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Messages - Renard

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Who defines kboards now?
« on: September 28, 2018, 02:40:43 pm »
Both the uproar/exodus, and some of the overblown reactionary comments in this thread are great examples of why I stopped contributing posts here quite a while ago, but I did want to drop a note for the mod team to say that you do great work here, even if it's not always recognized. I've spent time on a lot of different forums over the last 20 years, and the Writers' Cafe is run very respectfully and productively. Kudos!

I'll continue lurking wherever people are discussing Amazon, but given the consistent overreactions to relatively minor events, I don't see myself ever trying to join the conversation again. The odd post like this aside, I've been enjoying the internet a lot more since I set permissions to Read Only.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blockchain - An Amazon Killer?
« on: January 17, 2018, 09:55:59 am »
Kodak also immediately damaged its reputation by releasing its Kashminer which is considered a huge scam:

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blockchain - An Amazon Killer?
« on: January 17, 2018, 09:03:59 am »
Admittedly, I know nothing about blockchain, but I did see this the other day...

Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain
Everyone says the blockchain, the technology underpinning cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, is going to change EVERYTHING. And yet, after years of tireless effort and billions of dollars invested, nobody has actually come up with a use for the blockchain - besides currency speculation and illegal transactions.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum: the official thread
« on: June 01, 2017, 10:34:04 am »
Fair warning if you're trying to upgrade today... their system seems to have been a bit overloaded. My payment was processed, then I received an SSL error during the app upgrade process. Now it's saying the store is down in preparation for Vellum 2.0. I imagine they'll have it ironed out shortly, but expect possible kinks in the upgrade process while everyone jumps on the new version.

Why are you even bringing this up? Why are you saying anything to anyone about this? Do you have some street guilty desire to confess? Are you hoping to be "outed" so you're forced to change genres or what?

Why is it so hard for people on the internet to be nice to each other?


Required viewing for anyone who looks at their work and thinks it's terrible:
Ira Glass on Storytelling:

Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum for Print gets a release date!
« on: May 18, 2017, 11:41:11 am »
I misread the release email and thought I'd have to buy the full version again even though I'd just purchased an unlimited license at the beginning of this year.

Unlimited upgrade is very reasonable! Stoked to get print books out now.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How do you manage your story/series bible.
« on: May 17, 2017, 11:31:15 am »
My series bible and draft/final novels are all in the same Scrivener file.

For further clarification, you keep every series book and your bible notes in one Scrivener file? Basically, one Scrivener file for each series you're working on, and that's it?

I've always wondered if there's a point at which a Scrivener document becomes unwieldy with too much content. Kind of like how Photoshop will start to lag if the file gets too big.

I'm going to have pen name. I'm glad you said something about not opening another account because it was something I had considered. Can you tell me why this is a bad thing? And what about Goodreads?

It's a breach of the KDP Terms of Service. Amazon will terminate both accounts.

By the way, you do know about not opening a new account, right? If not, you might want to research that, it really is a big no-no.

Yup, definitely aware of this. I have two old experiments I published under a pseudonym that I desperately wish I could delete from my KDP account. Looked into starting a new account back in 2013 and realized how close I'd come to screwing myself over.

Thanks for the perspective on your republishing experience.

Writers' Cafe / Moving published books from real name to pen name?
« on: May 11, 2017, 09:31:19 am »
Has anyone done this? I've got three books on amazon under my own name right now, but I've been thinking about the future of my personal brand and considering moving these off to a pseudonym. It means rejigging my website and social media presence a bit, but I'm wondering if there are any unforeseen difficulties in changing the author name on already published titles?

I'm not worried about moving to a wholly anonymous pseudonym, so not worried about the fact that Goodreads will probably always show old versions of the books with my full name on them. I may even just switch to a first and middle initial with same last name to separate them from future work I'd like to have under my main name.

Short version of what I've learned over the years:
  • Self-imposed schedules are important.
  • Breaks away from the computer and out of the house are important.
  • Working from home doesn't mean you have to fill every break with household chores. If you work at writing all day, treat it like an out of the house 9-5 office job.
  • Daily exercise is very important. Good for the body, but more importantly, it's great for the brain. Especially if you're going from the activity of looking after kids all day to sudden long stretches of quiet.

Writers' Cafe / Re: An equivalent to McDonalds for kids today...
« on: May 08, 2017, 02:52:13 pm »
Those poor, deprived folks out there in the East, eh??  :P

NY is Shake Shack country. They don't care for your wishy-washy hippy surf bro In-N-Out.

