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Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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You can normally tell the reviews that have been bought on fiverr because they're about thirty words long, say almost nothing of substance, and, for the most part, have poor grammar and spelling, since many of the providers are non-native English. So if it's something like "This book is a really great book, wow I loved every momment and kept on with the page turner, made my airplane flight go buy in a flash! *****", chances are it's a purchased review.

More coherent stuff tends to come from ARCs, review exchange circles, and other bona fide sources.

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Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Grammaton posted:

I'm very open to critique.

Initial impressions from the sample are that you've got a LOT of exposition there weighing things down. Probably the most common error on self-pub stuff. It generally requires a shift in thinking to start to fix, and then a whole heap of rewriting.

The cover is horrible, but you know that already. The title is also pretty horrible -- people are going to look at it, blink, and move on to something less random. The blurb doesn't really work, either -- it's OK, but it doesn't draw me in. Generally speaking, blurbs should reflect what's going on at the end of Act 1, when the protag knows who s/he is, and is just coming to understand what a huge heap of poo poo s/he has landed in.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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I agree with Archangei. The minimalist version has enough information to give a flavour of the story, and there's plenty of possible questions there to hook you in. We get a sense of what the protag is up against, and why it matters. Both those things are dimmed by the ultra-min version. The expanded version feels like an info-dump, and there's several characters mentioned without any real reasons to care.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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PoshAlligator posted:

I have actually searched and the only writer pages I found were depressing and, of course, devoid of patrons.

Some games journalists I know with established followings are making it work at the moment. It's probably an effective way of "monetizing" an existing fan-base.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Bobby Deluxe posted:

I'd like to know of more hangouts - kboards seems to get mentioned a lot.

Kboards is a totally toxic hell-hole. Reminds me of a pretentiously-veiled /b/

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Grammaton posted:

How much do editors usually charge per 100k words?

Professionals will charge in the region of $2k. Editing a 100k novel is a hell of a lot of work -- unless you do a bad job and just skimp.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Yooper posted:

Line edit : $350 to $1000
Developmental/Copy : $850 to $$$$

That's wildly unrealistic for a professional, Yooper. Check out the Editorial Freelancer's Association standard rates card.

I totally agree that charging standard rates is no guarantee of quality, but sadly the opposite holds true -- undercharging means that either the person has no idea what they're doing, or they're totally new (i.e. unproven) and desperately need some income. For a 100k novel, even a proof-read starts in at a minmum of ~$925. A cheap basic edit -- on a reasonably well-written book, in other words -- will be $1750+. Useful developmental editing will be significantly more.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Ah, yes. Somewhere between WW2 Propaganda Poster and creepy, drunken late-night email from your co-worker.

It's like asking hens to support the fox in its battle against the weasel.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Grammaton posted:

What's a good length for a $2.99 romance novel, about 50k words?

65k will get you less grumbles.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Sundae posted:

I'll certainly give it a shot. :)

Thanks, Sundae. Fascinating.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Anthologies just aren't popular. Book buyers much prefer novels.

DukeRustfield posted:

If you love the poo poo out of sci-fi romance and your heart is aching to do it, I'd say it has at least as good a chance of being successful as a normal bodice-ripper that doesn't break any molds and your heart isn't completely in.

Knock yourself out, dude. Write your untapped-market, heartfelt thing. Prove us all wrong, and sell tons of it. I'll be the very first to congratulate you, I promise. But I'll also be very surprised.

See, the thing is, I haven't worked for 15 years as a programmer, or spent time at Fortune 500 companies. I've been working in publishing for the last twenty years or more -- editor, commissioning editor, author, freelancer, publisher, you name it. I can't remember the last time I saw some earnest, worthy, heart-felt boundary-breaker do any sales worth talking about. Meanwhile, the derivative evergreen stuff keeps on flowing, keeps on performing almost exactly to prediction, keeps making money.

It can happen. Of course it can. But the chances of any modern human coming up with a novel, ground-breaking, _popular_ idea that hasn't been done yet are minuscule. Generally, if there's no big books already out there in your clever niche, it's because no-one has bought any of many other books that tried that clever niche.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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ravenkult posted:

If you post this dumb poo poo I'm sending you right now, it's defamation and thus I will sue you.

*grin* Yeah, that always works out so well... :D

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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magnificent7 posted:

Has anybody ever done a successful kickstarter for your self-pubbed book?

I've had a couple of successful Kickstarters, one for a multi-author anthology, and a broader one for my small press. I also have a couple of friends who've used KS a lot to get work funded.

Most important thing is definitely to have a lot of friends, family, and social media pals you can turn to for help. Also, be modest in your goals. Do a video which shows your face, and be excited. Have a kick-rear end sample. Give as few physical rewards as possible (postage is a BITCH). Have some very high-level rewards, just in case. Emphasise that it isn't a pre-order system, it's a funding system with benefits. Look at a bunch of rewards from a bunch of other KSes. If you can, get other people seriously enthused to help you via their friends and family -- name your protag after a close friend, for example. Don't expect to get more than 10-20% from people just wandering by on KS. Learn to be a bit shameless on social media (I find that very hard). Keep the faith right to the end. Three days out from the end of my small press KS, I was just at ~50%. Hit 100% (c. $18k) with 6 hours to go. That did involve brainstorming a strong, high-ticket reward, but it shows not to despair. KEEP WORKING. Don't be scared to ask people with some profile for a signal boost. Ideally, people you've already chatted at (with is better) in the past.

