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Topics - starkllr

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Writers' Cafe / Promo Op: Weekly Welcome Wednesdays
« on: October 07, 2015, 05:00:27 am »
Welcome to today's Welcome Wednesday discussion at my website! This morning we're talking about beginnings. Authors, stop on by and tell us about the very first book you published. Readers, come on over and discover some great new authors!

Writers' Cafe / Promo Op: Weekly Welcome Wednesdays
« on: September 30, 2015, 05:15:57 am »
My weekly Welcome Wednesdays post is up.  This morning, we're talking about influences in your writing.  So, authors, hop on by and tell us about one of your books and a work (book, movie, something else) that influenced it.  Readers, stop on by and discover some great new authors...

Writers' Cafe / Promo Op - Weekly Welcome Wednesdays
« on: September 23, 2015, 04:12:48 am »
My weekly Welcome Wednesdays post is up.  Authors, come on over and talk about your books!  Readers, come on over and discover great new authors!
This morning we're talking about titles and how we come up with them...

Writers' Cafe / Promo Op: Weekly Welcome Wednesdays
« on: September 16, 2015, 05:24:36 am »
My weekly Welcome Wednesdays post is up.  Authors, hop on over and tell the world about your books.  Readers, come and discover some great new authors!
Today's topic is about the most fun you've had writing - tell us about a character, scene, plot, etc that you particularly enjoyed writing, and why...

Writers' Cafe / Promo Op - Weekly Welcome Wednesdays
« on: September 09, 2015, 05:06:12 am »
My weekly Welcome Wednesdays promo is up!  Authors, stop by and tell the world about your books.  Readers, discover some great new writers!
This week, we're talking about villains, so bring us your worst bad guys and tell us all about them!

Writers' Cafe / Promo Op: Weekly Welcome Wednesdays
« on: September 02, 2015, 04:31:34 am »
My weekly Welcome Wednesdays post is up.  Authors, stop by and tell the world about your books!  Readers, stop by and discover great new authors!
Today's question is all about point of view - why do authors choose a particular POV, and what does that add to the story...

Sent from my XT1056 using Tapatalk

OK, long title, but basically that's my question.

I've signed up for a booth (I get a 10x10 space with 2 tables and a tent) at the annual Clarendon Day festival in Arlington, VA.  From part experience, it's very crowded all day long (the website claims 30,000 visitors over the course of the day, which seems about right based on how busy it was last year).

I've got a spiffy 3x6 foot banner to hang on my tent, I've got my credit card reader ready to go, several hundred bookmarks to give away, flyers, etc.

My question, for anyone who's done something like this, is: how many books should I have on hand?  I don't have the slightest idea what to expect as far as actual customers or interest, so I don't know wherher I need to have 50 copies of my books to sell, or 500.   I don't want to run out of stock and turn away willing readers, but I don't want to spend several hundred dollars ordering books that I'll have to drag back home (and aside from the cost, I don't have anyplace to store several boxes worth of unsold books). 

Writers' Cafe / Promo Op: Weekly Welcome Wednesdays
« on: August 26, 2015, 02:52:10 am »
My weekly Welcome Wednesday's post is up.  Please stop by and tell us about your books in the comments (and readers, discover great new authors there!)
This week's topic is research: what's the strangest thing you had to research for one of your books?

Writers' Cafe / Promo op - Welcome Wednesdays
« on: August 19, 2015, 06:51:36 am »
I've got my Weekly Wednesday post up at my website.  Come on over and talk about your book(s) if you're an author, or discover some great new authors if you're a reader.  Or, obviously, if you're both, you can do both!

 Today, I'm asking authors to share their favorite one or two sentences from their book.  It'll be fun, so hop on over!

Sent from my XT1056 using Tapatalk

Writers' Cafe / Weekly promo op at my website
« on: August 05, 2015, 04:37:14 am »
My weekly Welcome Wednesdays feature is up at my website.  Stop by, and if you're an author, tell the world about your book and what kind of movie or TV show it ought to be turned into.  And if you're a reader, discover some great new authors!

Sent from my XT1056 using Tapatalk

Writers' Cafe / Promo Op - New Weekly Feature at my website
« on: July 29, 2015, 05:10:11 am »
For the last three weeks, I've been running a new feature at my blog every Wednesday - "Welcome Wednesdays."

