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divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


freebooter posted:

What's your day job, if you don't mind sharing? I assume something in finance to give you the backgrounding to write the book in the first place?

Breath Ray posted:

thanks for your response. i had a look at your libra book and I think it's wonderful. is it going to be available in other languages?

e. hes a unix dude i think?

Day job is as a Linux sysadmin, yes indeed. That is, a large part of my job is sniffing out bullshit tech.

No sign of translators popping up, no. Though I want to do an audiobook this time around.

The draft has been revised - I finally worked out what the book was about! Which is a nice thing to work out before publication, if after writing it. It's the heartwarming tale of Silicon Valley techbros trying to pull a Disruption, and governments for once actually telling them "no."

I worked this out after three separate early readers picked the same paragraph in chapter 5 (20% of the way in) as being the point where the book really takes off:

quote:

This all points to the real attraction of the project for Facebook. Libra isn’t really for consumers — Libra is Facebook’s call to arms against the very notion of regulation. Facebook wants to be too big to regulate, and lead the way for its Silicon Valley fellows to be too big to regulate.

so I backtracked through the first four chapters to bludgeon that home a bit more.

I've been posting drafts to my Facebook, a slab a day, if you want more early previewing. I particularly recommend wtf is a Libra. Comments welcome, these will all be public.



Noobicide posted:

This is going to be a weird post. About two years ago I started writing a book that was basically Chapo Trap House fan fiction (plus some other podcasts, namely Cum Town, Comedy Bang Bang and Harmontown—all poorly disguised). It exploded from that into a sprawling satire something on the scale of (and with explicit references to) The Stand. It's called Beefsquad.

This book is unpublishable, but I still think some weirdos might like it. Basically it’s about a bunch of Frankenfood causing Armageddon. It gets way more complicated, but I’ll spare you.

It should be free with the kindle unlimited thing. Check out how lovely my cover is.

Anyway, I’m sorry if this breaks the rules. If no ones sees this or cares, that’s okay too. Here’s the link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K8G2BBB/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=beefsquad&qid=1601336939&s=books&sr=1-1

the cover is indeed (meat and) potato quality, but you hooked me in the first few pages when I started making loud guffawing noises with my mouth.

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Noobicide
Sep 12, 2007


divabot posted:

Day job is as a Linux sysadmin, yes indeed. That is, a large part of my job is sniffing out bullshit tech.

No sign of translators popping up, no. Though I want to do an audiobook this time around.

The draft has been revised - I finally worked out what the book was about! Which is a nice thing to work out before publication, if after writing it. It's the heartwarming tale of Silicon Valley techbros trying to pull a Disruption, and governments for once actually telling them "no."

I worked this out after three separate early readers picked the same paragraph in chapter 5 (20% of the way in) as being the point where the book really takes off:


so I backtracked through the first four chapters to bludgeon that home a bit more.

I've been posting drafts to my Facebook, a slab a day, if you want more early previewing. I particularly recommend wtf is a Libra. Comments welcome, these will all be public.


the cover is indeed (meat and) potato quality, but you hooked me in the first few pages when I started making loud guffawing noises with my mouth.

Ha, thank you kindly. I'm torn whether I should go back to working on more promising manuscripts or try to get this out there in any meaningful capacity. It's such a weird, offensive and self-indulgent book . . . I dunno

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Noobicide posted:

Ha, thank you kindly. I'm torn whether I should go back to working on more promising manuscripts or try to get this out there in any meaningful capacity. It's such a weird, offensive and self-indulgent book . . . I dunno

There's something odd about the formatting of the ebook that's making me bounce off of it. Maybe because nearly every line is indented, but I'm not sure.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




NuclearEagleFox!!! posted:

I asked this in the business thread, but I think I might get more interest here.

Where does one find freelance editors? I'm hoping there's some kind of magical search engine where I can plug in genre, length, and audience and get a list of people. (Also I'm rapidly realizing that may not exist.)

For those of you that work in multiple genres, do you have different editors for each?

There are goons here that edit, including me.

You can try Reedsy, look for people with reviews.

