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Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


midnightclimax posted:

Anyone know what kind of CYOA stories are possible with the Kindle? Is it basically HTML, or does it support other formats with more complex structures? Or maybe avoid Amazon and just put out mobile apps, I don't know.

CYOAs absolutely can and do exist on Kindle. That being said, complicated structures do not work (setting variables for earlier events, etc), so you'd have to do it entirely out of replicated plot branches.

On top of that, I've seen no sign that they actually sell. It'd be better to make it a mobile app, spend a little more time on art to give it a storybook feel, and sell it on a game store. (That might still not sell, but I have no idea there. I do know that the CYOAs I've seen in the Kindle ebook store do horribly.)

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midnightclimax
Dec 3, 2011

by XyloJW


SimonChris posted:

http://www.inklestudios.com/inklewriter/

InkleWriter allows you to create complex CYOA stories with state tracking and compile them into Kindle e-books. However, it does that by generating every possible path through the story, so there is a limit to how complex the story can be.

Yeah I'm currently googling for authoring systems. All I need is something that allows for conditions ("he picked up that scrap of paper in scene 2, so he knows she's lying"). Twinkle and Inform 7 came up as well. But easy Kindle-export sounds cool, I'll look into that.

midnightclimax
Dec 3, 2011

by XyloJW


Sundae posted:

CYOAs absolutely can and do exist on Kindle. That being said, complicated structures do not work (setting variables for earlier events, etc), so you'd have to do it entirely out of replicated plot branches.

On top of that, I've seen no sign that they actually sell. It'd be better to make it a mobile app, spend a little more time on art to give it a storybook feel, and sell it on a game store. (That might still not sell, but I have no idea there. I do know that the CYOAs I've seen in the Kindle ebook store do horribly.)

Yeah replicated plot branches is what I'm trying to avoid, but of course it's an option.
Good to know there doesn't seem to be a market for it on the Kindle though. Hmm. Well first I'll have to finish the thing.

SimonChris
Apr 24, 2008

The Baron's daughter is missing, and you are the man to find her. No problem. With your inexhaustible arsenal of hard-boiled similes, there is nothing you can't handle.

Grimey Drawer

midnightclimax posted:

Yeah I'm currently googling for authoring systems. All I need is something that allows for conditions ("he picked up that scrap of paper in scene 2, so he knows she's lying"). Twinkle and Inform 7 came up as well. But easy Kindle-export sounds cool, I'll look into that.

Since Amazon abandoned active content for Kindle, there is currently no way to convert Inform 7 games to Kindle format. Twine won't work either, since there is no JavaScript support. InkleWriter allows conditions, but the Kindle-export functionality will simply generate a static book containing the text for every possible playthrough (with links between sections, of course), so you have to make sure it doesn't get too complex. I am pretty sure that's the only way to use conditions in a Kindle e-book, though.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Yeah - you're basically stuck with HTML only if you go the Kindle route. App export would be better.

painted bird
Oct 18, 2013

by Lowtax


midnightclimax posted:

Yeah replicated plot branches is what I'm trying to avoid, but of course it's an option.
Good to know there doesn't seem to be a market for it on the Kindle though. Hmm. Well first I'll have to finish the thing.

This might be relevant to your interests!

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


The few I've seen in erotica sell like garbage, to the point where the author just chopped it up into each individual story and sold them that way.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


The problem I have with CYOA is that if you're a reader looking for a book, you already know what you want and go for that story. You don't want to get yanked out of the story by your own choices, stops in the action, etc. It breaks the flow of the story and generally doesn't work. This is doubly so for erotica because they're only reading it for one particular story line in the first place. If the reader wants a good [insert fetish here] story, are they going to go through the effort to try to find the right ending in your CYOA, or are they going to go grab another story that gives it to them straight up?

It works great as a reading game for children, but for adults, not so much.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


I used to cheat in them anyway, holding open the last page because god damnit the bad endings were just so random.

