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brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Hi guys,

I just read this whole thread, and I have a BUNCH of questions. First, a little info on me: I want to write commercial fiction that will sell. I have an MFA in poetry, and recently decided to drop out of a lit PHD program, for a bunch of reasons. But I've been around writing my entire life, been an avid reader, and a constant writer etc. I say this just to make clear that I take it seriously, and want to write stories for a market that will sell. I think I'm capable and I want to work hard. I'm fortunate enough to have a job where I work from home, so I have a lot of freedom to write during the day.

So! My biggest question right now is this: does SciFi sell? I'm ~50k words into a SciFi novel, and I absolutely plan on finishing it, but should I consider something like Romance instead? I'm in a pretty good writing habit right now, and I want to keep the word counts going for the foreseeable future. I'm already reading a few Romances (and with only Twilight as prior experience, I actually kinda like them) as research right now. But is it possible to do well in SciFi, or is Romance the place to be? Do the same strategies for marketing Romance works for marketing SciFi?

I have 100 other questions about marketing, covers, blurbs, etc, but I'll hold off for now. Thanks for all this great info!

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brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Bobby Deluxe posted:

Romance sells insanely well, so if you're purely in it for the money, go for that. If you want to make an okayish living having fun and writing what you want, then stick with sci-fi. Don't get tempted to rewrite it as a sci-fi romance because no.

You sound like you have a healthy frame of mind about it though, so I wish you all the best.

Thanks! I figured out that scifi romance is basically a huge joke in this thread, so yeah. Clean genre separation for me.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Yooper posted:

I've got a pretty good following, a decent mailing list, and a few retired military officers around the world who have written me fanmail.

That's awesome! Retired military officers writing fanmail is fantastic.

OK, well, that's good to hear. I'm starting to realize though that my scifi novel isn't really super marketable, actually. Which I guess I'm OK with, since it was my first try at the genre anyway. It's more literary fiction in a near-future universe, super Gibson influenced. Somewhat post-apocalyptic. Anyway, thanks for your response, I appreciate it.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Mr. Belding posted:

Hey, that's not how we do it here. You're supposed to spend a few pages arguing about how the world will not be able to help itself from noticing the genius that is your work.

Ha, I noticed that. I want to actually make something decent and sell it, which I guess is the difference.

I started a romance two days ago. I'm at ~9300 words already, and I'm really enjoying myself. Aiming for a total of 50k, standalone work. Is that long enough, or should I shoot for more?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


EngineerSean posted:

If a conventional job is not an option for you (and I totally get it) then the only genre that you don't need to be lucky in to succeed is erotica. We don't discuss erotica here, though. Other genres are VERY hit or miss.

Of course if you're still living in your parents basement and there's no "write or starve" ultimatum over your head, you might as well get started on your fantasy career now.

How much luck is involved in Romance? Seems like that's the most lucrative, even more than erotica.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


EngineerSean posted:

If you're already used to writing novels, it can be very lucrative for sure. However, shorts don't sell in it (like any genre but erotica). You can find yourself spending a ton of time on something that sells a single copy. My wife and I took a month off erotica to write our first novel, and it didn't even pay off the money we spent on cover and advertisement (it has by now for sure but not by the second novel, released four months later). This is, of course, a potential problem that literally any novelist in any genre is going to run into.

First off, thanks so much for all this info. You're a huge help.

So is it reasonable to expect a first romance novel to not sell well, if at all, and it usually takes a few releases to start seeing a return?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


moana posted:

That's what I'm doing right now, actually. Going to write three 20k novellas in a series and put them all out in KU at once. I'm thinking I'll price them all at 99c and do a free run on the first one at the outset. Any thoughts on this strategy are welcome!

Now I just have to write them all before the FSOG movie comes out. If they flop hard then I'll put them together as a novel instead.

