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Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




If the book is a witty take on the sci-fi genre I could see the red and black graphic cover working. I actually like that cover better than heavily rendered sci-fi illustrations.

But if you went with a professional cover designer you might get a better result on your original brief, or your designer might have a better sense of what kind of cover leads to more sales. There's no accounting for taste, but you can count sale numbers.

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Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




The cover and blurb could use some work. And the very first sentence is a cliche and missing a period.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Congrats man! Are all those separate amounts that get added together or are they listed multiple times because the numbers are updating? Either way, good job!

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Apparently it's not an issue:

"No, you buy author copies through your Dashboard for production cost plus shipping, the same as a proof copy. The end of the eStore function has no effect on this."

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Does anybody here self-publish fantasy? Does it do well as a genre?

I'm asking because I recently uploaded some chapters of a fantasy book to critique sites and got this review back from one of the readers, whose profile lists him as a published author:

"To be brutally honest, this genre was already done to death twenty years ago. No agent will take it on, no publisher will take a punt on it because the market has changed and no-one reads this kind of thing anymore; in short, there's no money in it.
I wish you well, but this is not the one that's going to break you out."

Now I assume that a published author would know more about the industry than I do, but I wasn't aware fantasy was in such a slump.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Are you able to post samples for us to listen to?

As far as audio goes, I can tell you that the market is good for them, and getting better because of all the marketing Audible does. However i don't know if that success translates over to self-published books.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




I find that guy's voice very difficult to listen to. He muddles some of the words, and I lost track of what was happening in the narrative about a minute in.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Word repetition "the city of eternal darkness....unique to the city". And "special" and "unique" are both similar words that crowd the description. The last sentence also repeats city. You could say "Umbra's wildest thieves".

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




It looks like an awful cover to me; Unclear font, multiple font styles, pixelation, white void.

I dunno if "genre" trumps general design sensibilities.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Does editing for content mean critiquing plot points that don't make sense or places where the story drags, etc? Cause it would make sense to have that done first because it could lead to substantial rewrites that would then need to be edited from grammar and syntax all over again.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




freebooter posted:


https://www.alchemybookcovers.com/clients

This is the service I used for my first series which still sells great.


I noticed you posted a link to your blog in the fantasy thread but i doesn't have a link to your books on it. Any reason why?

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.

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

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




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

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




So I'll be publishing a fantasy book in early march. Got a lot of great feedback from people on this forum and on critique sites about how to improve dragging sections in the manuscript, wondering if I can get people's feedback on how to make this blurb snappier:

As an enforcer for the Order of the Magi, Cantus dreams of glory in magical combat. But the Order has been too effective in its function, leaving the world with a mere smattering of hedge wizards as incompetent opponents. Worse yet, his new partner Evroh is an ancient man who feels more at home in libraries than on the field of battle. When a seemingly simple mission leaves Cantus permanently disabled, he will journey to the center of the Auduwyn empire to track the rogue mage who can heal him before his magic disappears forever. At the same time, internal divisions in the Order become apparent and Cantus discovers Evroh is not what he appears.
A story about hubris, fear, and the occasional fireball, the self-contained novel Order of the Magi should appeal to fans of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Kingkiller Chronicles and KJ Parker’s Academic Exercises.


In particular wondering if the last sentence before the comparisons could be stronger as a hook. An alternative I'm playing with is:
"Meanwhile, centuries of peace have left the Magi unprepared for a growing new threat that may challenge the very fabric of their Order."

Ccs fucked around with this message at 18:32 on Jan 5, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




moana posted:

Are you allowed to name drop other authors in your blurb? Thought that was disallowed.

Hmm one of the "How to write blurbs" sites I checked said that if you don't have a pull quote from a major publication that compares you to similar books that are more famous, add it yourself. "It highlights Mark’s central marketing message: “If you like Jack Reacher, you’ll also like my John Milton books.” Just look at Mark’s cover designs, and you’ll see that this Reacher connection is no coincidence."

But maybe that's changed since the article was written.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah I did find one example on one of my favorite books, Marina and Sergey Dyanchenko's "The Scar'

"Plotted with the sureness of Robin Hobb and colored with the haunting and ominous imagination of Michael Moorcock, The Scar tells a story that cannot be forgotten."

Sadly I don't think those comparisons helped the book sell outstandingly well, as it was part of quartet and the other 3 were never translated.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Hmm that's an interesting idea, I'm publishing something in April on Kindle Unlimited, as I hadn't considered Royal Road and it's ilk (Wattpad, etc.) to be serious ventures.

