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I'm no pro. But I would say between the cover and the first page or two of writing, your book is one of the stronger titles I've seen on kboards this year.

Could you throw a bunch of money into ads and make a profit? Maybe. It's so well targeted. But I've seen it done and marketing a single book is a real grind.

As others have said, indie marketing strategies work best if you have a series and are publishing consistently. 

(I'll pass your post along to some folks who know the genre better than I.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do-it-Yourself Cover Design
« on: October 27, 2020, 06:46:01 am »
This is a great zombie thread because it was revived before it got too old and the info in it is still relevant. Kudos on timing.

Personally, I use Inkscape alongside Gimp. It has certain capabilities that Gimp does not and they compliment each other well.
Ultimately I went with a designer for my covers, but learning from doing it myself allowed me to work with designers more easily and keep my costs down. Also Gimp was really useful for making mockups and illustrating changes during the revision process.

Libre Office is great and in a few cases is even better than Word when you're working on outdated or obscure file formats. It WILL mess up your tab stops and formatting if you're hopping back and forth between word processors. Just make sure to update the software regularly because the developers are constantly updating their software to maintain compatibility between the various file formats. And fixing bugs. (Always report bugs when you find them. The developers will thank you.)

One note about freeware. I have seen what it looks like when I piece of software I love stops getting updates. (Open Office  :( ) So be appreciative of the people keeping it functional. If you can afford it, you should donate to the development team when you download it. There's usually a button on the download page. I do when I can. It's not much but I'm sure every bit helps. That goes for Wikipedia, too.

I have done it. For me it resulted in somewhat flat characters.
Not because I didn't know what the character arc would be. I did and I followed it. But because a the character's behavior and personality can evolve ever so slightly though their experiences, and mine didn't. Because I hadn't actually written those experiences yet. I fixed it somewhat in revisions, but it was a lot of work. 

Also tricky, all the extra worldbuilding and exposition it took to make sure I arrived at the exact scene I had written in the time and place that it called for. If I had been writing linearly, I'd have simply tweaked the outline as I went along so the scene fit into what I had already written, not vice versa. (I imagine this wouldn't be such a big deal now that I'm better at outlining.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: For Indie Authors looking to promote their eBooks!
« on: October 20, 2020, 08:03:12 am »
Hi everyone,

Sara here, and I must apologise for not introducing myself and the Page Turner Awards in my original post. I understand now how suspicious that must have seemed with the shortened links, you are all absolutely right! So I thought I would come back and firstly apologise, and then introduce myself.

I didn't take offense. But I'm not one of the more active members either.

I think it's great when people who have something useful pop in to drop off some information. But we get a lot of solicitation for things that offer little benefit, so expect people to poke and prod at your offering to see if holds up.

My first step in assessing an awards program is to see if they have an entry on Writer Beware. There are, of course, a number of awards models that go under scrutiny by Writer Beware but come away with an acceptable rating. A lot of programs started by indies for indies have fees to cover costs and work outside of the traditional models and witers are cautioned to watch out for red flags and proceed carefully.

This seems to be a more trad-pub offering. Se expect half the forum to reject it outright. No biggie. IMO the value of the offering would depend a lot on the reputation and track record of the literary agencies and presses involved in the contest and what kind of representation or publishing deal, if any, the entrant is locking themselves into should their book win. 

I did a few searches and didn't see an entry for Page Turner Awards. I would actually have been more comfortable with a proceed with caution from Writer Beware. Because then I would know the contest had been around for a while.

I'm seeing a mention on the "about us" section of your webpage that this contest is "sponsored" by Pro Writing Aid" which is a product I trust. I'm not sure to what extent a sponsorship constitutes an endoresement, but it is intriguing.

I found this interview online.

Here's a line from it:  Founder of The Page Turner Awards, Paula Wynne said: “When I was searching for awards to enter my novels, I found there was a gap in the market for writing awards that could change a writer’s career, so I decided to set up an awards program that gave writers and authors the chance to get discovered.”

