An AI wrote this (and here’s why you have nothing to fear)

…we now have an AI supported service to check your Amazon book page, provided without charge, at…

A company contacted me about their new AI check of an Amazon book page.

Okay, like everyone else, I’ve been deluged with AI this and that for the past few months.

And before I go further, let me offer that I created a technology which people kept referring to as AI and I kept explaining wasn’t artificial so much as it was altricial intelligence because it learned by observation (and I received a some patents on it).

Meaning, I have a background in these concepts and ideas and…well…frankly…bullshit.

Anyway, I was curious (I’m not anymore. At least I won’t be for a while).

My urban science fantasy Empty Sky was repubbed a few weeks back so I offered it to this company’s AI system.

Here’s what my publishing company’s editor, copy/continuity editor, and I came up as Empty Sky‘s description:
Continue reading “An AI wrote this (and here’s why you have nothing to fear)”

Gender Specific Marketing Discoveries

Long ago and far away I presented my company’s research at conferences far and wide.

One such presentation (from 2007, so dated, I’m sure) dealt with marketing to men and women, and specifically the differences necessary to get the attention of one, the other, and both.

Here’s a podcast of that presentation, ressurected because it’s mentioned in “Sex on the Beach” chapter of That Think You do.


First Rejections

I received a rejection on Meteor Man last week. The editor wrote

I can appreciate the attention to detail in your world, but without knowing about the world or characters or what’s going on, the terminology bogs me down a bit too much.

The comment intrigued me because no first reader commented anything similar. Even first first readers – those unfamiliar with my work – didn’t make similar comments. I often gets comments about my world-building but they tend to be more like “Amazing!”, “Rich!”, “Vividly detailed!”, and “Immersive!” (one of my personal favorites).

When I do live readings of works-in-progress, I sometimes get a comment along the lines of “You do more world-building in ten pages than most authors do in the first hundred” and I should spread things out.

I ask in return, “Would you continue reading? Do you want to find out more?”

Unanimous yeses often accompanied by listeners leaning forward in their seats and sometimes by outstretched hands seeking a copy.

All of which tells me I did an excellent job world-building. If people were overwhelmed to the point of being numb, they’d back away rather than continue forward.

Two Recent Classes…
I’ve long suspected that storycrafting and storytelling aren’t the paramount reasons work is accepted or rejected.

Sadly, this was confirmed by two different classes I took over the past few weeks. The classes were from different sources and a little over a week apart. One class had an agent and a publisher, the other had two magazine editors.

I take such classes because I want to understand what got Story A accepted and Story B rejected. A con panel with editors explaining what stood out pro and con in stories from their slushpiles would be gold to me. I’d pay serious dollars to attend such a panel session.

Me, I look for common threads in everything from character to theme, action to plot, … Sometimes the common thread is obvious, other times…?

And always it comes down to “How come this and not that? Give me a list of what works and what doesn’t so I’ll have a better idea how to perfect my own work for publication.” (by the way, two books that do a great job of this are Barry Longyear’s “Science Fiction Writer’s Workshop – I: An Introduction to Fiction Mechanics” and On Writing Science Fiction: The Editors Strike Back).

Want to know what I found out?

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post. Protected posts in the My Work, Marketing, and StoryCrafting categories require a subscription (starting at 1$US/month) to access. Protected posts outside those categories require a General (free) membership.
Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. Non-protected posts (there are several) are available to everyone.
Want to learn more about why I use a subscription model? Read More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes Enjoy!

Book Reviews, Goodreads, and Amazon

A while back I discussed the value of book reviews with some author friends. One-self pubbed author offered some (to me) amazing information and I share it here with the big caveat (from the source) “Please take nothing here as gospel.”

First, everything offered is based on research and articles read over several years, and a lot of informed guesswork.

This stuff is a rabbit hole and I find my time is better spent reading books and writing novels than trying to see the wood for the trees with this stuff.


The above is an old graphic, the thresholds have changed and it over simplifies. It’s from an article way back, one of several that all agreed in principle on how it worked, but varied hugely on numbers, the list offered below is also an oversimplification and about the average threshold numbers from memory.

There are a shit ton of articles out there, but a fair few of them are screwed by people trying to sell services, ‘we can help you beat amazons algorithm, just send us money’, etc. As such I am always a little dubious of their ‘facts’ though the concessions of those facts adds up to what is described.

The best of these is KDP rocket, and it’s a one off fee with a whole lot of support, but it is also a rabbit hole.

If your goal is improving book sales through reviews… Continue reading “Book Reviews, Goodreads, and Amazon”

More ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Just under three years ago I posted Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes. I had both Patreon and this blog at the time, Patreon’s interface got more challenging than it was worth, and over time I moved everything here and closed down my Patreon account completely.

Most people supporting me on Patreon followed me over (thanks!). Some didn’t, explained their reasoning, I honored it, and so it goes.

Recently…oh, pretty much this year…more and more people contact me about how useful my blog is to them, what a resource it is to them, how informative it is to them, and I’m thrilled because I enjoy helping people.

And at a certain point, some people – not all people, only some – take advantage.

It’s one thing when people take advantage and know they’re doing so. Such people are abusive and are generally hollow, with little real depth. Avoid them. They’ll suck you dry, spit out what’s left, and move on to their next victim.

It’s a completely different thing when people don’t know they’re taking advantage of a situation. Let them know, point out what they’re doing, they’ll make amends.

And if they don’t? For whatever reason they don’t? See two paragraphs above re “It’s one thing…”

If you’re good at something, never do it for free. – The Joker

Susan and I ran a successful business for years. We ran it according to some Principles we learned during our walk upon the planet, through the cosmos, and elsewhere.

Allow me to share two which pertain to this:

  • #65: A worker is worthy of their wages.
    Recognize that nothing is free. That’s first. Somebody is paying some where at some time any time some thing is done. Directly paying the worker for work done demonstrates you value them and their work, that you recognize them as equals in a fair-exchange, and (perhaps most importantly) that you respect yourself enough to know your own value is not in question. That last one throw you? Then go elsewhere. The only time people want something for free is when they’re not sure of the value of their own efforts because the price people are willing to pay is a measure of the value they place on their request. Want something for free? Then it has little value to you. Willing to pay? Then it’s important to you. It’s as simple as that.
    The other side of this is that the worker can ask for wages in other than coin of the realm (and barter doesn’t count. Barter is mutually agreed to coin of the realm). Recognize that the only commerce besides coin of the realm is with a piece of yourself — your time, your strength, your thoughts, your word, your knowledge, your wisdom, your friendship, your oath. Be careful with these. Coin is far cheaper than heart.
  • #71: An individual can only receive a certain benefit if others are willing to take on a certain burden.
    Remember, the Universe works in balance. From Principles 1,4,6,9,20, …, remember that what you take you owe. Think you don’t owe often enough, think this doesn’t apply to you often enough, and you’ll find yourself on the long end of burden. Not a happy place.

What’s Changing
Most of the Marketing and StoryCrafting posts now require either free or paid membership. I’ve modified the Critiques charge structure so that membership at any paying level gets 50% off the cost of critiques.

Everything everything everything in life has a pricetag on it. You have to decide if you’re willing to pay the price.

Have a challenge with the For-Pay model? Let me know what it is
I’ll give you a Muse subscription account for free. I’ve done it for several people. But be prepared to offer serious comments on my posts and join in the discussion, be one of my first readers, leave reviews on my books on Amazon or Goodreads, or offer something in exchange.