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Messages - Herefortheride

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Thousand Words a Day Club 2018
« on: Yesterday at 11:57:41 AM »

Writers' Cafe / Re: Testing to see if this cover hits the mark
« on: March 14, 2018, 08:24:22 AM »
It's a wall of text. Something about it really bothers the eye.

Does all the text need to be that large?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Testing to see if this cover hits the mark
« on: March 13, 2018, 06:19:45 AM »
Urban fantasy, easy to identify.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cover for first book in my new series
« on: March 08, 2018, 10:20:09 AM »

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« on: March 07, 2018, 10:26:37 PM »
I completely agree with Patty—the strategy is to take whatever they’ll give you. You don’t have to wait four weeks to apply again at a lower price, so apply for 99c, if they reject it, apply again for free, if they reject it, wait 28 days and apply again for 99c. Keep cycling through in that way.

As far as numbers, check out Bookbub’s Pricing page. As well as prices, it gives average free downloads and average sales for each list—the numbers vary hugely by list.

Another word of caution on the variance between lists. A couple of people have said it’s easier to get a free Bookbub—that’s the opposite of my main list where it’s much easier to get a 99c deal. (I have both observed this reflected in the daily deals, experienced it myself, and then recently had it confirmed by a Bookbub rep responsible for this list.) Obviously other lists may vary. I believe over all it was easier to get a free deal in the past, but that seems to have changed sometime around the point when Amazon cracked down on free affiliate links (although maybe I’m remembering the order of things wrong). Anyway, there doesn’t seem to be such a thing as a bad Bookbub, so I’d say apply as much and as often as you can :)

This I did not know :o

That's why I ask these kinds of open-ended questions. There is often some important lessons to be learned.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« on: March 07, 2018, 09:27:12 AM »
I haven't pulled the trigger on a Free BB promo yet, but i've done very well with $0.99. I price my books at $5.99 right now, though, so it was a decent discount.


Could you speak a bit more about your experience? What's a ballpark number of downloads on the .99 you attribute to the bookbub? Also, what is your idea behind going .99 as opposed to free on bookbub? I see a lot fo authors very happy with their free results but not sure about the exact "philosophies" behind either strategy.

Writers' Cafe / Bookbub free vs. 0.99
« on: March 07, 2018, 04:22:15 AM »
I see that some authors run free promos through bookbub and some run their books for 0.99.

For those of you who have done so what do you consider the main advantages to either strategy?

Does a big free run on a book that is regular 2.99 or 3.99 provide a lot of benefits with the tail? Any personal stories of how it's helped are encouraged!

For those of you who have had success (of failure) at 0.99 what do you attribute it to?

And does bookbub accept you more often for free over 0.99?

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 05, 2018, 11:28:09 PM »
The thing with that is, most anything to do with space was up to the government. If it's left up to the government to continue the way they've been going, we'd be lucky to put people on Mars in less than a hundred years. But, we now have private business looking at doing things that the government doesn't seem to have the stomach for. I mean, c'mon, Elon wants to send a couple of paying customers on a trip around the moon in a couple of years. You think the government wants to fly a couple of tourists to the moon? Not in a million years.

That's true.

Neil degrasse Tyson has quite a few videos explaining why space exploration ground to a halt. And he said, if the Chinese (or Russians whoever) made a plan to have a moon base we would see the US government try to do it quicker.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 05, 2018, 10:28:17 PM »
You have an opinion. It's possible to debate an opinion that's different from yours without being insulting.

Point one out that's not from you.

You can't have an opinion that chess and go have very limited number of moves. That's just crazy wrong. I refuted her on this and she tried to make an excuse. In game programing Chess and Go are considered extremely high decision tree games. Nothing like what she described, the exact opposite in fact. She also said you could teach a child the game in a day which again showed she didn't understand what we were talking about. She was referring to rules. Yes, you can teach someone the rules in a day but even top level players take decades to perfect strategy. She (and others) also said that AI can only answer problems it's programmed to solve, which the article I linked explained in detail to be false. Alpha go was only given the rules and had to learn strategy all by itself. And became the strongest player in the world within 72 hours (surpassing previous programs and all humans).

But that's not the point that people are responding to. The point is that this scares a lot of people and they don't WANT these things to happen. That's why many of the responses in this post have been made. Out of fear (and lack of knowledge).

