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angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Your prose has issues that others mentioned, but you definitely could clean it up and write stuff that would sell.

From reading the thread, you should be aware by now just how well something in the "fantasy, RPG-inspired, wild-westish, possibly post-apocalyptic genre" will sell.

Look at some of the people who just released Lovecraft style urban fantasy stuff in the past few months in this thread, and look at what they are considering successful for themselves. I'm guessing over $100 in a month would be considered quite good in that genre.

I think everyone who considers doing self-pub should really, seriously sit the gently caress down before they get into this and write down on a sheet of paper some bullet points about "why am I doing this?"

You said:

quote:

So I am seriously looking to get into self-pub for money since I am working part-time from home and have a lot of free time.

You later asked:

quote:

Assuming I nail the whole marketing/book cover stuff, is my writing at a sufficient level where I can expect to make sales?

Realize that "make sales" is not a metric for succeeding or for "making money" in any meaningful sum. You could sell 100 copies at 99 cents, and you'd make $33. If you sold 100 copies at $2.99, you'd make $200. Consider how much time and effort you'll spend writing the book, and how much the cover will cost you. Does $33 or $200 sound at all worthwhile toward your stated goal of "make money?" The answer is probably "no," to that, so--ignoring Kindle Unlimited--you'll need to sell closer to 1,000 copies to make any meaningful amount of money off this. Even 1,000 copies at $0.99 is probably not going to mean you make good money.

Sit down and really think this through. Write down the money you'd need to make from this book to have it feel "worth it" to you. For some people, getting 5 decent reviews from real readers and selling 100 copies is "worth it" just because a handful of people actually read and enjoyed their story. They might only make a hundred dollars from it, but they are happy that they spent their free time doing something productive and getting people to appreciate their work.

Really try to figure this out for yourself so that you don't set yourself up for disappointment. I see it happen very very often where people are stubborn and just assume they will be the outlier Cthulhu author who makes it big on their first book. They convince themselves they will still be happy if they make a few dollars, but once their book sells a few dozen copies and completely dies, they are scrambling around, "Where can I book ads? How can I get my book to sell????"

The answer to the question is, "Get a time machine, go back, and don't write a Cthulhu urban fantasy book."

I think we have one dude in this thread who makes over $1,000/month doing genre fiction, and it's military sci-fi, which has an established self-pub market that sells and has a hungry reader base.

The Hard Luck Hank author was another outlier who made great money. He was really smart about marketing and targeted a genre that isn't stereotype "goon poo poo" that apparently was hungry for what he wrote.

The smartest thing you can do is to figure out the minimum amount of money that you'd be satisfied with, and then research genres and find books that are within the rank range where that amount of money is reasonable. Then, as closely as possible, match your book's subject matter so that you could have a cover and blurb that would look like it belongs among those books you have researched. Somewhere in this thread I have a post where I did this analysis on the "Magic girl holding magic in her hand" genre.

Chances are that there is a genre out there that actually makes money and that you'd enjoy writing. It's probably not the exact thing you would write if you have free reign, but it's probably much more appealing to you than the big, clear moneymaker, which is romance novels.

If your answer for how much money you want to make is "as much as possible," I'd say it's romance or bust.

If you figure out how much money you'd need to be satisfied, you can ask in the thread and we can try to help you figure out what rank on the Amazon store you'd need to see for that kind of money, which will help you research the genres and markets.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 18:56 on Oct 6, 2016

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D-Pad
Jun 28, 2006




This is all great advice, and is actually how I am proceeding. I may not have been clear in my post, but that text was something I wrote a while back and happened to find again. I just wanted to get general feedback on my prose, I won't be doing that genre. I am actually studying the romance market right now because like you said I want to make as much as possible. I have no problem whoring myself out in a genre I have no interest in. I won't proceed without a plan that includes all the marketing and cover advice in this thread.

I may get deeper into the research and decide it isn't for me. If it does end up being something I can succeed at all the better. I have always had the nerd dream of writing a sci-fi or fantasy magnum opus, but I realize that poo poo is incredibly unrealistic without a huge amount of writing experience. Maybe this is how I get that experience while making some money before moving on to traditional book writing, or maybe I get 7k words in and see a butterfly go by my window and abandon the whole thing all together. Whatever happens I am going to try to be realistic about it. Thanks for the advice, you have given me a lot to think about.

Edit: I was really just looking for the feedback you gave me. If I clean my writing up and put some effort into learning it can sell.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

For reals, this KU bug hurts. My October will be 25% of what I made in June if this continues.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

D-Pad posted:



Edit: I was really just looking for the feedback you gave me. If I clean my writing up and put some effort into learning it can sell.