Do novellas do well? I have ~30k written right now, and there's a great breaking point at 20k which would lead nicely into the next section. Or should I just stick with a normal 50k novel, and go from there? I know there's no right answer, I'm just curious.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


moana posted:

My series is dark romance with a lot of erotic parts in the first novella. I would say the more it's erotic romance, the shorter you can get away with. Note that you may not have the promo opportunities available to you since lots of ad sites require a 50k minimum to promote your book. Also readers will 1-star you because it's too short so be ready to deal with that. The main reason I'm trying this out is to see if I can do better in KU with shorter works. If you're not planning on using KU, I would keep it as a novel.

Ah, ok thanks! There are erotic parts, but I think I should stick with a traditional length for my first release.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Hey guys, so I've been working pretty hard recently, and I have a manuscript coming along (47k words, going through my first round of edits). I had a really good time writing this and felt super productive.

I was wondering if I could get some feedback on my blurb and my cover. Both below. Thanks for any help you guys can offer!



I didnít expect this online dating thing to pan out, but I canít stop my heart from hammering every time he sends me a message.

On top of that, Iím about to sell my own app to a huge corporation.

Is he worth the potential distraction? Can I trust myself with him?

I couldnít have seen this coming.

When we finally meet, heís not at all what I expected.

Heís a billionaire, but he has more secrets than money.

There are new rules now, and itís so much more dangerous.

Can I follow his rules without breaking my own?

I didnít understand what private meant before I met him.

And I never thought Iíd learn to love a mystery.


I also have another version that I can throw out there if anyone is curious. Thanks again.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


EngineerSean posted:

I really hate when I'm reading something

and it's broken up into these one sentence paragraphs.

Not only does it look kind of bad to my eyes,

but it also makes the customer click that "Click this button for more description" or whatever link.

I think that you can combine some of these sentences into paragraphs.

Also it's really vague, and while some vagueness is good

I think yours is too much

Welp thanks for listening.

Your friend

EngineerSean

lol, thank you. I'll cut out the one sentence paragraph thing. And more specificity!

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Malloreon posted:

Also regardless of whether your story is written in first person I wouldn't write your blurb as such.

Hm, thanks. I've gotten mixed messages on that front. The book is written in first person from a single perspective, so I was thinking maybe the blurb should reflect that. However, I did write another blurb in third person that introduces the two main characters. Not sure if it's better?

--

Amy Woodall finally sold her app to multinational corporation Adstringo. But when she starts up a risquť text message flirtation with a man she meets through an online dating app, she is forced to come to grips with her self-esteem and wher difficult past, or else risk giving up the career of her dreams.

Reclusive Shane Green is the billionaire CEO of Adstringo. Privacy-obsessed, he finds himself falling for his young new employee. His drive to take care of his family, his need for a normal private life, and his desire for the new girl all clash in a series of unforeseen mistakes. He is forced to deal head on with his demons and to find a way to balance the spotlight with hidden secrets.

Despite the lies, deaths, and camera flashes, can they come to grips with their past to make room for a future together?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Sundae posted:

Agreed here. It's not the worst cover, but the photo in the background looks like it was badly enlarged or just shot poorly. Do you have a clearer source photo? Also, for some potential design ideas, your cover's source photo immediately reminded me of "Maybe Someday" by Colleen Hoover. (http://www.amazon.com/Maybe-Someday-Colleen-Hoover-ebook/dp/B00DPM7RJW)

I'm not saying to copy her cover, but I'm linking it as an idea for how you could make the cover a bit more unique than just that shot. Structurally, it's okay right now as is, but could be better. Fix that photo either way.


Your blurb can be done in first person or third person, but they are very different stylistically. Most tend toward 3rd person, though. Your new blurb has a lot of typos and grammatical issues, FYI.


Your blurb still needs work. Being honest here: it's just plain bad. If you're willing to write up a quick summary of your book, I'll gladly help give it a rewrite, though. :) (I just can't do that without more information on the story.)

Blah, OK, that blurb sucks. You're right. Writing a blurb is hard! Could I PM you with the summary?

I -think- the issue with the blurry cover is just that I saved it as a smaller version from the original, and the quality went down. Here's the original. Anyway, that's just the blurry issue. I'll look into restructuring it, thanks for that link, I appreciate it.

edit: redacted

brotherly fucked around with this message at 18:20 on Jul 7, 2015

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


moana posted:

I completely disagree for new adult romance. That audience is looking for first person.

