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Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

As if learning the craft of writing a novel isn’t difficult enough, after it’s finished you’ll need to edit it. If you’re going to be traditionally published, you’ll probably work with an editing staff to make your work marketable.

But before it gets to that point, you have to get it past the slush pile – that means doing a lot of self-editing first.

Of course, you may choose to go the indie author route and self-publish. No need to rise out of a slush pile, just a need to catch a reader’s eye out there in the big world. Sounds pretty simple.

But before you catch a reader’s eye (and you want to make a good impression, yes?), you need to have a great story – that means doing a lot of self-editing and perhaps hiring a professional as well.

No matter what you do, if you want to be read and have those readers give you great reviews, spread the word and buy your other books, you have to face the red pen. You must edit your manuscript.

Thankfully there are many resources available to help from blogs to books to videos. Here are 11 resources that will make editing just a little easier on you.

  1. Editing Your Novel: High Level Story Read Through by Joanna Penn – In this video, with transcript, Joanna explains some of the process she went through editing her first draft of Pentecost from weaving in back story to checking for consistency.
  1. A Perfectionist’s Guide to Editing: 4 Stages by Jami Gold – In this blog post Jami narrows our focus from revising the big picture to nailing down those pesky words that need to be just a little stronger.
  1. Proofreading & Editing Tips: A compilation of advice from experienced proofreaders and editors – This article is just what it says, a list of tips from general proofing to content editing.
  1. Copy-Editing And Beta Readers by Joanna Penn – In this blog post Joanna shares how she worked with beta readers and what benefits she found from their feedback.
  1. No Really: Kill Your Clichés by Leslie Wilson – This blog post takes a humorous look at how clichés can hurt your writing.
  1. Do You Copy? Tips on Copy Editing Your Own Work by Janice Hardy – In this blog post Janice shares several concrete examples of common problems such as tense issues, parallel series difficulties and ambiguous pronouns.
  1. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty – In this book Mignon helps writers understand complex grammar concepts by using simple examples and memory devices.
  1. 10 Actions You Can Take to Improve Your Proofreading by Randall Davidson – This blog post is rather on the nose with simple tips that include slowing down, reading out loud and asking for help.
  1. 10 Grammar Rules You Can (and Should!) Ignore! By Tracy O’Connor – In this blog post Tracy gives us permission to break those “hard and fast rules” like split infinitives and ending a sentence with a preposition… only when it makes the writing sound natural, of course.
  1. A Good Edit Would’ve Fixed That by April Hamilton – In this blog post April gives several concrete examples of how to fix problems such as using internal monologue for omniscient exposition.
  1. 5 Essential Tips on Self-Editing by Catherine Ryan Hyde – In this blog post Catherine reminds writers to use spell check, but don’t rely on it, as well as four other very useful tips.

Editing is unavoidable and can be painful, but it doesn’t need to be impossible. These are only a few of the resources I’ve found. What about you? What resources and tips have you picked up as you’ve gone through the editing process?

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The road to publication is filled with pain and tears… bloodshed… mayhem…. I’m being melodramatic here. Of course, that could just be that I’ve recently read several posts about how painful the publication process can be and how difficult it is to write good fiction. Here’s a small sampling:


“This is literally years of work you’re seeing. And hours and hours of work each day. The amount of time and energy I put into marketing is exhausting. I am continuously overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do that isn’t writing a book. I hardly have time to write anymore, which sucks and terrifies me.” — Amanda Hocking’s post Some Things That Need to Be Said


“When it comes to traditional publication, at times, it may feel like the journey is filled with one root canal and subsequent infection after another. We know what’s coming—the long waits, the rejections, the stinging feedback. We’ve heard others talk about it, we brace ourselves for it, but then when it comes we’re unprepared for how much it really hurts.” — Jody Hedlund’s post Enduring the Pain in the Quest for Publication


“I’ve been blogging for a little over three years. I’ve been writing fiction since … well, pretty much since I could write. My blog posts are read by thousands of people. Only 1% of the fiction I’ve ever written has been published. Fiction is incredibly hard to do well.” — Ali Luke’s post Why Fiction is So Hard to Write



Admittedly, I’m picking on these blogger/authors, but it’s only because these posts spotlight the prevailing problem I’m seeing amongst writers, both new and not-so-new. We’ve picked up the bad habit of looking at the challenges, the hardships, and forgetting the real reason behind why we write. Most of us write because we can’t stop writing. We may ask, “Is it time to just give it up?” as JM Tohlin did before finally publishing The Great Lenore, but when it comes down to brass tacks we simply are unable to.

There’s about as much choice in sitting down to craft a story as there is in breathing.

The fact is, yes, getting published traditionally is hard and being self-published can mean hard work (unless you’re JA Konrath). But here’s another fact: dwelling on how hard it is doesn’t get the story written. It’s time we dragged ourselves out of the pit of despair, step down from our high horses, and get to work.