Yeah the writing will end up being fine I think. Like the prose itself will be fine with some tweaks. I've seen prose worse than that hit rank 200 in romance even with tons of reviews saying the prose sucked trying to warn people away--it still kept selling.

Writing romance is a grind and takes a lot of endurance. Usually the plot structuring and telling a story that holds interest will be harder than the prose itself, but if you're good at reading a book and reverse engineering what makes it work through analysis, it should end up coming out well enough to make you what I would consider "worth-it" amounts of money.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


If I had waited for my writing to be perfect before I started publishing, I'd still be waiting.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Ugh. KDP completed it's audit of September's page reads (again mentioning fraudulent pages) and bumped the missing page pool to 2%, which authors are seeing reflected to various degrees in their reports now.

But it's not the 20-40% of pages many of us feel we're missing.

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




I saw a boost but yeah, not what I should have earned in September. So if everyone gets a boost doesn't the pot just get stretched thinner and the rate goes down?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


EngineerSean posted:

If I had waited for my writing to be perfect before I started publishing, I'd still be waiting.

Hell, how do you think I feel, what with me waiting for your writing to be perfect before I start publishing? :v:


September KDP: Do Never Publish.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


The Fuzzy Hulk posted:

I saw a boost but yeah, not what I should have earned in September. So if everyone gets a boost doesn't the pot just get stretched thinner and the rate goes down?

This is completely 100% correct thinking but this isn't the month that they're going to make this clear. They're facing a mutiny right now.

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




That's what I was thinking too.

Since we are a week away, anyone want to start guessing September's rate? Down a smudge to .00442 or a big drop to .00397? Maybe pop up a little to .00495? Or a huge boost to over .005?

I never would have guessed I'd be as excited about a farthing as that little rabbit in the Robin Hood cartoon.

Mortley
Jan 18, 2005

aux tep unt rep uni ovi

angel opportunity posted:

...

The smartest thing you can do is to figure out the minimum amount of money that you'd be satisfied with, and then research genres and find books that are within the rank range where that amount of money is reasonable. Then, as closely as possible, match your book's subject matter so that you could have a cover and blurb that would look like it belongs among those books you have researched. Somewhere in this thread I have a post where I did this analysis on the "Magic girl holding magic in her hand" genre.
...

I poked around with the search function about a year back and couldn't find this analysis - does anyone have the link, by chance?

edit: vv thanks

Mortley fucked around with this message at 23:49 on Oct 9, 2016

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Mortley posted:

I poked around with the search function about a year back and couldn't find this analysis - does anyone have the link, by chance?

Is it this one?

http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3639693&userid=63275&perpage=40&pagenumber=6#post452876788

Edit: Also, worth reading this one.
http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3639693&userid=63275&perpage=40&pagenumber=6#post453568493

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Uhhh maybe i never posted the magic girl thing itt? Ill try to type it later

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Got my first critical review (as opposed to a reader review). The person in charge of the blog emphasized I got the best review she'd ever seen from their Fantasy/Horror reviewer, but it was still three stars and he savaged my execution. Woof.

At least he liked my characters and dialogue. Official verdict is "could do a lot worse than reading this" which is... praise, I guess? :shrug:

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


quote:

The person in charge of the blog emphasized I got the best review she'd ever seen from their Fantasy/Horror reviewer, but it was still three stars and he savaged my execution.

Two things to take home here:

#1 - Look at the reviews of the sites before you submit to them. You do not want to submit to someone who is not likely to give your book at least 4 stars.

#2 - Write that site name down and never submit to it again. It's not helping you.

#3 - Blog reviews and blog tours are mostly useless.


Apply rules #1 and #2 to ARC readers too. If your readers are on Goodreads, check their review history and average ratings before you give them anything. If they suck, don't deliver on time, savage the book unnecessarily, or provide a review that makes you regret having sent to them, never send them a copy of anything ever again. There are lots of reviewers, both in the blogosphere :barf: and on Goodreads, who seem to pride themselves either on leaving bad reviews or on not using the same score system as the average Amazon customer / algorithm. (Think about Amazon in general vs Goodreads: A 3 on Amazon means the book is pretty bad. A 3 on Goodreads, according to their scale, means "I liked it.")

You want to select for reviewers who (1) already are inclined to like your content and (2) who skew closer to the Amazon scale, rather than some ridiculous 'rated relative to all literature ever, plus the reader's ego-bias' scale.

Sundae fucked around with this message at 18:28 on Oct 10, 2016

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Sundae posted:

Two things to take home here:

#1 - Look at the reviews of the sites before you submit to them. You do not want to submit to someone who is not likely to give your book at least 4 stars.

