Friday, January 31, 2020

Seeking Supers: Various Databases/Hubs

Ill Update this page as I find more: *NEW Tag for blog (GENRE DATABASE) so look for that label to find the updated genre fun.

Well regardless of my own personal preferences, I am going to compile more links and things to help showcase more superhero prose, because I want it to rise to the top, or make it easier for fellow enthusiasts to find things. (Even if I don't share the same politics because that's not what's really important to me atm. Just want people to be able to find books. Period.)

So Ill also include series that don't appeal to me personally. Its all about adding to this hub. 

Websites/Search Hubs: (even linking sites that give writing advice I don't agree with mainly because its a resource. Cause I really do want to find as much as possible and put it in one spot.)

Superhero World Building Ref. Book: Here

We must combat genre related misfiling: Here

Here comes the books, not going to link names, going just to link who writes superhero prose in the style of actual capes/comics/spandex or alt earth. Even if its YA, Dystopia, More Marvel in Nature rather then DC, as long as its not the clutter from the mis-tagged top 100.

IE via series name instead, have fun at the buffet everyone. (this will be lots of scrolling if you are on a phone especially.)

This is only the beginning. Breaking up the sections with a bit of commentary. The more YA angled ones love to have the teen super hero vs school vs secret id angle. Then the setting will open up in later books. From what I can tell anyway.

There's so much out there, Ill keep adding to this page as I find more. Wont let the mistaken labels win. Onward! Another thing, ummm....sometimes the covers really dont tell if you are actual superhero prose or not. Just saying.

Plus many of these series go a more X-man Route then Justice League. IE: Teens fighting against evil situations. But Ill still link, because its better then what's displayed in the top 100. Seriously, would you want anyone to put Harry Dresden stuff in the superhero genre tag? When its Urban fantasy? Paranormal Romance is not superhero capes/spandex stuff either. You can have romantic elements but its not fair to shove what's obviously Twilight Ripoff 200202 into this seagull's funtimes. I will rip it out like a rotted french fry.

The reason why some of the witch and wizard stuff doesn't work for supers is because its not like its attached to a world of supers like Constantine is. So dont put your book in that category even if they have magic powers because it will not correlate with what cape fans are looking for. All I'm asking for is for writers to genuinely put thought into the genre tags and keywords they use.

Some of these books try to make the Boys look like a walk in the park though.

Some of these books only lasted a book or two, then the writer gave up. Don't give up people. That's a subconscious key to readers that they shouldn't invest.

If you are going to write for a really popular category to try to get the mythic "Write for Job" earnings slot, you will have to fight millions of writers who had the same idea on kindle. But dont mess up the tags just on the slim hope you will beat out Harem LIT RPG Frack Fest 2000. At this juncture readers are going to have to build networks. So that's why this whole thing here is happening on my blog.

To be continued/added to. This is only the beginning. If the tech is having a hard time getting us what we want, we have to interlink our markets to each other. Not only that but writers have to pin point and find those readers. So we can all uplift each other.

There's so much out there. Again, hope people find these useful/fun. Or at least make it easier to find capes/spandex.

Sometimes even having more anthologies can help. Even if Superheroes aren't the gang busters that all these harem books are in terms of dollar signs, as a reader I hope people will carry on and make more superhero stories to follow. Readers need more then junk food at the table. We need entertainment.

Writers Corner: Those currently in the process of writing Superhero type Prose, will keep an eye when books release.

Lit RPG that has Superhero As MMO:

Still finding stuff here and there. Some covers really don't give an idea to what's inside though.
Young Adult Oriented: 8-12 range
Some of these have more of a mashup of superheroes and magical girl tropes but its closer to cape stuff  then Urban Fantasy is.

Its really easy to find many very gritty superhero stories. :P In general. Compared to what my own preferences are but its still a type of superhero story. So they are going in. 

Not Released Yet:

Supers Incorporated
Fahrenheit's Ghost

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Writer Highlight 1

Yakov Merkin:

Delicious Space Opera.

    Amazon: Here
    Patreon: Here
    Website/Blog: Here
    Subscribe Star: Here

    Writer Synergy with:

    Joel Shepherd:

    Military Sci Fi/Cyberpunk

    Amazon: Here
    Website: Here
    Audible: Here

    Writer Synergy with:

    Sam Schall/Amanda S. Green:

    Military Sci Fi

    Amazon: Here
    Website: Here

    Writer Synergy with:

    Clawson Smith: 

    Fantasy (Pulpy/Sword and Sorc Inspired)
    Amazon: Here
    Website/Blog: Here

    Writer Synergy with:

    Kit Sun Cheah

    Fantasy/Sci Fi/Cyberpunk
    Amazon: Here, Here, Here
    Blog/Website: Here

    Sometimes a writer's work gets broken up. So I did my best to find all the alternate listings.

