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Drone
Aug 22, 2003

Incredible machine
:smug:



Your audience is almost certainly not going to understand Classical Greek, maybe just... write the sentences in English?

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Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Drone posted:

Your audience is almost certainly not going to understand Classical Greek, maybe just... write the sentences in English?

It adds flavor IMO. She breaks out the Greek twice in the entire book and the gist of what she's saying is pretty obvious given context. I think it'll be fine.

fake edit: Also it should be modern, not Classical. So that may be a fuckup right out of the gate :v:

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




Chokes McGee posted:

Try #3. Changed the title font out to Bebas, used Trajan for the secondary font, then went mad with power with Bevel Object. :unsmigghh:




This is great.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Chokes McGee posted:

While I'm at it, can I run these two phrases by the Greek speakers in this thread so I don't sound like a dumbass post production? (These are both things Nemesis says since, y'know, Greek goddess.)


Ρε λαμώτο - Speaks for itself, probably :v:

Θέμης μας βοηθά; - "Themis help us."


It's probably terrible but it's the best I got :negative:

Ρε γαμώτο

Θέμη, βοήθησέ μας

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


ravenkult posted:

Ρε γαμώτο

Θέμη, βοήθησέ μας

ευχαριστὠ :keke:

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Chokes McGee posted:

While I'm at it, can I run these two phrases by the Greek speakers in this thread so I don't sound like a dumbass post production? (These are both things Nemesis says since, y'know, Greek goddess.)


Ρε λαμώτο - Speaks for itself, probably :v:

Does it? I haven't got a clue what it says without Googling.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

do what stephen baxter does and have the entire twist ending be a monologue in classical latin

Finger Wagon
Nov 25, 2009

Three heaping helpings of finger for you, sir.

Bardeh posted:

Does it? I haven't got a clue what it says without Googling.

I looked it up and it seems to be an exclamation, or a cuss of some kind, which is actually... pretty much what I expected. Being totally fair to Chokes, something like "Ρε γαμώτο!" she swore, "[English dialogue]" is actually a pretty tried and true way to go "hey I know you probably can't read this but you know she's swearing so it honestly doesn't matter what she's saying." The same goes for the "Θέμη, βοήθησέ μας/Themis help us" thing- with the right contextual indicators it can be pretty obvious that someone's essentially going "god help us, we're hosed" without ever stating it.

When it comes to actual, meaningful dialogue, yeah, it's kind of a problem if you can't read it, but things like cursing or muttering to god for patience aren't exactly core to most plots. (Think swearing in Firefly- it doesn't matter that we don't understand what they're saying, we still... kinda understand what they're saying.) I'd say if there's anything to be concerned about, it's really more a matter of whether or not it's going to be distracting than whether or not it's actually going to hinder comprehension.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Finger Wagon posted:

I looked it up and it seems to be an exclamation, or a cuss of some kind, which is actually... pretty much what I expected. Being totally fair to Chokes, something like "Ρε γαμώτο!" she swore, "[English dialogue]" is actually a pretty tried and true way to go "hey I know you probably can't read this but you know she's swearing so it honestly doesn't matter what she's saying." The same goes for the "Θέμη, βοήθησέ μας/Themis help us" thing- with the right contextual indicators it can be pretty obvious that someone's essentially going "god help us, we're hosed" without ever stating it.

When it comes to actual, meaningful dialogue, yeah, it's kind of a problem if you can't read it, but things like cursing or muttering to god for patience aren't exactly core to most plots. (Think swearing in Firefly- it doesn't matter that we don't understand what they're saying, we still... kinda understand what they're saying.) I'd say if there's anything to be concerned about, it's really more a matter of whether or not it's going to be distracting than whether or not it's actually going to hinder comprehension.

Sure, in that sort of situation it's fine. The reader doesn't really need to know the actual meaning because the context makes it clear. It just seemed weird to drop some Greek that the vast majority of people are not going to be able to read, and say that it 'speaks for itself'.

Finger Wagon
Nov 25, 2009

Three heaping helpings of finger for you, sir.