#2 - Write that site name down and never submit to it again. It's not helping you.

#3 - Blog reviews and blog tours are mostly useless.


Apply rules #1 and #2 to ARC readers too. If your readers are on Goodreads, check their review history and average ratings before you give them anything. If they suck, don't deliver on time, savage the book unnecessarily, or provide a review that makes you regret having sent to them, never send them a copy of anything ever again. There are lots of reviewers, both in the blogosphere :barf: and on Goodreads, who seem to pride themselves either on leaving bad reviews or on not using the same score system as the average Amazon customer / algorithm. (Think about Amazon in general vs Goodreads: A 3 on Amazon means the book is pretty bad. A 3 on Goodreads, according to their scale, means "I liked it.")

You want to select for reviewers who (1) already are inclined to like your content and (2) who skew closer to the Amazon scale, rather than some ridiculous 'rated relative to all literature ever, plus the reader's ego-bias' scale.

Noted. Live and learn, I guess! At least it's only one bad review out of 11 :shobon:

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I'm going to post my "Find profitable markets that are worth writing in" guide. Keep in mind that romance is the obvious money maker, but if you're wanting to write something closer to what you love but still have a chance at making money, you can try this:

This guide is "time sensitive" and I'm too lazy to upload screenshots, so I'm posting URLs for charts that will change a lot over time. If you are reading this months from the original posting date, you will need to ignore the URLs.

Think of what genre you want to write. Let's say you are a huge goon and want to write cool guy with a fedora slaying Cthulhu in London. This probably isn't going to sell, so you want to find something that is sort of close that will actually sell.

STEP 1: Go to Google and type "Amazon top 100 NAME OF GENRE YOU ARE INTERESTED IN".

For some reason it's easier to search from Google to get the actual top 100 charts than it is to browse through subcategories. You generally want to do a broad category on this, because if you do something super specific like "Top 100 Cthulhu fedora books," then the number two in that category might be rank 12,000 in the overall store, which is bad, and means the entire genre is bad and won't sell.

In this example, I am going to search "Amazon Top 100 Urban Fantasy," and see what comes up. https://goo.gl/KCB5bW


STEP 2: Find a book that is a super clear "trend," and of which there are multiple high-ranking books.

I have a good eye for this because I've been doing it for over a year, but you want to learn to filter out the stuff that is more or less "irrelevant." In this case, Harry Potter is irrelevant, and Bella Forrest is always irrelevant as well. Bella Forrest stuffs herself into every single category, and she is an anomaly who can do whatever she wants and have it sell due to a huge existing audience. To check for anomalies, try to find stuff that is similar to it that is also selling very well. You likely will not find anything similar to Bella Forrest that is doing well, so just ignore her entirely. This entire chart is looking not great; we're looking for something that is 1,000 rank or better, and something that is self-published and can be emulated. You cannot emulate Harry Potter, which is taking up half of the first page of this chart.

The first book that is jumping out to me is this one: https://goo.gl/wqBhSw

It's one of the worst covers I've ever seen, and I have no idea how it is sub-300 rank. It looks like an anomaly based on the also-boughts. Scroll down to the list of "Customers who bought this also bought..." to see related books. I will refer to this list as "Also Boughts" from now on. Since this is an anomaly, I'm ignoring it and scrolling further down.

Any cover with a dude's six-pack abs on it is a romance book that stuffed itself into this category--also ignore any of these.

I'm already at the bottom of the page, and the last thing I see is this one: https://goo.gl/J15HTG

This is getting closer to what we are looking for. It's self-published, and it's rank 255 at $4.00. This means it's making some serious money. The also boughts look like a bit of a crapshoot though; too many of the books are by the same author, and too many are Halloween themed. Since we are close to Halloween, I'm going to skip this as a potential target. It might not actually be an anomaly, and it may be possible to emulate this style book, but it's not super clear and easy enough for me. I might bookmark it and look back at it later if I can't find something better...but I'm pretty sure I can find something better.

We're rapidly getting close to the point where I might want to switch categories. The money you make with a book at 500 rank is significant, while the money you make at rank 1,000 is "don't quit your day job" money. If you can hold a book at rank 1,000 while it's $2.99 and up, it might be considered good money, but we really want to find stuff that is ranking higher than this to emulate.

