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Messages - Jonathan C. Gillespie

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Fantasy/Steampunk Blurb help wanted.
« on: March 16, 2016, 09:56:48 am »
This is a tough cookie. As someone reading the blurb, I'm lost in all the complexity pretty early on. It sounds like a rich universe, but I'd want to know the WHO and have a little less of the what. Further, let's make sure the audience knows the genre and length of stories, but bury it at the end, so that they're hopefully on board with the tropes before we hit them with a format that is always a tough sale.

Let's say, for example, that Bob, Richard and Cindy are some of the main protags in the various shorts. Hopefully they all have a weakness, to boot. Then:

When the hordes of the Predation attacked, only the Guild of Engineers was able to stop the wholesale slaughter of mankind. Now Bob, Richard and Cindy, three of their brightest, are tasked with facing the forces of destruction once more. For Bob, terrible secrets will be confronted in the Cusp Jungle, shattering his trust in family and science. For Richard, salvation from the slavery of drink and the encroachment of demonic influence might both be found on the distant shores of the Lost Lands. For Cindy, idealistic and the Guild's newest journeyman, fate will deal her a challenge she could have never imagined, right in the steam-thickened capital of Naddaran itself.

The merchants that rule the Provinces have always claimed the Predation held the greatest evils faced by man, but in this collection of steampunk short stories, the Guild's bravest will struggle to survive not just the malevolent powers lurking in the dark, but that which threatens to tear them apart form within.

TALES OF ENGINES & DEMONS. At what price safety?

Writers' Cafe / Re: D2D or Smashwords?
« on: March 16, 2016, 09:33:52 am »
I would go with D2D. I get the impression that SW is slowly, but inexorably being left behind by the times.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Overnight success: It only took me 17 years...
« on: March 14, 2016, 09:48:25 am »
I make some money, get good reviews, and people say I write well. But the books have flaws, and when I go back and read them long after they're published, I can see them. I try to learn from that, and as you said, from reading the books of those who are successful. Each book gets better. Giving up never really occurred to me. I'm rather dense like that. ;)

I'd be concerned only if you looked at prior books and *didn't* see flaws.

OP: Nice thread, and one that is welcome any time.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 35K Downloads in One Day? This Can't Be Right!
« on: March 14, 2016, 09:47:25 am »
Incidentally, does anyone have any inkling what Amazon's back-end reporting infrastructure is? Are they leaning on SSRS or are they an Oracle shop?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Scene changes and character perspectives
« on: March 14, 2016, 09:43:28 am »
One thing I do is make certain I mention POV character's name in the first para or two following a scene / chapter break. So I might open with a chapter that brings you back to Site B, but then I'll quickly root you in who exactly in Site B was involved.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Why does Bookbub hate me?
« on: March 03, 2016, 10:04:43 am »
It's possible, though unlikely, that their staff didn't realize what exactly Analog was. Did you happen to explain the significance of that market?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Scene changes and character perspectives
« on: March 03, 2016, 09:57:09 am »
The other option--and don't think I'm picking on you, because this is common among best-sellers (which you may be, for all I know)--is that one character's POV keeps losing the reader because the reader couldn't care less about that character. In multi-POV tales, we all wind up with our favorites, whose sections we simply can't wait for.

And then there's Bran Stark. And yet another ten pages of dream sequences and middling about how terrible life is and wondering what the more interesting characters are up to. Odds are, Martin placing any pertinent details inside Bran's chapters alone was a risky proposition, at least for this reader. So if I'd come out of Bran's latest angst-ridden heap into, say, Jon Snow's chapter, and Jon touched on something Bran had mentioned, I might have very well missed it. I'd be "lost" as a reader if that happened over and over again.

Thus, I'd ask your beta if they can pinpoint where they lost track of the tale, and I'd also ask them who their least and most favorite characters were. That will help tip you off as to if the issue lies in section breaks or POV shifts, or in something more critical, like if you devoted a big chunk of your book to a character whom you realized later on you didn't have enough material for, so you committed ye olde sin of scene padding.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Why not Nook aswell?
« on: March 02, 2016, 07:24:27 am »
And then complains about a doc that literally worked in every other distributor.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Why not Nook aswell?
« on: March 01, 2016, 01:45:01 pm »
Nook is dying.

Thank you!

Sounds like good advice Jonathan.

Uhm, the testimonials suggestion is probably the one that moves me more... I didn't think about that, even if I've always got great feedback in our private communications from the authors I've worked with.

You also suggest to post rates clearly and succinctly: well, I've set a price of $250 for a custom illustrated cover, and that's it - simple and straight. But, do you think it's showed clearly in my website, or do you suggest to put it in some other way?

Whatever advice you may have for my website, being one that has browsed bajillion, I'll be glad to read!

Sure! Offhand, your pricing was easy to find, and I like how minimalistic your site is. But I'd rename "Works" into something clearer, like "portfolio", and I'd make it sortable by genre ;-)

Hi all,

I know I'm a nobody, but lately I've been looking for a cover artist for a series; I've nearly wrapped the first two books up. Having browsed fifteen bajillion cover artist websites over the past few days, I wanted to offer some unsolicited advice to those of you touting your wares and services in this field. None of this is meant to offend, merely inform you.

1) Have a website. A real one. Not a Facebook page, not a wordpress blog (unless you've turned it into a slick storefront). Also, I don't want to get dropped into a blog post about your favorite chocolates or sports cars. It's like walking into any brick and mortar business and finding folks hanging out at the front counter talking Captain America vs. Batman. Don't do it. (Also, Batman would win)
2) Show us a portfolio of your covers. Link to it prominently from your homepage. Ideally, have the thing sortable by genre.
3) Pay attention to the nav in said portfolio. Your work is the number one qualifier I use to slelect you, other than industry cred, so make it easy to navigate and examine.
4) Post your rates clearly and succinctly.
5) It's great if you assure us you're flexible, and that you'll make twenty changes to the position of a mouse on an anthropomorphic fantasy romance cover, but honestly, we don't know you and don't know if that's true. You could be one of those flakes running an inbox that email disappears into, or you could have a killer temper. I'm sure neither of those scenarios is true, which is why I know you'll slap customer testimonials on your site, right?
6) For the love of Pete, if your cover graces a bestseller, pimp that it did.