Yeah? That was my inclination, also what others said.

My first person blurb still sucks, though.

But I'm going to work on it.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


ravenkult posted:

Here's a more dramatic crop of your cover, though I guess the downside is you might have to get creative with the text at the top and bottom.


brotherly fucked around with this message at 18:20 on Jul 7, 2015

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


ExtraNoise posted:

Thoughts on something moodier?



Awesome, thanks for the edit. I do like the color, though I prefer my original typography. I don't know, what do others think?

I appreciate all this feedback, it's really awesome.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Hi Yooper. I'm going to offer some minor edits to your blurb. I know I'm still new, so take them with a grain of salt, I guess.


For nearly a millenia, humans have spread out and colonized space. Stargates link a thousand colonies, but space is still vast and the distances are amazing. Ever since the first contact, alien relations have beenÖ difficult. not a huge fan of the ellipse, just my opinion tho

The Vasilov Worlds are on the edge of Human space. They have been fighting a war for 35 years against the insectiod Kadan that they have no intention of ending. Itís too essential to a society where the only upward(?) social movement is via battle promotion. Then it all changes: the Kadan hammer against the Vasilov front and itís in danger of collapse.

Vasilov Officer Colonel Cole Clarke has just returned from service with the Sigg Military. Now, heís learned how the Sigg fight, and heís bringing that knowledge to the Vasilov Military, suggest breaking this sentence here plus an entire battalion of second hand Sigg Armor purchased on the scrap market. But instead of a fresh battalion of troops, heís assigned a penal battalion filled with convicts. The Vasilov Military doesn't accept change easily, even when they need it.

What would happen if an entirely new style of warfare came onto the battlefield? Could a strike force of second hand armor trump the defensive doctrines theyíd used for thirty five years, or would they be doomed to failure and death on the icy planet Lishun Delta? One squadron of armor, one Colonel, and a thousand convicts will soon be faced with the task.



Hard to see, but there are a few bolded/inserted commas in there.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


moana posted:

Fine with me, I'm a joke with a paid off mortgage :v:

I know I'm an adult when "paid off mortgage" is like the best phrase I could imagine.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED



Agreed, big fan of those covers.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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How do you guys distribute ARCs? I've been messaging people on Goodreads but that's a slow process.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


My first book is sitting at a 3.76 right now on Goodreads with 34 ratings. I plan on launching it officially next week.

My question is, how important are early ARC reviews? Especially on Goodreads, can these tank a book?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


EngineerSean posted:

3.76 is actually a pretty high rating on Goodreads.

On Amazon, if you get a lot of early 5 star reviews, that helps out. If you don't get a lot of early 5 star reviews, and one of your first reviews is a 1 star, it can tank a book before it even takes off. It's a moral gray area but ask your mom to give you a 5 star review on it, seriously.

edit: I didn't read your "especially on Goodreads" part, for the most part Goodreads reviews won't affect your sales negatively.

hm okay, so Goodreads basically won't affect it much. I mean, I didn't realize 3.7 is decent (didn't use GR much before starting this). I guess I should stop obsessively hitting refresh now.

I already got my wife to leave a nice, glowing review on Amazon when it releases. And I think some of my more interested ARC people are going to leave reviews on Amazon day of.

Speaking of which, my hope/goal for this first book is to sell enough copies to pay for professional proofing/cover work for the next one. That seems pretty reasonable, right?

Also, I've been writing and publishing poetry for like 10 years now, and this is without a doubt the most fun I've ever had writing and putting stuff out there. People/strangers will actually read my book and give me feedback on it? Unheard of, basically.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Sundae posted:

Users on Goodreads have a completely different definition for their reviews than have people on Amazon.

Goodreads: 5 star = best thing ever. 4 star = Super amazing great. 3 star = I liked it. 2 star = It was okay, possibly some flaws. 1 star = poo poo.
Amazon: 5 star = It was what I was expecting. 4 star = Pretty good, maybe a few flaws. 3 star = Okay, big flaws. 2 star = It was terrible and here's why. 1 star = Scam, broken, or reviewer is a dumbass.

