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Messages - michaelwlayne

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Thank you for the info and the link, EB. Worked perfectly!  :D

Writers' Cafe / Re: Armageddon is HERE!! LOL, Issues with KU2...
« on: July 01, 2015, 07:56:41 AM »
Not sure where to post this, but I just noticed the following on the Amazon page that gives the details about the new KU pages read. You can get to this page by clicking the "Click here for more information" link from your reports page (in the information box aboove your main reports graph). I especially hope that their last sentence is true. I guess we will see...


You can view your Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL) Pages Read in your Sales Dashboard report by marketplace and title.

We always support our authors' efforts to promote their books all over the world, but at the same time we work to prevent any manipulation of the Kindle platform. Because we're always looking to improve our authors' experience, we'll have systems in place to monitor for potential manipulation."

Funny story that relates to a cover Jeff did. My tween-age boy wanted a particular book that Jeff has recently completed a cover for. I bought the print copy (Fantasy), a month ago. Haven't seen the book since.

Friday he comes home from school and pulls out a green plastic box and runs off... I asked what was in the box? It was the book. He didn't want to ruin the cover by putting it into his bookbag, but he wanted to share the book with all his friends in middle school. He'd cleaned out a pencil box, dumping the contents and wiping it down, before putting the treasured book inside.

He's 12. Never treated a book like this.

Can't buy this kind of advertising... Good job, Jeff!

Btw, he loves the story too. It's Conservation of Magic, by Indie Michael W. Layne. Good stuff, according to my tweenie.

I love this story. Thanks for sharing! I remember being a kid and wanting books just because of how cool the cover was, so I can definitely relate to your son's desire to keep that sucker pristine. Wait til the next one comes out in paperback. I gotta be honest, I like the cover with the city in the clouds even better than the one your son has. :-)

I've worked with Jeff on my last two covers and just started with him on a third. Super easy to work with. Very accommodating and fast. I think each of my original fantasy digital paintings/photo manipulations went from sketch to finished product in just over a week. And of course there is the quality of the art. But you can see that just from looking at his samples. Dude has chops. Highly recommend. Now, NO ONE call him please, until he has finished my cover. lol. Just kidding. No, seriously... :-) Well worth it!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Failure.
« on: December 28, 2014, 08:55:56 PM »
You're saying my cover and price are a problem?
Your Heart Thief cover rocks. That is def not a problem. Just keep writing good work, and give it some time. My two cents.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting question
« on: November 23, 2014, 06:09:16 AM »
OK, one thing for you to try then, if that is all you are trying to accomplish with your front matter. In the compile menu, Select Include for the page, obviously, and also select "As-Is". Then up top, see where it says All Options and Summary, click Summary. Where it says Font, select "Determined by Document Style" This SHOULD produce the exact same thing you have set up for your front matter when you compile your doc. Other than that, I got nothing. Hope this helps.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting question
« on: November 22, 2014, 10:47:10 PM »
Hey, check out this video on Youtube. It does a pretty good job of explaining how to do a manual TOC in Word for an ebook.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting question
« on: November 22, 2014, 10:42:01 PM »
Yes, my experience is that if I use HTML, I get the least amount of strangeness when converting to KDP. It keeps the format that I see in Word before exporting as an HTML file.

Re internal images, I have lots of experience with image manipulation in general, but have never included an image inside an ebook, so someone might be better off answering you on that one. I checked, and your image, assuming the 500 pixel dimension is the height, is almost exactly the 9:11 ration KDP recommends for internal images. If it were me, I would turn the image into a gray scale image in photoshop and try to get as many pixels as I could in the image and still be within the suggested size limits of internal images (close to 125k? I haven't looked that up in a while). Once again, if you have a screen shot of your image it would help me to give advice on it. If it is a photograph versus line drawing, etc. would make a difference as to how I would process the image and how it might turn out. Or is your book still up somewhere I can go look at it?