    Writer Synergy:

    Superhero Matchup: Heroes Unleashed Universe and New Olympus Saga

    Things that jumped out at me initially:

    • Rich World Building, the universes in both series feels lived in, so even if you don't see all the events on screen, the repercussions are felt by the characters there.
    • Face-Off/Victoria: You think they are the Loner, the Ultimate Anti-Hero but their arcs are subverted in a good way. They may be rough and tumble at the start but the people in their lives change them for the better. 
    • Both series have very clear lines of good vs evil. (With Heroes Unleashed, some other books within the various series have different themes though, kinda how DC has Justice League Dark to explore the more magic side of things.) the internal consistency of these settings is top notch. 
    • For NOS: They are Neos/For HU, they are called Primes. Even this is important for setting the internal tone for both.
    • Gritty but without going overboard to cartoon level grim dark like some Watchmen or The Boys type ripoffs. My personal preferences aside, it takes a very deft touch to even make something like Watchmen work. In fact, the only Moore stuff I actually like is League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
    • I really think there is something for everyone with both book series. If you love tabletop, CJ even included the basic rules and stats so you can run your own campaign in his universe. Ill link everything below at the end.  
    Like I said on Twitter: Both of these series have the wonder of the silver age. There is some bronze and iron elements with some characters but its one happy blender. Wherein the powers are interesting but it isn't what makes the character interesting.

    In my personal opinion: there's something here for anyone and everyone that ever loved supers. 

    If you want street level characters, these have that. If you want Superman types, its here too. The politics in both are for that setting, not thinly veiled references to whatever is happening here on our Earth. Much appreciated.

    In fact, hope is the cornerstone. It might be darkest before the dawn but when it shines, it shines like a star in the void.

    The Use of Tropes:

    Christine started out as what you would consider a typical college student, flaws and all, but her adventure from the mundane to the alt Earth of Neos, well that pretty much kickstarts her growth. Face-Off and Christine share something similar, they are both loners in their own specific ways. He had a rough childhood and Christine was cut off socially from people. But they each have their own anchors to offset the loneliness. They will become each other's support in a very vital way. To change for the better. (I do hope Mr. CJ returns to this setting at some point.)

    As for Heroes Unleashed, the various protagonists of each book aren't pulled from "Our" earth or even a similar earth to another one. They live and breath in that setting as citizens accustomed to the happenings in their world. NOS: Fish out of water Christine hook vs They already live here. Both are fun. Plus it gives each series a way to present to the reader the various plots and characters with their own set of rules.

    What's refreshing about both: The Protags want to change their worlds for the better. That's like a river in the desert for me. No matter the background, the underlining idea of Good vs Evil is ever present. Its a nice change from all the books out there where GREY morality is king.

    Yes, the things we love about superheros are in these books:

    • Meta Plot and Character moments, magical items, super spies doing the right thing, govt shenanigans but not a direct correlation to anything current year in nature.
    • It's important to have a good balance between the main plot and quieter moments. You can tell everyone involved is experienced. (the Writers that is).
    • You can root for the Underdogs, Like Joe or Face-off, or see what kind of dilemmas are afoot with Victoria or Adam. There's a story-line for everyone basically. The super powered cop that doesn't desire the lime light to help protect everyone around him. Victoria wants to stay low but her sense of right and wrong basically get the best of her.
    • Jason and Christine are there to provide the more innocent view of genuine goodness. Doing their best to change things for the better.
    • Grit is there but its not to the point of moral event horizon or grimdark. Which in this day and age with much fiction, that's getting harder to find. Everyone here knows what to do with Supers and its awesome. 
    • Some are Knights in Sour Armor but more emphasis is placed on the nobility of a Knight.

    A concrete look at why I read these books vs most comics nowadays:

    • The characters have clearly defined morality. I know that's like hitting the same point over and over but I like that they have clearly stated compasses. Like Odd, from Dean Koontz's series. A clear delineation between right and wrong. 
    • You can tell the writers aren't just doing it for a payday. They genuinely enjoy what they are reading and writing here. (But its vital we support them anyway.)
    • The world-building and lore suck you in but the characters keep you there.
    • These series are some of the few where society isn't in the dumpster. Lots of superhero prose seems to take a page from "Apocalypse Now" and paint it over with some ideas of spandex. But when that happens it usually turns into more of a downer setting. (In my experience.) 
    • While not a utopia, both are aiming for a more ideal world. Because escapism is nice. Star Wars and Star Trek have forgotten this. You can have interesting conflicts but still have hope as the bedrock.
    Plus I don't have much issues with characters like superman, so in other settings, have that symbol of hope, it can be embodied in other settings:

    Because the biggest thing for me in superhero prose, make your characters inspiring. And give those stories villains for us to Boo/Hiss at.

