• 3 Posts
Joined 6M ago
Cake day: Jun 12, 2023


Saw a toddler with a phone in hand today, maybe a year. Couldn’t walk yet, but had no trouble scrolling.

Writing is way more than creating outlines or checking the plot for problems. It’s more than even writing a first draft. In fact, it starts with the first round of edits, when characters awake and find their voices etc.

People who think writing with AI is just pushing buttons underestimate the complexity of the process, and using AI for things you’d usually use other writers’ feedback or betas or developmental editors for is just an evolution of tools, the same way we don’t scratch on stone tablets anymore today.

I’d like to know, too. Especially considering most servers I’m on are unlikely to switch.

It’s very simple actually. Russia invaded a souvereign country. The end.

We don’t have the medical treatment yet. But we’re getting close.

On sh.itjust.works, shit just works.

As for apps, I’m using Liftoff, which works well, but hasn’t seen an update for a while, and I don’t know how active the dev is. I’d rather not use Jerboa, which has been created by tankies, or any of the ad-infested ones, like Boost, because I think it’s despicable to try and profit off of user-generated content on a platform that’s meant to be free (could have stayed on Reddit if I wanted that).

I don’t think Lemmy will reach or overtake Reddit. That’s a good thing in my opinion, because massive platforms come with massive moderation problems that aren’t so easy to tackle for decentralised networks. We’ve seen that when someone posted kiddie porn and several servers went down to scrub the filth from their systems.

If anything, Lemmy already has a pretty high amount of troll communities, thankfully mostly contained within their own servers, which enables separation through defederation (speaking of defederation, I’d love to have an option to block servers on the user level).

I’d think it’s more that there’s now more media fighting your attention. When I was a kid (GenX here), we had a handful of TV channels and books. Books was what I went with.

Nowadays, I get home from work and watch something on YouTube before bed. I still read, but my standards have risen, and a trashy space opera won’t do it anymore for me. It has to be a great one now, and there are fewer of them. So, naturally, YouTube gets a bigger share of my time. Or games, when I have time to play on the weekends. My comfort game used to be Civilization, and currently I’m hooked on Baldurs Gate.

Not everyone is an English native.

I only have four or five extensions and YouTube videos lag. It’s Firefox. I’ll still not switch to anything else, but I could imagine a clean Chrome without anything added and zero bookmarks purely as video platform.

That’s like Vito Corleone complaining about bugs in his office.


Okay, so what you’re saying is that you think friction creates a sense of purpose. That might be true. People in Mexico are probably more happy about little things and enjoy them more, because that’s what they have. Less freedom of choice paradox to contend with, and less free time to sink into depression (I believe in “the olden times”, people were just too tired from fighting to survive to sit down and have an existential crisis). That sounds like a valid idea and is supporting your point.

The question is, how can we combine my (borrowed from the Culture series) idea of a post scarcity society with your idea of a psychological need for friction? Do you think it’s impossible to simulate the same feeling of need for something to result in the same strain that then causes happiness?

What do you mean when you say we need a purpose?

We are biologically designed to reproduce. So our current purpose is to survive until we’re grown to sexual maturity, reproduce, then raise our offspring to a stage where they’re able to survive on their own. Then, we either do it again, if we’re still young enough, or die and make room for the next generation. That seems like a very depressing purpose to me, but this is how evolution works.

I think that we now have the intellectual capacity to transcendent this cycle. We’ve been for a while, and we formed societies, developed technology. Our first models were small tribes, very much hippie-like little communities, that suffered from attrition by tribe warfare and rule of the strongest, where reproduction was controlled by “the fittest”. Then we developed monarchic systems that provided a much more stable life for everyone, but ran on servitude (slavery) of peasants. We experimented with systems like communism, that then lead to terror by the ruling class (can still see that in China today), and landed on a somewhat democracy-adjacent system of capitalism that we’re running today, and that’s not sustainable, because we’re destroying our planet.

What’s next, and what purpose for the individual do you have in mind?

Yeah, I’m an Indie, I do self publishing without advertising. I’m spending more than I make.

The problem with putting your stuff online is, the pages that specialize in that and have it all set up and ready to go are mostly fanfiction and romance, so you won’t get a lot of reads there, either.

