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Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Okay, so.

For a couple years I've been working on-and-off on a manuscript. After writing and re-writing I feel like I've taken it as far as I can on my own. I've given a copy to some friends and family and they say the kinds of things that friends and family always say (oh it's the best thing blah blah) so it's time I get more gimlet-eyed feedback because I do want it to be the best it can be. Within reason and budget.

I got in touch with an editor, Max Booth III, whose link I followed from the OP and I liked what I saw of his blog and a few book samples I read. I feel he's a good (and economical) choice, so I think I'll go with him as far as line editing the actual manuscript.

For the cover I have an artist lined up who I know personally and whose work fits in with the genre I'm writing, so I feel that part's sewn up although she won't be able to begin even preliminary work until the end of the month.

So I want to hear what you all have to say about my blurb. Tear it apart:

quote:

Even before her parents' tumultuous divorce, 15-year old Carrie Collier was no stranger to having her life constantly uprooted. But when her father's insurance company transfers him to the city of Bybridge she must grapple with an entirely new level of culture shock. Bybridge, a city on an artificial island off the coast of New Jersey, is home to the world's largest population of superhumans, aliens, and other strange and aberrant folk. However, it's Carrie who's declared the anomaly when the city government declares her a security risk. Then her father is kidnapped by a rampaging robot. It's a bad start to what was supposed to be a new life. Carrie must save her father from a grisly fate in the forgotten ruins far below the city, aided only by the undead, a mad scientist-in-training and a pack of insane chefs. After that comes the hard part: having a heart-to-heart talk with her father that doesn't end in a shouting match.

It's a superhero book, though it's also meant to be small send-up of the genre similar to Discworld towards fantasy settings. Except not nearly that good.

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Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciate it. I'm going to work on a revised blurb as soon as I get home.

On the subject of covers is there like a database of bookcovers so I can collect a bunch and tell her "like this!"

Is that even a good idea?

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Okay, I've rewritten the blurb. I removed the reference to the divorce, as it isn't immediately relevant to the plot and contributed to the plodding opening. The opening still might plod, but I feel like I need to at least open with a description of the city as a “this is what you're getting into with this book” kind of thing, but it does get to the meat of things sooner.

quote:

Bybridge, a city on an artificial island off the coast of New Jersey, boasts the largest population of superhumans, aliens and stranger things. It's also the new home for Carrie Collier, newly arrived with her father. Or it would be, if she weren't declared a security risk by the city's cyborg government bureaucrats and her father wasn't abducted by a rampaging robot. Aided by the undead, an aspiring mad scientist and a mob of insane chefs, Carrie must venture down into forgotten ruins deep below Bybridge to rescue her father, who is in the clutches of a madman intent on making him the first victim of a plan that would culminate in the destruction of the city.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



I've gotten back my manuscript from the editor and the artist tells me she will have something to show me cover-wise sometime this week. So I'll be hammering at the manuscript again. In the meantime, I am a complete virgin to self-publishing so what should I be doing to try and get the word out? I know people here put great value in advanced review copies and the reviews it gives you on Amazon, but how does someone who has no prior work to point to get someone interested in reading an advanced copy?

I've also redone the blurb I posted a month back, incorporating some feedback:

quote:

Bybridge City boasts the world's largest population of superhumans, aliens and stranger things. It's also home for Carrie Collier, newly arrived with her father. Or it would be, if she weren't declared a security risk by the city's cyborg government bureaucrats. Things only get worse when her father gets kidnapped by a rampaging robot. With the aid of the undead, an aspiring mad scientist and a mob of insane chefs, Carrie must give chase and save her father from becoming a test subject in a supervillain's lair in the forgotten ruins beneath the city.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



A question: if I've written a 80k word novel, and in doing so thought of a neat spinoff short story that I wanted to write (I'm 5k words into it right now after a day's work), is there any harm in appending it to the end of the novel as a fun bonus? I understand that "free short story attached" is not at all a selling point, I'm just wondering if there's any reason not to do this, like maybe it's worth splitting it off and selling it as its own thing instead. Probably not worth it, but I wanted to hear it from people who know better. Because right now I'm thinking "I have this short story, it's not going to sell on its own. It's related to the novel I've already written, so just staple it onto the end and be like, hey dudes, you've read my book so here's this extra thing if you're cool with it." Do digital authors put extras into their books if they happen to have them? Is that a thing people do or even think of doing? I literally don't know, I haven't been published, digitally or otherwise (though I am putting up my novel on Amazon on July 1st).

