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Topics - Talbot

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Writers' Cafe / Distribution blocked by EVERYONE?!
« on: February 23, 2018, 09:27:00 am »
Was it something I said?! My kid's book, Super Witch, came out of Select recently so I took it to D2D for wide release. Noooo, blocked by B&N, Kobo, everyone, and no reasons given as to why. I'm not stepping on copyright beyond mention of superhero characters (I'm not allowed to mention Bat Man?!) so I'm mystified. I wrote D2D for an explanation and I hope they get back to me soon but I'm upset now.

Any thoughts as to why I'm being blocked?

ETA. D2D got back to me fast, bless them, and the problem was my keywords. They don't like blocks of connected text. One word, one category etc...

As for the quotes, I couldn't say. They should fall under fair use?

The third in the series is still being problematic. I think it's cursed so I'll be tackling it again soon. None of them are ideal, really, BUT they're better than they were, thanks to you all.  :-* 

So, here are the latest covers for my Souls by the Sea series: Souls is a PG13 contemporary fantasy/adventure series on the lighter side (teen and upwards) with the twist being my heroine is without powers in a town with a small but healthy population of socially accepted witches, werewolves, and vampires. It's hard to save the world without magic but she does.

What have you learned, Dorothy?

1: Genre is much more important than plot.
2: Make the overall cover design consistent for proper branding. Make a template.
3: Use proper fonts for the genre.
4: Keep the title short and snappy. (I had a hell of a time fitting 'The Glorious Fourth' on my template.)
5: Use consistent types of central images. I wanted to do something a little different from your basic girl backed by green flames motif. That might have been a mistake, I dunno.

I also tweaked all my other books and I'm thrilled with how they turned out. (Except for The Kids' Table. Not at all perfect but, again, better than it was. I'm working on the second in that Holiday Romance series and I'll be giving it a new design in November.)

Again, thank you all so much for the good advice!

Writers' Cafe / Devastating critique from my own dear Mama...
« on: October 19, 2017, 10:03:00 am »
"Honey, you think people are smarter than they actually are."

😨 Noooo! I do not. I've tried to be clear and concise but I lack consistent sales. My betas like my stuff but still... Could someone go into my Look Insides (for any of my books but for Souls by the Sea, my free 1st in series, in particular) and tell me if the opening action is dense or confusing? Also, does my website work? And does this shirt look good on me?

I can take harsh truthiness.

Could I suggest that you give us a clear outline of the theme of each book (and exactly who your target audience is)

That might be helpful! They're paranormal urban fantasies, rated PG13 for middle grade readers and above, with the twist being that just about everyone but my teen heroine has powers. She has to use her brain which might be difficult as she's recovering from depression and injuries received from a witch. Now she's facing another one. It's a lighter read than it sounds, I promise, which might be another theme. It's not darkfic, there's a strong element of humor here. Book One: My heroine realizes her life isn't over after all and she begins to plan for the future. Book Two: Another witch threatens the town and Burlie comes to grips with her dislike of witches as she saves the town. Book Three: Burlie saves the world. I can't honestly say what personal growth she's gains. This is a straight up adventure and takes us all deeper into the world I've set up.

ETA: thank you so much, everybody. I'll get right to work...

Writers' Cafe / Written? Kitten!
« on: October 10, 2017, 06:35:07 am »
A silly and fun new way to get your word count in. Write a hundred words and a kitten pops up. You also get a puppy option. Awwww! (Not affiliated with them in any way, I just thought it was cute.)


Lydia McLauren was so looking forward to her witch's training. She was going to cast spells, fly, and brew potions just like that English kid in her favorite books. But her teacher says she has no brains, no talent, and no hope. Then he throws her right out of class. Well, FINE. If Lydia can’t be a proper witch like the other kids she’ll be a SUPERHERO instead!

Join the Super Witch as she sets out with her best (and only) friend, the amazing Bravo Unit, on a hero’s quest. Who will they save? What will they learn? And will they find the courage to stand up to ALL the bullies that stand in their way?

Kindle Unlimited:

So! I have a paranormal urban fantasy series for teens (rated PG13 and on the lighter side) and I realized the next book would work as a stand-alone for kids. My heroine has a little sister I could star and it would all be properly edited to make it more universal and independent of my series. Plus, I already have two kids' books and with this new novelette I could make a box-set out of them.

I'm a genius! Or am I? Has anyone interrupted their, uh, flow like this? If so, how do I upload and promote it? On its own or as Book Four of my series after plenty of warning?

Everybody sing! "One of these things is not like the other! One of these things does not belong..."

Now I'm not a fan of thrillers but I would definitely read this. And I think I would kill for a quarter of James Patterson's success.

Writers' Cafe / New website! What do ya'll think?
« on: April 11, 2017, 11:34:09 am »
So I used Weebly (a site Smashwords hates, come to find out) and there was a bit of a learning curve but I broke through. I did some research of other author sites and they seemed to flow similarly.

