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Messages - blerg et al.

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Yeah I've heard that once it's enrolled you're committed, even though your 90 days hasn't started.

Thanks for your input. I'll probably keep it out until release day in case I want to do a giveaway.

So far, I know that putting a pre-order in select does not start your 90 days early. But I have a suspicion that select pre-orders might perform better.

Writers' Cafe / Re: New Book Launching Platform for Authors
« on: October 09, 2017, 11:20:19 AM »
I'll second the dark fantasy and fantasy romance suggestions. Also epic fantasy.

For litrpg it may be better to give that it's own listing, since it contains both fantasy and scifi, and is growing very quickly.

Here's a tricky one.

Will putting my book in kdp select during the pre-order increase its performance, or will it just put unnecessary restrictions on me for no benefit. (I would like to distribute some early copies to fans, via instafrebie, but am willing to not do that, if kdp enrollment makes my pre-order perform better.)

Any insights?

Ooh I wouldn't touch that name with a ten foot poleaxe.

And Dustin Porta and I talked about Sci-fi here:

I had a great time and I am enjoying listening to the other interviews.
I'd do it again, anytime!

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's new at Instafreebie?
« on: August 25, 2017, 08:55:04 AM »
Anyone who hasn't listened to Science Fiction Fantasy Marketing Podcast, Episode 145, Ashley and Maura do a great job at articulating Instafreebie's mission. Especially liked their response to some of the tougher questions lobbed at them. No cop-outs, just good practices and proactive attitude.

Also, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what Instafreebie can do. Went into the episode not expecting to learn anything new. I was pleasantly surprised.

I've been most impressed with their built-in discoverability. Since starting the free trial, and signing up for paid, I've seen my list grow from zero-to seventy in two and a half months.(I haven't promoted it anywhere. That's just referrals from instafreebie.) That's a lot if you have nothing. I was expecting that it wouldn't be a good list, but the preliminary emails are getting a 50% open rate and 6% click-rate. I haven't tried to sell them anything yet, but I've had three or four people cross over to my advance-reader list...which could be more valuable than sales.

I know that sounds like nothing to some of you. But you can't get into certain promos until they have a large list. And it's tough to grow a list until you're in a swap.
You can, however, do a small newsletter swap, if you have a small, but healthy list.

After just a few months, and some thoughtful newsletter writing on my part, I'm seeing potential. Which is more return than many other places will give you for $20.

Writers' Cafe / Re: free beta/dev edits(May I edit your fantasy novel?)
« on: August 15, 2017, 07:33:27 PM »
Schedule is starting to fill up.

I have availability in september. Definitely open slots for beta/alpha reading. Full edit, depends on how quickly I finish the current manuscript.

Services are still free, at least for another month while I'm getting back in the swing of things.

Still prefer fantasy.
Some hard science fiction would be fun to read also. Any takers?

Interesting and great idea. Do you know if it works that way too with D2D and Pronoun?

D2D you can also have multiple. I forget how much personal info they require, but they don't publish to Amazon. I don't know about Pronoun...still too be. Im waiting to see what shakes out.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Ok, so I'm sensing that Amazon is watching us...
« on: August 08, 2017, 06:54:03 AM »
New Orleans, one of the cheapest cities in one of the cheapest states in America, just published the statement that it costs $1,300/month for a one bedroom apartment. Assuming you would like to live indoors, eat food every day, and go to the doctor in the event of an emergency, $13 an hour is not cutting it. It matters not that you could buy something cheaper 3 years ago. Those days are gone.

Just to put it in perspective. $1300/month is not really representative of Louisiana as a whole. People from Louisiana wouldn't consider that to be cheap.

Back in Western PA, you can still get a one bedroom for $300/mo, a three bedroom for $550. Groceries cost less, eating out costs less. A pint at the local brewery was $3.75 last time I visited. Rural Alabama and Mississippi were the same(but no microbrews), though I lived on the coast which cost more(and did have microbrews). Rural Louisiana is very similar.

The reason New Orleans costs so much is because the hurricane destroyed a lot of the affordable housing on that coast. It is also booming, and having the same problems with overpopulation and airbnb rentals that are driving up costs in New York. Many workers can't afford to live there, or they live with roommates. (Or in the case of NOLA, squat in condemned buildings/live in their cars.) A lot of people are making minimum wage, 7.25 commuting from Sliddel or farther. But if you go two hours outside the city, costs are rock-bottom again.