Re font size and your front matter, I am not 100% sure, but I don't think you can approach it by making the font size smaller, since in the end, the file gets converted to html anyway. By giving a font a certain "style" it will tell the e readers to make the font relatively smaller or bigger than the rest, like your chapter headers, for instance, but I think trying to make text fit on all devices may not really work. For instance, my mom has terrible eye sight and sets her kindle so that the fonts are so huge, she only sees like six words per line. And nothing you can do will make it fit on her kindle page, other than making the whole thing an image. Personally, I have never worried about any of my front matter or back matter fitting onto a single page. Other folks may have some work around for this, but that's not how I approach it, so I can't really give advice on that. Sorry! If you want to make a certain section for some reason appear on a single page, I guess you could use as few words as possible? (that's not sarcasm). Otherwise, just don't worry about it.

As far as starting text in the middle of a page, I did some searching last month about this, and came up with lots of people wondering how to do it, and no one really having an acceptable answer. For instance if you go look at maybe Trapped in Whittier (my book), and check out the first chapter heading in the Look Inside feature, you will see that my chapter heading is right up top. Well, I put in that it should have 100pts before it started, in an attempt to bump it down in the page, and nothing. Also, I know for a fact that none of these sites do well with multiple carriage returns. Just don't do it to get vertical space. After the page has started, it seems that the kind does respect the line spacing I put in using Word styles and saving them to html.

Re the TOC, it's not that hard to do it in Word, once you do it the first time. Maybe you could go right from Scrivener to HTML and skip Word. Not sure. Like I said, I tried going from Scrivener straight to the upload process and wasn't smart enough or dedicated enough to do it without doing the final final version in Word. The other thing, not for nothing, Word has much better grammar and spelling catching than Scrivener. At least in my version of Scrivener (maybe it is installed wrong), I can look right at a misspelled word, and Scrivener never picks it up, whereas Word always does.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting question
« on: November 22, 2014, 09:03:57 PM »
I have to caveat that there are plenty of people on here who are better scrivener and publishing experts than I am. And I know that people like to automate as much as they can. I personally like to have my hands in it a little more, and like combing through and formatting my book. It takes only a little bit of time, and it lets me take a last look at everything and gives me total control. That being said...

I make my own TOC in Word, which then gets automatically translated to html. I actually type in my TOC using my normal or body text indent styles and then assign either a bookmark or a formatted heading to each of the TOC labels. Note that unlike most people I do not list every single chapter in my TOC. It just looks ugly to me and with a fiction book, I don't see much need for it since the book is usually read from front to back and not jumped around in. But other disagree. On my long books, I list the section titles, and the back matter parts. That's all. To each his or her own. Once you get it set up, it sticks, and I don't have any problems with it.

Re fonts and body text, I have found that the least amount of text styles used, the better. I only use body text indent or normal, and a Heading 1 heading style. I use the Heading style for my chapter titles/numbers and for the titles of any of my front and back matter. So, for me, the words, "Other works by Mike" as well as "Chapter 22" would each have the Heading 1 heading style assigned to them.

Note that I set up my body text indent and my heading 1 style to be exactly as I want them to be. For me I use Times New Roman, 12 pt, justified, 0 spaces before and after, multiple lines at 1.2 spacing, and .25" first line indent for my "body text indent" or for my "normal" style. Just use one or the other.

For my Heading 1, I use Times New Roman, 20 pt, regular/non bold, centered, with NO first line indent. I also do 4 points after the header.

When I upload to Amazon or anywhere else, like Kobo, etc. personally, I upload the cover separately and let the platform put it all together for me.

Re what kind of images you could show me, just PM me a screen shot of the pieces of your book that look hosed up. Hard to see what you mean by the images look like crap without really seeing them. And any screen shots of your title page or any other text page that isn't looking the way you want it.

