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Topics - Kia Zi Shiru

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Writers' Cafe / 5 Times Formatting - New ebook formatting service
« on: September 01, 2014, 11:48:30 pm »
I'm opening shop as a freelance ebook formatter. Years ago I wrote a guide on the (then new) KF8 formatting issues and consequently wrote an (almost) fool proof way of formatting an ebook so that the issue didn't arise. For years it has been an often visited page on my blog, even after 2 years I regularly see people link to it from different parts of KB.
But I also know that not everyone has the skill, or the intention or time to learn the skill, to format their own ebooks. That is where I come in.

I offer basic formatting, which for most people is enough, but I also offer special formatting (Smashwords files, Short Story options, Bundles), images (in text, as headers, as fleurons/dividers), colour (for headers, subheaders and other things), and a few more options that might be better suited for non-fiction (text blocks and glossary linking).

You can find what exactly I do for each option and the pricing scheme on my website:

Have a great week and I hope to see you soon!



Writers' Cafe / Draft 2 Digital now shows freebie sales?
« on: August 28, 2014, 01:53:46 am »
I just found out that my freebie book has a sale showing in the report. The freebie is from iBooks.

I remember talking about the downside of D2D being that you can't see freebie sales just a few days ago, but it seems they do show up now. (Or am I just late to the party?)

Writers' Cafe / Kindle formatting problem, image on title page
« on: August 21, 2014, 05:50:38 pm »
Amazon keeps eating the image on my title page...

I use an image as my title page title, and when I put the file through the previewer it shows up exactly like I want it.
When I upload the file on KDP, wait for it to go live and check out the previewer, the image is gone.

It doesn't matter if I put a cover in front of it or if I don't put a cover in front of it. By the time the book is live the image is gone.

After trying for days I did get it to work, but the solution is... clunky...

As you can see coloured in yellow, I put some text before the image and now it works fine.
Only problem... In many of the newer models for the e-ink readers, and the tablets, this title is not there (which is what it is supposed to do).
In older models, the iOS apps and the previewer on the website, the text is there even though I hid it in the code.
I did previously try to use the   but it didn't work.

So, no text at the top -> no image
hidden text at the top -> image (yay) but also text in many of the apps and readers (boo)

Anyone who knows how to solve this problem? Am I missing something obvious?

Writers' Cafe / Images and transparency
« on: August 10, 2014, 01:05:32 pm »
For my short story collection I've tried to add images as chapter titles and as fleurons/glyphs/dividers.

I want to make sure that when people change to black or other colours in the reader for background that there isn't suddenly an ugly white square around the image.
I can make this happen for epub images (or at least when tested in the adobe epub reader), but not for mobi.

My problem is that apparently the transparency doesn't work on png images, which means I need to turn the images into gif files, which means I lose a LOT of detail in the images.
As seen below:
(png left, gif right)

I originally tried this by embedding the font into the ebook, but that gave me even more problems.

So, should I just give up and learn to live with the fact that people who read my book on a non-white screen will see a white square around their titles. Or is there some guide I'm missing on how to solve this problem?

I know I've seen books that use images for the title page and stuff (though sadly enough, I can't remember which ones), and they must have had the same problems. Am I just knitpicky or is there a guide around it?

Writers' Cafe / Index in an ebook
« on: June 18, 2014, 12:11:04 am »
For a project I need to create an index in the back of my ebook. The problem?
The book is two parts, with separate chapter numbers.

I first thought I could list a chapter number, until I remembered there are two of those, one in each part. A part/chapter/section idea didn't seem that ideal to me since that requires a lot of weird numbers.

I do have the official page numbers from the print book, but I would prefer to use a more ebook-native way.

Anyone who has a good idea?

Just to sum it up:
I need something that feels comfortable to someone who reads the ebook to refer from in the index. Like a print index uses:  Magical 99, 455-800, 600
I want something that feels more natural in an ebook than page numbers (since ebooks don't have page numbers that mean anything).

Before anyone points out, yes, people can use the search function. I didn't come up with this requirement, it was part of the assignment.

The Book Bazaar / Disturbed Fate - Gay Urban Fantasy Novel
« on: May 17, 2014, 01:15:32 am »

Pet store owner Marc is a fate-seer, he sees the fate of people connected by the same destiny. What he sees is the truth, or should be.
His best friend Keiran is a med student and a vampire, a combination that isn't as incompatible as it seems.