Thoughts? Advice? One thing, I can't afford my own domain right at the moment, sadly. Oh, and the author picture is definitely subject to change.

ETA: Yes, using Eye-gor was a joke on my part.

Writers' Cafe / Sold by...who? Inventing a publishing company.
« on: March 04, 2017, 01:18:56 pm »
So, on Amazon, my books are sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC but I heard a rumor, somewhere, that people don't like to see that when buying a book. Is it true that the publisher matters? Do I grab a name out of the air and list it as my publisher or is there more involved?

I just completed my first audio book (B or How the Bogeyman Didn't Save Christmas) through ACX and they finally sent me my 25 promotional vouchers. I sent out a FREE AUDIO BOOK! offer to my lists and my family/friends but I didn't get a single taker. I'm not particularly surprised, most of the gang I run with don't read children's books. Woe. You'd think my own mother...

Anyway, Does anyone know of a kidlit comm where a free book would be welcome?

Writers' Cafe / How 'bout these new covers?
« on: January 10, 2017, 12:36:02 pm »
The covers for my Souls by the Sea and Souls by the Sea: Without (in my sig) don't match well. I thought I'd streamline both using these new covers and making the mask motif a thing throughout the series. It's easy to find free photos of masks! But I dunno. Do I have to have a person on my cover?  Are they too plain? Personally I like the simplicity. What do ya'll think?

Huh, you can barely see my name on the first one but the damn thing gets in the way of the design. Tips? Also, the genre is paranormal urban fantasy.

ETA: Thank you, everybody! I've done my research, found better photos, and I'm jumping in fresh.

The Book Bazaar / The Kids' Table: Sweet YA Holiday Romance
« on: December 19, 2016, 08:06:00 am »

Some families' seating arrangements make Game of Thrones look like Bingo night. It's Thanksgiving and Hollin Clocke,  sixteen years old at last, is poised to take her place at the adults' table. Blocked! She's ready but her family isn't. Justis MacNair, a visiting friend of her cousin, might be her knight in shining armor. Or he might just add to Hollin's problems.

Join the Clocke family's holiday celebration of food, grease fire, and heart-ache as they wrestle with the eternal question of who's growing up vs who's just growing older.

Available on all platforms:

Writers' Cafe / How well do Christmas short stories do?
« on: November 10, 2016, 12:17:00 pm »
I haven't even started writing them yet but they're adorable! *eyeroll*

Seriously, my muse has been derailed by a couple of XMas plots so I've put aside the 3rd in my book series in order to whip them out, hopefully before New Years. One is a PG romance and one is for kids. Both should be around 10k words. My question is, how is the market for small stocking stuffers?

ETA: Lydniz has a question, "I'm interested in this too. When is the best time to release a Christmas short? Straight after Thanksgiving or at the end of November, so as to hit the 30-day cliff after Christmas?"

Writers' Cafe / Floating images? Smashwords hates me.
« on: September 15, 2016, 06:21:52 am »
I have small image buttons leading to all my books in the back matter of every release. I got this from Smashwords today...

Please right mouse click on the "Souls by the Sea" image at the end of your book, click Format Picture, then click Layout, then click In Line With Text, then click Save. This will prevent your image from floating. Floating images cause unpredictable results in ebooks, and often harm readability.

No can do, Hal, I use Open Office and there's no In Line With Text to be found. I tried to 'anchor' the pictures to the page to see if that would serve the same purpose but Smashwords rejected me again. How do I nail down my images in Open Office? Or should I just get rid of them?

Writers' Cafe / Odds of free promo sites actually promoting my book?
« on: September 10, 2016, 11:44:08 am »
Well, I just spent a long time signing up for several free promo sites. (I'm broke, holy cow, so broke that I can't pay for more than the occasional BKnights ad.)  Most of them said that inclusion isn't guaranteed unless I pay something. Why offer free promo opportunities if you're only going to throw them in the garbage? So I'm wondering if anything will come of this or did I just sign up to be spammed with a billion newsletters for nothing?

Also, if these sites actually are useful, are there services on Fiverr or wherever that will put your book on several sites at once? I'm po' but I'll certainly pay five bucks to avoid the numb-butt syndrome I'm suffering now.


"Burlie! Drop that brick!" Burlington McLauren is the first victim of a freak force that sends normally decent townspeople running wild through Souls by the Sea. No one, not even the most powerful witch, is safe. Burlie, without any power at all, must step up to save the town from itself. Without a prayer.

The 2nd in my Souls by the Sea series of lighter paranormal urban fantasies. Available now on Amazon for $0.99 for the next two days. Enjoy!

I'd gotten excellent advice from our own Stella but the blurb for Souls by the Sea probably needs a little more help (maybe the book does, too) to judge by the performance of my BKnights ad. Bupkiss! I do like the cover though. Anyway...

Held for ransom in a vision of a town lost in time, Burlington McLauren must beat the witch that's trapped her there and overcome the monsters he's set in her path. Fisk Iping is powerful. No depressed teenage girl can beat him at this game. But what will they do when they realize they're not alone in that unreal place?