I have more questions but I'm dead tired and scatterbrained right now, so I'll make that post when I'm less so, including blurb and cover for critique. I just wanted to know what you all think of the above question.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Yeah, I like his idea too, but I don't have a mailing list apparatus set up just yet. I swear I'll work on that. It definitely sounds like something I'll do when the second book gets published. I'm more or less set to put this first one out on July 1st, so I'll just run the blurb and cover by you guys and see how you feel about it/what you'd suggest I should change in a last minute panic.

For a good long while now I've been thinking of writing a series that's kind of a superhero thing with some humor in it. Superheroes are hot, right? Think of Terry Pratchett or Douglas Adams except not fantasy or scifi or good (haha oh god). It has vampires too. Basically it's a big colorful paean to my wasted childhood of Saturday morning cartoons and nerd poo poo. I know what you're thinking having just read that but I promise I am not an insane internet person who jams Monty Python quotes and memes into a book. Although that does sell, doesn't it.

I had a good experience with an editor that was recommended in this thread, and I think the book turned out pretty okay! I hope that I've got a cover and blurb that will convince people to look at it.



quote:

CALAMITY CITY:
Bybridge City boasts the world's largest population of superhumans, aliens and stranger things. It's also home for Carrie Collier, newly arrived with her father. Or it would be, if she weren't declared a security risk by the city's cyborg government bureaucrats. Things only get worse when her father is kidnapped by a rampaging robot. Suddenly on her own, Carrie must enlist the help of a vampire with a short attention span, an aspiring mad scientist, a mob of insane chefs and others to engage in a cross-city chase and save her father from becoming a test subject in an evil genius's underground lair. It's all just another day in Bybridge.

FREE SHORT STORY:
Dinowoman is a hero from another time. Thrust into the strange world of humans, she arrives in Bybridge City to seek answers, only to find questions. What does it means to be a hero in this day and age? Is it about brooding in the shadows, fighting evil where it lurks, or is it managing your image in a line of licensed collectible merchandise? Why is there always an extinction-level asteroid on a collision course to Earth? And what does it really mean when something threatens the fabric of reality, anyway? Such questions and more Dinowoman grapples with as she learns to work with a motley team of heroes, saves the city from a supernatural penny, and learns the importance of maintaining a profitable brand image.

The novel blurb had already been pared down from previous feedback earlier in the thread, the short story one is something that I just tapped out now.

I'm going to make this available through KU, but what price should I set for it on the regular market? It's my first, so I've tempered my expectations appropriately. I've just been working on this so long that I want to get it out there and get on the second book in the series, which I'm really stoked to write.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Okay, just signed up on mailchimp. Thanks for pointing me to that website. Looks simple enough!

ravenkult posted:

Your title and byline are nigh invisible. Fix that asap.

Roger that.

Mr. Pumroy fucked around with this message at 20:57 on Jun 30, 2015

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



ravenkult posted:

What's that ByBridge poo poo on top there? Can you remove it? If you can, do it and push the title upwards a bit. Byline still invisible. Try white.

I figured it might be a good way to number books as I progress. Maybe I'm counting my chickens before they hatch. I can cover it over with a clean copy of the art that I have on my pc, but unfortunately the artist is in the middle of moving and can't get to her computer, so moving the title is beyond me.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



ravenkult posted:

It's not essential, but I think it would look better. What does Bybridge mean?

The thing with the whole cover you got there is that there's a certain lack of contrast. It looks like a faded paperback. The title doesn't pop out, the byline is illegible.

It's meant to be the name of the series.

I'm no artist but I've got an old version of Gimp and I know how to push a contrast button. Does this look better?