A fun night clubbing with their new boyfriends turns into disaster as they realize that their pasts do not line up with what Marc has seen. Their fate has been changed, putting them all in danger.
They need to find out when their destinies went off track because fate-seers live by one rule:

When fate is changed death will ensue

They only have one clue: a dear friend drowned on his birthday seven years ago. At the time it was ruled a suicide. Now, they're not so sure.

They're on a race against the clock to find out who changed their fate, before another one of them dies.

The second book in the series, Disturbed Connections, is now out! Follow the love story between a vampire and a werewolf, kept apart by the rules of the clan, coven and their pasts.

Writers' Cafe / Urban fantasy blurb make-over. Please take a look?
« on: May 13, 2014, 09:34:28 am »
So, since I'm finally getting my feet back under me I've been focusing on upgrading some of my books.
The first book in my Otherkin Spirits series, Disturbed Fate, will have a KB add next Monday (featured book) and I'm changing the blurb and the categories for this book because of that. It's something I've been meaning to do for a while but never got to.
The keywords playing I haven't done yet, though I've got a list ready to upload.
The blurb on the other hand is more important, as Harvey will grab that a few days before.

I won't list the old blurb you can see it when you click on the cover or the link. And also because I want the focus and style to be different.

The genre is Urban Fantasy, the main characters are gay though that shouldn't matter for the blurb I think.

Here it is:

What is meant to be a fun night clubbing for four friends, turns into a night where their whole lives unravel.

During the day Marc runs a pet shop, but when he falls asleep he sees the future. On impulse he hires, Galen, a young man he meets on the street, to help him out at the shop. What he doesn't expect is that they are so compatible, inside and outside the shop.

Keiran is an intern at a hospital, making long days. His free time he spends between helping his best friend Marc at the store and obsessing about a stalker. One night he confronts the man following him. He knows Devlan is trouble the moment he lays eyes on him but he can't help himself falling in lust.

They don't even make it into the club before all hell breaks loose. A past that never was is unveiled, and now the four men need to figure out how to fix their future.
They only have one clue. A dear friend drowned on his birthday seven years ago. At the time it was ruled a suicide. Now, they're not so sure.

Can they find out who changed their past before another one of them dies?

I'm not sure on a few things:
- present tense, it felt right for the blurb but the book itself is in past
- length, I tried to make it shorter but wasn't sure how (according to my calculations Harvey's grab of the blurb should end about on "how to fix their future" if I calculated correctly)
- last prase/question phrase. Does it make sense in this blurb or is it too random?

Thanks for any help you can offer!!!

Writers' Cafe / Publishing reports: Howey, Kendall, Weinberg, others?
« on: March 21, 2014, 12:45:39 am »
Have there been any other publishing reports lately? These are the main three I know of that came out this year, am I missing one (or more) that also came out or maybe came out in previous years?

I know there were some, but I don't remember if they were as big as these three.


Writers' Cafe / business cards and pseudonyms??
« on: March 17, 2014, 03:00:46 pm »
I'm going to the London Book Fair soon and I've been breaking my head about the question how to make my business cards.

My idea was to have one card for my actual name and one for my pseudonym. BUT, I also run a small publisher... So I wanted that included somewhere on my actual name card.
Then I realised that of course my pseudonym is an author at that publisher, so maybe I need to list that somewhere too on that card.

Then I got scared and thought that maybe including the publisher at all is a bad idea since it might be seen as bragging on my real name card and seen as if I only write for that publisher (which I do at the moment, but that can change at any time) for my pseudonym.

What I'm left with is less and less time and more and more head breaking over this issue...

Sooo, my question to the WC:

How do you handle business cards for your real name and your pseudonym when you want to keep them as separate entities (especially the pseudonym from the real name, but also the other way around) while also not exactly showing as two different people?

Anyone with more experience who can help?

Writers' Cafe / Top 15 free on all taken by same author?
« on: January 05, 2014, 11:35:47 am »
Some on Google+ brought this to my attention.

The first 15 spots in the top 100 free on the total store are taken by the same author.


Does anyone know how she has done this?

Writers' Cafe / Smashwords, not in premium catalogue during sale?
« on: December 11, 2013, 01:26:02 pm »
I'm looking to run a sale for the next couple of days because of the 1 year release anniversary of Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past.

