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Topics - CraigInOregon

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1
Writers' Cafe / Rumors greatly exaggerated....
« on: December 22, 2014, 02:29:14 am »
I've decided to turn the volume on my involvement here down to "1." Okay, maybe "2."

After about 9000 posts in four years' time.

Those who care about me know how to find me, whether it's on Facebook, Amazon, Tsu, Twitter, WriteOn, or wherever else.

But the balance of time invested vs. headaches involved has finally tilted to the other side.

I won't be gone completely. I'll pop in at my own choosing... just way, way less often.

I reserve the right to change that decision in the future, but I've been averaging nearly six posts a day, made a lot of friends who've come and gone, and while I still have some friends here, well...

...Let's just say, "We'll meet again." And to paraphrase Mark Twain, "The rumors of my death are about to be greatly exaggerate."

(I imagine.)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUy1-JakJtE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUy1-JakJtE</a>

Let the celebration commence among those who, I know, will be happy about this.

2
Writers' Cafe / All I want ... realistic?
« on: December 17, 2014, 03:35:43 pm »
All I really want out of this fiction writing gig is a modest $250K per month.

That's ONLY $3M a year.

I mean, that's realistic, right? I have three novels and five shorts, after all...

...let the affirmations begin, and remember, no naysayers. ;)

(Yes, this is a parody thread. I'm not remotely serious. Then again, how often am I?)

3
The Passive Voice posted a summary, but for those who want the whole, ugly attack on indie writers, here's a link:

http://goodereader.com/blog/commentary/how-readers-can-avoid-buying-ebooks-by-indie-authors

So, that's the new line of attack: "Don't buy anything cheap. It's probably indie and sucks."

So... I guess that means we should all raise our prices to $5.99 - $9.99?  :o  ::)

Yeah, because price guarantees quality... ::) ...who's there to defend readers, anymore?

Good eReader assumes all indies = bad.

Archaic thinking.

4
Writers' Cafe / What's hotter: Serial Killers or Zombies?
« on: November 06, 2014, 01:56:14 am »
Hey all.

I don't mean literally, by the way. I meant popularity with readers, basically.

Here's the skinny:

I have two books to decide between.

I want to release one myself, and submit the other for Kindle Scout to see if I can land a contract and draw more attention to my work in general.

So I'm trying to decide which would be the smarter book to send to them.

RAZED:

This is the zombie tale, but it's not an all-out, zombie apocalypse, the world is screwed zombie tale. It's a smaller, more intimate type of tale and has some coming-of-age themes.

It's basically about what might happen if you give a bullied girl access to/control over a zombie. Would she use her zombie to get revenge on her bullies? Or would she show mercy? Or would she walk the path between either extreme?

A fun, if twisted, tale.

SEETHE:

This is my next big horror / crime thriller-serial killer type novel, in the same general vein as The Woodsman.

It's about a killer who stalks and murders folks for doing things we all hate, but aren't exactly crimes. More like social sins, such as texting while driving or cutting into the Express Checkout Lane even though you have way more than 12 items.

It's also about the state detective who swore she'd never come back home, coming back home to bury her father (natural causes) and catch this killer (assigned by the state to do so).

Both are fun, both are very different.

Razed will be around 50K and done soon.

Seethe will be around 90K and ready sometime in 2015.

And I'm just wondering if Seethe would be worth holding off for because it's a longer, more complex tale; or if zombies are hot right now, and might improve my chances at Kindle Scout....

5
So, I've decided I can be a multi-billionaire, and never pay taxes.

Let me repeat that: I have a plan to become a multi-billionaire, and NEVER pay taxes. And so can you!

Now you say to yourself, Craig (which is an odd thing to say to yourself, unless YOUR name is Craig) ... How can I be a multi-billionaire, and NEVER pay taxes?

Three simple steps. Three simple steps and you, too, can be a multi-BILLIONAIRE, and NEVER pay taxes.