Noobicide
Sep 12, 2007


Ccs posted:

There's something odd about the formatting of the ebook that's making me bounce off of it. Maybe because nearly every line is indented, but I'm not sure.

Crap, I just converted a Word file into .epub with Calibre. My first time making an ebook so I'm not sure where I messed up. Stuff looked normal to me on my phone and computer, though admittedly I don't have a dedicated ereader. Anyone know how indents might be messed up?

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




I don’t think it’s necessarily messed up but the fact that nearly every line is the start of a new paragraph creates a weird reading experience. And maybe the font choice isn’t the best? I dunno. Try going to the books page and clicking “Look Inside” to see the preview to see what I mean

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


looks fine to me? Kindle Cloud Reader shot attached

Only registered members can see post attachments!

Noobicide
Sep 12, 2007


divabot posted:

looks fine to me? Kindle Cloud Reader shot attached



Yeah this is what I'm seeing...

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




That looks better than the preview Look Inside version as the smaller format makes the paragraphs clear.

Breath Ray
Nov 19, 2010


Noobicide posted:

This is going to be a weird post. About two years ago I started writing a book that was basically Chapo Trap House fan fiction (plus some other podcasts, namely Cum Town, Comedy Bang Bang and Harmontown—all poorly disguised). It exploded from that into a sprawling satire something on the scale of (and with explicit references to) The Stand. It's called Beefsquad.

This book is unpublishable, but I still think some weirdos might like it. Basically it’s about a bunch of Frankenfood causing Armageddon. It gets way more complicated, but I’ll spare you.

It should be free with the kindle unlimited thing. Check out how lovely my cover is.

Anyway, I’m sorry if this breaks the rules. If no ones sees this or cares, that’s okay too. Here’s the link:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08K8G2BBB/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=beefsquad&qid=1601336939&s=books&sr=1-1

this is better than the fatal eggs

e. you should read sam lipsyte before thinking it's unpublishable (granted he's more established)

Breath Ray fucked around with this message at 11:35 on Oct 2, 2020

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010



Legit Cyberpunk



hi goons. i've just posted a state of the nation open thread for CC. please come and share your thoughts!

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


my Libra book is up for preorder!! TELL EVERYONE U KNO

https://davidgerard.co.uk/blockchain/libra/

That's the Amazon blurb, which will also decorate the back cover of the paperback. Still workshopping and fine-tuning it - all suggestions are gratefully welcomed.

The draft has been revised and fine-tuned. I took down the previous one, but if you're bored or in need of distraction, (edit: nah make my own life easy) https://davidgerard.co.uk/lj/draft-2020-10-02.odt

now just nailbiting about the artwork, as one does

also, you can't put paperbacks up for preorder, and Amazon really don't like placeholder uploads - I guess cos there's been so many scams run through Createspace/Kindle Print. bah.

it got a kindle Best Seller rank in Social Networking when it had 11 presales

At this point, 95% of my problems are marketing and promotion. The other 5% are suddenly remembering all the poo poo I repressed about the painful mechanics of self-publishing given that computers should be assumed to be dogshit. AAAAAAAAAAAAA

divabot fucked around with this message at 11:59 on Oct 3, 2020

Breath Ray
Nov 19, 2010


i think you need more of a will they wont they because people arent going to read all that through schadenfreude alone. there also seem to be too many subheadings and metaphors on that page and the front cover looks very congested. why dont you call it take back control and what it could mean for other people taking on facebook and the other FAANGS? a manual to protest etc

gerg_861
Jan 2, 2009


To start with, I'll second the recommendation of Kelly at booksidemanner in terms of editing. Now for my question: What are the views here on omnibus editions? I currently have 3 self published novels out in a series, which sold around 600 copies across all formats, and moved about 10000 free downloads during a couple freebooksy ads. My thought was to package up the 3 novels, a short story that I wrote for mailing list sign up, and another short story or two into an omnibus edition with new cover, and then try giving that a relatively hard marketing push including a tilt at bookbub.