Attacking me and saying all kinds of falsehoods won't change that AI is a strong force that continues to amaze cutting edge scientists everyday.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 05, 2018, 10:04:05 PM »
Kelli pointed out that she has 25 years as a software developer and did her master's thesis on pathfinder AI, which demonstrates she does have a background in the field. You keep telling her how wrong she is. I have to assume that you have some education in AI and software development that rivals hers since you're so sure of yourself, though if you've said so in this thread each time you told her she was wrong, I've missed it. How do you know so much more than everybody else here including someone with actual education in that area?

And she also said many things that were so wrong even people who have never programmed software knew she was blowing smoke.

I linked an article which speaks of the actual process by the actual cutting edge researchers. NOT someone from 25 years ago. One of the main problems we face in the internet age of communication is that everyone wants to have an opinion but very few want to take the time to understand the topics or research.

I pointed out multiple mistakes she made in trying to explain away AI advances. She said things that made absolutely zero sense. This topic is explained by the ACTUAL developers and they refute just about everything that several old timers on the kboards are trying to sell us.

Just because you personally don't want technology to advance doesn't mean it won't and computer technology continues to advance at incredible rates. If you don't understand that the correct action is to learn more about it NOT pop off on kboards looking for fights with people who already understand and have researched the issue for many years.

Also, some of the nastiness displayed by others here is appalling. Is there really any reason to attack people (when you haven't even researched a topic)? Are people that bored that they scour the kboards looking to pick fights about things they don't even know about?

I'm off to do some writing. Let's see what nasty comments are here tomorrow from the peanut gallery.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 05, 2018, 09:39:09 PM »
LOL. AI can't even PREDICT which book will be a best seller. How is it supposed to write one? AIs designed to interact with humans tend to fail miserably. Microsoft Tay? The Facebook chatbots? Those companies dumped millions into those systems, and they failed abysmally. Look at how poorly AI driven phone routing systems work. And these are very basic systems - which still don't work worth a damn. Even on more basic things like medical diagnoses they tend to fail. IBM's Watson? $63 million down the rathole and it turns out that the "right" answers were coming from a team of doctors, not from the AI. AIs perform well at tasks that can be broken down into very simple steps and then use brute force techniques to iterate through. At more generalized tasks they usually suck.

The best any AI can do with novels is to take tons of pre-written text from Google Books or Twitter and try to stitch it together in a way that is readable. Not so that it makes a story, just so that it's readable. There's no structure, no characters, no plot - none of the things that actually makes a novel. And people have been hacking at this for years already.

Again, how do you program the nuances of dialog into a computer? Good dialog is hard to write for people who have been talking almost their entire lives. How do you program a computer to know what a sunset is  - and more importantly why it matters to the characters? How do you get all of the billions of pieces of basic data into it (what's a tree, what's a house, what's a town, what is Louisiana, what is a breath, what is a cat, what is a canoe, what is a road, what is a country road, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum) without thousands of programmers to build the data structures and thousands of data entry people to fill them? That doesn't even include figuring out the mechanics of good writing and breaking it down in such a way that your programmers can actually put it into code so the computer can write a story.

This isn't something that you can brute force your way through, like Chess or Go - and if it wasn't for Moore's Law, human champions would still be stomping the living crap out of the AIs. Because computers are stupid. They can only ever do what they're programmed to do. They can't operate outside of those instructions. AIs are notorious for blowing up due to only tiny changes in conditions - because they weren't programmed for them and have no idea what to do when confronted with them. They aren't some kind of magic box that perform miracles just because we want them to.


I am surprised how many people on the kboards pop off about something they know nothing about.

Alpha go wasn't given ANY instructions on strategy. It learned by itself. So your comment that they can only ever do what they are programmed to do is completely false.  When they are confronted with new challenges they LEARN to deal with them.

Please stop commenting on topics you know nothing about!

Writers' Cafe / Re: I pushed publish, but I can't find an audience.
« on: March 05, 2018, 04:42:13 AM »
Cover, blurb, and look inside (first chapter) all need some work.

I read the look inside and it's about 95% exposition and "telling" about several characters backstories. It's hard to read through because the reader is being told about the upbringing and details about characters we don't know or care about yet.

I recommend starting with a more interesting first chapter where we see what the character is up to and not just cruising in a transport.

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 05, 2018, 04:16:16 AM »
And you are showing a complete lack of understanding what the original poster said that caused your disagreement in the first place. His post simply stated that an Ai will never understand the full range of human emotions because those things can't be programmed. As he said, can an AI walk into a kitchen and smell the baking of grandma and feel an emotion about a long-past childhood.

