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Messages - CaptnAndy

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Sharing pain.. deleting large chunk of WIP
« on: April 26, 2018, 11:12:24 am »
My first novel (a near-term SF) was about 90K words when the Soviet Union fell apart. That killed the first third of the story. It went on the shelf, and didn't get revised and published until 2012. Since I started writing in the floppy disk era, I quickly learned that I could never recreate a lost file, as good as the original. I'm still paranoid about backups.

Writers' Cafe / Re: live what you write
« on: April 12, 2018, 10:08:08 am »
After 4 years in the US Navy that include 1 1/2 years at the historical Bremerton Naval Shipyard, I became a naval history buff. My first book, BB-39, is a Greatest Generation novel set on the USS Arizona, BB-39. Several of my other SF books feature naval action, and my current project, After the Days Of Infamy, is an alternate history Pacific War novel. I also have used locations I know and my survival expertise in a number of books. As a recovering systems engineer, businessman, and charter boat captain, my life experiences play an important role in all my work.

I started with Perfect Writer on 5 1.4" floppies in a 40 pound "portable" KayPro II, and quickly recognized that I could never re-create a file as good as the one I lost. I went through floppies, 3 1/2" disks, external drives, sneaker nets, and finally Carbonite. I'm still paranoid about loosing files, but have recovered from a half dozen computer deaths/replacements over the years, with Carbonite. Money well spent.

The Book Corner / Re: Book Series and why I hate them
« on: March 25, 2018, 10:14:41 am »
As an insatiable reader as a kid, I still remember the series of books by Howard Pease about the adventures of Tod Moran in the Merchant Marine. In my own work I have one 5 novella series, Coastal Event Memories, which tells the stories of 5 different groups of survivors, scattered around North America, after an extinction event. That event is the common thread of all their stories. My other books are not in a series, and include historical naval fiction and hard science fiction. The series is wide, and the first book is free.

I don't hate book series, but I'm also an old guy (74), and chose to spend my writing time on what interests me. I don't expect to ever have a large writing income, because I don't choose to spend a lot of time or resources on promotion. My current project is the first book in an alt-history series that offers a non-fantasy alternate view of the war in the Pacific.   

Writers' Cafe / Re: One Line From Your Current WIP
« on: March 14, 2018, 10:34:28 am »
From my alt history novel After the Days Of Infamy:

After a mid-ocean stop on December 8th, for their support ships, to resupply fuel, armaments, and replacement planes, the carrier airship fleet will bring destruction to the American West Coast before the end of the week.

Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: How Long Do Your Kindle Ereaders Last?
« on: March 05, 2018, 10:37:35 am »
I bought my first Kindle in 2012 to verify my first book looked correct. Wife took it over and used it till 2015, when the battery died. I bought a $37 replacement, watched all the U-Tubes on how to replace it, and broke the screen when I tried to open it up. I bought a new Kindle for less the cost to get the sreen replacement. That one is still going strong. Wife still reads from it & plays Kandy Crush while she watches TV.

Apple devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod...) / Re: Ibooks vs Kindle books
« on: February 17, 2018, 10:10:49 am »
I wanted to send an ARC copy to a beta reader who wanted it from iBooks. I couldn't find a way to do a single gift copy there. It looks like my only option was to buy a gift card for him, which is overkill for a single ebook. Since I'm using D2D for everything except Amazon, I just sent him the epub file as an email attachment.

My process has evolved (20 years from first draft to publication of my 1st book). Today my process includes:
Outline with notes & character names: First Draft with Table of Contents & Chapter Headings but no other formattings: Do another task for at least a week: Second draft (mark up of first): Edit using ProWritingAid; Third Draft/pass (includes detailed formating); Send to Beta Reader for feedback; cover development; review Beta Reader feedback & incorporate necessary changes; outside editing; incorporate edits; and publish.

I found getting away from the book after the first draft helps me to see it with fresh eyes when I'm ready to do the second one. By doing the chapters in the first draft, helps me to jump around to add or subtract changes that may develop later in the process.

