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Messages - Usedtoposthere

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Craft: Think again if you plan on "fridging" a character
« on: September 16, 2018, 11:03:30 pm »
I'm not sure you can separate this type of topic from societal forces. I mean, it's about your audience and their perceptions, and your audience, if it's half or more female (which lots of fiction audiences are) is probably changing, possibly quickly. Readers tend to be more educated and aware, probably, than non-readers, and possibly more thoughtful.

I know that I'm more careful (as a steamy romance/romantic suspense writer who ventures into some adventurous waters) about explicit consent, for example, than I was even a few years ago, partly just because I don't think books without it will age well, and I want my older stuff to keep selling. :) That's not the whole romance market, of course, but it's my market, which is a more genre-bendy, general fiction kind of reader who's maybe more aware of these kinds of issues.

Depends what genre you write and who your reader is. And whether you care about the market or write 100% for yourself.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Craft: Think again if you plan on "fridging" a character
« on: September 16, 2018, 07:42:36 pm »
This thread is become a political diatribe about objectification and toxicity and should be locked forthwith.
I am here to discuss writing/marketing not polemic. When I need to have that conversation I head to Huffington Post and Jezebel.
Thank heavens for C Gold's quality comments, living up to his/her name.
One thought -  some here might be surprised by how many and how often women enjoy being objectified. Testify.
Maybe just don't read the thread if you're not interested. Always an option. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Craft: Think again if you plan on "fridging" a character
« on: September 16, 2018, 07:57:35 am »
People are missing the point and also making the straw man argument that "don't fridge characters" equals "you can never do anything bad to a female character."

No, that's not what it is. Fridging was brought up as an issue because in comics, there is a very long history of creators doing really terrible things to female characters and stripping them of agency for the sole purpose of advancing a male character's story. It's disproportionately female characters. In fact, there's a related term called "Dead Men Defrosting" where on the rare occasions when these types of things are done to male characters, the male characters often have it reversed in some way and come back better than before.

And like any overused cliche, the point behind drawing attention to fridging is to make creators think twice about their writing. I'm always oddly amused when the topic of fridging comes up and people get so defensive, but you never see a fraction of that kind of defensiveness when other cliches are brought up.
Yep. People can write anything they want. It is your book. But if you are an (especially) male writer in a genre where half your readers are female (thriller, mystery), and you would like to sell books, it is probably a good idea to listen to what women readers appreciate and what annoys them. Many of us do not like books where the female characters exist to sleep with the hero, especially if they then die. It does not give the female characters agency, and it feels like the writer sees women as less than full humans. It is not that women readers will consciously notice. We are just less likely to buy your next book.

If virtually all the women in your book are hot, you may want to check your male gaze. :) If you want to sell to women, that is.

We all realize stuff about our writing after the fact. Nothing wrong with paying attention. Then you can choose to adjust or disregard. I did not come into this with any explicit craft knowledge, myself. Nowadays I ignore rules on purpose. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: A question for writers thinking about their senior years
« on: September 15, 2018, 02:36:53 pm »
Agree with the issues about house level. We bought a very big house, but one that has complete living space on the ground floor, plus laundry room (which is important!) When we remodeled the master bath, we put in a big walk-in shower with a tiled bench. The second floor is all guest rooms, and if nobody's living up there (or you can't do stairs), you close it off. Likewise, you don't have to go down the steps to the basement, if you can't. (You just can't get to the wine, which is sad.) The daughter of the builder lived there from 1907, when it was built, until her death in the 1970s, when she was somewhere around 90.

However, the other side of the coin is that seniors who DO live in houses with stairs do better, health-wise. AND brain-wise! They are sharper, statistically, because they have built-in exercise, and fitness is hugely important to both physical and mental health in aging. You can live to 100, but if you live like my mom, mostly lying in bed for 25 years or more (I wish I were joking), it's not much of a life.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Craft: Think again if you plan on "fridging" a character
« on: September 14, 2018, 05:39:37 pm »
I love the Bond movies, but I also felt annoyed at how the women are always murdered to punish him for sleeping with them. Really? Ugh. However, the reboots changed that up a bit in places and had more emotional impact on me as a result. I didn't know it had a term until this thread. But I guess most tropes have names.
The recent one where it happened was the one that ends in Scotland, where the woman is shot in "target practice." They lingered on that in a really sadistic way and showed her as super sexual as she was being killed. It was horrific. Almost ruined the movie for me, and it was only a few years ago.