So in the spirit of moving forward, here’s 4 great links to help get you in the groove:

  1. Opportunity Comes in Overalls by Kristen Lamb: She’s a social media expert with a sharp sense of humor who seems to know just when we need a kick in the pants and that’s exactly what she gives us in this post.

  2. A Perfectionist’s Guide to Editing: 4 Stages by Jami Gold: Jami’s a paranormal author on a deadline battling the imp of perfection, something many of us are doing, and gives us 4 great ways to ignore and use our inner perfectionist.

  3. Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris: This book is a plotter’s dream (and can help pantser’s too 😉 ) as it gives easy to use steps in developing a novel from the first spark of an idea to the finished product.

  4. Hooked by Les Edgerton: This book is the simplest guide I’ve found thus far on how to fashion a beginning that’ll keep ’em reading to the end.



What other ways have you found to pick yourself up and find that forward momentum you lost?

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Sorry folks, but this cold virus is really causing havoc here, so I’ve decided to do you all a favor (read: not write anything in gibberish as that seems to be how I’m speaking today :P) and repost Improve Your Writing with these Editing Tips by Dustin Wax. He’s got some great advice I think we can all use, especially if you’re a DIY-er.

Improve Your Writing with these Editing Tips

Teachers, business people, and just about everyone else it seems complain often and loudly that people today (usually “kids today”) don’t know how to write. I’m convinced, though, that a big part of the problem (perhaps the biggest part of the problem) is that people don’t know how to edit. We labor under the notion that good writing flows easily from the pen or typing fingers, and that editing too much will “kill” our work.

The best writers know differently, of course — their memoirs and biographies and writing manuals are filled with stories of books that needed to be cut in half to be readable, sentences that took weeks or months to get just right, and lifetimes spent tinkering with a single work that never strikes them as “just right”. To paraphrase a common saying among writers, there is no good writing, only good re-writing.

But if writing isn’t taught well enough or often enough these days, editing is hardly taught at all. This is too bad, since editing is where the real work of writing is at. More than just proofreading, good editing improves the clarity and forcefulness of a piece. Here’s some tips and tricks to help you make your writing more effective:


read the rest of his post, with all the great tips and tricks here.

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Death and taxes, the two unavoidables in life. Thankfully there are people and web sites out there to help us slot all those numbers in the correct places on the correct forms and keep us from having to visit with a friendly IRS agent because we’ve gotten “creative” with the numbers. Here are 7 links to help you understand how to do your taxes:

  1. The IRS — this one seems rather obvious. It’s their forms, their rules, so it makes sense to check out their site for answers to our questions.

  2. Tax Advice for Writers by Bonnie Lee — simple to read and easy to understand with a great section on hobby-loss information

  3. A Fool And Her Money — depending on when you’ve started getting your tax-related material together, The Money Book may be more helpful for next year’s tax season, but it’s a resource worth investing in

  4. Tax Tips for Writers a guest post by Jessica Monday — more information on what can be used as a deduction including what can happen when you sell your house

  5. Tax Tips for Writers Freelance Income Reporting by Rachel Campbell — includes information on deductions and what forms writers need to fill out

  6. Tax Tips for Freelancers by Julian Block — a short, but excellent article on bad-debts that can’t be deducted

  7. Taxes and The Writer by Daniel Steven — information on accounting methods, types of income and forms, as well as another list of deductions

Doing taxes can be frightening and overwhelming, not to mention disappointing if you have to pay instead of getting a nice refund, but it’s unavoidable on The Road to Writing.

I’d love to hear from all of you. Besides checking with a good tax accountant, what other tips do you have for doing taxes?

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Publisher’s Weekly has announced that they will begin “showcasing” self-published books in a “special” quarterly supplement — for a price. That price includes only a listing and brief book description, no review unless you’re one of the few the staff deems “worthy.”

Worthy? I’ve read plenty of highly acclaimed traditionally published books that I found unworthy of the paper they were printed on. A book’s worth is in the mind of the reader and I don’t like someone telling me what’s worth my time (which is why I seldom pay attention to reviews). This new “acceptance” of self-publishing by Publisher’s Weekly is no better than a back-handed compliment.

Yet, maybe Independent Authors are asking for it.

It’s well known that there is no love loss between Independent Authors and traditionally published authors, but there is one thing I don’t see amongst traditionally published authors that is rampant among indie authors. They don’t quibble over how a book is produced. Among indie authors there is hot debate (and a lot of derogatory words flung from both sides) over whether a POD author can be considered self-published or not.

Who cares?! Isn’t it the quality that matters? Crap is crap regardless of whether you’re a self-published author, POD author or traditionally published author and readers know that. Perhaps if Independent Authors — ALL INDEPENDENT AUTHORS — would stop bickering over whose method is better and start doing a better job of producing a high quality product we would gain the respect our hard work deserves instead of being told by someone else that we have to pay to be included in a second-class supplemental with no guarantees of being reviewed.