On my last sales run it took Amazon 7 days before it would finally raise the price back to normal because of all the different outlets and I don't want that to happen again.

So my question is, is it better to just pull out of the premium catalogue during the sale or to use coupons?

I could use coupons but I'd rather just lower the price because that could also give me organic sales on Smashwords during the sales time, instead of keeping the price higher and use coupons that other people can't see.

Any ideas?

Writers' Cafe / Fully redoing my blurb, help please?
« on: November 14, 2013, 02:29:50 pm »
After feedback from other people I've totally redone my blurb, seeing as that it at least is something I've got control over.
For the moment I'm keeping the cover, I really really love it even when people say that it doesn't look like it belongs in Paranormal or in Gay fiction, which this book is both. (The fact that a single man on the cover would make it not seem gay is a whole different discussion...)

Here is the old one:

And here is the new version:

Some peopleís dreams come true: they are seers and see the true fate of someone. Othersí dreams are only about death and destruction: they are unseers and can push fate off its path.
When fate is changed death will ensue.

Pet shop owner Marc doesnít expect his life to turn upside down when he finds a young man and a kitten on the street. Suddenly, he is confronted with a reality that he didnít foresee.
To bring fate back to its normal course they need to find out what happened one fateful autumn night, seven years ago.
The only clue they have is that their friend drowned in the lake behind his house, during his own birthday party. At the time it was ruled a suicide. Now, theyíre not so sure.
Can they figure out how to put fate back on track before someone dies, again?

Any help is appreciated!!!

Writers' Cafe / Change cover to mention temporary sale?
« on: November 03, 2013, 06:58:00 am »
I'm wondering if it would be allowed to put a small banner on my cover to say "temporary sale because of NaNoWriMo" or something like that.

Who knows if that would be allowed on Amazon, Kobo, SM and stuff like that?

Writers' Cafe / Bestseller data going back 3-5 years?
« on: October 28, 2013, 12:15:32 am »
Hi guys,

I'm looking for a few things but I can't seem to find my answer on google so instead I'm turning to you all.

1. Since when do the New York Times and some other big bestseller list include indie titles?
2. Is there a place where I can find bestseller lists from Amazon and B&N going back 3-5 years?
3. Is there data on sales/market share of ebooks on Amazon/global market?

I hope you can help me out.

Looking for authors of gay paranormal or horror fiction for Halloween giveaway!

What is better than doing promo? Doing promo together with a group of other authors.
The idea is simple. Starting on the 15th I'll run a rafllecopter giveaway and by liking on fb, following on twitter and subscribing to newsletters readers get entered into the giveaway. You don't have to provide all 3 and readers don't have to do all of them but each thing they do provides them an entry.

So here is the info quickly listed:
time: running from the 14/15th until the 29th (giving the authors 2 days to provide the reader with the book after the giveaway ends)
type of books: GAY paranormal, horror or other "halloween-y" books. Romance and erotica are fine, as long as they are the right genre.
what will readers win: Winners will win 1 book of the list.

If you'd like to join, please sign up at this form:
Sign-up ends on the 13th of October.

what can I add?
Preferably ebooks. You can provide print books but the giveaway is international so it might be that the winner lives on the other side of the world.

Anyone here who wants to join?

Writers' Cafe / Remittance Advice confusion
« on: August 13, 2013, 11:33:46 pm »
I just got my first remittance Advice and the dates on it confuse me. I only reached the $100 threshold last month (and I changed to direct deposit for this month) but this one seems to be for a totally different month.

Invoice Date: 18-MAR-2013
Invoice Description: Feb 2013 Kindle Direct Publishing payment

But we're already well into the rest of the year and I made a lot of money since that date.
Will those come in the next few days or am I looking at it the wrong way?

Writers' Cafe / Birthday bash? Ideas?
« on: August 09, 2013, 03:47:34 am »
My birthday is in about a month (1st of September) and I'm thinking of doing something for it.

I was thinking of doing something like a giveaway of 2 or 3 of my books or making a combination of my own and other people's books.

The thing is, I've never done this before. So I don't know if it would be a good idea.

The tour for my next release ends on the 27th of August so I don't know what timeframe I should use for the birthday bash/giveaway.

I'm wondering things like:
- Should I let the giveaway run for a week after the tour (like 28th of august - 3rd of September) or the week leading up to my birthday (26th of August - 1st of September)?
- How many authors should I try to get on board, or should I just do my own books?
- Should I have blogs market it with multiple blogs per day or just 1 blog per day, or have multiple blogs run posts but only 1 day out of the whole week?

