Authors Helping Authors discussion

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message 1: by Ian (new)

Ian Thompson | 72 comments Mod
Research is a wonderful thing and the internet is all providing. It strikes me that the majority here will also work full time and therefore have knowledge of their field. Mine unfortunately will probably not help in many books. Writing my books I have researched everything from salt mines, the first testament, how to set up a tax haven in the Cooke islands etc etc...If you feel your knowledge may help someone here and are willing to answer their messages please post here. I'll kick off, you never know.

I work in the plumbing, heating, building industry in the UK. So anything you need advice on, be it your own house or book then message me. If you want to know how to kill a character by altering the flue on their boiler....then I can tell you.Building regs, solar power, bathrooms etc any book advice should it crop up.

Remember the flue thing though....so don't cross me:)


message 2: by Elise (new)

Elise Valente | 9 comments I worked in the legal field for 13+ years, so if anyone needs help with legal procedures, lawyers, and related stuff (as far as U.S. law goes), I'm your gal :)


message 3: by Victoria (new)

Victoria (victoriasteelelogue) | 6 comments I've been lucky enough to do nothing but write since graduating college and going to work as a staff writer for a newspaper BUT my next writing career was writing non-fiction: I've published more than a dozen books on hiking, camping, backpacking and the outdoors in general. Yes, you can be a professional backpacker:-) I've also done a couple of history-focused driving guides.


message 4: by Deborah (new)

Deborah (goodreadscomdeborah_jay) | 18 comments Anyone want information on anything to do with horses, I'm your gal for that.
Professional horse rider/trainer (competitive sports, not racing) for more than 30 years, I might not be too detailed on something like Western riding (I'm in the UK), but basic horse knowledge, I am an expert (not bragging, I'm used as an expert for insurance claims at times).
I have 2 non-fiction books published on the subject, and many articles in magazines.
I'm just setting up my fiction writing blog, which will include 'horse tips for writers', with the goal of eventually turning the accumulated posts into an ebook.
So please, ask away.


message 5: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) Hi all:
I'm a psychiatrist (forensic psychiatrist but that only means we normally have patients with criminal convictions or considered too risky for standard hospitals). I studied Medicine but my specialty is psychiatry. I'm Spanish from Barcelona (if language might be of help), live in UK...
If any of that is of use to anybody (I did a PhD on American Literature, and a BA on same)...


message 6: by Elizabeth (last edited Mar 18, 2013 06:57PM) (new)

Elizabeth Newton (elizabethnewton) | 11 comments What an excellent idea for a discussion thread! I'm sure this will be extremely helpful down the track some time!

My area of specialty would have to be teaching I suppose. Classroom environments of reception (or elementary if you're American I think) to grade seven.

Also I am a Christian, so if you've got Christian characters or happenings in your book and you're not so familiar with the Christian community and culture etc, and you DON'T want it to sound cliche, or if you want some general Biblical knowledge I might be able to help you with a question. I don't claim to be a Bible expert because I haven't done a Bible college degree or anything, but I might be able to help with some common misconceptions or something. :D


message 7: by Michala (new)

Michala Tyann (michalatyann) Hmm....well jeez...what do I specialize in. Thats always been my biggest problem >I know a little about a lot! hah
I've managed a car rental business and a self storage business and a video store business. I've taken part in AmeriCorps and the hotel industry.

Communication and motivation is my passions. I'm soon to be a licensed professional counselor.

I'm tons of knowledge of culturally blended families, parenting, religion vs spirituality,

See...I'm kinda all over the place. But I'm good for Q and A

Cheers,
Michala


message 8: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) Michala. You sound like a great person to run ideas by. I'll keep it in mind!


message 9: by Athena (new)

Athena Brady (athenabrady) | 15 comments Hi all, I am looking for ideas for a evil character in my book, a jealous women. What would she do to her rival if she was really angry? .... I await your ideas


message 10: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) Tell us more...What is she angry about?


message 11: by L.F. (new)

L.F. Falconer | 25 comments Athena wrote: "Hi all, I am looking for ideas for a evil character in my book, a jealous women. What would she do to her rival if she was really angry? .... I await your ideas"

Is she murderously evil or just psycho?


message 12: by Erren (new)

