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Messages - Jonathan C. Gillespie

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126
Writers' Cafe / Re: I have no idea how to plot a sequel
« on: July 19, 2016, 12:24:57 pm »
And how do their ideas evolve over time, particularly as the other characters' ideas and personalities undergo the same transitions? This kind of thing gives you the opportunity to set up conflicting motives and tension, even between characters that got along like gangbusters in book one. If you then ramp up the pressure with a few external events, such as the rise of a new, *credible* foe, you're in business.

Characters are much more interesting in a pressure cooker.

Also--I'm endorsing Hawker's book as well. It's not the end-all-be-all of plotting books, but it's a great resource.

127
Writers' Cafe / Re: Christian fiction, Am I going too far?
« on: July 19, 2016, 12:10:39 pm »
Christianity has endured everything from the schisms in the Middle Ages to the unfair reductionism of its tenents and history foisted upon it by contemporary times. It will survive your novel; the fact is it's been exposed to worst. That's part of its divinity; part of its prophecy-in-progress. It endures.

Living in what should be an open court of ideas means tolerating and not shouting-down those who suggest possibilities or notions we disagree with or find offensive. There's no way for me to say that without it sounding like I'm self-righteous, but there it is. Nevertheless, I'm the first to admit I'd never buy a book that portrays a relationship that simply isn't Biblical. I'd feel like I was being disrespectful to a savior to whom humanity owes an incredible debt.

So while I encourage you to write what you want to write, be aware that the consequences to your reputation and your bottom line can be very real. A lot of people will politely walk away, but you should, I hope, understand that many are practically Pavlovian these days about springing to the keyboard to vent their rage when THOU HAST OFFENDED ME, and such a work is virtually guaranteed several passionate reviews regarding your passionate scenes. Spitting in the face of ideas is always going to produce vitriol, whether those ideas are religious, political, or what have you.

128
The trick is to always get your manny back with tracked changes. Accept/reject based on your stylistic choices. My editor does this for me, and the results are great. I credit them in the books, but to ensure they're rep isn't dinged in case it was a choice I made, I always add "...with some minor additional text changes made by the author", just in case.

129
Writers' Cafe / Re: Sorry, but your book is terrible.
« on: July 07, 2016, 07:38:16 am »
Perhaps my difference in stance here comes from cutting my teeth in short fiction genre markets, where other authors who were on-staff in magazines and podcasts would and often did publicly review fiction (and still do). There's a stance in these markets that you should take your licks and feedback and learn from them, and that's it all helpful to you as an author--to improve your work--and to the readers as a whole.

Maybe that POV is becoming obsolete. I'll have to consider it.

130
Writers' Cafe / Re: Is $1.99 books dead?
« on: July 07, 2016, 06:50:09 am »
My two short fiction collections never sell at $1.99. Ever. My novels do fine. I'm thinking of moving the short fiction collections into Kindle Select as a result, and start going after page reads as opposed to boughts.

131
Writers' Cafe / Re: Sorry, but your book is terrible.
« on: July 07, 2016, 06:41:03 am »
I only review on Goodreads, and only for non-book products on Amazon, and then under an alias.

On Goodreads, I'll rate whatever I want with whatever stars I choose. I recently dinged an award-winning novel with two stars. I also did not like Dune and was very public about it. This is not due to ego. Rather, I believe any author ought to be able to take honest reviews about what they write. I think honest reviews enrich reading for everyone and help both authors improve and readers evaluate books they might like. I've certainly had reviews--good and bad--for my works over time. I do not respond to these, ever, good or bad, unless the reader has reached out to me personally.

Being able to take criticism is part of this business. It's a sign you're professional. To imagine that criticism from our colleagues is unwarranted is to pretend we've reached the apex of our craft. Look at the occasional cook on "Top Chef" that argues with the judges' feedback. You'd instantly view them as less professional, and I think you should.

I'm not just an author, I'm also a reader. I put my time and money into someone else's work when I read it, and by God I'll rate it badly if I want to. If the colleague or author wants to take issue with that, that's on them, not on me.

What I won't do is namecall or anything else. I won't suggest the author has no talent, or any other slurs. I'm polite, but in the same token I won't withhold constructive criticism.

To be fair, I haven't reviewed many self-pubbed books. I have limited reading time, and I'm trying to read as many classics as I can. You can improve your writing significantly by reading the greats, so even my reading time is an investment, and must be spent with that mind.

