I am now semi-retired, aiming for full retirement by December 2015.
There will be no more posts.
I am now semi-retired, aiming for full retirement by December 2015.
There will be no more posts.
My latest printer is making me much too happy. Do I need therapy?
It began before I started Kindergarten. Pencils, crayons, paper. I graduated to lined notebooks, erasers, pens. I even loved calculators. Office supply stores are my favourite/favorite places to haunt. I like the smell of file folders and markers. When I got my first computer I thought I was in paradise. My two laptops are computers four and five and I am now on my fifth printer.
Is there a twelve step program?
I find it fascinating how easily and naturally we slip into recap mode as a year on the calendar winds down. We reevaluate, take stock and look back at what has worked and what hasn’t and we begin pondering our options, rethinking decisions and choices. There are definite phases and passages to life.
For me the last several years have been about attracting new clients and the emphasis has been on growth. It has been fun and exciting in the fast lane.
My GPS is re-calculating
A few unexpected, serendipitous events have helped me to realize that I want more time for friends and family. Relationships, both on a personal and a professional level, have risen to the top of my priority list. Quality is more meaningful than quantity.
The importance of balance
I find that I want to concentrate on better serving existing clients. I also need time for other things and for people who have been neglected. Life needs to look different in 2014. When I feel restless it is an indication that it is time to expand some things and rein in others.
This is going to be a year of transition
How are you approaching 2014? Is there a course correction on your horizon?
Unless you are ‘of a certain age’ you will not relate to Guy Lombardo’s orchestra playing Auld Lang Syne. You may even have to be Canadian. I sat with my parents on many a New Year’s Eve and listened to the old year ushered out to this tune. Out with the old.
Everybody and his uncle is writing books and self-publishing. While it is exciting to be able hold your own book in your mitts it will be expensive to get to that point and it is a gamble. Don’t kid yourself. The odds against you being able to recover your costs, let alone turn a profit, are astronomical. You need to know that. You need to be prepared to deal with that, and absorb the loss if you are determined to brave the fray.
Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose
Thousands of new books hit the market every single day. The market is saturated. If you want to stand a chance of success you must invest. It is imperative, however, that you not invest your retirement funds or education savings. Don’t put your nest egg into the self-publishing basket.
NEVER count on book sales to bring you income.
Counting the cost
There are things on which you dare not scrimp. Once your book is up on Amazon you will have a difficult time recovering from a dreadful first impression, although I know authors who have managed to do it by pulling the book down, having it edited and releasing it again with a new cover. With all of the additional costs involved. But those success stories are rare. The fickle reading public will not buy twice from a writer with substandard work, and they post bad reviews, too.
Cover art, editing, PR coaching/marketing, technical assistance
Editing is not optional. I am not saying that because I am an editor. The quality of English knowledge and usage is deteriorating and you may believe you have written a manuscript which is error free. Please believe me, you haven’t. Don’t assume you have “dumbed down” readers who won’t notice. Don’t insult your audience and don’t set your standards that close to the ground.
Cover art is your greatest selling tool and it has to be top-notch. I have seen some covers with lousy drawings and graphic design and I scratch my head and say, “Are you serious?”. Don’t get a friend or neighbor or computer geek to do this for you. Hire professionals with a proven track record.
Know this: 100% of the marketing and publicity is your responsibility. You must attract attention, do interviews (yes, even radio and TV) and connect with people who can help you make this happen. You will need to devote at least half of your time to marketing. Even big publishing houses are leaving more and more of this to the authors. You are on the hook. It all is riding on you.
If you cannot figure out how to upload your PROPERLY FORMATTED work to Smashwords, Kobo, Apple, Amazon and others then you must hire people who can. I know a handful of authors who have sweated this out successfully, but most cannot or simply don’t want to. (Hint: Don’t expect your editor to do this. I can’t, nor do I want to pull time from my field of choice to do the technical stuff.)
Try publishing the smallest run possible through outfits such as Lulu and see how well you do at lining up your own launches and book signings. Find out if you really have what it takes to market yourself aggressively.
Manage your own Amazon account
Know how to check your stats, your royalties, know the tax laws in the countries you market to. Yes, you will have to answer to their revenue people. Unless you have an agent or a manager who can oversee this for you, you are on your own.