Just Say No to misogyny. It's 2018, says I. We don't have to accept this garbage anymore.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Craft: Think again if you plan on "fridging" a character
« on: September 14, 2018, 05:21:07 pm »
It's always bugged the heck out of me, since long before I was a writer, and I was glad when I learned it was a thing. (which was only a few years ago.)

It bothered me for a lot longer than that, though, how women in the James Bond movies seemed to exist only to sleep with him, and then die horribly for it. Almost as punishment for the crime of being sexual, and obviously to motivate him. It seemed almost sadistic, and definitely misogynistic. I mentioned it to the (non-writer, smart guy) friend I was with at the time. And then there was the first (second?) Lethal Weapon movie, etc., etc.

When I learned about this trope a few years back, those pieces fell into place. As a suspense writer, I'm careful with that, and as a thriller reader, I want to read authors who don't do it.

In one of the early Lee Child books, a character dies whom Reacher cares a lot about, and he's doggedly determined to discover what happened and avenge the murder. But it isn't a woman, which I am sure was a deliberate choice. That author is always pretty deliberate about his plot lines, and there's a reason he has such a large female following--that he's respectful of women in any number of ways. (Or he knows how to write as if he is. :) No dummy.)

Even if we don't know the terms for things, there's a squick factor you get. Our bodies know what's going on. You may finish the book, but you're not nearly as likely to read the next one.

(I'm a woman but a big thriller and technothriller reader. My favorite genre, though it's not quite what I write. I do write a lot of suspense.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: A question for writers thinking about their senior years
« on: September 13, 2018, 09:28:53 pm »
The indie landscape is changing, of course, but I built our small press on backlist romances published from 1970-2009. We had a box set of 1980s historical romances that hung in the overall Top 100 for almost 2 months. Across 5 of our authors with older backlist -- mainly historical romance and 1980s/1990s contemporary romance -- we had books frequently hit in the overall Top 100 both Free and Paid on all venues, and hit #1 Free more times than I remember. It could be that we were in the right place at the right time, but we gave away a couple of million backlist freebies and sold nearly a couple of million more, in addition to new work. Although I will agree with you on the old-school Gothic novels. We had 7 of them in our catalog, and they only made a few thousand between them.

Not all of our readers came from BookBub, but a lot did. Those older titles you see advertised on BookBub? Most of those are from Open Road Media, which is one of the dominant backlist publishers in the industry.

It's possible those books are selling on the nostalgia factor alone, and that those readers are older ones who'll soon pass away, and that the older backlist titles from the 70s, 80s and 90s will soon give way to the glut of backlist from the 2000s and 2010s.

As for literary agents moving into literary estate handlers, a number of them were/have/are acting as publishers for their clients already. The NY agent for a couple of our authors started the E-Reads publisher and bookstore for his clients' backlist back in 1999. We negotiated ebook rights from him for our anchor author in 2012, and in return gave him another 5 years of expiring rights to print and audio for 37 books. While we were pubbing the ebook versions, he sold the audiobook versions to Audible. He was also working a deal with Costco for print that ultimately fell through when Costco decided not to publish the classic romance line it had planned.

Had self-pubbing on Amazon not come along when it did, those client-authors would have automatically re-upped their books with E-Reads over and over until they died. And likely their executors would have kept the contract live with whoever was running the agency at the time. In fact, the agent wound up selling E-Reads to Open Road Media. One of our authors whose books we'd subcontracted from E-Reads (and later Open Road) wound up keeping her books with Open Road when our contract expired. Open Road kept the covers we'd put on them, along with the blurbs -- basically the same packaging. Unfortunately, Open Road wasn't as interested in pushing her books as we had been. And while Open Road purchases and runs an absolute ton of advertising, they have an ever-growing catalog, so the lucky books get promoted once a year. Most go multiple years before getting a push.

Advertising is the real strangle point for backlist now as the glut of backlist grows and must compete with a growing front list as well.

I actually don't think most agents are a good fit as in perpetuity or trust managers. While most agencies have the infrastructure in place, most don't know how to sell ebooks. In the right hands, backlist can live -- and live well -- again. In the wrong hands ... well, maybe the adage about having no agent being better than having an incompetent one applies here as well.