Page two of the chart, ranks 20-40, I'm seeing half Bella Forrest, more shoe-horned romance books, and some random poo poo like Neil Gaiman audiobooks. It's looking bleak and I'm about to switch categories, until I see the book at rank 40. This one: https://goo.gl/hjI7Oa

I cheated because I already did this analysis months ago, so this one stuck out to me more, but I'm pretty sure it would have jumped out to me even if I had never done this before. This book is rank 570 right now at $4.00. That is GOOD money. Romance rarely hits this kind of rank at $4.00, so it's hard for me to estimate, but I'd say this book is making around $300-$500/day on its own. Yes, the author is a NYT best seller, and it says it's published by "Blue Bolt Publishing," (I looked at it and it looks like a self-pubber who made up an LLC) but look at the Also Boughts. These also boughts is what you're looking for:



Notice the variety of authors, and notice the similarity in the covers. Click through these and check out the ranks. A lot of them are sub 1k rank at $2.99 and higher, and those that aren't sub 1k tend to be older or on pre-order.

Step 3: Find as many examples of this archetype as possible and analyze the poo poo out of them.

Random poo poo off the top of my head here:

-Female protagonist.
-Cover should have a young looking girl wearing black, holding magic in her hand or a weapon
-The word "magic" should be in the title.
-150-300 pages, probably closer to 250 is ideal. I think this will be between 50-100k words.
-Faeries, vampires, necromancers, etc. instead of Cthulhu.
-Set the book up to be at least three parts.

Basically figure out everything you can and decide if you think this is something you could emulate and would want to write. You don't get to write about a guy with a fedora slaying Cthulhu, you have to write about a girl learning magic to slay demons...but how different is that really? Is the potential $300-$500/day worth throwing away so you can write about Cthulhu instead of a demon?

Step 4: Before you read a book as an example, try to find books like this that failed

You want to have a decent idea of how likely failure is here. Are there books that looked to have done everything right but failed to hit a decent rank at all? Once you find these, see if you can pinpoint where they went wrong. Maybe the cover isn't high enough quality, maybe the blurb doesn't read well, or maybe it's too short? You want to open a million tabs and go through all the also boughts of all the books to get as many examples to pull from as possible. I'm specifically looking for something that came out between 10-30 days ago and is rank 3,000 or higher--but looks like it should be doing better than it is.

I'm struggling to find this. I'm opening the tabs from the also boughts, and then I'm checking rank and publication date. I'm only clicking on ones that I think have good covers and meet my bullet point list above. Here is the first one that hits me as kind of a failure: https://goo.gl/PfaWr1

I'm going to open the author's Amazon profile and sort her books by "publication date." If you don't do this they will appear in random order. It looks like she has the next book on pre-order, and the rank sucks and there are no reviews. Ink Witch's angle is that the heroine is an immortal badass tattoo artist. The cover doesn't have the glowing magic colors, and it just feels kind of "off" to me. I'm still going to try to find other more on-target books with bad ranks.

This one https://goo.gl/GztOa0 is a bit over a month old, and the rank isn't quite as bad as Ink Witch, so I'm going to go into the author's profile and see if she has something newer. It's actually two authors, but I notice there's a series list below, and book 3 is on there. Book 3 has a terrible rank, and there are 0 reviews on it.

Book 1, which came out back in late July, is still 2,000 rank at $2.99. The SERIES as a whole is probably making okayish money. I'd have to look into this harder to figure out what these authors are potentially doing wrong, but I think they aren't doing any advance review copies, and having 0 ratings while also putting a book up for pre-order seems like a questionable decision to me. The covers are the most on-point for fairly poor rankings that I've seen...the colors aren't quite bright enough, but I wouldn't say it's safe to attribute the poorer sales to JUST that.

I'm never going to write this poo poo, so I'm not going to analyze this too far, but the point of this step is that you want to find examples of people who tried to cash in on this market and archetype, but failed. The question is: if you emulate this as best you can and do everything right, how reasonable is it to expect you'll be successful? As far as I can see, the absolute worst case in this genre if you do everything close to right is "You will make several thousand more dollars than fedora Cthulhu slayer." The best case is: "You will make over $10,000+ for each book that should ideally take you only 1-2 months to write."

It's worth noting that these covers are very high quality looking. The ones that sell well have really popping covers with detailed text blocks, good design sense, and sometimes illustrated characters. I don't know how much a cover like this would cost, but this might be something you'd want to check early on. Find a cover artist who does these covers and see how much it would cost to hire them. If it's totally out of your budget, either save money or don't do this. It's a total waste of time to do this and slap a lovely cover on it.

