Inkshares Community discussion

Johnslist > Let's get PROPHECY OF THE STARS into Quill

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message 1: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments This book has 18 days left and is almost at half the requirement for Quill. Melissa Berg has been such a wonderful member of our community and has generously shared her artistic talents with us through our group coloring book and helping other authors on their projects.

Who wants to come on board and help? It would be great to see some help with 1) optimizing the Inkshares page 2) critiquing the opening chapters 3) creating perhaps a template reader update that supporters can send out (ideally after 1,2 are done). Melissa, this thread is your to take over now, and to work with all those who want to come on board and get passionate about this!

As noted in the guidelines for this thread, once a project is up, even if it doesn't make the funding goal, this thread will continue as a place where you can do re-launch planning, then have the support of your growing team in the new campaign from start to finish.

message 3: by Paul (new)

Paul | 97 comments We talk it up on this weeks WriteBrian podcast!

Also, on iTunes - subscribe!

message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Hey John thanks! I was scanning my email and saw this! I had no idea you put this up. So thank you very much!

I would love any feedback on my Inkshares page. I'm never sure if I've put too much on there, or if I went the wrong direction? Early in the Nerdist contest I had reworked it a bit, added an excerpt from the prologue at the top, hoping it would grab attention, but I know it's a mouthful overall. I just had so much to say, the why and the how, and I hoped there was something that would resonate. Also, as you can see I don't have much in the way of reviews... I'll miss out on the review a thon, as my campaign ends a few days before, so a review or two would be nice.

Heck, some kind of feedback on anything would be great, I still feel like a noob to all this, so I'm floundering... Waving my arms and running from one idea to the next looking like Jack Sparrow running from the natives... Ha ha, sound effects and worried face included.

Thanks again for any help or advice!! ;)

message 5: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments If I might give some initial advice, it's on the project description. It is quite long and the paragraphs are also long. What I'd recommend is breaking it up with headers and more or less showcasing your project. Your prospective backer is likely going to skim, so it's important that the important things will catch their eye.

Check out Gary Whitta's write-up:

He does a great job of this.

I also love Andrew Wood's:

Straight, simple who, what, where, how questions.

Another suggestion would be to cut the excerpt from the page. Right now you open on this. Instead, let the excerpt be in the sample chapter which people can check out afterward. A good rule of thumb is to have a solid hook, then blurb, then the "who I am and how you can help" bit.

These are just some points to start with.

message 6: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Thank you John, I'll play with it tomorrow and see what I can do. ;)

message 7: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments One other quick thing to throw in while you rework: It's important to link to your platform so that people can check out more about you. I had to dig through old comments on the page to find:

Ideally, it's good to link to a website/blog, your social media places where you are active (esp FB like page), and newsletter sign-up page. I'd suggest as you re-organize, putting these links at the end of your shorter project description.

message 8: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg My website is on there, but I'm sure it's getting lost. And as I rework, I'm positive I'll have questions...

message 9: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Hey everyone, since I realized that tomorrow we are doing our family turkey day, I buckled down and got to work fixing up my Inkshares page tonight.

I kind of always knew it needed something but I don't usually feel comfortable asking for help, and with everything else going on I just began to let it slide. Thank you so much for giving me this boost, who knows if it will help, but it definitely can't hurt.

What I really need now are a few extra pairs of eyes to go look at it. I know everyone is busy with their own thing, but I've taken John's advice and moved things around, made it a little more fun with the important points toward the top. Let me know what you guys think. Let's give this another shot ;)

One question I did have, with the new Quills, I know they will use POD, Createspace and Lulu offer a slightly discounted price to buy your own book as long as you don't sell it for more than it is on Amazon. Let's say I wanted to do a comic con, and I wanted a number of physical copies to sell, does anyone know how Inkshares plans on doing this? Has this come up anywhere yet?

I'm grateful to everyone for all your help.

message 10: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Melissa,

I can't speak to the Quill question, hopefully @jeremy of @avalon might be able to weigh in on that question.

Regarding your revision -- GREAT WORK! I LOVE the use of bold font, questions, breaks, and bullet points. Everything up to "So you still haven't pressed that button ... " grabbed me. From there, I felt the rest delved into a lot more detail than needs to be on the page. I do really like the depth you go into, but wonder if you might link to a page on your site? I think from this point on (the second call to action), you can provide nifty links / graphics / extras to blow people away. Then provide a third call to action, alone with (ideally image) links to your website, social media links, email, newsletter, etc.