Just click over, and post in the comments about one of your books or series, and respond to the weekly topic.  Today it's all about supporting/secondary characters.  So after you briefly describe your book, tell the world about one of your favorite supporting characters - how did you create them, what do they bring to the story, who'd play them in a movie, anything you want to share about them.  And be sure to include a link to your book so folks can check it out and hopefully buy it!

Writers' Cafe / Hackers from Argentina
« on: July 12, 2015, 09:02:11 am »
Just a heads-up to folks. 

I installed the WordFence plugin on my self-hosted WordPress blog, and one of the things it does is let me know every time someone tries to sign in to the admin page of the blog.  And ever since, I get a warning every day or two that someone from Argentina was locked out of accessing the admin page after exhausting their 5 tries with a wrong password (there've also been a couple of attempts from Ukraine).  I've changed my password, and I'm looking at other things I can do to keep these people out of my hair.

Keep your eyes open - if they're trying to hack into my site that gets 30-50 hits a day, they're probably trying to get into your sites, too.

Writers' Cafe / Recommendation for Customized USB Drives?
« on: July 01, 2015, 07:03:58 am »
Can anyone recommend a vendor for ordering customized (printed with my logo/web address/etc) USB flash drives?  I'm thinking of ordering some to use as giveaways and promo items.

My idea is to use 1 or 2 GB drives, preload them with (some of) my books in ebook format (including multiple file formats for each book), maybe mp3 files of samples from the audiobooks, etc.  I figure there's both the initial bonus of being able to give away ebooks on the spot, and also giving away a useful item where the recipient will hopefully be reminded of me and my books every time they use the flash drive.

So I just need to figure out where to order them from.  Anybody else do something like this and feel good about their vendor?  Thanks!

Writers' Cafe / Criminal Law question
« on: June 17, 2015, 07:26:35 am »
I need some info for my current WIP.  A character has been arrested for a hit & run accident while he was driving drunk.  It happens on a Friday night, so he spends the weekend in jail.  Monday morning, he's brought before a judge to be arraigned (this is in New York State).

Now if he pleads not guilty, I know what happens.  A trial date is set, and bail (may be) set, at which point he/his family posts it, and he goes home; or now, and he goes back to jail to await the trial.

But what happens if he pleads either guilty, or No Contest?  Is he sentenced then and there, or is a later date set for the sentencing?  And if so, is there any possibility of bail being set or does he automatically go backto jail to await the sentencing?  Does the distinction of guilty vs. No Contest make a difference in this?

Writers' Cafe / Release Schedule Qs
« on: June 15, 2015, 09:10:37 am »
I know the general sentiment (and my own feeling) is to release a new book as soon as it's ready to go.  But I'm thinking ahead to later in the year, and I'm asking for the wisdom of kboards to weigh in on this.

I'm working on the 10th and final book of my current series.  I've got about 30,000 words written.  Assuming nothing horribly out-of-the-blue happens and based on my usual pace, etc. I'll have a book that's ready to be released around the end of September.  It's possible it could go more quickly, but with work, family and so forth, I can't really depend on that.

Usually, I'd just schedule the release for early October and get working on the next book.  But October is not very far from Christmas - and the Christmas shopping season.  So now I'm wondering, should I hold off on releasing the book until closer to the end of the year, to take advantage of Christmas and seasonal promotional opportunities?  If the answer to that is "yes," when would be the best time?  Right before Thanksgiving?  Right after?  Mid-December, 2 weeks or so before Christmas?

If I thought I could have another book ready by the end of the year, then I'd just release the series-ender in October and use the new book as my Christmas-season launch.  But I don't know if I can do it in time.  I've got 15,000 words of what I hope will be the first book of a new series, but progress has been painfully slow on it.  I'm hoping that once my current series is finished, my characters will move out from the space they've set up in my brain and allow someone new to take up residence.

Writers' Cafe / My WordPress Blog was Hacked
« on: June 02, 2015, 09:30:58 am »
Posting this as a heads-up to anybody else using a WordPress blog...

So a bit of malicious code somehow got inserted on my website.  What it did was to add in spam links like "hydrocodone viagra" and so forth (and some links that were nastier than that, too) that would show up on posts but be hidden in the header section of the site (and campflauged with a font color that made them really hard to see, especially if you didn't know to be looking for them).