Run from enemy? Oh you fell into a hole while you were running ahaha THE END

Blue Scream
Oct 23, 2006

oh my word, the internet!

Apologies if this has already been answered. Lotta information in this thread and sometimes I can't keep up.

How many words should a romance novel realistically be? I've currently got 81K with a lot of story left to go, so I'm wondering if it would make sense for me to find a logical place to end the book soonish (I know how I'd do it), and then follow up with a sequel. I don't really know how word counts translate into that Amazon Real Pages thing that readers seem to look for. I have, however, seen a lot of reviews complaining about a book being too short to justify the price. Especially if there is a sequel. ("I hate being manipulated into buying more books!!!")

If I do break the book up at the point I'm thinking of, I think the final product will be between 85-90K words.

I also don't know if the whole sequel thing is a stupid idea or not, but that might be a totally separate question? I've been reading in the genre, pinkie swear, but I still feel like I don't know all the permutations of what's acceptable and what's going to piss everybody off. The route I'm thinking of going--if I break up the book--is to give the characters a Happy Ending For Now, but with trouble clearly brewing on the horizon. Does that count as Not Really A Happy Ending, gently caress the Author I Can't Believe I Paid For This and I WON'T Be Buying the Sequel? If so, I guess I can keep going and put out one really long book.

Thanks guys, you're all amazing!

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


We use two acronyms in romance, HEA (Happily Ever After) and HFN (Happy For Now). Under all but the most suspensful books, you should end every book with at minimum a HFN even if you have a pretty solid cliffhanger. Once you've given a couple a HEA, never write another book about them again.

As far as length goes, 80k is definitely fine, I trend a lot shorter.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


EngineerSean posted:

Once you've given a couple a HEA, never write another book about them again.

This is important. You will never, ever write a convincing (or enjoyable) post-HEA story in contemporary romance. At best, it's boring. At worst, you piss off everyone. If you want to stick to a certain world, write stories for the other characters in it.

Blue Scream
Oct 23, 2006

oh my word, the internet!

EngineerSean posted:

We use two acronyms in romance, HEA (Happily Ever After) and HFN (Happy For Now). Under all but the most suspensful books, you should end every book with at minimum a HFN even if you have a pretty solid cliffhanger. Once you've given a couple a HEA, never write another book about them again.

As far as length goes, 80k is definitely fine, I trend a lot shorter.

Thanks! I know the acronyms, but I didn't want to confuse anybody who didn't, I swear I've been doing my homework :ohdear:

The book will end with HFN, no worries there. It's not meant to be a serial. I also think I'll keep writing before I break it up and try to publish, so I will have more of Book 2 ready by the time I publish Book 1 and it won't take me as long to post the sequel. Looks like new authors are encouraged to get sequels up ASAP.

Edit:

Sundae posted:

This is important. You will never, ever write a convincing (or enjoyable) post-HEA story in contemporary romance. At best, it's boring. At worst, you piss off everyone. If you want to stick to a certain world, write stories for the other characters in it.

Already in the works! Stories about the other characters, I mean. I've got an idea for one short story (maybe for Christmas) and another novel, but I'm trying not to get into the weeds there before I finish the first two books. It's fun to plan, though!

Blue Scream fucked around with this message at 18:04 on Mar 6, 2015

AbsolutelySane
Jul 1, 2012



EngineerSean posted:

I used to cheat in them anyway, holding open the last page because god damnit the bad endings were just so random.

Run from enemy? Oh you fell into a hole while you were running ahaha THE END

It's the old, Turn Left, Ahh! Face full of spikes!

I blame John Wayne (There's a scene in The Green Berets that's basically just that.)


Sundae posted:

The problem I have with CYOA is that if you're a reader looking for a book, you already know what you want and go for that story. You don't want to get yanked out of the story by your own choices, stops in the action, etc. It breaks the flow of the story and generally doesn't work. This is doubly so for erotica because they're only reading it for one particular story line in the first place. If the reader wants a good [insert fetish here] story, are they going to go through the effort to try to find the right ending in your CYOA, or are they going to go grab another story that gives it to them straight up?

