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Messages - kathrynoh

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I always have covers before I finish the first draft. I don't want to have my publishing date delayed by issues with the cover. For custom covers, designers can be booked out for months nowadays

If you find a premade that fits, you can always ask the designer about cover continuations. They are usually happy to do it, ofc since it's more work for them, but it's not always possible if you want the same model for the series.

I get easily confused by names starting with the same letter. I recently read a book where it was a family thing for all members to have names starting with A. I had no relevance to the story and was confusing AF.
TBH, I get confused between characters even if they have bland Anglo names of similar lengths. Eg. I'd confuse characters called Jason, Peter and Simon unless there's something major to distinguish them.

Its not bad but if I came across it randomly, I would click away. The reason being it does not grab my attention. My first thoughts are the images are out of place. For example, the opening image of the trilogy I would leave at the end. The text throughout are more like bullet points that are causing no excitement. I dont need to know every single issue, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, just name a few :)

Something to consider, the image at 43seconds is powerful, its attention grabbing and sets the tone/theme for your books . (I presume) Why not put it at the start of the video with something like,  The consitution is dead, and a rebirth is about to begin....

Only other advice is to set the stakes early on.... ie In a world besieged by natural disasters, hope lies in x, the problem? Rob and son must travel 1k miles on foot to get there...

The above is just a basic example, not perfect but might have you thinking of other ways to get this story across.


I'd also try to put as little text as possible on each slide. When people are reading more than a line or so of text, they aren't looking at the images so why bother with having a trailer and not just a blurb :D

I'd think about having one central image - the fire works really well - and speeding things up as the trailer progresses to get a sense of urgency and tension. I'd also think about changing up the music. Currently it sounds a bit corporate training video.

Btw, have you looked at - they have a bunch of footage that you can use for free so long as you credit the creator.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hidden Gems Question
« on: November 19, 2020, 01:04:00 am »
Put a signup form to receive an ARC of #2 in the backmatter.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Book trailers - Effective promotional tools?
« on: November 03, 2020, 08:25:18 pm »
I made a couple of trailers recently but went into it knowing it was the most productive use of my time if I wanted them solely to sell books. But sometimes it's good to do things just for fun.

If you want to do it yourself, just be careful esp if you're putting the video up on Youtube. I found a couple of free stock video sites that say their footage is okay for commercial use but they had no information about model releases etc then I did some googling and found out a lot of the stock is stolen! Last thing you want is a copyright infringement headache.

I used Envato, $30 for a month (much cheaper for an annual sub but I don't need that much stock) and edited using Davinci Resolve which is a free program but I reckon would have a steep learning curve if you haven't used editing software before.

Writers' Cafe / Q about Amazon payments into Transferwise
« on: October 30, 2020, 12:16:56 am »
Are payments from Amazon considered wire transfers or ACH?

I just noticed that from December Transferwise will be charging a flat fee of $7.50 for wire transfers from the USA but ACH payments are still free. I've tried checking my KDP account but it doesn't say which one they are.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question about KU exclusivity
« on: October 28, 2020, 10:46:23 am »
Would the second book be in KU? If so, I wouldn't see it as being any different to having a book 1 and a box set containing book 1 both in KU. Of course, Amazon might see it differently :D

Writers' Cafe / Re: Stuck and overwhelmed... any advice to get moving?
« on: October 20, 2020, 02:49:12 pm »
For formatting for your first books, use Draft2Digital. Vellum is great but you can do a decent job with Draft2Digitial's free formatting. If you don't know them, they are a distributor to sales sites like Amazon, Kobo etc but the really good thing about them is that you can use their site just for formatting even if you don't use any of their other services.

And seriously, just jump in and get started. It might seem overwhelming but really, there's no right and wrong. Publish, get data on what works and what doesn't then adjust your plan.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trigger warnings.
« on: September 26, 2020, 03:14:26 am »
I wouldn't put a trigger warning and I'd actually say that doesn't 'deviate from the norm'. It's something a lot of couples would've tried at least once :D

It might be worth putting something in the blurb about pushing limits or going out of their comfort zone. That should be enough of a hint of what's to come.

Yep. It happened to me. I called them about four times and finally got someone who actually understood what the problem was instead of giving me nonsense replies. 

In the end, I had to upload a scan of photo id then they turned the two step verification off on my account temporarily.