    Stop looking to the Dirt of "Realism" and look to the Sky of the "Ideal/Aspirational." Read things that instill the best parts of Superheroes.

    Go against the more popular trends so we can have a greater appreciation for more then what's considered the top "100." We need to give niche genres and midlisters a bigger platform to spring from. So we can have more then just the despondent levels of real. It's never really appealed to me. Sure, I can have fun with a series that goes into the common level of man but I need variety. These books give me that. Please support what superhero books you can. (Even if I hope for more optimistic books, at this point, we should all try to help lift one another, yes even you dystopia books, because the genre is small enough as is.)

    I'm a more old style DC girl at heart but I know the gritter aspects of marvels more "flawed" characters are more popular at the moment.

    Superhero Book Database (Gonna add more to this, or help them, because our genre needs a central hub too.) If you have a book series with supers, need to get out from under unrelated books crowding the tag, submit it here.

    Want these books, here they are:

    New Olympus Saga
    NOS Omnibus (first 3 books)
    NOS Companion Book w/ Table Top Rules

    Heroes Unleashed

    LitRPG has its place but not in the superhero sci fi or fantasy tag.
    Harem/Rev. Harem has its place but not in these tags. I get that so many want to survive on writing as a main job but until amazon can create more tags and categories, its like sifting through a pile of needles to find what you need.

    Even that database spells it out:

    Why Did We Create Superhero-Fiction?

    Due to the crowding of the superhero category by books not fitting the archetype on major retailers, we decided to take matters into our own hands. Our mission is to provide readers with easy access to novels featuring the superheroes they love. Because this archetype may appear in many genres, we screen all books added to the website make sure they feature strong superhero elements.

    Fans and Readers have to make inroads so we can bring stuff to the forfront of what we love and enjoy. If DC and Marvel arent cutting it anymore, find things that do. Things that inspire. That remember what superheroes are.

    Addedum: Quick Rundown of Heroes Unleashed so Far.

    This is how you add Magic to Superhero Work!

    • Gemini Warrior: This is what happens when Heroes Unleashed goes Twelve Kingdoms meets Pulpy Scifi x The Rising of the Shield Hero on you all at once. (No LIT RPG elements but more like the character's personal growth arc. The foundation is there but the hero or protags are completely lost at first.)

    • Overlook: Superhero Spy Thriller (What if you'd put James Bond with Mr. Smith's ability to blend in within a Superhero World.)
    • Hollow City: Superhero Cop (Blue Bloods with a dash of Cyberpunk Neon but with the additional street level problems of Super Powers)
    • Heroes Fall: Superhero Mystery (Imagine if Jessica Jones was likable. Along with a more upbeat attitude and moral center. My favorite entry point into this setting.)

    Silver Empire publishing has something for everyone though.

    (This Spot Here for NOS update)

    Lining up All The Shots

    Another round of things I've learned from writing, reading and just looking around for more general information.

    • Keep writing, that's the only way you really get better, get the clay ready for molding. 
    • Keep notes on what you might want to change later, events or povs, so you can transform that from exposition to things on screen. So your character doesn't become the exposition monkey.
    • Have characters readers can root for and even boo/hiss at. *Rising of the Shield Hero (anime) did this fantastically, so did David Weber when he made Pavel Young.
    • When to use Kickstarters or Indigogos. (I have a feeling this helps writers that are more established in their genre or stable of books.) akin to Trekker. 35k in less then a week. That's something.
    • The War of "Tropes am Bad" vs "You must subvert expectations!" vs "Here's the Proper Way to do X." In my short experience, write what you want. Its the only way to really start learning and inserting that into your books as you go or later on during editing. 
    • Depending on you GOAL for your books: Writing for yourself, writing to audience, writing to trends, or if you end up mixing it all in, its something you have to decide for yourself. Me? My series is pure passion project. That is my goal and success. Its not a matter of how much for me, its a matter of I want to do this and finish it because I love Superheroes and Space Opera.
    • Should the story have flashbacks? Depends, but you will only know if you keep writing. 
    • When launching your book, Get the Genre Tags right, so much stuff is overloading other genres with things unrelated to it. (Key Words are vital too) I use unusual combos to try to filter out the "Top" 100 in most of amazon's category. Since most of that seems to be "LOOK AT ME!" rather the pertinent to the genre as a whole.
    • Have a main hub for all your books/work. Get ready for the success before hand. Don't just write one and done. 
    • Mr. Cole said its also not wise to end the first book in a series on a cliff hanger. I plan on having a complete story in the first book with some epilogue stuff that will lead to the next book, but yea. Even if a series is there, sometimes cliffhangers don't work.
    • World building and lore pull me in but Characters make me stay there. 
    • Covers and Burbs also catch my attention. (Been studying that a bit too) Sometimes that's a difference between passing it over or taking a look.