It works great as a reading game for children, but for adults, not so much.

This is it, right here. If you want to do a CYOA style adult book (as in intended for adults, not necessarily 'ADULT'), interactive fiction is a much better choice. Of course, good luck selling IF these days. There is, however, still a pretty drat active community. Since the Kindle is unsuited to parsers/INFORM style text input, I imagine its a lost cause there. Also, it sounds like they've pretty much abandoned anything resembling support for that type of coding on the standard kindle. Will it work on a Fire? Maybe as an App?

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


I think anything that will work on Android will work on a Kindle Fire but I do know that Amazon maintains much more control over their storefront than Google Play does, so something like erotica or romance might not get through.

midnightclimax
Dec 3, 2011

by XyloJW


The reason I'd like to write CYOA is because I like the idea of loosely connected story chunks, instead of one single narrative. I like the idea of short paragraphs that stand on their own, like poetry. It's not so much about interactivity, but more like browsing Wikipedia, only you're doing it via a character. (I've said I need conditions, but not that many.)
Also commercial feasibility is not a top priority, it's more about playing with the medium right now. OTOH if no one reads that stuff, that would suck too oc.

That choice of games site look cool, but they only accept english stuff, so that's a no-go.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


You might want to look into Twine for that sort of structure. It's pretty easy and great for interconnected text. Kindle is not the place for you with this, though. Sorry.

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


I'm trying to imagine an erotica CYOA. "To have Betty be on top, turn to page 47. To have Bob be on top, turn to page 102."

(After turning to page 47) "Oh no! Bob has issues with 'uppity women' and can only do it in missionary position. For this couple, this is…THE END."

Szmitten
Apr 26, 2008


I have loosely considered porting my weird CYOA thing into a free Kindle book, which I'm assured from looking at stuff can be done with hyperlinks (whether via HTML or Word), but even if I followed through with it it could only ever be some dumb little free gimmicky thing.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


I've played with the idea of writing interactive fiction set in my books' fictional universes, but I honestly don't have the time for what would amount to a hobby with questionable marketing value.

Which is too bad because I used to love writing IF when I was younger. I just can't justify the time and energy when I could be writing my next book instead.

midnightclimax
Dec 3, 2011

by XyloJW


I'm thinking maybe offer the original IF on a website or whatever, maybe use Inform, and decide on a static storyline for publishing as an ebook.

Szmitten posted:

I have loosely considered porting my weird CYOA thing into a free Kindle book, which I'm assured from looking at stuff can be done with hyperlinks (whether via HTML or Word), but even if I followed through with it it could only ever be some dumb little free gimmicky thing.

I'll check that out tomorrow, looks cool so far.

SquirrelFace
Dec 17, 2009


Does kindle unlimited pay out per borrow regardless of the royalty percentage band you are in? Does a $.99 item pay the same per borrow as a $2.99 item?

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


SquirrelFace posted:

Does kindle unlimited pay out per borrow regardless of the royalty percentage band you are in? Does a $.99 item pay the same per borrow as a $2.99 item?

yes

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



What does purchased reviews look like?

Look at that, top few results all show 31/31 find this helpful. It appears the one honest review shows 1/5.

