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ArchangeI
Jul 15, 2010


I think a lot of it has to do with the approach to writing. If you consider writing purely an art, then it is already above most criticism. You don't tell a modern painter that his brushstrokes are wrong, and consequently you can't tell a writer that his dialogue sucks. You have to consider writing at least to some degree a craft, and your goal needs to be to perfect that craft.

Another part is, in my opinion, how modern society approaches literature and especially genre literature. If you look at the discussions of genre literature, especially online, it is always discussions about who is loving whom, how the magic system works, what those spaceships weigh and who the murderer is. Rarely do you see any discussion about story structure or character design (except when discussing how two characters are totally in love with each other) or dialogue writing. So when you read a lot and are active in those communities, you get a warped view of what matters in a story - the magic system has to make sense and the hints about the murderer have to be hidden just well enough to not be instantly obvious. When you then start to take up writing, you focus on those parts rather than perfecting your storytelling, and end up confused as to why people say your story is bad (or worse, ignore your story completely).

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DukeRustfield
Aug 6, 2004


One reason I consider writers a bit of a brotherhood no matter what genre they write is because I think all serious writers tend to live a lot in their heads. You don't really know what other people are thinking about because we don't often ramble out our stream-of-consciousness. But writers tend to have real concrete daydreams of characters and scenarios and stories and they can be living breathing constructs. You may be surprised, but that is "weird" to non-writers who may daydream about shopping or talking to that cute woman, but not about Zog the Destroyer and his romantic love with a werevampire. So I try not to poop too much on writers, even if I don't like their genre/skills, because I know they are similar to me at least at some level.

One of my examples I throw out a lot is when I was writing about a desert party I went to. This was some decades ago. There was a point in real life where I had been standing by the fire because I was cold and the wind shifted and all this smoke and soot went into my face and I began sneezing uncontrollably for like five minutes. As I was writing that recollection, I began sneezing uncontrollably. And when I was done, I was like, "holy poo poo, I just activated my histamine response by writing about it." That's how real our imaginations are.

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


ravenkult posted:

Honestly, there has to be something that explains how a lot of people can keep writing and reading, yet continuing to suck at writing forever. Is it just because they have no self reflection or they don't listen to feedback or what, 'cause that poo poo's spooky.
I had no idea you attended my writer's group.

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


Question about changing from Smashwords to D2D.

Should I wait for my books to completely unpublish from BN, iBook, etc. before I republish via D2D? Will I lose any reviews I've accumulated for my books? Or can I publish on D2D and unpublish on Smash simultaneously?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


magnificent7 posted:

I had no idea you attended my writer's group.

I've seldom wanted to bash my own skull in quite as much as the (one and only) time I attended a writer's group out where I used to live in Connecticut.

The group was best summed up by the phrase "Time-traveling librarian who likes to knit visits all her favorite famous people from the past, falls in love with Napoleon, and changes the course of history all while teaching the reader tasty recipes in a time-travel culinary romance."

That was probably the most salable book there, too.

ArchangeI
Jul 15, 2010


Sundae posted:

I've seldom wanted to bash my own skull in quite as much as the (one and only) time I attended a writer's group out where I used to live in Connecticut.

The group was best summed up by the phrase "Time-traveling librarian who likes to knit visits all her favorite famous people from the past, falls in love with Napoleon, and changes the course of history all while teaching the reader tasty recipes in a time-travel culinary romance."

That was probably the most salable book there, too.

Was it written by a librarian with a fondness for knitting and cooking?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


ArchangeI posted:

Was it written by a librarian with a fondness for knitting and cooking?

WHY YES, HOW DID YOU GUESS? :v:


:suicide:

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

Most of my time in writers groups has been spent wishing that people spent less time inserting themselves into their books, and more time inserting their books into themselves and then loving off so the rest of us can get on with it.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


i just want to write about a cryptographer that finds love in a code breaker on the other side of the iron curtain... in space.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Duke... Betelgeuse at night... an ion curtain just doesn't seem right.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


psychopomp posted:

an ion curtain

Holy poo poo, stealing this, thanks.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

My writer's group is divided into three camps:

1. Journalers. Folks who are writing for personal fulfillment, not for anything anyone else will read. Cool, more power to you.