Think Data. Can Data walk into a kitchen and smell some fresh, chocolate chip cookies that have just been pulled from the oven and describe how it feels on an emotional level? No, he can't. He can only tell you how he interprets the smells and sights around him. But, he can't tell you about how it made his mouth water and how it reminded him of his childhood days and made him wish he could go back to those days. Not without a completely bogus McGuffin like an "emotion" chip.

An AI will never be able to experience the feeling of falling in love, because it's a chemical reaction humans feel in their brains as they grow closer to someone. The AI could tell you what is happening, the effects are, but it will never be able to truly tell you how it "feels." An AI will never be able to experience the pain of the death of a close loved one. They can see the hurt the humans around them feel, they can describe the void that has been left by the death, but they will not be able to "feel" the actual hurt and understand where it comes from and why they feel it.

No, the original post is stating that an AI won't write a best seller. An AI will probably write a best-seller within the next 5-10 years and will be doing much greater things than that in 30 years.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hidden Gems (for non-romance series)
« on: March 04, 2018, 10:50:28 AM »
I used them for book 9 of my epic fantasy series (although it's a stand-alone). A lot of reviews said they were wary about it being book 9, but it worked OK without having read the previous 8. I got a good crop of reviews, 20+ and with good ratings (3-5 stars). I had some ARC reviews as well. I was very pleased with it.

Good to know. I might be able to have them query the one's who read book one.

Writers' Cafe / Looking for an inexpensive print formating
« on: March 04, 2018, 10:31:54 AM »
I already have the ebook formatted and am looking for a print format. Any recommendations?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hidden Gems (for non-romance series)
« on: March 04, 2018, 10:05:24 AM »
One can sometimes learn from low ratings. I also think that these days the reviews look more authentic if they aren't all five-star.

Good point. I just want more eyes in front of the books and the feedback is useful for me AND my readers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hidden Gems (for non-romance series)
« on: March 04, 2018, 09:57:57 AM »
I used HG on book four of my humorous mystery series last year and received 17 total reviews out of the requested minimum (I think it was 20).  Very happy with their service and the quality of the reviews received.

Good to hear.

I was hoping to get a bunch of reader feedback on my series books and wasn't sure if I'd have much luck. Your experience gives me hope!

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 04, 2018, 09:57:07 AM »
Again, completely irrelevant. The problem domain is simple and well-understood and easy to write code for. The fact that they used a combination of neural nets and a self-populating expert system to determine the best strategies by having it learn good/bad moves by playing against itself rather than pre-filling the data doesn't make the slightest bit of difference. It's still a simple problem domain that can be broken down to simple instructions which can be easily coded.

As you expand the problem domain, AI performance gets worse. The more complex the game, the worse the performance. This is a big reason why people prefer to play against human rather than computer opponents in complex games - the AI tends to be too predictable and easy to beat, even with modern computers that are orders of magnitude more powerful than were available even a few years ago. For simple, easily-defined tasks they work great. When you start asking them to do more complex things they aren't nearly as good.

And what you're describing with the car has a lot more to do with engineering than AI. It's fairly trivial to program what you're describing. It's a much, much, much more difficult task to engineer the physical systems which function reliably enough to make the car do what the computer is telling it to do well enough so that the passenger arrives in one piece. You're conflating the physical engineering with the AI running the systems. That engineering is orders of magnitude harder.

I'll repeat - in order to program a computer to do something, you have to completely understand the problem domain involved and you have to be able to reduce that problem domain into something that your programmers can actually work with. That's not hard to do with games like chess and go which have extremely limited rules, or with something that's fundamentally pathfinding and basic physics like moving a car from point A to point B. A single (decent) programmer who knows the fundamentals can put together a basic simulation for either of those in a couple of days. Won't be complete by any means, but good enough for a basic game or proof of concept.

There's a rather big difference between those things and doing something as nebulous and incredibly complex as writing a novel which has to tell a good story and convey human emotions in a way that will satisfy readers. Computers are good at moving things from point A to point B. But they don't have imagination and they can't do anything that they're not programmed to do. How do you program a computer to understand nuances of dialog? How are you going to program a computer that it needs to insert a bit of humor into the story at a certain point because by alleviating the tension just a bit there it will make the Big Problem about to hit in the next chapter appear even more appalling? Or know when not to do that because it will absolutely ruin the pacing? And that's just mechanics - it doesn't even get into how you're going to tell the stupid thing how to choose the best characters to fit the story, or how to come up with a story idea in the first place. Computers don't have imagination. They cannot do anything that they're not programmed to do. If the computer doesn't know what a beach is, it can't start a story with a woman walking down the beach remembering that last day spent with her husband on the beach before he died in a tragic elevator accident. (The computer would also have to understand what a woman is, what memories are and how they work, what emotions are, what a day is, the concept of time, what a husband is, what death is and why it matters, what an elevator is, and what an accident is. All for just that one concept for one isolated scene that isn't even a story, but just a fragment.

