Any Improvement for Comments?

PG has tweaked some settings and put some of his security pitbulls on a chain (temporarily).

When he signs in with a non-administrator ID/PW, and via a different browser, TPV seems to be working the way it should.

Feel free to comment concerning your experiences now. If you can’t comment, you can contact PG directly via the Contact link at the top of the blog.

22 thoughts on “Any Improvement for Comments?”

  1. I’m reading the book Evil Geniuses by Kurt Andersen that explains much of the past few decades, and why TPV is under attack, along with other sites.

    – People are paid to cause havoc, either as direct attacks or by paid Trolls.

    The book explains all of the stuff I’ve seen happening since the 1970s. The deliberate disruption of society, business, Science, etc…, all to let the rich become super-rich.

    Nothing wrong with being super-rich, I hope to get there myself. I want to fund Science programing on TV, like NOVA, Cosmos, etc…. The problem is, there are super-rich doing just that, corrupting what is allowed on programs like NOVA, so I expect a lot of pushback when I try to help people understand what Science really is. There are more super-rich than I can stand up against, so I’m not sure if I can make things happen.

    – You can see that in the attacks against Michael Moore’s latest documentary, Planet of the Humans.

    The Green Billionaires and Green Foundation started an instant backlash because the documentary exposed how their billions were being “Greenwashed” to be more socially acceptable.

    PBS today, is not the PBS of the early 90s. They had amazing programs that questioned the “profit at any cost” mentality that was taking hold.

    I’m about halfway through the book, and it’s shock after shock as I read about the usual suspects that I always saw, but didn’t have the pieces to put everything together.

  2. If you can see this, yes.
    I think.
    For this and newer. Friday and earlier, yes.
    Not the weekend ones.
    Weird.

  3. I’m one that hasn’t been able to comment in a while (goes to a WordPress page saying I’m locked out). This is a test. Hopefully it shows up.

    (YAY! It did.)

  4. YES, I can comment. Let’s see if my avatar and such shows up…

    UPDATE: yep, all seems to be there.

    UPDATE 2: But it’s NOT working for older posts (am trying to log into “5 Tell-Tale Signs of an Amateur Self-Published Book”)… won’t let me.

    • I also can only scroll back to posts I haven’t read recently. The older ones are not available.

      But at least I can see the newer posts (thank you, PG), and can comment again.

      I don’t see how PG manages to keep this behemoth working. I am grateful that he does.

  5. T’was a dark and stormy night.

    I’m still not able to comment on a previous post (5 signs a book is self-published). I’ll see if I can comment on newer posts.

    Let’s see if this one goes through.

    • I also cannot comment on older posts as they are still saying I have to be logged in and the log in doesn’t seem to work.

  6. Comments work on Dec 18 and earlier articles and post Dec 21 pieces(so far).
    It’s the weekend posts that are locked. Which covers the overbroad “amateur mistakes” piece.
    I expect that one would be getting quite a few replies…
    A repost might be in order.

  7. Let’s see if this works. Like Jamie, I can’t comment on older posts, and wanted to opine on that amateur mistakes piece.

  8. Let’s start the ball rolling and post here about:

    5 Tell-Tale Signs of an Amateur Self-Published Book
    https://annerallen.com/2020/12/signs-of-amateur-self-published-book/

    Twenty years ago, when I was part of an online critique group, one of the people took a few pages from my WIP and “edited them” to show me how they should have been written, using all of the “Rules”. When I read the pages, they were simply words on the page. He had somehow divorced the prose from the story itself.

    Then twenty years ago, when I sold a short story to an anthology, the copy editor simply made some house style changes to my prose and combined two paragraphs.

    I realized that:

    When someone is being paid to “Edit” or “Copy edit” they have to make changes, otherwise why are you paying them money. If they sent back the pages saying that they are ready to go, no changes needed, you would feel outraged to pay their fee.

    – I use time to help me finish the prose.

    I put the pages away, do other projects, then go back and simply read what I wrote, with a yellow marker and red pen, to simply highlight what looks odd, or comment that I started skimming the pages. Skimming your own prose is not a good sign. I would then put those marked up pages aside while I worked on other stuff. Then when I came back to the marked up pages, I would only look at the highlighting and red marks. I usually found that I simply made a “critical” mark because of that moment, and most of the prose is left unchanged.

    Those odd errors that I actually make, I cherish, because like the Ancient Arab weaver would say, “Only Allah is perfect.”

    And am I the only one who thinks that the book cover at the bottom of her web page, SHERWOOD, LTD: Camilla Mystery #2, looks tacky, i.e., amateurish, or am I just being snippy.

    • I looked at the book cover, and have to say I agree with you. The completely different red band across the bottom, with the author’s name in a different font, looks tacked on.

      Worse, the stiletto heel is in the drink. I’m not sure what that’s meant to convey.

      But I do need to make my own author name bigger on my cover.

      • Consider doubling the height of your name and stacking them in the lower right corner. That is a minimal change to the cover.

        Alicia
        Butcher
        Ehrhardt

        Look at “sideways” covers like:

        Red Rising Saga series
        https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074BBWZMM

        Notice how the author name is tiny on the first book, then grows larger until the last book.

        I have noticed that many people confuse the cover “art” that sits in the background of the cover for the “cover” itself.

        You can have the “title” be sideways, the series name at the bottom, your author name at the top. Then zoom in on your cover art, and focus more on the standing figure.

        I play with covers every month to keep my hand in using the software. I will create the cover, with all of the text, then play with the art in the background to see what fits.

        The “cover” is the “text” placed clearly, with the cover “art” as secondary in the background.

        • Thanks for the suggestions. When I’m starting the cover for the second book in the trilogy, I’ll review both covers as a set, and check your notes. I copied them to make sure I can find them!

