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Messages - Puddleduck

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Changing prices of my book?
« on: April 12, 2018, 07:37:15 AM »
It's showing as 4.99 to me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Pulling a Book From Sale?
« on: April 12, 2018, 07:35:56 AM »
Firstly, I think you can unpublish a book while itís in KU. The 3 months is suspended, and if/when you republish, it will go straight into KU to complete its term. At least, thatís how I remember it worked because I vaguely recall doing this a few years ago, but for the life of me I canít remember why.

Dang. I was going to say that I'd unpublish, wait out the rest of the three months, then go wide with the book. But if you can't do that, then the OP is really over a barrel. All I can say now is holy cow, yet another good reason not to go into Select. Getting locked down like that so you can't extricate yourself from the likelihood of unjustified sanction ...

Honestly, with the way Amazon's acting these days, part of me wants to publish everywhere but Amazon. But they've got such a big market share, I feel like I can't viably do that. I suppose my only advice at this point would be to go wide as soon and as much as possible, so that if/when Amazon closes down your account, your entire publishing business isn't shut down.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this company legit? Author Incubator
« on: April 10, 2018, 04:16:23 PM »
Someone in this thread is really aggressive and defensive for a person who supposedly has no relation to the business in question.  ::)

Thanks for all the details about your process, Nick.  :)  Frankly, it's kinda nice to hear that someone who's got so many books out still feels like they haven't nailed things down yet. It's easy for us beginners to feel like people who've been doing it for a while must be all smooth sailing by now.

And I know this is probably a topic for a separate thread, but I do personally think that people are less and less likely to jump into an unfinished series, the answer to which isn't putting out lots of book 1s and seeing what sticks but to put out a complete series either all at once or in short order (within a month or so). Netflix has taught us all to binge. Aside from my own reading habits and a conversation with a family member who reads a lot and agrees with me, I don't really have data/numbers to back this up because of a few things:
1. If someone who waits until a series is finished before reading (let's call them "waiters") sees that a series had two books and then cut off without being finished, they're never going to start that series at all, so their reaction to the series is not captured by any purchase data.
2. If the author got tired of the series and was sleepwalking through the end, so the series got progressively worse and/or ended unsatisfactorily, not only will early adopters (those who don't wait to read a series) give up on it along the way, but their bad reviews will put off the waiters from ever starting the series (so, again, you don't get any data from the waiters).
3. If the series concluded satisfactorily and a waiter read and enjoyed it, it would happen too long after the author has put the series out for the purchase data from that reader to mean anything to the author. (If an author is only paying attention to how well a book does upon release and doesn't give it time to find its legs, that author won't care if someone comes along a couple months after the last book is out and reads the whole series straight through.)

Basically, I guess I'm saying that you can't just conclude people don't actually wait for a series to be finished to read it based on the fact that a series doesn't get more popular with book 2 or whatever. In order to really get data on something like this, you'd have to actually try putting a full series (at least a trilogy) out all at once, and comparing the results with the sales data from your other similar series.

But then again, I plan to write books based on what interests me and what I'm passionate about, not based on what sells best, so while all of that is obviously a big concern to you (and other authors who take that approach), it's kind of academic for me. I'd actually be really interested to see the results if someone did perform an experiment like that (which would, of course, also require releasing another series in the usual one at a time way in order to get comparable data, since the way things sold even a couple years ago may not be the way they sell now).

Oh, and I do think that both Buffy and Star Trek: the Next Generation were examples of shows that didn't really find their legs until the second season. Shows used to have time to do that. They don't anymore. I think we're even moving past the time of shows having to be great right out of the gate and moving into the time of people buying entire seasons (or series) all at once. I don't think producers are going to have the luxury of "well, let's dip our toe in and see how people respond" for much longer.