I really think you could use graphics with this page. Simple banner graphics that either create some artistic appeal or that are image links to certain things. Check out my Blood Dawn page (, or Jamison Stone's Rune of the Apprentice ( for what I mean by integrating graphics with text. I only say this because I know you have awesome artistic skill and think this could work to your advantage.

I think one thing you might want to consider is using a banner image as your call to action. Make a distinct call to action link so that someone reading this on a mobile device can tap it and go directly to purchase a copy. Link this to the actual buy page. (See my Blood Dawn page for how I have this set up to get an idea of what I'm talking about).

Stuff to think about after turkey time!

That's just my angles. But really really powerful conversion here!

message 11: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg I'll look at yours again. Part of my simplistic approach is my ineptitude at using their web site editing controls. Like in my sample chapter, I have the prologue and the first chapter on there together because I don't know how you create the different links at the bottom of the page... That little spot where you get the list of available chapters... Inkshares really needs a 'how to' page for some of the technical stuff

message 12: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Thank you for all your feed back ;)

message 13: by Paul (new)

Paul | 97 comments Melissa! It's much easier to read now! I like it. The changes are very much in your favor. Good luck!

message 14: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Thank you for taking a peek, Paul ;)

message 15: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Melissa, I'll write a bit out here about those technical things for your help and a reference for anyone else not as familiar with the Inkshares linking / image tricks.

If you want to put in an image when you're editing your page description, type a letter, any letter. I usually just type "d". Then highlight it. A little menu will appear. On the far right there's a picture icon -- click it and you will be able to add in a picture. Then, delete that letter you typed, leaving the picture behind.

Then, if you want to link that picture somewhere, click the picture, you'll see a little link icon. Click on that and type in the URL where you want it to link. When I linked me "Become a God-King" or "Become a Dragon" directly to a buy page, what I do is open Blood Dawn page in another tab, then I click on the "buy" button for, say God-King, taking me to the purchase screen. I copy this URL then that's what I'll link the "Become a God-King" banner to.

For adding chapter, you should see when you log into your page and click "edit", underneath the sample chapter you have, a "+" sign that tells you you can add a chapter. You click that to add another chapter. Then, if you want to link them together for the reader, say, you can include this link in the actual draft itself. However, Inkshares automatically will put a "next chapter" link at the end of one sample chapter.

Hope this helps -- ask any more questions if you need further clarification.

message 16: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Thanks for the info, I especially needed that about adding a chapter. I had played around with it early on, and couldn't find anything about adding additional chapters, I think it was leading me around in circles so I gave up. Makes me feel so dumb sometimes. Lol I can figure out how to use Blender 3D and Photoshop, but web page editing tools?? That must be my limit.

message 17: by Janna (new)

Janna Grace | 2 comments Hi Melissa,

LOVE the revision! And thank you John for your advice regarding project descriptions. After seeing the difference in Melissa's, I got to work on my own. Not quite finished yet, but really see a difference after reviewing everyone's suggestions! Best of luck to Prophecy of the Stars! Can't wait to get my copy =)

message 18: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Thank you very much Janna! Yes when I started to rethink my approach, it definitely helped. John is so good at this kind of stuff. He should be an Inkshares guru!

message 19: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Melissa and Janna, glad this could be of help. I certainly had to stumble around a lot to figure it out, so if I can prevent frustration in others then great!

message 20: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg So I've asked about an extension... Just did that today, so we'll see. But while I wait I've been thinking of what else I could. I never changed the reader/super reader names. Or offered any real incentives for ordering other than that coloring book. I didn't get any reader response from that personally. In fact I was quite surprised that my readers (those who are not authors themselves) were more like "Meh..." about it. Getting my peeps to be interested in anything Inkshares has been a bit like pulling teeth... Lol. So I need fresh eyes... I've started tweeting here and there, but most of my followers there are fellow authors and have most likely already preordered... So, any thoughts on what to try next? I'm hoping our new blog will help bring some fresh eyes to my name, online presence, and even more importantly, my writing and passion for the genre.

Another idea I started wondering about are the pros and cons of reader incentives. I don't have the money to offer like an Amazon GC, but I was thinking of what I do have... Some bit of artistic skill/experience. The Elements play a huge roll in my story, and a year ago I had done a painting that represented 'Air' for my story and had planned to do more. What is the overall response to incentives regarding art work in any of your experiences here? Should I think about using my Element project (perhaps a digital downloadable art card, or as bookmarks, etc.) as an incentive? Is it even worth trying this?
I'm thinking the coloring book ended up not helping my sales, because most preordering my book have been authors, and with so many others giving away the same book, it was not really something new they would get from me. Any thoughts? Or experience with this aspect of promotion?

message 21: by Michael (new)

Michael Sebby | 37 comments A lot of good discussion in this thread. Thanks for all the great suggestions here, John!

