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Messages - B.A. Spangler

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Writers' Cafe / Re: creating a writing space
« on: August 06, 2017, 10:47:08 AM »
If you like to write with background noise, the dining room might be the better choice. But if you are like me and need silence, then the bedroom. I have a Samsung curved monitor and LOVE it, especially for editing since I can see 3-pages across the screen.

I've had expensive chairs that are not as comfortable as the ones I get for $100 at Office Depot or whatever. So cost doesn't necessarily mean luxury. Hopefully someone can give you some firsthand recommendations.

Curved and three pages across is good to have.
Chairs are always an issue for me. Might be worth my while to go to an OfficeMax and give them a try.

Writers' Cafe / Re: creating a writing space
« on: August 06, 2017, 10:01:02 AM »

 You're lucky to be allowed a dedicated working space.
I have to write in the kitchen with lots of barriers to writing as you see.  >:(
 There's one  with me now,  so please excuse the typos. :D

Love the cat pics - my writing is usually with a laptop and sitting on the couch, along with some furried friends.

Writers' Cafe / Re: creating a writing space
« on: August 06, 2017, 09:58:17 AM »
Depending on how much space you have, I got my "whiteboard" at home depot.  8' by 4' and only $13.  It didn't come with a frame, but it is huge and much more economical.  I bought some ribbon to cover the edges (you could also get some inexpensive molding and make a frame too).  I use regular EXPO low-order markers on it with no problems, and their white board cleaner every few months.    Here's a picture of mine loaded with notes :-)

For the room choices, that's a tough one.  The bedroom presumably has the benefit of a door so you can close yourself in and make a visual barrier of sorts that "hey, writing time, no bothering", while nicer lighting is always good.  I had pretty much my choice in my house since I live alone, but I still went with my spare bedroom because its also a good mental signal to myself that its the "work" zone, and I can set it up to be more work focused versus just being a spot in the house.  I have posters of my covers on the wall, inspirational quotes, and my writing books on the shelves.  Hopefully can repaint it one day.  Don't have any recent pics online though, sorry :-/

Here is a thread from last year with lots of pics from other posters though if it helps :-) : https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,225213.0.html

Great idea on the whiteboard and thank you for the link to the previous thread.

Writers' Cafe / Re: creating a writing space
« on: August 06, 2017, 09:36:08 AM »
There have been a few threads over the years on just such a topic, and there were lots of photos posted. I can't find it in search; maybe someone else can.

I remember one from years back, but wasn't able to find it either.

Writers' Cafe / creating a writing space
« on: August 06, 2017, 09:17:54 AM »
I've got the okay from the head of the house to convert one of our rooms into a workspace. I have two rooms to pick from - an unused bedroom and a rarely used dining room. I'm favoring the dining room since it has the bigger window and better lighting.
Hoping this thread jogs some ideas. Without sounding creepy, could I get some pics that show off converted spaces.

I'm also in need of suggestions for lighting, a desk, a comfortable chair, new monitor (considering curved). And if anyone likes whiteboards like I do, have you got a brand suggestion? I'm hanging a 3x4 or maybe even a 5x6.

Appreciate the suggestions.

Thank you to Phoenix and David for the research and hard work they've put into this.

With such a low barrier to entry (skillset, tech, cost), Amazon's current model is not sustainable -- it'll be overrun with scams.

As I understand it, the scam on the 'Paid' side has to do with KU Borrows, where each borrow is ranked as a purchase. Results, fly up the charts and gain visibility.
Since the scammer's pattern is dependent on borrows, what if Amazon removed the sales rank bump that comes with a borrow or eliminated borrows altogether? If so, that'd put an end to the scam. Or am I missing something?

Writers' Cafe / Re: State of the standalone novel in an Indie world
« on: July 05, 2017, 03:15:36 AM »
I've never been one for wanting to write series, or say a trilogy.

I always worked on the assumption that until you found that you had a bestseller on your hands it wasn't worth the time and effort, and the market would discover what was worth a series.

I now think that I was right and also wrong. 7 books in and apart from my first book which I all but disown, I wish I'd stuck to a same character series of standalone stories for the other six, especially with my Lethal Trade character, or even my In Search of Jessica detective.

