details, but I might bundle a Line edit with one of those.

I'll have one coming up but still have some work to do.
I might have said this before, but the cover of Blood Cauldron looks great.
Shoot me an email if you want feedback on your book4 outline. I know the plot and characters pretty well by now. Or is it the side novel...either way my summer is not overbooked. Should have plenty of room whenever it is ready for the beta read.

I'm still a little torn over which services to advertise.

I like beta reading better, but dev edits are more challenging and better pay.
My trad pub friend tells me I'm crazy not to do all-in-one dev/line/crit and charge a premium for it. But I don't think that's what people here want.

As a self pub author, which services are you most in need of or have a hard time finding?


In other news I'm done booking free beta reads for April.

Still open for paid work in mid April and early May.


Romance isn't a genre Dustin normally reads, but he still managed to give useful  feedback. Several betas have already read my novel, but Dustin caught something none of them did. He pointed out that I inadvertently portrayed something incorrectly. I realized it made my heroine sound judgmental, so I am now changing all instances of that. Thanks for steering me away from that, Dustin. He was also very responsive to my follow-up questions. Thanks!

Thanks Vidya,
I appreciate the writeup.
Nice to know my comments were appreciated.
I'm not able to be as thorough when I'm working outside of my genre, but I give it my best effort.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Delete
« on: March 16, 2018, 06:45:29 AM »
Iíve rebooted and cleared the browser and the also boughts are back. Thatís a weird glitch and I hope it was one and not a preview.

I'm not seeing it on yours. But I was just on my paperback and all it was showing was four related product ads. No also boughts at all. I hit refresh and it changed back to a normal page.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Only 4 also boughts showing and it sucks
« on: March 16, 2018, 05:55:08 AM »
This completely random book has gorgeous, fully illustrated covers. Don't see that very often in scifi but I wish it would make a comeback.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bookbub Minimum Book Length
« on: March 16, 2018, 05:52:56 AM »
Hmm, it's funny, my first book (children of atlas) has drastically different page counts between the paperback and the ebook. My second and third books have almost the same page count. Six months ago I uploaded a new version of the paperback(longer) and amazon never matched it I may try updating just the digital file, then contacting amazon to see if they will change the details.

Yeah, I know the paperback is a little cramped. I have nice, wide margins for my other two books. This one was short already, I thought I'd see how slim I could make it, to keep paperback costs down. My own version of a pulp mass market paperback. Little did I know I was shooting myself int he foot.

Writers' Cafe / Bookbub Minimum Book Length
« on: March 15, 2018, 08:21:11 PM »
Bookbub wants 150 page books and over. My latest book is 126 pages and therefore does not qualify for a bookbub.

Three questions:

If write one more chapter to increase the length, will amazon update the details as soon as I upload a new manuscript of will I have to contact them?

Does amazon count back matter (like sample chapters) when it makes this calculation? (I'm pretty sure it does.)

Does Bookbub use amazon's count when they make their decisions? If yes, then surely they know that many 150 page books are <150 with a sample chapter at the back, and by that logic would not mind if I did the same.

Don't worry about tanking.

I've been doing permafree for a few years now. If you intend to keep this book free, you can expect a certain peak number, for me it ranges greatly, between 400 and 45, with baseline numbers 4-10% of your peak.

I get one spike per month, with three days of gradually increasing downloads before, and three days after.  So one week per month with numbers like what you just saw.

Over the course of the year your peak will go down, and unless you continue to submit to freebie sites, you will eventually hit zero downloads a day with very small spikes. If a book gets too low, you can always make it paid again and try permafree again in six months to a year, and you'll get a little boost from that.

The good news is many of the freebie sites are free to submit to. The bad news you won't sell many books this way. It's not a great strategy, I just keep using it because it is easy, cheap and I don't have much of a back catalog or a long series to leverage for other strategies. Also you tend to get lower reviews from free downloads, so be prepared for that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Red Headed Book Lover (MERGED)
« on: March 15, 2018, 07:46:34 AM »
I've gotten a number of emails from this person through my contact form. Getting kind of annoying.

I have to apologize for changing the title of my post so often. I keep tweaking it to better reflect my interests. But once I hit on something that works I'll keep it the same.

February was a good month. Read six excellent manuscripts and had some good exchanges. I did so much literary editing last year, I had forgotten how much I love fantasy storytelling. So I'm changing my ad just a little to try and attract more great fantasy series.

March is full already, but if I have an especially cool looking book that must be done in march, I can set aside my own novels to work on someone else's. April is still open. If you think you'll be needing work in June/July, better book now. A lot of my clients have new books coming out this summer and I expect those slots to fill up quickly once May rolls around.

The original cover does not say YA to me. But I like it.
New one seems more YA, but I'm not a fan of the image or the metal pattern behind the title.
Hate to say it but I'd try again with entirely different source images.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Free Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy
« on: March 04, 2018, 07:07:04 PM »
Dustin did a great job beta reading my latest novel. I'm still addressing some of the suggestions, which were substantive and useful, and he was exceedingly responsive.

Worth the money. Would recommend.

Thanks Rex,
It was fun working with you.
Really enjoyed your work. Looking forward to the next release.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Free Beta Reading Scifi/Fantasy
« on: March 02, 2018, 06:43:29 AM »
I still have that freebie slot at the end of March. Anyone want it?

(Changes for this week: I've taken down the prices for my other editing services. Focusing solely on Developmental Beta Reads. I've been having the most fun with that one, and getting the most positive feedback from it too.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: {Free} Developmental Beta Reading for Epic Fantasy/SF
« on: February 22, 2018, 09:06:26 AM »
I'm ahead of schedule. That means I'll have time for a Developmental Beta Read at the end of march... possibly two.

I'd like to give the freebie to someone who writes Epic Fantasy or Science Fiction, who is interested in trying out my service.

Post here with any questions or PM me to request a slot.


Tweaked my prices a little. This won't affect current customers, once you hire me I keep you at that rate as long as I can afford to. I might have to raise yours someday, but not soon, and not without plenty of notice.


Changed the name of my beta reads to Developmental Beta. I think that name is more in line with the service.

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