If I have something up on Amazon KDP for a year and have paid for some promotion and it's still not doing any numbers, should I consider taking it off KDP Select and putting it on other sites? I'm not really looking for money, mostly just readers, and I have an amazing cover from a big name illustrator (I'm hoping him sharing the cover around when it releases will help download numbers, cause he's has hundreds of thousands of followers across his social networks.)

This is all sort of a vanity project for me as a way to express some unencumbered creativity as my day job as a "creative" is just working inside some insipid client scripts. The fact that I might make some money on it is more of an inconvenience come tax time.

What's your release schedule like?

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




So I've been looking into promotional sites for when I publish on Kindle Unlimited and list the book as free for 5 days. But to line up the promotions I need to provide listing info on the book that won't be available until I actually publish, so realistically the promotions can't occur until 2 weeks after publication (from what I understand.) Sites I'm looking into are Just Kindle Books, Books Butterfly, Book Tweeters, Book Reader Magazine, Book Kitty, Discount Book Man, and Ebook Soda.

There's also The Fussy Librarian and Ereader New Today but those require at least 10 reviews and since I won't have that at launch I'll probably have to wait for the next promotion period to run on those sites.

Anyone have experience with any of these?

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




There's a few that seem okay about booking closer to the day. I might divide the promos up into the easier to book ones closer to launch for 2 days, then a 3 day promo after a few weeks with those harder to book sites, then save Fussy Librarian for after I've got reviews.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




So I’ve done a soft launch of my book so I have a few days to work out if there’s any issues with it. So far everything seems fine EXCEPT the ‘Look Inside’ feature on Amazon. I prepared the book in Kindle Create and on phone and ereaders it looks fine. The look inside feature messes up the formatting of the first paragraph so it looks like this:



Instead of



Is there any way to fix this? I found some blog posts from authors but all they say is that Look Inside uses an HTML setup that’s known for messing up formatting.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah that's probably the issue... don't know if it's worth getting rid of the dropcaps to fix the formatting issues in Look Inside. I kind of like them.

Edit: There appears to be some real problems with the "First Paragraph Chapter" preset in Kindle Create. When I removed the dropcaps suddenly the formatting got all hosed up. I removed the preset and re-added elements I liked from it manually and now things looks fine in the Previewer. Waiting until the manuscript changes show up on the Amazon site to know for sure if the Look Inside is now fixed.

Once I'm sure everything is actually functioning i'll post a link to the book.

Ccs fucked around with this message at 13:24 on Apr 13, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




It looks great on the kindle previewer for desktop and on the previewer that runs before publishing. I ended up going through in Kindle Create and making sure every paragraph had the settings I wanted. Honestly they’ve got to improve that program, it’s insane that you can’t edit the indents on the whole manuscript, you gotta select each page or paragraph at a time.

I think I finally got it though. Updated the version which is now publishing on the store, which seems to take 4 hours or so to fully reflect in the Look Inside.

This has been an exciting learning experience in the fun of formatting 🤮

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




That sounds like hell. I did a lot of artwork for my book while I was working on it and at one point considered including it in the ebook. But then I realized that would bloat the size and Amazon doesn't like large ebooks, and images are incredibly suspect in terms of how they'll actually display on various Kindles. For example, the cover of my book shows up fine on the previewer and on Kindle Fire but gets scaled a tiny bit thinner on Kindle Paperwhite for some reason. And this is just uploading a jpeg at the exact size resolution that Amazon recommends.

It's kind of crazy that the display of text and images can be such a headache when the distribution for video seems to be so much simpler on the internet. I asked a friend who works at Amazon why this stuff is so difficult to deal with. He says the various departments don't coordinate with each other at all. The people who make the Kindle previewer are in one city, while the people who actually work on Kindle are on another, and the third dev team for the "Look Inside" feature is somewhere else. "Each org is like a startup bound to investors. The few commonalities between different Amazon orgs are only basic HR rules and the "leadership principles". "

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




So my book is live and will be going on a free promotion starting in a few hours for the duration of the weekend. In the past 2 days it's sold 13 copies, most of which came from this forum and 2 of which were from irl friends I told about it. I'm curious to see if the promotion sites I'm running with this weekend actually do much to boost sales, in total I spent $60 between Genre Pulse, Book of the Day, and Book Runes. The bigger promo sites like E-Reader News Today, Fussy Librarian, etc. all require at least 10 reviews so I can't use those right away. I'll probably run another promotion with them down the line if I manage to get 10 reviews.

At least the cover is nice, it definitely makes the whole presentation seem more legitimate.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B092CHN6S6/



quote:

Cantus dreams of glory in magical combat. He should have ample opportunities to win fame by hunting down rogue spellcasters for the Order of the Magi. But when a seemingly simple mission leaves him permanently disabled, he must journey to the center of the Auduwyn Empire to track down the errant mage who can heal him before his magic disappears entirely. To make matters worse, he soon discovers a growing threat that challenges the very fabric of the Order and the lasting peace it has established.