2. Published folks. There's two of us, the other being an author who just published her first novel. I'm reading it and I really like it. Her parent is an author, so she was raised in that environment and knows what the business side of it is.

3. Writers who are "working on" 100-300k epics in fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian future stuff. These are all projects with 5-10 years sunk into them already. I think one of them is working on a trilogy simultaneously, not a single word published yet. I'd kill to have that kind of confidence in what I do. I hope they all knock it out of the park on their first book, because drat that's a lot of time.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


EngineerSean posted:

i just want to write about a cryptographer that finds love in a code breaker on the other side of the iron curtain... in space.

But does the cryptographer like to cook tasty old world cuisine? This is important.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Sundae posted:

But does the cryptographer like to cook tasty old world cuisine? This is important.

He's autistic so he just eats whatever is brought to him, this is a MAJOR plot point.

Sulla Faex
May 14, 2010

No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with ENDLESS SHITPOSTING


EngineerSean you've inspired me to try erotic literature as a warm-up writing exercise. Every morning I'll come up with some batshit insane erotica short story, hammer out as much as I can, then take a break and try to get stuck into some proper writing. If I have to clean my keyboard during that break then I'll throw it up on Amazon, collect my first million by thursday, and spend some of it on a personal assistant for that other guy so someone can read his posts aloud to him before he hits 'submit reply'.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

EngineerSean you've inspired me to try erotic literature as a warm-up writing exercise. Every morning I'll come up with some batshit insane erotica short story, hammer out as much as I can, then take a break and try to get stuck into some proper writing. If I have to clean my keyboard during that break then I'll throw it up on Amazon, collect my first million by thursday, and spend some of it on a personal assistant for that other guy so someone can read his posts aloud to him before he hits 'submit reply'.

I always knew I'd leave my mark on this world somehow.

HPanda
Sep 5, 2008


Sundae posted:

The group was best summed up by the phrase "Time-traveling librarian who likes to knit visits all her favorite famous people from the past, falls in love with Napoleon, and changes the course of history all while teaching the reader tasty recipes in a time-travel culinary romance."

Ok, if she got rid of the knitting (ugh, so many writers want to insert this) and the Napolean bit, and maybe had some historically accurate recipes throughout, this might be an interesting base. Just so long as she accepted most people were getting the book for the recipes.

What I'm saying is she should write a cookbook with recipes from throughout history. I guess she could write it in first-person if she has to "be there."

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




HPanda posted:

I guess she could write it in first-person if she has to "be there."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYe_5YSpKu0

Sulla Faex
May 14, 2010

No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with ENDLESS SHITPOSTING


I was almost ready to execute my final taste test when a tremendous pounding threatened to shake the door from its hinges.

"Open the door! Open the door in the name of the King! Daisy Fairweather, you are under arrest for culinary treason!"

I gasped.

"But my colonial meringue!"

Napoleon jumped up in shock from the bed and began scrambling for his lamb shanks-encrusted ceremonial vest.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

I was almost ready to execute my final taste test when a tremendous pounding threatened to shake the door from its hinges.

"Open the door! Open the door in the name of the King! Daisy Fairweather, you are under arrest for culinary treason!"

I gasped.

"But my colonial meringue!"

Napoleon jumped up in shock from the bed and began scrambling for his lamb shanks-encrusted ceremonial vest.

Keep going, I'm almost there.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

Napoleon jumped up in shock from the bed and began scrambling for his lamb shanks-encrusted ceremonial his new hand crocheted vest.
I edit :v:

Anais Nun
Apr 21, 2010


ravenkult posted:

Honestly, there has to be something that explains how a lot of people can keep writing and reading, yet continuing to suck at writing forever. Is it just because they have no self reflection or they don't listen to feedback or what, 'cause that poo poo's spooky.