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



I'm previewing my book on Amazon KDP before putting it up, and the in-browser preview doesn't seem to like my table of contents bookmarking. Is this something to worry about or is the previewer kind of broken?

I'm using Open Office with the file converted to .doc fyi.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

How big is your book? Are we talking a super romance of 30 pages or a novella or what? I've never put out a full book and I haven't bothered struggling with the TOC for a short title, it's just asking for trouble. I upload the word documents as-is for short titles but even with those the Amazon converter creates enough problems that my last title I swapped to an epub I created myself using Sigil, and future titles will be done the same way. Using word as anything other than an intermediary text editor/proofreader is mangled.. even then it creates more problems than it's worth, I find.

It's over 80k and the KDP page is telling me that Amazon requires anything with chapters to have an active table of contents so I'm just doing what it tells me. If I could just not bother with it and not worry about like the Kindle police coming for me I'd happily do that.

Mr. Pumroy fucked around with this message at 13:15 on Jul 1, 2015

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



EngineerSean posted:

Shoot me a pm, i can do a quick formatting job for you if the work is text only.

It is. I've sent you a pm, meanwhile I'll look at D2D and see what it can do. Thanks for the help all.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Oh okay, yeah I'm uploading it to D2D now. Thanks for the offer though, I appreciate it.

edit: Yep, works like a charm.

Mr. Pumroy fucked around with this message at 14:15 on Jul 1, 2015

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



I'm looking at the pricing section, especially the KDP pricing support page and it says 2.99 is the optimal price for a book similar to mine. Is that something that applies for me since I'm a first time publisher? I've seen some back and forth here about 2.99 vs .99 and was just wondering where people would put me.

I'll be putting the book on KU, fyi.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



HP Minecraft

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



What do you all do for review copies? I want to send my book to some folks to review. Do I just export it to a .pdf? Is there more to it than that? I have no clue.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Unbelievably Fat Man posted:

I've used a cheaper Chromebook than that as my main writing rig for a while. It's OK, not great. My one suggestion of to write in smaller segments because Google Docs on cheapo Chromebooks will choke on novel sized files. So long as you do your prepress/covers on a more powerful computer you'll be fine (and how could you create covers on one of them anyway?)

Yeah googledocs will slow to an agonizing crawl if you're doing anything novel length. I'd estimate that around 30k words and it will become actively unpleasant to write in.

I have a cheapo laptop with OpenOffice installed. It's not as cheap as a Chromebook but it is much more responsive given the length i write in. Googledocs is neat (never having to worry about backups is great. You should still do it every now and then just in case but a crash won't ruin your life) but I don't like having to skip between multiple files of the book

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



I have a question about the report on my kdp page. When I first started getting some numbers on the book that I put online last month, I assumed that Units Purchased graph tracked paid books AND Kindle Unlimited borrows, and that the kenp graph below tracked both paid and KU pages read, but that doesn't sound right. Are KU borrows tracked on the paid units graph at all, or are they quantified solely in the kenp graph as pages read?

If that's correct, then am I right in saying that the paid units graph only tracks books that are, well, paid for, and that the kenp graph keeps track of the number of pages read through KU, and it is the only thing that tracks KU?

Sorry if that's like super basic no-poo poo kind of question, but the Amazon FAQ leaves something to be desired imo

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Thanks. Yeah I kind of assumed that I'd get the number of borrows and not just pages read, which is why I was misreading what the graphs represented.

edit: and I won't find out how much money I made until 60 days later right?

Mr. Pumroy fucked around with this message at 02:24 on Aug 3, 2015

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



CommissarMega posted:

Bit of a dumb question here, but does anyone know how to format a document so that each chapter begins on its own page on a Kindle?

A page break. idk how it is in other programs but for example in Open Office you press ctrl+enter.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



It's been two months since I put my first novel on Amazon and KU. It's done better than I expected, double digit sales (okay, I mean, low double digits but still), pretty good activity through KU and a couple readers even took the time to drop positive reviews. Considering I'm a first time author who had done no promotion for the book and probably did things that shot me in the foot sales-wise without even realizing, I think this is all Fully Sick. Predictably book sales and pages read have nearly flatlined in the second month, but still.