A story about hubris, fear, and the occasional fireball, the self-contained novel Order of the Magi transports readers into a world where magic only complicates matters and glory comes at a grisly cost.

Ccs fucked around with this message at 03:58 on Apr 17, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah I don’t have a following in terms of a mailing list or anything so there wasn’t much promotion I could do on my own.
The cover reveal is absolutely blowing up on r/fantasy right now though so sales are doing very nicely.

Edit: Today went well.

Ccs fucked around with this message at 00:28 on Apr 18, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah, this weekend was great. I actually got a really terrible headache today from things going so well, it seemed like there had to be some catch. My choice of cover artist really paid off, that's what caused the book to go viral on the r/fantasy subreddit. That artist wasn't cheap, but he's my favorite and for a self-contained novel that I've been picking away at since 2017 I figured I could swing it. Glad it worked out.

Kindle runs sales in Pacific Standard Time which means the book will be free for another 6 hours, but I think most people who were gonna pick it up already have. In total I moved 1209 free copies on Saturday, and another 826 so far today. In addition there were around 2000 pages read through Kindle Unlimited, meaning I actually did make some money (a whole $8! ;P ) The majority of those page reads were from today, which means some might've come from reddit while others might've originated from the book hitting those sales ranks and coming to the attention of people with KU subscriptions. I've heard from other authors that free sales can produce long tails of KU readers so I'll be interested to see how those numbers shake out over the next week when the book reverts to its normal price.

I kind of wish I was the type of author who could crank out another book in 6 months, but I'm gonna take it easy for now and pick away at a short story set in the same world to try to develop my prose. And pray that the reviews from all these readers is generally positive, if they bother to leave one.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




angel opportunity posted:

Royal Road is a site with a lot of really active readers who are willing to pay to "subscribe" to stories that they read chapter by chapter. When you subscribe to an author on Patreon, you usually are just getting to "read ahead of the release schedule," but a lot of people are willing to pay like that to continue binge reading and to support authors. It's the first time I've done something like this, and I think it's a cool way to get writing in front of people who actually will want to read it, vs. just throwing it on Amazon with no promo and having it die immediately.

Anyway, I am shamelessly plugging my poo poo here, but to bring it in and make it more on topic, if you have any questions about this method of publishing or want to ask me about how to make it profitable, please ask away and I'll try to answer I'm planning to double-dip and make this an Amazon release in KU after it's done on Royal Road.

Here is the book, cover, blurb, etc.: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/41003/bronze-sun-the-red-smith-litrpg-crafting



I'm still curious long term about how I could use Royal Road for marketing purposes. My book is doing well on KU for now, but let's say in 6 months it's not doing good numbers anymore. I could take it off KU, start posting the chapters on Royal Road with a link to the Amazon page in the description that says "If you want to read ahead you can buy the book now." Then when its finished it's run on Royal Road, remove it after a month or so and put it back on KU for the next enrollment period?

In theory that's a totally free way to get new readers that doesn't require paying $100 to Bargain Booksy, etc. to try to get what will probably amount to a measly 30 sales or so.

Were you planning on listing your book on KU while also keeping it on Royal Road? Because i'm pretty sure Amazon doesn't allow that, though it's uncertain if they'd ever find out.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Leng posted:

Amazon is abandoning .mobi as of the end of June this year:
https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200634390

And of course this is going to happen after my launch date.



Is your book reflowable or fixed? It says they still support it for fixed layout books.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah, honestly it's pretty weird these services don't accept PDFs. Something to do with how the format works or the control Adobe has over it that prevents using it?

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Ebooks are easy! The cover artist I used wants me to do a physical version of my book because a lot of people are asking him if they can get his art in print, but messing with the set up of the paperback is super intimidating. Also I only commissioned front cover art so I'd have to make something for the spine and back cover and it would not match his quality, and he's busy with commissions for the next 1.5 years.

So ebook only for now.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah the way they display this stuff is annoying. When I go on the US store my ebook says its not available for purchase because I'm accessing it from Canada. There's nothing that says "oh you're in Canada, you can get this available for purchase on your version of Amazon."

I think the web version actually does pop up a warning saying "you should try the .ca site" but on mobile it just says it's not available.

Not the most user friendly bit of UI design.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




divabot posted:

yeah, I would absolutely always presume you're gonna do a print version, get both covers done. Even if nobody sees the back cover until they buy a copy, it just makes everything look more professional, and self-publishers need all the professional look they can manage.

