“How’d I Miss That?” (Self-Editing)
Presented by: Kathryn Jane
Date: May 1 – 31, 2021
Pricing: A2P Member fee: $15
Non-A2P Member fee: $30
About the Workshop:
Sending to a contest? Sending to an agent? Sending to an editor? Self-publishing?
No matter where your words and pages are headed, they need to be the best they can possibly be, and that means self-editing. Yep, the initial cleanup is your job and that’s why self-editing skills are so darned important.
This workshop will provide you with all the tips and tricks I wish someone had shared with me.
About the Presenter:
Kathryn Jane, author, artist, and coach, loves to share her knowledge and experience in workshops designed to assist others in every stage of their publishing adventure. Her own career has included everything from short stories and novels, to multi-book series. Whether romantic suspense or the escapades of feral cats, Kathryn’s unique voice will take you on a journey rich with pitfalls on the way to the always promised happy ending.
This has been a challenging last couple of weeks. I don’t know where the time went. I’m going to keep this short. First, I want to thank Jann Ryan for the nice interview a couple of days ago. The timing is perfect. Her post summed up what I wanted to write about.
When Jann approached me about the interview, I was working on The Good Girl Part Trois. I was a little behind and didn’t finish it until a little later. Once I finished, a major problem occurred… an unexpected additional book in the series.
News of another book should be a good thing, and it is. But when you don’t have a cover, it becomes a problem.
When I wrote The Good Girl Part One, I quickly found a cover image I liked. While looking for a cover for The Good Girl Part Deux, I came up with this idea to use the other half of her face for book two. When placed side by side, you saw her entire face. Then another book happened. But I had a problem. I was writing another book and didn’t have a cover.
I tried not to panic at the thought of not having a cover. I figured it would all work itself out, because book four wasn’t coming out until summer. I forgot Jann was going to need the cover for her post. Oh crap! I was on borrowed time. My immediate response was to wait until I released book four and change the covers for the first three books in the series. I figured I’d do a special promotion centered around the new covers. I had a plan. I didn’t say it was a good one, but it was a plan. I knew what I needed to do… redesign the series.
I found a new set of images and created a new set of covers. The new covers were nice, but I could never get the skin tone right. I submitted the new covers to one of my Facebook groups for feedback. I implemented the changes, but I couldn’t get the skin coloring right. These new covers were quickly becoming too much work. I reached out to a couple of my author friends, and they gave me some very good feedback. One even sent me a photo suggestion. I used it to troll depositphotos.com searching for similar images. Within a few hours, I had images I liked, which could easily be tweaked.
This may not sound like a big deal for most authors, but it is for me. I haven’t committed to custom images yet, so I try to find images I can tweak to look like African Americans or AA images that haven’t been overused.
The new covers for The Good Girl Series are very contemporary, which I love. They change the entire feel of the series. As much as I didn’t want to change the covers, I knew it was for the better.
What do you think?
Old Covers – These were the first updates from 2018
See you next month.
Write Now! Workshop Podcast EPISODE 153I
Today’s guest is Marianne H. Donley, a writer who has worked with her writers group to put out several fiction anthologies over the last several years. She uses this experience as an example for her tips and suggestions for you if you’re thinking about getting some writers together and creating an anthology.
There are a lot of pieces and parts to consider if you want to put together a multi-author anthology. It takes far more time than you think it will, especially for whomever edits it. (Unless you hire out an editor, the best editor in your group is going to need to read every story and give notes where appropriate.)
You also will have to cover all the production items within your group, or decide how to pay for hiring it out – editing, cover design, formatting, etc. Someone will have to be in charge of the uploading – and under whose name will that be? That segues into the topic of money – will the costs come from one person or evenly from the group? And how will proceeds from sales be distributed? Or will you offer the book for free?
These are just a small sampling of the many issues Marianne helps us consider as she walks us through the process of creating an anthology. Here are links to some of the things she mentioned:
(may or may not still be in business)
The Book Designer
with Joel Friedland
Write Now! Workshop podcasts
The Indie Revolution is the most exciting innovation since Google; it’s more refreshing than the demise of the mullet. It’s such a grand opportunity! It’s so… democratic. Anyone with the passion and discipline to write down the stories that live in their head can offer their work to the world. There are no subjective, judgmental, economic barriers blocking the way. Every avid reader can troll the newest book offerings looking for that next great discovery. When I find a fresh new voice with an exciting sense of drama, fascinating characters and a unique tale to spin it’s like winning the lottery (at least I imagine it is, having never won myself).
And we all know what they say about opportunity—it’s something to make the best of. That’s why I am so amazed how many Indie books contain errors of the sort that any good set of editorial eyes would have found and corrected. It’s a message to me, the reader, that I’m not important enough to make the book right. Or worse, the author thinks so little of me that I’ll accept any error, that I won’t notice or care.
How can I not care when DCI Stewart, ruggedly attractive in a wry funny way (this narrative already has me considering Book Two) has just gone through XXI chapters of intriguing madness to finally find the decisive evidence and as he lifts the shredded ribbon from the debris of the broken vase he cries, “Waa La!”. What!? Waa La? I’m out of the moment now, jerked rudely from the mounting tension. DCI Stewart is no longer clever or ingenious; he’s an idiot. Give the poor man a “Viola!”. I can’t bear to look at any more.
