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Messages - BWFoster78

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The picture sort of screams fantasy-sci-fi. The font screams something else.

I agree with this.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Spammers targeting Instafreebie
« on: September 20, 2017, 11:46:10 AM »
Haha, it's like you were in my mind when I wrote it!

Dear Friend with valid KBoards posting account,

Obviously, you liked my most outstanding analysis and review of your story, "SLEP."

I like you, Dear Friend, and most want your story, "SLEP," to succeed most greatly, but my review on this board, unfortunately, will not be read by the thousands of viewers seeing your story, "SLEP," on Amazon everyday.

Contact me most urgently to discuss how my most outstanding analysis and review can be used to help your story, "SLEP," to succeed most greatly!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Spammers targeting Instafreebie
« on: September 20, 2017, 07:04:27 AM »
I thought I'd chime in with my thoughts on your story, "SLEEP:"

I found "SLEEP" to be a story written with many words that conveyed meaning. The characters in "SLEEP" performed actions and possessed both thoughts and emotions. Each scene in "STORY" contained elements of plot and/or character.

Definitely a story that was meant to be read.

Writers' Cafe / Re: For those using Instafreebie--a heads up
« on: September 19, 2017, 07:47:35 AM »
Instafreebie folk really do read next in series, and the read thru rate is the same as from the vendors, so just getting the downloads is valuable.

That hasn't been my experience at all. Running free promos for Abuse of Power always resulted in higher sales and reads for Rise of the Mages. I took Abuse out of Select to use it for IF. While I've gotten a lot of signups, the IF downloads haven't shown much of a bump in sales/reads at all.

Anyone else have data on this?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Does Kboards have an "ignore" button?
« on: September 19, 2017, 06:52:27 AM »
Uh oh. Let's take a poll, everybody. Animated avatars, yea or nay? (No, you will not hurt my feelings if you hate them.)

I'm with David on this one. I don't ignore anyone, but I do tend to scroll quickly past posts with animated avatars. I hate, hate, hate things moving on my screen.

Writers' Cafe / Re: mailing list value
« on: August 30, 2017, 01:33:27 PM »

Almost everyone extols the value of the mailing list. I, however, have a problem. I have no idea what to put in one. I don't write shorts...I find them painful. In the 10 years my AOL crit group was active (before the AOL fall) we had dozens of short story contests, I wrote three stories. I got generally good marks, but I'm not sure I want to do that again.

So, how to get people to sign up? I'm not sure what to do to get people to sign up. And, I guess, my question it worth it with such a small portfolio? I've finished only three novels. One, I lost in a computer crash...and one I can't see as publishable with a lot of work.

So, what do you think? Wait until I have more books published before I actually try the mailing list or is there some value to doing it now?




You're asking specific questions, but the overall content of your post makes it sound like you really need to gain a basic understanding of the entire concept of mailing lists. Might I suggest this as a great place to start:

Hope that helps ...


Writers' Cafe / Re: KU authors read this ( agree or not?)
« on: August 29, 2017, 07:38:37 AM »
As far as I can tell, indie authors have absolutely no pull with Amazon. Readers, presumably, have some pull. Not a lot, granted, but some.

If we really wish to get Amazon to effect positive change to the KU program, our best chance is probably an organized campaign directed at readers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Would you do a "what came before"?
« on: August 28, 2017, 02:40:39 PM »
A long time passed between when I published my first book and when I published the sequel, and I absolutely abhor those sections in a book where the author tells me, within the context of the sequel, what happened in the previous book. I decided to simply make summaries of the previous books available. I put them up on my website and linked to them at the front of the sequel.

I would have preferred to have them actually be in the book, but I was worried about linking and the KU aspects of that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Dashboard
« on: August 28, 2017, 01:20:00 PM »
My dashboard is back, but YIKES  :o  my numbers are barely anemic. Hope it's just a reporting delay.

For mine, the clicks and spends aren't adding up to the totals at the top. Way low. Been that way since it came back up. My guess is a bigtime delay.

Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Dashboard
« on: August 28, 2017, 10:44:45 AM »
Mine was out this morning but is back now.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need support and/or kick in the pants
« on: August 25, 2017, 06:15:41 PM »
Is this your first release?

From a business perspective for authors who have a bit of experience, I completely agree with the advice to release all your books at once. I didn't do that with my debut novel, and I'm so, so glad I didn't. There were issues with the story and the characters that I didn't discover despite lots of beta reading and editing. My second book was so much better because of the lessons I learned from the reviews of the first.