Burlie doesn’t need this. She’d been doing so well out in the real world. The Dogmen howling at the moon and the blood-thirsty Smiths flapping through the night didn't bother her at all but now....

Now, in the town of Souls by the Sea, both real and imagined, there will be a showdown. A triumph. And a betrayal.

ETA: I edited it. Better?

The Book Bazaar / FREE Paranormal Teen Fantasy - 'Souls by the Sea'
« on: March 09, 2016, 10:22:17 am »

She's not saving the day for herself. Burlie McLauren is the new girl in Souls by the Sea, a coastal town lousy with witches, and she isn't happy. Like a needing-meds level of not happy but, for her family's sake, she's hanging in there. Until Fisk Iping, the strongest witch in the state, targets them all.

A rich aunt must pay ransom to get them out of a mirror version of Souls where it's Halloween forever. And just to make things even more interesting, "Hey, Burlie, run the gauntlet! If you get past the Horseman that wants your head, the Wolf Man, and whatever else is waiting in the dark I'll let you all go now. Maybe."

Easy bet! How can a sick girl with no magic survive a run into the teeth (and claws) of a witch's imagination? Oh, Burlie finds a way because real power is knowledge. What she learns will tear Fisk's dream town apart.

Also available...

Souls in the Flame: A dark force that no one is willing to face is tearing the town apart. Burlie, a little more expendable than the rest, steps up to stop it.

Souls of the Storm:  Billions of lives are on the line as an insane elemental threat attacks the Earth to get to Burlie. Hiding in a deep dungeon, Burlie wonders how can she, of all people, fight an Ultimate Power with nothing? With the Earth doomed no matter who wins?

Writers' Cafe / Title style preferences for a series?
« on: February 16, 2016, 01:49:18 pm »
I'm fast closing in on getting my first series started. I'm doing the covers myself (No funds. None.) so I have a quick question about style. It seems half of the authors hereabouts prefer their series' title to be foremost with the individual book's title minimized and the other half prefers the individual book's title large and in charge with the series' title downplayed.

I intend to brand the look of the covers themselves to make them consistent but where do ya'll stand on title placement? Individual or part of the herd?

Writers' Cafe / Public Writing Etiquette...stop looking over my shoulder.
« on: January 26, 2016, 12:10:37 pm »
It was brought up in the Show Your Writing Space thread how some people did all their writing in bookshops and cafes. I have a friend that practically lives at Panera for 5 hours a day. Me, I love the library. It's a less social (intrusive) venue and I don't have to spend money. But I need a place closer to home that has wifi.

So! For those of you who do go to eateries or shops, how long a stay is too long? Do you have to buy something every hour? Does anyone give you hell over taking up space? Have any horror stories about rude employees or customers to share?

Just thinking about it is making me snacky...

Writers' Cafe / General Venting Thread - Post your AIIIIIGH here.
« on: January 26, 2016, 11:51:54 am »
I'll get this party started. I've finished the first in a new series but I couldn't get it any longer than 33,000 words. My starter's a novella! I've also decided to revamp what I've already produced as I've learned so much in a year. A noob's life isn't easy.

So progress/knowledge is good, yes, and I'm excited about the new series even if it is short.


Is there a free program online where I can just upload an image and bang! I have a 3D box set cover? I don't have Photoshop or the Gimp (my little netbook can't handle them) or internet access at home so a YouTube tutorial won't help me. Or do I give $5 to a Fiverr cover designer?

Writers' Cafe / Twoot? Twipper? I think I'm Twittering wrong.
« on: December 17, 2015, 12:07:19 pm »
Here's what I'm posting on Twitter about once every two weeks, 'B or How the Bogeyman Didn't Save Christmas' is steamrolling the holidays!   #WeNeedDiverseBooks #kidlit #99cents #kindle #fantasy #Poor #Desperate #Star Wars #Tom Hiddleston Naked etc...

I post 3 or 4 times in a row with several different (but relevant, actually) hashtags to cover all the bases but I worry that's not the way to do it? Am I spamming?

2nd question, if I only have three followers on Twitter (sigh) what's the point of a Mailchimp mailing list?

Writers' Cafe / Christmas Crunch
« on: November 12, 2015, 08:45:13 am »
How are we all doing?

I'm trying to use NaNo to get my 2nd draft of the new novel done in time for New Years, at least, but it's slow going. And is everyone excited over the legend of the $50 Kindle Fires That Will Boost Sales or is that just wishful thinking?

Writers' Cafe / #1782 in Kindle Store
« on: September 21, 2015, 11:48:30 am »
Well, in  Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Holidays anyway! I've really come up in the world. But reviews still elude me. In fact one has disappeared. I've clicked everywhere and it's gone so I emailed Amazon and hopefully it'll come back if the reviewer didn't take it down. Haven't others had the same problem? Give it back give it back give it back!

I've also signed up for ACX and I'm hoping that goes smoothly. I'm almost ready for Christmas!

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