I will be happy to answer any questions. I repeat that there are lots of folks on her who do it differently than me, and they might be chiming in when they see this thread tomorrow. I am only giving you the instructions for what works for me. You can go to any of my books (mainly the Trent Walker ones since I just reformatted them) and look at the Look Inside on Amazon to see if that is what you would be ok with your books looking like.

Also, I would be interested to know what the pixel dimensions of the images are that you are placing into Scrivener. That will affect how well they look once published as well.

Hope this helps!


Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting question
« on: November 22, 2014, 08:02:34 PM »
Hey. Got your message L.L.  Artofstu, not sure where to start without seeing exactly HOW your files are messing up. Posting a screen shot might help. But first, was wondering, after you create the mobi file and then the epub file, do you first preview them on your computer? Amazon offers an ap that lets you preview mobi files on your desktop before publishing and depending on which kind of system you are using, you can also preview epub files on your desktop before publishing. I am curious as to whether the screw-ups are occurring during the publishing process or during the making of the actual files from Scrivener. That being said (and this is ONLY my opinion and how I do things), I have found the least amount of errors if I compile from Scrivener to an MS Word file and then save as webpage (html). I know this is an extra step or two, but I never have to mess with my files after doing it this way. I let Amazon and Smashwords, etc. do the translation directly from html, and this has fixed a lot of problems I used to have with line spacing etc.

Also, in Scrivener, I make sure I apply the formatting preset of "body to my body text, and only use "as is" for my front matter and title page where I want the text to look exactly as I want and not to conform to the standard Body preset.

Anyway, if you have a screen dump that would be helpful...

Writers' Cafe / Re: Keywords?
« on: September 13, 2014, 11:52:43 PM »

If your book is in KU, don't forget to use that as a keyword. My borrows have gone up after I added this.

Dumb question probably, but did you use "KU" or "Kindle Unlimited" for your keyword? Great idea I hadn't thought of. Thanks!

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The Book Corner / Re: So, what are you reading? (2014 edition)
« on: September 13, 2014, 02:16:16 PM »
Going old school. Reading Odd Thomas. Fun and spooky. :-)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writer Relationships
« on: September 02, 2014, 07:11:00 PM »
In response to the original post in this thread: T. A. Miles and myself met writing. Our relationship grew via our characters' constant interaction (we wrote with each other every morning and every night 'till the last moment before work and sleep... for two years time) during which we grew closer to each other as well. Finally I moved halfway across the country for her. That was almost eight years ago.

The trend? 1) We were both writers. 2) We had the right personalities. 3) We've planned on spending every waking moment around each other from the very start.

Now that is a great story! Thanks for sharing, from the OP of this thread. And I'm happy that you two found each other. Awesome!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writer Relationships
« on: September 02, 2014, 03:27:49 PM »
Hell, I'd be running.  That reeks of neediness. :o

And ran I did... lol

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writer Relationships
« on: September 01, 2014, 12:39:12 PM »
To me, two nights and a Saturday is more than enough time to be putting into a relationship. I'd be totally freaked out by someone who wanted more than that.

Same here, Kathryn, especially in the beginning. :-) Good to know I'm not the only one freaked out by people wanting more than that (after only two weeks in my case).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Brutal 1 star review
« on: August 31, 2014, 10:05:41 PM »
Chin up, commiserate in private, and purge your mind by reading 1 stars of your favorite books. It's the best medicine. :)
Absolutely what I do as well. Great advice!

Yes. You just have to wait a little. Especially on the weekends, the cover update are slow. First, the cover image on the sample that you see on the Amazon page updates. Then, later, your main cover image updates. It will happen. I do my cover updates on weekdays now and find that that goes a little faster. FWIW.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writer Relationships
« on: August 31, 2014, 08:57:25 PM »
I think the problem I'm having is not so much BEING in a relationship with someone who gets me. I have been in several relationships where the other person understood my artistic nature and the need for time that it took. I'm having a problem getting into a relationship with people. Here's how my honest dating profile would go: "Hi, I work at least eight hours a day, I come home every weekday, take care of my dog, sometimes (but not always) pass out from having stayed up the night before until 2 or 3 in the morning, have dinner, maybe watch a little TV, start writing, do Twitter or FB instead, start writing around 11PM, and stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning. Oh, and I also run and exercise as often as possible right after work. I think that for the initial dating phase, I might need someone just as busy as me. Or at least another publishing writer. Not sure.

