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Messages - Jim Johnson

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Writers' Cafe / B&N to be acquired by Elliott, owner of Waterstones
« on: June 07, 2019, 06:51:21 am »
Interesting news here. Hope they can turn B&N around.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do you have any permafree books?
« on: August 20, 2018, 07:50:57 pm »
Never did a permafree title, probably won't, either, except as a giveaway for my mailing list.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Why is everyone hating on cliffhangers????
« on: August 20, 2018, 07:50:18 pm »
Just because 'everyone' says a thing is true doesn't necessarily mean the thing is true.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Which Indie Author Award Contest Would You Enter?
« on: August 14, 2018, 07:16:25 am »
None. The only validation I need is readers buying and reading my stories. I'd put the money toward advertising or toward strong covers for the next series I write.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How do you handle $ at a book signing?
« on: August 13, 2018, 10:18:42 am »
And practice with it beforehand! I've seen a Geek To You geek tap in the numbers by hand, and I wouldn't want to do that.

Oh, yes, practice ahead of time. My phone case is too large for the reader to seat properly, and the last thing i want to do is fumble with a case while trying to close a sale. Do the logistical practice stuff ahead of time and your hand-selling will be much easier.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Urban Fantasy - What happens???
« on: August 13, 2018, 06:15:21 am »
@Jim Johnson

Have you tried? Carpe Demon, A Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom Adventure
There's a series. And it's definitely in surburbia and hauling around the kids, trying to look normal.

I have not, thanks for the recommendation! I remember the title but the cover didn't say 'UF' to me. Not in KU, sadly, but I'll check out the first book.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How do you handle $ at a book signing?
« on: August 13, 2018, 06:13:12 am »
I use Square as well. They send you a little card reader you can plug into your phone's microphone jack and the app is easy to use. Online website is easy too if you want to set up inventory, sales, price points, etc. I also bring some cash with me in 1s, 5s, 10s, and 20s so I can make change as needed, but most of my hand-sells are credit card.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Science Fiction That Made You Think
« on: August 13, 2018, 06:11:10 am »
I read a lot of Anne McCaffrey and Piers Anthony in my teens. Really liked McCaffery's stuff--normalized strong female protagonists before I knew any better. That plus Princess Leia, Wonder Woman, and Wilma Deering.

Piers Anthony I didn't like so much--too much mistreatment of women in prose and some strange author notes.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Urban Fantasy - What happens???
« on: August 12, 2018, 07:24:55 pm »
She mentioned that she knows the genre visually, but is asking for more obscure details that people who read a lot of UF might be able to provide. She's trying to improve her covers, which you would think writers would appreciate.

I found it helpful to read a [crap]-ton of UF and to look at a [crap]-ton of covers. UF is a huge genre and the I link I posted provide a huge swath of possibilities running the gamut of UF. Helpful to some, not so much to others, YMMV as with all advice.

Glancing at those covers shows me that UF could include:

Male protagonists
Female protagonists
Gothic houses
Weapons of all sorts
Glowy or fire-y hands
Orange, purple, or blue palettes
Far more serif fonts than sans serif fonts, and a few specialty fonts thrown in
Far more Caucasian or nearly so models, suggesting some POC pre-made covers or main character focuses might find a niche market
Also nice to see that more covers focus on the models' faces rather than their butts, suggesting that the old UF 'leather-clad butt and katana' covers remain out of trend
Most covers have one person on them, a few have two

All of which might prove useful for a cover artist looking to expand their design offerings. But, I'm just a writer, not a cover artist, so, yanno.

While it seems obvious that "urban fantasy" takes place in big cities, I've seen quite a lot of UF taking place in small podunk towns, so I'm not sure how important the "urban" part actually is.

I really want to see some more 'suburban fantasy' out there. Soccer moms or work from from home dads with powers fighting the evils of the world before they have to pick up their kids from day care or practice. The image of a minivan or a crossover full of kids tearing down a side street with demonic spawn chasing after it haunts me and makes me think of what Toni Morrison said.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Urban Fantasy - What happens???
« on: August 11, 2018, 08:36:41 am »
Okay this is purely from a cover design standpoint. I've been doing pretty darn well at Story Wrappers and I would LOVE to know the tropes and scenes in these stories. I know the genre visually, but I like trying to pull out other things besides cityscapes. Any help is welcome!!!

Google is magic. Click "images" after you click the link.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Pagereads - time for some wild speculation
« on: July 30, 2018, 01:08:54 pm »
I think that was a smidge of sarcasm - though it's telling that for a second someone suspected it could be true.

Sarcasm, satire, and truth are in a strange mix of reality in our current political and social climate. Keep the batteries in your BS detectors charged up.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Weird question about airports and luggage
« on: July 30, 2018, 09:57:56 am »
There's also self-service check-ins now. If you don't have a bag to check (most airlines allow one carry on and one personal bag like a purse or backpack) then you get your ticket at the self-service machine and you're on your way. If you have a bag to check, you go up to the service counter and it's generally evident whether you have a bag to check, but they'll ask anyway.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Can I launch a UF written to market series again?
« on: July 27, 2018, 07:19:07 am »
Sounds like a good plan. I used ley lines extensively in my UF series--fun stuff. I'll have to check yours out. Good luck with the launch!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Just what does the word "community" entail.
« on: July 26, 2018, 11:31:01 am »
Can we just discuss this really quickly. Buyer beware is a very good starting point for everyone, yes.