Anyway, hope that helps any of your wonderful cover folks with your sites.

Yes. I only have a serial and a few anthos out, all with good review. Though they've never sold like hot cakes, they all have consistently sold in bits and pieces until the past month, when everything cratered. What's odd is that my freebies keep moving out, and people continue to add the books on goodreads so go figure.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Publishing book under deceased sibling's name
« on: December 07, 2015, 08:16:35 am »
Thank you all, and for the outpouring of sympathy. I didn't come here for that, but I certainly appreciate it.

Yes, my hunch is my parents are the executors, but for obvious reasons I don't want to hit them up with too much right now. All of the feedback here has been excellent, and I appreciate it all. I'll definitely speak to them about how the estate is handled, and what will be involved with transferring the rights to me.

I don't have any legal advice to give. But I just wanted to say sorry for your loss. And also, let us know when the book is published. I would like to contribute to your brother's memory and purchase the book.

I deeply appreciate this sentiment, but I don't intend to make a dime off the books. My hope is to include information about various addiction outreach programs and ministries, and the like, which a reader so-moved could make a donation to.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Star Trek Friday
« on: December 04, 2015, 10:35:26 am »
Yeah, exactly--if I was a Federation captain, I'd happily place 112th and be quite fine with that.

Jim: I'm told Sisko becomes the man once Ronald D. Moore truly runs the house.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Publishing book under deceased sibling's name
« on: December 04, 2015, 10:16:52 am »
Thanks, all. These are literally just poems in journals, these have never seen the light of day. My brother lived with my parents. This wouldn't have anything to do with his music, to my knowledge. There was no company he was already published through or anything like that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Star Trek Friday
« on: December 04, 2015, 06:32:46 am »
Attempting to access Kboards recently:

I dug that episode--like a Trek Halloween special--but always wondered why Data's fist didn't shatter the glass. This is a guy that tosses Borg around like toys.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Star Trek Friday
« on: December 04, 2015, 06:31:39 am »
Anyone want a flame war? Watch this:


1) Picard
2) Kirk
3) Sulu
4) Janeway
5) Sisko (as of me being up to Season Four)
6) Archer

Writers' Cafe / Publishing book under deceased sibling's name
« on: December 04, 2015, 06:28:07 am »

I'd appreciate your help.

I lost my only brother back on November 2nd. The dust has settled a bit now, though it'll take time for my core family to process this all. <venting>Lost my favorite cat last night, too. That was fun.</venting>

My brother, Steve, was a constant poet and a talented lyricist. I have at least four journals of his sitting on my desk, and I know he has one poem in the Library of Congress. He used to play in a local Atlanta group called Proof Negative.

This question might stray dangerously into legal territory, but I'm not expecting legal advice. Simply: if I wanted to self-publish an ebook of Steve's poetry in his name, would that be something Amazon or the other marketplaces would frown on? I don't intend to charge a dime for the book, or to collect any earnings from it of any kind. This is more about honoring my brother. He should have had this stuff published. But I don't want to have my seller's account banned or anything.

I'd publish the book through my publishing LLC.

Thanks, all.

Tom Edwards did my recent sci-fi cover (first in sig.) It's doing pretty well right now, but it was also just released.

Hah! Believe it or not, I once bought rights to one of his pieces for a cover of mine--saw one on his site and approached him about it. Tom's awesome and I'm so happy he's doing book covers at a regular basis now. I will definitely reach back out to him.

Thanks, guys! I'll bookmark this thread so I can revisit it.

Folks, your recommendations for good military sci-fi/dystopian cover artists are much appreciated. I've already marked down Damonza and Creative Indie Covers as possible candidates, but if I can find a proven specialist in these genres (read: whose covers are on books selling well) I'm all ears.

Emphasis is on selling books; I'd like to have someone who understands how to catch the eye and communicate an experience to the readers.

This will be for the first two books in a planned 3-4 book series, so obviously I'd need someone who will likely be around to do books three and four.

20,000-foot plot overview: An alien-augmented "peace keeper" is forced on the run from his own organization--alongside a resurrected military genius who once brought Earth to its knees.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What are all the hot-button topics on KBoards?
« on: September 29, 2015, 09:50:51 am »
I will confess that sometimes I see a locked thread and think "great, I missed the party".

Writers' Cafe / Re: What are all the hot-button topics on KBoards?
« on: September 29, 2015, 06:06:58 am »
Discussion of diversity/demographic quotas in fiction.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question for you guys re: character description
« on: June 26, 2015, 10:27:42 am »
Thanks. This was a first draft, so I'm just sort of banging out the frame of the house, if you know what I mean, guys. I know there's a ton of diversity among Asian races; living where I do you actually begin to recognize what part of Asia someone's usually from on the basis of very basic attributes. Describing them, though, is a challenge for me. I paused mid-sentence writing that description, and since the thought was there, why not take an opportunity to improve?

I love that there's literally been an article written about this.

Writers' Cafe / Question for you guys re: character description
« on: June 26, 2015, 09:55:58 am »
A character in my book is confronted by a woman wearing a mask covering her mouth, and a hood drawn down over her head. I describe the woman's eyes as "Asian eyes". Badly written, etc? Any alternates, if you see problems? Or is this A-OK?

Just looking for opinions. Happy Friday!

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