Dunning-Kruger effect - when you're so hilariously hopeless you don't even know you're hopeless. My cousin's husband emailed me a while ago and said he wanted to write a romance novel. Obviously I tried to wriggle out of reading the thing but he wouldn't take no for an answer. Finally I was like "fine, I'll look at the first three chapters" and holy poo poo - it was beyond awful. I'm talking rudimentary grammar, spelling and punctuation errors everywhere. The document was subtitled "spell checked. No playgarism" - and he was talking about submitting this mess to a publisher!

So naturally I read him the riot act and told him he'd be lucky to get a form rejection if he bothered a publisher with this steaming, nonsensical word-turd, which led to him emailing me back with a passive aggressive screed about how my opinion wasn't going to "crush his dream."

By this point I'm practically tearing my hair out trying to explain that it has nothing to do with opinions - the godforsaken THING he'd thrust on me bore no resemblance to written English or the work of a human being who can read. I literally had no more space on the page for correction bubbles in MS word - that's how much of a mess it was. And he just assumed that I had time to sit around teaching a grown-rear end man how to use commas.

Finally, after a couple more whiny emails in which he carried on like a delusional American Idol contestant, he conceded that he should "go back to collage to lean English."

He's English, by the way.

Sulla Faex
May 14, 2010

No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with ENDLESS SHITPOSTING


I recently rediscovered the first few chapters for a story I'd dropped two years ago and as I was reading through it I was like 'oh this is much less poo poo than I thought it would be'. Which immediately triggered a semi-existential panic attack because logically that means I've lost the ability to self-critique and I may as well stop pretending and just buy an all-included Season Pass to the World of Warcraft slash fiction convention

Sulla Faex
May 14, 2010

No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with ENDLESS SHITPOSTING



I was half-asleep when I wrote that and I'm half-asleep now but shouldn't that be hyphenated? My girlfriend is a recovering prescriptivist linguist so every time I run a story by her it goes like this:

"Okay what'd you think, bit slow in the first couple chapters?"

"Well I fixed up all the commas and hyphens and stuff"

"No I mean what'd you think of the story"

"Oh yeah it's all good it's grammatically correct now"

thehomemaster
Jul 16, 2014

by Ralp


Really it comes down to having honest critics in your life. My girlfriend is probably the opposite of what you said. She hasn't got much idea about spelling, grammar and so on, but she will say how boring/slow/unentertaining something is right to your face.

Pity she refuses to read my work.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

My missus got the same mark as me at uni, so she's a great resource to see if my ideas are on track. She's dyslexic as gently caress though, so I tend to do my own editing.

Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

I was half-asleep when I wrote that and I'm half-asleep now but shouldn't that be hyphenated?
I meant you forgot to mention knitting, but yes, probably.

My other half will probably kill me for conflating crocheting and knitting, but that's a separate issue.

Bobby Deluxe fucked around with this message at 22:43 on Nov 11, 2014

DukeRustfield
Aug 6, 2004


Writers can be really insufferable. And I should know, because I am.

I've been in a small handful of writers groups in the past and they have all imploded in fiery destruction. There's a weird collision of ego/pomposity, taste/opinion, and the inability to look objectively at something you care so much about.

It takes a lot to get past that. Or minimize it. Like, my Hard Luck Hank series, Hank shares a lot of my own sensibilities. A lot of my reviews basically describe him as a likeable rear end in a top hat or somesuch. Or give other left-handed compliments. And I just laugh. Because they're partially insulting me, personally, but so what?

As far as writers groups and readers, a pro gave me a really good piece of advice I always enjoy sharing. "Be careful whose advice you take and be careful who you let read your work." There is little value in wallpapering your work everywhere and getting bad opinions that may shake your confidence or worse, cause you to make changes you shouldn't.

Almost every piece of writing you make, no matter how good, probably 90% of Earth will dislike it. Everyone just has different tastes. Whole continents of people loathe Shakespeare. But if you can get 10% of Earth to buy your work, you'll be the most successful writer in history.

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


Hee hee. I just got a review in which a reader called one of my books "a miasma of misery."

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


To poster All Else Failed (and everyone else who is struggling with actually getting words on paper), I read this and thought it was pretty good.