I like the changes you've made re: titles and cover. (Admittedly, I didn't read your whole post because long.) The backside cover was definitely a turn-off for me. Haha, if I'm going to be reading about a female protag, I don't want my first introduction to be to her butt. I mean, just imagine if people greeted you that way in real life. *slowly sashays backward toward you in tight leather pants* "Hi there, I'm Jane. Nice to meet you." Yeeeah no. So your other covers are much better. The first one is a bit odd for UF, but if it's set on an island, then I think it does a good job of conveying it. I'm not sure I would change it any more if I were you. Your following covers 'feel' more UF, and I think that may be enough. I do kind of like "Sunshine and Scythes" but you're totally right about the difficulty, and UF series are normally named after the MC, so that's a smart change too. And I'm glad you changed "Heat Wave" because that only makes me think of a Richard Castle book. I'm always for more unique titles. It sure makes it easier for someone trying to search for your book.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How much to charge for international copyright?
« on: April 10, 2018, 10:21:39 AM »
DO NOT SELL THEM YOUR COPYRIGHT. I really hope you mean "publishing rights" for Chinese language/Chinese territory. But if you don't know the difference between "copyright" and "publishing rights" then you really shouldn't be signing a contract. (Tip: if you sell them your copyright, it doesn't matter how many books they intend to print because they now own your work and can do whatever they want with it--or not--and you can't.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cover feedback on a humorous thriller please
« on: April 10, 2018, 09:26:02 AM »
I like the most recent version best. (Although actually my favorite is still the umbrella one. It conveys 'ridiculous' in a way that makes me actually want to laugh, which the others don't.)

I vote no on the question mark. Unless the title is actually a question, it would look weird and off-putting to me. It doesn't convey to me either humor or fiction, just unprofessionalism.

I like "half-wits" better than "idiots". It's a funnier and less harsh term.

Writers' Cafe / Re: When to trim your catalog?
« on: April 10, 2018, 08:53:41 AM »
I've got some shorts up that I plan to unpublish when I get some novels up. Other than that, I probably wouldn't unpublish a novel unless I later decided that it didn't meet my current standards and I didn't want to put the effort in to rewrite it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers [MERGED]
« on: April 10, 2018, 07:12:25 AM »
While I'm 100% on the "no stuffing" side, I do have to agree that David's and Usedtoposthere's email exchanges don't clarify the issue to my satisfaction. The third one (I forget whose that was) does clarify it much better, IMO, with that part about no "bonus" content being duplicate. Though, as someone else pointed out, that's only one email. And I think we all know that answers from Amazon support don't really mean much if corporate decides to take another interpretation. All they have to say is, "Well, that support person was wrong, assuming you're not lying about them telling you that in the first place." Ultimately, it's what is in the actual TOS that matters. And the TOS, I think, are somewhat vague, either through incompetence or deliberately. (Both options totally possible.)

I do agree that Amazon is the real problem here. If the TOS is vague because of incompetence, it would probably take either a lawsuit or governmental intervention to force them to write it clearer, since if they couldn't get it right the first time, they'd need to be hand-held and slapped around through getting the language where it needs to be. (I speak from day-job experience--not with Amazon but other companies--though I can't really tell you specifically what I do.)

If the TOS are vague deliberately, then it's probably to give Amazon as much leeway in enforcement as possible. My day job has also taught me that companies (or their lawyers) don't like to give firm answers to clarify legal questions if they can at all avoid doing so. (And again, it's the language in the actual contract that matters. Any explanations of what the contract means, given outside the contract and outside other legal proceedings, mean little to nothing.) However, I have seen that many contracts do have some clause such as "Failure on our part to enforce any clause of this contract does not mean we waive the right to do so in the future and does not invalidate any other clauses in this contract." In other words, just because people have gotten away with it so far doesn't mean it's not against their TOS if they decide it is at any point in the future. (And I think it's safe to say that if Amazon does decide to crack down on this, they'll do so without any real recourse to those affected. They'll just say it's against TOS and you won't get the chance to argue differently.)

I think it all comes down to the fact that we can argue amongst ourselves all we want, but since Amazon is the one in control, it's only how they decide to interpret it that really matters. And since they are absolutely in control of the relationship between them and us, what the language says doesn't really even matter, since they can change it at any time, and since they can say it says something even if it doesn't clearly say it. And there's nothing we can do about it.

Personally, I'm going to avoid grey-hat tactics. I know that won't save me from getting nailed by Amazon if they decide to nail me for some perceived infraction, since we have no recourse to defend ourselves or even know the details of our accusation, but it probably puts me out of at least a couple lines of fire. (Oh, and because I believe avoiding grey-hat tactics is the ethical thing to do, and I intend to run my publishing business according to ethics that I'd want others to run theirs.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: New Cover Color!
« on: April 10, 2018, 06:55:33 AM »
I like them both. I'd probably be more drawn to the green because it's more unusual. I think it's most important, though, that you do what's right for your book.