Freelance individuals or full-service companies
I am a freelance fiction editor. I edit. That is all I do. If you are hiring individuals for every specialty (I can’t believe I am about to say this) you may not be making the best use of your dollar. You can find full-service businesses which provide editing, cover design, formatting and uploading to multiple marketing venues.
Beware of any person or business which guarantees success
There is not a person alive who can promise you success. In fact, the truth is that you are unlikely to recover your investment costs.
We all post platitudes on Facebook about chasing your dreams, never giving up, not becoming discouraged, not letting others rain on your parade. The philosophy is positive, but may not be realistic. If your self-esteem is riding on this venture please pull out now.
While not abandoning our dreams, we must also guard against having stars in our eyes. ~ Wendy
Our culture has been infected with a disease of distortion, what I’m calling “End-of-the-Rainbow-Thinking.” We can all be guilty of this. We see the mega-best-selling-indie, the New York Times best-selling author, the successful small business, the guy with the big house or the family who lives debt-free and we scope-lock on the end result as if this “success” POOF! erupted from the ether.
Reality television superstars, fluke mega-advances for first-time authors, and lottery-winners only reinforce this Get-Successful-Quick-With-No-Effort-On-Our-Part mindset.
The Kardashian Konundrum
A couple days ago, I was checking out at the grocery store and there is an entire issue of a magazine devoted to Kim Kardashian. Why? What has she contributed other than fodder for the gossip mill? Yet, these are the role models that, whether we like it or not, can infect how we view ourselves, our goals and what we seek to accomplish.
We must be mindful to…
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I wish I had thought of this. This list will be a blessing to any author electing to utilize it. Yvonne Hertzberger is an excellent author, spinning yarns which wrap you up in their fabric and don’t let you go. Her approach to readying a novel for publication is just as thorough. Enjoy.
Guest post by Author Yvonne Hertzberger:
Recently I sent out my third Manuscript to my beta readers. I wanted to them to have some idea of what kind of feedback I would be looking for so I drafted some guidelines for them and sent them along with the manuscript. I never thought that this might be useful to more than my chosen victims. In the interest of thoroughness I also sent a copy to my editor, Wendy Reis. That lovely lady made some minor alterations and suggested others might benefit from my list. So, here they are. Thank you Wendy for nudging me on this. I hope my writer friends find it useful.
GUIDELINES FOR BETA READERS:
If you find yourself unable to complete this in the time I need you can let me know. I will understand, so don’t be concerned if you have to turn me down. I am sending this ahead of time so that if you cannot do this I will know and can approach other readers instead. In the meantime, thank you so much for offering to do this. You will never know how valuable this is to me.
When you come across something in the manuscript that needs to be looked at please take down the page number, and paragraph so I can find the spot.
Please keep track of everything in a word doc (preferred) or email format so you can send it to me via email as an attachment. (Or in the body if no Word doc.)
WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR:
1: Awkward sentences – anything you feel the need to read twice, or just doesn’t read smoothly.
2: Places where the pace is off or bogging down – where it gets slow and boring.
3: Grammar, spelling and punctuation errors.
4: Where would you like to see more description.
5: Where would you like to see more dialogue or tension.
6: Anything that just doesn’t work for you.
Please be as specific as you can, especially as to location of the problem. I want honest feedback. I promise I will not be offended. If something bothers you it is likely to bother other readers as well. I will not promise to use all your suggestions but I will take them seriously. This part of the process is very important. Your honest input will make this a better book.
Thank you all again.
Stratford Authors article about Yvonne
Back From Chaos Book One of the Earth’s Pendulum series
Through Kestrel’s Eyes Book Two of the Earth’s Pendulum series
Watch for Book Three, The Dreamt Child launching January 18 2014
I see dozens of authors posting their daily word count on Facebook. I understand the sense of accomplishment and I know the precarious perch of self worth on which most authors are balancing. But volume is not necessarily productivity. Quality over quantity.
Independent authors usually have day jobs. There are mortgage and car payments, daycare, food, utilities…red ink. It is easy to hope you can get by without professional editing, but if you ask a few who have done it and then had to eat crow while pulling their books down and reloading them after an edit, you can grasp the fact that you are much better off to do it right the first time. Which does cost money.