My usual pricepoint for the individual novels, which come in between 500 and 550 KENP is $2.99, with kindle countdowns at $.99 every few months. I was thinking $4.99 for the omnibus would seem about right. Does this sound reasonable? I was thinking of putting the short stories on my website in a serialized format in the run up to releasing the omnibus so that no one who purchased the standalones would be too annoyed. Any experiences/tips on releasing omnibus editions would be appreciated - note, my 4th novel in the series is probably still a solid 9 months off (first draft complete, but that's it).

isaboo
Nov 10, 2002

I can destroy you


I've written a few short (true) stories in GBS- the latest is here Punching Nazis

I've never done anything like this before and I know I'm not a technically good writer but I have fun doing it and my friends and family enjoy the stories- GBS goons seem to like them too but what do they know!
I want to self-publish just to give my friends something tangible to have. Selling any additional units would be great but that's not really my motivation.

My main question right now is a legal one. In the story I linked to I use the titles of songs as chapter titles and include a link to a youtube video of that song. Does using the song title violate any sort of copyright law? I obviously won't be able to include the videos in a print version but would there be a legal issue with the videos in an e-book so long as I give credit somewhere? Alternatively I could maybe include a 'recommended songs' list with links to the videos in both formats.

In a couple of the other stories I used the likenesses of celebrities - Tupac and Jeaneane Garafolo for example. I cut and pasted images of their faces onto badly drawn stick figures so they aren't real true to life depictions of them. Would that be a problem in terms of violating any fair use laws? My feeling is that it might be okay because the pictures are clearly satirical. I think. I don't know!

I'm still reading through all the advice threads here in CC but haven't seen similar questions asked yet. I'd appreciate any help!

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


Will Wight, self-published author of Cradle fame, hit the #1 bestseller list on the whole Amazon Kindle store (not just his category) for 24 hours or so this week with the release of Wintersteel (Cradle Book 8). It's still at #4 right now.

He's done some posts on his blog and on Reddit regarding his process and business model that I've found very informative:

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


AAAAHHHH YOU MF'ING MF AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

so! my book has cross-referenced footnotes. This is a standard thing in LO and Word - you want to reference a footnote or endnote twice, you make one proper reference and then you make cross-references to it.

Calibre used to handle these correctly when you generated an ePub - the cross-ref would link to the footnote/endnote, all good. Now, in 5.3 ... it doesn't. From DOCX the cross-ref goes to somewhere in the text, and from ODT it's just rendered as plain unlinked text.

Does anyone here:
(a) know WTF I'm babbling on about here
(b) know what was the last version of Calibre this worked properly in?

I have worked out how to fix it by hand if I have to. But I would prefer not to.


In happier news, my artist has got over her recent attack of Bloody 2020, and WE HAVE AN EBOOK COVER, and the CMYK paperback cover is actually gonna be even better:

https://twitter.com/davidgerard/status/1321060497207287811

abske_fides
Apr 20, 2010


Is it okay to post in this thread when wanting to do an art periodical? I mostly see Blurb being mentioned for anything visual.

I'm wondering about POD services especially for Europe, and really no need for Amazon or something of the kind. This is the type of publication where we might get extra economic support from cultural institutions as well but really just thinking about probably 50-100 copies of something that's 60-70 pages with lots of visuals. Definitely a plus if it's possible to include a CD or DVD. ISSN/ISBN/ISRC and all of that would be done independently from the POD service. And we would be working in InDesign as well. We would be selling the thing at events and through our own online BigCartel powered site.

Thanks for any info

abske_fides fucked around with this message at 13:47 on Oct 30, 2020

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


just posting to show off my latest beautiful darling child, the paperback arrived this morning. 8 paperback sales, 96 ebook presales. Release date is TOMORROW!

https://twitter.com/davidgerard/status/1322933651181588480

oh that stuff up there where I'm whining about ePubs? yeah, forget that, it got considerably worse. Short rant here. I'll write it up in detail, which may be useful or may just frighten the crap out of everyone.



abske_fides posted:

Is it okay to post in this thread when wanting to do an art periodical? I mostly see Blurb being mentioned for anything visual.
I'm wondering about POD services especially for Europe, and really no need for Amazon or something of the kind. This is the type of publication where we might get extra economic support from cultural institutions as well but really just thinking about probably 50-100 copies of something that's 60-70 pages with lots of visuals. Definitely a plus if it's possible to include a CD or DVD. ISSN/ISBN/ISRC and all of that would be done independently from the POD service. And we would be working in InDesign as well. We would be selling the thing at events and through our own online BigCartel powered site.
Thanks for any info

I don't know the answer either, but sure, that's legit :-) So really you just want to know who does print-on-demand colour that's good, and who also doesn't charge an arm and a leg for short runs?

abske_fides
Apr 20, 2010


Yeah basically. And I don't mean cheap to the point that it's ridiculous but best price to quality ratio.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I actually stopped posting on SA because I got so tied up in self-publishing that I didn't have time to post here anymore...