Bardeh posted:

Sure, in that sort of situation it's fine. The reader doesn't really need to know the actual meaning because the context makes it clear. It just seemed weird to drop some Greek that the vast majority of people are not going to be able to read, and say that it 'speaks for itself'.

Haha, yeah, I agree with you there- that was not a context in which that phrase 'spoke for itself' at all, so it's easy to see where the confusion came from. The only reason I went "well, it's probably 'goddamn it' or 'oh gently caress'" is because people have the weird idea that cursing is universally recognizable no matter what... which is true in context but not out of it. It's a really common mistake, and one that seems especially easy for certain people to make, for some reason.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that ultimately, inserting foreign language phrases into dialogue is all about written and implied context. You have a character yell something at the beginning of their dialogue? Whether or not you say it, most people are going to assume they're swearing. You have a character trail off uncertainly and start muttering in their native tongue before continuing? People are going to assume they're going "oh goddamn it, how do I say this in English again?" Stuff like that can go a long way towards establishing a character as distinctly ESL without making them difficult to understand.

But on the flipside, unless a character actually struggles with English fluency or has a good reason to be dropping into their native language ("in my language we have a phrase: '_______'. I can't translate it for you, but it means 'blah blah blah' and that's why you're stupid") I feel like it can seem a little hamfisted and LOOK AT MY MULTILINGUAL CHARACTER HIS NAME IS HUMBERT HUMBERT to just be dropping non-English words and phrases in dialogue. Maybe I'm alone in that, though.

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Finger Wagon posted:

Haha, yeah, I agree with you there- that was not a context in which that phrase 'spoke for itself' at all, so it's easy to see where the confusion came from. The only reason I went "well, it's probably 'goddamn it' or 'oh gently caress'" is because people have the weird idea that cursing is universally recognizable no matter what... which is true in context but not out of it. It's a really common mistake, and one that seems especially easy for certain people to make, for some reason.

I meant for a native speaker. I don't expect the reader to know it, but anyone that speaks Greek probably knows how to say "Oh, gently caress." :v:

LionArcher
Mar 29, 2010




Okay gang, just posted this on the slack chat as well. This is my former cover for my mystery/thriller.

http://imgur.com/a/gAZb5

Something about it wasn't working for me, and others agreed. Not great. Which lead me to these.


http://imgur.com/a/fyHen

http://imgur.com/a/aiOL0

http://imgur.com/a/2Agr8

Thoughts? Preferences between these three?

LionArcher fucked around with this message at 06:06 on Jul 30, 2016

Szmitten
Apr 26, 2008


LionArcher posted:

Okay gang, just posted this on the slack chat as well. This is my former cover for my mystery/thriller.

http://imgur.com/a/gAZb5

Something about it wasn't working for me, and others agreed. Not great. Which lead me to these.


http://imgur.com/a/fyHen

http://imgur.com/a/aiOL0

http://imgur.com/a/2Agr8

Thoughts? Preferences between these three?

I think it would be better to go for the orange gradient text for the title but ditch the transparency. White (non-transparent) series/author names is good, and either ditch the box around "Katie Bell Mystery" or find a way to taper the sides to make it less boxy.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




The original is actually better. Still bad though.

LionArcher
Mar 29, 2010




Szmitten posted:

I think it would be better to go for the orange gradient text for the title but ditch the transparency. White (non-transparent) series/author names is good, and either ditch the box around "Katie Bell Mystery" or find a way to taper the sides to make it less boxy.

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Maybe don't rely on heavyhanded text effects? You've moved from Stroke + Drop shadow + Inner glow to Bevel and Emboss, and none of it is any good. Did you ever do the exercise in the OP where you find a handful of top selling works in your genre and post them? Because I promise you none of them look like your covers.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe


It still just looks like badly designed text slapped on a fairly uninteresting stock photo. You can mostly get away with this in erotica and romance (less so in romance, but still, you're 90% of the way there once you've found which particular shirtless man you want to use) but other genres generally need more.

Your pitch was:

quote:

Basically the elevator pitch for the series is it's Veronica Mars in college meets Silence Of The Lambs meets Harry Potter (No magic, but each book covers a year of school).

and this cover isn't saying that to me at all. What existing books or series would you say yours was most like? Did you have any in mind when you wrote it?

