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Messages - TimothyEllis

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I have a rule for myself and my writing improved immensely once I discovered this.

I don't write any words unless I know what I want with that specific scene (or part of a scene).

When I open my file, I may have a small idea of what the character should say next, or how to get them from point A to point B if they're going somewhere. Say I decide their next step is to take the train to the city to meet someone. I describe whatever needs to be described about the journey. Some train stuff, some scenery/weather, some internal thoughts about the upcoming meeting. It may only take 200 words.

But then when the character arrives at the meeting, I won't start writing the main discussion unless I know what I want from it. I'll write a bit about what the office looks like, and the other person looks like, but I'll have a think about the specifics of the discussion and how it makes the character feel, about the tone of the discussion and how it needs to end. Then I write that. However many (or few) words it takes.

Then in the next scene, they go home or arrive home, and somehow need to process what they heard. Once I know how the character feels about the meeting and whether he's likely to cry, sing, b*tch to their partner, talk to the dog or smash furniture, then I write that.

I take it piece by piece. I write a scene, not a wordcount.

Pretty much this.

I think word count is the wrong way around.

The operative term here is 'full time'. Full time for me is an 8 hour working day, the same as any other job. Writing has many aspects to it, including editing, brainstorming, plotting, mapping, timing things, ongoing notes etc. etc., and on some days you wont get a specific word count in. 8 hour day gets a lot done. And an organized 8 hour day can consistently produce a high number of words even while doing all the other things.

The people doing the best at the moment seem to be doing 10k words a day or better. But they work a full day, rather than aim for a number.

The number happens because they work a full day.

basically told them there was no way to know if they were lying or not, and as, when I dropped all my AMS ads, despite them telling me I was breaking even on them, I did not lose A SINGLE SALE, that this was actually a scam and not a legitimate advertising method. If they want me to think it's not a scam, they need one hell of a lot more trackable information, transparency, whatever you want to call it.
Otherwise, it was me throwing cash at a promise I came to not believe at all. YMMV.

My experience:

While wide, AMS was not needed to get sales.

As soon as I went back into KU, AMS became essential.

that book isn't manga. and if you had clicked more, you would have seen this:

The point is, there was no click.

A large blurb is pointless if no-one reads it.

If you rely on the click, what is seen has to automatically make a person click, and the example given obviously didn't.

I'm out. Good luck with whatever you decide to go with.

Ouch, that makes your MC sound rather cold and uncaring. Ender's Game was awesome because Ender didn't realize what was going on. So readers could relate to him.

Humanity's last chance for survival rests with one fleet commander's desire to win no matter the cost.

Fleet Commander Harvey Yamato has fought a long hard war against an alien reptilian menace. He's sent fleets and armies into the fire, sacrificing billions to save billions--all to exact a stalemate.

However, a technological breakthrough allows the aliens to skirt Sol's defenses and now an entire battle fleet is on humanity's doorstep. Only Yamato can save Earth from destruction. Can an exhausted leader rise to the challenge one last time? Can the remnants of humanity's battered fleets protect the Earth and humanity's last survivors? And at what cost?

Now, we're getting there!  :D

no... it's not an anime. it's military sci fi, space fleet and alien invasion

So your blurb must not sound even vaguely like anime, or people will think it is, and ignore it.

what 150 character ad copy? i never do ads.

You do now. Amazon has totally changed.

You launch as well as you can. The slide starts on day 2. By day 20, the abyss looms. By day 30, you're in freefall. By day 60, you've vanished into the murk forever.

Unless you advertise.

It used to be having a good launch would set you rising for at least a week, and tail would last for the month, and obscurity took another 2. Now by day 20, the book is history without advertising.

Looked at your reading list, and ok, but a lot of them are getting old now. You should be reading Glynn Stewart, Craig Martelle and Micheal Anderle. They are the real players in the military market at the moment. They are who you need to compete with. An older series worth reading is Thomas DePrima.

I gave them both barrels, and told them to scrap it.  ;D

I made it quite clear the entire interface was too hard to understand, too hard to use, and too full of meaningless words.

I told them the single worst thing ever in the history of ebooks, was AMS.

