Suggestion for formatting the book

Welcome To Astlan Forums e-Book Technical Issues Suggestion for formatting the book

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    Yes, the fist/nail thing is a problem that I didn’t think of in the first round. I thought about it later, but didn’t actually remember to deal with. In hindsight, him simply noting the issue the first time he tried to do it, and his work around probably would have solved this inconsistency.

    His most effective physical strikes are the open hand strikes which are every bit as extra devastating as a not-completely closed fist strike would be.

    He can make an approximation of a fist, he just can’t fully close it due to the long nails. Obviously it’s not going to be as solid as a full closed fist, but in my mind, if not clear in explanation, a lot of the power of those fist strikes was from the aura of what he considers is is Qi, Chi, or spirit fist. They later manifest as energy blasts as he learns to project his Chi.

    I have to be honest, haven’t tried to work the site in mobile. Will test it. The support framework in theory has mobile friendly versions but I haven’t worked on it much.


    I know this change is superficial, but it could be tempting to employ.
    You could change the font for different types of creatures, like demons speech is more jagged and less appealing and angelic speech is more smooth/ curving and more attractive.


    TAG tried that with the interstitial appendix chapters.

    Older kindles and the b&w kindles are extremely averse to diffrent fonts, and definitely color.

    Things come out very unreadable. He got lots of complaints and did a lot of reformatting, and it’s still not great for some people.

    It’s very frustrating, but if you want a nice looking book, the Apple Store is the place to go. If the author owns a Mac (since the only way to go there directly is via a Mac–no PC; you can get there indirectly via Smashwords etc, but then you have basically remove all formatting)

    “Written for iBookstore” books can go crazy on fonts, colors, typestyles and color pictures. They are very graphical. But this is because you can only read them on iphones, ipads and computers. All of which are high resolution and color.


    The nails are 9 inches in length. That’s a little longer than the diameter of his hooves. I can’t imagine how one makes a fist with nails that long 🙂
    That said, I understand that this isn’t something that’s easy to fix since the fist has been mentioned so many times now.

    Although I can see a few strikes that could be made more brutal if one were to have claws on his fingers.


    You generally inserted chapters with descriptions of the various types of magic, moon cycles, day names etc. For the fans interested in creating fiction based on this setting this is obviously a treasure chest of information they need to know so that their stories wouldn’t conflict with each other. Most readers however aren’t going to create fan fiction and this serves as a distraction from the main story. Personally I read a few of these chapters and then generally skipped them. I would recommend either putting all this lore into a separate book (or just on the website) or into an appendix at the end of the book. It won’t distract the reader from the story that way.

    Also, there are a few contradictions in the book. For example, at first no indication is given about whether or not Tom knows of the Courts of Chaos, so when they are first mentioned and there’s no reaction from Tom it makes me think “why the Hell isn’t Tom asking questions?”. I can’t speak for all of the readers, but it’s probably a good idea to have all the new stuff explained to Tom first, so that the reader isn’t confused about what Tom knows and what he doesn’t know. After all the readers are likely to associate themselves with Tom, seeing how he’s from ‘our’ Earth and such. Later in the book it’s mentioned (or implied?) that Boggy and Tom had been in a bar fight. A bar, apparently, located in the City. Again it’s implied that Tom has been there already, however when he travels with Antefalken he asks questions that a person visiting the City for the first time would ask. This just sows confusion about what Tom knows and what he doesn’t know, making it hard to follow his progress. It would be nice if in the next book the reader gained knowledge about the world of Astlan (or rather the knowledge that Tom gains about the world) through Tom, rather than through the perspectives of other characters and the “special chapters”.

    P.S. It would be nice if you had an RSS feed with updates on the site (although sending an announcement through the forum should also be possible), so that when the next book comes out I could buy it straight away (I wrote a review on goodreads, by the way, hope you register there as an author)



    Thanks for the suggestions on the inserts. They ended up being much more of an issue than I’d expected in a number of ways. They were always going to be on the website, but a lot of people don’t seem to find the website. So I thought I’d include them in the book where relevant. And originally they had a different font and color and would be easy to skip. Then formatting limitations of the all sorts of various devices came into play. Not just black and white, I’d been aware of that and the paperback has the same issue, but there was the font difference, but then there were older kindles and Sony’s with no real font support. So by the I finally got it approved through various bookstores with all sorts of formatting corrections…it just kind of stuck and blended in distractedly. Not sure what I’m going to do next time, but considering the consternation they’ve caused…I think it will be different. Think I’ll see what can be done with hyperlinks, say to an appendix at the back. But again…difficult for some devices.

    I think your point on Tom’s rather subdued reaction to the Courts is a valid point. He probably should have shown a reaction like “Why the hell am I living in a cave, when there is a city I could live in?” I tried to capture some of that reasoning with Antefalken’s visit to Tom’s cave…but should have had more from Tom.