But hey, it's a 14k sales rank.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



As someone who is not savvy with how Amazon works, can someone explain to me why this book has like five reviews but they aren't showing up on the bars, ranking them by 5 star, 4 star etc?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MY3TRK0?tag=rpbook-21

edit - Just realised it may have been a UK/US Amazon thing, since the first page was UK and the US page does properly rank them. But again, why do they even have two different pages?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pouakai-David-Sperry-ebook/dp/B00MY3TRK0/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


freebooter posted:

As someone who is not savvy with how Amazon works, can someone explain to me why this book has like five reviews but they aren't showing up on the bars, ranking them by 5 star, 4 star etc?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MY3TRK0?tag=rpbook-21

edit - Just realised it may have been a UK/US Amazon thing, since the first page was UK and the US page does properly rank them. But again, why do they even have two different pages?

http://www.amazon.com/The-Pouakai-David-Sperry-ebook/dp/B00MY3TRK0/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top


Amazon US / UK are two separate sites. If you set up AuthorCentral pages both locally and in the UK, you could even have completely different product listings across the two countries. The reason you see 5 reviews on the UK one but no bars is because it's pulling in reviews from the USA. It'll only show up to five reviews, and below it, a link to "see all 20 reviews at the Amazon USA store" or something like that.

Because the non-USA Amazon stores get so few reviews compared to the USA (in large part due to being minor little nothings compared to the USA for the most part), the code only goes one way. Reviews will be imported to the other sites from USA, but the USA site does not import them back.


As for why they're all separate pages, that's just how the system is set up.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Yooper posted:

What does purchased reviews look like?

Look at that, top few results all show 31/31 find this helpful. It appears the one honest review shows 1/5.

But hey, it's a 14k sales rank.

On the other hand I read the dissenting review in a french canadian accent and it works perfectly.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Assuming a borrow rate of $1.40, I'm over 400 bucks for my first month of self publishing (I have 7 super-genre shorts up and 1 romance novel). Minus what I invested so far (including my next book's cover and editing), and I think I profited like 150. I think that's a pretty decent start! Thanks for your help, guys.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


That's a great start, dude. Well done. :)

Mortley
Jan 18, 2005

aux tep unt rep uni ovi

Do any of y'all write comedy?

edit: Neat, thanks!

Mortley fucked around with this message at 21:04 on Mar 12, 2015

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


Only when I'm trying to be serious :smith:

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


Mortley posted:

Do any of y'all write comedy?

Yes. Don't expect it to sell. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18271747-a-dark-hand

Blog more.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


I looked over the first post and while the importance of promotion/marketing was made quite clear, I didn't see much in the way of links to resources telling you how to go about doing it. Because I am, evidently, not very good at it and I would like to know how to be better. If there's a way to do that without taking a college course or selling my immortal soul (or however it is marketers are made), I'd like to know about it.

Any tips or tricks that others have learned from experience along the way would be nice. Anything, frankly, would be nice.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Fuego Fish posted:

Any tips or tricks that others have learned from experience along the way would be nice. Anything, frankly, would be nice.

(Assuming you want to do this for a living)

Research. Research what is popular and determine why it's popular. It can be as simple as hitting up Amazon's Top 100 Bestsellers in the genre you want to write. Don't spend years writing your magnum opus about a lone shoe in a dark closet, then think there is ~SEO magic~ you can sprinkle onto it to make it sell. In the end, you need to have a product people (think that they) want to buy.

There aren't a lot of worthwhile 3rd party promotional opportunities for new authors. BookBub is the king, it can cost thousands of dollars, and they are incredibly picky because the folks they promote do very very well. On the other side of the spectrum you have someone like BKnights on Fiverr. He costs five bucks, adds your book to a list of a hundred others, and unless it's on free promo it probably won't get touched at all.

The best promotional/marketing thing is just to keep writing. You need to constantly be producing because there are no barriers to entry. Every day dozens of authors are joining the ranks of self-publishing. It takes a lot of dedication to tread water above them.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

the brotherly phl posted:

Assuming a borrow rate of $1.40, I'm over 400 bucks for my first month of self publishing (I have 7 super-genre shorts up and 1 romance novel). Minus what I invested so far (including my next book's cover and editing), and I think I profited like 150. I think that's a pretty decent start! Thanks for your help, guys.
Really? Please tell me most of that is from the novel. I'm at 7 speed-romances and I ain't seen poo poo.