I thought I'd drop back in here with some sales numbers! A huge thanks especially to Sundae for getting me started many years ago. I started with erotica and switched over to full-length romance when KU 2.0 hit. The big chunk of time where I made $0 is because I had a kid and my wife was in school full-time, so I had to quit for a long time. I just got started up again and luckily was able to make it work again.




I can say that 100% if not for this thread on SA, I would be working an office job for $30,000/year still!

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


angel opportunity posted:

I actually stopped posting on SA because I got so tied up in self-publishing that I didn't have time to post here anymore...

I thought I'd drop back in here with some sales numbers!

holy crap, well done!


abske_fides posted:

Yeah basically. And I don't mean cheap to the point that it's ridiculous but best price to quality ratio.

so I asked publishing friends on Twitter, and the answers to try for short-run full colour were:

* Lulu
* BookBaby
* maybe Comic Printing UK?

Lulu are a bit huge to talk to, but BookBaby and CPUK apparently respond well to customers.

I have heard bad things about CreateSpace and full colour - but that was a few years ago, I don't know if they've improved.

Obviously, none of this will be cheap, but hopefully it won't be crippling.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009

AUSTRALIA
NEEDS
TURNBULL


angel opportunity posted:

I actually stopped posting on SA because I got so tied up in self-publishing that I didn't have time to post here anymore...

I thought I'd drop back in here with some sales numbers! A huge thanks especially to Sundae for getting me started many years ago. I started with erotica and switched over to full-length romance when KU 2.0 hit. The big chunk of time where I made $0 is because I had a kid and my wife was in school full-time, so I had to quit for a long time. I just got started up again and luckily was able to make it work again.

Wow, well done! I can't even begin to imagine making that much.

With the $0 period, did you not have backlist sales still trickling through? Or is backlist basically not a thing with erotica/romance readers?

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I wasn't actually $0, it's just that the top-end of the graph is so high it looks like $0. I was making maybe like $300-400/month for a few years from Amazon, but toward the end it tapered down to like $200 or less per month.

I actually had a "publisher" put some of my stuff onto iBooks during that period, so you can't see that from the chart. I think I made an extra $40-50,000 from that publisher during the "dead period," and the tail on the wide stuff is stronger, like I still make $300ish per month from them and they haven't published anything new for over two years from me, and it's only a fraction of everything I ever published.

Either way...there is really no long-term "passive income" from self-publishing in most cases. At least for the stuff I publish, you remain relevant by publishing fast and continuously. Your back catalog can definitely make you a ton of money, but only when you are actively publishing. If you stop, your income dries up like in the graph.

Since I started again I've been releasing 2-3 50,000-word novels per month to hit that kind of income again as fast as I could.

Walamor
Dec 31, 2006

Fork 'em Devils!


That's really impressive and fantastic, congrats! How did you get that first edge into the market to start getting traction?

Heathbourne
Jun 3, 2019


angel opportunity posted:

Since I started again I've been releasing 2-3 50,000-word novels per month to hit that kind of income again as fast as I could.

Holy poo poo, that's amazing. I've spent since I last posted, more than a year ago, to come up with the 80k words or so that went into my latest.

But it's also inspiring as poo poo. Time to get typing.

(And eventually to take everything down, relist with proper covers, and generally follow all the other solid advice I got in here. I just never knew book covers were harder than book writing)

Heathbourne fucked around with this message at 17:41 on Nov 3, 2020

Veni Vidi Ameche!
Nov 2, 2017

by Fluffdaddy


angel opportunity posted:

I wasn't actually $0, it's just that the top-end of the graph is so high it looks like $0. I was making maybe like $300-400/month for a few years from Amazon, but toward the end it tapered down to like $200 or less per month.