I guess I could just upload my books on GDrive and put download links on my website. Haven’t thought about that deeply yet. But I do write books, not blog posts or diary entries, and I like to have them in a neat package with proper presentation, in a format ebook reader apps can display painlessly. Nobody wants to read 70-100k word novels on a website ;)

The cover costs anywhere from USD 100 to 1000, depending on the artist and the cover, where 100 would get you a somewhat decent one on Fiverr, while something not generic can go up in price very quickly. Most “cheap” artists have a flat rate with one or more stock image sites, where you’d then pick a model and tell them what setting you’d like to have. If you have very specific needs that would require hand crafting, the sky is your limit (The covers for ebook, print and audiobook are separate, and print/audiobook covers will cost extra).

Editors come in categories. Developmental editors check the characters and plot for consistency, logic problems and structural things. Then there are copywriting editors that focus mainly on things like grammar, spelling etc and, while being a bit cheaper, still cost quite a lot (Which is why people use tools like grammarly or pwa to self-edit, which basically saves you the copy editor).

Sensitivity and beta readers are tricky. If you already have a fan community, you might be able to recruit some of them for this purpose. You’d want them to avoid faux pas when describing people of another ethnicity, sex, gender etc, and there are professional options for that, too (I already suspect my current project might not be fireproof, because names like Born Of Rain remind Americans of natives, even though they’re completely unrelated to my story – there aren’t even humans in my book).

Audiobook narration can go way, way up. You might be able to negotiate royalty share with a new voice actor who needs gigs to build skills and a portfolio, but nobody wants to spend hours every day for weeks in a recording booth if there’s no money to be made, and therein lies the problem – you need exposure to sell your books and make some money back, but exposure doesn’t come for free. While less and less people read books, they do listen to audiobooks, which would increase your chances of being seen drastically.

Newcomers don’t usually have a backlog of ten books, with lots of positive reviews, but most people don’t buy books from some dude with two books and zero reviews. They also don’t buy books that don’t have a nice cover, and they demand the professional quality you’re getting from having your book edited by an expert. Some genres also just sell better in general, like romance or thriller (to a lesser extent).

If you go with just a cheap Fiverr cover and some basic copywriter editing, you’re already looking at approximately 1 grand, with sales extremely unlikely, unless you have a platform somewhere with a related following (you often see book-related youtubers advertising their books during their videos). For someone like me, who has 3 books out (Out of 4 – I pulled my first novel, wasn’t satisfied with the book), writing something like science fiction, which doesn’t have a ravenous market, that means you calculate with 100% loss and are happy if you sell 10 units.

Indies often rely on things like Facebook/Google ads, newsletter and heavy social media marketing, all of which I hate with a passion. But it’s “part of the business”, which makes it a very unpleasant endeavor for me, and I’ve so far not done any marketing at all, which basically guarantees I’ll stay an obscure writer in the hobbyist league, one small fish in an endless ocean. And that’s okay.

If you think of traditional publishing, you have “the big 4” in the USA, and some foreign houses elsewhere, and you need an agent. Agents take a cut of anything you might earn, and they’re not optional. An agent helps with some very basic plot doctoring, and most publishing houses won’t even look at your manuscript if you send it in directly. Even with an agent, even if they’re well-connected, there’s a high chance your book will end up on the slush pile and never be seen. Not because editors are malicious, but because they’re overwhelmed. You wouldn’t believe the amount of books people put out every day, with a large percentage being unacceptable.

Agents, and editors at publishing houses, look for something they think sells. They’re notoriously bad at predicting trends, but they are the ones who decide what gets published and what not. Remember the vampire hype? Then the “magic academy” boom? Editors tried to create an “angel hype” with very lacklustre success.

If you’re lucky and write a book that falls into a category editors are looking for right now, they will then assign development and copywriting editors who work with you and tell you how to get the book in shape. They’ll get a cover made (over which you have zero control, even if your name is Stephen King or Brandon Sanderson) and pay you a 5k advance, with a small percentage of the sales if and after your book makes the advance back (and if it doesn’t, your pen name is burned).

It takes me about 3 months to write a book, which is just the writing. The planning can take weeks or months, depending on the setting, the characters, the plot and how far you lean on the planner-pantser-spectrum. If you just count the writing hours, a 5k advance means below minimum wage, so you won’t live off your books. Add to that the high barrier of entry and the other activities like marketing, in which you will have to participate especially as a new author, and you’ll see a very skewed effort/reward ratio.