My most-rated book over on Goodreads has 1,121 reviews and a 3.78 average. On Amazon, it has 131 reviews and a 4.5-star average. Every other book has a similar trend. Great reviews on Amazon, mediocre on Goodreads even among people who rave about how much they liked it. In some cases, the same person left a 5-star on Amazon and a 3-star on Goodreads. (This is also one of the potential problems with courting goodreads as a primary source of sales, by the way. A lot of them refuse to leave reviews on Amazon.)


wow, okay, I'm glad I posted. I was starting to feel a little worried.

I think the advice to cherry pick my reviewers on GR and Amazon is fantastic. I'm absolutely going to do that. A lot of the people I've sent ARCs to seem to have a pretty good idea about what's up, so I'm hoping the people who actually remember to leave a review on Amazon will do me a solid and make it a 4 or 5 star. I mean, most people seemed to like it enough, and a few have said they'd read the next one, too.

It's still amazing to me. I mean, I know I haven't made any sales yet, but people are actually reading it. I feel pretty good.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Sundae posted:

Drink heavily as you silently seethe, glaring at the bartender and wondering if maybe, just maybe he's the one who left the review. Then you wait until he goes out to his car that night and... go back to your apartment, unpublish and repub under a new ASIN. :haw:

Honestly, what you do depends on what your launch strategy was. If nobody really knew it was coming out anyway, you might as well do the unpub/repub. If you have a ton of reviewers or gave tons of free copies away or something, then it's a tougher question.

You can just pull it down then repost it? Do you have to put it under a different title or whatever? How much do you have to change to get a new ASIN?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Hey guys, what stock image sites do you use? I'm thinking about making some promo banners and such, but shutterstock is 2 images for ~30 bucks, which doesn't seem very economical to me. Any suggestions?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Awesome, thanks! Depositphotos is already way more affordable than shutterstock, even without the mightydeals. But I'm going to keep an eye out for the deal.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Hijinks Ensue posted:

Every time I have seen an excerpt from the Fifty Shades books posted online, I'm agog at how terrible the writing is. THIS is what's become such a huge phenomenon?

The terrible writing actually gives me hope. I think, if that garbage can sell, then something I write probably can, too. Who knows. But the standards are clearly not super high, prose-wise.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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Posted my book today!

Sold a whopping 4 copies so far.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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Sundae posted:

Congratulations. :)

Thanks! Not sure what I expect, really, but I'm already through the first draft of the next in the series, and over half way through the first draft of a novella I'm going to use as incentive for my mailing list.

Quick question: if I edit the book's keywords and categories, will it pull it down for another 12hr review?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


I did a bknights promotion yesterday and got a whopping 23 sales. Hit an 8k rank. 0 sales today though. Making the big time!

Do KU/KOLL borrows change sales rank?

Bobby Deluxe posted:

So as not to stray back into talk of that sort of thing, does anyone want to share their writing routines / setups?

At the moment I'm working on a laptop in the spare bedroom, wearing a set of noise reducing headphones to counter the constant sister-in-law / neighbour noise. It's not great, but it's about the best I can do. Was just wondering what everyone else's sanctums are like.

I write in two shifts every day, 10am-11 and 4pm-5, and try to hit at least 2k words a day. I'm usually closer to 5k a day. I like the two shift method; if I'm struggling in the morning, I force myself to get down 1k, then I let myself go back to "real" work for awhile. Usually I'll read a published, successful romance for ~10 minutes before I dive into my second shift, basically as research/inspiration.

I have one book published at ~50k words (that's not really doing much in terms of sales, but I sorta expected that), another manuscript of ~55k words, and a novella I'm going to finish today, at ~25k words. I started buckling down early January.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Sundae posted:

Yes they do, 100% guaranteed.

January wasn't half bad, and I continue to love KU. $6,200 in short stories and about $900 from my older novels. I can deal with that, though it'd be really nice if I could stay focused long enough to loving finish one of these three novels sitting on my desktop.

Thanks and wow! that sounds like a good month to me.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Sundae posted:

About 40.