Good for Amazon. The whole store has turned into a flea-market in Djibouti. 80% of what you see is fake of misleading in some way (not just books, for all products).

I was just looking for reviews for the Nintendo Switch. Many of the one-star reviews I saw were from people who'd ordered a new Switch and received an obviously used one (and in one case, a broken DS instead). Which tells me that Amazon's marketplace is the problem. I read someone say (pretty sure it was on this board) that even "fulfilled by Amazon" isn't a guarantee of getting the product you order because when items from all the different sellers arrive at Amazon's fulfillment warehouse, they all get lumped together. So you may make the effort to specifically buy from Legit Seller A and the person at Amazon will grab the version of the item sent by Scammer B and you'll receive a knockoff or a used copy or something else entirely. And I assume if you complain, it's Legit Seller A who'd get dinged by Amazon (just a guess, but that seems to be consistent with the way Amazon works).

It's shenanigans like this that have made me more and more wary of buying from Amazon, especially from third party sellers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible publishing over Tantor or Podium
« on: April 07, 2018, 01:44:49 PM »
To put it in the simplest terms, I have heard of (and purchased from) audible. I have never heard of the others you mention.

Well, the other two are producers, not places to buy, and we as buyers don't often "hear of" the production companies, any more than normal readers can name any publishers. I've gotten almost all my audiobooks from audible, so I've heard "Audible Studios presents" at the beginning of them many times, but I've also heard, "Tantor Audio" in the beginning of books many times. I can't recall ever hearing a Podium reference in an audiobook, which means either they're small enough for me not to have heard any of their books yet or maybe only that they don't put the copyright/production info stuff in the actual audiobooks (a lot of books don't have that at all).

But yeah, I think Audible Studios is pretty big, and one (possible) advantage of going with them is that they might market/push your book more if you go through them than they would if you went through another publisher. But that's a guess. I know when I was a book reviewer and getting review copies from a contact at Audible, it was only Audible Studios books I could get (which makes sense, them doing that as the publisher). I don't know if Tantor or Podium has any sort of early-reviewer thing they do to boost reviews like that.

I always like reading people's experiences with these different ways to approach audio. I'm not at the point of needing to make those decisions, but it's all good food for thought. I'm in favor of not giving Audible a monopoly on audiobooks, but if I had the option of having them produce my book (and presumably being able to have an actual contract rather than the usual ACX take it or leave it TOS), I'd have a really hard time saying no to that. Maybe there will be more equal options in the future, but at this point, Audible Studios really seems to have the most to offer. (The question is whether they'll actually offer/bring everything they can to any given deal.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: What a Liar!
« on: April 07, 2018, 01:32:37 PM »
How many threads is this now, Robert, that you've started just to complain about someone giving you bad reviews? You get the same advice every time.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Oxford comma
« on: April 07, 2018, 01:31:20 PM »
Although, I wasn't asking about why I should or shouldn't use the Oxford comma, but why some people get so crazed about it. I'm not sure anyone's really answered that question yet.

Well, first of all, yes, someone did answer that question:

It's because they are people.
The subject itself doesn't matter.

And second, your question is basically, "Why are people who disagree with me so crazy about their opinion?" Which requires all of us to already be on board with the idea that all people who like the Oxford comma are militant and insulting about it. Since most of the responses here are from pro-Oxford comma people, it's a safe bet that everyone is not on board with your underlying assumption. Before you ask "why are all [people X] so [generalization]?" and then complain that no one answers you, maybe acknowledge that you need to back up your underlying assumption with examples and proof. And even then, the answers can only explain those specific examples, not "why all these people are so crazy". Unless, of course, you're willing to take the above answer you were given. Since you ignored that answer, it's clear you don't. Which means that I can now only assume that you don't actually want an answer to your hyperbolic question, but only to state your opinion that pro-Oxford comma people are big meanies and you're gonna fight the power and do it how you want so there.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audiobook Marketing
« on: April 06, 2018, 08:36:54 AM »
Speaking only as a reader/listener, I look for new audiobooks the same way I look for new other format books. If I'm interested in the audio, I look for an audio option when I'm looking at the book. Even if I see the e-book marketed, I know how to click over to audio if I'm interested in that. (I typically do this to check if it's a narrator I like, and sometimes listen to a sample. Though this is usually when the audiobook is pretty cheap.)