Final step: Read books that are selling well right now and plot your book out based on it. Try to have the same pacing and stuff going on. Write the book. You don't have to totally rip off and paint by numbers here, but if you read three of these and in book 1 of each series, the heroine always starts out as a regular girl and spends book 1 finding her powers, then you definitely want to have that happen. It's possible that this is the case, and the Ink Witch book had her starting out as a badass immortal just lost the appeal to a lot of readers. I'm not saying this is what happened, but you want to figure this poo poo out when you read the books. You have plenty of room to be creative, but hit the beats that the market is asking for. You want to minimize variance in your book so you don't get slammed with bad reviews. If you have the cover with the word "magic," the girl with magic in her hand, and the popping colors, but your book goes totally off the rails from the others, you'll likely get angry reviews.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

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


I think you may have just launched my female-protagonist urban fantasy series with "Magic" in the title :P

No, but seriously - that post is worth it's weight in GOLD. This process is exactly what I've been using for the forbidden genre over the last year and a half, and it's working great.

Aaronicon
Oct 2, 2010

by primus


Aw yiss, my reams of Sailor Moon OC fanfic that I've just been sitting on for years is finally going to pay off.

But seriously good poo poo there. Everyone reading this thread and thinking about buying any of those new waves of authorship books on Amazon, you just saved yourself some dosh. That advice is all they basically boil down to.

gerg_861
Jan 2, 2009


angel opportunity posted:

I'm going to post my "Find profitable markets that are worth writing in" guide. Keep in mind that romance is the obvious money maker, but if you're wanting to write something closer to what you love but still have a chance at making money, you can try this:

This guide is "time sensitive" and I'm too lazy to upload screenshots, so I'm posting URLs for charts that will change a lot over time. If you are reading this months from the original posting date, you will need to ignore the URLs.

Think of what genre you want to write. Let's say you are a huge goon and want to write cool guy with a fedora slaying Cthulhu in London. This probably isn't going to sell, so you want to find something that is sort of close that will actually sell.

Hey - my guy had a trench-coat, not a fedora. Totally different thing. Way more popular.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

So I got a PM asking some questions about what I wrote, but I'd rather answer it here so anyone else who might be confused can get clarification here:

1) I was not singling out any one person or basing it on any one book that was posted in here. Every single time someone posts a blurb in this thread, I play a game when I read the blurb called "How long until there are Eldritch Horrors" and I'm rarely disappointed. I think I've seen 3 or 4 blurbs from different people in here that were doing some version of "awkward male protag slays eldritch horror." I personally find that genre super boring, but it's clearly something a lot of people on SA like, and that's fine. I'm not trying to shame anyone for liking that or wanting to write about it, I'm just trying to show you that you could write something fairly similar and potentially make actual money doing it. I might be wrong and there might be a profitable Lovecraft-inspired Urban Fantasy archetype you can do, but let's go into number 2 for that.

2) It was suggested that I should bold and underline in my guide to "put the word 'magic' in the title." This WAS NOT advice for your Lovecraft-inspired book, that was advice based on my analysis of "girl with magic in her hand" archetype. It ONLY applies to that genre. I have no idea what specific words are probably auto-include in other genres, the point of the guide is that you can research yourself, notice a trend, and figure out exactly what word should probably go in your title for your chosen genre. Let's pretend again that there is some profitable archetype out there for Lovecraft-inspired books, you'd want to follow the steps above and figure out what words are most common across all the high-ranking titles. Maybe it would be "Eldritch" maybe it would be "Void"...I hate Lovecraft poo poo so I have no idea really, but you get the idea. It sure as gently caress would not be "Magic" though!

It may also help you to try to figure out why certain markets exist. The girl with magic in her hand thing is pretty clearly for the teen to young-adult female audience, and that is an established big market.

Another big genre market that I know exists for self-pub is military scifi. I'm sure Yooper could give you a better overview--if he wanted to--but I'd assume the "entry requirements" are a lot higher, and the grognard types who read that stuff will probably skewer you if you mess up Newtonian physics or military tactics. You can see in those books that the price per book tends to be higher...this means the market is likely smaller but hungry for the books and willing to pay that price for them.

Eyeneedle
May 13, 2012


Thanks for all the advice angel opportunity. I learn more and more from this thread every day.

I was looking through the thriller lists and found this. A book 'Girl on a train' which just happens to have a similar title and cover to the number one bestseller is the number two bestseller. drat, talk about blind luck. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Train-J-Waines-ebook/dp/B00JXLMDP2/ref=zg_bs_72_2

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.



angel opportunity posted:

I'm never going to write this poo poo, so I'm not going to analyze this too far, but the point of this step is that you want to find examples of people who tried to cash in on this market and archetype, but failed. The question is: if you emulate this as best you can and do everything right, how reasonable is it to expect you'll be successful? As far as I can see, the absolute worst case in this genre if you do everything close to right is "You will make several thousand more dollars than fedora Cthulhu slayer." The best case is: "You will make over $10,000+ for each book that should ideally take you only 1-2 months to write."