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Advice from someone who literally just went through this process. I'm fresh off the boat so take this with a huge grain of :salt:.


1) Find the name for your genre first. This'll be hard given your description. Try starting from YA Horror, maybe? If there's no magic I wouldn't mention Harry Potter at all, it sets expectations you don't meet.

2) People aren't kidding about the first steps. If you don't do research, this is an exercise in futility. Once you've figured out your genre, I'd look at least five or six different covers. Good sellers, not crap. You should be able to quickly spot the difference. If not, keep going until you can.

3) If you have the budget for it and really believe in your book, just hire a cover artist. Most are several hundred though and that's a risk a lot of people me can't take or afford.

4) If you don't hire an artist, look for a readymade that's ~$50. There's a very small chance it'll work out of the box, so make sure to use info from #2 and don't start from something that sucks.

5) You can and should edit the ready-made after you get it, if you're handy with Paint.NET. Here's some things to utiliize/familiarize yourself with:
a) The lasso select is your friend, as is Magic Wand plus Invert Selection. Use Ctrl to add to current selection and Alt to subtract from it.
b) Highlight and move individual elements into their own layers to start with, it'll make life easier later.
c) Grab a good high pass filter plugin. Use it to turn uncanny valley 3D graphics and normal photos of people into a softer, more "painting" looking cover. This will do a lot of the heavy lifting towards making your cover not suck—assuming you've followed the rest of the steps.
d) Grab BoltBait's plugin pack, it's got a shitload of good stuff. Mostly you want the Bevel Text plugin, though. Use it on each text layer, slide radius all the way to the left, and bump up by one until you can start seeing the bevel. You're done. Don't go any higher.

6) Keep trying. It's really hard to get compliments around here, but it's not to be mean, honest. (Seriously, take a look at my recent posts through this thread, I laid out some real turds before I finally got it right.) You gotta give your stuff the best chance you possibly can.


Going through this process for about a week made a man out of me, and gods willing, it'll make a man out of you. :clint:

Chokes McGee fucked around with this message at 19:56 on Jul 30, 2016

Saint Isaias Boner
Jan 17, 2007

lets post together



For my book I went to the bookstore and looked in my genre, then I took the first half dozen books off the shelf that grabbed my attention and I stole as many design elements as possible from those. It turned out ok

LionArcher
Mar 29, 2010




Chokes McGee posted:

Advice from someone who literally just went through this process. I'm fresh off the boat so take this with a huge grain of :salt:.


1) Find the name for your genre first. This'll be hard given your description. Try starting from YA Horror, maybe? If there's no magic I wouldn't mention Harry Potter at all, it sets expectations you don't meet.

2) People aren't kidding about the first steps. If you don't do research, this is an exercise in futility. Once you've figured out your genre, I'd look at least five or six different covers. Good sellers, not crap. You should be able to quickly spot the difference. If not, keep going until you can.

3) If you have the budget for it and really believe in your book, just hire a cover artist. Most are several hundred though and that's a risk a lot of people me can't take or afford.

4) If you don't hire an artist, look for a readymade that's ~$50. There's a very small chance it'll work out of the box, so make sure to use info from #2 and don't start from something that sucks.

5) You can and should edit the ready-made after you get it, if you're handy with Paint.NET. Here's some things to utiliize/familiarize yourself with:
a) The lasso select is your friend, as is Magic Wand plus Invert Selection. Use Ctrl to add to current selection and Alt to subtract from it.
b) Highlight and move individual elements into their own layers to start with, it'll make life easier later.
c) Grab a good high pass filter plugin. Use it to turn uncanny valley 3D graphics and normal photos of people into a softer, more "painting" looking cover. This will do a lot of the heavy lifting towards making your cover not suck—assuming you've followed the rest of the steps.
d) Grab BoltBait's plugin pack, it's got a shitload of good stuff. Mostly you want the Bevel Text plugin, though. Use it on each text layer, slide radius all the way to the left, and bump up by one until you can start seeing the bevel. You're done. Don't go any higher.

6) Keep trying. It's really hard to get compliments around here, but it's not to be mean, honest. (Seriously, take a look at my recent posts through this thread, I laid out some real turds before I finally got it right.) You gotta give your stuff the best chance you possibly can.