    However, to clear things up: Tom doesn’t know about the Courts until Antefalken takes him there. Tizzy had previously mentioned them to Rupert, but Tom wasn’t paying attention, he was too preoccupied by what was going on. Antefalken shows Tom and Rupert the bar and then goes off to talk with Lillith. Tom and Rupert explore the city, they return to the bar to wait for Tizzy and run into Boggy who is recovering from his bender. They talk, he sees link spells for the first time. Out of scene Antefalken returns, they go explore Ramses’ palace and return (we hear about this second hand).

    And that’s basically all of Tom’s experience with the Courts. All other interaction there is really just Antefalken.

    There was no bar fight that Tom was in with Boggy; Boggy was just really hung over, and may have been in a few battles of his own…but Tom wasn’t involved.

    Or so is my recollection of what I think I wrote…there have been a number of changes and edits and I tried to keep the continuity up and keep reactions correct, I think I clearly missed a good reaction on Tom and the Courts…it was a bit underplayed.

    I think a real problem one has as an author is that you write, read, edit, reread over and over again so many times that sometimes what’s in your head doesn’t match what’s on paper. Which is why the idea of Beta Readers who can point out stuff like this is a good idea that someone has mentioned. I’d been using friends, but they’re probably heard too much from me discussion wise and so aren’t as objective.

    As an example, I was going through one of my later continuity edits and I suddenly realize the scene where Antefalken, Rupert and Tom go to Ramses’ palace wasn’t there…and I couldn’t find it…so I think I only wrote it in my head…


    Oh. This reminds me. There’s another ‘bug’ in the book: the second time Antifalken meets Lilith they discuss Tom as if they discussed him before, but there’s no mention of it in the first scene or at any point after that. Hope you’ll fix this in the later editions.

    As to the appendix… I don’t think you need hyperlinks there. Like I said before it’s needed for fan fiction and to make fan fiction one needs to actually be a fan which implies reading the damn book cover to cover 🙂

    [quote]He probably should have shown a reaction like “Why the hell am I living in a cave, when there is a city I could live in?”[/quote]
    Personally my first reaction would be “There’s a city here??? WTF??? Why didn’t Tizzy or Bogey even mention that there was one?” I don’t actually remember it being mentioned in front of Tom until after he brought his kid to the Abyss (at which point, btw, he should’ve noticed his kid talking about something he’s never heard of considering how much of reader’s attention you attract by mentioning it). Same for the “boom tube”.

    Oh, and another bug I just remembered was about demon sight. At first it seems that a demon needs to shapeshift his eyes to use the sight, but then Tom uses it while he’s looking for invisible demons along with whats-his-name which should be noticeable when you walk around with a person for two hours, considering how different demons’ eyes are. And further in the book I think Tom uses it again in human form in public and no one notices.


    Hmmm OK, looked into the first and second Lillith. The first encounter we don’t see live, only Antefalken reflecting on their night.
    He had come specifically to gather information on what was happening with the intrigues and the various “demon” plots in Astlan (and for some romance)

    There is a presumption in the second meeting that he’d talked to her about the Type IV demon etc. It’s more of a clarity thing, however a good point…

    Yes, Tom should have had that reaction, given the depth we see of all his other reactions…but it’s a bit more complex as Antefalken points out at one point when he is wondering himself why Tom is in the cave. Antefalken’s assumption is that it was typical of Boggy/Tizzy since they are loners and neither are huge for the city. Both are entrepreneurs and travel around the Abyss and aren’t that crazy about them.

    Also as Antefalken alludes to, if you are a Type IV on the outside, people in the city are going to assume you are a Greater demon and treat you accordingly, so sending a 16 year old to the “big city” when he looks like a Greater Demon would be tossing him into the deep end, since everyone would start playing politics. Antefalken comes to the conclusion that Boggy/Tizzy understood this and wanted Tom to get settled in first.

    Probably not spelled out well enough.

    On the shape shifting of the eyes…I can see where you would get that idea. However, in my mind he’s not actually changing the appearance of his eyes so much as how they work. So in my mind, his eyes didn’t change much, they didn’t get slitted or anything, he basically just adjusted is rods/cones, sort of like changing between his ability to see in the dark.

    Demon vision/wizard vision/Seer’s Sight/elven sight/etc are all pretty similar. It’s more of a magical ability than a physical characteristic. But I see where the language doesn’t make that clear. But he’s really doing the same sort of thing that Maelen does when he looks at Tom in a weird way.