Thanks for the effortpost. It is all really useful information. I was wondering if you could expand on the bolded part a little bit? How do you get up to that kind of pace? I have written a bunch of novels over the years but I've never really taken less than a year to finish one. I'm sure I could do better but still 1 month sounds incredibly fast. Is it just that you cut a lot of corners for the ebook market since nobody expects great prose anyway?

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


What took you a year? Outlining? Your first draft? The three months you took off because work had you beat? This is a job for most of us. A mere 250 words a day for 250 days a year gets you more than enough for a novel, and that represents about thirty minutes of work for me. You're never gonna piss off your peers faster in this business than by implying your work is better simply because it took you longer.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I work 5 days a week and on a work day I write 5,000 words. I miss days sometimes but in general I'm writing close to 25,000 words per week. When I still had a day job and was doing this after work I tried to do 3,000 words after work five days per week, and sometimes I'd sacrifice weekend time to write more.

Think of a craft like sculpting, where the sculptor has to spend many many hours on one thing they make. In sculpting, it's impossible to do five drafts; you cut rock and it's gone and not coming back. You know going into it that you need to make it good, and people manage to consistently make good stuff anyway.

I feel prose is more or less like this. I write 5,000 words, and they are extremely close to my final version's 5,000 words. I do an editing pass after I finish a book, but it's equivalent to polishing a crafted good rather than going in and completely loving redoing it. When I'm totally done I have my editor look it over, and then I go back through her edits and apply what I agree with.

Your prose is either good or it's not. I don't think anyone ever writes a first draft of garbage prose, then massages brilliant prose out of it over six editing passes and three re-do drafts. Usually when you start doing that your story gets all hosed up because your flow is shot and you have lost the forest for the trees.

The other thing with writing a lot of words per day is that you generally have a strong memory of the entire story. The beginning of your story is no longer something that you wrote six months ago and barely remember; it's super fresh in your mind and you have the whole narrative very clear in your head.

Sailor Viy
Aug 4, 2013

And when I can swim no longer, if I have not reached Aslan's country, or shot over the edge of the world into some vast cataract, I shall sink with my nose to the sunrise.



EngineerSean posted:

What took you a year? Outlining? Your first draft? The three months you took off because work had you beat? This is a job for most of us. A mere 250 words a day for 250 days a year gets you more than enough for a novel, and that represents about thirty minutes of work for me. You're never gonna piss off your peers faster in this business than by implying your work is better simply because it took you longer.

Sorry, I definitely didn't mean to imply anything like that. I'd assume that anyone who makes money off writing is a better writer than me. That's why I'm asking for advice.

angel opportunity posted:

I work 5 days a week and on a work day I write 5,000 words. I miss days sometimes but in general I'm writing close to 25,000 words per week. When I still had a day job and was doing this after work I tried to do 3,000 words after work five days per week, and sometimes I'd sacrifice weekend time to write more.

Think of a craft like sculpting, where the sculptor has to spend many many hours on one thing they make. In sculpting, it's impossible to do five drafts; you cut rock and it's gone and not coming back. You know going into it that you need to make it good, and people manage to consistently make good stuff anyway.

I feel prose is more or less like this. I write 5,000 words, and they are extremely close to my final version's 5,000 words. I do an editing pass after I finish a book, but it's equivalent to polishing a crafted good rather than going in and completely loving redoing it. When I'm totally done I have my editor look it over, and then I go back through her edits and apply what I agree with.

Your prose is either good or it's not. I don't think anyone ever writes a first draft of garbage prose, then massages brilliant prose out of it over six editing passes and three re-do drafts. Usually when you start doing that your story gets all hosed up because your flow is shot and you have lost the forest for the trees.

The other thing with writing a lot of words per day is that you generally have a strong memory of the entire story. The beginning of your story is no longer something that you wrote six months ago and barely remember; it's super fresh in your mind and you have the whole narrative very clear in your head.

Thanks. This is very useful although also daunting.

Aaronicon
Oct 2, 2010

by primus


I work a lovely full time retail job and I have a family with two kids under six. I just get up at 5:30am and write until it's time to get ready for work or one of the kids wake up. I nearly always break 2k a day. I broadly use the pomodoro method, but more and more I'm finding that the short breaks kill my momentum and I just power through.

It works for me. I know that when I get home, I'm going to be too tired from work to do anything constructive, plus I want to actually spend quality time with the wife and kids. Once the kids are in bed, I do my prep for the next mornings writing - writing out my notes to myself, updating spreadsheets, tweaking and filling out my scene outlines so I don't waste time thinking about what I'm going to write - and then read until it's bed time. Repeat for two months and there's a book.

of course it's been a few weeks since I did this. Looking for a better day job takes priority right now, as does using up as much holiday time as possible to spend with the family

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Sailor Viy posted:

Thanks. This is very useful although also daunting.

