Inkshares Community discussion

Johnslist > Let's get REMAINS OF CIVILIZATION into Quill

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message 1: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments This one's long overdue...

At 60 pre-orders, with 116 days to go, I think we can step up and help Yicheng Liu with his Remains of Civilization (

Yicheng has been such a generous and helpful member of our community and has been involved hands-on right from the beginning, and he continues to work hard, exhausting every opportunity to promote himself and turning over every stone.

I want to start this here as a place where those of us who have come to love his unique, crude humor voice (which I personally think is awesome!) and spin on aliens in sci-fi. Let's help Yicheng in any way possible -- critiquing the Inkshares page, adding ideas, sharing, etc.

message 2: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments Omg, thanks John. That, is an epic way of saying merry Christmas. Thanks for everything and I wanted to thank everyone else for being supportive and friendly, this community is always helpful and constantly helps other out there to achieve their goal. ;)

message 3: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments It's my pleasure! Now let's get some team players on board here to help us out. I'll jump in as I'm able and as this evolves.

message 4: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments So...anyone want to hop on board?

message 5: by Thomas (new)

Thomas Arnold I'll definitely do what I can, though I'm starting to doubt my ability to motivate anyone. I may just need a nap though. You were already on my list for my Sunday recommendations, but due to the end date being further out there than most of the others that's likely a 4-5 weeks out. Looking at the number of ending soon books on my list though, I may try to expand to 4-5 books every Sunday for a while instead of the originally planned 2-3. If so then you'll be popping up on an earlier Sunday. I'll try to remember to share on Facebook & Twitter periodically even before that, though I do tend to be forgetful so don't hesitate to remind me if I start forgetting.

message 6: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments I'll jump in and lend a hand here with critique of the page itself. Keep in mind this is all my opinion, but that's what this incentive is all about -- other jumping in to offer unadulterated critique with the goal of helping you succeed.


First off, this is the present log-line:

"What if the reason we haven't discovered alien life yet is because the government had already enslaved them and kept the information from us?"

I like the hook here, but immediately upon reading it there's an issue with improper verb tense which I think puts off most readers. Here's a revised blurb:

"What if the reason we haven't discovered alien life yet is because the government has already enslaved them and kept the information from us?"

That's the most critical issue, however we can turn to optimization since we also want to make this log-line HOOK your prospective backer.

The first part of the sentence intrigues me, but then you lose a lot of power by turning to general/vague language. What does "kept the information from us" mean? I think something more specific will make this hook sharper.

My suggestion:
-"...has enslaved them and kept them hidden on a far-off planet."

(Here we get a specific picture, and this piques reader intrigue, planting a question, "which planet?" "how did this happen?" "how long has this been going on for?")

What do you think?


Regarding your blurb, I'd try to write something that is much more compelling. Blurbs are a bitch to write, period. However, here's a great article on how to write jacket copy blurbs. Pay especial attention to point #5 about how people read in an F-shape, and the idea of creating an in medias res hook (point #1):

This is a large task so I'd just say check out that article and have a crack at your blurb, then I'll be happy to give further input.


Regarding overall presentation, my advice is to aim for economy. After the 1-paragraph blurb you presently have there the information feels very loose and disorganized. Can it be organized and off-set with H3 text statements?

Here's what you have: [see my comments inside square brackets]

"Hi! My name is Yicheng, a guy that had never published a book before. [general rule: don't mention your publishing history unless you have books already published or some credentials like awards or work history that might boost credibility] So understandably this going to be my debut novel. I am trying to get my ideas out there and quite frankly, I am not doing a good job of it. [try to avoid putting yourself down, even if it's in light humor. Although some people might smile, for the most part people will read this then not take your seriously. You're asking people to invest money in helping you with this book, so expressing confidence is very important.] You can help by pressing the shiny preorder button to help, or tell all your friends. Yes, even the ones without a credit card. Please do try to help a bit. Thanks. [these three sentences here are great -- your quirky humor voice really shines in them]

Oh, and I have a twitter account, It's @liu_liu0074. You are welcome to follow it or stalk my tweets. I would love to hear from you dear readers and enthusiasts via email: 34360479 "at" qq "dot" com. Yes, I do realise it was a bit of a risk to put your email out there, but this is where you can pour all your opinions. Just remember to use commons and spelling.
[instead of making this text, I'd just put a simple link, and put it at the end of your pitch -- connecting with you by email / twitter / website / other places really should be the last thing you share because the most important thing you want people to see is WHAT YOUR BOOK IS and WHY THEY SHOULD BUY IT]

For those of you who don't know: Inkshares is a crowd-driven publishing company that offers an unique publishing opportunity where readers get to decide what get published. [this is great, though I'd cut "For those of you who don't know:" -- and this should come after the about the author part]

If the readers get excited about it at all. Think of this as something like Pubslush, only nothing like it. If this project excites you, then you can vote as a reader by pre-ordering a copy. This pre-order is zero risk to you -- you will only be charged for your purchase if the campaign is successful. Or at least that's what they say, so it's still recommended to use common sense and don't throw money at the computer. [I realize you're adding your own humor here, however be careful with turning them off, i.e. "don't throw money the computer" doesn't instill confidence that they should throw money at you. I'd recommend another direction, maintaining the humor that's natural to your voice, i.e. "...only charged if the campaign is successful. Which means, of course, you will be charged because this money you're throwing at the computer will make this book a success and I will get to eat lunch, or have a coffee."]

Check out the interview I did with The Book Reader Magazine!

