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simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



newtestleper posted:

I haven't read it, but isn't a murder mystery a little dark for 9-12 year-olds?

Have a read of Horowitz's Diamond Brothers for how it can be well-handled

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simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



A friend of mine has written a series of children's books. He just got scammed by a New York-based 'publisher'

I suggested self-publishing on Amazon, but do people even borrow/buy kids books on there?

Also he's in his 50s, is not tech savvy, and doesn't have an account. He's willing to pay for advice so if any of you could distill the thread advice into an easy-to-follow flow chart I'm sure he'd sort you out with some money

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



I don't self-publish but I started reading this thread back when someone in a thread I post a lot in started writing. It's been great seeing him go from starter to success.

Personally if you're worried about length and you follow a 12-month timescale, have you thought about publishing it by season? Like 'Book 1: The Unforgiving Winter' 'Book 2: The Rise of Spring' but, you know, with better titles?

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



I met a guy in a bar last week, nice bloke, got talking. I mentioned I do copywriting and editing, turns out he's done some writing.

He's sent me his book. It's mainly a thinly-veiled Mary Sue tirade at one of his ex-wives where the valiant single father uses Computer Haxx Skillz to derail the bitch's successful financial career and secure visitation rights to his kid that she's been unreasonably witholding. Pacing is wrong, structure is wrong, I hate the characters I'm supposed to like, and still even hate the characters I'm supposed to hate. Everyone speaks like a drat business communication seminar, even the psychotic criminal brother of Queen Bitch and his fellow ex-inmates. Stuff like "I shall take it by your silence that none of you hold any objections to the proposed plan. But I digress..."
SPAG is all over the place, and I'm pretty sure that in the first chapter the pseudonym of the Evil Woman is put in as her real name (i.e. there is a Good Woman called Sonia and the Evil Lady is called Hanna, except on the following page and through the whole book, the evil lady is Sonia. I'll try to find out but I bet the real-life ex-wife is called Hanna).

He wants my feedback. Of course, he's asked for me to be "real with him" and he doesn't just want to be told it's good. So, um, I guess I'm not about to make a friend. Shame though, he's a nice guy and can carry a good conversation.

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



angel opportunity posted:

lol...that is really awkward, please keep us posted

It got worse, and I'm still only about 2/3 way through. There were plenty of anti-gay slurs being thrown around by the Mary Sue protagonist, but I was giving the benefit of the doubt on characterisation. Now it's all over the narration. Trans-people too have been shoehorned in awkwardly for a bashing. The only gay dude is also a paedophile as well as being charicature camp-bitchy. The Evil Woman's new husband drives a pink jeep wrangler, always wears an apron, and loves (except when he hates) the Evil Woman going at him from behind with obscenely described ridiculous ...er... bedroom accessories. It's all implied, nothing explicit (thank god) but the Evil Woman had breast cancer and a double mastectomy (just thrown in casually) and now there's a bunch of 'jokes' about her having no tits. Oh, and a paragraph about Quantas stewardesses being old and gay if male or old and ugly if female, and the Asian airlines know to drop stewardesses as soon as they start thinking about family or marriage. The biggest crime, it seems, is men not being manly enough and women not being womanly enough. The protagonist incited a riot in Sydney but the author seems to hate both anyone more left wing touchy feely and anyone more right wing conservative than him. For instance, every couple of chapters we are reminded that Queen Bitch is an atheist conservative, but also he goes off about what conservative backwards scum Aussie farmers are, but then says Australia is 'beyond a socialist state' and devotes a few pages to how downtrodden the middle class is, bemoaning how families with 100k aussie a year are seen as rich but suffer more than most. Unions are bad, but if only the middle classes could realise that they drive the country forward and somehow come together...

I thought the guy was alright when we were chatting in the pub but now I'm not so sure I want to hang out again. It's like a less eloquent, more bigoted, less restrained Jeremy Clarkson wrote this rubbish.

I'll stop posting about this now. The 'book' is a steaming hot one. This thread isn't for terrible writing, it's for how to play the game of self-publishing. On that topic, all I have to say is 'your writing probably isn't as bad as you think it is if stuff like this exists and the author is proud of it' and 'do not ever, EVER, let a total randomer send you a copy of their book asking for feedback. Ever.'

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



I'm tempted to try my hand at this, but I'm getting bogged down building up the logistics as some great hurdle. I'd appreciate any help you guys might be able to give to get it down to size.

1) Going from general chat here, it seems like the only place worth publishing at the minute is KDP - is that true? And am I right in thinking that KDP has exclusivity requirements?
2) I already have an LLC that I could put any earnings through (hopefully there will be some!) - but I'm not in the US. I know there's at least one author in here who lives in Asia, like me. Are there any problems getting money from Amazon in a currency that isn't USD/GBP/EUR, like terrible conversion rates/fees from Amazon, or Amazon only paying in USD and your bank hitting you hard?
3) How do pen names work? Let's say I wanted to write some Tom-Clancy-esque stuff but also some Bridget-Jones'-Diary-type stuff under two different names. Can they be effectively separated but linked to the same Amazon account, or do I need to sign up with 2 different email addresses?