This is called the Pomodoro Method []. Plenty of apps and free timers available for all platforms.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum, Canva and covers...
« on: April 02, 2017, 04:24:21 pm »
Glad it was a relatively simple fix :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum, Canva and covers...
« on: April 02, 2017, 03:52:05 pm »
I just did a quick test of the following:

1. In Canva, clicked Use Custom Dimensions in the top right of the create screen.
2. 1667 x 2500 px in the dimensions pop-up.
3. Generic Canva graphic and title.
4. Downloaded a PNG

No warnings when I tried to add it to Vellum. If you're on a Mac (and not using MacinCloud or something), go to your downloaded PNG, right click (or Command+I) on the file in Finder, and open up the More Info panel. The dimensions should read 1667 x 2500 there. If not, you're losing something on your way out of Canva.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Vellum, Canva and covers...
« on: April 02, 2017, 03:40:39 pm »
What's your Canva output size? If you're putting a high-res photo into Canva only to export it at 900 x 900, you're losing all that original source photo resolution.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question for Canadian authors
« on: March 31, 2017, 08:43:17 am »
Get picked up by a traditional publisher then get shortlisted for an award.

I don't know specifically how those programs work, but typically those types of things are arranged by publicists.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Prowritingaid vs grammarly vs autocrit?
« on: March 30, 2017, 02:06:01 pm »
I use both. ProWritingAid premium for the first run on my Scrivener file, then an annoying chapter by chapter Grammarly (free account) check.

Both return a lot of false results, but they also each pick up things the other doesn't. Example: PWA will tell me to take the comma out of "Neither app is better than an editor, though." and Grammarly will tell me to put the comma in if it's not there.

You really need to have a solid grasp on what to ignore for any grammar app to work.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Photoshop experts - help!
« on: March 29, 2017, 09:06:25 am »
I can't post a screenshot because I've never managed to post any sort of picture on this forum.

You'd have to upload your photo to a 3rd party hosting site. You may want to just nab an account at or someplace similar for times like this. I host my own photos on several sites, but I keep an imgur account just for screenshots and other quick sharing.

Hope you get it figured out. Sounds like it may just be a matter of clicking one of the gradient presets to get you back in order.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Photoshop experts - help!
« on: March 28, 2017, 01:51:03 pm »
This is tough to troubleshoot without screenshots and more information, but let me try. Also, in the future, always share your computer operating system and app version when asking for help like this. There are often big differences between Mac and Windows or between versions that are only a couple of years apart. Not giving this information makes it incredibly difficult for people to help you.

1. As mentioned, check your blend mode on the layer is set to Normal. Probably not the case, since the image would display in a noticeably different fashion regardless of layer mask.

2. Make sure your foreground and background colors are set to the default of black and white. You can do this by clicking the mini pallete icon above or below your two colors in the left toolbar depending on the version of PS you're using. On a Mac, you can also just hit the D key to return to default.

3. Check your gradient type. You probably want to see a black to white gradient with the linear option selected. The mode here should also be set to Normal.

4. If you don't see something that looks like the previous screenshot, click the gradient preset in the top bar and select one of the first two options. Foreground to background, or foreground to transparent.

5. If you're sure you have your gradient and colors set up properly, Alt/Option click the layer mask (as CABarrett mentioned) and use your gradient tool now. Option click the mask again to revert to normal view.

Reinstalling software is a last resort fix. I've been using Photoshop for over a decade, and I've never once had to reinstall because something went wrong with the software. Photoshop has a million and one keyboard shortcuts. Hitting the wrong button at the wrong time will change your blend mode of your tool instead of your layer, or change your brush preset, or do some other wonky thing. If you're having problems with something, first step is to make sure that every tool option is set to the default settings (or the settings you've applied) before restarting and not seeing any effect.

I read somewhere that you can link Scrivener with Evernote, so though you can't see the marvellousness of the interface you can work on Scrivener files with an iPad or some such so long as you have them loaded and ready and access to occasional wifi afterwards to update them. I haven't had time to look into it yet.

Or you could just use Scrivener for iOS ;)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Book Report just added all historical data
« on: February 16, 2017, 10:09:59 am »
This is fantastic. My Book Report data has been out of whack on my computer, but now it's synched up with accurate numbers on all machines. Really great job, Liam!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bknights
« on: February 11, 2017, 12:06:52 pm »
The gist I've gotten from reading older posts here is that Bknights does okay for free books. Given the exchange rate here in Canada and the odds of being jammed into a list with 50+ other books, I'd rather put my money into AMS than try again.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bknights
« on: February 11, 2017, 11:32:18 am »
They use Amazon's API to auto-generate their announcement. I ran a promo with them on Monday, and the process chopped my book description in a way that it no longer made sense. They offered to rerun the promo the next day with a manually corrected version of the description, but I don't know that it made a difference. The first day, I was 42 places down the list of books. The second day I was 37th down the list. This was for a $0.99 book, and I didn't see a single sale. I'd also paid the extra $5 for inclusion in the newsletter.

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