The end of this month will be the end of the 90-day exclusive period for KU, and while I'm working on the second novel I want to do something to give my first one a chance when I start putting it up on other markets. I'm thinking things like providing it for free on KU during the last weekend or maybe just the whole week, followed by debuting it on other markets for free for a limited time. I haven't even looked at ways to promote that yet, but I'll want to do that too. Does all this sound like a good idea?

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Hello, this is a friendly reminder to save often and save multiple copies of your work. My word processor just ate my second book, and after combing through every troubleshooting forum I have determined that it is actually unrecoverable. It's not a total loss since I was already unhappy with the rough anyway, but do not be me, thank you.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



ravenkult posted:

If it was in Word, there's almost always temp files of it that you can search for. Also try a HDD recovery program. I know you said you looked into it, but I'm horrified you lost your book.

It was open office. My computer, being an old, kind of unstable laptop, crashed and when I restarted the document was now two pages long and filled with lines of ###### and nothing else. The temp files were lost too. Apparently this kind of thing happens with oo and when it does your screwed, is what the troubleshooting sites tell me. I'm going to look into some kind of recovery program but I really don't know where to start with those.

Fortunately I save on a separate USB every evening just to avoid this kind of situation, unfortunately I had fallen out of the habit. So I didn't lose the whole thing. But yeah, about a week's worth down the drain.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Fuego Fish posted:

OpenOffice is kinda not worth using compared to LibreOffice, so maybe use that instead? Same filetypes are supported, it's just that LibreOffice is generally a more efficient (and more well-maintained) set of software.

I will definitely look that up, thanks. I don't have any particular attachment to open office other than it being free.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



I was planning on putting my book up on other platforms, but uh, I was a little asleep at the wheel and didn't' realize that KU autorenews itself every 90 days. How much trouble should I expect if I break exclusivity and just put my book up wherever I want? I don't wanna bite the hand that feeds but I don't wanna wait till December to go wide either. I mean I'm already not selling copies on Google or Itunes so I guess it doesn't matter if I wait, but does Amazon have an internet gestapo that prowls other platforms for books in the KU program?

edit: also got my first royalty payment. feels weird to be paid for stuff i write, but it's something that i hope will happen more often in the future!

Mr. Pumroy fucked around with this message at 01:45 on Oct 7, 2015

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



drat. Oh well. I'll send them an email but yeah I'm not expecting them to do me any favors. I kind of thought that Amazon had cornered the market, but I've had more than one person tell me that they were disappointed they couldn't read my book on an iPad. Figures.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



EngineerSean posted:

You're better off sending these people free books than basing your sales strategy around them.

Yeah, that's what I'm gonna do. I know there's a website that lets you generate freebie downloads in multiple ebook formats. I thought I bookmarked it but I didn't. Anyone happen to have that link?

edit: nvm found it. http://www.instafreebie.com/ in case anyone else wanted it

Mr. Pumroy fucked around with this message at 09:18 on Oct 7, 2015

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



Is there any good way to get the word out that I'm doing a free book promotion on Amazon? Like, I got twitter and a post on my goodreads blog (I got very excited when I saw that someone had left a 5-star rating back in December. I am neglecting my social media, yes).

I found a website that offers to promote e-book deals, but I filled everything out only to learn they were going to charge $290. Eff that.

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Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



so nearing the end of another 3-month cycle on ku I realized I had never used the free book promotion. I decided to burn all 5 days in a row from monday to friday. I didn't take advantage of that site that was posted to me earlier, thanks to the person who suggested it, it looks good and I'll definitely use it next time, but for this I just wanted to see what kind of numbers I, a no-name dude with a single fiction book, could attract just using my blog, my goodreads page, and twitter.

So the units given away breaks down as:
Mon: 29
Tue: 7
Wed: 8
Thu: 14
Fri: 34

Turns out that the midweek is pretty dead! This shouldn't be a surprise to me. Even when the book was actively selling, it always sold best on weekends. Still I was surprised to see how much of a difference it made. I was even more surprised to find that people actually found my book. I certainly don't have a big social media presence. Are there robots that like, scrape amazon for free books?

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