Same thing happening in the FL keys, for different reasons. A room in someone else's house can go for up to $900. A one bedroom apartment is around $1200. Two bedroom place runs around $2000. Some service industry workers live with their extended family or ride the bus an hour south from florida city. Each Island has 20-100 people living on run-down boats anchored in the bays, for free. And a good number of locals are still on their old leases.

I'm all for raising the minimum wage. But it helps to understand why some people see $12/hr as a good job. (And if you're a writer making the equivalent of $12/hr, I can tell you some places where you can live like a king/queen. But you might not like them.)

I've heard of errors where Amazon displayed pen name books with a person's regular books. I've also heard of errors with also-boughts and also-viewed, cross-populating. But I've never confirmed these reports. I know kboards glitched one time and allowed people to see other users' multiple screennames.

I've considered publishing penname stuff through a third-party site that distributes to amazon. Smashwords, as difficult as the meatgrinder can be, doesn't seem to need much personal information, except of course a bank account. And they allow you to create multiple, separate accounts. So no chance of a glitch exposing you.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Have you got better at writing?
« on: August 03, 2017, 08:39:17 PM »
That being said, if your early books are full of typos or no longer fit the series they started, some light revision might be warranted. Stephen King revised both The Stand and the first book in the Dark Tower series. I liked the changes but YMMV. But I wouldn't spend a lot of time tweaking old work.

Yeah that's a tough one. I revised my first when I released the sequel.
Wish it had been a standalone.
Tempted to revise again when I release the third. The cycle will end when I start a new series.

Writers' Cafe / Re: free beta/dev edits(May I edit your fantasy novel?)
« on: August 03, 2017, 08:24:37 PM »
How about one chapter of epic fantasy? I just added a new prologue to add a little excitement to my story. I'm looking for good editors for upcoming books three and four in the near future. 1800 words opening scene. Just looking to keep the sentences flowing smoothly and any errors in the text.  =  )
I'm booked through next week, but after that, I should have plenty of time.

Messaging you now.

Writers' Cafe / Re: free beta/dev edits(may I edit your fantasy novel?)
« on: August 03, 2017, 09:45:31 AM »

I've tweaked the original message to emphasize that I REALLY like to edit fantasy.

So send what you've got, and I'll do a free edit for you!
If it's not a great fit, I'll still do a beta read and give some feedback.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newsletter Swaps (Explain it like I'm five.)
« on: August 02, 2017, 10:09:27 PM »
And for the nitty-gritty--I prefer to do newsletter swaps where the authors I'm swapping with provide me with their cover art, author pic, brief bio, blurb, book links, etc. as well as any ad copy or info about giveaways or other promos they're doing. Sometimes I'll throw together something if it's kind of an informal swap, but the more info my fellow author can give me, the easier it'll be for me to craft a swap newsletter campaign.

And in return, I try to provide the same level of information. Shouldn't have to make each other work hard just to finagle a swap.
This all sounds much more sincere and less scammy than what I thought newsletter swaps were. Maybe I should have jumped on this bandwagon sooner.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Ok, so I'm sensing that Amazon is watching us...
« on: August 02, 2017, 10:05:02 PM »
Anyone could be the mole. It's definitely not me though. We should all just cut Amazon some slack and like, chill out about stuff. Maybe all this complaining makes it really hard to get work done, when your cubicle is a pile of boxes in back of the fulfillment warehouse and it's really hot, and just when you get your new treadmill desk working someone orders it online and the drones come and take it away. Did you ever think about that?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newsletter Swaps (Explain it like I'm five.)
« on: August 01, 2017, 04:44:04 PM »
A newsletter swap is where two authors come together and decide on books they will feature in each others newsletter, on set dates.

So there are some rules!

Theoretically though, if someone wanted to feature me indefinitely in their autoresponder, I could make a hidden landing page on my website, with my current giveaway item, and keep it up to date? They could link to there, and as long as I had some kind of freebie, it would run smoothly.

The downside to this theory, is if you stopped updating your link, but they kept sending the email out, you would get some p*ssed off people, who followed the link and found no freebie.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Newsletter Swaps (Explain it like I'm five.)
« on: August 01, 2017, 04:38:18 PM »
I have a book and a newsletter. You have a book and a newsletter. I pimp your book in my newsletter. In return, you pimp my book in your newsletter.

I normally tell my readers about one or two other authors each month. I consider it a way to add value instead of simply begging my NL to buy my own books every month.