- Is something like this worth it?

Who can help me out a bit?

Writers' Cafe / I'm an "also bought"!
« on: August 05, 2013, 03:27:09 am »
6 books in and I'm showing up as an also bought for another book :D This is the first time this happened for me. I checked here:

We're actually also bought's for each other, but I don't care, this is the first time for me and I'm hoping it might in some more sales since the second book comes out next week.

My book:

Other book:

To those who showed up for other people, did it improve your sales?

Writers' Cafe / Help with blurb? Gay paranormal romance
« on: August 05, 2013, 02:36:50 am »
So, I've been trying to come up with a good blurb for this story for a while and coming close to release I'm trying to decide on one of them. I'm really bad with blurbs but I like these 3 I came up with.

Genre: Gay Paranormal Romance

Last/latest version:

A werewolf and a vampire, forbidden love. What could go wrong?

CHRIS, a werewolf on the run from his abusive clan, hides in a vampire house. ALEC, a vampire who has comfortably lived in the house for years, has no intentions to ever leave it.

Their connection is obvious from the first time they meet. But the house rules are strict, werewolves and vampires can not date. Unable to fight their attraction and unwilling to leave, they instead choose to hide their love.

Then Chrisí old clan finds him and takes him back. Will Alec ever see Chris again?

Here are the versions:

CHRIS is on the run from his lycan clan. His best friend Travis offers him a solution, move into his vampire coven house, the clan would never think to look there. In the coven house he meets Alec, an irresistible kickboxing fanatic.
ALEC has been pining after Travis, the guy across the hall, for the last four years until Travis suddenly moves out of the coven house with his new boyfriend. Alec then meets the new occupant, Chris; a tall, long haired and sexy software developer.
But luck is not on their side, Chris is a lycan and Alec a vampire. Both clan and coven rules are against them ever dating and then there is Travis who canít seem to accept the friendship between the two men.

Then Chris is kidnapped and Alec, Travis and everyone they know need to work together to get him back.

A lycan and a vampire, forbidden love, what could go wrong?

CHRIS, a lycan on the run from his old clan, hides in a vampire coven house. ALEC, a vampire who has comfortably lived in the coven house for years, has no intentions to ever leave it.

Their connection is obvious from the first time they meet. But clan and coven rules are strict, lycans and vampires can not date. Unable to fight their attraction they instead choose to hide it, acting like they are simply friends.
One misstep exposes their relationship to Travis, their best friend, who, jealous at their happiness, tries to pull them apart.

And then Chrisí old clan find him and take him back.

CHRIS is on the run from his abusive lycan clan. His best friend Travis offers him a temporary solution: hide in the vampire coven house, where they wonít think to look for him, until he finds a better place. Chris jumps at this opportunity but it puts him in a weird situation, right across the hall from a guy he has had a crush on for years.

ALEC has an easy life: his best friend Travis lives across the hall, he loves kickboxing and is good at it too, and in his spare time he makes incense for local esoteric shops. Then Travis moves out to live with his boyfriend and a new guy moves in. He knows that the coven rules forbid Chris living there but from the moment they meet he canít seem to get him out of his head, let alone kick him out of the house.

Itís a forbidden love, they know that, but they canít let go. Until the clan finds Chris and take him back.
Will Alec ever see him again?

I'm trying to decide between these three, but I'm not sure which one is best.

Writers' Cafe / Help with book page on my website?
« on: August 02, 2013, 03:02:17 am »
At the moment I'm changing a few things on my website as I move from fully using it for my fiction to also doing a bit of non-fiction.

For me this means taking another look at my sales pages.

At the moment I use the cover at the top of the page, links and Goodreads like underneath, below that the blurb, below that some reviews and at the bottom I use other sales links.

Here are two pages:
Black Sheep: Letting go of the Past (has multiple covers at the top all from the same series)
Disturbed Fate (only has one cover but will get a second cover in 2 weeks as the sequel is released then)

What I'm looking for is a way to put the sales links of multiple stores nearer to the top without crowding it or making it look boring.
Or maybe some people have examples of sales pages that they like?

Writers' Cafe / ARE new releases list?
« on: August 01, 2013, 04:52:59 am »
I signed up with ARE but am waiting on acceptance at the moment.