And just so folks here don't think I'm not realistic, the last two women I've tried to date, working around their schedules, I made myself available two nights a week and didn't write at all on those nights. And I didn't write on Sat at all either. But within two weeks, each of them said that I wasn't giving them enough time. I totally understand that one has to put time into a relationship, especially at the beginning, but I thought that was asking a bit much a bit too soon. Anyway, thank you for everyone who has shared his or her experiences and advice on this post. At least I know that it can work in a multitude of different ways and combinations. :-)

For now, I'm just not looking anymore and am focusing on the writing. BTW, I love that response about booking a one-way flight to somewhere awesome and then meeting the woman of your dreams right before you leave. Perfect. lol

Writers' Cafe / Re: Sad news about the passing of a KB member
« on: August 31, 2014, 03:18:45 PM »
I didn't know Rhonda, but whenever something like this happens, it saddens me. I hope she finds peace and that her family makes it through this horrible time. R.I.P.  :(

Writers' Cafe / Re: Subject line edit: Talking about Kobo
« on: August 03, 2014, 09:46:48 AM »

Yeah, they still haven't explained the mysteriously disappeared 700 or so freebie downloads. The only response I got from them is that their web people said the current number is correct. I'm guessing that means the previous number was not or maybe I had some sort of psychotic episode and just made stuff up on my spreadsheet.
I don't trust their reporting on paid sales as a result.

The third of my series is coming out of Select on Tuesday and I'm heading straight to D2D for distribution to iBooks and B&N. I don't think I'll bother with Smashwords or Kobo. The few sales I see there aren't worth keeping up with the formatting they want.

I had the same thing happen to the number of reported free downloads. After a decent amount of hassle, they finally claimed that they had an error in their system that was doubling the number of reported downloads. They assured me that the current number (half of what it used to be) was now the correct one. All I could think about was how this would have impacted me if such an error had occurred with actual book sales. Luckily, after having all my books in Kobo since the beginning of the year, I have sold exactly zero, so this isn't really a concern for me. I'm about to take my books off the site since this is only one of several experiences I've had with them that left me feeling that they just didn't have a matured platform and set of processes yet. Totally happy for folks making good money on their site but for me it's more of a pain than it's worth.

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Introductions & Welcomes / Re: Hello from Northern Virginia
« on: June 07, 2014, 10:44:05 AM »
Welcome, fellow nova person. :-)

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Sell Loads of Books - My System Spelled Out
« on: May 03, 2014, 06:51:43 AM »
Thank you for taking the time to write this post and for answering everyone's questions. Invaluable advice and a lot to consider. Thanks, Russell!

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Cover Reveal!! Blood Sacrifice!
« on: April 18, 2014, 04:46:19 PM »
Total bad*ss. I really like and covet your cover! Great illustration.

One of my shorter pieces showed up as being on and off the short reads for 90 minute reads in sci fi/fantasy starting last week. Thing is, it's a free book, so when you click on the short reads list on its product page, it takes you to the correct list, but for paid books. And my book, of course, is not on that list. I can't figure out for the life of me how to browse to the free short read lists...Anyway, that is all to say, that I did not list my story as a short story, and that it just happens, as best I can tell, when a book of a certain length starts selling enough to get on the top 100 of one of the lists. I think this is a new thing they started doing.

You nailed it for me, Mike. Super good points, thank you! :)

My pleasure. As you can see from other posts, it's really all about what you want to achieve and how close you want to let your fans be (privacy priorities). Good luck and lemme know when you get one or the other and I will be sure to like, follow, or friend you, regardless of your choice. lol

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