Assuming that I'm the big name author you want to tell everyone about, feel free to tell people about my book. I promise I'll smile.
;D Obviously. Who else would I be referring to?

So swaps are basically what I described.
I feel smart for knowing how it worked, stupid for asking the question.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Have you got better at writing?
« on: August 01, 2017, 04:32:46 PM »
Writing Excuses is my favorite too. :) I've almost quit listening to indie podcasts. Nothing personal against those who make them, just that I'm absolutely sick of marketing talk. I feel like I've heard enough of it to last a lifetime, but with craft? I could listen all day every day and never get tired of it, because everybody does it differently and has a story to tell about their process. :)

Marketing podcasts and craft podcasts seem to have opposite growth curves.

New writers talking in vague terms about what they're writing can get boring, but experts talking craft interest me more. With craft, the more advanced you get, the more interesting you are to listen to. You have names for all the big concepts and the mechinations behind storytelling become easier to understand.

Marketing podcasts have been the opposite. In the old days, when everyone knew nothing, the podcasts were fascinating. Me and the podcasters were figuring out the kdp dashboard together and learning marketing along the way. Now it's all vague, high-level marketing stuff that is either too nebulous to explain, or just doesn't apply to me yet. I still tune in for scifi-specific episodes, and high-profile guests.

Writers' Cafe / Newsletter Swaps (Explain it like I'm five.)
« on: August 01, 2017, 03:59:05 PM »
Okay, I've wasted an hour reading about newsletter swaps. And a second hour trying to formulate this question. (This is why I usually just lurk.)

There's a lot of writing on how great newsletter swaps are and how to get involved, but I couldn't find much on how they are conducted.

Can someone explain newsletter swaps to me. Or, a link to the thread where this has already been covered, would be wonderful.

Followup question:
I'd like to recommend one author's book each month in my newsletter. Each recommendation would come with a link to their instafreebie. I only do one email a month, so I feel like I can pick and choose books that are very similar to mine. I don't want to just hand my list over to someone, I'd rather present my readers with a link they can follow if it interests them.

Is the scenario I just described, basically a standard newsletter swap? Are there any pitfalls in doing it this way?

Second Followup: What if a big name author who I like has a cool book available on permafree. Is there anything wrong with sending my fans to check it out, assuming I don't use an affiliate link?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Have you got better at writing?
« on: August 01, 2017, 09:31:28 AM »
I have gotten better.
My initial draft is cleaner, and that came from practice.

My story arcs and character arcs are also improving, my endings are getting better especially. One major thing I've done is stopped listening to marketing podcasts and replaced them with writing podcasts. My personal favorite is the Writing Excuses Podcast. I also look up author interviews on youtube, you can learn a lot from those too.

Unfortunately I haven't found as many self-pub people talking about craft, at least not with the level of depth as some trad pub follks. If you know any indie blogs or podcasts that really focus on story, let me know.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Words to Substitute for "said"
« on: July 28, 2017, 04:37:03 PM »
The general rule is that anything other than "said" or "asked" detracts from the story. Said works especially well because our brain tunes it out. Start throwing strange words in place of it, and your dialog quickly becomes clunky.

Like all rules, it was made to be broken, and the perfect dialog tag in the perfect place can do wonders for character development. Just be careful that your dialog tags don't take over the story.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cons and Conferences in Florida?
« on: July 24, 2017, 08:02:01 AM »
Nice rack!
 Where did you get it?

I see the author behind you has cardboard cutouts of people enjoying their book. That's something I haven't seen before.

You're right about getting out there.
I ought to sign up for everything within driving distance.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cons and Conferences in Florida?
« on: July 24, 2017, 06:41:22 AM »
I can only help with the big ones you probably already know about: Tampa Bay Con and Florida Super Con. I hope to go to TBC in 2018.

I've heard of them, but it would be cool to hear some firsthand experiences. So I hope you'll post your findings. I went to a scifi/fantasy convention once and found it was more for anime fans than readers. As an anime fan I loved it. But as a writer, there wasn't much there for me. And I worry that a big writing conference might be too big for a small time author. But that could just be me, being antisocial. I'm also not above meeting some industry people. I'm not writing anything that is going to get professionally published, but I wouldn't pass on the chance to mingle.

Writers' Cafe / Cons and Conferences in Florida?
« on: July 24, 2017, 05:54:39 AM »
What are your favorite book conventions/writing conferences in Florida?

There are lists online, but many are out of date, or don't provide much information.

I'm new to the state so I don't really know all that goes on here.

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