It might be helpful to think of a first novel as a learning experience instead of the cornerstone of your career.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How are your novelettes doing?
« on: August 24, 2017, 02:08:55 PM »
Silver Surfer needs no defense!  LOL! 

I tried to write 20 years ago. I really didn't have the time but I tried. I had studied writing in college several year before. I learned the tricks they tried to teach us.  In one ear and they didn't register as to what they really meant till a few years ago.  You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink so to speak.

Then I tried to write again. I was better.  Many short stories and false starts later ... I have a novella for teens that may be worthwhile. It was fun. So if it goes no where, (and it won't I suspect for a very long time, if ever, way too many other new authors out there, some are good some not so good.)

For me, I always like to take a peek at other new author's works and see what it looks like, how they express the ideas, flow, and if it hooks me up front.  I don't read much past that,  unless it really hooks me, "There is something interesting here that I want to know more about,") kind of thing,

So when I read, I read with that critical view. Can't say it is right ... just me.  And you run up against a lot of stuff you are not interested in ... but on rare occasions, you do see one that you say, "You know I don't read thrillers, but this one has something really going on." Thus Meyer's The Chemist may be a good read for me - but it is a genre I don't care much for. She just writes really good and I want to know more.

How to do that --- just the above - Emanuel Kant - "If man can't prove that something is, he will try and prove what it is not."  And in effect that is what you are doing when you read critically. You see a lot of, "well this don't work - that's not it."  And you bump up against some that seem to work pretty well.  What is good is hard to find, what is not good enough, you come across a lot. But that is for the critical reader.

If you are reading for fun you are a lot more forgiving, (and we love the people who do that!)

So study what you think works, there are tons of different openings to hook a reader into wanting to read more, then deliver on that promise from the opening. Seen a lot of good openings --- and then the story is a drag - know what I mean (I have not looked at your work, so I don't mean you.)

Darn here I go again ... I just hit post ... with stupid opinions ...

I feel you. I'm quite picky about what I read as well. Things that would not bother any reasonable person in the world drive me insane. I've not purchased books because of stuff like the lines being double spaced and too many words being italicized for artificial emphasis. And I pretty much don't read present tense at all.

On the other hand, I've come to realize that my personal preferences are not in any way indicative of the reading public at large. I'd feel like an idiot if I told someone on this board to avoid writing in present tense in any circumstances just because I don't like it. The fact is that present tense is perfectly acceptable, maybe even preferred, in some genres. Assuming that the author isn't trying to reach me, and me only, as his audience, the advice wouldn't make any sense.

There are a ton of places on the internet where hobbyist authors argue about stuff that readers just don't seem to care about. This forum is different. The majority of posters here are really focused on how to become successful authors (from a monetary standpoint). People who have sold more books than I could even dream about (like Amanda) actually share advice about what has and hasn't worked for them. I don't know about you, but I find that to be pretty darn awesome.

I found my writer's group to be extremely helpful when I was first starting out. Not only did I learn a lot of craft stuff and get construction criticisms, just the mere act of meeting with other writers helped with my motivation and enthusiasm.

Part of what I found ultra helpful was the accountability. I treated the meetups like a deadline. By that date, no matter what, I'd have my stuff there and ready to go.

OP, maybe you can use that motivation to spur you forward on this WIP?

If not, my group often had people come in just to spend their portion of the time brainstorming, with nothing more than an idea. Additionally, I always learned a lot for critiquing others (easier to see mistakes in others' work than in my own) and from hearing critiques of their work on things that I didn't notice.

So my advice is to:

1. Try to use the upcoming meeting as motivation to get some work done.
2. Even if you don't get anything done, you should still attend.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How are your novelettes doing?
« on: August 24, 2017, 07:00:33 AM »
I think you're giving yourself too much credit.

Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

I'm not exactly coming to anyone's defense, but I can at least empathize.

When I first started writing, I knew everything. I was working on the greatest epic fantasy in the history of epic fantasies, and I was more than willing to tell every other author I encountered exactly where they were going wrong. Then, I went to my first writing group meeting, and my knowledge of writing decreased significantly. Then, I sent my perfect finished draft to an editor, and my knowledge decreased further. Then I eventually published that first book and got reviews in, and my knowledge level sank to rock bottom.

Having just published my third novel, my knowledge is at least moving upward again, but I'm still not where I was as a rank beginner.

Like I said, not defending, just empathizing :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: How are your novelettes doing?
« on: August 23, 2017, 04:04:01 PM »
For the record: I'm a DC girl through and through.
Only Wolverine gets a mention from the Marvel universe, because well, obvious reasons

And I'd always thought so highly of you ...