    • Even that is getting a bit flooded. So what have I see people do to stand out? Well for one, repeated successful campaigns are a good feather to have in  your corner.
    • Have a link to your active project on your blog, twitter profile, facebook ect. But try not to spam your various channels repeatedly. Pace yourself. Blog about your series, put up slices of what you are working on, passages
    How much do mid or genre listers even sell with traditional publishing?

    The competition is fierce!

    Competing against a whole lot of worlds out there.

    Mr. Shatzkin - I find your insights amazing, and have been following you via The Passive Voice for some years now.
    One thing I think a company could take advantage of Amazon is... fixing the issue of simply finding one of those 15 Million books.
    Does Amazon have a good search engine? Yes. Does Amazon have great suggestions if you show them what you're interested in? Yes.
    What they do NOT have is a good way to BROWSE titles. As someone who's sold on Amazon a few times (different name) - I know how hard it can be to get in the top 100 of a particular category on Amazon.

    That's a very good point, how to get past the top 100s to find the diamonds underneath. To find titles and adventures among those millions of books.

    Plus I had a basic plot epiphany thanks to this post:

    What is the Goal? The Golden Compass Points in No Direction.

    I can see why Mr. Wright has such a library under his belt. Thanks again. Breaking down the Plot between these two series, of which I am familiar was like turning a key that I was just missing in the background. 

    Tuesday, January 28, 2020

    The Rising of the Shield Hero

    So ANN hates this show:

    So far, on ep 4, what I like: (This is how you do allegories without hitting people over the head with CURRENT YEAR politics.)

    Glad its getting a 2nd and 3rd season ANN.
    • Protag is a sweetheart and those 3 other people that call themselves heroes, well Booster Gold has more integrity then they do.
    • The Darn Redheaded Lady: Lets Steal the Noob's stuff
    • Due to pretty much a ploy from Spear Head Blond "Charming" Snake. How much you want to bet he just collects "girls" and will drop them....yup! Ep 3, already trying to sweet talk Raphtalia. 
    • Naofumi is the real hero, plus the shield isn't useless, DPS is plentiful but how many are true tanks?
    • He takes what's given and makes lemon-aid out of it. Way to go hero :D Plus I have a feeling his party makeup will be of characters this society ignores or devalues.
    • Spearman: Asshat, Bowman: Little shit that goes along to get along, Swordman: I'm so better then everyone! (I dont care about their names.) 
    • This land is the land of Hypocrites. The king is one of the biggest. Plus they all had it out for Naofumi from the start. Like damn.
    • So you have all sorts of allegories but its totally based in this setting. No one is a stand in for something in our world. What a relief.
    • Spear Butthead wants to honor duel to free Raphtalia, even though he's just doing it for "SEE? ME AM HERO!" points. LMFAO.

    Guess I should thank that ANN reviewer guy for complaining about this show. It lead me to something fun to watch. Will do further updates as I go along. At ep 5 now.

    • Holy shit: Episode 5: even though he's been hurt badly, sometimes just having that one spark, can keep a good heart kind and empathetic.
    • Spear Idiot is getting a slight clue along with the other 2. Maybe....just maybe you are fighting for the wrong people huh. God, that princess is all the tropes I hate in one package. She's the Karen of this universe.  
    • Yea, they actually are starting to realize that they have been jerks. 
    • His efforts with the village have paid off in spades, see? Sometimes doing the right thing leads to the best kind of karma. 
    • Bird is cute.
    • FUCK THAT PRINCESS! She's the biggest cunt ever. 
    Looks like her mom isnt too keen on what her kid is doing. Ha! Plus the bird ko'd spear blonde's nuts. Nice. Frack that dude. He's still a stuck up snob. Hasnt quite gotten the memo that princess is not good for his health. 
    • This is gonna be a theme isnt it? Bitch ass princess gonna cheat a whole lot. Frack you. Just get thrown in a pit and rot.  
    • At the end of Ep 6 now. Yea, this guy is gonna beat everyone else because he's making actual connections so far. Plus he has a ninja chicken kid. Yup. 
     Episode 7: Raphtailia is doing some serious woman plotting. XD 
    Its hilarious how he's fixing all the derp that spear dipwit is "accomplishing."  Plus it looks like he's going to have to clean up more messes from the other two "heroes" also. I do like how this series showcases how important support skills are. 