1. Write a book. Cover price: $1 Billion!

2. Sell five copies.

3. Retire.

You are now a multi-billionaire and SET FOR LIFE!

But you say to yourself, "Craig..." (which, once again, is an odd thing to say to yourself) "...what do I say when the tax man comes to my door, shoves a finger in my face, and says, 'You are a multi-billionaire, and have NEVER paid taxes!'"

Two simple words.

Two simple words in the English language, and you, too, can be a multi-BILLIONAIRE and NEVER pay taxes!

I forgot.

I mean... think about it. How many times in life have we invited trouble into our lives because we forgot to say, "I forgot," hmm?

And now you know the secret. And it's really simple, too. So simple that anyone can do it, because all you have to do is sell five copies.

And anybody can sell five copies, right?

Well, I'm off to sell my five... here I come, early retirement!

One book ... five copies ... goodbye.

*strolls away*

6
In all the brouhaha over whether Amazon are being jerks to Hachette or not, comes this headline:

http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-multi-year-deal-with-simon-and-schuster-2014-10

Yup: Simon and Schuster closed a multi-year deal with Amazon, ahead of deadline, in a matter of weeks not months, and with virtually no kurfuffle at all ... and in advance of their contract expiring at all!

But, clearly it's Amazon that's the problem, not Hachette?

Pfft.

7
Writers' Cafe / Reporting delay acknowledged
« on: October 17, 2014, 05:52:17 pm »
Fun stuff on the day my newest, biggest-release book debuts, but:

I know I've sold at least a couple copies of The Woodsman today already, because my book rank jumped from its pre-release position of 1M+ to around 73K... but KDP isn't showing the sales.

When I signed into Author Central, there was a notice that reporting is currently delayed.

*sigh* LOL

8
Writers' Cafe / Feeling BKnight'd! (Only four hours in...)
« on: October 03, 2014, 01:27:24 am »
So, I have a BKnights-fueled Free promotion going on right now with Spoiled, over on Amazon.

My results? Highly encouraging.

I'm only about four hours in (using Eastern Time for the kickoff) and here are my ranks on the book:



And to prove it's my book those ranks are talking about... yup, I'm #2 overall in free mystery, thriller and suspense!



I have no idea how long this will last and build, or if it'll fizzle from here, but this is definitely the best free promotion I've ever had only four hours in.

Here's hoping it's the start of something. I'll be releasing book 2 in the trilogy later today, so I'm hoping for a ripple effect to that one, sales-wise.

BKnights' Fivvr gig has been working well for me! I've accumulated 270+ "free" sales so far, so that's the first book in the trilogy under a lot of new eyes... and hopefully a lot more before it's all done.

9
Sometimes, you have to pay for your good deeds.


Steve Peretti is a prolific serial killer known as The Woodsman. For years, he's terrorized dozens of victims throughout the Upper Midwest, without drawing attention or suspicion to himself, keeping a low profile. He's cautious, careful, and calculated ... most of the time.

But anyone can make a mistake.

One night, on the way home through Hope, Wisconsin, he stops for gas and ends up foiling a robbery. He gets injured in the process, and ends up in jail over a conceal-carry violation. While in lock-up, he taunts and is attacked by another prisoner, who blinds him.

Then he's given a chance to have his vision restored through an experimental, advanced eye-surgery program at UW-Madison, called EyeCU. His surgery is successful, and he returns from EyeCU ready to rebuild his life with his new eyes. And that means returning to being The Woodsman.

But he begins having strange visions; vivid dreams about acts of kindness and mercy that seem foreign and terrifying to him. Worse, he finds it difficult to carry out his normal acts of evil, leaving him increasingly helpless at a time when he's at his most vulnerable.

Evil can corrupt good, but is the reverse true? Can good disrupt the persistence of evil? If you've ever enjoyed movies like Eyes of Laura Mars, The Eye, or Blink, then The Woodsman is a tale that will defy your expectations, yet leave you entertained and more than a little unsettled.