I love knowing that stuff. The ins & outs of different jobs. I find it fascinating. Maybe that's why I do talk about my work with my friends also. I listen about their work, I talk about mine, I listen about their kids and grandkids, we talk about my kids, we have conversations. It's all interesting.

I love the stories about funny customers or workmates, that kind of thing but the actual day to day work routines not so much. One of my sisters goes into really long stories about her office politics or what she's got going on and it drives me nuts. One of the reasons I love not working in an office any more is so that I don't have to deal with that stuff.

My family is supportive, in that they encourage me to write and love when they see the royalties coming in and are happy for any success that I have.

Huge caveat, and this will sound mean at first but is important for sanity preservation: I do not talk about writing or any part of the process with people who are not writers. Because it's always painful. Normal people know nothing about how any of it works. ANY OF IT> And I've been on the receiving end of so many dumb, weird , left-field, stereotypes about writers from movies questions because people don't understand. I I just stop them and say, "sorry. I don't talk about writing. It's too hard to explain."

TBH I really don't want to hear the how it works part of most jobs. I don't want to know the nitty gritty of being an accountant or a mechanic or a hairdresser. If I was writing a character with the same job, I'd probably fire questions at them but otherwise I never talk about work with my friends.

Writers' Cafe / Re: POLL: Your covers vs. Your income
« on: August 11, 2020, 05:35:19 pm »
I feel like there's a big flaw in this poll. You can't determine if someone is earning more because they are using a more well known designer or if they are using the well known designer because they are earning more.

Even if I was earning $84K+ a month, I probably wouldn't go with a big name designer because a lot of them are booked out over a year ahead. That would take way too much planning for me. I don't necessarily think the cover designer's fame correlates to the best possible cover for ME. There are some designers that charge top dollar and do fabulous work but the reason they charge so much is because they do things like custom illustration which wouldn't work for the genres I write in.

Even though I answered the poll, I tend to be all over the place with cover designers. If I find a $50 premade that works for me then I'll go for that. If I want covers for an entire series done at once, I'll use a designer that I know is reliable. I'd bypass a designer that i think is 10/10 for design skills (if you could possibly measure that objectively) for a designer who is 7-8/10 but who has good time management, is professional and knows the market.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need help from people who remember 1987
« on: August 08, 2020, 03:32:38 am »
One of my friends had a pager way after everyone had mobile phones. We used to laugh at him but he didn't want to be disturbed at work to take calls. From memory (which is not all that great, tbh), pagers went through a pager service. So I'd call the pager service and they'd send the page with my number.

I have no idea when answering machines came into being but before that, answering services existed. So someone would redirect their number to the answering service and an actual human took the message and passed it on. That would be something really expensive that only a business person etc would have.

Although, a doctor would have a receptionist to do that so if he he had a mobile phone, it'd be likely patients would ring the receptionist and she'd pass on the call to the doctor. 

Payphones were still in use. In Australia, you could only use them to ring out but I remember watching American dramas where people would give someone the payphone number and receive calls. If you didn't have change, you could always ring reverse charges (I think Americans call it something else) and the person on the other end would pay for the call. Of course, you'd only do that with friends, family etc and if it was urgent. We had phone boxes which I think gave a lot more privacy than the pay phones with just a hood thing over them. The main annoyance with them was calls dropping out, not having enough change or needing to use the phone while someone was on a long call (and there was a whole thing if you were on the phone, you never made eye contact with the person waiting). And of course, phones were often vandalised.

For a long time having a mobile phone was a showoff thing. People would walk around pretending to be on calls just to have their phone out. And they'd talk in really loud voices like look at me on the phone. I have some neighbours now who still go outside to take calls and do that!

Writers' Cafe / Re: I'm Going To Ask For Help Now.
« on: August 07, 2020, 08:34:14 pm »
That YA pen name is a bit... umm... weird. I don't know if you are aware, but breeding porn is an erotica niche. I don't usually pay attention to author names if I'm hooked by the blurb but if i saw Breedlove as an author name, I'd have second thoughts about the book.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What are the best premade cover sites?
« on: August 02, 2020, 09:50:27 pm »
Any reputable premade artist should guarantee they'll only sell the cover once. I've seen cover artists use the same stock photo on more than one cover but in a completely different way.

It's difficult to recommend a general premade site. I've got a bunch bookmarked that I go through if I'm looking for a cover but they are all romance and/or UF focused. It might be worth asking who is good in the genre you write. James at Goonwrite and Rocking Book Covers are both good and cover a range of genres (no pun intended).