The anthology was a definite help, because it wasn't just me, it was 30 of us all talking to friends and family. We raised $10k. (Postage and printing ate most of it.)

It's stressful, and a lot of hard work, but if I can do it (as a social-media-challenged friendly introvert type), anyone can. Ideally, you'd have a lot of friendly contacts with blogs / podcasts / big twitter feeds / &c, but it's not necessary.

Also, if you don't want to have to hit a target, indiegogo allows for "Keep whatever you can get" funding.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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All Else Failed posted:

What have been the most lucrative genres over say, the past six months?

Go spend a bit of time going over the data at http://authorearnings.com/reports -- that's about the best source of genre performance information that I know.

All Else Failed posted:

How silly would it be to throw together 4 very short stories/writing I did that aren't really similar and put them up? Does a complete flop hurt you?

In general, very short stories are totally ignored by everyone. So go ahead, throw them up, but don't spend any money doing it. Complete flops can sometimes hurt the name you put them out under -- if they get a lot of negative attention -- but much more likely they'll just remain utterly obscure.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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All Else Failed posted:

Throw them up without a cover?

Uh, hell no. Sorry for the misunderstanding. That would go against you. Get the best cover you can. For a throwaway, if you don't have any talents in that direction, your best bet would be to find an understanding and sympathetic friend with an eye for design and bribe them with a pizza / whatever. Your next best bet would be to buy some of RavenKult's (excellent and good value) premade covers. Just bear in mind that it might be a year before you make the cover fee back off 'em.

EDIT: I know nothing about Fiverr covers per se, but there's a lot of good, ultra-cheap people on there working from non-Western economies who can afford to put an hour or two in for $5 or $10.

EDIT 2: The point I was trying to make is that in general, you need to treat short pieces as if they're not going to make anything back. They need to be as good as you can make them, but you shouldn't spend anything you can't afford to throw away. That can lead to a core tension between "Not suck" and "Not spend", but there's no one set way to resolve that tension.

Ghostwoods fucked around with this message at 00:42 on Nov 4, 2014

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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laxbro posted:

Are successful self-pubbed novels written in first or third person?

Yes. A very tiny percentage are even successfully written in second person.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Sundae posted:

(#1b - Consider seeing a psychiatrist. You don't sound well.)

... to be fair, he also sounds a lot like a 19-yr-old.

Ghostwoods fucked around with this message at 16:10 on Nov 5, 2014

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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EngineerSean posted:

I'm #10 KDP All Star

Woohoo! Many congrats, dude.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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PoshAlligator posted:

But it would be nice to be able to push my free poo poo out on the largest ebook marketplace.

I've been wondering whether Amazon have just stopped price-matching free books, so as to force more people onto KDP Select.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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From the OP:

Sundae posted:

:siren:Erotica talk is NOT WELCOME in this thread by mod decree. Take it elsewhere, please.:siren:

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

On a different note does anybody know if there's a tool or app that will output a graphical WPM display of your target word count? I.e. if you want X words per 2 hours, and that works to Y WPM, it'll just output Lorem Ipsum at that rate so you can get a feel for how damaging those little breaks are?

Write or Die will do that for you. It's not free any more, but it's not expensive, and it can be quite useful sometimes.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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I seem to recall that putting a book on pre-order causes a lot of harm, unless you're big enough to be getting steady sales every day. Am I remembering that correctly?

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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EngineerSean posted:

The jury's still out on this, but I still wouldn't use it.

Thanks. I'm inclined to trust you... :)

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

I don't think I'll ever be in a position to find out first-hand, but out of curiosity - if someone writes a review for something you've published on KDP, does Amazon email you a notification? Or is there a way to list reviews or do you have to check every store for every title?

As far as I know, you just have to check. I've certainly never had any sort of notification, or spotted any options that look like 'what reviews do I have?'

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Just got an email from Amazon saying that they'd noticed that I had a book on sale somewhere else for less than they had it at -- and I had five days to make the prices match, or they'd pull it.

I guess the old days of price-matching are pretty much done.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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EngineerSean posted:

They'll price match to free with no problem but if you have a book in the 70% zone ($2.99 or higher) and they feel that they have to price match it to the 35% zone ($0.99 to $2.99) they will get mad about it.