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/11/is-talent-overrated-8-things-that-are.html

quote:

In fact, sometimes I think the most insulting thing you can say to an author is, "you're so talented," although I know I've said it myself, intending to praise.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Does anyone have a good resource/guide to whipping up press kits and press releases?

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

May be relevant to any UK based self-pubbers:

https://www.change.org/p/vince-cable-mp-uphold-the-vat-exemption-threshold-for-businesses-supplying-digital-products?recruiter=180450651

Changes to tax law in the UK might be removing the current exemption of £10k per annum for digital distributors. This petition is to try and keep the exemption in place.

Without it, any UK authors who want to give ePublishing a try will have to register self employed and submit quarterly tax returns as soon as they make their first £1, making it impossible for a lot of people.

By The Horns
Aug 6, 2012

When in doubt, always correct to "pounding"


I don't think these changes apply to us:

HMRC posted:

If you supply consumers through an online store or gateway, and the online store or gateway is acting in its own name, then they will normally be considered to be supplying the consumer. This means that the online store or gateway will be responsible for declaring and paying any VAT due. You will be treated as supplying the store and so will be making a business to business (B2B) supply, rather than a B2C supply. If this is the case, these rule changes do not directly affect you.

Amazon (or whoever) is the supplier and they deal with VAT. These laws are more to do with suppliers of digital services dodging regional taxes within the EU. The Petition is legit though. It looks like a lot of small business trading online are going to get caught up in something designed to stop Amazon and Apple etc and their big tax avoidence schemes. But I don't think it will have an impact on authors unless they're selling for their own storefront as well.

I say legit, but the idea that a petition to scrap a massive change to international tax law less than two months before the law goes live is all kinds of yeah, not going to happen.

Also this might mean some changes to how books are priced and sales are reported in the EU, that's the bit that might affect us. Especially people who are all uptight about having nice looking prices on Amazon.co.uk... YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

Beyond that I think you're confusing two different things here:

The threshold for VAT registation is 81,000.

The threshold for income tax is 10,000. But, in theory, you still need to register as self employed within three months of starting even if you haven't made you first 1 yet... even if you've made a loss. In practice anyone who gives it a go and never makes anything probably wouldn't bother. There's no reason it should be impossible for anyone though.

By The Horns fucked around with this message at 16:03 on Nov 14, 2014

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


EngineerSean posted:

To poster All Else Failed (and everyone else who is struggling with actually getting words on paper), I read this and thought it was pretty good.

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/11/is-talent-overrated-8-things-that-are.html

FWIW, I agree with mostly everything said in there. I don't think I ever indicated otherwise. It isn't new information to me. I'm not nineteen. ;) People get an idea into their head and run with it, especially on SA.

There is also a difference between being a lowest-common-denominator egomaniac and being discerning about advice you're given and whether it applies to you. People make snap categorizations out of necessity; it's how our brains work. I don't post my work for review here because I haven't written anything that took me longer than an hour, tops, and most of it from the past couple of years has been poetry. I had a couple of gold threads with short stories I'd written as a teenager in the heyday of GBS/TCC, but those are long gone -- and I still don't trust that they were decent at all. Whether the judgment is good or bad, I don't have faith in strangers to properly judge me as a person; why would I trust them to properly judge my writing? All art should reflect a piece of the artist, in my opinion. (No, that does not mean thinly veil yourself as the misunderstood musclehero who curbstomps aliens every book). I appreciate all of the good feedback I've gotten in real life from people I know, but I don't even trust that from a technical standpoint. I'm not here, again, to get feedback on my writing (especially w/r/t erotica), but moreso on the business/marketing end, the process, and for a sense of community. I am sure my needs will change as time marches forward.

It also irks me whenever someone implies you have to obey the marketplace and emulate bestsellers. If your goal is simply to make money, sure. It's why I am reading top-selling erotica. To assume that everyone indulging in an artistic endeavor cares more about their marketability grosses me out, and is one of many reasons why blogposts about surefire ways to success irk me. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, especially in the Internet age. Find your audience and tackle it -- or have the balls to make your own audience. Persistence and drive, et cetera, are key in any endeavor worth tackling. They are also much harder for some of us to muster up for some unholy reason.