It’s a different kind of awful when the whip smart heroine finally descends the grand staircase to face her treacherous half siblings and the room falls silent, “the rustling tool of her elegant gown the only sound”. This instantly conjures hysterically unintentional images. Yikes, it’s toile. I want to scream. The story has lost all credibility. I can’t get my reading mojo back. Why didn’t this author care?
It’s one thing to accept a typo or two, even a few missing prepositions are forgivable (just remember all those reviews that say it would have been a 4 star except for the typos) but it’s a lot to ask your audience to overlook faulty word choice, a change of voice in mid-chapter, a glaring hole in the timeline, a nonsensical plot point or character traits that shifts mid stream.
Such errors are forgivable in any draft—that’s where the author gets the story down and who cares if a character proclaims it’s a “mute point”. Under the fresh, critical eye of an editor it will become a moot point. This is the stage where an objective eye sees what the writer has missed by staring so long at the trees. Maybe the story arc lags, maybe the narrative or characters are inconsistent, a good editor and the writer can fix it. Doesn’t the writer want it perfect?
Indie publishing is such a golden opportunity and writing a good book requires so much personal investment to get to a good draft it’s sad how many writers just blithely publish, warts and all. Take the extra step and work with an editor. Your book and your readers are worth it. We editors can to save you from shooting yourself in the foot.
Tracy is busy today (and there will be no comments about Cino de Mayo and margaritas). While she’s away, she thought you might like to read a post from our archives. Why Self-Publishing was originally published on Jan 16, 2015.
This is the first question most Self-Published Authors are asked. However, what’s really going through the mind of the person asking is, “So you couldn’t get an agent or your work wasn’t up to snuff.” That’s so not true.
I’ve learned a lot on the road to becoming a self-published writer. First, I had an agent. A well-respected agent in the world of Christian Fiction. Let me preface this by saying, she knew my writing style. She’d read the first five chapters of my book. Actually, it was a different book. [That’s a story for another time.] She got my book to ‘Board.’ Two years later and I’m still waiting to hear if that publisher wants to move forward with my book. I think it’s safe to say, they passed on it.
I need to back up. I write what is classed as Edgy Christian Fiction. What is that you ask? ECF [Edgy Christian Fiction], is fiction with Christian themes. What makes it ‘Edgy’ is that it includes elements not common in traditional Inspirational or Christian fiction. In my books, that means the kisses are a little more passionate, there’s sex between the married couples, language with a little bite, lots of physical descriptions voiced by the characters, wine, talk about abortion, divorce, fornication, lust, not liking your in-laws and anything else that goes on in everyday life. The men are hot, the women are loaded with curves and both are quick to render their appreciation of the opposite sex.
As a Christian, I wanted to read stories about women who weren’t ashamed or embarrassed to express their feelings, with strong personalities and business owners. Let’s be real, when you’re sitting down with your girlfriends talking, you’re not talking in prose. No, you’re very descriptive in your comments on how amazing Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey, Johnny Depp or Daniel Craig looked in their last movie. So why not write stories from that POV.
I feel it’s a little difficult to convey to the reader the heroine’s attraction is to the hero by not being descriptive in this manner. Traditional Inspiration Fiction, the heroine’s feelings might be described with something like, ‘His thick black hair was beautiful blowing in the wind, brought a smile to her face.’ That’s nice, but in my world, it would have a little more umph, like, ‘She wondered how his thick black hair would feel brushing against her chin as he placed hot kisses along her neck.’ Or maybe, ‘When he kissed the back of her neck, she lost the ability to stand.” Statements like this aren’t necessarily acceptable CBA approved.
In my GENERATIONAL CURSE, I wanted to tell a story about a man who never turned down a drink or a woman. But when he hit rock bottom, he went cold turkey and fell in love with God. His priorities changed and he refused to let anyone or anything destroy that relationship. The heroine, is the complete opposite. She hasn’t had a relationship with God since she was a child. And even then it was more forced. Now as an adult, the only part of marriage she wants, is a married lover. She has no desire to be with a single available man. In her mind, a married man is less complicated. But she is intrigued by the hero and he her.
In order to tell the story, I had to take the reader on a journey with the heroine. I had to show how complicated and empty her life was by detailing her relationship with her married lover. I’m sure the story could have been told without the sex, but I don’t think it would have had the same impact. I don’t want to give too much away, but in the end it all makes sense.
So Why Did I Choose To Self-Publish? I wanted to tell the stories I wanted to read. I met an agent at a conference and she gave me two options: tell the story with the sex and no God or tell the story with God and no sex.
I wrestled with that statement for quite a while. But, I felt God had given me a great platform and I refused to back down. Also, I wanted covers and titles that were a little racy, another thing not really permitted in Inspirational or Christian Fiction.
So here I am, a newbie writer taking a chance writing stories with a little heat and taboo subjects. I know my style of book isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. For those willing to read something a little different, I think they’ll enjoy it.
Funny thing, a few weeks after I published my book, I got a LinkedIn request from my former agent. I’m still deciding if I should accept it.
That’s why I chose to self-pub.
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