I'm always scrutinizing my own page and thinking of what I can do differently. I'll probably be limping back to my page to see how I can make it pop a bit more.

message 22: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Michael, there's never too much innovation on that most fundamental aspect of your campaign. It's the shop window. I'm hoping that with more of these Johnslist incentives popping up we can get more authors involved, putting their heads together, and over time develop a basic pedagogy that new authors can draw on in combing through our discussions.

message 23: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Hey All! I just wanted to share part of my latest update with everyone to keep this thread going a bit. So here goes :)

Announcements galore
But, oh! What are they for?

Sorry, I still have Dr. Seuss stuck in my head after just reading to my 7-year-old son.

So much to talk about, but first, I want to say this:

This morning I was watching one of my adolescent heroes, (one that has yet to let me down by either action or words or talent)
Bono of U2 was talking about the show they are going to play tomorrow night in Paris and why it must go on as soon as possible. And like so many other times, his words have inspired me. So here goes, a bit of prose, pantsing it all the way:

The ink you share on Inkshares is proof that you are blessed.
Whether a reader or a writer or a little of both, the air you breathe, the land you walk upon, the words you say and write, the thoughts you expel… is proof that you are blessed.
We live in a world that allows us to think and feel and express;
Art and writing and music is our voice.
We come from places near and far, different cultures, different colors, different histories, different traditions, yet one thing, above all, Binds us together and makes us one: The ability and need to express ourselves through stories. To share, to learn, to entertain. To love, to believe, to feel joy, in any way that we choose, and to give it wholeheartedly to the world.
We invoke thought and give way to reason when those, who believe freethinking is a disease, try to burn us;
We create more and nurture hope when those, who believe creation and the power to bring forth life is a degradation, try to cover us up and push us down;
We sing louder and bolder and stand arm and arm, when those, who fear we are tainting their falsities, try to suppress and shut out our ‘defiant joy’*.
In this way Light repels the Darkness… In this way we will rise up and stand together.

*Bono said this today “Defiant Joy”, and I absolutely love that…

There are many ways we can stand together. One way to do this is by Preordering Books written by those who feel and believe and express this freedom. Preorder a book Now! Make that light shine just a little brighter for those artists who want to give you joy, give you thought, and give you something to believe in, by sharing with you a part of themselves.

There are several other things related to Inkshares that you can do.

1. Preorder my book and celebrate with me the fact that I was given another 90 days extension on my campaign! If you’ve already preordered, then Share and Recommend to your fellow lovers of Fantasy, those who love to be inspired, those who love gripping adventure, and those who love the epic fight against the darkness, a sacrifice at all costs in order to ensure that Light will prevail.

2. Join a new Syndicate with a monthly pledge or as an affiliate who wants to help spread the word.

3. Sign up for the Newsletter on John’s new blogging venture:
Or sign up on my mailing list at
For more info related to our new blog and updates on my book!

4. Get involved in the big Review-a-thon coming up on December 19th.

Lastly, to kickstart my campaign and get things moving again, if we can get my preorder count up to 200 preorders or more, I will send everyone who has ordered, a set of 5 digital bookmarks/art cards, that I am currently painting. Each one is a different theme based on the Elements of Life; which play a big part in my story.

message 24: by Melissa (last edited Feb 12, 2016 11:17AM) (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg All right everybody! This is it! The last push, the last hoorah, and last call before I close the bar! Best way I can say it is this way (minus the artwork tho):
To see my new artwork, go here:

Melissa Berg's latest update for Prophecy of the Stars
Feb 12, 2016


A place of meeting, a place of parting ways;

A place where decisions must be made and new roads traveled.

It is the start, or it is the end,

Or maybe it is the place where you turn back and rethink what comes ahead.

Either way it is a place of uncertainty.

When you finally choose the direction, you might look back and say, “This is the path I was meant to take; all of this was meant to be.

These are the people I was to meet, and we will walk this new road together.”


You say, “Maybe I should have chosen the other, for this one is a lot harder than I expected.” You watch all those you had started with, rush ahead, prepared to face each obstacle as though they had a map and a flashlight to show the best way.

Some gave you a boost and a pat on the back for support. While others sailed away with a strong wind, not once looking back.

What will I say?

Another crossroad is still ahead, I see it on the horizon, and now I must make a decision.

But either direction I take, I will not say I faltered. I met those people I was supposed to meet, I helped them and they helped me, and some can say we supported each other as though it was meant to be…

As you come to your crossroad, some close ahead, some far away…

What will you say?