Remember, also, that these are people working full-time on it. You can still make money off of writing while not writing full-time. It will not be anywhere near as much (barring a lottery-esque luck streak, of course), so you have to decide what amount of money you're comfortable earning.

Convert it to normal jobs for visualization's sake, if you need to. Need money for beer? A little part time thing is just fine. Work(write) when you want, under your own terms, whenever you feel like you want some beer. On the other hand, do you need to pay for rent, your kid's health insurance, medical bills, etc? You'd better be working full time at a lucrative job(genre) and taking your job(writing) seriously.

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



Honestly my target is about 500usd/month.

I'm going to be part time at this, and I'm giving myself a hard start date of end of Jan 2017. I just started a business and moved house and am renovating, with a lot to learn about the marketing process (thanks Angel Opportunity for your informative posts) and while I realise that distractions will never entirely go away, there is a level of "sorted-outness" that I need to hit. But conversely, I can't wait for everything to be "perfect", hence the hard deadline to have a schedule slot for writing, and all research done - no arguments and no bullshit.

Cast_No_Shadow
Jun 8, 2010

The Republic of Luna Equestria is a huge, socially progressive nation, notable for its punitive income tax rates. Its compassionate, cynical population of 714m are ruled with an iron fist by the dictatorship government, which ensures that no-one outside the party gets too rich.



simplefish posted:

Honestly my target is about 500usd/month.

I'm going to be part time at this, and I'm giving myself a hard start date of end of Jan 2017. I just started a business and moved house and am renovating, with a lot to learn about the marketing process (thanks Angel Opportunity for your informative posts) and while I realise that distractions will never entirely go away, there is a level of "sorted-outness" that I need to hit. But conversely, I can't wait for everything to be "perfect", hence the hard deadline to have a schedule slot for writing, and all research done - no arguments and no bullshit.

I know bugger all about writing but I know enough about people to call bullshit!

Start now. Dont wait. Even if its just 500 words a day you just need to start and 500 a day will give you most of a novel to start the new year with.

Finger Wagon
Nov 25, 2009

Three heaping helpings of finger for you, sir.

This page is full of incredible advice and now I'm even more at a loss about what genre my book is. I thought it was Urban Fantasy, but it really doesn't seem like I've fulfilled the fantasy aspect of that nearly enough. But I'm genuinely not too concerned about that right now, to be honest- finally finishing my first book was kind of momentous for me, so now I just want to publish it and worry about writing to an audience later. (Just waiting on a cover, mostly.)

Despite their best intentions, as predicted, my friends are kind of useless and thusfar the only one who read it and gave me a response just said "Quite good, kinda comfy warm" (I could not make this poo poo up) along with some minor concerns about clarity in a couple of spots (which was helpful!) and while I'm still laughing about that first part a week later, it... doesn't really help me all that much. I'd wanted at least one solid critique before I went ahead, but I'm starting to wonder if this is a bit of a Just Publish scenario. (After I get at least my blurb ripped apart by this thread and put it back together into something not terrible, I mean.) I know that once I publish my first book, it'll be easier to publish again because I'll at least have a vague idea what I'm doing on that front, right?

I really don't have the money to spend on an actual editor, and absolute basics like grammar, spelling and consistent tone aren't things I generally struggle with. Should I just be pushing forward with what I have?

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Have you considered Write On? I got in way back when it was a closed beta, and I used it to write Tainted and get feedback on the fly. You can even pick temporary covers and such to help you visualize and play with the final product.

Once you're done and ready to seek publicaion, you'll want to set the entire work to private, of course. But while you're writing the draft, it's not a bad place to leverage. In my opinion, anyway.

Flopstick
Jul 10, 2011



Top Cop

Sailor Viy posted:

How do you get up to that kind of pace? I have written a bunch of novels over the years but I've never really taken less than a year to finish one. I'm sure I could do better but still 1 month sounds incredibly fast. Is it just that you cut a lot of corners for the ebook market since nobody expects great prose anyway?

Different people write at different speeds and in different ways; there doesn't seem to be any way of getting around that. If it makes you feel any better, I've spent 600 hours typing time on my current WiP, plus a pretty huge amount of research time on top of that, and it clocks in at 82,000 words (I'm one scene from the end now, thank Christ!) I'd aimed to get it done in 1 year and it's taken nearly 2. I genuinely couldn't have done it any faster though, so there's no point in beating myself up about it. There have been times when I've knocked out 1000 words in an hour with no difficulty, and other times when I've spent an hour writing and re-writing the same paragraph until I'm happy with it. Doesn't mean those latter scenes are better than the easier ones; just means they took longer to get right.

angel opportunity posted:

Your prose is either good or it's not. I don't think anyone ever writes a first draft of garbage prose, then massages brilliant prose out of it over six editing passes and three re-do drafts. Usually when you start doing that your story gets all hosed up because your flow is shot and you have lost the forest for the trees.