I have more questions about marketing and stuff, but those should wait until I've actually written something and can make use of the answers.

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



Honestly my target is about 500usd/month.

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

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



Instead of
Only the designers of this genetically modified food know the danger. And those guys are jerks.

Try
Only the designers of this genetically modified food know the danger -- and those guys are jerks.
Or
Only the designers of this genetically modified food know the danger, and those guys are jerks.


I think your start, while intending to be punchy, just felt jumpy with all the full stops.

Conversely, the 3rd para is a just one long sentence. I get that you used a colon but it's not strong enough for me.

Perhaps something along the lines of
"George Miles, a scientist, has discovered something is wrong. Can he and delivery driver Dustin Fowler race the clock and save a society gone insane? Terrorist wristware...blah
(maybe choose only 3 things?, or maybe list 2 "and more"? I don't know your genre! what do other blurbs do?)
stand in their way on the path to save the the world."
(You could keep "from its monstrous fate" but I think that's a little too long still.)


I like the cover, it stands out, it doesn't look deadly serious. Does it fit your genre norms?
I'm interested to know why you switched the focus to the scientist instead of the delivery driver.

I don't have experience selling books yet, it's just my thoughts from lurking here

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



angel opportunity posted:

I'll preface everything by saying I don't think single-author short story collections are very easy to sell on Amazon self-pubbed. I'm too lazy to really research hard into this, and it will depend a lot on what your goals are, but look for any self-pubbed short story collections with ranks above 1,000 in the overall store. I kind of doubt you will find anything at that rank, but at least try to find something around rank 3,000.

If you can't find anything that is self-pubbed, look at traditional publishing as well. If you find ANYTHING promising really look at it and see how it is branded. Is it leaning on the author's name recognition? Is it name dropping trad pub credits? Or is it focusing really hard on what the stories are about or the style?

Here is a rough "tier list" of Amazon paid rank, assuming you release a book every other month that hits the rank listed and is priced at $0.99 in KU:

Rank 1-10: You're loving rich. You are making over $1,000 per day.

Rank 10-30: You're still rich.

Rank 30-100: Easily six figures per year (so...still rich.)

Rank 200-500: You could definitely make a living off your writing.

Rank 500-1000: Significant "extra income," and you could still make a living off of your writing but things might be tight depending on your circumstances. If you could pump a book every month instead of every other month this would be definite livable/comfortable wage.

Rank 1,000-3,000: You'd really struggle to make a living. If you are single and lived frugally you MIGHT be able to live off your writing. If you have a big back catalog it could help a lot too.

3,000-10,000: This is pretty much the "event horizon." After you pass 3,000 rank (and even after you pass 1,000 it starts getting much worse) your book becomes close to invisible. If this were a brick and mortar store, your book gets moved from the shelves to the warehouse and can only be bought if someone special orders it. At the higher 1k+ ranks, Amazon's algorithms and advertising engine are actively pushing your books to readers. You are visible in many sub-categories, and Amazon is even emailing people to tell them to check out your book. Once you hit 3k-10k, income becomes very negligible. At this range your writing income might cover your lunch for the day. I generally recommend changing from $0.99 to $2.99 after slipping out of top 1,000, but DEFINITELY after rank 3,000 $0.99 is lovely and makes little sense anymore.

Before you really dump a lot of time and work into this, just look at the store as it is and find as many examples that look like what you want to do and look at their rank. Really old stuff's rank will be sort of irrelevant, but do keep in mind that after a few months that's where your rank will be. If you see rank 30,000-50,000 and think "Well...that's pretty good rank out of millions," keep in mind that 30-50k rank is somewhere between 10-30 sales per WEEK. I have a book that is several months old at 42,000 rank. In the past seven days it sold 9 copies at $2.99 and had 4,000 pages read in KU. It made me $34.78 in the past 7 days. That's less than $200/month.

Also remember that this collection probably represents more than a year's work for you, so all my figures assuming you publish "every other month" will be off. If you publish only once per year, hitting a mediocre rank is probably just going to be a few hundred bucks for you in the first few months, and then less than $100 per year for the rest of the time the book sits on the store.

Once you drop below 100,000 rank, it's basically "no money at all." Some year-old books I have between 300k-400k rank made around $2.00 each in the past 7 days. You want to find stuff out there that came out within the last month and check out its rank.

Think really hard about why you want to publish this and if you care about the money much at all. Decide if hitting a peak rank of 20,000 and making a few hundred dollars would be satisfying to you, or if you'd just be mad at yourself for wasting the first publishing on these stories for that amount of money. If your main goal is just to have people read and enjoy your stories, pushing a few copies per week might be satisfying and fulfilling for you regardless of what the income is. If you are just thinking, "These stories won't get trad published anyway and I just want SOMEONE to read them," then pubbing without worrying too much about rank or income is probably smart.