So I guess for me as a listener, the most effective marketing is a great narrator and a sale (or a low e-book + whispersync price).

Writers' Cafe / Re: mandatory opt-ins are out
« on: April 06, 2018, 08:32:58 AM »
While I'm generally leery of the whole concept of one certain country's laws being enforced globally, in this particular case, I'm glad to see this development, and I hope other countries enact similar laws. When I was setting up my own newsletter, I chose double opt-in because it seemed the best way to make sure that people knew exactly what they were signing up for. I don't offer a freebie for signing up because I want people to sign up because they're genuinely interested in hearing about my new releases, not just to get a freebie. And as a reader, I only had to get burned once by the "enter your email to get a free book" lure, which ended up getting me on not only that author's list but other authors' as well--without any knowledge or explicit consent from me--to stop being tempted by any "free book" offers on author websites.

A lot of authors seem to think that readers automatically know that when they give an author their email address for a free book, they're signing up to be on that author's mailing list. That was certainly not the case with me. (And yes, this happened before I came on these boards and saw how popular this method is.) I thought that the author was offering it for the same reason people make books permafree: as a free sample with the hope that I'll like it and want to buy more. Not as a trick to get me onto a mailing list I didn't otherwise want to be on. So yeah, the sudden mailing list spam from authors I didn't even recognize was very much not welcome.

I'm glad to see Instafreebie making this change. I might think about going on there and using this website (as a reader) now. I certainly didn't before, when it was a sure way to get a bunch of newsletter spam from authors I hadn't even read yet. If I do, maybe I'll discover some new authors I actually want to follow, and then I can sign up for their mailing list fully aware of what I'm signing up for instead of being tricked because I didn't read the fine print.

Although I just went to the Instafreebie website and looked at some books. All I saw was a place to enter name and email address, and it said that would be used to email me the book. No mention at all of agreeing to sign up for an author newsletter (or more?). There's a link to "terms and conditions" but even if the "you're signing up for a newsletter" info is in there, that's hardly a clear and open communication of that fact, is it? One of the books I looked at had a check box next to "this author can email me" which I assume to be a newsletter opt-in. So that's good, but am I to assume that if it's not there on the other books, I'd be getting signed up for a newsletter automatically, without any awareness of it? I hope once this change is in place, that check box being there for all books will clear up this confusion. Until then, I'll not risk entering my email on those books that don't offer the option, since it sounds like if it's not an option, it's an unspoken requirement, and I'm not cool with that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Files Suit Against Book Stuffers
« on: April 05, 2018, 04:58:15 PM »
Yes, we just got a stone tablet from Mt. Sinai saying no bonus content, but because Amazon is clear as mud, I even suspect this.

They didn't say "no bonus content" though.

From reading this thread, it seems to me like those defending stuffing are refusing to acknowledge the difference between what most reasonable people would consider "bonus content" (previews, a short story, stuff along those lines) and stuffing or what might be called stuffing-light (putting only one otherwise-published book in the back instead of several).

As someone who doesn't do KU and doesn't have the back catalog to stuff even if I wanted to, this seems to me like a weird semantics game used to justify what most people would understand to be well beyond the intention of "bonus content is okay", done only because in certain corners of one marketplace, it's become common practice despite being against the TOS (thanks to Amazon's lack of enforcement).

I think the "is this something I would not be surprised to see in a paper book?" standard someone else put forth is very reasonable and easy to understand.

In KU, authors get paid according to pages read, a device for Amazon to squeeze money out of authors. Instead of being paid per download, as they were at the beginning of KU, authors now receive a pittance. The joke is that no one is ever certain how many pages are read by a KU subscriber. Imagine a manufacture that makes lamps getting paid not a flat fee for each lamp, but getting paid according to how many times the lamp is turned on. KU is merely a way to cheat authors. The affirmation of the arbitration should be denied. KU is a stupid subscription system and should be abandoned.

Yeah, as many have pointed out, the entire KU system is the problem. We're going to keep having people scamming it as long as it exists. IMO, KU's end can't come soon enough.

"Literature and fiction" doesn't seem the same to me as "literary fiction". If they don't know what it is, only that it's fiction, they might put it there. But yeah, it's probably because "historical fiction" is a subset of "literature and fiction".