I am also excited to tell all of you guys that there now also an official Facebook page for said book. [link to this with your Twitter and email -- and as mentioned with Twitter/email, you should just have links at the end, i.e. Here is where you can connect with me: Email: ... Twitter:... etc.] The rest of the profile for the page will be filled out once it reached the funding goal. [I'd avoid this -- you should have the page filled out now while you're funding. You don't want a "still under construction" feel because the whole point of this page is to show prospective backers that you've really got you stuff together and are really serious about wanting to succeed. Even if things remain to be improved, keep that all behind the scenes. For example, my Blood Dawn page sucks and I know it, but it's definitely WAY better than it was, and I have 2 "face lift" implementations I'll be putting together in January, then in March. But I don't mention that on the page, because the page as it is stands as strong as I could possibly make it at the time I implemented the present version, and that is reflected in what I've written there.]


Additional considerations:

I think both the trailer and the cover can improve. I'm hoping some others in our great community here might come forward to help with the cover idea.

For the trailer, what about a video with you in it, or with you talking about your book? I think there is some crowdfunding research (@Jeremy might need to confirm or deny this) that shows campaigns with the author actually visible and talking about their project, what it means, and how they need backers' help, tend to be much more successful.

All right, I ended up spending a lot more time on this than expected, but I really want to help you. So I hope you'll take this all on board and that others might present some angles -- because as I said at the start of this, it's all my unadulterated take.

message 7: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments John wrote: "I'll jump in and lend a hand here with critique of the page itself. Keep in mind this is all my opinion, but that's what this incentive is all about -- other jumping in to offer unadulterated criti..."

John, I simply can't thank you enough for the things you did for the Inkshares collective and me specifically. All of your feedback a are immensely constructive and helpful. I believe that I'll take this onboard as quickly as possible and at least try to produce better content and make my page more image-based (like most successful crowdfunding pages).

message 8: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Yicheng, isn't is funny to look back at progress? Do you remember back last July, before the Nerdist, when we were just two Inkshares authors who connected because you accidentally ordered my book? Working together on the trailer for Blood Dawn and your great help, our correspondence, then the Nerdist and the idea of working together with other authors expands and soon Joe has this great idea to move this to Goodreads rather than group emails and stuff lost in the crossfire...

Damn, how cool! It's so good to be here now where we can come full circle and apply some more elbow grease to Remains. Let's do this. And I hope to see some more folks join up. This is what Johnslist is all about -- not just pre-order swapping or promoting on media, but getting in with dirty hands and putting the power of "us" into an author's project, in a very pay-it-forward fashion.

message 9: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments John wrote: "Yicheng, isn't is funny to look back at progress? Do you remember back last July, before the Nerdist, when we were just two Inkshares authors who connected because you accidentally ordered my book?..."

I know, it's funny how quickly things escalated. I never would've predicted any of this happening. I agree with what you had said and believe that cooperation is something that we as a community are going strive to achieve.

message 10: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments One great thing about looking ahead to 2016 is to reflect on where this community will be by the end of 2016. This is just awesome! (Okay now -- let's turn the microphone over to some other folks and get some more balls in motion.)

message 11: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments So, anyone willing to help?

message 12: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments *crickets chirping in the defining silence that immediately followed*

message 13: by John (new)

John Robin (john_robin) | 299 comments Yicheng,

I just had a look at your project page and updates and think it could still use some improvement. I notice you updates the presentation in the main description area, but there are a few grammatical errors. I'd really like to help you get this in tip-top shape so that you can get more conversion for people who come to your page.

Here's my offer:

Copy and paste the text from the main body into a Word document and let's use track changes / comments to edit this. I'd like to go further than just grammar and suggest some directions for content, which will be best facilitated in the Word environment. Alternatively, we can do this in Google docs so that you can chase my cursor in real-time if you feel so inclined.

I'd also like to help you with that opening chapter, so include that too. And your blurb at the top of the page. Let's go to town on this. You still have 89 days left, but I really think the starting point right now is the shop window.

Drop me an email.

message 14: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments Thanks john, I had already posted it onto Google Docs. Here's the link:

message 15: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments well, reading this thread is depressing...

message 16: by Craig (new)

Craig Munro | 42 comments Yicheng! get your referral code in here. We need to get you some credits so you can get authors who aren't coming to our goodreads group to reciprocate

message 17: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments I really have this hope that if I look at this page long enough, people will finally remember that I have an Inkshares project. :)

message 18: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments This is really kind of disappointing how literally no one post in this thread except me and the fleetingly brief passerbys.

message 19: by Billy (new)

Billy O’Keefe (billyok) | 77 comments Hey Yicheng, I'll parrot what Craig said — post your referral code so folks can get you some credits while getting your book. I expect this thread to get more action as the due date gets closer, but good to have it here now.

Also, if you'd like to exchange additional pre-orders, I'm happy to pick up as many as I'm allowed. I want to see this get made too.

message 20: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments Thanks Billy! Here's the referral code:

I'll preorder more copies of your book when I have the credits.

message 21: by Billy (new)

Billy O’Keefe (billyok) | 77 comments Excellent, thanks Yicheng. Just picked up a couple copies and used your code (hopefully it gives you credits — I can't remember if I used your code or not when ordering last time). I'll get more later on too. Keep hope alive!

message 22: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments Right, with 49 days to go and only 82 preorders. Would anyone like to contribute a smudge bit more to push my boom into quill? I really the preorders. Thanks. :)

message 23: by Yicheng (new)

Yicheng Liu (liu0019) | 229 comments So, with 112 preorders and 24 days left...can we, as a community, help me push this book into quill?

message 24: by Kelsey (new)

Kelsey Rae | 87 comments I've ordered as much as i could and am posting it on the social medias.

Does anyone have anything else we can do for this cool beans book?


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