    These are great things to note. I’ll probably be setting up a beta reader list for people to volunteer for beta reading Book II to catch this sort of thing…


    Also, its unclear how Tom uses striking techniques of tae kwon do considering most of those are done using fists which he should be unable to make what with those claws of his getting in the way. I think thats the last of the bugs in the story. Now if only the bugs with the site could be fixed(I’m using my phone here with firefox and it’s a royal pain to log in ](*,) )


    OK, to be completely honest, the reason I used “9 inches” for the nails was thinking about NIN–Nine Inch Nails the band.

    However, to proportionalize things, when standing normally on his digitigrade hooves he’s about 11.5 to 12 feet tall, if he were to really stretch his legs out then from hoof to horn tip he’s 13 feet tall.

    I am short and have short stubby hands. I’m 5’6″ standing as straight as I can or 5.5 feet, and my middle finger is 3″ long. So Tom is 2.36x as tall as me and has proportionally even larger hands. So, his middle finger should be at least 7″ long, if the are as stubby as mine. Given that his hands are giant sized I would be willing to guess, and was guessing that his middle finger is close to 9″ long. So his nails are about as long as his fingers…roughly.

    so if he closes his fist as best he can, the tips of his fingers resting on the palm of his hand, his nails would probably extend about 30% the length of his forearm.

    In hindsight, definitely something that SHOULD have been mentioned/brought up, that really does require remarking on….but…it doesn’t keep him from punching things.

    So this is one of those things that brings up a serious question about new book technology.

    In the old days, books were like movies, once “published” they were fixed in stone. Today, they don’t need to be. An e-book can be changed at any time. Depending on the platform, propagating the changes to people that have the book can be tricky (or not)…but it’s easy to change the book.

    I can even change the paperback, it’s printed on demand, so any new copies would have changes corrections.

    I have in fact uploaded newer versions of the book that fix formatting issues, particularly for the “Articles of Evil” that improve formatting of tables and fonts/colors for different readers. But I have never changed the content.

    Should authors, in general, change their work over time?

    One big problem with this is that if the ebook is truly living, the context that someone gets from reading the original book and someone reading the same book 20 years later that the author has been improving/making changes to, may have a fundamentally different experience.

    You’ve lost a historical perspective in some ways.

    Now, clearly fixing things like the nails etc in this book don’t have that profound an effect. Clearly fixing spelling and grammatical mistakes shouldn’t be that big a deal…but at some point there becomes a fine line, where I am thinking you lose more than you gain.

    The question is, where is that point.

    Again, I’m not so much talking about this particular set of “oops” mistakes, but more philosophically. Just because the ebook format allows us to “correct the record” should an author be able to go back and undo their mistakes after publication?


    I admit, the nails aren’t that big of a problem for me. Other stuff bugs me a lot more 🙂

    As to the editing the book. In general a book shouldn’t be edited after release, of course. However, sometimes you only have the choice between having a story that contradicts itself and fixing the released book so the story doesn’t contradict itself. Considering fixing the story a little will lead to better reviews and as such better sales, I think fixing the book as soon as the readers brought up the contradictions is paramount to good sales. But ultimately it’s up to you what to fix and when, of course.

    P.S. Though you could make the nails shorter and thus have somewhat more or less believable picture both when Tom uses fists and when he uses fingertips.

    P.P.S. Also, karate chop should probably be named “knife hand”, though there you have to choose between using a well known phrase that is associated with an unrelated martial art and a proper name that is less well known. Tough decision too.


    I actually did go back and forth on the Karate chop thing…many edits later.

    I decided to leave it because 1) as you say more common and 2) Tom was a bit of a slacker in terms of discipline which is one reason he had stopped doing Tae Kwon do so I figured it might actually be in better character.

    I say this, having also made this decision after work on another book where the main character is much more serious about his Tae Kwon Do and still actively practices it.

    Of course it now sounds like I have a martial arts addiction for characters, but it’s really on 2 characters in two “worlds” out of about 6 book universes I’ve got in process…


    ETA of this other book?
    Details of this other book?


    That’s a question I’m debating.

    It’s a shorter book, and less complex in terms of the world and politics. It’s also about 75% of the way done for volume 1. I wrote it as an alternative, more purposefully serialized book style like so many ebooks are (targeting the $1.99-$2.99 range)

    Originally it was going to be the next one out, but DoA has done reasonably well and there’s now a built in audience for book II and I’ve promised that for year end. I’m not sure if I want to take the time out from DoA II to finish up the other book. However, I know the slippery slope there is, that as soon as DoA II is out, the same pressure will be back for DoA III…so if any of the other “pent up” 2/3-3/24 written books I have waiting need to get out at some point.

    So right now, I’m on a full time contract (programming/architecture) and I have no idea when that’s going to end (I had an end date of mid July…but they aren’t going to be done by then) If my time frees up, I’m going to be writing like mad (and cash) if it doesn’t, I need to chose, and would probably put DoA II first.

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