The Woodsman is a horror/suspense novel consisting of nearly 88,000 words, and runs over 340 pages in length.

11
Writers' Cafe / Book tours...
« on: September 21, 2014, 05:59:45 am »
I was wondering if anyone knew if Bards and Sages was still pulling together book blog tours, or if that went by the wayside...

Been so long since I toured, I'm all out of touch.

I want to tour with The Woodsman, but don't have much of a budget for it.

12
http://www.theverge.com/2014/9/17/6323519/kindle-voyage-amazon-specifications-rumor

Unofficial at this point, but intriguing...

...with 300 ppi, it's a big step up from the 221 ppi of the current PaperWhite, so this would, in part, explain why KDP has upped their recommended book cover image size over the summer.

And now it's CONFIRMED! Click here for details!

13
Writers' Cafe / Huge congrats to Zane Sachs, AKA...
« on: September 09, 2014, 03:57:19 pm »
...a long-time, familiar face here at KBoards, Suzanne Tyrpak.

I loved the first Zane Sachs novel, Sadie the Sadist, and had no clue she was actually Suzanne. When she revealed it in her recent second release, Sadie's Guide to Catching Killers, it was a bit of a mind-blower.

Way to go, Suzie! As Zane, you've found a great and unique voice for horror and really carved out a niche for yourself in the genre!

I look forward to all of Zane's future releases! :)

14
Writers' Cafe / Preface, foreword, prologue: There's a difference
« on: September 09, 2014, 03:15:32 am »
On another thread, once again, a familiar subject has re-surfaced.

"I hate prologues! I always skip 'em!"

Methinks this is, at least in some cases, a misunderstanding of what a prologue is, compared to other sorts of things that can be inserted in front of a novel. So here's a breakdown, for clarity:

1) Foreword: Words the author wants to share with the reader before they read the tale contained in the book. Often boring and self-indulgent even in the best of hands. Only of real value to die-hard fans of the author. Stephen King will often do this on collections of his shorter works, but seldom on his novels.

Obviously, my personal take on forewords in generally not positive, though there are times I've used one. But often, it seems to me, the SUAS principle applies to most forewords.

SUAS principle defined:

You know how sometimes you go to a concert and a singer will need to take a breather between songs, so he or she will start droning on about the next song they're about to do and how much it means to them, and how it's all really symbolic of their political views or some high-school break-up they never got over or whatever? And none of that is in the song, or any of it that matters already is in the song? And before too long you're just standing there in the crowd, wishing the lead singer would just shut his yapper and start singing again?

That's the SUAS principle; it stands for "Shut Up and Sing!"

And it often can be applied to fiction: just start the story please. :)

2) Preface: Not used much in fiction anymore. When it is, it's often some other writer giving a testimonial about why readers will like the book they are about to read. I suspect the utility of a preface for novels is largely outdated; usually, these days, you won't see a preface until after you've already bought the book in question.

And if you've already bought the book in question, who needs a flippin' preface? The person's already borrowed (KOLL/KU) or bought the book. So the hard-sell can stop.

3) Prologue: A piece of narrative fiction that often takes place before the main action of the novel. When done well, it ALWAYS ties into something revealed later in the novel. There's really no reason to hate a prologue... unless it's poorly done, and then it's not the fault of a prologue, it's simply a not-well-written novel to begin with.

Hope this helps.

15
Writers' Cafe / Title Uncertainty, Take 2, Resolved: THE WOODSMAN
« on: September 09, 2014, 02:47:14 am »
Hey all,


I decided to reboot the poll, to offer up some options that seemed to me to be solid suggestions, as well as a couple favorites. Still not decided, though I loved a couple of the suggestions people made and that's why they are now in the poll.

As before, here's an UNofficial blurb and the current WIP cover my cover designer has come up with.

The blurb will change quite a bit before it becomes THE blurb. So no need to critique that.