I seem to remember someone saying that the new releases list on ARE is for 2 weeks? I can't seem to find anything about it on the website but I think someone here mentioned it once.

Ever since I uploaded my new release I've been doubting my categories. I'm afraid that my wish for what happens in the publishing world and what actually is good for sales might be different.

Disturbed Fate is Gay, urban Fantasy, New Adult. 3 categories.

At the moment these are my categories:

    Books > Literature & Fiction
    Books > Romance > Fantasy & Futuristic
    Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > New Adult & College
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Paranormal > Psychics
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Romance > Paranormal > Werewolves & Shifters
    Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Paranormal & Urban

I chose Romance -> Paranormal and fantasy -> P&U in the categories on KDP. (New Adult, psychics and werewolves were added because of keywords)

My dilemma is that I also know there is quite a big m/m fanbase that will like my story, which I can't target right now through Amazon. The downside is that I'll have to drop one of my categories if I want to get onto the m/m list.
The relationships between the characters are important but the main plot line is Urban fantasy/Paranormal. So I chose the main genres of the novel in order of importance for me, but I'm not sure if this is a good idea from a marketing perspective.

Who can help me out? I'm lost.

Writers' Cafe / Images and tables in Smashwords and kindle books
« on: July 02, 2013, 10:53:07 pm »
I know that when I first looked at this over a year ago tables and images weren't that easy to do in ebooks.
We're a year on, we now have the KF8 format and I'm wondering now.

How easy is it to put images and tables in kindle and Smashwords ebooks?

I'm looking to turns some of my blog posts for one of my blogs into ebooks and was wondering if it has become easier to do now.

I'm not really that good at writing catchy blurbs, I can write ones that explain what is going on but writing one that is catchy is a lot harder.


NEW VERSION 27th of June

Marc runs a small petshop but only having sporadic help from his best friend Keiran is no longer enough. Until he meets Galen, a young man with a kitten and in need of a job. He tries to keep it professional but Galen isnít making it easy for him.
Marc also has a darker side, he is a seer, he has premonitions of a select group of people.

Keiran is a med student, working his *ss off each day at the hospital. Until one night he finally confronts his stalker, Devlan, who turns out to be the strongest powerhouse vampire he has ever met.

When the four guys meet up for a night out all hell breaks loose. Marcís premonitions have been false, one of the men he sees is already dead. They now need to find out when the change in their fate has happened, before someone else dies.


Can you help me out?

First one is one I've used since the start:

Marc, a seer, has never had any fault in the future he predicts. Everything always goes according to plan, as far as he knows.
That is until he meets Yuki and Devlan, who are not where they should be according to their fate. Somewhere along the line fate has changed and Marc didn't know.
Despite the change, or maybe because of it, Marc is falling in love with Yuki, a young man who has already lost a lover because of the change in fate.

Keiran, a psychic vampire, can feel people's energies and Devlan has become his newest addiction. Devlan influences him and can make him do things he never thought he could. Keiran already lost a good friend because of the change and doesn't want to lose Devlan too.

Together these four have to find out who changed fate and how they can reverse it, because when fate changes death will ensue and often not just once.

This one I wrote yesterday but it still doesn't feel right:

Marc, a seer, has never had any fault in the future he predicts. Everything always goes according to plan, as far as he knows.
That is until he meets Yuki and Devlan, who are not where they should be according to their fate. Somewhere along the line their fates have changed and Marc doesn't know why
Despite the change, or maybe because of it, Marc is falling in love with Yuki, a young man who has already lost a lover because of the change in fate.

Keiran, a psychic vampire, can feel people's energies and Devlan has become his newest addiction. Devlan influences him and can make him do things he never thought he could do. Keiran already lost a good friend because of the change and doesn't want to lose Devlan too.

Together, these four have to find out who changed fate and how they can reverse it, because when fate changes, death will ensue and, often, not just once.

Any ideas?

Writers' Cafe / How to set Amazon US store to show US prices?
« on: May 03, 2013, 08:50:04 am »
If I remember correctly you used to be able to make Amazon show you prices and items of different regions on the US site.
Like if you would put in UK you get different prices then China or US.

But it seems that option is no longer there?

Is there another way for me to see real US prices on the books I look at?
Like, I know that Black Sheep 1 is now free at the US store but still shows me (being in the UK) that it is paid. I remember that I used to be able to see real prices.

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