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Re: And A Great Big Thank You Sorry to be late to the game, but I didn't see the post until Justan pointed it out to me.

I just want to say that I really enjoyed your book as well. The personal story told in first person makes it a very close read. In addition, I love your prose and writing style.

January 08, 2017, 01:55:38 AM
Re: Editors - any advice?
Most of her ideas are pacing, timing, and structurally related:

- an inciting incident that makes Kellithren want to join the Year
- bring in Mardivan earlier, connect him with Aglacia, and elevate the issue of Kell's status as an Influential.

- maybe beginning the story where the expedition departs, and depicting Kell's training experiences as flashbacks

- more and earlier depictions of Kell's interactions of the Apeiron

- depictions of vraguul and grouhl being a problem

- more intrigue, less passive voice

One of her chief comments: "You have a shit-ton of material here, Scott. I actually see three or more books in just this one of Kellithren's adventures. You hit the nail on the head when you said you have too many ideas, and you need to FOCUS on one main mission, one main story goal, and run with that."

You should be pleased with her advice. She's given you several ideas that if nothing else should give you even more ideas about how to proceed. You just need to decide if it helps or hurts the work. I'll give my two cents worth just for fun. ;)

Her advice to focus on one main mission is spot on, however, it doesn't mean you have to strip everything else in the book. Just make sure that you look at each character, each story line, each scene, etc. and ask yourself how it contributes to the main mission. Try to make as many places as possible point to the climax/ending. Give the reader something to anticipate about the ending as the story moves along (slowly adding things that build up to, or point to, the climax).

- an inciting incident that makes Kellithren want to join the Year

His motivation for joining the year is what is important. An incident makes it exciting (likely why the editor suggested it), but this can often leave a character shallow or even boring (because we've all seen the movie where wife/girl friend/parents/sister<insert other trite character here> is killed/healed/kidnapped<insert other trite event here> and starts the hero on his journey). Sometimes internal monologue can set a character's motivation in a stronger and deeper way than a single event. Whichever way you decide, make sure the focus is on the character's motivation.
- bring in Mardivan earlier, connect him with Aglacia, and elevate the issue of Kell's status as an Influential.

All good points. Dragging important points of the story forward is almost always the right decision. Mainly because the reader doesn't have the background you do so they need to be reminded more than once that some things are important to the story. But, once again, you need to decide if it helps or hurts the story you're trying to tell.

- maybe beginning the story where the expedition departs, and depicting Kell's training experiences as flashbacks

Meh. But I don't mind "wizard in training" chapters... and I hate flashbacks to things that aren't relevant to the story. "Wizard in training" chapters show personal growth and challenges, which make them important in telling a life story. If you start the story at the expedition, you're telling a completely different story that doesn't need the training scenes. You need to decide: Are you telling a "quest" story? Or are you telling a "I wanted to be a wizard. And I destroyed the world." story. (You can thank me later for the blurb that sells a million books.  ;D )

- more and earlier depictions of Kell's interactions of the Apeiron

Same advice as above. Drag important points forward and place emphasis on your main mission to build anticipation.

- depictions of vraguul and grouhl being a problem

Yep. Same advice again.

Take all my comments for what they're worth. Remember, you're the one telling the story. Do it in your own way.

January 08, 2017, 02:25:49 AM
Re: Pen Names
My first thought was to go with Lanko as is, like Prince, Sting, Adele, and to a lesser degree, Lady Gaga.

I'd use Master Lanko.

Seriously though, aside from the hidden identity advantages, a pen name should be picked to bolster your branding. Pick a name that is uncommon, but easy to pronounce and remember. Make sure the domain name on the internet is available (and secure it for yourself). That way when people Google for your pen name your site, your social media profiles, and your books at Amazon should be on the first page. By using an uncommon name or spelling you won't have to compete with all the John Smiths for the first page of Google.

Something like "Justan Henner" would probably work.  ;D

March 01, 2017, 11:34:42 PM
Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
My issue with the dehumanizing is that it abstracts the reality, and pretends that what the other side really wants is to prey upon the other. That it’s the devil, and there’s no use in working with the devil. It's a form of intimidation, intended to scare people away from dissent. It's a good old fashioned public shaming. And don't get me wrong, both sides do it, and as I said before, I find it pretty amusing. What I don't find it to be is effective. Or particularly moral.

You had me until, "Or particularly moral." cause it sounds like you're engaged in public shaming. ;) To tell the truth, I suspect you were going for irony.

March 29, 2017, 05:08:08 AM
Re: UGH... self-promotion
So... does anyone here do author newsletters?