That's the kind of problem domain involved here. It isn't an 8x8 grid with 2 players pushing around 32 game pieces with only 6 piece types. The first fully-automated chess program was written in 1958. It took FORTY YEARS before a computer chess program good enough to beat the very best human players came along, despite all of the major advances in computer technology and AI that occurred in the intervening time.  And that's just for a fairly simple game you can teach a child to play in a few hours. Writing a novel is infinitely more complex, and not trivially capable of being reduced to a simple set of rules that you can program into a computer. The problem domain is for all practical intents and purposes infinite.

You show a complete lack of understanding for how these systems operate.

There is nothing "simple" about the programing of alpha go. In fact, what it's doing now was so unexpected we had top scientists saying an AI wouldn't defeat the top humans for at least 5-10 more years, if ever.

And NO computers don't play games worse when things get more complex they usually crush humans in those scenarios as they are calculating so many moves per second.

Your comment that you can teach the game to a child is cringy. We aren't talking about teaching rules. We are talking about making world champion level players. You can not teach a kid to play chess well with strategy in a couple of hours.

You should read up on CURRENT AI not stuff from five years ago.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 04, 2018, 08:36:54 AM »
That's completely irrelevant. The problem domain is very limited in scope - small board, limited number of pieces that can only behave in certain well-defined ways. How do you think those games work? You make a move. The computer sorts through all the possible next moves then does some analysis to pick the best one. In the more complex systems it will have lists of "best possible" moves already saved for that particular situation, and some will run the computations several moves ahead. It's why they need supercomputers to "out-think" human grand masters. It takes a lot of processing power to crunch through all of that. The basic programming isn't that difficult; it's the number crunching that requires the effort. Because of the very limited nature of the game it's possible to create software that will play a "perfect" game.

But when you start developing more complex games with a much larger problem domain, the AIs don't perform nearly as well. Because they don't think, they just do what they're programmed to do. And the more complex the behavior required by the game, the worse they perform. Most of us have seen enemies get "stuck" or wander off in some bizarre fashion because their pathfinding routines had a breakdown. Again, the developers compensate for the fact that AI players aren't as good by boosting their base capabilities and making them stronger/shoot more accurately/produce faster...

AI driven cars aren't new. Pole Position came out in 1982. The problem domain isn't particularly difficult - basic pathfinding and Newtonian physics. The problem was getting computers to the point where you could build a reliable one capable of holding the necessary data which was small enough to work in a car, generate the necessary maps, and tie that in with the modern GPS system. The older GPS systems weren't accurate or reliable enough to use for this type of application. Computers powerful enough to do the necessary work weren't reliable enough to function for extended periods inside a car - reliance on mechanical rather than solid state systems meant every bump in the road had the potential to cause a system failure. That's engineering, not AI.

Actually, that's just not true.

Alpha Go wasn't programmed with any strategy to play Go (unlike many former game-playing engines). It was given 72 hours to play against itself and is currently the strongest force in the world and even the top humans are given a four dan (move) head start to keep it even remotely close.

AI has changed and grown a lot since you were familiar with it(from the statements you've made). I've ridden in an AI controlled vehicle and it operated better than any human I've ever seen. Avoiding obstacles that appear out of no where in a fraction of a second.

Things are a changin...

Welcome to the world! ;D

Writers' Cafe / Re: Does anyone write westerns?
« on: March 04, 2018, 08:25:31 AM »
Are there any big hit westerns in recent memory?

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 04, 2018, 08:03:28 AM »
Um. I spent 25 years as a software developer and did my master's thesis on pathfinding AI. Try again. Games are trivial because they're designed around a very limited set of rules and moves and the computer can brute-force its way through them. Of course the more complex the game, the more poorly the computer AI performs. We've all seen that in games we play. The developers typically offset this by giving the computer an edge (faster production, stronger units, etc.). Car AI is still in its infancy and is in no way a proven concept in general use. Under controlled, limited conditions it works most of the time - until the computer runs into something that the developers didn't think of, or conditions aren't what it was programmed to expect. When that happens... Well, I don't want to be riding in it when it does. And it's still a trivial problem compared to writing a novel that anyone would want to read.