    As for Episode 9: Wham episode. In more ways then one.  

    Monday, January 27, 2020

    Common Elements of Success

    Let's see what the bigger dogs have going on: (Indie-Verse)

    Galaxy's Edge

    Cole and Anspach have brand recognition. Sponsoring within Amazon, synergy with these Writers in this block here:

    But Amazon isn't their main gateway, they have other avenues:

    • Discord
    • Website (Here)
    • Subscription Service for direct access before audible or amazon gets the next season. 
    • Facebook (Here)
    • Twitter
    • Audible ( Here )
    • Both writers doing shared universe and doing their own books too. So we got a pretty good library of books from them both. 
    • Merchandise 
    • A wiki: Here
    • Youtube (Geek Gab and other places)
    I imagine all of this took some planning. Thing is, Mr. Cole always says plan for success and they sure did.

    Their fanbase has enough steam and money behind it to be very stable. They are being supported directly by their readers. They found their flock of seagulls that are with them through everything. That's awesome. Cause I'm also one of those. :D They do great blurbs and what caught my eye the most, the whole Star Wars not Star Wars idea. Then again, they also hit a massive cord with veterans and active duty all across the board. When you have passionate folks like that the sky's the limit.

    Aeon 14

    Writing Synergy:

    M.D. Cooper has also done some similar things.

    • Discord
    • Website (Here)
    • Facebook (Here)
    • Audible ( Here )
    • Also a Shared Universe. Cooper has most of the mainline stuff and various writers have jumped in to contribute. So like Cole and Anspach, there's always something going on in this series and its updated daily. 
    • Merchandise
    Plus Aeon 14 also has a built in reader base nowadays. More Rabid Book Happy Seagulls. And a pretty hefty library of books to choose from also. What initially caught my eye about this series, its like "What if Mass Effect didnt go off the rails into stupid? What if you made something that had just the right mix of space opera and harder sci fi?"

    I imagine facebook is good for targeting some readers, some habits, I'm probably gonna be mostly on blogs and websites that key into my interests so its def. a good idea to have a main hub of sorts for your series.

    Kutherian Gambit

    Micheal Anderle

    Writing Synergy:

    From the looks of it he might even be more on the editor's side of the house nowadays. His series and the writer's he has helped by doing shared universe stuff pretty much catapulted him to the upper parts of indie land too. Also has a solid block of readers that flock to his series.

    The Saga of the Nano Templar

    Jon Del Arroz

    Writing Synergy:

     Again, Mr. Del Arroz also has some feelers out on social and other places:

    • Website/Blog (Here)
    • Audible ( Here )
    • Facebook ( Here )
    • Different settings and genres.
    • A good sized library
    • Growing presence in other media (Comics)
    • Youtube/Periscope
     What my gateway drug was? I think he knows.....

    THE STARS ENTWINED *The Most Seagull Noises EVER!*

     More Common Elements:

    • Writing at Pulp Speed, to keep the Whale Readers happy, so very voracious readers of the series oriented kind. (Yes, I think you write pretty dang fast too Mr. Del Arroz :)
    • Providing a Spring Board of sorts for their readers and writers to become very engaged. 
    • Flash sales to get people's eyes on the books. 
    • Frequent updates, either on social media or the series itself. To keep us thinking about said series.
    • Growing Audiences of consistent readers.
    • They dont give up and keep on writing.
    • They want to provide their readers with entertaining stories.
    • Podcasts, Either as a main or as guests on other channels.
    • Drive and passion

    Helping with the Cake

    Alright then. So what is a reader to do to help a series they enjoy. What are some writers doing to help or hinder the industry. Let's go a-questing.

    (ALL this is one reader's opinions and observations)

    One, I don't use goodreads anymore, even with its endless recommendations and lists. Look at my profile, last time I used it was the end of 2017:

    My Goodreads Profile

    I felt like I had to hide certain things, some political povs when I was on that site. Plus it felt like books I loved never got to see the spotlight much. Within goodreads that is. Still reading the Wild Magic series to my niece because it has all the well written talking animals but unlike 11yr old me, I can see the more blatant overarching author inserting ideas nowadays.So for simplicity's sake I usually skip those so my brother's kid doesn't have to worry about that stuff for now. She's 3. Plus the usual mainstays I had while little: The Boxcart Children. The originals that is. When my nephews are old enough, they are gonna get all sorts of Appendix N stuff. And if my niece shows the same interest, more books to pass around :D

    Plus I noticed Goodreads staff pretty much only paid attention to Trad Publishing. With one lucky indie or two that might pop up. If you want to compete with the indie market, start giving us even more buffets. Some old mainstays are still golden, like: Baen and even Sun Eater, along with Alien. Thing is, Baen and others have learned to embrace the changing tides. It's not something to be feared. Just something that should be considered and maybe more trad sources will find audiences that will sustain anyone below Big Fish level akin to King, Sanderson, Rowling types ect. There's an audience for everyone but we can't forget that midlisters and even niche listers are vital to a growing book reading generation.