However, for people to beware, they need resources so that they are able to check into something and, as a result, be aware.

Now that may not have been the original intention of this place, but the Writers' Cafe has evolved over time, and like it or not there are certain responsibilities that come with being so prominent. Even if you want to argue that point let's not forget that it's a professional community, and this isn't a zero sum game. Helping and informing one another is to the benefit of us all. I cannot thank some people here enough for all the wisdom and words that they have shared over the years. I've personally dodged something scummy as a direct result of information here in the past also.

The point being: paying it forward, and shining a light on bad actors and bad practice is, to my mind, a key reason I've spent years lurking and now engaging.

I bolded two of the big reasons a site like Writer Beware exists. To inform writers and warn them about people and organizations working in bad faith. Reading this and other threads makes me think indiedom is overdue for a similar sort of site dedicated to naming names and exposing the bad actors and their practices. WB is generally focused on vanity publishers and traditional publishing and agencies.

Maybe we need something that's more indie-focused, a place where people like PhoenixS can post information in one place as opposed to repeating it 30-40 times every time an email hits the inbox. Building something like that for the better of indies everywhere is probably more constructive than griping about the discussion rules and requests that kboards has made. This is their house, their rules, and we have to respect that. Build a site where such stuff can be talked about and then point a thread on kboards toward it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I got a paid blogging gig. Is this a good deal?
« on: July 25, 2018, 08:16:17 am »
Hi all.

I was offered a paid blogging gig in a niche I know well. The pay is $120 US for a 1750 word article. Is this a decent rate? I'm expected to write 4 articles per month.

$120 per article? That's about 7 cents a word, pretty decent word rate. Many magazines or online markets don't pay that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Just what does the word "community" entail.
« on: July 24, 2018, 01:17:52 pm »
I suppose it really just comes down to being vigilant and doing research.

Essentially, yes. There are a lot of resources out there. Can be hard to find them, though. When one community of writers can't give all the answers, find another one to join or create a new one. And participate in several. Share the wealth of knowledge in as many places as possible and shine the light in all the dark corners of the world so that bad actors are exposed.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Tell me about your Acknowledgement Page!
« on: July 24, 2018, 12:34:07 pm »
Make it as long as you want to make it. How many people do you want to thank? If it's a couple, it'll be short. If it's a lot, it'll be longer. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Being on a Panel
« on: July 24, 2018, 06:11:57 am »
Do a little research on the panel topic and your fellow panel mates/moderator. Use notecards or some form of note device so that it's in front of you if you're not strong at winging an answer. Bring a bottle of water and try to remember to speak slowly and clearly. People have a tendency to talk faster when on stage or in front of a crowd.

And have fun. The audience is there to listen and to learn (usually).

Since it's relevant to the thread, Kevin McLaughlin captured DG's discussion at the Nebulas. The audio is pretty poor, but worth checking out.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Box sets no longer eligible for KU bonuses
« on: July 19, 2018, 08:07:41 pm »
Jim - the sets in KU will still get page reads. It's just the bonus.

Yep, understood that. Becca got at what I was thinking--if box sets, compilations, omnibuses, whatever get page reads but don't count toward potential all-star bonuses, and assuming one goes into KU partly to take a shot at an all-star bonus, there's not much incentive for the author to place a box set, compilation, omnibus, etc. into KU, and would be  better off placing and promoting the series as individual books. That way the author is getting the page reads and getting counted toward any possible all-star bonus.

Sure the collection would be more convenient for the reader, but a KU reader is getting to read the books and series either way.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Box sets no longer eligible for KU bonuses
« on: July 19, 2018, 04:51:45 pm »
I don't think there's any question that they won't be eligible for all-star bonuses.

That's too bad. I offered my omnibus as an alternative means to read the series. If future omnibus reads won't count toward potential all-star bonuses, there's not much reason to do an omnibus and have it in KU.

Just write good books and make 'em look pretty. Plenty of pie to go around.

Need to print this on a banner ad and pay enough to leave it up on kboards forever.

Writers' Cafe / Re: authors buying manuscripts
« on: July 19, 2018, 02:21:29 pm »
I'd get a contract and vet the company/person in question. If they want the manuscript and are wiling to pay you something you think is worth the time and effort, consider it. If there's any chance they'd ask for or come back at you for $$$, I'd veer away.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Live from RWA
« on: July 19, 2018, 02:19:41 pm »
It'll be interesting to see how this impacts those of us who publish series omnibuses.

By all means, authors should be knowledgeable about the industry. But the general tone of this conversation is that somehow there is some mental defect (or lack of self esteem) than leads authors to look for a trade deal, meanwhile indies are expected to kiss the ring of Amazon if they want a chance at a career. That people don't see the problem with this mentality is funny to me.

How is Amazon better? Because they let you upload your book and sell it without it having to actually get pass a slush reader or an editor?

Quick clarification so that I'm sure we're on the same page: trad/tradpub deals and trade deals are two different things, yes? My take is doing a deal with one of the big 5 traditional publishers  =/= doing a deal with an independent publisher, small press, etc.

Amazon/itunes/kobo/other distributors give writers a far better means at making sustainable income than a traditional publishing deal, unless a writer somehow manages to become the next James Patterson or Stephen King.

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