Writers' Cafe / Re: The Law of Compounding Effort
« on: February 08, 2018, 09:36:21 am »
Damn Well Done!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do you do merchandise related to your book?
« on: February 08, 2018, 09:27:09 am »
When I published BB-39 in 2012, I did a tee shirt, and bought a few for myself. I planned to sell them and coffee cups, but never got around to getting them on a web site. However, I wear one of mine often when I'm out and about. Frequently, it results in a conversation with a stranger, the chance to give them a business card, and a book sale.

I don't have an issue with rights to the cover because I spent 6 months creating a CAD drawing of the Arizona from scaled photographs.

Writers' Cafe / Slightly Off Topic, But..
« on: February 03, 2018, 10:09:08 am »
   I just received the proof Copy of an autobiography that I have helped a Viet Nam era Air Force Vet prepare for printing. He wrote it several years ago, and used a Vanity Press to make a proof copy for him. There were problems with the proof, and his vanity press made any other copies, or changes, completely unaffordable.
   He is in failing health, and a common vet friend asked me to look into getting a total of 25 copies made for his family and friends. I agreed to Play It Forward, and see what I could do.
   After a solid month of editing, reformatting, and researching the best printing options, I selected . I had initially considered Creatspace because I have used them for two of my books. However this book has 43 color image pages and 404 total pages. It made several printing options unaffordable. The Apollo quote for 26 Trade (6 X 9) and 1 hardback was less than $25 each. I found many happy customers for them and now consider myself one of them.
  It has been an interesting, if non financially rewarding month, but I consider my effort to Play It Forward, time well spent. We are loosing generations of vets every day. Most have stories they would love to pass on to their loved ones. Some of these stories have been written, but not published, because that effort can be daunting and expensive to a senior.
  I urge my fellow writers to consider Playing It Forward. We all will have an opportunity, if we keep an eye out for it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Hi, I'm Lisa from ProWritingAid
« on: January 23, 2018, 12:34:35 pm »
I'm a happy ProWritingAid customer. I use it with my OpenOffice files on all my books. Great value!

Writers' Cafe / Re: SmashWords Publishing Strategy?
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:58:18 am »
I just attempted to use PublishDrive to put BB-39 on GooglePlay. They want $30 to convert my files to an ebook format. Since I have not paid Amazon, D2D, or Smashwords for conversion on any of my books, I will look elsewhere to get them on GooglePlay.

I have just started going wide (D2D), and ran my first fb add. I used a link to . The landing page to that link shows a cover thumbnail and all my links, including Amazon. The setup is friendly, two clicks get the potential to their desired retailer's page for my book, and it's free. So far so good for me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Is your novel ready to be published on Jan 1, 2018?
« on: January 01, 2018, 10:36:26 am »
I'm going wide with all my books. I pushed the button on BB-39 and Resurrection World, the Eden Project the afternoon of 12/31. BB-39 was published on 1/1, but Resurrection World, the Eden Project shows a publish date of 12/31.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Fiverr Beta Reader Service
« on: December 04, 2017, 09:43:37 am »
I have used kitd56 for alpha and beta reads recently. Her feedback was great, timely, and affordable. She is now my go-to beta reader.

Writers' Cafe / Re: D2D delayed...
« on: November 13, 2017, 09:39:03 am »
The previous comment about there being only 24 English Fiction books in the StreetLib bookstore is in error. After a reply from their support desk, I attempted to find the page with only 24 titles. There must have been a glitch on their site, because the bookstore page is completely different, with 1000's of titles and a large menu. Maybe I found a much earlier page. Now that I think of it the titles I saw were published in 2014.

Sorry for any slight I may have given StreetLib. This is a tough business, and I am making this correction instead of just deleting the previous post, in case someone already formed a negative opinion from it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: D2D delayed...
« on: November 13, 2017, 08:49:20 am »
I received the same message today. I have started going wide with D2D, and uploaded my second book (Last Emergence) with them last Friday. I experienced no delays with that upload.