Writers' Cafe / Re: Big promises from Genius Media Inc dot com
« on: April 03, 2018, 11:29:49 AM »
TL;DR He paid $2K for Promo 1. LOST money. He went ahead and paid for Promo 2 anyway. Lost MORE money. BUTTTTTTTTT...

What's that old saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...

Yes, I found it odd that he seems to be praising the service, yet his own numbers show that it lost him money. Very odd.

Writers' Cafe / Re: THIS is why editors don't give feedback anymore
« on: April 03, 2018, 11:04:52 AM »
Incidentally, this is also why I don't respond to 95% of messages on online dating sites. Because no matter how nicely you tell someone that what they have to offer isn't what you're looking for, a fair amount are still going to be gravely offended and every once in a while there's a real nut job who'll freak out in ways that leave you speechless.

Yep. I just block them if I'm not interested. It may sound harsh, but especially as a woman, disengaging from the potential crazies as early as possible is better than giving them the chance to harass you further.

TITANS, GO!  ::)

Is that the show being referred to? I watched some of that with my niece once. All I could think was how much better cartoons were when I was a kid.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Big promises from Genius Media Inc dot com
« on: April 03, 2018, 11:00:39 AM »
$2,000 is a lot of money, especially on a forum where people hem and haw about whether to pay 50 bucks for a pre-made cover. I'm generally on the side of people investing in their career, but this seems . . . dubious.

Also, you must have been happy with the results to register for a new account solely to pop in here with your experience. How did you even know the thread had been refreshed? Did someone point you here and ask you to provide a testimonial, or is it pure coincidence?

Yes, that's always very suspect. Testimonials from board regulars hold a lot more weight (with me, at least) than testimonial posts from brand new accounts created just to rave about a sketchy-looking service.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Any writers here who have had Lasik?
« on: April 03, 2018, 10:57:30 AM »
I have pretty bad eyesight, and I'd love to be able to jump into Lasik with both feet, but I've read such horror stories about things that have happened to people. Irreversible damage. (Like this site: I'm a pretty risk-averse person, so since I'm still able to do just fine with my contacts, I'm sticking with those for now.

Do you get much engagement on the split up covers? Because, tbh, I unfollow people who do that. But then I unfollow people who post quotes too.

I get how split up covers could be annoying, but why quotes? I'm thinking of trying out Instagram, and if I do, I'd probably do some quotes (as well as my book covers, general #bookstagram stuff, and probably personal pics of cats or whatever in my life).

The one serious drawback I'm finding as I'm looking at getting Instagram set up is that you can't simply upload photos from your computer. I don't trust Instagram or Facebook, so I don't want to give them the permissions the app asks for on my phone. I'm looking into putting the app on an older device I don't use otherwise (currently updating an old iPod Touch to see if it'll work). But if I can't figure out how to do that or none of my devices work (first choice was an old Motorola phone, but apparently after I factory reset it, I can't do anything at all without putting a SIM card in, so that's not gonna work), I'm not gonna be able to do the Instagram thing. Because I definitely don't want a company owned by Facebook to have access to make calls on my phone. (That's in the permissions. Seriously, what could the app possibly legitimately need that for?)

If I could upload via my computer, I'd be all over it.

The biggest change for me was to throw away all the terrible advice I'd been given and look at what was actually working for the people provably making a living. (details are in this old thread:,219663.msg3067751.html#msg3067751 )

Yeah, I enjoyed reading your story, Annie. So few people seem willing to really critique these popular advice-givers, but I really think they deserve some critique, so it was nice to see someone doing it.

As for me, I haven't really started publishing yet, but I think the best thing for my writing so far has been fanfic, which let me hone my craft and also, through reader comments, let me know what it is about my writing that people like, so I know which things to make sure I have in my original stories. (Knowing what it is people like about your writing is rather important, I think.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: First Person Narrator Death
« on: April 03, 2018, 08:06:01 AM »
If you did this, I'd suggest first person present tense. Because otherwise, some readers will be wondering where/when he is in the 'now' that he's looking back and telling this story (which is something that's always sort of implied by past tense). True, a lot of readers won't think of this, but some will, and it's probably better to avoid that issue altogether. If everything is in the present, there's not the implied promise that he'll still be around by the end of the book to tell his story.

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