I actually had a "publisher" put some of my stuff onto iBooks during that period, so you can't see that from the chart. I think I made an extra $40-50,000 from that publisher during the "dead period," and the tail on the wide stuff is stronger, like I still make $300ish per month from them and they haven't published anything new for over two years from me, and it's only a fraction of everything I ever published.

Either way...there is really no long-term "passive income" from self-publishing in most cases. At least for the stuff I publish, you remain relevant by publishing fast and continuously. Your back catalog can definitely make you a ton of money, but only when you are actively publishing. If you stop, your income dries up like in the graph.

Since I started again I've been releasing 2-3 50,000-word novels per month to hit that kind of income again as fast as I could.

You’re writing a million-and-a-half words per year? Didn’t you also used to post as a character in the Plunger threads? Do you have time for anything else?

In your opinion, what is the average quality of the novels you put out? If you picked up one of your own books from the outside, how do you think you’d rate it?

That’s a lot of writing.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

The stuff I write is stuff that I never would read for fun. Since I started doing this I've always had "A Slack" and I've gotten to know a lot of other writers who do well at this. I've noticed in romance writing there are two main types (there are more than two, but two MAIN types to me) and those are people who read romance for enjoyment and people who don't. Most men who write romance fall into the "non-reader" camp. I am very aggressively not a romance reader.

I have to FORCE myself to read other authors' books for research, and even a short, 35,000-word novella takes me a long time to read because I get so bored reading it and want to keep stopping. I can appreciate the craft of romance novels I read, but I really struggle to ever enjoy them. I am specifically talking about romance novels like the ones I write, shorter ones that are destined to top charts on KU for two months max and fall away into obscurity. I like "romance" when it's done well in films and more "literary" novels, but not in the way that the huge market of romance readers who read a book every day in KU like to read.

This doesn't mean I am disdainful of my readers or anything. It just means I'm writing something that I'm not the target audience for. I try really hard to put my own voice into this stuff and get elements in there that I appreciate myself (usually humor, for example, even if it's not a "comedy") but I am always hyper-conscious of what the readers actually want to read, and that is a very bright spotlight on the hero and heroine and their relationship. They want a fun meet cute, they want a super-competent, over-protective, charming hero who loves to eat pussy and who will be super stoked when he finds out he accidentally got you pregnant because he wants to wife you and be a father so bad. They want a happily ever after and no HINT of cheating, ever. These are things that often make me feel constrained or limited in what I can write, but I always deliver them so that I can make money.

With all that said, I find that "non-readers" like me have a pretty big advantage when it comes to writing really fast. When I used to write stuff for the Thunderdome, I was hyper-aware of how I would judge it as a reader, because I was writing stuff purely for fun. I was writing what I would want to read myself. Now I am writing things that I don't like to read, and so I use the Pomodoro method. I set a timer for 20 minutes and write non-stop for twenty minutes, usually producing between 900-1,200 words. I take a 6-minute break and repeat. I try to do this for two hours to produce 5,000 words in a two-hour chunk. My first drafts are very clean, and my editing pass for a full novel takes maybe 6-7 hours. My editing pass will be fixing typos, mistakes, and occasionally making some sentences sound better. I never edit anything as I write, and I never go back and look at what I wrote until a book is finished.

"Readers" really struggle with this kind of thing and generally write much more slowly. They also tend to let what they personally like get in the way a lot, and typically what they like isn't what will make them the most money. I am already writing stuff that I don't like, so I tend to just write stuff that makes the most money. I will admit I lean a bit toward genres I have more fun writing. Even though I don't like reading this stuff, I do actually have a lot of fun writing it. I always stick to genres that make a lot of money (high ceiling), but I will avoid writing stuff that strikes me as super unfun. For example I think "dark romance" is super boring to write, and I will avoid it even if it's currently doing really well on the top 100.

I think a lot of my books are quite good, but a lot of the books I've published have been kind of bad. The book I wrote that made the most money was really solid. It took me like 2.5 weeks to write and it made me over $100,000, lol. I currently have a book in the top 100 and it's making me over $500/day...it took me 9 days to write.

