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Messages - PermaStudent

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Mistakes Were Made
« on: July 17, 2018, 01:10:41 PM »
Thank you for sharing.  I especially liked your insights on advertising schedules and standalones as funnels to series.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Chapter Hooks
« on: July 16, 2018, 05:29:12 AM »
I have a ~2k-word target word count for chapters.  For me, pacing and hooks go hand in hand. If I've got ~2k words in the chapter and I haven't made my point yet, I check that I haven't gone off the plot with rambling dialog or descriptions. To end a chapter, I try to introduce the major problem to be solved/inciting event in the next chapter. 

For example, everyone was bickering at the party but they finally toasted the guest of honor. Then someone dropped dead.

Other people have mentioned that this may be money laundering.
I'm convinced most of it is.  I'm actually surprised the article didn't cover that angle.

I understand a hefty price tag on an old, rare, or collectible type book, but the vast majority of the time I stumble across it on books where no one would pay that price. (Unless the book isn't what the purchaser is actually buying, wink wink.)

I would hope Amazon has someone auditing for scammers/laundering/other nefariousness when a sale goes through with a price that falls that far outside the statistical norm, but my perception is they don't give a hoot until bad press catches up with them.

That is quite the glitch!  I noticed there's no publisher listed. Is it possible another KDP account has published it without permission?  You might get more attention with a takedown notice.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Rules for Titles
« on: July 07, 2018, 05:32:49 PM »
I google my potential titles to check for any other books that might cause confusion or be trademarked.  Most of mine are unique (or were when I published them).  One shares a title with a book in a very different genre.  One has a title that everyone and their mom has used.  Sharing titles doesn't really bother me, though: I focus on building my brand (so people are searching my author and/or series name, not the titles) and directing my own traffic.

My first response: ignore the guy. A few spam backlinks won't hurt you.

Absolutely do not pay him. If you really want to, you can do a disavow file and get rid of those links yourself.

I wrote a long, ranting post that is now deleted.

Stuff like this dovetails with all the great news stories about account closures, and it's the reason I no longer leave reviews or buy things I might need to return for fear of being accused.  There's a growing list of products I only buy in brick and mortar stores now.

They aren't really doing themselves any favors by using the phrasing mentioned in the OP.  Amazon needs to get their store in order.

Yeah, it seems to be a case of the longer you wait, the more expensive this gets ... so best to hit them early on, before they can leave the nest.

This is where my thoughts are, too.  I tried to find a way to receive trademark notifications from USPTO, but it seems like they only offer a generic "trademark alerts" newsletter and not a "here is a new trademark that's been filed on (insert word here)". Does anyone know if I missed something? My plan B is to put google alerts on the twitter cockybot for each of the words in my titles/series and do my part to keep those words available for all. 

I have no problem with people protecting their intellectual property.  It's the land grab mentality that I disagree with.

Writers' Cafe / Editor recommendations
« on: June 13, 2018, 06:40:52 AM »
My usual editor will be taking some time off in July and August. As such, I *may* need a sub for a ~70k manuscript, needs to be done by September 1st, and just a review for grammar/spelling/word overuse/etc. I won't be ready for edits until July 1st at the earliest, but I didn't want to get caught without at the last minute.

Any recommendations?

ETA: Urban Fantasy.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A different kind of launch thread
« on: June 11, 2018, 05:23:30 PM »
I'll be watching. Thanks for posting your data, and good luck!  May I ask how long you had your pre-order up? (ETA: nevermind, just reread and saw it was one week. Thanks again!)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Anthony Bourdain - Imposter Syndrome and Authors
« on: June 10, 2018, 06:15:21 AM »
Impostor syndrome is something that a lot of people struggle with at some point in their lives.  So is depression, which can become much more serious. I have struggled with both, though not to the degree of a family member who is struggling now. About three years ago I lost a family member to suicide.

If no one has posted it yet, the national suicide prevention lifeline in the USA is 1-800-273-8255.  It is free and confidential. They also offer chat services online.

Take care of yourselves. You aren't alone.

My orthodontist: "So, what do you do for a living?"

Me (after a bracing hesitation, because things always go weird at this point): "I'm an author."

"Wonderful! What do you write?"

"Urban fantasy novels."

"I don't know what that is."

"I write about witches, vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural entities in the modern world."

(Long pause accompanied by funny look.) "Okay... And people read that? Open, please." (Sticks fingers in my mouth.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do Americans say gobsmacked?
« on: June 07, 2018, 12:18:30 PM »
No that one is brit. They use it a lot in AU and NZ too. I had never heard it before living in AU. US people sometimes use poleaxed and I do not think Brits know that one.
I'm in the Midwest and I occasionally hear gobsmacked, but I do hang around a bunch of Doctor Who fans who may have integrated it from there.  I had never heard of poleaxed. Ironically, my phone recognizes the second but not the first.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Expatting to write, one year report.
« on: June 06, 2018, 11:14:01 AM »
This was a fun read.  Thank you for taking the time to write it.  I'm at a stage of life where dropping it all for this kind of adventure isn't feasible (two small kids) but I did a lot of international travel and exploring in my late teens. I'm glad you're enjoying yourself. :)


So you honestly feel that all you gotta do is put in more volume and release more books on a regular basis and that's all it would take?