The end is near for my campaign—22 days left, and I still need 113 orders to make Quills. But since my last few updates I have stalled completely, so this will be it for me. Other roads are waiting, more directions to try. Yet there is still one more chance you can help me!

Help me get those 113 orders! Pre-order my book, and if you already have, then tell your friends and fellow authors who haven’t yet.

I feel very strongly about my series The Shifting Balance. Prophecy of the Stars is just the beginning, the beginning of a crossroads for Mahren, her father, and those she has called friends her whole life. Pre-order Book 1, and see where their decisions take them. Some for bad, some for worse… and some for good. Who do they meet? Who chooses to help them along the way?

Only the path of truth lies ahead, and it is up to you to help them succeed!

I’ve been working on some other projects the last few months, the biggest is helping John Robin keep his Blog on Epic Fantasy Writer, running smoothly, along with being a regular contributor. Check it out here! We talk all things fantasy every Wednesday, while on Monday and Friday John features an author and their created world in his newest series World Builders 2.0.

Monday, February 15, my world of Ahrune will be featured. So please, come check it out and enjoy!

For a preview—and the other project I’ve been keeping busy with—is my nearly finished map of Ahrune. The only thing missing is the island that will go in the small square in the corner. The Island of Old Ehlheda, where the Scelestial Keep, a secret stronghold created by the Seven, is located. A place Mahren must journey to if she is to succeed in the path she has chosen (or did the fates and the Stars, choose it for her?) Find out by pre-ordering today!

The world of fantasy is epic and far reaching, and filled with stories of hope. Mine has something for everyone, so don’t miss your chance to become a part of it!

Sign up to be on my mailing list for updates and to see what roads I choose, on my website:

Thank you, everyone, who has supported me thus far…

message 25: by Billy (new)

Billy O’Keefe (billyok) | 77 comments Just picked up three more copies, Melissa, and can get six more if need be. It can be done!

message 26: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Oh my gosh, thank you so much Billy!

message 27: by Craig (new)

Craig Munro | 42 comments Could have sworn I picked up a copy before... Strange! Anyway post your referral code for me and I'll pick up a copy and get you some credits while I'm at it :)

message 28: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Awesome Craig! I'll return the favor!

I've been short on credits, so anyone who uses this code, if I haven't yet, I'll return the favor. Just be sure to let me know who you are so I can! And send me your code too ;)

message 29: by Oliver (new)

Oliver Tooley | 23 comments I've just seen this thread.
Was reading through and notice that there are some tips for making a better intro page.
I probably should check those out and try to implement them a bit for Children of the Wise Oak.
Meanwhile, I'm pleased to see you got an extension to your funding, I think I will need that too.
I have ordered a copy of Prophesy of the Stars and look forward to it getting published. I'll take the opportunity to leave my link here just in case...

message 30: by Oliver (new)

Oliver Tooley | 23 comments Oh, and Billy is just epic.

message 31: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Thanks Olli, just preordered yours too :)

message 32: by Jason (new)

Jason (atomicboywonder) | 44 comments I pre-ordered one myself! I can't imagine why this hasn't hit the mark yet, just sounds amazing.

message 33: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Thank you so much, Jason! Pass the word around, every bit helps ;)

message 34: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Gerard Berg Dear Readers and fellow Writers,

Since my campaign ends in 6 days I was thinking about how I wanted to step away. Instead of all my thoughts and emotions cluttering your inbox, I decided that the best way to say it was with the stories that inspired me to write in the first place. Stories with endings that succinctly echoed exactly how I feel. So I put this little video together as a fun way to say thank you, good-bye for now, and maybe even offer a bit of encouragement for those finding themselves in a similar place.

See the video here:

If you want to stay updated on my series, The Shifting Balance, join my mailing list:

Or visit our Epic Fantasy Writer blog: https://epicfantasywriter.wordpress.c...

I will continue to contribute articles, while seeking other ways of getting my series out there. Whether by finding a more traditional means, or through Createspace, I will continue for two main reasons: 1) Because Mahren’s is a story of Light and Love, and how truth can banish the darkness. Her journey will take her to places far reaching and by no means predictable; she will learn that her life and the lives of all whom she loves, is a precarious miracle given to them by those who sought to remedy the course of their destiny. A miracle which hangs upon a precious and sacred Balance that again, is being threatened.

And 2), because, and for the sake of my son, I will not quit. I want him to see a reality where dreams absolutely can come true.

Thank you for all the support,

Melissa Berg

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