Going through this process for about a week made a man out of me, and gods willing, it'll make a man out of you. :clint:

I really appreciate the work you put into this post. I'm already doing fine as a romance author, but I wanted to have eggs in more than one basket. I'll go back to work on this thing and go for a round two.

As for people suggesting looking at covers of other books in the genre (thriller/mystery) I have done that. My biggest issue is that unlike a genre like Romance/sci-fi/fantasy, Thriller mystery's have a wide range of okay to good covers, but it's not nearly as coherent. That isn't meant to be defensive, just my impression of what I've seen. Hence why I've been struggling.

As for my elevator pitch, great point about Harry Potter. It isn't like that at all. I'll scrap that from the pitch.

Book is split narratively between a college freshman (Katie) solving one murder at college (and all the college shenanigans that she would normally go through) and her famous FBI profiler father chasing after a serial killer who's the disciple of the serial killer who murdered his wife (Katie's mother).

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Maybe something like this for the title?



Something about the book's subject matter makes me think that standard fonts aren't the way to go.

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Fuego Fish posted:

Maybe something like this for the title?



Something about the book's subject matter makes me think that standard fonts aren't the way to go.

I dunno if it falls under this:





...but probably want to stop and think for a bit just to be sure.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

and if it's a lie, terrorists made me say it


Anybody else having issues with KDP lately? I uploaded a bundle two days ago, it went from "In Review" to "Publishing" almost immediately and stayed that way for 24 hours. Then it listed itself as "Live - With Unpublished Changes" but there's no actual page for the bundle and it doesn't appear to be on Amazon despite being 'Live". I went ahead and clicked 'Publish' again and now it's been sitting at "Live - Updates Publishing" for quite some time and there's still no product people can actually buy. This is getting frustrating, and I'm really hoping this doesn't happen again since I just submitted a new story last night and it's already in "Publishing" status.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


My wife had to remind me that today is my fourth anniversary of being in this job. Thanks to everyone who has ever helped me out.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

and if it's a lie, terrorists made me say it


EngineerSean posted:

My wife had to remind me that today is my fourth anniversary of being in this job. Thanks to everyone who has ever helped me out.

Congrats! Here's to many more!

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Assuming a 0.0049 rate:



Plus around $500 from D2D and Google, makes July my best month ever. Turns out the summer slump doesn't matter as much if you just keep on publishing. :getin:

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Bardeh posted:

Assuming a 0.0049 rate:



Plus around $500 from D2D and Google, makes July my best month ever. Turns out the summer slump doesn't matter as much if you just keep on publishing. :getin:

:stare:

Dear Lord. That's "live comfortably" money. Is that typical or an outlier? If the former then good on you.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Chokes McGee posted:

:stare:

Dear Lord. That's "live comfortably" money. Is that typical or an outlier? If the former then good on you.

It's been building nicely ever since I started putting effort into publishing more often, but I've been living off my writing for quite a while now.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

and if it's a lie, terrorists made me say it


You gotta remember that's also before the taxman takes a bite; although depending on how much you write-off as small business expenses it might not be that much of a loss.

We don't talk too heavily about hard numbers here, but that's about a grand more than I typically make per month pre-tax, and I'm pretty consistently between the top #80-#100 author rankings for Erotica on Amazon. I don't do Kindle Unlimited outside of a couple of "here's the first story in a bunch of my top-rated series" bundles, though, so that probably skews things.

One of these days I'm going to have to expand into the Romance market, though, 'cause that's where the crazy money is.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Popular Human posted:

You gotta remember that's also before the taxman takes a bite; although depending on how much you write-off as small business expenses it might not be that much of a loss.

We don't talk too heavily about hard numbers here, but that's about a grand more than I typically make per month pre-tax, and I'm pretty consistently between the top #80-#100 author rankings for Erotica on Amazon. I don't do Kindle Unlimited outside of a couple of "here's the first story in a bunch of my top-rated series" bundles, though, so that probably skews things.

One of these days I'm going to have to expand into the Romance market, though, 'cause that's where the crazy money is.