    It doesn't help that a decent chunk of the aspiring writing crowd wants to be the next big movie hit. I think some forget how the greats....are enduring. The very tropes that the Rian Johnsons and others want to subvert are the very reason why stuff like LoTR still sell like hotcakes even today. Stop writing for a mythical hollow-wood deal that will most likely not come to pass. (Imho). Some readers, like myself, actively seek the things they love, or learn to. But not all are as self motivated. I enjoy unearthing new series or books because it gives me a wonderful feeling to bring a book to the light and show everyone how much fun it is.

    In fact, even reddit book groups don't really help me too much. Interestingly enough, the most effective thing I've see is on Amazon's "Readers also Liked" these writers sidebar.

    Or blogs. Dear god, I have found so much interesting stuff via blog. So glad I was convinced to start one. Might be looking into Discord Book Groups at some point. See if there's something in that arena.

    But as far as reddit goes, stuff gets buried, along with Goodreads. So many books are listed but for a reader like myself, with so much there, what do I focus on? Since the big things that get most of the screen time on those sites don't interest me much.

    Maybe readers should start making more reading clubs. Filled with like minded genre enthusiasts. To help us network with more things we like. Its an idea. Maybe blogs can assist with that endeavor. For now its back to more writing and getting my superhero reviewing on.

    You best believe I'm not gotta forget Mr. C.J. Hehehehe!

    More upcoming delicious anthologies:

    Planetary Anthology 1
    Planetary Anthology 2

    Ill get to some more indie blowouts once I get this superhero splash blowout done. Its nearly there. I just love to babble my 2 cents ever so often. Weeee! 

    Sunday, January 26, 2020

    The Battle of Reviews and Verifieds

    Amazon is up to something again. As I put on my twitter, I had done 8 reviews or so yesterday, to fix the deficit in the trifecta: Finding Book, Buying Book, Reviewing Book. I am very good at the first two but need to do the 3rd much more often.

    Basic Rundown:

    Amazon is being silly again, I did purchase this book but they took my verified purchase tag off my review. Who are you hiring over there amazon? Seriously. If I love a book, I am very likely to give it 4 or 5 stars. Period. I hardly make purchases I'd hate. FYI.

    If anything this is showcasing someone on the amazon's end that is bias towards which reviews are "good" vs not. Gonna do a test. Just to see....

    Plus I make my reviews short and too the point, like listed here: Mainly because I know people are busy and like things to the point usually. Ill have big honking review breakdown on the blog if need be.

    Yep, I do find these books fun, but this review got to go up instantly vs the other 5 that are still in the que to be posted. The biggest diff. between this book and the others waiting, this features a same sex couple. Its fun, doesn't beat you over the head with stuff but:

    What makes the other books any different? Does the review get stopped based on the publisher then? Who verifies the reviews? Lets them through? Because it feels like certain books are able to get their feedback instantly compared to others. In my personal experience.

    From this article:

    Verified Purchase Changes 

    From our internal testing of a $20 Amazon product we discovered that giving customers a discount beyond 20% removes Amazon’s “Verified Purchase” label from a review which decreases its ability to affect your average star rating. This makes a lot of sense, as that falls within a typical sale price that a company might offer on their website for a sale price, allowing it to still remain as a legitimate review with the same impact as a full price purchase review. We found that any product that had been purchased through Amazon with a discount of more than 20% did not have a verified purchase review and also failed to affect the product’s current star rating.

    5 star reviews and verified 

    Fakes vs Real 

    As far as I know, i didn't get a discount on that book so why take away my verified status on it. Plus there's this whole idea of fake 5 star reviews, me? I just leave stars based on my personal enjoyment of something. I don't consider myself a traditional reviewer or critical eye based type. 

    What if a reader just likes a book and wants to help? Ill temper the amount of reviews I do per day on my amazon account, so they don't get hit with tons all at once but its out of genuine love for reading. I want more readers to find things I like so those writers will get some funds to make more things I enjoy. Is that so wrong? So what if the writer doesn't share your politics. Reading is about entertainment for me.