I only discovered the problem because I use Feedburner & Hootsuite to send out tweets for each new blog post.  So Sunday morning, when the tweet went out for a guest post promoting a clean romance book, right there in the tweet was an offsnsive and obscene link.  Ugh.

It took most of the day to figure out where the problem was.  I initially thought it was the guest post itself, but that was clean.  Then I figured it must be somewhere on the Feedburner end.  But it wasn't.  It was hidden on my site.  The code turned out to be in the Functions.php file within the Theme folder of my WP installation (I'm using the Graphene theme).  I finally discovered it by downloading the WordFence plugin, which found the malicious code right away.  I was able to switch themes and reinstall Graphene, without the added nasty code, so problem (hopefully) solved.

Hopefully this might be of use to someone else here...

One other note - I'm hosting the site on my own domain, not on  I'm told you can't use plugins on free blogs, so I'm not sure what the solution would be if this problem happens on one of those. 

I'm working out the plot for the next book, and I'm hoping someone here can help me with some information on how the police investigate the scene of a fatal car crash.

The scenario is, a one-car accident, a crash into a telephone pole on a sparsely-driven road late at night.  It's not discovered until the morning, and the police arrive to find a hungover but otherwise uninjured man just waking up in the driver's seat, and another man in the passenger seat who's dead due to injuries from the wreck.  The presumed driver doesn't remember much, but when he takes a look around him, he takes responsibility for the accident and says he must have been driving. 

So at this point, what steps do the police take? 

Do they do a full forensic investigation of the crash, to determine when it happened, what speed, and any other things that could be figured out? 

Do they try in any way to confirm that the man they found behind the wheel really was driving at the time of the crash?  Besides questioning him, is there anything else that COULD realistically be done to tell that? 

Would an autopsy be performed on the pasenger?

The premise of the story is that the man behind the wheel actually wasn't driving.  The man in the passenger seat (his brother-in-law) was, and he came upon the accident scene after having a fight with his sister (b-i-l's wife) and having had a couple of drinks.  Realizing b-i-l is dead, and not having any idea how he's going to break the news to sister, and already buzzed from drinking earlier, he finds a bottle of vodka in the backseat, drains it, and that's the last thing he remembers.  So when the police show up and he's behind the wheel and can't remember anything, he assumes he was driving, and admits as much to the police.  It's not until after he's been in jail a few days that he begins to piece together his memories of what really happened.

Writers' Cafe / Order of books on Amazon Author Page?
« on: April 07, 2015, 03:27:52 am »
Is there any way to control the order your books are displayed in on your Amazon Author page?

I've looked, and maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I don't see any way in Author Central to adjust it. Does anyone know how to do it?  Or is it totally driven by Amazon's algorithims?

Writers' Cafe / Yet Another Blurb Critique Request
« on: March 26, 2015, 07:27:01 pm »
I'm working on book #9 in my Dream Series.  This one is called "Fever Dream" and this us what I've got for a blurb:

Dr. Sara Alderson isnít used to her patients dying for no reason.  When a young boy succumbs to a
mysterious illness that defies all her efforts to treat it, she refuses to accept defeat.

After two months of asking questions, Saraís quest for an answer has attracted the attention of
powerful people who do not want their secrets uncovered, and will go to any lengths to make sure they
stay hidden.

Now, time is running out for Sara to unravel the mystery before anyone else falls victim to the illness.  And
before her career, her family and her freedom are all taken away by the enemies she doesnít even know
she has.

Fever Dream is the ninth book of the Dream Series

Writers' Cafe / Bookbub strategy question
« on: February 14, 2015, 04:44:03 am »
I'm hoping the great minds here can give me some guidance.

Bookbub accepted me for December 21, for my permafree book one in my series.  It did really well - 35,000 or so downloads, in the Supernatural Suspense category.  I waited 30 days and applied again, for a box set collection of the first three books in the series (regular price $4.99, lowered it to $0.99 for the BB) and they accepted.  The BB ran on Wednesday, February 11th, and I've got 1,400 sales so far (the range for that category was 160-2,600, with 1,030 as the average, so it was a good performer).

I've had two books perform above average with them, and I've found a category they'll accept me in.  The question is, what do I do next with regard to Bookbub?

I can't promote the permafree there again until the end of May.  I can't promote the 3 book box set again until the middle of August.