I now think in terms of Patterson and his Alex Cross series, Lee Child and his Jack Reacher series, or Connelly and his Harry Bosch series and the like, all standalones that don't depend on having to refer to previous stories to keep you in the loop, and they can be marketed as such without having to buy the first in a series, so any one of them could end up a bestseller and drag the previous ones up. Even Harry Potter can be read as standalones, even though they have a final conflict.

What I couldn't do is write the type of serial that keeps you hanging at the end, or one where the overall arc depends on reading them in order, then having to practically give the first one away and to market the hell out of it to the exclusion of the rest, in order to sell the others. I know some do that and make good money, but I couldn't. I have to write standalone stories that stand or fall on their own. I'm writing the second standalone to In Search of Jessica right now.

I'm not interested in another series or trilogy, carrying a story forward. The Alex Cross series is the direction I'm moving.

Writers' Cafe / Re: State of the standalone novel in an Indie world
« on: July 03, 2017, 08:34:58 AM »
I second what Amanda said, you could still do it as a standalone series with the same lead character.

Another option is write shorter. You said you can put out 1-2 400+ page books a year. So could you put out 3-4 200+ page books a year? I know some people aren't really able to or don't like writing shorter works, so if that's you then feel free to ignore this advice.

That's how my current work started out. Original plan was 3 short novels, writing them up front and publishing one every 30 days.
However, by page 200, I knew I wanted to fold the trilogy into one book and ended up at 435 pages.

I do think there is an advantage to shorter works and might try for the shorter trilogy again.

Congrats on Devil's Due - doing well.

Writers' Cafe / Re: State of the standalone novel in an Indie world
« on: July 03, 2017, 08:28:02 AM »
What in the world makes you think that? You sound like you've been reading too many "you have to do it this way" articles and blog posts.

If you write several books that comprise a series, then you have a series. Period. If you write a new book in the series once or twice a year, then that's how often new ones come out. So what? It means that writing won't be your day job for a while, if ever, but so what? Are you writing good books? Did you create great characters? O.K. then. That's what's important.

Because when readers finally discover your series, they will be glad that there are multiple stories for them to ravenously consume. They won't care how fast they were written. They will just want more.

So keep writing, at whatever pace fits your life. The key to long-term success and satisfaction as an author is to never stop writing.

Guilty - I have been reading a lot about publishing every 30 days or else. :-)

Writers' Cafe / Re: State of the standalone novel in an Indie world
« on: July 03, 2017, 05:23:03 AM »
Standalone mystery/thrillers can do very well if you hit all the right tropes.

Thank you
I'd never done this before, but for my latest, I listed every popular trope in the genre. During outline development, I worked from a todo list, ensuring many were covered.

As a reader, the book browsing experience is salted and off-putting. Imagine if the same were happening on Amazon Prime video or Netflix. Viewership would drop. I've stopped browsing and rely on newsletters, ads, and word-of-mouth.
As a writer, it's a shame. Accidental category placements do happen and a change to keywords or an email to KDP Support is easy enough.

Writers' Cafe / State of the standalone novel in an Indie world
« on: July 03, 2017, 04:38:02 AM »
What is the state of the standalone novel in an Indie world?

With limited writing time, my best is a 400+ page novel every six months to a year. That eliminates the series as an option.
However, I could write three, sitting on them, and then publish. I lack the discipline though. By the time the final edits of the first book is completed, I'm ready to publish it. And selfishly, I tend to read standalones and prefer writing them too.

Is there a market for standalone novels in an indie world? If there's no second and third, is the window of potential sales limited to the first 30 days before falling off the cliff into visibility obscurity?

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the market want today?
« on: June 21, 2017, 04:05:42 PM »
Well, according to Bookbub, who have their finger on the beating heart of trendiness, Crime Fiction is the top seller right now, with historical and cozy mysteries second and third, followed, oddly enough, by biographies/memoirs. Fantasy is halfway down the list, meaning it sells pretty well.


Moral of the story: Write what you want, make it SUPER GOOD, something that you LOVE. We wouldn't have lawyer thrillers if not for John Grisham inventing the genre.