Please fix this permanently in your mind. Every word you use is a cent you spend. It doesn’t matter if your editor charges by the hour or by the word. Tightening up writing consumes time. If your editor has to do it for you, it will show on the bottom line. I charge a cent per word of your original word count. I just did a 2000 word sample edit in which I deleted over 500 dead-weight words. See what I mean?
Readers become bored quickly. Keep the action moving along. Don’t waste time and space with inner dialogue and musings in your characters. This is not a journal or diary. Don’t get bogged down in flowery descriptions. If it is not critical to the plot the fashion commentary is just so much bilge. Details about decor are superfluous. Keep it simple.
You work hard for your money.
“If I pay with my life, you will pay with yours.”
Defense Attorney Bryan Lexan may have just taken on the case which will cost him his life. When his client, a Russian mafia boss, is convicted of first-degree murder, he vows to make Bryan pay.
Meanwhile, Jessica Pratt has always prided herself on being a modern woman–you know, the kind who doesn’t need a man to make her feel complete. So when she finds herself torn between two, she realizes that not all decisions are based on facts. If they were, her boyfriend, Bryan, would be the logical choice. He has the family name, wealth, and a stake in a successful law firm. Only thing is, when she meets Mason Freeman, the chemistry between them is irrefutable and he won’t take no for an answer.
With both of them caught up in a struggle for survival, and a powerful enemy on their heels, they’ll need to decide where their loyalties lie.
What reviewers are saying:
“Carolyn Arnold…continues the trend of writing exciting stories that keep your attention throughout…Life Sentence is a thriller all the way…Arnold never disappoints.”
—Barb, The Reading Cafe
“Though unique in her own right, author Carolyn Arnold is a masterful blend of such greats as Shirley Jackson (horror), Joseph Finder (thrills), and Janet Evanovich (humor and romance). Life Sentence is powerful and gripping, with so many twists and turns it left me gasping…”
—Betty Dravis, Award-winning Author and Journalist
Get your copy now at one of these fine retailers.
Available in E-Book or Print formats.
Sony & Diesel to follow
CAROLYN ARNOLD’s writing career was born when a co-worker said “tell me a story”. From there what had started off as a few paragraphs grew into her first full length novel—LIFE SENTENCE. Her writing has been compared to New York Times Bestsellers such as JD Robb, Mary Higgins Clark, Sue Grafton, Michael Connelly, Tess Gerritsen, and more. She is the author of the best-selling Madison Knight series, and Brandon Fisher FBI series. Carolyn was born in 1976 in Picton, Ontario but currently lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband and two beagles.
Connect with Carolyn online:
Why is it that often the least qualified to cast stones will write devastating reviews or malicious and slanderous blog posts which disembowel writers who are hoping to make it in an overcrowded marketplace?
These venomous creatures seem oblivious to the fact that they can, indeed, be charged with lible. Bent on destruction, they lob grenades at people for no apparent reason except jealousy.
There have been fake review scandals, and seeding the review cloud does happen, but do your homework before launching a diatribe against specific authors. Contact them directly, contact the people you think may have unfairly praised their work, practice good journalism, ask specific questions, do the research, get the facts. That is what takes courage. Anything less leaves you looking like a raging lunatic. A rank amateur with a chip on your shoulder. You do not elevate yourself with this tripe. Rabid attacks are cowardly.
People desperate enough to sink to personal attacks on character rather than a rational critique of the comparative merits of a writer’s work reveal alarming things about their own psyches. Give the writer something to which he or she can actually respond. Knives in the back to not deserve any attention whatever.
This was posted on Facebook by author Lacey Weatherford, USA Today Best Selling Author, this morning, Saturday, July 13, 2013
I am blogging it, verbatim, with permission and gratitude.
Editing. It can be such a touchy subject. First off, let me clarify. Yes, I believe all authors should spend the money and take the time to have their book professionally edited. It’s an investment that can largely pay off in the long run, and can make the reading experience much more pleasant for both the AUTHOR and the READER.
However, there are many new authors in publishing today that can’t afford to pay for a professional edit. Unfortunately, many, many, new authors—myself included, with some of my earlier work—paid what they could to editors in their price range, usually a price ranging anywhere from $200-$600. Believe me, when starting out, that seems like an outrageous sum to pay. Now, after having my first series edited FOURTEEN different times, by FOURTEEN different editors, I STILL receive bad reviews stating what a terrible author I am, and how horribly my books are edited.
