Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Heads-Up Re Several Things

As I've already posted, on Thursday, October 19, I'll join a number of other authors of Christian fiction in a "Scavenger Hunt." I had no idea what that represented until I participated in my first one. Instead of knocking on doors, you go from site to site, read the post there (which serves as an introduction to a bunch of authors), save the word that's appended at the end of the post, and go on to the next site. Further instructions are forthcoming.

Those who receive my newsletter have already been notified that from October 16-20 my novella, Rx Murder, will be available in Kindle format for the reduced price of 99 cents. After that, it goes back to its usual price. If you've already read it but have a friend who hasn't, I'd be pleased to have you recommend it.

By the middle of next month (perhaps earlier), I hope to have an audio version of my novella, Doctor's Dilemma, available for purchase. If you're into listening, rather than reading, or if you have a friend who is, consider this one.

In case you missed it, I did a guest blog yesterday on Suite T, the online vehicle of the Southern Writers Magazine. Here's the link. The title says it all, but I hope you read the whole post.

End of commercials, and of this blog post. No political rants. Nothing about baseball or football. Not even a comment on the weather. Just a heads-up for several things. You may now return to your regular activities. See you again soon.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Writing: Edits

A reader recently asked me to comment on the types of editing my novels go through. Happy to oblige.

SUBSTANTIVE EDIT (SOMETIMES CALLED MACRO EDIT): This is the “20,000 foot view” that looks at plot, hook, story arc…call it what you will. This is a second pair of eyes looking at your idea and making suggestions. In my novels, the macro edit has sometimes (not often) involved some simple changes. Other times it has suggested that I change some scenes or characters. I have had to change the sex, racial background, or other characteristics of the people involved—but the suggestions were good. A few times, I have written ten thousand words, only to be told that I really should go in another direction. I did…and it helped. Be choosy about seeking advice, but when it comes,  listen to it. 

COPY EDITING: This one corrects grammar, word selection, punctuation, and the hundred-and-one things that have slipped by the author. It’s sometimes called LINE EDITING, although technically there’s a difference—but don’t ask me to explain it here.  A good copy editor will also look for frequent use of some words, employment of “weak” words, and other things that the thought of correcting will cause a writer to tear his/her hair out and say things they didn’t learn in Sunday School. A good copy editor is worth his/her weight in gold. But caution—a bad copy editor may try to rewrite your story in their voice. That’s when an agent can speak to your editor about the assignment of that editor. Of course, if you're indie, you're on your own. Again, choose wisely and well.

PROOFREADING: This is typically done after galley proofs have been set. When I have had my work published by a conventional publisher, typically I get the galleys while at the same time a proofreader is reading through their set. A good proofreader may also pick up errors the copy editor didn’t find. And--getting tired of this?--if you're an indie author, this is up to you as well.

There are other types of edits, depending on how you classify them, but these three are essential. Do you have other questions about publishing? Let me know, and I’ll try to address them.

Tweet with a single click: “A brief view of the types of editing every novel should go through.”

Note: On October 19, I will join 23 other authors in a Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt. This will be one of the sites. Go to each site, read the brief post by an author that site hosts, then gather the “secret word.” There are prizes at the end of the hunt for fortunate entrants. You’ll get full directions when the hunt starts. It runs through October 22.

In the meantime, watch for a post from me about a time limited reduction in the price of one of my novellas from October 16-20. Just a heads-up.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Busy, busy, busy

For those who might be interested, I've had a busy time the past few weeks. I started to say it culminated in a wedding we celebrated this past Friday, but that's not totally true. We're still busy. Grandma has been caring for two young ladies and two dogs while the happy couple is on their honeymoon, while I've been trying to get a few things done around the house, including finalizing the offer of a reduced price on one of my novellas, listening to and approving the narration of another novella, and finishing up participation in a multi-author Christian Fiction Scavenger Hunt coming up. Oh, and I've been working on revisions for my soon-to-be-published novella, Surgeon's Choice. I plan to publish that one sometime around the end of the year.

I'll try to keep you posted on all these events, either through this blog or my newsletter. If you haven't signed up to receive the newsletter, then click here and get it going right now. The next newsletter will go out in less than two weeks, and will have details about the time-limited reduced price on one of my three novellas. You've already read my novellas? Then prepare to pass the offer on to friends, together with your endorsement. Thanks. End of commercial.

As I write this, they're predicting record-breaking high temperatures today, followed by a dramatic drop tomorrow. Welcome to Texas in the "fall." Don't know whether to wear shorts or jeans tomorrow. We'll see.

My post on Friday will answer a question that was raised by a reader about the types of editing. Meanwhile, putting down all this has left me tired. I think I'll rest now. See you in a few days.

Tweet with a single click. "Think all a writer does is write?"

Friday, October 06, 2017

Writing: Advice For Authors

This is an update of a post I put up about a year ago. Interestingly, it's still valid. See what you think.

Some time ago, author Michelle Gagnon,published what she considered to be the worst advice a newly published writer could receive. Remember these "dos and don'ts" are her opinion, not mine, but I thought it would be interesting to share some of the negative ones, with my own comments appended:

1. Send a quirky mass mailing to every independent bookstore
-Bookstore managers get so many of these, they fill a wastebasket twice a week.

2. Flog that book on the social networks like it’s a half-dead mule carrying twice its body weight up a mountain.
-Many of the people on these networks are other authors flogging their own books. A grand total of 4% of book purchases are credited to Facebook and Twitter.

3. Hire a publicist

 -Michelle’s experience was a disaster. Unless you have the cash to hook up with a serious promotional firm (five figures), it’s a waste.

I agree with the first on the list, but I'd amend it to say it IS worthwhile to make the acquaintance of the people who talk with customers every day, just not in that way. These people can go a long way toward getting the word out about your writing. And cookies or similar foods for the break room are always appreciated.

The second admonition brings up what I've heard called the 30/70 rule of social network posting: mention your book in 30% of posts, but devote the other 70% to subjects that will interest your readers and let them know you better. I don't know where the 4% figure of book sales attributed to social networks comes from, but I'm pretty sure the true figure is low.

My reaction to the third one will vary, depending on 1) how much marketing effort your publisher is willing to put into your novel (if you get a conventional contract), 2) the experience and performance of the publicist. Thus far I've been fortunate in #1, so I have no experience in #2, but I have my eye on a couple of potential winners if it comes to choosing one.

So there they are. What would you add as the worst advice an author can receive?

Note: I'm away from the computer for a family wedding, so I won't be responding. But feel free to comment. Just keep it nice. See you next week.

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

It's fall...I mean, summer...I mean...

Here in North Texas, the average temperature for October should be in the 70's, the weather guessers--I mean, forecasters--tell us. But as I sit here and write this, I can look back at recent days where the temperature was in the 90's. If this is fall, it's not typical.

What are your indicators for fall? Do you look forward to Halloween (or Fall Festival, if your church calls it that)? Is Thanksgiving the official start of fall for you? Does getting down the jackets and sweaters mean that fall has finally arrived? Don't go by what the stores display, though. Some of our local establishments are already putting our Christmas stuff.

I'll be away from the computer today and Friday, so I won't respond. But don't let that stop you from leaving a comment. And play nice.