I was once one of Marion Zimmer Bradley's stable of writers. When she died, her affairs passed into a literary trust that is being actively looked after and that is producing new work, such as new anthologies based on the ones MZB created when she was alive. The trust turned a number of those print anthologies from the 1990s originally published by DAW into ebooks a couple of years ago, and the trickle of royalties increased a bit for all of us.

This is a fairly well-managed trust. But the caveat is that there just aren't going to be that many competent folk out there willing to manage a catalog *and* share out the royalties unless their own share is pretty significant too.
Educational stuff.

I'm really just not interested. My husband is 16 years older than I am, so realistically, unless I succumb earlier from something unexpected (which is v possible), I'll spend a decade or more alone. I didn't write fiction until I was 50, and I won't need to write once I'm 75, I'm quite sure. At some point, I'd just like to stop the whole darned thing. If he's alive, he'll be 91, we'll have been married 50 years, and how much do I want to be grinding away at work? And I hate marketing.

I also wonder how much steamy, emotional romance I'll want to write at 75 or 80, and that's my thing. I could write women's fiction or something, except I kind of hate it. :) So I'm figuring on retirement. I'd like to actually do some of the stuff myself. Garden on my acre. Take care of the chickens. Even clean my house! Listen to audiobooks. I've been working a long time. By 65 or 70, I'll have earned it!

But I'm not really "a writer." I love doing this. It's fun. But it's also my job, and it would be so nice not to feel pressured. (I'm the earner at this point for 3 of us plus assistance to others, and it can feel pressing sometimes despite my self-talk.)

Answers will vary. It's good to be honest, I think, about your own needs and goals.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A question for writers thinking about their senior years
« on: September 13, 2018, 05:56:47 pm »
Joe, I question your definition of "retirement" in that making money from your writing is a full-time job. In fact, if you intend to have any real income from it, you will spend most of your days marketing your books. In some ways, the time you spend marketing will be as great a contributor to your success as the quality of your writing. Retirement for an author does not mean sitting on the beach and watching the cash roll in. It does not work that way.
That's why he's asking what others' plans are. :) He said that he has several sources of retirement income already. Personally, I sock away as much as possible in a retirement account, and also have some real estate. I have no idea whether I'll be selling books in the future, as most books don't have a decades-long shelf life. Certainly not in romance. Getting 10 years out of a book is great. More than that is pretty unusual. And if I'm too sick to write, I'll probably be too sick/demented to market, too. Or more so, considering that I find writing easier. My expectations of book income in retirement are solely confined to income I put away now, not anything the books would earn at the time. I think that's pretty realistic for most people. Consider how many books are coming out every year now. Ten years from now, or twenty? I wouldn't count on keeping your 20-year-old books alive. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: ARTICLE: E-book pricing: because you�re worth it
« on: September 13, 2018, 05:28:08 pm »
So what is it exactly you're trying to say? If marketing has nothing to do with price then what's the argument in this particular thread? And please talk down to me again when you explain your position. It gives me a happy.
ETA: Agreeing with this. Responding about the price high, big ads plan.

I’m laughing.

I was a marketing pro, responsible for setting prices for 700+ products per year. I have an MBA. Most of my book marketing, though, has been along the lines of pricing/product/presentation rather than promotion, with the emphasis on the product itself, and on presentation that displays the product.

Beyond that? It's been pricing, pricing, pricing that's built my audience. My books went from very good sales (2,000 books the first month at $3.99 apiece) to extremely good sales (20,000 books the fifth month) when I priced the first one at 99 cents--after giving away over 130,000 free copies in those first four months. I've done many, many more short free runs since then. Twenty-six books and seven years later, free, 99 cents, and KU are still finding me a pretty great audience, even though my (very long) books are now $5.99 apiece in a majority-$2.99-3.99 genre. I increased my prices gradually, though, over five or six years.

Amanda Lee does all right for herself. Before you condescend to her, I suggest you look her up. Like I said--yeah, my background's in marketing. It's even in publishing marketing. But selling my books has been a different deal. And interestingly, I haven't had to make many big mistakes. Did I absolutely maximize revenue at each point? I'm sure I didn't. Did I maximize profit? Yeah. My expenses and time spend (other than writing) were really low. Still are. You never know what you COULD have done--you can't go down the road not taken. But my career's gone along just fine. I'd share numbers, but some folks here think it's crass. I'll say, though, that I do five times better than I ever did as a marketing MBA, and Amanda does twice as well as I do. :)

I've been doing this seven years now, and one thing I know for sure is that there are many paths to success, from marketing-centric to product-centric, from lightning-fast production to glacially slow, from wide to Select to hybrid to trad, from high pricing and niche targeting to broad targeting and low price. The main thing is to figure out your strategy and pursue that. Adjust and experiment as needed.