Here's a line about some of the prizes:

Winners of the Writing Award may receive representation by a literary agent. Winners of the eBook Award will receive a publicity campaign for their book, and the chance to secure film rights for their book. There’s also a line-up of valuable writing and authorship prizes for short-listed submission of both awards.

Also this:

The prestigious judging panel boasts publishers and literary agents, and includes Kimberley Atkins, Publisher for Hodder & Stoughton in London, Karly Caserza Literary Agent with Fuse Literary Agency, Susan Mears from Susan Mears Literary & Film Agency and Louise Buckley from the Zeno Agency.

While a lot of people here are put off by the idea of agents, I think the value of the the value of this is dependent on the reputation and track record of those involved. I'm not going to dig into that, at least not today. But I think anyone interested in the awards really should search the names and agencies independently.  It could be REALLY cool. Or the opposite.

Further reassurances from the original poser aren't much help beyond this point. People will want to do the work of digging into this themselves before applying.  But kudos to Sara for coming back and responding in a constructive way.   :) 

(Edited to add: I just checked out the testimonials page. Nobody I know on there. There are a LOT of trusted names in the indie author community. However, I don't fault a more traditional-minded UK based awards program for not having an endorsement from any of them. Still, it would go a loooong way if they did.)

I don't know if this will be helpful for anyone, but I just wrote up a mini-lesson on when to use commas between adjectives that precede a noun. Figured it couldn't hurt to share it here, as it's a topic I find myself puzzling over sometimes during editing.

You are always appreciated. While I knew this one, I often forget it during editing as I am frantically trying to reduce the number of commas are use out of habit.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to cautiously slouch down to the nearest bar.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Books that got you interested in writing
« on: October 17, 2020, 07:24:27 am »
Was that the waitress at the inn who was in love with Raistlin?

Tika! She eventually took over the inn and married Caramon.

I would say Dragonlance was the the first one that really got me to start writing. I was probably fourteen at the time.

Writers' Cafe / Re: For Indie Authors looking to promote their eBooks!
« on: October 16, 2020, 06:39:08 am »
Word choice is a bit suspect. I don't write "eBooks." I just write books and ebook is the name for some of the digital the formats I publish in.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Promo ruined!
« on: October 13, 2020, 06:27:19 am »
Thx for the update.

Just out of curiosity, when you first asked them to price match it did you provide them with a couple of addresses or just Nook?
I usually give them two. I wonder if I'm safe...

Writers' Cafe / Re: other forums
« on: October 11, 2020, 09:35:58 am »
I am a bit of a broken record on this subject, but my opinion hasn't changed. Podcasts are where it's at. Listening to podcasts you get the social feel, without the arguments.

But to answer OP, there is community in the audience participation on these shows' facebook pages, on gorups they organize, even in the dreaded youtube comments section. You can ask questions and get answers. And the cool thing is, the tone of the discussion is largely determined by the tone of the show. By engaging with shows you like, you'll naturally gravitate toward communities that are a good fit. I haven't had the time to dive in and see how good these small communities can get, or what the best platforms are, but if some of these shows have, say, a discord channel, that's probably the place to be.

I like the Sell More Books Show for news and Six Figure Authors for strategy stuff. The guys from 20Books have a youtube that's pretty good. Self Publishing Formula has a pretty active facebook group. And Self Publishing Podcast is still around, but they're calling it The Story Studio now.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trigger warnings.
« on: September 26, 2020, 06:07:18 am »
To paraphrase what other people have said already, the big risk isn't offending or upsetting people. The risk is that people who want that kind of thing in a book won't be able to find it, and the people who don't want it will be disappointed it's there. If it's a minor part of your story then don't worry about it.

But if it's a big part of the story it should be baked into the branding. Even if you have to be a little subtle about it depending on the rules of the marketplace.

All the focus on his dad, without any other context caused me to assume Rob was a child. Because of that, I couldn't decide if the second line was about Pepper's wife or Rob's wife. I eventually decided Rob is an adult and it's about his wife, but by that point I'd sort of lost interest and wasn't drawn in to read more.