You are saying things that are blatantly false.

Chess and Go aren't "limited moves" there are estimated 10 to the 120th power of lower bound game tree complexity in chess there are only an estimated 10 to the 81st power of ATOMS in the UNIVERSE.

So no, you are wrong.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hidden Gems (for non-romance series)
« on: March 04, 2018, 07:51:05 AM »
My experience was very similar to what was said above. 25 signups, 19 reviews. 4.0 star average. Nearly all reviews very high quality and I thought even the 3 star ones were well thought out and fair. (Didn't have anything below 3 star.) However, quite a few reviewers said they "don't normally read this kind of book" or something similar. So, you're going to get a good number of signups who don't normally read your genre which may be a part of why the reviews tend to be lower. To be fair, I write humorous fantasy which is a fairly narrow niche, but something like 3 or 4 of the reviews said they don't normally read any fantasy, too.

To be clear, I'm not worried about the stars given. I am one of the few authors who is fine accepting a one-star or a two-star review. I think it's the readers right to say whatever they like as long as it's not rude or breaking some TOS for the review.

I think low ratings can help the author in some cases.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AI will write a best-seller by 2049
« on: March 04, 2018, 07:40:32 AM »
AI, like fusion, is one of those technologies that has been massively overhyped and overpromised by it's proponents for decades. The miracles are always "just another 10 or 20 years away" but somehow we never quite seem to get there. Simple AIs created for specific, well-understood tasks tend to work pretty well (although I'll be a lot more impressed when my AI-driven opponents stop getting stuck against walls and such), but the more generalized you get, the less effective they are. The problem is that computers are stupid, and they only "know" what the programmer tells them.

In order to program a computer to do something, you have to thoroughly understand what you're telling the computer to do, and be able to reduce that to code that's simple enough to actually work without being a godawful, bug-ridden mess. Getting a computer to produce gobbledygook poetry isn't difficult. But think of all the things that go into a novel, and remember that almost every single bit of it is based on emotion. The writer is trying to evoke an emotional response from the reader, and do it in a way that is reasonable based on the story and that doesn't overwhelm the reader. How do you program a computer to create a character that's sympathetic to the reader? How do you program realistic human responses for characters that can cover every conceivable situation into a computer? How do you program complex human relationships into a computer? How do you program a computer so that it knows how a mother who has recently lost a child is going to react to a comment overheard during a business dinner made by one of her husband's coworkers? How do you explain that first fluttery moment of amazement when you realize you're falling in love? How do you explain the wild joy of standing out on the beach at night during a storm, or the warm, cozy feeling of walking into a kitchen to the scent of rolls baking in the oven that reminds you of your grandmother's house when you were a child?

We understand these things on a gut level because we are human and we've been soaking in the whole universe around us with all five senses every second since birth. How do you get all of that into a computer? Who understands characters and plot and scenes and dialog and all the other things that go into making a good novel well enough to be able to reduce that to a set of code specs that a team of programmers can get into a computer? Most of the time we can barely communicate those things effectively to each other, and even then people have wildly differing opinions on the best way to approach them. At best you'd end up with something like the very worst of the carbon-copy mass-produced fiction or more likely TV shows that would be banal and lifeless with no voice and no real connection at all with the reader. Because to program a computer to write a novel you'd essentially have to program it to be human and then infuse it with a lifetime's worth of experiences. Not only can't we do that now, we haven't the slightest concept of how to begin to approach the problem. Even if we did, it's the kind of project that would take decades even if someone started on the code right this moment.

30 years? No way. 130, maybe.

That's actually hilariously false.

AI has had mind-blowing breakthroughs one after another. I remember my father just a couple of years proudly stating that cars will never drive without humans behind the wheel. We are already finding that car AI is testing safer than any human and will soon be everywhere. Computers already dominate most defined contests like strenght, speed, and mind games like chess or the super hard Chinese game "GO".

It's usually the older generation who misevaluate new tech. and that's for good reason...they know very little about it compared to people who grew up with it or use it everyday.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hidden Gems (for non-romance series)
« on: March 04, 2018, 04:27:52 AM »
I’m booked in for the end of the month so will post results then.

Sounds great!

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