No. That's not what I said at all. By "I don't put in the hours" I mean *all* the hours. The hours to learn/practice/perfect the craft, marketing, advertising, product packaging, write and release regularly, research the market, etc. It's been my observation that doing well in self-publishing is a lot of work. Some authors are made by luck, but even then, they've usually put in a lot of hours up to that point to be in a position to take advantage of luck when it hit.

Well, selling enough books to support your lifestyle, bills, rent, etc...

The type of author that readers just can't wait for them to release a new book and as soon as you do it sells on its own with no marketing.

Sorry, I was defining "best seller" differently. "Best seller" on the level of the indies that hit the top 100 regularly is a much harder goal to meet than just earning a living. For the hours I put in, I already earn more take home pay (per hour) than I did at my day job (minus benefits and job security, which is a huge consideration). It's a positive ROI for my time, and for now, I'm happy with it.

I've been thinking about this a lot, and I think it really boils down to not finding the right audience yet. I write my books backwards in Old English on a roll of toilet paper, then I take photos of the roll and compile it into pages which I publish as an e-book. The reader has to hold it up to a mirror to read it. Then for the covers, I take photos of dead cucarachas posed in scenes from my book. I even sew little outfits for them. But yeah, I just can't figure it out for sure.
I'd read that. Where can I sign up for your mailing list? ;)

In answer to the OP: I don't put in the hours.

When was your previous preorder? Because I've seen this pretty regularly in the past year or so. Mind you, I usually do "silent" preorders, where I just put the book up to get the links but don't advertise it anywhere or even mention it to my list.

My last high volume pre-order was in April of 2017. This one is also "silent." I guess I'll roll with it. Thanks!

My guess is it's honest oops. I have had the experience of one clicking but not reading closely and realizing as I did it that it was a pre-order one click. In some of those cases I cancelled the pre-order for one reason or another. In at least a couple of cases I pre-ordered on purpose, but then cancelled because I decided it was a book I'd rather borrow when it came out vs buy ahead of time.

Ann, it very well could be. In my whole history of pre-orders, cancelations are less than 1%, though. I didn't even have 4 cancelations on my best pre-order to date. To have that many in the first week--representing almost a third of the pre-orders--is new territory for me.

It's not a lot, but it's statistically off my norm. I put up a pre-order a few days ago (unannounced), got about 13 pre-orders, and 4 of them have canceled the pre-order in that short time. All of the cancellations were in the UK store.  Anyone else? Or am I just having a weird few days?

To be clear, I know that sometimes pre-orders don't go through on launch for various reasons, and this isn't that. These pre-orders have been canceled during the pre-order period, all in the UK, and all in under a week. I have seen very few cancelations like this on previous pre-orders.

I guess I'm paranoid about nefarious behavior, but I don't see how it would be. (However, I admit I'm pretty naive in that regard.)

Not only is it a problem with TOS and FTC, but it's also a problem in most cases with illegal lotteries.

When I first started publishing and was looking into giveaways, I did quite a bit of research about legalities. The reason so many companies that run giveaways have that "void where prohibited" language is to guard against the possibility of inadvertently violating the law in some state or country. Even most attorneys are not going to be aware of every possible variation. However, there are certain more or less universal principles.

In the US, state laws vary, but all 50 states agree that lotteries are illegal (except for the state-sponsored ones, of course). What constitutes a lottery? If a drawing has cost or other consideration to enter, a prize of value, and a random selection of winners, it's a lottery. The last two would apply to any giveaway. It's adding the third that creates a problem. By requiring people to buy a book in order to enter, the giveaway becomes an illegal lottery. (Hence the usual legalese, "No purchase necessary to enter. Making a purchase will not improve your odds of winning," or something like that.")

Someone doing this would be in legal trouble not only with the FTC (unless the people involved disclosed in the review that they were entered in a drawing for leaving the review), but also with any US state. The regulations may differ in other countries, though when I checked the UK ones, they were practically the same, except that some approved charities could run lotteries.

Excellent point. I know I've read that elsewhere as well. I don't know if Amazon is limiting unverified/KU reviews or not, but everything above and in Julie's review thread bears repeating if they are. Too many new authors see these contests and think they're a normal and legit way to get reviews without realizing the possible consequences.

"Review for a chance to win" isn't new at all, and yes, there are problems with it on many levels.  Kboards has a great thread that covers ARC, TOS, and FTC in depth for anyone new and wondering:,229468.0.html

Writers' Cafe / Re: Google Play reports down?
« on: May 29, 2018, 12:07:02 PM »
Are these back up again?

No, my transaction report isn't updated past the 22nd. (As of two minutes ago.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: How many books have you published so far?
« on: May 28, 2018, 08:24:16 AM »
I started in late 2011 (I've taken a few writing/publishing hiatuses since), and I've published 13 novels and 9 30k novellas. I have another novel on pre-order now.

I'm satisfied with my income for the time and hours I put in.  I'd still like to make more. [emoji14]

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Writers' Cafe / Re: Author Reboot - Advice Requested
« on: May 27, 2018, 03:26:31 PM »
Four years' of a backlog is a big backlog.  My main concern would be paying for covers and editing on all of that when the time comes. If you publish them as you can over that time (maybe save up the first 2-3 in each series for launch) you can at least get some books out there and earning to pay for later books. That way you can also build your email list and following over time, whereas waiting four years means you start with a lot of writing and virtually no fanbase. The experience of launching, and being able to improve every launch based on your experience with the last, is also something to consider.

I would publish now. And by that, I mean on your pre-order date as previously described.

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