If you were to rephrase the first sentence so that Rob is the focus instead of Pepper, maybe even change dad, to father, just for good measure, then you could easily avoid this confusion.

When disaster strikes, Rob Bell knows exactly where to go. His father Pepper's secret bunker in ___. Trouble is, it's a thousand-mile trek and his wife only wears high heels.

David Wright's decoy addresses?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is Amazon gonna reduce my ebook page count?
« on: September 10, 2020, 07:52:39 pm »
I published an ebook a year ago and Amazon said it was 272 pages. I just did the paperback version of the book today, but it only has 208 pages. Is Amazon gonna reduce the page count of my ebook to 208 to match the physical book page count?
Happened to me, though that was three years ago. Fun fact, if your page count drops below 150 you're no longer able to apply for bookbub.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Best Writing Advice You Ever Got
« on: September 10, 2020, 06:17:24 am »
Best piece of original advice I ever got was from a writer down in Alabama. We were talking about this scene where the main character parks and walks down to a church. The scene was describing the front of this quaint little whitewashed church with a red door and brass knocker in great detail, bordering on purple prose. He said something to the effect of: "Everyone has a little whitewashed country church somewhere in their memory. All you have to do is say little country church, and nostalgia will do the rest. If you describe it like this you take that away from them."

Of course this is a little presumptuous about the reader's background. But the book was southern fiction, so it's was written for a very specific and nostalgic audience. I still find places where it comes in handy. It's also a trick that if overused, leads to a lot of tell-don't-show-ing. Still, there are times when the thing I'm describing is so beyond description that it's better to refer to it obliquely and let the reader's imagination fill in the gaps. Or in the case of horror, times when the thing is so terrible that the narrator can't bring themselves to look at it and not knowing is even more terrifying than knowing.  It is a fun trick if you're careful.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Best Writing Advice You Ever Got
« on: September 10, 2020, 05:59:14 am »

2.)  A long time ago I was watching the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie with a friend of mine after work, and he made a very good observation about the movie that's stuck with me.  He said something like, "You know, I really like how there is always a few things happening in the scene."  And it's true (for the first movie at least) that there are always multiple characters who are after different things and a lot of the time they are focused on different parts of what is in the same scene.  Now, I don't do exactly this thing all the time, but I do like to think about my chapters before I write them and think about how more than one thing would be happening in the same chapter.  Where the characters would focus, what's the undercurrent of what's happening, how does this fit into the larger picture, or is there something building into the larger plot?  I really try to keep that in mind ever since my one friend said that one thing one time.

I tell everyone, if you want a master's course in writing, buy the Pirates of Caribbean DVD and watch the writer's commentary. (Not the Director's or the Actors', the Writer's.) They break down every scene, joking and laughing and telling anecdotes about why things were written the way they were, who put them there and what it did for the narrative. It was also the first time I realized how powerful collaboration could be and how a movie that was "written by committee" could actually be brilliant if the "committee" were all world class writers and all on the same page.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Plots for Authors - 50% Off Sale Ends 8/31
« on: August 31, 2020, 08:40:07 pm »
I guess being creative is no longer a prerequisite to writing.


Was DaVinci any less creative for studying anatomy?

Glancing at the samples on the website, there is little difference between the structure of these outlines and the advice you would get from a good romance editor.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Where's the best place for you when writing?
« on: August 30, 2020, 10:19:57 am »
There are a few classy little coffee shops I pretend to be working, but the only place I really got anything done was this overcrowded McDonald's in Alabama, and another back in Florida.  Since the last time I moved I haven't found a good working place yet, but my kitchen table looks out over a busy  corner in a cool little city so that has been working okay for the time being.

Writers' Cafe / Re: SF language: Fugee people speak Fugee/Fugeise?
« on: August 29, 2020, 06:43:38 am »
You said it was a mashup language. So I assumed Fugee was derived from "fusion." If you don't want the word to be as much of derogatory term, go with Fusion or Patty's suggesiton: Fusian.