Erren Wolf (errengreywolf) | 18 comments Murderously evil or psycho? Perhaps both? Perhaps you could start with small annoying things that lead up to the climax where you wonder, "Will she actually kill her rival?"
Perhaps she starts by "neglecting" to put salt on her doorstep and the rival slips and falls and breaks a leg. Maybe she drugs her wine at a party and then shaves her beautiful long hair bald to make her look less attractive. Perhaps she kills her dog. Perhaps we can't yet prove she did it. Perhaps she does voodoo or is a secret witch and performs wicked spells. Perhaps she says things to the rival which makes the man think she's complementing her rival, but behind his back, she gives her the evil eye ... I could go on, but how's that for a starter?


message 13: by Athena (new)

Athena Brady (athenabrady) | 15 comments I have put some ideas in the book I though killing her cat would be really bad and messing with the brakes of her car. So the dog idea fits well with that. She is angry because she wants someone else's boyfriend. Thanks for the great ideas guys, keep them coming. I want some not too bad ones to lead up to the brakes thing.


message 14: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) What about posting something nasty about her (fake pics or something) in social media...It's all the rage these days...


message 15: by Ian (last edited Mar 21, 2013 05:57AM) (new)

Ian Thompson | 72 comments Mod
I always find that any character you can imagine will have the personality traits of someone you know in real life. Now I am not saying I know any murderers, gangsters or Wizards but I know of them. A character in one of my MSS is based on Eddie Murphy in any number of his films. This is a fantasy far removed from the streets of New York but it works and helps me to visualize the character and then intemperate his responses to any given situation. Plus it gives him a nice sense of humour. My wizard in the same novel reminds me of Wade Garret in Roadhouse though he never raises a fist. I have a character in a book "There is something strange about David Hughes" based on the person at work sitting behind me right now, (So I will have to whisper), guess what his name is? I think he will tag on. So if you want an evil woman, surely you know some duplicitous people in your life, be it an acquaintance, an interfering aunt, that bitch at the delicatessen etc etc. Then think what would happen if someone pushed them so much further into the depths of hate or jealousy. Use that image to write the story.

If all else fails watch "followers" or "CSI" plenty evil lurks there, take the face and build the character.

That is my two cents (technically pennies) worth.


message 16: by Athena (new)

Athena Brady (athenabrady) | 15 comments Thanks everyone you have given me plenty of food for thought.


message 17: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Lilly | 4 comments I am an attorney in the U.S. and have handled mainly class actions and other business lawsuits and appeals, usually representing corporations, but sometimes small businesses. I have a little familiarity with criminal law as well. I worked as paralegal in small firm, as lawyer for 8 years at a megafirm, and have had my own firm for 4 1/2 years, so I could answer questions about running or working at various sizes of firms.

I also played folk music for quite a few years before and during college and traveled with an all-girl bluegrass band for a short time. We played at the opening of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in Nashville. That's all a while back, but I could answer general questions about playing guitar, singing lead or harmony, and performing on stage.


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Thompson | 72 comments Mod
Many thanks Lisa. This is the point of this thread. I am currently writing a book mostly set in the USA. Whilst the Internet can give you a street or bar only people or visiting can get you the feel. This is the point if the thread. If you want to write about a character in London, write it and send it to me then I can give you a real London add on FOC and enjoy doing it.


message 19: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Lilly | 4 comments Ian wrote: "Many thanks Lisa. This is the point of this thread. I am currently writing a book mostly set in the USA. Whilst the Internet can give you a street or bar only people or visiting can get you the fee..."

Thanks, Ian. My characters often travel to various cities and countries, so I will probably take you up on that. I live and work in Chicago and grew up in the nearby suburbs, so if you ever send a character there, please feel free to send me any questions.


message 20: by Erren (new)

Erren Wolf (errengreywolf) | 18 comments I have some knowledge on metaphysical, paranormal, and alien subjects. If anyone wants to know about kundalini, chakras, alien races known to man, thought-forms, auras, and stuff like that, I might be able to help. Amateur astrologer, too.

I have a question. I hate to ask for fear of the answer, but I need to know: I have been doing a small advertisement on Goodreads which shows I have now had 27,130 views, but only 8 clicks. 0.03% click through rate. My book is not selling. What is putting them off? My one-sentence synopsis? My book cover? The whole concept? Or the fact that when you check out the book on Amazon and use the sneak peak, all you see are a few illustrations, the prologue, the introduction and none of the chapters where the characters are introduced. So you actually don't get a proper sample of the book. Is it that or something else? Appreciate some credible feedback. Thanks.