    I've noticed some reviews of mine start out verified, I don't have KU, I buy directly, then over time some of them get booted like:

    In a way, it can hurt the writer because verifieds are counted more heavily even though in KU, everyone's review will be unverified. That's why I don't have a KU subscription. I think KU reviews should also be verified when it comes to books/ebooks.

    Amazon's combat mindset against all types of reviews is also clouding/hurting books. Only reviews they like should get in? It makes no sense. KU is handicapped because of its lack of VR ability. 

    I wont stop trying, if I have to leave my reviews here as small bites and big retrospectives, I will. But I wont let up on putting up reviews on amazon too.

    Friday, January 24, 2020

    Writing Process and Progress

    Some simple things I have learned so far with my 3 months of writing under the belt:

    • Get the words on paper. Just get it out, dont worry about editing or making things perfect, you need the base clay. Editing/Next Drafts is when you shape it. 
    • Exposition can be converted to actual events. To draw people in. It will start as telling but as you keep writing, you can convert that later, make notes! 
    • I have a basic outline, with some events already set but its not set in stone, because sometimes in the process other ideas pop up that make it more organic to the story.
    • There's no wrong or right way to make a book. You wont really develop a style until you really start writing. (Give that style time to grow, its a continuous process, it might take years)
    • I love using headlines or quotes by characters to relay some exposition or setting lore. Akin to Karen Traviss' books.  
    • As for plotting/character arcs: So far I do a mix of connecting things to the plot but leaving room for character moments to create another avenue. 
    • I have a firm idea of where I want all the characters to end up but Its not 100% set in stone. I use my roadmap as a way to frame things but you don't have to adhere to that all the time. As you write stuff will pop up that will change the narrative as you go. 
    • Setting: Its rich, maybe even all the details wont make it in the main story line but that's what side stories are for. :D
    Tropes aren't the enemy. Its building blocks you can add your own bit of flavor twist to. As you are writing, try to read other books with an eye towards how others setup their books. I've found it informative because while its not my piano playing, you can start gleaming ideas/techniques from others. Incorporate it to your work and see what fits you better.

    Above all, Dont Quit! Readers are counting on you. I'm counting on you. Give this seagull more to screech about.

    Wednesday, January 22, 2020

    Further thoughts on Dystopia in Entertainment

    I have my preferences/biases of course but there's one thing I wish more of them had: Literal Happy Endings. If you characters go through such a craptastic world, have them earn that happy ending. Have them bring light to that world. Somehow. What is that one term, Pyrrhic Victory? If the field is stacked with:

    • Seveneves
    • Aniara (Saw this on streaming once, dear fracking god, I though Seveneves was a downer, this thing takes the cake from that and crowns itself)
    The world truly ends, written pretty well, but its a downer. (Like the whole world gets KO'd, suicide pills, the works, plus there's a fair amount of "Well I know who this is supposed to be" political or famous figure insert) Even if its well written, I need relief from stuff like this.

    As in the type of dystopia made more popular across the board, then we should try to create things to counter balance it. In my own case its definitely genre/theme fatigue.

    The muhahaha cartoonish level of evil in "The Boys" does not engage me. IE Homelander and the Plane, the Speedster Guy splatting that girlfriend. The way all of them act in that show and comic dials the deconstruction and absurd up to 11. All Supers Suck/Mostly Villains. Kinda like the setup for Reckoners (Good Guys no powers/ Badguys are Neos/Supers). With Sanderson's books, its def. aimed more at a younger audience though.

    Watchmen, when done correctly, if that's your jam: Great! My main thing: Superhero Prose does have a buffet of things to read but its heavily lopsided into the "Grit of Marvel" over the "Optimism of DC"***

    ***Older style of both companies before the Great Woke Soapbox took them.

    Ill still do my best to find more series and keep the Seeking Supers stuff going though. :D Because it's never a bad thing to find more books. Just want to widen the buffet. Cause everyone has their gold tier vs trash tier, sometimes it can even be in the same book.

    I guess my biggest issues with Dystopia and what's considered "booming" at the moment:

    • Feels like its what most people are focusing in on to cash in on some other idea that took off.
    • It happened with zombies, vampires, paranormal romances. Now its on the forefront with harem/rev. harem, lit rpg ect.
    • The balance of "Got to make Money" vs "Passion Project." Most readers will be able to tell when you aren't engaged but rather are trying to keep up with the current horse race. Or on auto-mode. Its got to be a big thing on any writer's mind. To me at least. To maintain a balance of what you love vs "viable income." If that's the route you take. I don't think Ill go the full time writer route because I rather keep it a hobby. If that makes sense. It's my "funtime".
    • What made Watchmen work for people vs all the copy cats that want to ride on its coat tails? 
    Trying to find videos or maybe even other blogs that might be able to explain it better. I suppose, in my own way, how I view superheroes color's my opinions greatly. I want the great big hope to shine in them. To be bigger then life. To lift people up.