I'm an expat in a southeast asian country where they don't have tax regulations for people like me, so no tax as long as I don't spend more than 90 days per year in my home country. I do have to factor in other costs though - between advertising and cover art costs I probably spent over $650 this month.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Wait, you're making money with erotica outside of KU?

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

ravenkult posted:

Wait, you're making money with erotica outside of KU?

I do :shrug: All my old stuff is wide and still makes me $500-600 a month pretty reliably. If I was still writing erotica, I'd put it all in KU for the inital term and then rotate it all out wide after 90 days. B&N in particular doesn't see the dropoff that Amazon does. I have four year old erotica shorts there that still sell month after month, year after year.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 14:35 on Aug 2, 2016

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Bardeh posted:

I do :shrug: All my old stuff is wide and still makes me $500-600 a month pretty reliably. If I was still writing erotica, I'd put it all in KU for the inital term and then rotate it all out wide after 90 days. B&N in particular doesn't see the dropoff that Amazon does. I have four year old erotica shorts there that still sell month after month, year after year.

I was asking Popular Human, but yeah, for sure. I just can't get any traction on Amazon (then again, I never had and I missed the KU boat anyway).

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

and if it's a lie, terrorists made me say it


Yeah I do, but I freely admit timing may have had something to do with it. I was on KU and making a bunch of money until they changed over to the "per page read" model and I pulled everything (again, outside of a couple bundles designed to get new readers into me) from the service. After that, I guess I just had enough of a fanbase to sustain me without the KU model. I will note that since the changeover, my single stories sell squat: it's all about the five-story/ten-story bundles. I make around 80% of my money from them, so I usually crank out a ~6k story every 1-2 days and drop a bundle every week OR whenever I finish the next series. So it's something like: write five-story series, write 2nd five-story series, drop bundle for first series right when I finish the second series, if that makes any sense.

There's a few people in the bottom half of the top 100 who do the same thing: just at a glance I see Gregor Daniels, Neil Bimbeau, Lenore Love and Cherise Sinclair are all anti-KU. (I also note that 3/4ths of them write nearly all their stuff in some specific subgenre of erotica that has dedicated fans probably willing to shell out actual $$$ for good stuff in their preferred kink - gender swapping, mind control, etc. But that's getting dangerously close to old-thread talk so I'll stop).

Arkanomen
May 6, 2007

All he wants is a hug


Bardeh posted:

Assuming a 0.0049 rate:



Plus around $500 from D2D and Google, makes July my best month ever. Turns out the summer slump doesn't matter as much if you just keep on publishing. :getin:

What are the average length to your stories?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



Bardeh posted:

Assuming a 0.0049 rate:



Plus around $500 from D2D and Google, makes July my best month ever. Turns out the summer slump doesn't matter as much if you just keep on publishing. :getin:

This is, ironically, about twice as much as the salary for an entry-level job in the publishing industry.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Arkanomen posted:

What are the average length to your stories?

I have a ton of old 3-5k word shorts, but the vast majority of my income now is from 50k word romance novels.

Eyeneedle
May 13, 2012


Hey, self-pub goons. I've lurked the thread for a while. Is there a market for thrillers? I was under the impression that only romance sold well.

Eyeneedle fucked around with this message at 17:57 on Aug 3, 2016

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Eyeneedle posted:

Hey, self-pub goons. I've lurked the thread for a while. Is there a market for thrillers? I was under the impression that it only romance that sold well.

Sure there is. Romance is just easier to write and the market is bigger, plus it's probably easier to break into as a new writer. There's still money to be made in thrillers and mysteries though.

E: also, the answer to any 'is there a market for *insert genre here* question' is always going to be "Yes." However, there's a reason lots of people in this thread write romance. It's by far the biggest market, the books generally follow a formula that's easy to break down and replicate, and the readers are so voracious that they'll happily try new authors if the book is in a subgenre they like.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 17:14 on Aug 3, 2016

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Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

and if it's a lie, terrorists made me say it


Eyeneedle posted:

Hey, self-pub goons. I've lurked the thread for a while. Is there a market for thrillers? I was under the impression that it only romance that sold well.

Thrillers are typically considered the second-best selling genre after Romance, so yep!

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