          That last statement makes a lot of sense, and I hadn’t seen it expressed that way before. Of course, you’re right.

          I have ZERO energy. Out of that I’m trying to finish a long book before my hair turns blue (hope that never happens except by choice, but life doesn’t offer choices). I hope to get it done in 2021, cover included, and publish it to go with the first.

          And then set out on the last novel in the trilogy, and hope to get THAT one written and published in LESS than six years.

          I wish I had time and energy to play with, but I’m dead serious about the writing, and that always comes first (or my beta reader will have teenagers).

          I had planned to make the name larger, much as you’ve described, so maybe I’ve learned something. As for the art, for now it stays, but nothing is set in carbonite.

      • Which cover are you talking about (“my own”), Alicia? I’d like to take a look…

        P.S. That “Sherwood Ltd.” cover does not work for me on several levels, one being: where’s the focus?

        • The first volume of my mainstream trilogy is on Amazon, under my full name.

          My name on TPV is linked to my blog, liebjabberings; the book cover is also there at the top of the right-hand column; I prefer not to put sales links on other people’s blogs.

          I’d love it if you took that look.

          If you like mainstream fiction, the best way to see if you like mine is to try the Look Inside on the paper version – it has all the nice formatting I created for print; ebooks should be left simpler so readers can choose the font best for their eyes.

          • Hi Alicia! I took a look (at the cover). First and foremost, you’ve got good contrast with the title against the background art. This is most Indie authors’ downfall point, and you’ve got it fine. The subtitle is a little hard to read, but that doesn’t matter as much. I agree that your author name could have more emphasis. As allynh mentions above, the easiest solution is to stack the three words (bigger) at bottom right. Even if that runs into the “A novel of…” tagline, which I think is unneeded (there’s nothing unique about that tag).

            The only things bothering me a little are:
            1. The font for the main title (“Pride’s Children”) is a bit “common.” It looks like a fat Palatino, which has been around since 1949 and is used in a lot of corporate communications. There’s nothing wrong with a classic font, but in this case, it feels a bit too ordinary to me.
            2. The cover art has an artificial/3D modeling feel to it. Almost an Uncanny Valley kind of thing, if you know that term. When I look at the Best Sellers in one of your browse categories (“Women’s Psychological Fiction”), I see that most/all of the top ones are more realistic-photo-based. Even the abstract ones feel more “real.” Not sure what you can do about this, but it’s something to think about.

            I hope that helps!

            • Thanks so much for your time and suggestions – it was very kind of you to go look.

              1. The fonts used are Goudy and Alido. I’ll bear your ideas in mind (have copied them for safekeeping) when I create the second cover, and look at the three covers as a set.

              I haven’t decided yet if I want to put out 500K words of the trilogy as a single volume – the Createspace limitations didn’t allow it when I started, and I have a different cover in mind for the second book already.

              2. I guess I edited my photos too well! Every single element on that page started as a photo I either took or licensed.

              I know the uncanny valley – robots or AIs that are so close to human they make you uncomfortable – but all I added to the figure was a skirt (the original is on a beach, with the white shirt over a bathing suit); I liked the ‘looking off into the distance quality’ – and kept the bare feet.

              When I’m creating the remaining covers, I’ll ponder your words and see if I can make the set of three more realistic. But that has to wait until I finish the second book. Thanks for the comment. And I’ll go look at those covers.

              I don’t really like anything in a category that has ‘women’ as part of it – these novels were carefully designed to appeal to men AND women, and most of my favorite reviews are from older men.

              For general marketing, I’m wondering whether Women’s Psychological Fiction is the kiss of death for men’s interest in a novel, but Amazon has made choices which don’t always work for me.

              And, in general, I don’t think the readers I really want, the literate ones who usually read only trad pub books vetted by the NYT and similar, find their books by Amazon searches. Just a niggling feeling.

              • Glad to help, Alicia.

                1. ah, Goudy… another classic.

                2. “I guess I edited my photos too well!” Aha. They’re taking on a bit of an “other world” feel for me. Just something to think about.

                3. “I don’t really like anything in a category that has ‘women’ as part of it – these novels were carefully designed to appeal to men AND women, and most of my favorite reviews are from older men.”
                In case you don’t know this, you can send a message to KDP Help and ask them to add up to 10 different browse categories to any book edition. When I did it on a recent book, my 3x Best Sellers Rank categories completely changed.

                Happy New Year!

              • Alicia,

                Stay with a “trilogy” rather than combine them into one volume. It’s even better to have more books than you want, if it makes the POD work better. Consider splitting the paper books into parts if they get too thick. Book Two: Part One, Book Two: Part Two, etc…, yet still call it a “Trilogy”.

                – If I were doing LOTR in POD today, I would make it the six books that it actually is, rather than three POD books with tiny font.

                They only made it a “trilogy” to save shelf space at the store.

                To paraphrase the bald kid from the Matrix(1):

                – Remember: There is no “shelf space” in Amazon.

                Write the “length” that you want, but package the POD for comfortable reading, and call it what you will.

                BTW, Right now I’m doing a series of five 75k books rather than a single 375k volume, yet if I were Stephen King, they would publish it as one big hardback.

                (1)There Is No Spoon – The Matrix
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO0pcWxcROI

                • Thanks. Will do.

                  Three separate volumes works well for the plot, and I will keep each under 200K so they can be published that way (upper limit – and I’m busily removing anything not essential for the story).

                  I thought originally about making it six, as TLOTR, but that meant parts 1, 3, and 5 ended up at very low points – not something I wanted to do; I didn’t want to lose a reader at that point, when things were about to start moving up again.

                  My problems are more physical – getting the clear brain to do the writing. It’s slow but progressing.

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