I say it’s high time all Independent Authors stand together and march forward with quality products in hand on The Road to Writing.

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Great information abounds on the internet, but it can be difficult to find unless someone leaves a “signpost” for you pointing the way. Here are seven links that can help you in your pursuit of your writing career.

  1. Writing in the Face of Fear — This post covers ways to overcome every writer’s fear of writing and adds a few good resources for the writer’s toolbox.

  2. When It’s All Too Much — Sometimes self-publishers, especially those new to the field, find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer volume of “helpful” advice. This post points out that there is a need to take a break and just let the process take care of itself.

  3. 5 Self-Publishing Lessons I Learned From My Toddler — With great posts come great comments. This post gave several readers some helpful ideas.

  4. 7 Ways to Stop Feeling Distracted and Start Writing What You Want to Write — This is a great post by Joanna of Confident Writing. The title says it all.

  5. 7 Links That Will Make Editing Your Work Easier — Every writer knows editing is crucial, but sometimes we need a little help in the process. This post lists seven links that will do just that.

  6. Beating the Clock — Time is a scarce commodity, but there are ways to manage it. This post gives a couple of ideas and some advice on how best to manage your time.

  7. Deaf With Belief — If writers need anything, it’s encouragement. This post encourages self-publishers to believe in themselves regardless of what anyone else says.

There are always great posts out there, but sometimes you can’t find them. That’s why I like to leave signposts like these links for you on The Road to Writing.

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It’s amazing, being a mother of a toddler, how much this little girl has taught me in just the 1 1/2 years she’s been with us. What’s even more amazing is that many of those lessons can be applied to self-publishing.

Lesson #1: Anything worth doing takes time. My daughter has been a little slow in using “big people” words, until recently. In fact, up until a few days ago, she would refuse to say words we knew she knew how to say. I can only guess the reason behind it was she wanted to be sure she could say it right before putting it out there for everyone to hear. In self-publishing,  throwing your work out to the general public before you’ve refined it to its best is a very bad decision. It’s bad for sales, bad for your reputation and bad for other self-publishers’ reputations. If you think it’s worth publishing, then take the time to do it well.

Lesson #2: Learn to have patience, with yourself and those around you. Tiny Tot, as we affectionately call her, can throw some of the best tantrums when she loses patience with a toy that isn’t doing exactly what she wants. She’s actually lost patience with herself, not the toy. Thankfully, Grandma has helped her cope with those moments by teaching her to tell herself that it’s okay, with a little patience she’ll be able to do what she is trying to do. (We now hear her repeating “okay” to herself on those occasions.) As a self-publisher, you want to make it all happen right now, but that’s not the way it works. It takes time to build a fan base, time to build your email list. Everything takes time and that’s okay.

Lesson #3: Sometimes it helps to explain what you’re doing. Refilling a sippy cup of milk used to cause a melt-down. She was getting what she wanted, more milk, but she didn’t understand what had to happen to get it. Since we began explaining each step as we do it we’ve managed to avoid those tantrums. I’ve found gathering support for my self-publishing venture easier to gain when I explain exactly what it is I’m doing along the way.

Lesson #4: If you’re having a hard time making anything do what you want, take a nap (or at least a break). When my little girl starts throwing tantrums over the smallest things, a piece of paper she can’t fit into a bottle or the opening of the freezer instead of the refrigerator (she’s still working on how to make her wants known), I know it’s time for some downtime, be it a nap or just a drink and some quiet rocking time with Mama. I understand where she’s coming from because when I get tired and/or frustrated with a project I know it’s time for a break — or to go to bed when I’m burning the midnight oil. Coming back to a project refreshed means being able to look at it from other angles and maybe finding a solution I didn’t see before.

Lesson #5: You can do anything you set your mind to so long as you believe in yourself. Tiny Tot has done some things I didn’t think she’d be able to. For example, at eleven months old she said her first (and only to date) complete sentence. She asked her Grandma, “Can I do that?”, meaning she wanted to help Grandma re-load the dishwasher. If her Grandma and one of her aunt’s hadn’t also heard her say it, I would have believed my mind was playing tricks on me. She didn’t know she wasn’t supposed to be able to do that, but she did it. Self-publishing can be like that. There are a lot of experts who say you can’t do better than break even by self-publishing; however there are people doing just that. In fact, it’s said that self-published fiction books (especially in eBook form) are the least likely to be purchased and yet Independent Authors like Joe Konrath are doing quite well. These people have been told they “can’t” do what they’re doing. They just don’t accept that they “can’t.”

I’m glad I’ve taken the time to get to know my little girl because she’s given me some wonderful tips. Listening to what my toddler teaches has made my life, and my self-publishing career, a richer experience on The Road to Writing.

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