If you do find something similar to what you want to do at a rank you consider good, try to copy what it is doing in answer to all of your questions. Aim for a similar length, cover, blurb, pricing model, etc.

I would 100% want to put your collection into KU though, which means that the more people actually read, the more money you make. If the total length of the collection is around 50,000 words, you'll get around $1.30 or so for a full read through. If you go much shorter than that, you'll get much crappier income from KU reads.

$0.99 vs. $2.99 or higher is your main question. $0.99 is likely going to be a special launch price or you. If you can find some way to actually advertise the book (even with a free promo) that is effective, doing an advertising push at $0.99 can jack up your rank much higher than anything else. If doing $0.99 puts you at rank 3k or better, it's good and was worth doing. Say your book is $0.99 and you hit 2,500 rank, just know that a $2.99 price point would have not hit you that rank. Any rank you hit at $0.99 would have been much worse if you were at $2.99.

$0.99 is a failure if you do it and still don't break 3k rank. You hugely cut into your potential profit hoping for a better rank but failed to hit it. You would have been better off just doing $2.99 and hoping those few people who are buying the book would have bought it at $2.99 anyway. Remember you get 33 cents for a 99 cent sale and $2 for a $2.99 sale.

The last thing to remember--and I'm saying it last because so many people ITT don't think about it and realize it too late--is that your first month and first few DAYS of release are loving critical. If you do actually want this book to do well and you do care about hitting the best rank you can (even if it's just so more people read your book and you don't care about money) then you need to plan all advertising in advance of launch. You should have all your advertising hit immediately with launch, staggered ideally over 3-4 days if you have enough stuff planned to sustain advertising for 3-4 days. The worst thing you can do is to publish and hope it will do well on its own without any advertising, then see after ten days that it isn't selling any copies at all, and panic/rush to advertise it. If you do this, by the time your advertising kicks in the book will be close to a month old and any advertising that does manage to hit will have a hugely diminished effect.

As I said before, 2017 is the year where I try writing, so I really value your posts AO

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



It doesn't flow. I might have a bash at a more detailed feedback post if I have time later

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



So KU is exclusive for 6 months then after tha time is up, you can keep it there and throw it on smashwords too?

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



What the gently caress is wrong with people?

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



My wife reads a lot of romance novels, we were talking about possible plotlines so I sketched out the first third of one in an evening, some dialogue and stuff where it took me. I do read this thread even though I don't write for a living.

She liked the story beats but hated the characters as written and was very critical. Probably best I haven't tried to give up the dayjob lol

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



The Fuzzy Hulk posted:

I have 50 or so, read by various narrators. I went ahead and tossed them all into it, will see if it pays and report back in a few months.

What does getting a book read and recorded cost, out of interest?

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



Thanks guys. I ask because I do voice acting on the side of my regular job and have never considered audiobooks before. A revenue split sounds very appealing - I'm going to look into this ACX thing

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



Spend on a decent mic, sound deadening is your friend (reflections aren't), water down cough syrup with warm water on your off days (just a sugary type syrup with herbs, none of the medicated stuff unless you actually have something wrong with your throat that needs treating), spend time in editing, and generally take good care of your voice

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



I didn't realise good voice artists were that hard to find. Once I move house I'm definitely getting into that on my own terms. Right now I only get paid on projects where an agent and a studio take a cut

simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



feedmyleg posted:

Well, a "serving suggestion" is a recommended size, not type.

A serving suggestion is not size in the UK. It's when companies want pictures on their box that aren't realistic or contained in the actual product: fresh strawberries and milk splashing around a bowl of cornflakes. Strawberries and milk not included, so the image is a "serving suggestion".

An image of lasagne on an old oak table, surrounded by garlic bulbs and caprese salad and fresh lettuce, some half-sliced mushrooms and a bottle of red vino? Serving suggestion, because your lovely microwave lasagne won't match up to that, so you avoid lawsuits by acknowledging it's unrealistic."Serving suggestion".

We do also have "Suggested servings: 5" for example but that's different.

quote:

Also the book's title is "To serve Ghost" but your blurb says "serve a ghost"—which is it

I think it's okay as is. "To serve ghost" refers to ghost as an ingredient. How much ghost? Is all the ghost from the same spirit or were they butchered, tossed together, then all minced up? It doesn't matter - it's all 100% ghost.

Whereas having "a" ghost in the refigerator is quite possible if you got it whole (or it is haunting your vegetable crisper).

Think of it like rabbit or pigeon or duck or whatever.

"How to serve duck" works. "if you have a duck in the refrigerator" also works.

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simplefish
Mar 28, 2011

So long, and thanks for all the fish gallbladdΣrs!



Heathbourne posted:

The blurb is what I thought would explain better what it is – hoping to reach a "bored and might like reading a slightly off kilter clancyesque bromance novel" audience –
Hello, I'm that audience.

Yeah see this is the thing. Based on your blurb, I'd read it.

Based on the cover and title, I'd never get to the blurb.

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