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

(Assuming you want to do this for a living)

Research. Research what is popular and determine why it's popular. It can be as simple as hitting up Amazon's Top 100 Bestsellers in the genre you want to write. Don't spend years writing your magnum opus about a lone shoe in a dark closet, then think there is ~SEO magic~ you can sprinkle onto it to make it sell. In the end, you need to have a product people (think that they) want to buy.

Yes, I want to do this for a living. In all honesty, to toot my own horn, I'm pretty good at it. Not master class or anything, but I'm definitely in a comfortable spot with my writing. It's not the content that's the problem here, though, it's the fact that I'm atrocious at promoting myself. I don't have the right kind of attitude to shamelessly shill my stuff, so it doesn't really come naturally.

Jalumibnkrayal posted:

There aren't a lot of worthwhile 3rd party promotional opportunities for new authors. BookBub is the king, it can cost thousands of dollars, and they are incredibly picky because the folks they promote do very very well. On the other side of the spectrum you have someone like BKnights on Fiverr. He costs five bucks, adds your book to a list of a hundred others, and unless it's on free promo it probably won't get touched at all.

The best promotional/marketing thing is just to keep writing. You need to constantly be producing because there are no barriers to entry. Every day dozens of authors are joining the ranks of self-publishing. It takes a lot of dedication to tread water above them.

That is not the most encouraging thing to hear, especially the "thousands of dollars" part. Writing more seems a bit like hoping for the best, but if it's what works and doesn't cost much, then I guess that's what I'll do. I suppose I could also try and get myself a bit more involved with social media stuff, post more hashtags on twitter and maybe buy a few ads here and there.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


It also varies wildly by genre

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Fuego Fish posted:

I don't have the right kind of attitude to shamelessly shill my stuff, so it doesn't really come naturally.
That's like saying "Oh, I don't have the right attitude for investing, Roth IRAs and 401ks don't come naturally to me." It doesn't come natural to anyone; you have to put in work to learn it. This is a business.

You have to see what works and what doesn't for your genre. Ask other writers who are succeeding in your genre. Don't be surprised when they don't pour out information immediately; it probably took them years to learn the right way to do things and there are a lot of entitled artistes who want to snap their fingers and get the right answer immediately.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Bobby Deluxe posted:

Really? Please tell me most of that is from the novel. I'm at 7 speed-romances and I ain't seen poo poo.

Oh yeah, the majority is from the novel. I've gotten like 5 borrows a day give or take spread over my 7 titles since I put them up.

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Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Fuego Fish posted:

Yes, I want to do this for a living. In all honesty, to toot my own horn, I'm pretty good at it. Not master class or anything, but I'm definitely in a comfortable spot with my writing. It's not the content that's the problem here, though, it's the fact that I'm atrocious at promoting myself. I don't have the right kind of attitude to shamelessly shill my stuff, so it doesn't really come naturally.


That is not the most encouraging thing to hear, especially the "thousands of dollars" part. Writing more seems a bit like hoping for the best, but if it's what works and doesn't cost much, then I guess that's what I'll do. I suppose I could also try and get myself a bit more involved with social media stuff, post more hashtags on twitter and maybe buy a few ads here and there.

I've had two novels sell well, neither one had advertising. One was my first novel. I had no mailing list, no one to poke for reviews, no money for an editor, and absolutely nothing for advertising. Slowly, slowly, it creeped up and one sale a day turned into three, then ten, then fifty. The next two books did OK, but not as well as the first.

Then I wrote my fourth, a standalone novel, and put some of my earnings into advertising/promotions and it didn't do me a goddamn thing. It didn't sell well. Some people bought it, and those that did liked it, but it was outside my niche.

My fifth novel, released a month and a half ago, had zero advertising. I sent it out to a meager mailing list and within a couple of weeks I peaked at #335 sales rank.

If it's a good story targeted to the proper niche, people will buy it. If it's missing some critical element, or is not targeted right, lacks a good cover, has a poo poo blurb, then no quantity of advertising/promotion will help.

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