Writers' Cafe / Re: ARTICLE: E-book pricing: because you�re worth it
« on: September 13, 2018, 09:58:49 am »
You can get lots and lots and LOTS of new-to-you readers by pricing at free and 99 cents. Trust me, dozens--hundreds--of pretty impressive fortunes have been made this way, some in near-instant, explosive fashion. In romance and cozy mystery, especially, readers are accustomed to using the deals to try out a new author. (Or KU.) IF THEY LIKE THE BOOK ENOUGH (shouty caps because that is the crux), you bet they'll spend $4.99 or $5.99 on the next one. But ONLY if they like the book enough, and it isn't fungible--it's not easily replaced by a similar book in your genre because you've colored within the lines so carefully, and/or you haven't written it markedly better than most. (Either or both can work.)

Pricing strategy goes right along with my #1, time-tested, most-important thing: writing a hooky book. Hooky cover, hooky title, hooky concept that all work together, and above all, hooky writing. I just gave a talk on that the other day, actually. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: ARTICLE: E-book pricing: because you�re worth it
« on: September 13, 2018, 09:39:12 am »
All the seven-figure indie authors with free or 99-cent first books are shaking their heads and laughing right now. This has been said for, what, nine or ten years now? It wasn't correct then. It's not correct now. Prices of indie books are slowly going up as quality becomes indistinguishable, at least for the top sellers, and trad books have gone down. They're also doing limited-time cheap runs. I saw a Nora Roberts and a Sue Grafton book on BookBub the other day, and many huge-name trad authors in my genre have the early books priced at $2.99 on an ongoing basis.

There was no race to the bottom. Cheap pricing encouraged a huge swath of ebook readers to take a chance on indie authors. Now that the stigma is lifted, many of the top authors in my genre (a relatively cheap, because voracious-reader, genre) have increased their prices to $5.99 or even $6.99. At that price, they're earning $4-nearly $5/book, compared to their $8.99-9.99 priced tradpubbed contemporaries who are earning about $1.90. Great deal for those price-conscious readers, great deal for the author.

Authors who haven't established their readership yet will have a different strategy, probably.

Pay attention to current trends in pricing and where your own name recognition/genre/readership lies, and price accordingly. My advice.

Writers' Cafe / Re: ARTICLE: E-book pricing: because you�re worth it
« on: September 13, 2018, 07:50:03 am »
A book is worth what the reader thinks it's worth. Books aren't valued by the hours you spent or how much you spent for the cover or whatever other thing. They're valued by how much the reader wants to read them.

The big issue for an indie author is momentum/visibility. You want quantity because that is where people will start seeing your book. That is where advertising a free or 99-cent book comes into play, or even a first book at 2.99. After that, it's on the book--but you want to encourage as many people as possible to pick up the book. That's how you get discovered.

Price varies a whole lot by genre and subgenre. Your book is being looked at in comparison to other similar books, and readers who read a ton (romance, cozy mystery) are much more price-sensitive than those who read fewer books. (Thrillers, fantasy).

It also depends how well known you are, as well as, to some extent, on things like how long your books are. Well established authors can charge more and still be read. They have social proof in the form of reviews and name recognition.

One good way to determine where pricing is for your genre is to check out the Amazon Publishing price in your genre. Of course, to compete, your book has to be as professionally written and presented as those books you're competing with.

The right pricing strategy is the one where you make the most money, on whatever time horizon you're looking at. That can change over time. Quality signaling is a thing, but so is pricing for visibility. Both can be part of your strategy.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A question for writers thinking about their senior years
« on: September 12, 2018, 06:41:18 pm »
A quick note that if you delay collecting until age 70 (or whatever the max is for your age group), the max SS benefit is currently about $3700/mo, or $44,376/year. That's pretty sizable and definitely should be factored in.

Whether it's cool or not that you get taxed twice (which you also do, of course, if you invest $$ yourself, or in any other way but a 401(K) or SEP IRA), I don't really concern myself with, as there's nothing I can do about it.