Writers' Cafe / Re: How many Bookbub subscribers are really authors?
« on: July 15, 2020, 04:09:45 am »
With BB ads, I'd be less worried about your target authors having other author follow them and more concerned that authors with a large number of followers have got those followers though one of the 'bookbub follower' campaigns. You know, the kind of thing where you get a chance to win a Kindle or something other prize for following.

Thanks I am even more confused. I will mention (and should have before) that the young cinnamon colored girl is mainly alive in a 86 year old's memory (and appears as a ghost twice to her once her bones have been unearthed). They had been best friends in 1950, though they'd been of different races, and then the girl disappears....70 years later the 86 year old learns what really happened to her friend when the girl's bones are uncovered in someone's backyard. SO...I guess I can either call my long dead girl, in the old woman's memory, by the term Colored, but that the old lady would then mention that these days they were more often called Black. OR I could never mention the words Colored or Black, if I can manage it, and just say she had skin the color of cinnamon or something like that....

Kids don't tend to notice race like adults do and they definitely don't put a stereotype to it unless it comes from adults around them. So you could have the woman remembering her friend being called coloured by some adult and even have her confused over the term.  Like - why is my friend's skin considered coloured and mine isn't? I know when I was a kid, that word confused me in relation to skin colour and I never knew why I was "white" when my skin is more a pink colour.

But yeah, having the racial difference brought up by someone outside their friendship would work better. To the old woman, even now the other girl was her friend, not her "Coloured" friend.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Scamming the system?
« on: July 11, 2020, 08:52:18 pm »
You do realise that even if you gift your book to someone, they don't have to actually use that gift on your book? It's basically giving them Amazon credit with strong suggestion but they are free to use that money on anything they want.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Worth having a boxset?
« on: July 04, 2020, 11:03:44 pm »

Edit: I found out that the box set can be at most $9.99 - which is a bit of a bummer because my full series price is ~$21, so this is like a 50%+ discount. I was hoping to go at $14.99, but I will go this route and see how it works out. I don't like pricing too low, but I do like the idea of having the books in more people's hands.

Rather than do a deep discount, you could make it a 3 book box set, esp if you're planning to write more books in the series. I'd do that, then if you do a big promotion, eg. get a bookbub deal, put up the books you intend releasing next year up for preorder.

Thanks, everyone. Kathrynoh, I had asked earlier if Magic Academy novels were still hot or were on the decline, but no one answered. Do you know what tropes are hot right now?

Iíve been told TV shows set in magic schools are popular, eg Sabrina, Legacies. So I figured it must be hot in novels too.

What other trends are hot right now and will they continue to be hot for some time?

are there any emerging trends, ie tropes that are just starting to be popular and arent saturated yet? Thanks!

I started writing an academy series last year and back then there were a few fb groups of academy readers that were really active. I just released the last book in the series, way later than I intended, and those groups are just tumbleweeds now.

If you're planning to write a trilogy and rapid release, unless you're a super fast writer it's probably better to look subgenres that are more evergreen because otherwise a hot trend will be over before you are ready to release. Stuff like shifters, vampires, fae tend to be always popular.  Go dig around a bit on Amazon and check out the top 100 lists and see what fits in with what you want to write.

I wouldn't be writing an academy trilogy right now. It's been a hot niche for a while but it's on the decline and the market is really flooded.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
« on: June 18, 2020, 02:27:44 am »
If you use Vellum or the D2D EPUB generator, you never never to use a validator. TBH, I think they're outdated.

It depends. The D2D formatting does horrible things to your back matter like stripping out all the blank lines. I often go in and correct that myself rather than have everything squished up with no white space.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Would you put your ePub through a 'validator'?
« on: June 17, 2020, 08:00:35 pm »
I think you're being paranoid.

If you are only publishing on Amazon, you should never need to use an epub validator. I don't think there would be any real reason to even upload an epub to Amazon.

Other retailers, like Google Play, will sometimes reject your epub file and they never tell you what's wrong. If you run your file through a validator, you can pinpoint the exact error causing the rejection.

That's only been an issue for me when I've played with the coding for an epub file.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What am I doing wrong in KU?
« on: June 13, 2020, 06:05:48 am »
Go and make sure you have made your book available in KU. You may have not selected the box.

Yep, I did that once and only realised when a reader emailed me.

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