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

I've given away about 500 free eBooks over the last 5 or 6 months. I can't sell a book but I can sure give them away. With all the websites and blogs promoting free eBooks, why would anyone pay for a book anymore? I have to wonder if the notion of giving away free books is to the point where people know if they wait long enough they can get a book they want to read for free. Anyone have any thoughts?


message 22: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Newton (elizabethnewton) | 11 comments Everybody, stop giving away so many free books! So people might start to buy them again. :P hehehe.


message 23: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) Some people seem quite convinced that actually doing low price promos works better than giveaways. I recently read an article (it seemed pretty well researched, but hey) that said that for a free giveaway to be effective you have to have at least 20000 downloads. Yes, you've heard me, 20000. So if this lady is correct, none of us (the most I've given over 5 days is just short of 800) are giving away enough books for them to make a difference. In the past it was part of the ranking thing, but now giveaways don't count as much as actually bought books, so you need to give away a lot to make a difference...
The situation with regards to the websites offering free books is changing as Amazon now insists they also have to promote paying books and some are doing.
I think we've deviated from the discussion but not sure there's an easy answer to this. Lots of people who read are not reached by standard social media promotion techniques (if they aren't on Twitter or on bookclubs in Facebook). I am not selling many books either and trying variety of options but what most people say it that social media is to be social and you need to make quality connections rather than just say 'buy my book'. We also tend to move in communities of writers who are in a similar situation to ours...Reaching readers is a challenge. There are a number of websites that list books, but there are so many...
It takes time, perseverance and...luck I think. And quality (or hitting the right spot, because quality is subjective). And writing...


message 24: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Good | 18 comments I want to come back and read all these threads and comment, but these forums are not private, are they? Anyone and everyone on Goodreads can see posts, correct?


message 25: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Newton (elizabethnewton) | 11 comments Correct... if you've joined that particular group that the thread is in... I think.


message 26: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Good | 18 comments I logged out and searched for myself. The page listed all groups that I posted in. I think it is a question for their Librarians.


message 27: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Lilly | 4 comments Olga wrote: "Some people seem quite convinced that actually doing low price promos works better than giveaways. I recently read an article (it seemed pretty well researched, but hey) that said that for a free g..."

Olga, I'm doing my last free days and taking my thriller out of KDP Select for the reasons you mentioned. My very best free day promo was near Halloween and I had about 6800 free downloads over 3 free days, then about 100 sales during the days after. Otherwise, it's been more like 300/15. I've done paid promos, twice with Kindle Nation Daily (thriller of the week), which got The Awakening on a couple category top 100 lists sold about 100 books each time -- not enough to pay for the promo. To some extent, it still makes sense to do promos because it usually leads to more reviews and a little more overall visibility. But, like everyone, I still feel like I've not figured out where time and effort are best spent.


message 28: by Ian (last edited Mar 24, 2013 05:25AM) (new)

Ian Thompson | 72 comments Mod
Okay, I am going to throw my bit in. Mainly because I feel for you and I have not yet experienced it. We all love our books and believe in them. I have worked on my books for three years, and why have I not published? Many reasons, and yes I have been told they are good enough. Firstly I am not ready, they are not good enough and I am working to improve them. Secondly and this is the bit that is relevant; "How do I sell them?"

Now one quality I have is determination. Yes to date I have 8k twitter followers and that is a good start. What is it, 100 books sold is the top 2% of writers, most first books sell 15 or so. So when I do publish my first goal is to sell 20 books to people I don't know. Once I achieve that the next goal is 100.

So I looked into how to peak interest and this link is to the blog post that sums up my research;

http://tinyurl.com/ckjchtq

I have now looked at probably 200 plus "look insides" and I can tell you this for a fact. The quality of writer in this group is better than 90% of those. Some were so god dam awful that I despaired. Yes Erren, I feel your message/pitch is lost by the maps etc, but the opening chapter and style is enticing and unique.

250 words....that is all you have...make them count. Make them better than all the crap that you have to filter through. We all know this, we all read and buy books. Ask why you skip over a book on Amazon and pick another. In fact go on Amazon, do a random search and see how many "Look insides" you actually read before some one you don't know hooks you.