As a non-reader of this genre it's somewhat difficult to objectively assess my own books. I did a lot of "comedy" writing for fun on Twitter (lol...) and I put a lot of comedy into all of my romance novels. I'm doing actual "rom coms" right now, but even my non-comedy books have a solid amount of humor in them that I think separates them a bit from the pack and gives them somewhat of a unique selling point once you get to know me as an author. With that said, if you don't absolutely deliver the main thing the readers want, they will not care how many cool unique things you did. You mostly want to be generically on-market, so I try to keep myself on the rails as best I can without getting too super generic and boring. Even writing rom-coms, I have to be careful because Levon Wei or Joe Keskold isn't in any way the humor style that romance readers want. I have to try to hone in on what my target market will actually think is funny, so I rely a lot on having kids in the story doing cute stuff, the hero being goofily lovable, witty banter, etc. rather than ironic racist jokes or calling people retards.

Then the other thing is that is more than 75% of how well a book does is the cover and blurb, and I got really really good at making my covers and blurbs excellent and super on-market, which I think is the MAIN thing that made me do so well.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 21:56 on Nov 3, 2020

Veni Vidi Ameche!
Nov 2, 2017

by Fluffdaddy


That is fascinating. Thanks for the reply. I give you my permissions to count it against your word production for the month.

Right, Levon. Lol That’s the one.

Leng
May 13, 2006

One song / Glory
One song before I go / Glory
One song to leave behind


No other road
No other way
No day but today


angel opportunity posted:

This doesn't mean I am disdainful of my readers or anything. It just means I'm writing something that I'm not the target audience for. I try really hard to put my own voice into this stuff and get elements in there that I appreciate myself (usually humor, for example, even if it's not a "comedy") but I am always hyper-conscious of what the readers actually want to read

<snip>

These are things that often make me feel constrained or limited in what I can write, but I always deliver them so that I can make money.

With all that said, I find that "non-readers" like me have a pretty big advantage when it comes to writing really fast. When I used to write stuff for the Thunderdome, I was hyper-aware of how I would judge it as a reader, because I was writing stuff purely for fun. I was writing what I would want to read myself. Now I am writing things that I don't like to read, and so I use the Pomodoro method. I set a timer for 20 minutes and write non-stop for twenty minutes, usually producing between 900-1,200 words. I take a 6-minute break and repeat. I try to do this for two hours to produce 5,000 words in a two-hour chunk. My first drafts are very clean, and my editing pass for a full novel takes maybe 6-7 hours. My editing pass will be fixing typos, mistakes, and occasionally making some sentences sound better. I never edit anything as I write, and I never go back and look at what I wrote until a book is finished.

"Readers" really struggle with this kind of thing and generally write much more slowly. They also tend to let what they personally like get in the way a lot, and typically what they like isn't what will make them the most money. I am already writing stuff that I don't like, so I tend to just write stuff that makes the most money.

This is an entire lecture on how to be a commercially successful author crammed into a single eloquent post.

Thank you so much for sharing your advice, especially on how to write stuff that doesn't necessarily appeal to you as a reader but still have fun doing it and putting your own spin on things.

Also happens to be extremely timely advice for NaNoWriMo!

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


Here is a long rambling post on the stupid poo poo I actually did to get my ePub into suitable shape.

Big issues were:

1. something that reliably passes epubcheck
2. something that works on FBReader (my favoured ebook viewer on Android)
3. how to fix up conversion glitches, 'cos they're gonna happen.

I did nerd out way harder than any reasonable person should, because I could basically.

I don't mean to scare anyone who hasn't done this stuff! You can go on Kindle, Smashwords and Draft2Digital with just a Microsoft Word DOCX file and a front cover.

I'm sure nobody does all the weird poo poo I did in the real world. So what do the people here use to generate an ePub that passes epubcheck? What's your production pipeline for a book?

divabot fucked around with this message at 16:21 on Nov 6, 2020

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

When I first started I used Calibre and HATED it so much.