    Dad usually jokes that I'm a silver aged optimist in human form. He's usually right on target. It's why this book made me happy. The world is worth saving.

    One Last Echo

    Plus it has a bit of space in there. Yus. 

    Tuesday, January 21, 2020

    How did this become a hit?

     This Kong guy considers himself the father of LIT RPG in America. Inflated ego much? Oh my.

    Chaos Seeds

    From Book 1: From the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author, Aleron Kong, comes the 1st book in the genre defining series, The Land
    The series with over 100 THOUSAND ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reviews!
    "It's like Rick and Morty were the gods of Game of Thrones!"
    Audible's Customer Favorite of the Year
    "Best new series I've read in YEARS!!!"
    #1 Audiobook 2017
    "Better than the Wheel of Time and Firefly!"
    #1 in Epic Fantasy

    What? How? Why? It's def. not my cup of coffee. Whatsoever. It's time to do a dive of sorts. Plus his latest book utilizes the:
    To basically rise to the top of, if I had to guess, an under utilized genre arena. Plus based on what I initially see here, was it the audible version that catapulted this series to the top? It would be on a bullseye to assume:

    Audible Version 

    Gotta admit, that narrator is pretty animated.  

    Debates 1 
    Why is Kong hated? 
    2,000 pages of useless charts and added fluff is basically his books in a nutshell. Kong is a cash grabber not a storyteller, I read his first book and it was awful not a good example of a LitRPG. Awaken Online is better in my opinion. And the MC of The Land is cringe as hell. 

    • So the basics: Good Audible Narrator
    • Abusing the KU page turn with empty stat fluff 
    • Does the standard meat and potatoes of Lit RPG but its like McDonalds. 
    • attempted to trademark "LitRPG". SO very much in the vein of the Star Justice guy, Micheal Scott Earle.  
    Oh boy, yea, even from that thread above, most attribute his initial success to "over feeding" that genre and the audible narrator. Who managed to pull more people in. The way reviews describe this series, I will not touch it whatsoever. From the 5 down to the 1 stars. It's empty calories: the series.
    But the audible keeps it afloat for some:

    To read? No. To listen with Nick Podehl as narrator? Absolutely. 

    So the series is cringe as all getup but some will give it a pass because the narration is smooth as silk. SO you can dress a pig up in a tux. Note to self, when launching Superhero Space Opera, don't call myself the Queen of Superhero Prose, that sounds just as stupid and silly as this "father" of americana LIT RPG. 

    Further inspection of other threads about it:

    • Has elements of Cash Grab, with some idea of marketing to the algorithm, with some grifting and griefing of customers who disagree with him. 
    • He doesnt really use his status to help find other LIT RPG stuff worth people's time. 
    • Using his superfans as attack dogs (That sounds familiar.) LKH syndrome/comic book land debates.
    Another Gem:

    Please Fans, no bulli and leaving bad reviews. have all this revenue from the audible versions which apparently snake charm people into keeping your series above water and funded....but yet, your like, "No bad reviews pls." Damn.  Plus it would appear that he had a pretty nice dayjob as a doctor so whatever he made from book selling was pretty much gravy. 

    (So why not use your resources to promote things you enjoy Mr. Kong? Just wondering. Genuinely, cause if I was that big in my genre, id be bringing up my favorites all the time.) 

    Cause with today's society there's so much navel gazing that maybe he's just too wrapped up in just what's in front of him to notice.  

    Yep, has Doctor experience.

    But one thing is clear: He knows how to market himself and his books for the greatest effect he can get. Love him, hate him or don't care about him? He still managed to hit on all cylinders to get his books out there. 
    Kong on LIT RPG popularity 

    Since he was making bank, so was amazon, so it ended up supporting him even more. Because you know amazon made a nice little bundle from his audibles and books.(its not a knock, just basic economics guesswork)

    So the other big things I get from all of this, try to pre-plan your book launches as much as possible, build an audience, strike when the iron is hot, get some basic marketing experience under your belt, plan for success. (even if his ego gets in the way, he did plan for that, from the looks of it). But try to temper all of that with as much good will as you can. Imho. Cause even after my series launches, Ill never stop finding books to bring to the surface. So we can all enjoy.

    Edit: I will give him credit, he does use his main site to promote other work he likes. I still think its silly to try to trademark LIT RPG or call yourself X of Genre. That's just my personal input. So he does try to use some of his own coat tails to help others. So that does put a feather in his cap. In my estimation.

    Either way, he is a pretty busy topic:

    Kong, all across reddit.