Make sure your artist has done print before, because RGB on a screen is piss easy and idyllic but four colour printing is a demon-spawned hellworld where your design needs to be robust against whatever the gently caress colours it might feel like today, and also registration errors like when they just decide to use thicker paper than the cover size calculator thinks (happened to me on Libra Shrugged).

I always thought nobody would buy a print version, and it turned out to be 25% of my sales. I mean, good! More money!

The cover artist I used was barely in my price range for a front cover, to get the whole wrap around done would be beyond what I could ever expect to get back in ROI. Maybe if I come into money in the future haha. That's what I get for going with a guy who's illustrated Harry Potter books. Well worth it though, the front cover is probably the reason anyone is actually reading the dang book and I just feel incredibly lucky that he was willing to work with me at all. In the future he'll probably become one of those absolutely legendary illustrators like Craig Mullens who never takes commissions.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




divabot posted:

$20 worth - some aggrieved coiner bought this, someone else bought back the previous image, then the aggrieved coiner bought this again

Still a more useful investment than bitcoin.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




While I can’t recommend specific sites, I would find books with characters of a similar age to your narrator and read them a few times to study how that author used the voice. Maybe rewrite a few chapters of your book in the best approximation of that voice as an exercise. The scenarios don’t necessarily have to change, but the way the characters react to the scenarios might.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Could you just age up the protagonist? Honestly I feel like with that pitch I’d want an older main character. Maybe early 20s, or whatever that is in cat years.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Part of me is curious if you changed the characters ages and kept them as cats whether it would work. A lot of people grew up on Redwall and so forth, maybe they'd be more open to a story featuring animal protagonists that wasn't necessarily for kids. There's already comics like Blacksad and so forth that do this.

But if you think the selling potential is better by changing them to humans or something and keeping their ages young that's fine. I dunno, the blurb didn't come off to me as YA, and that's before reading any of the prose and having to decide whether the voice sounded YA or not, so seems to me if you're going to change them to humans to avoid the "YA-ness" of animal protagonists, might also be easier to age the characters up as well.

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




So this might come in handy for people: The Self Published Fantasy Blog Off is coming up and I thought "it'd be cool to submit to that, too bad my book is trapped as a KPF file and thus stuck inside the Amazon ecosystem, whereas bloggers require the files provided to them in Mobi for review."

After some googling I downloaded Calibre and installed a KFX plugin that people SAID would convert the KPF file into whatever I so desired. Fantastic!

Oh, but tragedy, what it actually did was just give me my crappy old Docx file I had originally uploaded into Kindle Create without any of the nice formatting I later added. Oh well...

But in a last ditch effort I searched "KPF" on Calibre's main page. Turns out Calibre doesn't expect anyone to have downloaded the KFX plugin, and thinks they're being helpful by instead just grabbing the Docx inside the KPF package and loading THAT in. But if you disable the plugin that comes with the program that grabs this Docx, and then enable the KFX plugin in its place, you can then convert your nicely formatted KPF file into a Mobi, an Epub, a what-have-you. Hooray! Managing to escape the Amazon ecosystem while still geting all the benefits of their formatting feels nice.

Edit: Although I'm not sure this has anything to do with it, today I can't find my book when I search for it on Amazon.com. It's still there, still enrolled in KU, still searchable on Amazon.ca, but the .com just sort of vanished it. I'm wondering if for some reason converting it to a mobi alerted Amazon somehow and they've decided the punish the book by hiding it, or it's just a weird glitch...

Ccs fucked around with this message at 15:34 on May 15, 2021

Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Yeah the book totally vanished from Amazon.com, although still available if you type in the exact search address, and my author profile no longer lists it. Definitely thinking that Amazon figured out I had converted it into a mobi and the system automatically delisted it or something. But I didn’t get any notification to that effect or warning. I’ve contacted Amazon support in the hope they can make it right. Very dangerous to play around with Amazon’s file formats.

Sigh, all I wanted to do was be able to send out review copies to get the book to a wider audience. Now the audience has been shrunk like mad until this gets resolved.

It could also have been a freak accident but the timing is too much of a coincidence.

EDIT: Turns out it is probably a coincidence. The KDP forums are filled with people complaining about missing books, apparently it's affecting "just about everybody."

Fun times.

Ccs fucked around with this message at 16:23 on May 15, 2021

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Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




Blurb 2 is better but I’m a bit mystified by parts. How are legacy and answer in opposition to each other? “Future consequences” is vague and a bit weak. “Finds it lacks the power” makes it sound like the tv fails and that gives away the ending, maybe put something in about struggling against limitations instead? Not sure. “Incredible characters” sounds a bit overblown but I guess marketing copy is gonna be like that. I would still try to find a more interesting word. I would get rid of “though” in the last sentence.

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