You will be shocked how poor some are.


message 29: by L.F. (new)

L.F. Falconer | 25 comments In the vein of this thread, I would like to offer what little I might be able to for those who may have a need to know about the high desert in the West USA. I have tramped all over the West, but the Nevada desert is where I was born, where I live, and where I will die. I know what it feels like to walk through an alkali flat all day in 105 F degree summer day or try to keep warm when it's 20 below in the winter and have been hit by tumbleweeds the size of cattle in 70 mph winds. I know the sound of a mountain lion wailing through the canyon, the gunky build-up of clay mud on the soles of a shoe, the ghostly feel that runs over the flesh when you come across that single, unmarked pioneer grave on the hilltop. Etc., etc. For some desert knowledge, I'll do what I can for you.


message 30: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Good | 18 comments I agree on not giving your books away. I think it hurts all authors, Indie or not, especially if an author has only one book out there, like myself. I did a one day free promo on Amazon...loads of downloads, but it hurt my sales rank. I did this promo while my book was on the top 100 bestsellers list for 2 genres. After the promo ended, it took awhile to climb back up the ranks, but it eventually did, and in the Top 100 for another month. Sadly, it no longer is, but I am not a fan of freebies unless your catalogue has many published works for your readers/fan base to choose and purchase. I, do not, so no freebies for me any longer.


message 31: by Erren (new)

Erren Wolf (errengreywolf) | 18 comments Thanks, Ian.


message 32: by Olga (new)

Olga Miret (goodreadscomolganm) Ian thanks for sharing. I've read (in similar vein to your post) that if you're going to add links, information, etc, it's best left to the end otherwise it eats space up from the look inside feature (when talking about e-books).


message 33: by A.J. (new)

A.J. Sendall (ajsendall) | 3 comments Ian, thanks for starting such a potentially useful thread. A book has often been spoiled for me by reading twaddle about a field I am familiar with.
If it is of any use to anyone-
I have run a range of diverse businesses, from a gas station in Australia to a safari business in Kenya. However, my main field of expertise is blue-water sailing, having spent 15+ years cruising the world. So if you need to know about remote atolls, sailing amongst icebergs, or enduring storms at sea in a small boat, you know what to do...


message 34: by Jenni (new)

Jenni | 39 comments Erren wrote: "I have some knowledge on metaphysical, paranormal, and alien subjects. If anyone wants to know about kundalini, chakras, alien races known to man, thought-forms, auras, and stuff like that, I might..."

Hi Erren
I have downloaded your sample from amazon and it is the first part of the book. I wonder if the long detailed description of humanities new life could have been hinted at through the book. Shown to the reader rather than told? It is not a fast page turner read even when you get to the real story but it looks like an interesting, detailed read and when I am in the mood for a slow paced laid back sci fi fantasy I will buy your book.


message 35: by Erren (last edited Apr 14, 2013 01:53PM) (new)

Erren Wolf (errengreywolf) | 18 comments Hello, Elizabeth. I am at odds with that Introduction. I know some people think it is boring (except engineers, I find). It is the only part of the book where I had to Tell rather than Show. I viewed it the same way J.R.R. Tolkien viewed his. In The Lord of the Rings, he has a much longer introduction on the subject of Hobbits. Was that necessary? Or could he had done without it? I found his books slow going in places too. Is my Introduction an actual problem? Or is it just a personal preference sort of thing? I wonder if my Intro might be putting off some people, but am reluctant to get rid of it. Let me know what your point of view is if and when you've read the book. Thanks.


message 36: by Michala (new)

Michala Tyann (michalatyann) Erren wrote: "Hello, Elizabeth. I am at odds with that Introduction. I know some people think it is boring (except engineers, I find). It is the only part of the book where I had to Tell rather than Show. I view..."

Erren,
I find that frequently those who read, at least the majority, read under time constraints, busy lives, and want their novels to be, not so much as shallow, but fast reads, quickly driven into plot and excitement and resolved efficiently and with minimal time. Basically...and this is sad, but readers dont seem to want to invest themselves in the book. Only those with deep-seated passion for the thrill of escaping into the world of a new novel, which numbers have dwindled in my opinion, will feel a book with an intro as yours, or even Tolkien's is worth the time and commitment. The only reason those long, engrossing novels such as King, Goodkind, and the likes exist and succeed is because they have developed such a large fan base. It takes many many years, and lots of patience to achieve this.
I have not read your book however this advice would work for most all...continue to write...if it is a series...work through it. Write the books because you have a passion for the stories. Keep at it and you will find your audience.