I also told them Amazon was now discriminating against ordinary authors by giving those who had big money/deep pockets, and/or degrees in marketing, an unfair advantage. I told them the ranks were now filled with books well advertised, instead of books which people bought because they were good books.

They probably will wish they hadn't asked, if everyone tells them variations on the same theme.

i suppose i could write a new blurb

"Harvey Yamato has fought a long hard war against the alien reptillian menace. He's commanded troops and sent them into the fire. He's had to sacrifice billions to save billions. But now, the war has reached the worst point in Yamato's career. Due to a technological breakthrough, the aliens are at humanity's doorsteps and it's up to him once again to prevent the bad guys from smashing Earth. Can he rise to the task? Can he command humanity's battered fleets once more to protect Earth and the home system? Can he win this game? -- this game of war that utilizes billions of people for nothing other than strategic assets?"

i figured the game would be his challenge

Much better.

Until you mention a game. I think this will put off everyone except people who like novels along computer game lines. And it gives the impression there is a twist in place so anything can be game reset at the end.

The only way this can be a game is if you specify the MC treats everything as a game, and this is not something you put in the blurb.

The other thing is, a character who deliberately sacrifices billions of lives to hold an asset, is not a character most people will want to cheer on. Its also not something you telegraph about the book.

Talking about his career also makes this about him, instead of if humanity survives.

Admiral Harvey Yamato has fought a long hard war against an alien reptilian menace.

He's sent fleets and armies into the fire, sacrificing billions to save billions.

But now, the war has reached a critical point. A technological breakthrough gives the aliens a doorway to humanity's doorstep, and it's up to him to prevent the Earth being destroyed.

Can an exhausted leader rise to the challenge one last time?

Can the remnants of humanity's battered fleets, protect the Earth, and humanity's last survivors?

Ok, seriously, I dont know how to end this. It needs a tagline ending, and a tagline to begin with.

Massive space fleet battles.
Genocidal aliens at humanity's doorsteps.
One fleet commander's desire to win above all.
In depth strategic and tactical warship combat.

This comes across as author boasting!

The risk you're taking here is, you're setting up the reader with very high expectations, and if you fail to meet them, they'll never read you again.

For me, if you failed to deliver deep strategy and original tactics, I would bin the book, and forever after ignore you as an author.

And here's my thing - everything you say convinces me you haven't actually read a high proportion of what is available now, and are basing your boasts on author ego. By all means give me a list of who/what you've been reading over the last 2 years and prove me wrong, but its how you come across at the moment. My main reason for saying this is to prevent you from crash and burning.

In the far future, a genocidal alien empire and the human stars are at war!
For years, we gave it all we got;

Stop right there. 'Gave it all we got'? This tells me immediately you need an editor.

we fought the war to a stalemate across numerous star systems; but when the bad guys

bad guys?  :o

discover a way to circumvent our frontlines, their fleets are able to ravage our bread systems -- our industrial shipyard core.

Bread systems?  :-X

Now, with 600 billion humans dead, and our war machine grinded

Grinded? Are you checking your spelling? One thing I learned being here was the need to spell check everything. This is public posting, and if people see really bad spelling here, they'll assume your book is full of them as well.

away and the enemy at our homeworld's doorsteps, only Fleet Commander Yamato's decimated home fleet stands between the aliens and Earth's obliteration.
Can his clever strategies turn the tide of war

Um, if he was the strategist you say he is, things would never have deteriorated this far. Do you know the difference between strategy and tactics?

You cant have a brilliant strategist, AND losing so badly. It's a major contradiction. You can have a brilliant tactician and lose so badly, if he isn't where the action is until the end. But then it needs explaining why he wasn't there, or wasn't listened to.

back into our favor (or into something sane?), despite all the odds stacked against him?
Can he save humanity from systematic extermination?
Can he save our pure, blue homeworld?
Fight on, Yamato!

Blah blah blah. Sorry. Just sounds like it.

Why Yamoto? You do know there is a battleship series called that name? It is a widely used name. Why use that, and not something more original? Just curious.

i couldn't think of any other challenge for my mc except the fact that he must save earth and humanity and win the game

What do you mean 'win the game'? Does the book have a twist to this all being a computer game?