Writers' Cafe / Re: What drives you to write?
« on: August 22, 2017, 05:23:14 AM »
My little Mitsubishi Lancer. It's not much to look at, but it gets good gas mileage.

Of course, I write at home a lot of the time, so I don't have to drive anywhere to write on those occasions.  :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do Space Opera readers only want human heros?
« on: August 15, 2017, 05:10:34 AM »
I don't write space opera, but it is one of the genres that I read, if at a lot lower rates than Epic Fantasy and Superhero. All I can really do is give you anecdotal evidence from a single reader, but if that data point helps you, you're welcome to it ...

The series I read tend to adhere to the humanity is at a technological disadvantage to their enemies but end up dominating fights b/c of their intrinsic awesomeness trope. I would be less likely to read a storyline that doesn't contain that trope, so having the protagonist not be human would be a definite negative for me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 14, 2017, 08:36:15 AM »
You're absolutely correct. :D :D :D

Have you ever considered evaluating the storytelling and ignoring formatting idiosyncrasies - Hell! you never know you might even enjoy it :P

thanks for your response. :D

Please understand that there are lots and lots and lots of books on Amazon. To evaluate storytelling, I pretty much have to read the whole of the sample, which I do for those books I end up buying. That takes quite some time. If a book isn't going to be a fit for me, I want to know as soon as possible. In my experience, better formatting is indicative of a better overall product. That's not 100% the case, obviously, but there's enough of a correlation for me to have noticed.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Formatting - I don't get what the problem is
« on: August 14, 2017, 08:23:09 AM »
I don't get why this is such a big deal. It happens in EVERY one of my books and EVERY one of my chapters. Yes, I can easily set the configuration up to do Header 1, Normal, Normal indented, and get the desired result. I should point out that in four years of writing this is the first time it has been mentioned. That it has been mentioned by writers and not the many thousands of readers out there is perhaps indicative of entrenched thinking in the industry. When someone says 'you're breaking formatting conventions' I'm thinking "Oh good, that means I'm not doing the same old sh&t that everyone else is doing."

While we're critiquing my books (not the OP question, but what the hell) I also leave a very small gap between paragraphs because personally I like a tiny separation to help me visually. One thing I can't abide is a mass of text on the page that looks like a wall. So, I construct very small differences into each paragraph to help break it up. It's hardly noticeable, but older readers especially have problems with sight, focus and concentration. I think it helps and it has become 'my style' so for me it is convention to format my books in this way.

So getting back on track with the OP, I appreciate your input and hopefully people reading this will be able to make up their own minds. For me I'm still wondering about what the problem is?

I'm a picky reader. I always check out the Look Inside before buying, and I'm searching for anything that might tell me that the book's quality isn't up to my desired level.

When I see that an author hasn't followed formatting conventions, I can't help but wonder why. Is it because the author isn't meticulous? Has the author simply not bothered to find out what the conventions are? Does the author simply eschew convention, and if so, what more important conventions might the author have chosen not to follow?

For me, indenting the first line of a chapter is a minuscule mark against the book's overall quality. I wouldn't not buy a book just for that one fact alone, but it does help me abandon the book quickly if I discover anything else I even slightly dislike.

Then again, my experience indicates that pretty much no one else in the known universe considers the same quality factors in making purchases that I do, so I seriously doubt whether or not you indent that first line will make any appreciable difference in the number of copies you sell.

Writers' Cafe / Re: So...about the banned book thing
« on: August 09, 2017, 11:10:39 AM »
I do believe pornographic insect is illegal

You've just totally crushed Dan's hopes.  :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: To Hire an editor or not !!
« on: August 04, 2017, 08:12:13 AM »
There truly is no winning.  :P

Sorry, I just couldn't resist. And yes, I know I should have :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: To Hire an editor or not !!
« on: August 04, 2017, 08:04:43 AM »
I say mostly because there's always someone out there who's going to flip out over the lack of an Oxford comma etc.

And then there are those horrible, dreadful, terrible, obnoxious people like me who will flip out because you used "etc." without a conjunction but didn't include a comma.


Writers' Cafe / Re: Authors and Public Political Posts
« on: August 03, 2017, 07:53:25 AM »
BWFoster's story is a perfect example of the consequences of bloviating and feeding the beast, otherwise known as "using your position to do good/fight for justice." BWF was reading this columnist despite the occasional lecture on politics. When readers complained, the columnist got righteous and told them off. He lost BWF and no doubt a lot of others too.