Traditional publishing used to be more competitive, and until a few years ago the Big4 were the Big5. There also used to be a mid-list, the kind of author who could work as a writer full time, barely profitable, and usually paid for with profits from star authors’ sales, in the hopes that one of their books breaks through. G.R.R. Martin was such a mid-lister for decades. The trend though has been to abandon that concept completely and fully focus on the established star authors, and on cheap newcomers who hopefully sell their books themselves by somehow going viral on TikTok.

That’s why I said I see it as an expensive hobby, and why I don’t mind being pirated. I want to be in creative control of my work, get a cover I like, tell the story I have in mind, without deadline or the pressure of having to sell.

I want to be read, not to sell; readers, not customers. So if someone puts it up for free, cool. Not that I could do anything about it anyway.

If you just write for yourself, it only costs time. If you plan to (*self-) publish it, though, you want at least a good cover, and optimally, you’d hire an editor and maybe things like sensitivity readers. And then, most people seem to prefer audio books these days, which is either expensive, or hard to pull off, due to having to find a narrator who’s okay with royalty share with a non-established author. And then you haven’t advertised your book at all yet.

I’ve so far only worried about cover and editing. Wrote 4 novels. Now I’m writing a series and am considering writing the whole thing completely first, then getting a deal with an artist for all the covers. This also makes it easier to do foreshadowing properly over the course of more than one book, and it’s probably advantageous to stagger book releases, even if that means a few years without putting anything out to the world.

*All these points are moot if you aim to get published by an established house, but then you’re dealing with “the suits”, and people who rank “will it sell” higher than “is it good”.

Still on Liftoff, but I wonder if it’s still being updated.

No, I’m not writing Shadowrun, but the genre has some similarities.

I’ve always been of the opinion that people who truly love what they piratesd will at some point want the author to carry on writing. Just like someone who just stumbled upon your work by accident. That’s the beauty of humanity, people do remember, and they do care, and creative arts are a pursuit that connects author and reader.

I tried on Kindle, but the reality is that every day, a six-digit number of books are being released, which leads to insane odds.

I wrote cyberpunk/urban fantasy crossover books, but am now switching over to space opera. If you’re still interested, I can give you the title of the “entry book” that starts the story.

I agree, and the optimist in me desperately wants to experience a post-scarcity society like the one we’re seeing in the The Culture books, where AIs run the world, and we humans are free to chase whatever it is we’re dreaming of.

Maybe that’s a romantic notion, but I’m hesitant to give up on in. Dreams are what’s kept us going for the past millennia.

We might end up like people who do graphics… replaced by AI tools. There aren’t any that make it as easy yet (and maybe there won’t), but who knows where tech will lead us.

If you do it as a hobby, you don’t need to worry about it so much, but it does take something away for sure.

I’m an indie author, and all my novels ended up on PDFdrive.

Not that I’d be mad about it. If someone pirates my books and likes them, maybe they’ll support me in the future.

Just saying, I’m not wearing suits. I’m working full-time and write when I have off and got the time and energy.

For us Indies, getting eyeballs on our books is next to impossible anyways, so I already gave up on the idea that writing will ever be more than an expensive hobby.

I make one attempt to explain myself, maybe add a clarification. If it still looks like it’d turn into an argument, I just let it go.

So much anger, your post is hard to read. What instances’ admins are you talking about, and what happened?

I’ve rarely seen an admin, only occasionally in sticky announcement type posts, talking about stuff like software updates and such.

I just listen. To the wind, the insects outside etc, but this requires some practice.

I also use kbin, never running out of content. But I’m also not hanging out on Lemmy all day long.

I found I’m using YouTube daily anyway, and YT Music during commute, so this was a no-brainer for me.

Beehaw is a Lemmy instance. However, they defederated from two huge instances, because they’re open registration, and the four BH admins felt overwhelmed with the incoming traffic and unable to manually block trolls, so they decided to just separate from a large chunk of content rather than get it under control.

I’m on one of the two defederated instances, sh.itjust.works, and I can neither see what’s posted there, nor can a BH user see what I post (or what’s up on our server, for that matter.

The other big instance is lemmy.world.

BH has very specific rules for what’s okay over there and what’s not. Check them out and see if you’re willing to live with the defederation for the sake of what their admins define as safety.

Maybe it’s just their way to show affection 💖

Communities Can’t Be Found
Hello, I created the community "Japanese Metal" https://sh.itjust.works/c/japanese_metal The problem is, it can't be found on several other instances. I tried on Lemm.ee and Kbin.social, and both return a "not found". What's wrong? Is there anything I can do to fix it? Thanks in advance.