Also, feedback on the title might inspire Vicki and I in a different direction on the cover. So, all I'm looking for, again, is feedback on what the title should be.

This is the basic plot summary:

Quote
Our protagonist, Steve Peretti, is a prolific serial killer who has claimed many victims in the upper midwest, a killer known as The Woodsman in the media. No one knows his identity and Peretti is not under suspicion.

One night, on the way through Hope, Wisconsin, he stops for gas and ends up foiling a robbery, but not without getting injured himself.

He ends up being jailed over a conceal-carry violation. While in the county lock-up, he taunts and is attacked by another prisoner, who blinds him but is stopped before he can kill Steve.

Steve ends up being given a chance to have his vision restored through an experimental, advanced eye-surgery program at UW-Madison, called EyeCU. (A short-hand for Experimental Vision Care Unit.)

Steve's surgery is successful; he gets his vision back. He returns from the program ready to rebuild his life with new eyes. And rebuilding his life, for him, means a return to being The Woodsman.

But complications arise: he begins having strange visions ... visions of acts of kindness and mercy that seem foreign and terrifying to him.

Worse, as time goes on, he finds it increasingly difficult to carry out his normal acts of evil. Plagued by intense migraines that render him helpless so long as his intent is to do harm, Steve begins a journey that leads him to wonder whether this is a mere case of transplant rejection, or something deeper.

There is a light paranormal aspect to this book, and the genre is horror, though there are some dark/satiric humor elements to it as well.

Basically, EyeCU is a plot inversion. Many of us have seen the plot trope in movies of the blind person who's all nice and innocent, but is given the eyes of a killer. My novel reverses the polarity, giving a killer the eyes of a medical missionary.

Many stories ask, can evil corrupt good? This story asks, can good destroy evil? And wouldn't good be just as terrifying to evil, as evil is to good?

At it's most basic, that's the concept. And to answer any unasked question in this direction, no, this story does not have a religious element. It's a human-focused tale.

And here's the current cover, which may change:



So, with all this in mind, please respond to the poll.

What's the best title for getting across this concept?

Are any of the alternatives better?

Any other suggestions for a title?

Again: no blurb-feedback or cover-feedback is requested at this time.

But the biggest and most important aspect to this is: Which title would you find most enticing? Which title would make you most-apt to one-click? Which title gets the genre across the best?

Thanks, gang!

16
Writers' Cafe / Title Uncertainty
« on: September 07, 2014, 12:09:22 am »
Hey all,


I have taken up a challenge to finish off EyeCU this month, so I'm finally forging ahead on a real cover for the book, and giving thought to other marketing concerns as well.

One of the issues that has come up is this: Is EyeCU the right title for this project? Is it a title that will compel people to buy?

So, I've been batting around ideas with those who are close to me, and now I'm looking for some input. To help you all with your input, I'm posting a rough draft of the cover my designer, Victorine, has come up with for me, and I'm also going to include a basic plot summary.

NOTE: This is not the final blurb, so I'm NOT asking for feedback on that. Also, cover feedback is not the goal here, either. I'm only seeking, at this juncture, feedback on whether EyeCU works, or something else works better.

This is the basic plot summary:

Our protagonist, Steve Peretti, is a prolific serial killer who has claimed many victims in the upper midwest, a killer known as The Woodsman in the media. No one knows his identity and Peretti is not under suspicion.

One night, on the way through Hope, Wisconsin, he stops for gas and ends up foiling a robbery, but not without getting injured himself.

He ends up being jailed over a conceal-carry violation. While in the county lock-up, he taunts and is attacked by another prisoner, who blinds him but is stopped before he can kill Steve.

Steve ends up being given a chance to have his vision restored through an experimental, advanced eye-surgery program at UW-Madison, called EyeCU. (A short-hand for Experimental Vision Care Unit.)

Steve's surgery is successful; he gets his vision back. He returns from the program ready to rebuild his life with new eyes. And rebuilding his life, for him, means a return to being The Woodsman.