Cheers,
Michala


message 37: by C.R. (new)

C.R. McBride (CRMcBride) | 10 comments I am a registered childminder in the UK, also work in a Preschool so I am up to scratch on policies, proceedures, child protection issues and child development if that helps anyone at anytime. Always happy to offer ideas and listen to ideas anytime.


message 38: by Erren (new)

Erren Wolf (errengreywolf) | 18 comments Thank you, Michala. As the demons drive me onwards, I shall continue to write and hope that people will love what I love to write. We'll see.


message 39: by M.D. (new)

M.D. (mdwhite) | 1 comments I've got a pretty good background in military history between reading for fun and the day job, plus a fair amount in physics and astronomy to keep my writings a little more believable.


message 40: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Newton (elizabethnewton) | 11 comments I have a question about using history in your books.
I am writing my next "Train Flight" story and my characters have travelled back to WW1 - The Great War. I have a newspaper boy calling out headlines on a particular day in history and I thought it'd be wonderful to have the ACTUAL headlines that were out that day, word for word. Here's my question:

Am I allowed to do that?
And, if so, do I need to reference the source somewhere in my book at the front or in the back?
And, if so, HOW SHOULD I REFERENCE IT?

Help would be MUCH appreciated on this situation!


message 41: by Gideon (new)

Gideon Stevens (gideonstevens) | 6 comments Elizabeth wrote: "I have a question about using history in your books.
I am writing my next "Train Flight" story and my characters have travelled back to WW1 - The Great War. I have a newspaper boy calling out headl..."


You're in murky waters:
U.S. Courts say "Yes, headlines are subject to copyright." http://www.jisclegal.ac.uk/ManageCont...

Australian courts say "No, they are not." http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/green...

It's a clever idea, to use the actual headlines, and I sincerely doubt that anyone would sue you -- but on the other hand, I doubt that anyone would recognize (or remember) the actual headline. You could create something similar; no one would be the wiser, and you'll sleep easier.


message 42: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Newton (elizabethnewton) | 11 comments So if I change the wording a bit, but the gist is still the same, it's completely safe?


message 43: by Gideon (new)

Gideon Stevens (gideonstevens) | 6 comments I'm not a lawyer, but I think that would be safe. You could write to the newspaper in question for permission, but that seems a bit paranoid.


message 44: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Newton (elizabethnewton) | 11 comments Thank you so much for your help and research Gideon! It is very much appreciated.


message 45: by Gideon (last edited Apr 23, 2013 01:03PM) (new)

Gideon Stevens (gideonstevens) | 6 comments Just for fun, is the headline in question one of these?: http://www.cartridgesave.co.uk/news/1...


message 46: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Newton (elizabethnewton) | 11 comments No it's not. I'm after headlines for the 24th April 1915 which was right after the Germans released their first lot of chlorine gas at the 2nd battle of Ypres. This is a cool webpage though - I'm sure it will come in handy one day!


message 47: by R. (new)

R. (rholland) | 18 comments Does anyone know if it's legal to link your books on amazon on your website? I was reading something that says you have to be an affiliate to do so. For example, when they click on the link in your website it takes them to amazon to purchase it.


message 48: by R. (new)

R. (rholland) | 18 comments Does anyone know anything about Lulu?


message 49: by Gideon (new)

Gideon Stevens (gideonstevens) | 6 comments Rolanda wrote: "Does anyone know anything about Lulu?"

Founded in 2002 by Bob Young, who also founded RedHat. They're in a big yellow building on Hillsboro Street in Raleigh, NC (near the NCSU Bell Tower). They're close to my office, so I checked them out, but I have found consistently better prices from CreateSpace for work of similar quality -- so I've never used them.

Someone told me that their paperback covers are less prone to curl. Also, unlike CS, they offer a hardcover option.


message 50: by Gideon (new)

Gideon Stevens (gideonstevens) | 6 comments Rolanda wrote: "Does anyone know if it's legal to link your books on amazon on your website? I was reading something that says you have to be an affiliate to do so. For example, when they click on the link in your..."

Yes, you can. If you're an affiliate, you can link with your code to make an extra 4%, but affiliation is not required to post a link.


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