Vellum does not allow you to directly edit HTML and stuff, but if you are going to be self-pubbing with any regularity it is far and away the best software for creating ebooks. It makes its SOOOO easy and *pleasant* to make an ebook. The final product looks really great, and importantly Vellum seems to inflate the KENPC of your book (compared to most other software) if you are using KU.

I had spilled protein shake on my old Macbook and ruined it, and when I started up again I couldn't afford a new apple computer, so I was using a virtual mac JUST so that I could use Vellum. It's kind of expensive but I can't recommend it enough

Breath Ray
Nov 19, 2010


angel opportunity posted:

The stuff I write is stuff that I never would read for fun. Since I started doing this I've always had "A Slack" and I've gotten to know a lot of other writers who do well at this. I've noticed in romance writing there are two main types (there are more than two, but two MAIN types to me) and those are people who read romance for enjoyment and people who don't. Most men who write romance fall into the "non-reader" camp. I am very aggressively not a romance reader.

I have to FORCE myself to read other authors' books for research, and even a short, 35,000-word novella takes me a long time to read because I get so bored reading it and want to keep stopping. I can appreciate the craft of romance novels I read, but I really struggle to ever enjoy them. I am specifically talking about romance novels like the ones I write, shorter ones that are destined to top charts on KU for two months max and fall away into obscurity. I like "romance" when it's done well in films and more "literary" novels, but not in the way that the huge market of romance readers who read a book every day in KU like to read.

This doesn't mean I am disdainful of my readers or anything. It just means I'm writing something that I'm not the target audience for. I try really hard to put my own voice into this stuff and get elements in there that I appreciate myself (usually humor, for example, even if it's not a "comedy") but I am always hyper-conscious of what the readers actually want to read, and that is a very bright spotlight on the hero and heroine and their relationship. They want a fun meet cute, they want a super-competent, over-protective, charming hero who loves to eat pussy and who will be super stoked when he finds out he accidentally got you pregnant because he wants to wife you and be a father so bad. They want a happily ever after and no HINT of cheating, ever. These are things that often make me feel constrained or limited in what I can write, but I always deliver them so that I can make money.

With all that said, I find that "non-readers" like me have a pretty big advantage when it comes to writing really fast. When I used to write stuff for the Thunderdome, I was hyper-aware of how I would judge it as a reader, because I was writing stuff purely for fun. I was writing what I would want to read myself. Now I am writing things that I don't like to read, and so I use the Pomodoro method. I set a timer for 20 minutes and write non-stop for twenty minutes, usually producing between 900-1,200 words. I take a 6-minute break and repeat. I try to do this for two hours to produce 5,000 words in a two-hour chunk. My first drafts are very clean, and my editing pass for a full novel takes maybe 6-7 hours. My editing pass will be fixing typos, mistakes, and occasionally making some sentences sound better. I never edit anything as I write, and I never go back and look at what I wrote until a book is finished.

"Readers" really struggle with this kind of thing and generally write much more slowly. They also tend to let what they personally like get in the way a lot, and typically what they like isn't what will make them the most money. I am already writing stuff that I don't like, so I tend to just write stuff that makes the most money. I will admit I lean a bit toward genres I have more fun writing. Even though I don't like reading this stuff, I do actually have a lot of fun writing it. I always stick to genres that make a lot of money (high ceiling), but I will avoid writing stuff that strikes me as super unfun. For example I think "dark romance" is super boring to write, and I will avoid it even if it's currently doing really well on the top 100.

I think a lot of my books are quite good, but a lot of the books I've published have been kind of bad. The book I wrote that made the most money was really solid. It took me like 2.5 weeks to write and it made me over $100,000, lol. I currently have a book in the top 100 and it's making me over $500/day...it took me 9 days to write.

As a non-reader of this genre it's somewhat difficult to objectively assess my own books. I did a lot of "comedy" writing for fun on Twitter (lol...) and I put a lot of comedy into all of my romance novels. I'm doing actual "rom coms" right now, but even my non-comedy books have a solid amount of humor in them that I think separates them a bit from the pack and gives them somewhat of a unique selling point once you get to know me as an author. With that said, if you don't absolutely deliver the main thing the readers want, they will not care how many cool unique things you did. You mostly want to be generically on-market, so I try to keep myself on the rails as best I can without getting too super generic and boring. Even writing rom-coms, I have to be careful because Levon Wei or Joe Keskold isn't in any way the humor style that romance readers want. I have to try to hone in on what my target market will actually think is funny, so I rely a lot on having kids in the story doing cute stuff, the hero being goofily lovable, witty banter, etc. rather than ironic racist jokes or calling people retards.