But complications arise: he begins having strange visions ... visions of acts of kindness and mercy that seem foreign and terrifying to him.

Worse, as time goes on, he finds it increasingly difficult to carry out his normal acts of evil. Plagued by intense migraines that render him helpless so long as his intent is to do harm, Steve begins a journey that leads him to wonder whether this is a mere case of transplant rejection, or something deeper.

There is a light paranormal aspect to this book, and the genre is horror, though there are some dark/satiric humor elements to it as well.

Basically, EyeCU is a plot inversion. Many of us have seen the plot trope in movies of the blind person who's all nice and innocent, but is given the eyes of a killer. My novel reverses the polarity, giving a killer the eyes of a medical missionary. Many stories ask, can evil corrupt good? This story asks, can good destroy evil? And wouldn't good be just as terrifying to evil, as evil is to good?

At it's most basic, that's the concept. And to answer any unasked question in this direction, no, this story does not have a religious element. It's a human-focused tale.

And here's the cover:



So, with all this in mind, please respond to the poll.

Is EyeCU the best title for getting across this concept?

Are any of the alternatives better?

Any other suggestions for a title?

Again: no blurb-feedback or cover-feedback is requested at this time.

But the biggest and most important aspect to this is: Which title would you find most enticing? Which title would make you most-apt to one-click? Which title gets the genre across the best?

Thanks, gang!

17

What if you had enough money to get whatever you wanted, from the time you were a child? Would it corrupt you, or could you learn how to lead a good life?

Mike wrestles with these question, even in the midst of a life that always seems to be falling apart. His mother dedicates herself to raising him with a work ethic, values, and a sense of the worth of a dollar and an honest day's work.

Will it be enough? Or is he already SPOILED?

Spoiled is the first book in the Spoiled Rotten trilogy and runs approximately ten thousand words in length, or just under fifty pages. This novelette will touch your heart and make you wonder whether you're safe every time someone asks you, "Why are you crying?"

Look for Rotten, Book 2 in the trilogy, coming soon.

18
Writers' Cafe / Fed up with Kobo Writing Life...
« on: August 05, 2014, 04:09:54 pm »
I was a big cheerleader for Kobo Writing Life since it relaucnhed its "go direct with us" site in 2012. I pulled my Smashwords releases out of the Kobo channel and uploaded my titles directly.

I'll admit, I was lured by their "80% royalty for the first two months if you sign up now" promotion. At the time, I was getting a steady clip of Kobo sales via Smashwords, so although I was apprehensive to a degree about their $100.00 payment threshold, I was relatively confident it'd be okay.

Well, in the first year I made about $20+, and by this past spring, it had worked its way up to $47.65. So I've often mentioned how I'm "halfway to getting paid." ;)

But I recently decided to take a look at their FAQ and realized I shouldn't have been waiting all this time (almost two years now) to get my first payment from them.

Why?

Because: http://download.kobobooks.com/writinglife/Kobo/en-US/KWL_FAQ.pdf

Look at Question 3. They commit there to twice-a-year payments, even if you don't meet the $100 payment threshold. Just to balance their books.

Sounds great. Except I haven't been paid even ONCE in nearly two years!

So a few days ago, I finally got fed up and sent them an email detailing that they weren't living up to their end of the bargain. Two years and not a single payment.

So, the response I received this afternoon contained two relevant facts.

1) They're not going to pay me till the end of the year, because apparently they only do balance-clearing payments ANNUALLY, not twice a year... contradicting their own FAQ!

2) They claimed that they didn't pay me last January because... get ready for it... The had a $45 minimum threshold on payments that don't meet the $100 minimum threshold!!

Who on earth has TWO minimum thresholds for payment?

It's bad enough they have the highest threshold for payment in the entire industry. $100, even if you set up electronic transfer or PayPal or whatever instead of a written check!