The reason we have it is that most people DON'T save. The U.S. has one of the lowest savings rates in the world, and those least able to save (those with the lowest incomes) have--no surprise--the least savings and the biggest retirement gap. Other countries also have equivalent schemes (called "superannuation" and the like)--mandatory savings. The original idea was to provide some kind of income security to the elderly, so they wouldn't be destitute in old age and just die of poverty. Given the lack of savings, it sure seems like a good idea to me. Otherwise, what would you do if you had no family? If you say, "I would have saved that myself"--for most people, no, they wouldn't have.

Only a good idea to delay if you have a good life expectancy, of course (there are calculators online, as others have said). Hubby's health is better than mine, and he delayed until about age 71 1-/2, and got the back SS in a lump sum. He gets the max $3700/month. He's turning 75 and is still extraordinarily fit. I, on the other hand, will probably wait until full retirement age (almost 67, I think), and then take mine. I'm not really expecting to make it to 90, but you get your benefit cut before full retirement age if you're earning well, so assuming I still am, I'll hold out. If not (or if my health really takes a turn for the worse), I'll take it earlier.

Everybody's situation is different. But if you're married and you both get the max, that's quite a bit to live on in itself.

There's also the issue of how old you are and how likely you think SS will be to keep paying out during your retirement. I'm almost 60, so that looks a whole lot different for me than if I were 40. If I were 40, I wouldn't be counting on it at all. I've been paying into it since I was 14, and a whole, whole lot since I've been self-employed, so I do feel like I've earned my return. Whether I get it, of course, is another story! Of the country's fiscal soundness and my own capricious body.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Best Selling Author Has Nine Books Banned by Amazon
« on: September 12, 2018, 01:55:59 pm »
I always think, when these things come up, that it's so funny how people who are the quickest to cry, "Freedom of speech!" seem to have the least idea of what the U.S. Constitution actually says.

The First Amendment's short. Probably worth a read. It refers to the GOVERNMENT not making a law abridging speech or the press. Even there, they can cite a compelling national interest. For example, you can no longer publish plans for printing the parts to construct a 3D gun. And I think there may have been crackdowns on bomb-making instructions after Oklahoma City, if I recall correctly, and restrictions on how much fertilizer etc. you could buy.

The First Amendment and "censorship" have NO reference to the right of a private company to carry or refuse to carry any publication, unless, possibly, they are somehow discriminating against a protected class, and rapists ain't a protected class. The corner store doesn't have to carry Hustler, either, and you can't make them. Facebook doesn't have to give a platform to Alex Jones, or to your buddy, if they don't want to. Their platform, their rules.

(New Zealand and Australia also don't have to let them into the country, as they don't admit people who advocate violence against women. (That was the language used.) Here's the NZ Herald's opinion, which made me laugh. ("Legal rape" blogger living in fear in mother's basement"). I remembered that from the time. Pretty funny. Poor baby. It's so scary to think that somebody might harm you if you go out, isn't it? To feel like you're a target? What situation does that remind me of? Nah, got nothing.)

As to the purported point: If Amazon decided to ban all smexy times in books? That'd be up to Amazon, and we'd all have to take our smexy books elsewhere. C'est la vie. If I want to distribute them to that big an audience, it's my right to attempt to create a new Amazon for smexy books.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Best Selling Author Has Nine Books Banned by Amazon
« on: September 12, 2018, 01:47:52 pm »

Look, it isn't a censorship issue, so the ostensible point for starting this thread is misguided. And for the above, I'm oddly unable to take this assertion seriously.

This entire thread makes me want to take a bath. I found the author who was banned from Amazon appalling, and I would very much appreciate it if you didn't pull the 'but men agree with me' argument, because this one does not.
On the other hand, it's an easy character test? Thanks to you & the other stand-up guys here.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A question for writers thinking about their senior years
« on: September 11, 2018, 09:54:09 am »
For people thinking about these issues, I highly recommend this book: "Being Mortal." The author is a surgeon, and it's about end-of-life decisions and how patients and their families make them. Including things about nursing homes, the importance of advanced care directives and having the tough conversations AHEAD of time, and the general state of end-of-life health care in the U.S. (The default position is: heroic measures. Which can make your end-of-life experience miserable. It's miserable for your family, too.)

We are all going to die. It's so important to plan for it.