132
Writers' Cafe / Re: HELP! How to traslate READS into REVIEWS?
« on: July 07, 2016, 06:34:13 am »
There's no either/or with a back matter. Here's my whole format for Revenant Man, for example:

1. TOC
2. Big ole' title page including copyright info and list of works currently out (with links, including to mailing list)
3. Dedication
4. Ye Olde Book in Chapters
5. A Note from the Author -- emphasizing value of reviews and encouraging readers to follow, join mailing list, spread the word. Includes link to title on Goodreads.
6. Preview of Next Book
7. Links to other titles available, including images and blurbs.
8. About the Author

No one--not a single person--has ever complained. Having said that, someone will probably drop me a one-star about it tomorrow ;-)

133
Writers' Cafe / Re: Accurately previewing eBook files...
« on: July 06, 2016, 06:49:44 am »
Any aversion to using Scrivener? I've never had issues with its Kindle generated files.

134
Huzzah :)

Well, that's gonna make the morning cup of coffee taste that much better.

Thanks, folks.

135
Thanks, but I guess I don't understand. The counts I'm seeing are all legitimate page read counts, which I will get paid for? Folks "buying" the book don't have their page read counts register?

136
Writers' Cafe / Re: My First Post-Joining-K-Boards Launch
« on: July 06, 2016, 05:59:35 am »
Hi Jaclyn,

Just dropped in to say your first two books there have pretty wicked covers. Very eye-catching in thumbnail--I didn't even check out the full-size versions because the thumbnails are so sharp. Nice work from your designer!

137
Hi folks,

Simple question here. REVENANT MAN and SHATTERED SON dropped last week, and I put REVENANT MAN on a quick free run through today. It might be the only free run I ever do for the first book, because they seem to have legs (but we'll see if that remains the case).

Anyway, the KENP pages read count is very impressive so far. But I'm not sure how that metric works. Does the KENP page count reflect those pages read from those "buying" REVENANT MAN for zero pennies, or is the KENP count legitimate reads from those who are simply using their subscriptions to read? In other words, am I going to get royalties for the counts I'm seeing?

Much appreciated.

138
With respect, I disagree. You might not need an editor, personally, because of your bonafides within the craft itself, but your post strikes me as an ASE-certified tech telling Joe Bob down the street that he can totally handle that engine overhaul, because only Joe Bob knows how his 'vette should sound when someone nails the throttle.

139
Writers' Cafe / Re: HELP! How to traslate READS into REVIEWS?
« on: July 01, 2016, 10:20:45 am »
I spell it out in my back matters. I underscore the fact that the average reader doesn't know how powerful a review is, and that it literally affects everything from algorithms to my ability to promote. I link directly to Goodreads, as well. Short of a visit from Fat Tony, that's the most you can do to make a reader cough up the good stuff.

140
When I was younger and still trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I dabbled in real estate. We'd drive by these beautiful houses, here in parts of Atlanta where the old money puts up monuments to said cobwebbed funds, and I'd see these mansions, and once I proclaimed--with some melancholy--"I can't imagine ever living in something like that".

And the seasoned investor--who retired from a nine to five decades ago--glanced at me and said "and if you can't imagine it, you definitely never will".

141
I wished I'd read more, a long time ago. Nothing teaches better than reading something written by an artist.

I also wish I'd have learned a long time ago that what a reader wants, first and foremost (as far as fiction format) is novels, and that everything else is viewed as something confusing, obtuse, or money grabbing, and that leads to a disconnect and thus lost opportunities.

142
Daniel Day Lewis is truly the greatest living actor (imo of course). The monologues are so quotable. As a writer I just kept going "I wish I'd written that...and that...and that...". It was a stage play first, hence the caliber of the writing.

But yeah, always have to discuss that movie when I see it mentioned

Daniel Day Lewis is the kind of actor everyone else in the film wishes they were. The man is a genius. I didn't care for Lincoln, but I watched it just for Lewis.

143
Writers' Cafe / Re: Mil sci-fi blurb critique
« on: June 23, 2016, 01:28:14 pm »
Given your suggestions (which are appreciated):

Quote
"Since adolescence Reed Barowe has served in the Serpican Police, a powerful, alien-equipped agency enforcing peace on Earth. But running covert ops across a world still recovering from the madman Tak Akasa is dangerous work, and on a routine mission radicals kill Barowe's squad and capture him for interrogation.

Though able to escape, Barowe is betrayed by his unit and finds himself on the run with a living ghost--a man appearing to be none other than Akasa himself. In their journey through a shattered United States and into a guerilla resistance waged against a brutal dictator, Barowe and his brilliant ally will make unlikely friends. And Barowe will find everything he was brainwashed to believe replaced by one question:

Will he help a man he's been trained to kill?"