Well, this was $4.99 to $3.99, both firmly within the 70%. But it's good to know they're still matching to free, at least.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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The New York Times has a doom-n-gloom article about Kindle Unlimited from Saturday suggesting that the bell is tolling. Your mileage may well vary, but it could be of some interest.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

One funny comment was something along the lines of: "This is a great article! Not because it's true but because if it gets any traction Amazon might be encouraged to dump more money into the KDP Select payout pool for December and we'll all get an extra 10% on our borrows"

Ha! Love it :)

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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ExtraNoise posted:

Sharing time; here are mine of the four I've published so far:

Gorgeous.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Jalumibnkrayal posted:

Anyone have experience resolving KDP Tax Interview problems? I just formed a company to handle my publishing, and I input the new information into KDP. It comes back as invalid (not matching what the IRS has). I called the IRS, confirmed my information. I'm completely at a loss on how to proceed.

I'm not sure where you're from, so this may not apply. But they did that to me too, and the only way I found to resolve it was to use my British tax ID, and totally bypass the data the IRS had issued me. That allowed me to claim tax treaty status without question, but other countries may not get that benefit.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Silvyfox posted:

I've been seeing a lot of buzz on the subreddit about using keywords spaced like this: keyword/keyword/etc and using up the whole space for a keyword so that you maximize your allotted keywords. What do you guys think? It seems like a way to edge around the limit.

Was there anything Amazon said about it? I've looked but it all looks pretty vague (which is not surprising for Amazon).

Amazon only counts the commas, no spaces. So as long as you have a maximum of six commas, you can fill up the entire character count. As far as I know, Amazon don't much seem to care.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Drone posted:

And an unrelated question: how exactly does tax work on Amazon? I imagine you're legally a freelancer and get taxed as such. In my case it's probably even more complicated, as I am a US citizen but have my residence abroad (in Germany), and haven't set foot in the US in over two years. I'll be writing in English, but will my location mean my English books will pop up on the German-language store and not be visible in the Anglosphere?

Edit: and a third unrelated question. Is there any weird logic you guys follow when coming up with pen names? I once heard somewhere that there are specific syllable combinations that seem to be more memorable and "marketable" in English (three-syllable first name, two-syllable last name), but that's probably bullshit?

You choose which territories your books go into, on a book-by-book basis. I'm not American, but my understanding from US pals in Europe is that you have to declare the income to the IRS as you would any regular freelance income back home.

The three-syllable-two-syllable thing was an idea of Aleister Crowley's. He claimed "Jeremy Taylor" was the most memorable name in the English language. I don't believe he had any research backing it up, and anyway, that was 70 years ago, or so. Just pick something that (a) doesn't sound dumb and (b) doesn't conflict with a better-known author (because otherwise, people will never be able to find your work).

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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EngineerSean posted:

No matter what your interest is, it's really hard to work against that kind of lack of demand.

Good point... Earlier on this page, Sean posted a back-of-beer-mat method for estimating demand in a sector.

I had a few spare moments just now, so I decided to amuse myself by having a quick look. So I grabbed sales rank for #20 and #100 in a few genres, averaged them, and divided them into 100k for a rough guestimate of how many copies a day the genre is likely to offer for a hit book.

To further marginalize my data, I looked at Yooper's link to edwardrobertson.com's info on %age of sales going to self-pub by genre, to have a go at factoring in how the fight against the big labels might affect things. The end result is really rough guess at how many copies a top-performing self-pub effort could realistically hope to sell a day.

Double it for approx. $ income off a $2.99 pricepoint, obviously.

This is the opposite of scientific information. This is one tiny nibble of data, prepared in a half-assed manner by someone you don't know. Still, it might be of interest...

Contemporary Romance == 520 * 49% == 254
New Adult Romance == 200 * 49% == 98
Fantasy == 165 * 49% == 81
Science Fiction == 111 * 56% == 62
Romantic Suspense == 121 * 49% == 59
Thrillers == 245 * 11% == 27
Mysteries == 183 * 11% == 20
Suspense == 177 * 11% == 19
LGBT Romance == 27 * 49% == 13
Crime == 35 * 11% = 4

I find the Romantic Suspense 'result' a little surprising.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Yooper posted:

I can confirm, that's a drat close number.

Huh. Very interesting to hear that. Thanks for sharing.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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ravenkult posted:

I just integrated all my websites into one and migrated to SquareSpace.

Looks good to me. Nice and straightforward, with plenty to impress straight up.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Half a cent, eh? Can't say I'm surprised.

drat.

It'll be interesting to see what changes this throws up. Maybe a wholesale move into regular romance and some of better performing other genres? New marketplaces springing up? Either way, I imagine that 95% of the even half-serious super-romance writers will be gone from KU by next week, so enthusiastic readers there are going to see a big increase in book bills.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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magnificent7 posted:

Thanks for the feedback. I'm still wrestling with the author name.

Anything that is uniquely searchable/googleable is good. There's only 66k Google hits for "Beau Hall", and some of those are for a dorm, so it's not a bad start.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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:ughh:

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Hm. Nook closing down international access. Not great.

http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/07/08/the-beginning-of-the-end-bn-shutters-the-international-nook-store/

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Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

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Sundae posted:

For any of you romance (actual romance, not erotica) writers out there, I have a new service I've launched that is currently free to authors.

That looks pretty awesome, Sundae. I'll definitely pimp it around.

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