Excellent audiobook as well.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A question for writers thinking about their senior years
« on: September 10, 2018, 07:23:17 pm »
Unfortunately, most people don't go along at 100%, or even 50%, and then drop dead instantly. That might be how we'd all like to go (hit by a truck or a massive heart attack at exactly the moment when we are switching from "take care of ourselves" and "think and write clearly" and beginning to fail!) Here are just a few statistics (source: Morningstar, the financial-reporting outfit). 40% of Americans end up in nursing home at some point. Gulp! And are there for two and a half years. Good luck writing your books when you're infirm enough to be in a nursing home.

It's extremely important to have a plan for what you'll do and how you'll support yourself when you can't write. It's going to happen, and it's probably going to last a while.

My grandmother, who was a fairly important civil rights activist for years and a woman of extremely strong character (an esteemed professor and the author of a New York Times best book of the year, for one of her memoirs) swore for years to kill herself at 80 to avoid these indignities and being a burden. She fought hard for the right to die and assisted suicide for the terminally ill. Know how she died? In the hospital, aged 93, with a bowel rupture after elective surgery.

Her daughter, my mother, also a professor and logical to the point where it makes you nuts, said a lot of the same things and in fact has made about four suicide attempts. (That's been lovely.) She's currently 88 and in a retirement community. She has Parkinson's and is not a happy camper, but she ain't dead.

You won't always do what you think you will. If I've learned nothing else watching the women before me, I've learned that. The will to live is STRONG, even when you don't think it is. You also probably won't have a lot to leave, unless you've made a LOT of money and have made some really good plans.

Here you go. Stats.

79: Average age upon admittance to a nursing home. (That's not very old!)

40%: The percentage of individuals who reach age 65 who will enter a nursing home during their lifetimes.

892 days (2.44 years): Average length of stay for current nursing-home residents, 1999. (Old stat, but it probably hasn't changed a whole lot)

272 days (8.94 months): Average length of stay for discharged nursing-home residents, 1999.

38%: Percentage of nursing home patients who will eventually be discharged to go home or to another setting.

10%: The percentage of people who enter a nursing home who will stay there five or more years.

65%: The percentage of people who entered a nursing home who died within one year of admission.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Your first spark of indie excitment
« on: September 10, 2018, 05:15:13 pm »
For me it was a week in. Publishing three books on Sept. 1 had cost me $1400, including my website, and I was hoping to make that back in the next four months. A week in, I put Book 1 up for free with $10 worth of ads, and it got downloaded 14,500 times, and then people started buying the next 2 books at $3.99. A lot. Literally, I sat on the couch refreshing for three days. And reviews started coming in.

I look at that now and kind of laugh, because 14,500 is not a big number! And neither are 40 reviews or whatever number came in on that Book 1 during that week. But I remember going for a run on day 2, my heart just pounding, listening to music, trying to calm down, and thinking, "It can't be this easy. It can't." On Day 10 or 12 from publication, I broke even on my $1400, and then all I did was wait for the other shoe to drop. It makes my breath shorten and makes me get anxious even now to remember how that felt. I wrote the next book in the worst anxiety I've ever had in my life, thinking it was all going to be over any minute, it must be a mistake, I hadn't paid the dues, etc.

The shoe didn't drop, and it actually was that easy, so it was all good. But it took three years at least to get over that anxiety!

Oddly enough, that was more or less the theme of Book 1. How hard it can be to believe in good things, and to trust them.

If I had a period I'd like back, or that I'd like to preserve in my memory, it would be the six weeks of writing that first book. The sheer joy of it. Going to bed clutching my pages in my hand, living and breathing my book, finding out that I had these magic beans inside me that I'd never dreamed of. That I could WRITE A BOOK. Absolutely no affirmation (I didn't let anybody read any of it or tell anybody but my immediate family until I'd finished). Nothing but the feeling of it. Joy.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Has anyone read a book that is like 90% dialogue?
« on: September 09, 2018, 12:03:43 pm »
My earlier books are pretty close! I love dialogue. I still write a ton. Especially if I'm writing two guys talking, it'll be mostly dialogue (just finished a scene like that). Men generally don't analyze their thoughts internally as much as women. It also depends how verbal somebody is, male or female. If they're very verbal, it'll be a ton of dialogue. If they're more thoughtful, quieter, guarded, or simply more physical people who express themselves more that way, it'll be more description of what they're doing. (I don't mean sex. I mean ballet, or running on the beach, or playing rugby, or coming to the rescue, or whatever.)

There are lots of ways to write an entertaining book! As long as it IS entertaining. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this a viable way to make money?
« on: September 09, 2018, 12:00:19 am »
Well, you can also gain new, loyal readers, so one hopes that the total number is going up.