144
Writers' Cafe / Mil sci-fi blurb critique
« on: June 23, 2016, 10:49:36 am »
Good, or room for improvement? Thanks!

Quote
Since adolescence Reed Barowe has served in the Serpican Police, a powerful, alien-equipped agency enforcing peace on an Earth still recovering from the madman Tak Akasa. But a mission to escort an ambassador turns deadly as the troops under Barowe's command are killed, and he is captured and tortured.

Though able to escape, Barowe is betrayed by his unit and finds himself on the run with a living ghost--a man appearing to be none other than Akasa himself. In their journey through a shattered United States and into a guerilla resistance waged against a brutal dictator, Barowe and his brilliant ally will make unlikely friends. But Barowe will find everything he was brainwashed to believe replaced by one question:

Will he help a man he's been trained to kill?

145
Writers' Cafe / Re: Quoting reviews
« on: June 20, 2016, 10:06:58 am »
Thanks, guys. I think I'll just drop them for now.

146
Writers' Cafe / Quoting reviews
« on: June 20, 2016, 05:43:31 am »
Hi guys,

I'm prepping the release of two novels, and in the back matter linking to some of my earlier work, I'd like to quote some of the reviews for the Beacon Saga Serial. Is it all right to give the reviewers' names and quotes, or do I have to contact each reviewer on Amazon and get permission first? Some of these folks are just regular customers/readers, of course.

Muchas gracias.

147
Much appreciated!

148
Writers' Cafe / Publishing a *completely new* version of an older book
« on: April 15, 2016, 10:41:10 am »
Folks, I give you exhibit A in this tale, one The Tyrant Strategy: Revenant Man, as seen in said link below:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0985629908

There were a lot of things that went right, but also many things that didn't in creating that novel and finished product. I hung up the series after the first book was out because I was so frustrated with the first book, but I didn't give up on the series. Now, years later, as we speak I've got a cover artist lined up and the completely rewritten Revenant Man and its sequel are both rapidly approaching publication.

Yes, I know they say "never rewrite an old book", but the fact is I didn't do that tale right the first time, and I had things I wanted to fix with another pass. I won't ever do this again in the future, I promise you that.

Understand that Revenant Man, when it's re-released, is going to be a completely different animal. About half the plot has changed, supporting characters have disappeared, the editing is pro-level now, the cover will be completely different, etc. Even the title is different: Revenant Man (Book One of The Tyrant Strategy).

So--what do I do with this old version of the book? I ceased selling its ebook versions a while back, but I can't do anything about the mighty Zon's listings for its paperbacks (even though I shut down Createspace availability). Has anyone approached so dramatic a new version of a book before? Did you reuse your ISBN and hoped you'd avoid any reader confusion? Even with old-version paperbacks still floating around in the wild? Did you go with a new ISBN, and on the old product page write a nice bold description telling folks to ignore that version ad looky-loo to the new?

How'd you hack it, or how would you? In the immortal words of Fred Willard, "Your thoughts, please."

149
Not Quite Kindle / Re: Most overrated and underrated films of all time
« on: March 25, 2016, 10:42:25 am »
Aliens was very awesome.

I third that.

150
Not Quite Kindle / Most overrated and underrated films of all time
« on: March 25, 2016, 05:39:18 am »
It's Friday. Let's take our writer hats off for a second and have some fun.

Name some movies: at least one underrated and one overrated (or more, if you care too).

I recently saw Tron: Legacy. I was expecting a popcorn flick in a stylish wrapper. And for the first half hour or so, that's exactly what it is, with a protag that didn't really excite me and a threadbare plot. The moment we meet Flynn again, however, the film becomes this kind of tech-noir dreamscape, the score becomes alternately haunting and moving, and the performances congeal together into a kind of melancholy soup I haven't seen since Bladerunner. I still can't quantify exactly why this film moved me so emotionally. I grok the themes even while I find the broader plot troubled, but there's just something going on here that makes for a beautiful film. I'm left considering the piece's DNA, which runs the gamut of everything from the original film to anime, and I find the end product is nothing other than good, solid science fiction. I adored it.

On the other hand, I also saw the recent Star Wars and while it was enjoyable, I found it very disappointing. I don't get the widespread critical acclaim, unless we're all just so traumatized by Episode I and II that our expectations have been lowered. I found it very derivative and full of the kind of disruption of mythos and unrealistic character development that bothered me so much about the bulk of the prequels. Abrams did better with this than Episode I, for sure, but I actually think "Revenge of the Sith" was a better flick, warts and all.

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