Do I apply again for another book in my series, since I seem to have found a sweet spot with them?  Or do I back off, so that I don't run into diminishing returns?  And if I do apply again, which book in the series should I shoot for?

There are eight books:
#1 is permafree
#2 is $2.99 (but was on sale at the end of last year for $0.99, so I probably can't get it into BB at $0.99 for a while yet - that would be my first instinct, though)
#3 through #8 are $3.99
There's also a five book box set at $5.99

The next book won't be out until the end of May (hopefully, it might slip into June).

Also, a practical question.  They won't promote an author more than once every 30 days, but does that mean I can't APPLY for 30 days after my last BB, or just that I can't choose a date earlier than that?


Writers' Cafe / Smashwords Reporting - broken?
« on: February 11, 2015, 09:41:13 am »
Just wondering.  I've got my books distributed to B&N, Apple, etc through Smashwords.  And on the daily reports from Smashwords, I have had 0 sales or free downloads of anything from any channel outside of Smashwords since Sunday. 

I'm wondering if their reporting from the outside channels is down, because while I'm not doing huge business on those channels, I've been getting 20 or so downloads and 4-5 sales per day consistently (mainly from B&N and Apple).  To have it go from that to absolute zero for three days running seems a little bit unlikely to me.

Writers' Cafe / Bookarma?
« on: February 10, 2015, 11:01:02 am »
Anyone have any experiences with them?  They've lowered their price to $1.99/month, which is very cheap, but, then again, if it doesn't do any good at all, it's still money (and time) wasted. 

So I signed up with Babelcube, and the first foreign translation of one of my books is finished.  I now have an Italian edition of DREAM STUDENT (SOGNI DI UNA STUDENTESSA). 

I have no illusions about selling tens of thousands of copies in Italy or to Italian speakers elsewhere, but I want to do whatever I reasonably can to promote it.  Sadly, I haven't the faintest idea how to go about it.  I can't even read a word of the language (which I'm kind of embarrassed about, seeing that I'm 100% of Italian descent)

Has anyone here had any success promoting to Italy/Italian speakers?  If so, can you share sites you've used and techniques you've employed?  I would be most grateful!

Writers' Cafe / Questions for the Dragon enthusiasts here
« on: January 22, 2015, 07:53:46 am »
I'm considering trying Dragon Naturally speaking, but I wanted to just ask a few questions about working with it, before I take the plunge and commit money and time/mental energy to the task of training it.

How does punctuation work?  Do you have to stop and specify all your punctuation?  If I wanted to write:
Officer Jones got out of the car, unholstered his gun, and shouted, "Stop or I'll shoot!"
what would I say into the microphone?  Would it be something like:
Officer Jones got out of the car comma unholstered his gun comma and shouted comma open quote Stop or I apostrophe l l shoot exclamation point close quote

That seems like it would be crazy-making.  Does it quickly become second nature to do it?

Does the program type out your text as you dictate, or does it take time to recognize what you've said and show it?

Do you find that writing by dictation changes your style as compared to typing your prose out?  Do you have to do more, or less, editing than when typing (aside from editing to fix any actual errors in translating your speech to text)?

Thanks for any info on this!

Writers' Cafe / MailChimp - aaaagrh!
« on: January 16, 2015, 05:42:55 am »
So I've whined before about how nobody is signing up for my mailing list, despite having lots of downloads of my book on Kindle, with a convenient link at the end of the book to the signup page on my website.

Not everyone even starts the book.  Not everyone who starts it, finishes it.  Not everyone who finishes it likes it.  Not everyone who likes it clicks the link.  Etc.

But I've discovered just this morning another reason why I'm seeing no signups.  Because MailChimp (or WordPress) is, every so often, even though I'm not doing anything to the settings at all, resetting the connection between my website and MailChimp so that it's impossible for people to sign up!

I had a comment this morning on my site from a reader who said they had tried to sign up for my newsletter and kept getting an error.  So I checked the MailChimp settings on my site, and, sure enough, it was not pointing to my mailing list.  The list it was pointing to in the "Select a list" dropdown was a completely random list that doesn't belong to me (I didn't even recognize the name).  MY mailing list wasn't even an option on the dropdown.  So I had to logout on the MailChimp settings screen and reconnect (which took three tries).

Has anyone else experienced something like this?  Is there a simple fix for it?  Or do I need to go into my settings every day to make sure it's still connected correctly and pointing people to the right mailing list?

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