Enrico Furby fucked around with this message at 23:31 on Nov 14, 2014

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.





I don't think anyone in here thinks you "have" to emulate bestsellers. You came in here asking specifically about making money writing erotica, though, so that advice is what ends up being applicable. The vast majority of people in this subforum are writing for personal enjoyment, maybe making beer money once in a while by getting a story in a magazine. But if money is your goal (which is the case for 99.9% of people self-pubbing erotica), you definitely have to approach it from a different direction or you'll never get anywhere.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


All Else Failed posted:

It also irks me whenever someone implies you have to obey the marketplace and emulate bestsellers. If your goal is simply to make money, sure. It's why I am reading top-selling erotica. To assume that everyone indulging in an artistic endeavor cares more about their marketability grosses me out, and is one of many reasons why blogposts about surefire ways to success irk me. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, especially in the Internet age. Find your audience and tackle it -- or have the balls to make your own audience. Persistence and drive, et cetera, are key in any endeavor worth tackling. They are also much harder for some of us to muster up for some unholy reason.

For what it's worth, I've met a lot of people who have "had the balls to make their own audience", and not a single one is making a living wage doing so.

Enrico Furby
Jun 28, 2003

by Hand Knit


Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I don't think anyone in here thinks you "have" to emulate bestsellers. You came in here asking specifically about making money writing erotica, though, so that advice is what ends up being applicable. The vast majority of people in this subforum are writing for personal enjoyment, maybe making beer money once in a while by getting a story in a magazine. But if money is your goal (which is the case for 99.9% of people self-pubbing erotica), you definitely have to approach it from a different direction or you'll never get anywhere.

I was addressing a point in the link EngineerSean posted.

EngineerSean posted:

For what it's worth, I've met a lot of people who have "had the balls to make their own audience", and not a single one is making a living wage doing so.

Of course. The path less traveled is full of brambles and the chalkdust bones of past adventurers. There are pros and cons to every approach.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

KU borrow rate is $1.33. drat, 20 cent plummet.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


All Else Failed posted:

Of course. The path less traveled is full of brambles and the chalkdust bones of past adventurers. There are pros and cons to every approach.

The con here being

quote:

For what it's worth, I've met a lot of people who have "had the balls to make their own audience", and not a single one is making a living wage doing so.

?

That's a pretty big con.

psychopomp fucked around with this message at 03:30 on Nov 15, 2014

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


I'm #10 KDP All Star which means they're going to pay me a middle class salary on top of the upper class salary I made in October.

yay

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SurreptitiousMuffin
Mar 21, 2010


All Else Failed posted:

There is also a difference between being a lowest-common-denominator egomaniac and being discerning about advice you're given and whether it applies to you. People make snap categorizations out of necessity; it's how our brains work. I don't post my work for review here because I haven't written anything that took me longer than an hour, tops, and most of it from the past couple of years has been poetry. I had a couple of gold threads with short stories I'd written as a teenager in the heyday of GBS/TCC, but those are long gone -- and I still don't trust that they were decent at all. Whether the judgment is good or bad, I don't have faith in strangers to properly judge me as a person; why would I trust them to properly judge my writing? All art should reflect a piece of the artist, in my opinion. (No, that does not mean thinly veil yourself as the misunderstood musclehero who curbstomps aliens every book). I appreciate all of the good feedback I've gotten in real life from people I know, but I don't even trust that from a technical standpoint. I'm not here, again, to get feedback on my writing (especially w/r/t erotica), but moreso on the business/marketing end, the process, and for a sense of community. I am sure my needs will change as time marches forward.
I'm sorry but this is ridiculous. Do you trust readers to judge your writing? Because they're gonna do that. And if you want to be successful, you're going to trust strangers to judge your writing, and enjoy it. That's half the job.

If you want to write for yourself and be happy, then IT'S JUST MY STYLE is fine. But you've said that your goal is to make money and to do that you need to create something people like. Strangers on the internet are perfect for checking whether your story works or not, because strangers on the internet are your whole audience.

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