Sorry I appear negative, but most of your blurb as I said before is standard expectation of mil-sci-fi readers, and the standard reaction is going to be, 'oh boy, not another one!'

Your blurb tells everyone just how similar it is to everything else out there, and nothing about how different it is, and why they should actually read it. Which leads me back into how much of what is out there, have you actually read?

Convince me I want to read your book, and you'll convince a lot of other people to. So far it tells me not to bother.

i guess my mind is too set on this

Yes. And this why you're getting so much negative.

The whole purpose of the blurb is to entice people to read the sample (first 10%). If it fails to get people reading the book, you dont get sales.

Also, if the claims you make in the blurb are not shown to be true in the sample, people wont hit the buy button, and may not even finish reading the sample.

i don't get this phrase. what do you mean, 'so no plot, at all'. are you saying i shouldn't talk about plot?
'Don't tell me all that stuff, tell me about the story, without telling me anything about the story' -- i just don't get this

Put it this way. The more plot you include, the less reason I have to read the book, since I already know whats going to happen.

Harvey Yamato has fought a long hard war against the alien menace. He's commanded troops and sent them into the fire. He's had to sacrifice billions to save billions. But now, the war has reached the worst point in Yamato's career. The aliens are at humanity's doorsteps and it's up to him once again to prevent the bad guys from smashing Earth. Can he rise to the task? Can he command humanity's battered fleets once more to protect Earth and the home system?

how's this?

Much better, but read the one by CG, which is better. It is a bit short, so you want to pad it out with some thing about the MC's character, and what his challenges are. Saving the Earth is not a challenge for an MC, its expected. So what makes this dude different?

i swear i never heard of tachyon pulse cannons before. i really did make it up, and it didnt' come from my subconscious

Not unusual at all. Writers do this all the time.  ;D

the manner of propulsion in this novel is what i termed "sliding drive'. basically, it's like sublight warp. everything is moving at a fraction of c but there's no kinetic energy involved as the bubble around the ship is moving the ship. and there's no relativity factor as the bubble is moving the ship and not the ship itself

In other words, Star Trek Impulse drive.  :D

Everyone uses something based on everything which came before. The main thing is how you describe it to the reader, and if they believe you.

Most of that is a history lesson, and has no place in the blurb.

Who is the main character?
What is his or her's main challenge?
What are the stakes?

The bolded stuff is in all military sci-fi, and is redundant. Making it bold, just annoys me.

Don't tell me all that stuff, tell me about the story, without telling me anything about the story. So no plot, at all.

I saw one of these once, where when you read the book, it was actually a love story set on a ship. Nothing in the blurb actually had any real relevance to the story itself.

The book sounds like typical military sci-fi. We already know what to expect. What we want to know is why we should read it. Your blurb needs to entice us into the sample, not make us feel like we've already read it 100's of times before.

I cant suggest an alternative, because there is nothing in your post which suggests a better blurb. Sorry.

Edit, also had to address this bit:

this novel has a lot of description of futuristic weapons - gamma ray lasers, tachyon pulse cannons (what the hell is that? i made it up, it sounded cool), nanofiber carbon armor, shields, drives that move a ship up to a fraction of c

No, you didn't make it up.

Gamma ray lasers and tachyon pulse cannons have been around in computer games since the 80's.

Nanofiber armour is another name for plenty of other similar armour. Shields are standard. Drives for near c are also standard.

Nothing unusual in your tech, at all.

There is very little in the way of original tech. Its all been done. What we as writers do, is reinvent something we've forgotten where we first got it from.

Afterthought: If you're doing drives near c, how are you dealing with relativity?

Except for those using IE (only me.)    :(

Its time for you to update.  ;D

IE is the slowest of the browsers, and the most vulnerable. People use it because its the Windows default, not because its any good.

The app for Bookreport is for Firefox and Chrome, because they are the best 2 browsers out there. Both are free, easy to find, take a minute or 2 to install, and leave IE for dead.