Then the other thing is that is more than 75% of how well a book does is the cover and blurb, and I got really really good at making my covers and blurbs excellent and super on-market, which I think is the MAIN thing that made me do so well.

inspiring stuff. what is A Slack?

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Slack is just like Discord but less nerdy. I've always had a group of people in a Slack which have similar goals and mindset as me. The one I'm in actually evolved from the original self-pub thread IRC channel...though there is only me and one other guy from SA still in there

Breath Ray
Nov 19, 2010


oh! ive heard of Slack the company, thought you meant a technique or somehting. so you do 2.5 hours of writing a day and then also a couole of hours of reading for research? what kind of other genres have you written in and how do they compare to romance?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005

Wheeeeeee!




angel opportunity posted:

I actually stopped posting on SA because I got so tied up in self-publishing that I didn't have time to post here anymore...

Congratulations, dude. You deserve every bit of the success!

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Sundae posted:

Congratulations, dude. You deserve every bit of the success!

Are you still publishing?

Icon-Cat
Aug 18, 2005

Meow!

Another one of my cute li'l stories ready to go and free through Sunday the 13th. Yes, a mere twenty-three years after the launch of the franchise, I came up with a Potter spoof.

My advice is to poke fun of things while the properties are still hot, and ideally don't pick something where midway through your draft the author pisses off a good chunk of her fan base so you need to figure out how to criticize her in-text without making it a whole thing because you're not looking to monetize other people's anger. (Useful advice for us all.) Anyway, hope you enjoy!



Magic and mystery galore are in store at Britain’s most prestigious school for wizards this year, thanks to one amazing new arrival… their very first English teacher.

Miss Tinker can’t believe she got the job at Merlinfirth Academy; she’s underqualified, overanxious and utterly out of her depth. A bibliophile since birth, she relies on her passion for the classics to guide her through the tricky spots, but it’s hard to hold teenagers’ attention when they’d rather learn sorcery than Shakespeare.

But it’s not all bad. There’s another new teacher her age with a friendly face and an encouraging demeanour. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll break through and change some young pupil’s life…

Award-winning writer and filmmaker Adam Bertocci has been praised by Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, The New Republic, GQ, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Back Stage, Broadway World, E!, Maxim, IGN, Wired, Film Threat and more. This enchanting short story brews up a mix of coming-of-age, romantic comedy and, above all, shameless parody.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PHWKDL3/

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

Divabot, how are you not publishing on Substack already?


Icon-Cat posted:

Another one of my cute li'l stories ready to go and free through Sunday the 13th. Yes, a mere twenty-three years after the launch of the franchise, I came up with a Potter spoof.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B08PHWKDL3/

So I'm gonna ask how you do your cover! I thought "oh that's a nice find in stock photo land" and then I see there's credits for like fourteen source photos. Are you assembling your own covers or getting an artist in or what?

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Icon-Cat
Aug 18, 2005

Meow!

This particular cover's complexity is a bit of an anomaly, normally I don't need more than a coupla images, but for this project it was either put something together from spare parts or see if Mary GrandPré was taking commissions.

I do my covers myself. (Yes, of course, most writers shouldn't, but Photoshop is part of my day job, so if I'm not the greatest at least I'm not the worst… I'm actually more of a professional graphics guy than I am a professional fiction writer, maybe I should hire an outside writer!) I have a fondness for the weird world of stock photos, which makes the experience pleasant.

One side benefit of doing my own covers is it forces me to consider, what am I trying to get across here, how would I sum up my tone in an image—I work on the cover _as_ I am writing (or often even before!), and if I can't create a visual that says to my satisfaction, "yes, that'll tell people what I'm trying to do", it's a good sign that something's equally unclear in the writing and ought to be addressed.

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