How long are they, on average? And I'm assuming it's the genre-that-shall-not-be-named.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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EngineerSean posted:

the brotherly phl, I'm going to critique a couple things about your book. I gave you a borrow so at least you'll have $1.30 to go along with my thoughts.

first of all, remove everything below "Undersold is a standalone, full-length novel." from your blurb. I can see where something like that could look pretty good, but you've got it all wrong. Your "short preview" is a generic line that could come from literally any book and is not really sexually charged at all. Your "About City's Secrets" could go in the section in Author Central for either editorial reviews or something else, but it looks bizarre here. The worst offender is "Categories" in which you list


It looks awful even forgetting that you have "New Adult" and "Billionaire" listed several times and bdsmerotica spelled like that.

Okay, got it. Thanks for the critique, I appreciate it.

I'm trying to place on specific keywords, which is why bdsmerotica is spelled like that, but obviously I don't know what the heck I'm doing. I'll put the City's Secrets bit in the editorial reviews on authorcentral, like you suggested, and cut everything else.

Should I put in a better short preview, or not even bother?

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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EngineerSean posted:

We sometimes do excerpts but that doesn't really even register as an excerpt. Also, when you say you're trying to place on specific keywords, are you using those keywords in the "keywords" field? Because Amazon's search engine doesn't search the blurb. Google does but most people will come from Amazon's search engine.

Yeah, I'm using them in both places. I didn't realize that amazon's search engine didn't hit the blurb, so that sorta makes the idea moot, yeah.

I mean I'd use a longer excerpt, but is it necessary/worthwhile?

Thanks again for the critiques/advice. I appreciate it.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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EngineerSean posted:

I personally use excerpts for my romance but what I use is an emotionally charged scene or something leading up right before the sex. Something that is exciting and sets your book apart. I tried to pull yours to say why yours isn't very exciting but you've deleted it through Author Central already, and I'll let you know that you've got four line breaks in between each paragraph now. Go to the HTML version and wherever you see <br /><br /><br /><br /> or <br /><br /><div></div> remove two of the <br />'s

Thanks for catching that, the editor was being really annoying and adding extra html in. I thought I had it right and went out to shovel.

You're totally right though, it wasn't exciting at all. I'm going to try something different when the keyword edits I made earlier this morning go through.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


EngineerSean posted:

Don't beat yourself up over it, but I'm glad you're making changes! :)

Hey, you guys know what you're doing, I'm just trying to learn. :coffeepal:

I fixed the HTML, now I'm going to find a better preview that leads right up to a sex scene.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

These mother flipping fibbers. Gosh

Is there any consensus on Amazon keyword phrases? I've seen some people state without doubt that all keywords are split up into single words, others that phrases are crucial, and still others that they have never been able to figure a difference.

I've seen people recommend that you split several multi-word category keywords by commas, I.e. "dog and pony" and "frog and toad" should be separated by a comma. I've never understood that but it hasn't come up yet for me so I haven't killed myself thinking about it

Oh yeah I was wondering this, too. Is it exact match? On kboards, I read that having the exact match helps you rank higher (duh), but keywords stuffed into a huge phrase will still get hit too.

So something like 'doggy frog leaf pond bark ribbit woof' would ping your book if someone searched 'woof' or 'ribbit'.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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Sefiros posted:

Thanks, I'll try and have a poke around it and see if I can get anything better out of it.

The first half of the blurb was written by one of the guys who wrote the book with me, and the second half was written by someone on Fiverr after giving them the plot details.

could you work in the fact that the one part was written by a stranger who never read the book? seems like the sort of funny conceit your book works toward.

no clue if that will sell you books or not, I just think it's funny.

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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moana posted:

self-loathing and coffee.

fuel of champions

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


Hey guys, I'm working on book two, and I'm at the blurb stage. Any advice/help would be really appreciated.

edit: redacted

brotherly fucked around with this message at 18:18 on Jul 7, 2015

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brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

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Blue Scream posted:

Maybe some other people have ideas about stuff you could add, but I struck out the stuff I thought you could take away.

Thanks man, those are good cuts, I appreciate it.

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