I'm trying to dig my out out of my hopelessness regarding my writing career, and actually ventured onto the Goodreads forums and asked for advice. Some wonderful mod deleted the thread, but one woman I managed to stay in contact with, due to remembering her name, linked me to a blog post about newsletters:

I was slightly hopeful for a little bit, but after reading through it became evident that those require you to have some sort of social media presence. You need some way to reach out to people and get them interested in what you're doing, and you need the passion and dedication to do this regularly. I don't have those. I've tried to blog, and I consistently have nothing to say to strangers on the internet.

It seems that no matter what option I look at, it all requires me to engage in a way I just can't.

Instead of a lead generation newsletter start a "true fan" newsletter for people who have read one of your books. Put links in the back of your books that go to a signup page. In the newsletter you can talk about new characters or where the next book is going. All of that stuff you can automate with Mailchimp or other sites. Basically, you can write the content once then send it at monthly intervals starting from the date that someone signs up. You can also send announcements when you have a new book released. Or ask your newsletter subscribers to give your book a review, etc.

Once you've got a newsletter going, you can then join other fantasy authors in newsletter swaps where they all run a .99 cent or free promotion of a book at the same time. Then they email all of their subscribers at the same time. It's a free way to get a lot of people reading your book. In addition, some of them will go on to read the rest of the series and, of course, signup for your newsletter (where you keep then engaged enough to want to buy your other books).

March 31, 2017, 04:43:28 PM
Re: Beta readers sought
Thanks for your kind words!

You should post the first paragraph. No one will be able to resist.

April 14, 2017, 04:58:37 PM
Re: Favourite Fantasy Quotes? "Atrocity comes in a rattle, eight abreast and shoulder to shoulder."

-- Up and coming fantasy author that cannot be named

June 03, 2017, 06:18:03 PM
Re: Favourite Fantasy Quotes? "I, Kellithren of the Year, write these words for both selfless and selfish purposes. I cannot guess how thick the dust may lie on these pages, or what times of change may lie between the wet ink before my eyes and the dry words before yours, so I will assume nothing, tell everything, and disclose much that has long been secret, or known only to a few. May the knowledge serve you well."

-- The Gem Cutter

June 03, 2017, 06:28:18 PM
Re: Is "Talent" Subjective? To those who say The Da Vinci Code, 50 Shades of Grey, Twilight, and the like are all badly written books, I think you're missing the point. You're using your own subjective grading system to conclude the books are bad and that the authors don't have talent. But, these books appealed to millions of people. That means the authors have written works that resonate with people enough that they told a lot of their friends about the book. No amount of marketing could create that amount of buzz for a book that people didn't like.

Rather than criticizing the work, especially if you're a writer, you'd be better served by trying to understand why so many people talk about these books.

August 04, 2017, 05:51:19 PM
Re: Is "Talent" Subjective?
p.s. Not Lu - that's so not proof. They brought it because it was a kinky cultural phenomenon. Buying a book doesn't mean you like it. Liking is what happened at the end of the book. Lukewarm mass reviews, rapidly declining interest in the author, and record amounts of donations to charity book shops indicates a fair number of people who brought it and didn't like it. Where's the proof for the people who brought it and did like it?

If I must give proof, I will, but you still won't agree, because it's too subjective (just like judging a writer's talent).

You cite lukewarm reviews as proof that people didn't like it, but the book didn't get "lukewarm" mass reviews. It got love it or hate it reviews. Most of the people who hated it based their hatred on the subject matter or the submission of the main character. Many of them had the same revulsion that you did. Ironically, erotica wasn't the genre these people normally read... so of course they were going to hate it. In short, the fact that the book was a cultural phenomenon is the reason it has so many bad reviews. Which coincidentally, answers the question @tebakutis originally posed. "Whenever any book becomes super popular, quite often, the critiques of that book increase both the number and ferocity, specifically in regards to questioning the writer's 'talent'. Why?" The answer: When a book gets famous readers outside the genre read the book (and surprise, surprise, they don't like it). Which of course goes back to what I've been trying to say. Talent is subjective.

Declining interest in the author? Fifty Shades of Grey is still ranked near 2000 in the amazon store (kindle edition). That's a pretty sticky book. People are still telling other people about it six years after publication (because they liked it).

"Record amounts of donations to charity book shops indicates a fair number of people who brought it and didn't like it.". No, it indicates that the book was a guilty pleasure that women didn't want lying around the house after they'd read it (late at night after the kids were in bed). As a kid (important to know I'm a male) in the 70s, we looted the dumpsters of apartment and office buildings looking for Playboy magazine. The reason: we knew most men weren't going to keep the magazine on their bookshelf at home or at work after "reading" it. But, I'm pretty sure those men liked Playboy almost as much as I did.

August 05, 2017, 12:51:54 AM