Wow, Salvage Trouble looks like a very specific and hard to target genre of space opera, and assuming the content of the book matches the vibe here, you hit it ON THE NOSE!

King's Dagger is super creative.

I tried it and couldn't get any views on my weekly posts. I got the impresson that the only way to get followers there is to be active in the writing forums and commenting on other peoples writing. And most of the people writing in those forums are very young and new to the craft.

Great place if you're a teen who's just getting started. And established authors who already have fans seem to do okay. Didn't work for me.

In short, it seems like a very good example of the social media rule of thumb: The best social media to promote your books is the one you're already using.

You might find that you don't get many responses to this. There is something of a history of indie authors sharing this kind of private business info only to have it used for something they disagree with, or being cut off from the the data when the end product is sold off.

I'm not passing judgement on any of those past disagreements, only saying that the more you share about your intentions the more help and support you will get.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Why is this cover not a thriller?
« on: August 15, 2020, 07:51:57 pm »
You guys, you've given me a thriller cover design tutorial. Thanks so much! I don't know if the cover is there yet (or ever will be) but I certainly think it's way better than it was. Thanks again!

The old:

The new:

Oh, this is a marked improvement.

I think if you can incorporate some of what Gareth did with the contrast adjustments to the central image, that will work well with the new font and the black around the edges.

I don't know if I would go as far as imawriter did with the color changes, but a very slight tinted overlay would also help pull it all together.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is ACX collapsing?
« on: August 14, 2020, 05:58:45 am »
Just chiming in to add some data. I submitted two ~5 hour audiobooks. One of them was submitted in Jan. The other was submitted in April. Both came out in May. So one took about 90 days and the other took just under three weeks. I checked in with ACX regularly and they told me there were no issues, just that they were working through a backlog.

Both audiobooks went through different narrators and producers, so it could be that one sailed through QC checks, while the other got hung up for one reason or another. Or it could be that they've got two lists, a fast normal list and a backlog list that they occasionally add to.

I had a friend who received an email from them back in Feb confirming the backlog. Though in his case, he had  had asked to make changes to his submission, so the purpose of the communication was to let him know that because of the changes his book had to be put at the back of the queue, which was a bummer because he'd already been waiting 30 days and had to start over. I imagine there are a few people who have been bumped to the back of the backlog for similar reasons.

Writers' Cafe / ACX and online readings.
« on: May 03, 2020, 08:17:45 am »
Is there any way that a recording of a live reading of my audio book could be considered stepping on audible's toes? I'm not worried about small snippets during book launch parties etc, but in these times where people are stuck inside doing extended readings of things, and when distributors are increasingly relying on bots to monitor and enforce, I don't want to inadvertently cross any lines.

The same goes for sharing samples provided to me by ACX. I know how to get samples. I know I'm allowed to share un-approved samples. But is there anything I need to be worried about when it comes to where and how I share and title said samples? For example sharing it on youtube with the book cover as the video.

They covered this recently on Sell More Books Show. Highly recommend following this podcast, it's only a half hour or so and they cover top self publishing news items pretty efficiently.

Apparently this backlog is still going on.

I started hearing about it anecdotally a few months ago, then last month it was confirmed a lot here.
The same people who confirmed it, did get through to ACX and were told there was a roughly 1-2 month backlog. Those same individuals have since been published, so there is an end to the tunnel.

I have had a book in for about  a month now. Am hoping it comes out by mid may. Have a second book about to go into the tube late and I would really like to see it come out sooner.

This may or may not be related, but just a week or two ago ACX announced that they would no longer be counting free coupon codes as sales.

So there was speculation as to whether the backlog was real, or if it was a way of stopping publication of two months worth of books so that they would not be published in time to benefit form the old coupon code rules. Though there is a chance it's unrelated. Also a chance this backlog is the result of some massive influx in new audio titles, as a result of everyone diving into audio this year and this change was zon's reaction to the same ecosystem change that caused the backlog. I would say time will tell, but so often things happen behind the scenes here and we don't get enough data ever know the real reason.

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