My point was mainly that I don't think it's helpful to advocate going faster than you can write a really good book. Writing "good-enough" books really fast pretty much guarantees churn. (I do not speak of people who can write really good books super fast, but rather people who do an 85% job because it's enough to sell a bunch. Probably won't be enough to get the book recommended, though.

In my experience, what you really want is legs. And, of course, loyal readers.

I don't give people advice about what their chances are, because somebody's chance could be 2% or 80%. All chances aren't created equal. It depends on the books.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this a viable way to make money?
« on: September 08, 2018, 11:56:41 am »
I agree.

Art can be fickle. We have a thread on KB right now about how you can lose "loyal readers". One of the conclusions you can reach is that there are very few actual "loyal" readers. You can actually lose them, even if your writing skill improves. Tastes change. Buying books is not a necessity for people like buying food or gas for your car. There are hot genres and not so hot ones. That's the "art" part of it.

On the contrary, there are certainly loyal readers. The stronger your brand is, the more you have. It's important to know what people are reading you for (in a macro sense) and to satisfy them. Sometimes that takes some trial and error to determine.

I spent my first three or four years at this expecting it all to end as abruptly as it had started, but it didn't. I kept thinking I'd just been lucky, but I kept getting lucky. It's been seven years as of the beginning of September since I published my first three books, and my income's really been quite consistent from about Month 5 on.

I do work really hard to make sure my books are doing what my readers want, though, which means I write more like 400-600K a year, which is 3-5 books, not 6-12. I do think it's more important to make sure your books are the very best they can be than to simply write them fast. Some people can do both, and that's awesome, but if I were erring on one side or the other, I'd go for quality every time, assuming you aren't writing in an extremely trendy genre. (Such a genre won't have as many author-loyal readers, I'll note.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: What loses you loyal readers?
« on: September 07, 2018, 08:08:58 pm »
My first three books are still the reader favorites, SEVEN years later, even though they were my first fiction. It is very frustrating. I am so much better now! But I guess I am more complex, too, and that is not everybody’s cup of tea. Book 3 in particular is my happiest book, and gets the most re-reads. Unfortunately, I wrote it on major opioids. (For necessary reasons.) Cannot re-create that. My alter ego is apparently a happier person. :)

Just saying—you cannot stay stuck. You lose some readers by growing and changing, but you gain some, too, I hope.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this a viable way to make money?
« on: September 07, 2018, 09:13:49 am »
Plots are only one piece of what makes books work. I can't think of plots, personally. I have had exactly as many book ideas as I've written books (finishing #27 now). Most people do better at that than I do, but writing a book people want to read isn't necessarily about the plot--it's whether people care. Even in a book like The Martian, which was a whole lot about the plot, the book blew up because of the character's voice, and because you cared. Are you good at that? That's the part that's hard to figure out until you try.

Your individual chances may be stellar. They may be abysmal. You can't put a number on them, because nobody is average. It's where personal-you fall on the "knowing what to write, writing it, presenting it, promoting it" spectrum that determines your individual odds.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this a viable way to make money?
« on: September 07, 2018, 04:36:51 am »
I do not think the poem applies to everybody. I started writing fiction at age 50+. I did not have to do it in my life before and do not have to do it now, as far as emotional need. I do it because it is a great job, one I enjoy working hard at. But sure sometimes I do not feel like it and work out of professionalism. Sure sometimes the words do not come easily. Sure I labor at times, and I surely do polish and polish. I also have three people who read along, so there is another difference from the poem. I am a bit the opposite of that poem in fact, but I have made a good living at this for 7 years now, and it turns out to be the easiest and best job I have ever had.

You just do not know until you try. I had no idea I could write a book, let alone that anyone would buy it, until I did. I do not write pulp, and I do not write a book a month. People approach this job differently. I would not have continued past four books if the reaction had been meh and would have found a day job again. Other people burn to write no matter what.

It just depends.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is this a viable way to make money?
« on: September 06, 2018, 10:15:12 pm »
Google “full time author KBoards,” and you will find some threads. It is certainly possible, though not likely. In my experience, it is difficult to know until you try and see how attractive your stories are.

It can be easy. It can be impossible. Depends on what you write. It is certainly not any kind of sure thing, unless it is.

I have never had anything flop, although some books and series are more profitable and stickier than others.

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