But then to establish a second threshold below the first one, and have it still be 4.5 times higher than anyone else in the industry (who generally pay at $10 when you accept EFTs or PayPal payments)?

No. Unacceptable. Unprofessional. I'm done with KWL.

I don't know about others, but I'm moving all my books over to Draft 2 Digital (because I'm sick of Smashwords paying only quarterly, but that's a topic for a different thread) and getting them onto Kobo that way.

I don't care about "lost sales rank" or "lost reviews" because frankly, what matters most is getting paid in a timely manner and right now, D2D is the best way to get that done.

KWL, you're fired. :)

I don't have time for headaches like this, so D2D will now be my knee-cap-buster on collecting from Kobo Writing Life on all new sales.

19
Writers' Cafe / Smashwords vs. D2D
« on: August 03, 2014, 06:27:37 am »
I'm not looking for just hype or war here, just honest sharing of facts.

1. I'm growing real tired of Smashwords' "quarterly payment" system and very delayed payments and reporting from their "partners."

2. Yes, I know Mark's a great indie advocate, but it's not all that big a deal to me compared to the delays.

3. Therefore, I want some honest facts (not hype) on D2D.

My questions about D2D are these:

1. Does D2D actually pay monthly? What are their pay thresholds? How are they come tax-time in terms of getting 1099-MISCs out to you in a timely fashion?

2. Are they actually decent at speedy sales reporting, content-updating, and payment from partners?

3. What are the drawbacks? Seriously. Not asking for anyone to shred them, but every company has drawbacks. What are D2D's? I want to know what I'm walking into, what they *don't* do well.

4. How does D2D handle pen names and pen-name privacy? I have to have separate accounts on Smashwords for every pen name (so, just myself and one other at the moment), which completely blows because it takes so much longer to build up sales enough to get paid that way...

5. What about ISBNs?

I'm seriously contemplating a move from SW to D2D, but I need to know some of these things before I decide to bite the bullet.

20
Let's Talk Kindle! / Paperwhite 2014 soon?
« on: August 03, 2014, 05:58:34 am »
I've been hearing rumors of a 300 ppi screen and all-new HD fonts on the PW3.

It's August. I'm thinking we should be hearing something this quarter...

Anyone?

Bueller?

21
Writers' Cafe / Some frankly terrific writing tips from Stephen King
« on: July 21, 2014, 01:12:27 pm »
This article is very summary-oriented and just short points, but it's also pretty practical, even if you're an indie as most of us are.

http://www.businessinsider.com/stephen-king-on-how-to-write-2014-7

22
Hey all you Scrivener addicts!

I have a question about our favorite writing program that I don' know the answer to because I never thought I'd need it, but it turns out, I do.

Many folks on here have said that, when working on series, serial, or episodic content, they are able to move/duplicate their character notes and other assets from project to project.

I love having a list of characters and locations, and I've recently been brainstorming a new idea that will indeed be episodic in nature.

Therefore, it's becoming VERY important to me to be able to move my character notes around from one project to the next, or import them from an old project to a new one. In other words, I don't want to reinvent that "cast list" every time I start a new "episode."

So... can anyone with experience in the Windows-specific version of Scrivener tell me simply how to pull that off? Does one do it by creating a special template for that series? Or can it be done more simply, as in an "import character list" function?

Thank you kindly and in advance for any help offered, and forgive my "I don't know how to do this" naivete in this very specific area of Scrivener functionality.

23
It's easier just to let Steve say it:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JLbAePwoHQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JLbAePwoHQ</a>

 :o  :P  :-*

24
Writers' Cafe / I'm a guest blogger over at Cafe Otherworld today!
« on: July 03, 2014, 02:11:59 pm »
I'm a guest blogger at the talented Lynda Hilburn's Cafe Otherworld today! Stop by, read my post, leave a comment. One commentator will win a prize!

http://www.cafeotherworld.com/wordpress/guest-blogger-author-craig-hansen/

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