There's definitely some truth to this, and I'd add that it's possible to over-polish your prose through repeated edits, to the point it becomes mind-numbing to read. You know when you're reading something and you realise you haven't been paying attention for the last half-page? Prose needs a certain amount of 'spikiness', and there's a point beyond which continual edits will take the edge off it, dull its rhythms, and leave you with something very predictable and a bit tedious.

[I suspect it works somewhat differently for script writing though. The BBC used to have (don't know if they still do) examples of draft scripts up on their website you could look at, and, for example, the first episode of Life On Mars went through 17 rewrites before they arrived at the final version. They were obviously needed, and obviously didn't hurt the finished product.]

quote:

The other thing with writing a lot of words per day is that you generally have a strong memory of the entire story. The beginning of your story is no longer something that you wrote six months ago and barely remember; it's super fresh in your mind and you have the whole narrative very clear in your head.

Yeah, I can see that being a definite advantage! One thing I do like to do to save time is to leave off writing part-way through a sentence, so when I come back to it the next day it's easier to jump straight back in, rather than having to try to rediscover the train of thought I was on when I clocked off. (That trick courtesy of J.G.Ballard.)

monkfoot
Jul 21, 2007
Whoops


Hopefully it's still alright to post blurbs. I'm not sure about the "dervishes" part or much else. Help is greatly appreciated!



quote:

Haunted by the private demons of psychosis, twenty-nine year old Zach is isolated from the world outside the hospital. With the help of a anxious, self-mutilating girl named Emma, he embarks on a hitchhiking trip to escape the ennui of contemporary life. As Zach and Emma get closer, they end up revealing their quirks and dangerous idiosyncrasies to one another.

Will the pair be able to find some way to connect, or will they be lost in the whirlwind of their own personal dervishes?
Here is the cover:
http://i.imgur.com/K58fWQV.jpg

Aaronicon
Oct 2, 2010

by primus


Yeah, don't feel discouraged that some of us write faster than others. My 2k/day is nothing compared to some people who can (doing it full time) put out upwards of 10k a day. There's someone on kboards right now bragging of a 100k week. The important thing is 1) actually finishing and publishing something and 2) getting faster and better each time you do it. There's a different 'sweet spot' between pace and profit for everyone. Just... don't plan on being rich on one book a year.

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Plus, "crank out a book a month" is really more speed romance's department. It's also why they're a million times richer than I am. C'est la guerre.

Aaronicon
Oct 2, 2010

by primus


I think the market's there for book-a-month in most genres. Just romance has the fastest readers, or at least the kind of readers that buy the most books per month. It's still important to have some level of constant output / new release presence everywhere. There'd be varying amounts of audience fatigue for every genre. I don't think you'd do a book a month for epic fantasy, for instance. You could do it, but the readers wouldn't keep pace with you.

Blue Scream
Oct 23, 2006

oh my word, the internet!

Anybody have experience with a Thanksgiving week release?

Chokes McGee
Aug 7, 2008

This is Urotsuki.


Aaronicon posted:

I think the market's there for book-a-month in most genres. Just romance has the fastest readers, or at least the kind of readers that buy the most books per month. It's still important to have some level of constant output / new release presence everywhere. There'd be varying amounts of audience fatigue for every genre. I don't think you'd do a book a month for epic fantasy, for instance. You could do it, but the readers wouldn't keep pace with you.

I've heard from THE INTERNET that 2.5 novels a year is the average rate. I couldn't churn out a genre book a month; I just don't have it in me. I am trying to speed things up by getting 1k a day, but life gets in the way. :sigh:

In other news I'm up to 20k and barely a third of the way through Altered. I'm pretty proud, because the major complaint about Tainted was that it's too short. My target's 80k, and I'll probably hit 65k, but it'll be wherever it is when I've said everything I want to. Still, gotta give the people what they want!

Chokes McGee fucked around with this message at 13:35 on Oct 17, 2016

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Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Why is it so difficult to keep to a schedule? Cover artists, ghostwriters, editors, even big promo sites - I'm constantly chasing people up and having to prod them because they're always loving late with my poo poo. Goddamn it this gets on my nerves when I'm trying to schedule a new release. Every god drat time.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 02:49 on Oct 23, 2016

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