The sports columnist might have only seen a gain in readership because politicking gets you an initial bump in interest. But the bump is made up of people as committed as rubberneckers at an accident scene. They leave once they've seen what all the fuss is about and go back to reading people who know more about politics. A certain sports network and a certain comics brand are suffering for their decisions get into politics. Now that the rubberneckers are leaving, they see how much of their fan bases they've lost. It will take a long time to get real viewers and readers back because they've found alternatives by now.

Some writers probably don't recognize the social character they're playing when they decide to become political without knowing much about politics, so let me give you his writerly equivalent: He's the guy who says "I've decided to write a novel because it seems like a pretty easy thing to do."

Exactly, but I don't think the danger is in talking about politics as much as it is not talking about politics well.

Most people who post such views are really only directing their missives to people who agree with them. The comments have exactly zero chance of converting anyone with an opposing view. What's the new term that I've heard so much ... virtue signaling or something?

If the majority of your audience naturally conforms to your views, that tactic can be great. People love reading articles and other things that confirm their existing beliefs. Of course, the reverse is also true - most people who hold the opposing viewpoint hate reading the same old talking points brainlessly reiterated.

So let's say an author came to me and said, "Hey, Brian, should I talk about politics publicly?" (Because, really, authors are just beating my prawny little door down all the time for sage advice  :) )

My response would be:


Who is your audience? If your audience naturally tends to one side of the aisle and you're on that same side, it's probable that virtue signaling is a Good Thing.

What's your goal? Maybe you're intensely political and don't want people on the other side of the aisle to have the pleasure of reading your work. If so, that's your choice. If you want to convert people to your side, though, I'd be hard-pressed to advise you that that is a good idea. As entrenched as people are in their positions, it takes a very specialized set of skills to change anyone's minds.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Authors and Public Political Posts
« on: August 03, 2017, 05:26:11 AM »
I'm a big NFL fan, and I used to read a column by a well known journalist. Occasionally, he'd offer his opinions on political issues, and for the most part, I didn't find his arguments compelling. To be honest, though he was an "expert" on the NFL, I didn't even trust him to give me advice about fantasy football, so you can imagine my opinion of his forays into areas way outside his expertise. He was, however, excellent at the human interest side of player interviews, and since I enjoyed that element so much, I simply ignored his political views.

One day, he added a paragraph in his column talking about how a lot of his readers wrote to him and told him to lay off the politics. His response was, "It's my column, and I'll write what I want."

That was the last column of his that I ever read. To me, it wasn't about his politics; it was about the fact that he expressed such disdain for the wishes of his readers.

I just can't help but feel that, as an author, it would be a bad thing for me to express disdain for my readers.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Words to Substitute for "said"
« on: August 01, 2017, 12:22:44 PM »
I'm not disagreeing with you, but I want to add that that seeing what's behind rules of writing is essential. If you take any rule as a rule, and in isolation, you can't help but come to the conclusion that it probably doesn't matter much. If we changed all the speech tags from said to other words in King's or Leonard's books, for example, would they be that much worse? Probably not. If we changed the speech tags to said in a poorly written book, would it make it that much better? Probably not.

But if we ignore the rule itself and look at all the craft knowledge embedded in it, we could make a weak book noticeably better. Consider the show-versus-tell aspect of the speech tag rule. Tags like cautioned and lied tell what should be shown by the dialogue. And nine times out of ten you'll find that the dialogue is weak when these words are used because the author has relied on descriptive tags to do the work the dialogue should be doing. Now think of the effect of that in practice: If a writer restricts himself to using said, he has to make the dialogue do the work, and that will definitely improve his book.

My point, again, is that the rule is just a find-and-replace substitution formula that isn't worth much on its own. But behind that rule is a wealth of craft knowledge for people willing to look. And incorporating that knowledge into your writing, even this one aspect, can make a noticeable difference in your writing.     

I like rules. I like following rules. I like it when other people follow rules.

(Like the rule of three  :D )

That being said, I've read books written by authors who obviously have little knowledge of craft, yet I count two of those authors high on my list of favorites.

"But how can that be!" you say.

Because their ability to tell a story and give me a character that I care about trumps their lack of ability with craft.

Granted, I'd probably like their books even better if they dealt with their craft issues (and one of them, a newer author, is clearly improving; his latest book was awesome). Based on my experience as a reader, I can't help but think that the kind of minute improvements you're talking about are so insignificant compared to story and character that it's pointless either to obsess over such things or advise new authors that they're important.

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