I was going to try StreetLib with that book, but they had a glitch that prevented the upload. While waiting for a support response, I checked their bookstore, and found it underwhelming. It only had 24 English fiction books...

Think I'll continue my going wide process with D2D.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Relocating from Pronoun and going wider with StreetLib
« on: November 10, 2017, 10:21:25 am »
People considering Streetlib owe it to themselves to Google 'Streetlib Ripoff Report' and read the account there.

I looked at this report, and then for others. It appears to me this is an isolated case, since I did not find others like it. If this was a common issue, I'm sure there would be many other reports. Reminds me of an old saying "It takes 1000 at a boys, to offset 1 aw [crap]."

Writers' Cafe / Re: Cover design disaster - advice please!
« on: November 03, 2017, 11:00:21 am »
Gimp 2 is a free graphics program that you can use to make changes to your cover file, including resizing, adjusting resolution, ect. Even if you are not going to be designing your own covers, it's a good tool for any necessary tweeks.

Thanks to all those in this community who Pass It Forward!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Pronouns for Ships
« on: September 22, 2017, 11:33:02 am »
A Landlubber may also call it a boat.

Other options that would avoid her or she, or the ship's name, include: Craft, vessel, rowboat, canoe, pontoon, motorboat, sailboat, trawler, warship, Destroyer (DD), Cruiser (CA), Battleship (BB), Carrier (CV), tender, Submarine (SS), jetboat, runabout, cabin cruiser, inflatable, kayak, tug, sloop, ketch, frigate, brigantine, and man-o-war.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kill the dog? Again?
« on: September 22, 2017, 10:22:49 am »
In my latest project, "The Days After The Music Died" I killed Tripwire, a heroic 2 pound mutt that accompanied his partner in a post-EMP trek across half the continent. The negative response from every one of my beta readers was overwhelming. Needless to say, I heeded their advise and resurrected him.

The Book Corner / Re: RIP Jerry Pournelle
« on: September 12, 2017, 12:48:47 pm »
He will be missed as one of the greats. I have a couple of copies of Byte magazine that I treasure because of his columns. R.I.P. Jerry.

Writers' Cafe / Re: First person and third person dilemma?
« on: September 07, 2017, 12:23:39 pm »
After a strong recommendation by my best beta reader, I'm rewriting my newest project, which had three different primary characters. The chapters were identified by the name of with the POV character. My beta reader correctly observed that many readers could be confused by the multiple points of view, and I had to reluctantly agree. By not limiting the view within a chapter, the structure of the novel is also more flexible.

While this rewrite will delay publication, I believe the end result will be a better, and more reader friendly book.

Writers' Cafe / BookShots, a New Niche??
« on: September 04, 2017, 11:19:06 am »
My wife is also an insatiable reader, who keeps a list of new releases at our local public library. I usually go by there weekly, to drop off and pick up our reading material for the following week. Yesterday, one of her new books was a soft cover by James Patterson, that was only 5" X 7" X <0.5". It was in the Women's Murder Club Series, one of my wife's favorites, and only 125 pages. She read it in an afternoon and found it a fast paced thriller which followed the series, but, the story quickly came to a climax, without the number of false trails that would usually be followed before the real killer was exposed.

She was surprised and asked me if the BookShot format was something new. I had never seen it before, and was curious, and found that Patterson and his publisher were committed to creating a new Niche. The BookShots format is less than 150-page Novella's that sell in printed form for under $5.00.

They released several books in this format, by Patterson and Company, plus several from Romance authors from the same publisher this June. They have several more in the pipeline. They are currently selling them online in eBook and print formats. They said the ultimate goal is to have widespread outlets once occupied by pulp fiction paperbacks (supermarkets, drug stores, etc.).

I had not considered offering my novellas in print, except as a bundled series. I wonder if this print format could become the next big thing.

What are your thoughts on this concept?

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