Latest on GenreReport is showing Contemporary Fiction as the top earner and the most popular. Women's fiction is running a close second. Click on links in the At-a-Glance report page to drill down into each of the subgeneres.

Writers' Cafe / GenreReport is shutting down
« on: May 06, 2017, 04:25:58 AM »
I posted this in one of my FB groups and wanted to share it with KBoards too - after all, of all the author groups I've belonged, KBoards was first and I continue to visit every day.

Genre Report is shutting down.
It's been a blast meeting so many great people and helping authors use my tools to discover new categories for their books. My little side project has run its course and I won't be able to fund the effort anymore. Selfishly, I want to devote more of my time to writing.

The backend services are still harvesting data and the frontend application will be accessible for a while longer. If you've been using the site and want to capture any of the data before it goes away, now is the time.

Thanx - it's been fun.

I've had a few interests turn up as a result of my original post. Thank you.
Genre Report is a year of work and I'd love to see it continue. This is especially true for the data harvesting (runs 24x7x365) which I believe holds value regardless of the reporting mechanism.
I'll keep the harvester running and leave the UI, but will start dropping some of the availability as the funds drop. For example, the frontend is multiple instances / multiple regions. I can run this on less at the risk of some spotty performance. The harvester will remain as long as possible with the hope of transitioning the services and site to someone so no data harvesting is interrupted.

If there is still interest in donating to keep this afloat, I'll leave the donate button open too. And again, thank you for the nice messages and the continued interest.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The Failed Novelist
« on: April 05, 2017, 08:36:38 AM »
I would argue that you're neither a failure nor a quitter; you're someone who has tried something that isn't for you and has moved on.  Not every career path is for everyone.  (LOL, either I typed quilter out of habit or autocorrect changed quitter to quilter; editing...)



Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP Down? [MERGED]
« on: March 06, 2017, 12:55:51 PM »
Still down.
Crapped out during a cover update.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The most painful one-star review to get?
« on: February 11, 2017, 07:28:46 AM »
That means it will be at the top of the page of "Critical Reviews." Awesome!

I never looked at it from that perspective. Excellent!

Bookmarked - good stuff. Thanks for posting.

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Have had a stroke...came to say thank you and goodbye
« on: January 17, 2017, 04:49:07 AM »
So sorry to hear that. Please take care. Prayers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Months to avoid?
« on: January 10, 2017, 10:36:39 AM »
They do. You just have to claim your Author Profile and then gain followers on BB. All you have to do is go in and claim your book on BB and they send a new release alert out to your followers.

Good to know. Thanks.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Months to avoid?
« on: January 10, 2017, 09:28:29 AM »
My mailing list and Facebook page are generally enough to propel me into the top 200 on release day for every series (top 100 for witches). Then, a few days later the Amazon machine kicks in and handles the rest for me. I don't run promotions on a series until I have at least three books out. You need a good release for the Amazon machine to kick in, though.

Thanks - I'm a bit anemic between that area of release and when Amazon would kick in so will have to supplement with new-release promos. It'd be great if BB had a new release promo!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Months to avoid?
« on: January 10, 2017, 09:13:36 AM »
I actually disagree. Opening big is important. There's nothing stopping you from promotion and rejuvenating a series down the road, but opening big is still extremely important. New release algos can only be hit once and they're unique compared to other things. It's much easier for an author to stick if he or she can juice those algos. So, yeah, you can promote after and that's important. Hitting well at the start is also important, though. A bad release can cause a book to never recover.

2015/16 were an absolute failure and so I view 2017 as starting over. I'm excited. 

Your post brings up a question. Other than a mailing list, just how do you promote a new book/series? When I look around, there are not many (if any) options to promote.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Months to avoid?
« on: January 10, 2017, 07:47:25 AM »
My best month is December because everyone else avoids it... oh crap, did I say that aloud?  :o

That made me laugh!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Months to avoid?
« on: January 10, 2017, 06:21:16 AM »
It's swings and roundabouts.

Sure, more people are buying books some months than others.

But then in a "slow" month, you don't have to sell quite as many to stand out.

You can tie yourself in knots worrying too much about some of this stuff.

hadn't thought of it that way before.

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