You know what? They ARE badly edited!! BUT it’s not because I didn’t try to get them perfected. I paid for what I could afford at the time, and sadly, most editors available in that price range are going to be more on the order of proof readers. They are people who are usually pretty good at catching errors, or have some sort of English education, and they feel they can do a good job as an editor, so they start up a business. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying anything bad about these editors. I’m only saying that having the title of editor doesn’t mean one has a degree in it. However, after fourteen edits, I’m thousands of dollars in the hole, and still without my one of my bestselling series being properly edited—which is why my current editor is redoing them for me—one last time.
What irritates me is, despite my success and the fact that I now pay THOUSANDS of dollars for each of my books to be professionally edited up to Chicago Manual of Style guidelines, I still get reviews from readers calling my NEW professionally edited books UNEDITED.
Granted these reviews are few and far between—most reviewers comment on how nice it is to read a well-edited book. However, as I look around, I see reviews on many other author’s pages stating the same thing. Some of those books I’ve read, and they were edited very well, other’s I haven’t, so I can’t speak to them. The point is, when it comes to editing, everyone has a different opinion, or they follow different rules and styles. I have YET to see one of my fifteen editors edit in the same style as another one, and each one has tried to “teach” me conflicting rules.
If you’re reading a book and you don’t agree with the way something is done grammatically, it doesn’t mean it’s not right according to a different rule somewhere else. My current editor spends HOURS researching anything she has a question on in the Chicago Manual of Style. She is ALSO a member of an elite discussion board of editors who help her find answers to more difficult questions. She takes SIX WEEKS to edit each of my books and ONLY EDITS MY BOOK in that six weeks. I receive a 1st edit, a 2nd edit, a 3rd edit, for BOTH CONTENT AND GRAMMAR, followed by a repeated word edit, then a final edit, which is THEN SENT OFF to ANOTHER EDITOR for a PROOFREAD, and when it’s returned, the FINAL read through is done by my editor, and sent to me for publication.
Does this mean my manuscript is perfect? NOPE!! Why? Because we are human, and humans make errors—not to mention the fact that after writing, reading, and rereading a manuscript a billion times, the brain starts seeing/comprehending things the way it knows it SHOULD be. In spite of all that, my books are still bestsellers and carried by one of the biggest agents out there, who also has 30 years of editing experience in the business, has commended the writing style of my books, and has sold my manuscripts “as is” to traditional publishers.
PLEASE—don’t leave reviews on books saying they aren’t edited.
You have NO IDEA what the author has gone through to bring you that work!! Instead try something like, “According to what I’ve been taught,” or, “In my humble opinion, this book could use some editing,” or something like that. This will tell other readers you aren’t a professional, but you disagree with how it was done. I’ve seen other authors crucified by readers jumping on the bandwagon to proclaim a book horribly edited—when in fact, while it may have needed a little housecleaning, the story still read well. AGAIN—I’m not saying to overlook bad editing—all I’m saying is that MY EDITOR, and I’m sure many others, puts her blood, sweat, and tears into my books. You don’t have to like them—that’s fine. I’m a big girl, and I can live with reviews from people who hated my story, but please don’t trash/undermine the hard work of my editor. We both spend countless hours trying to put out amazing products for readers, trying our absolute best to give you error free projects.
It’s getting to the point where people can’t even type an error in a post on Facebook without being attacked by someone. It’s quite disheartening. They are WORDS, people. In the grand scheme of life, is it REALLY going to matter if someone said “its vs. it’s, or your vs. you’re?” I don’t think so. Better, I think, to treat people with kindness. And honestly, if something bothers you that badly, use the PRIVATE MESSAGE button to let an author know, instead of forming a public lynch mob to get them. Authors/editors are still people too, and despite how you liked their book, they deserve professional respect and decorum.
Never assume you know what is going on.
As always, I thank you for your support. You may feel free to disagree with me—that is YOUR RIGHT—sharing this is mine.
My WISH for EVERYONE: May only the books you LOVE find their way into your hands!! Ha ha
**I feel like I should give you a reward or something if you actually made it to the end of this!!
Just FYI: I do not have an English degree. ~ Wendy