Whenever I get a new computer, the first thing I do is remove the IE icons from the desktop, and the second is to install Firefox and Thunderbird (mailer). If I could remove IE completely, I would, but alas, these days you cant.

It's worth doing, if for no other reason than the speed of browsing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« on: March 15, 2018, 05:10:40 AM »
It doesn't take 6 months to gain traction, but I think it helps if you have a completed series, or more books in a different series.

Didn't help me at all.

Prey tell how you get traction wide without a US Bookbub?

Writers' Cafe / Re: One Line From Your Current WIP
« on: March 15, 2018, 05:00:04 AM »
Current WIP is a re-edit of book 1.

There is nothing like new blue jeans, and the jacket you always wanted, to put a spring in your limp.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« on: March 14, 2018, 06:31:10 PM »
No , I assumed that was what you were saying since a BB promotion for Amazon will not help you for going wide.

Its got nothing to do with helping you go wide.

Its about Bookbub. You need one once you're wide, but going wide is not enough to actually get one. One of the suggestions made is by going wide, it's more likely you will get a BB, but I found this to be false.

If you have already had a BB, you are much more likely to get another one, wide or not. If you haven't had one yet, the chances are you wont get one wide either.

Getting a BB before you go wide is about the chances of getting another BB, when going wide really requires one in timely fashion.

My observation of people getting BB's is : If you've already had one, especially before KU2 began, you are much more likely to get another one, than someone who hasn't had one at all. And going wide doesn't change the likelihood of getting one. So get one first.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« on: March 14, 2018, 06:03:14 PM »
How would you get a Bookbub promotion wide before you go wide?

Where did I say that?

I said dont go wide until you already got a BB. That means a BB on Amazon, in or out of KU.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« on: March 14, 2018, 03:15:51 AM »
The key to the 6 months thing is a Bookbub on a free book, where the series has a long tail.

Get it, and you get a significant boost, which gets you visibility everywhere.

Don't get it, and nothing much happens.

Having just tried it, my recommend is if you haven't got a Bookbub yet, dont go wide without a major advertising plan and a lot of $ to spend on it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Multiple sales per click on AMS ads
« on: March 13, 2018, 04:51:06 PM »
Hey all!
I was just reviewing my results for a recent AMS ad campaign and I noticed that several keywords show a single click with multiple (2-3) Kindle sales? This doesn't make any sense to me. Has anyone else seen this? Can anyone explain? Thanks!

Didn't I read somewhere that the sales number includes any sales made after the click? So if they click through to your book, and then click an also-bought and buy that, the sale appears on your statistics. So even though there is 2-3 sales there, they might not even be of your book.

I have a new release today and it's also showing 0 in the ~Borrows column when it shouldn't be. I'm guessing new/new to KU books just need a day or two to get started for some reason. Hopefully it will back fill today when it does get going as I'm lazy and don't want to have to calculate figures for myself ;D

Have you checked to see if the KENPC value is displayed?

I was pondering the delay, and it does take a day or so for the number of pages to show up. Until then, BR cant figure anything out.

Has it really been six months? Geez, I must blinked!

It's seemed like forever to me.  :-X

Did being wide not work out, Timothy?

Not really. I gave it 6 months, and it wasn't building.

The kicker is a US Bookbub. If you can get one, the boost gets you visibility everywhere. I couldn't get one.

Now I'm back, I'm noticing the read numbers are much better than when I left. But I'm starting from scratch again.

If your books are wide, then the ~Borrows column is perpetually zero, even when there are pages read reported. Because you can't actually have any borrows if you're wide.


I just went back into KU, so I guess it took a day to kick in.

Yes. Something changed since I last looked, and it is now.

But it would be better if the value was to 2 decimal places, which would make more sense.

Is it just me, or does the calculation of full reads not work at all?

All I get is zeros, even when the reads value is much more than 1 full read.

The Hunter Legacy and AI Destiny series are now back in KU.

After trying wide for 6 months, I'm now back in KU.

Book 1 is permafree, and the next 19 books are all back in KU.

Not started off, but did with book 3. But by then, I had a list of things I normally did wrong, and used it as a starting point for editing. You do get better as you go on.

If you do self-edit out of the gate, you need beta readers.

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