Monday, March 26, 2012

Update Those Facebook Fan Pages!

On March 30th all fan pages switch to the new timeline design!

I don't love the new Facebook timeline design (maybe I just don't like change), but since I don't have a choice in the matter, I've changed over. Despite my lack of excitement in having to switch over, I still think fan pages are great, especially for e-book authors. After all, it's a great way to connect quickly with readers.

Here are my new pages: Saving Mary and The MotherHeart Conference

Here is a great article on why you need a Fanpage.

Keep building that platform!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Editing--Have I Learned Anything?

As I hand in my edited manuscript to my publisher, who will then turn it into a stunning E-book, I think to myself, What have I learned from all this editing? What gem stones of wisdom have I accumulated through this difficult process?

The most important thing I've learned is it is beneficial to you as a writer to personally choose your editor. Look over an editor's list of past books, find out their strengths...and their weaknesses. Have a dialogue with the potential editor (send them a sample of your work), and ask what kind of editing process the editor sees your book going through to get it fully edited. Don't let an editor be assigned to you by even a small publishing house, unless it's for the final line edit.

Why? Well, I have to say I've had editors assigned to me--thinking all editors were the same--but I immensely enjoyed working directly with an editor I stumbled upon for the final edit of Saving Mary. I worked alongside her and could, therefor, ask questions and pose solutions, and I learned a whole lot more about the process. I found out that we work rather good together. The process went smooth and somewhat quicker.

What else did I gain from editing a self-published book?

- I am now a better writer because I've polished my editing skills;
- I understand the importance of patience, taking projects step-by-step;
- I know to book massage appointments every week while in the editing process;
- I know what mistakes I tend to make;
- I know and understand my writing style.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Good Advice From An Editor

As we continue to polish our sample chapters for prospective agents, I thought it might be a good idea to take some advice from a busy editor herself. Below are some great pointers from Paula M. Prior of Homunculus Editing Services

Before submitting to an editor, it's always a good idea to self-edit, redraft, and read your finished text out loud. If you make the manuscript the best you can at this stage, it will undoubtedly save you money.

Bear in mind, editing is not just about catching errors. Obviously, that is a function of copy-editing, and of course even after editing you will need a proofreader to catch any lingering errors that may have slipped in during your corrections.

Many of the comments you receive will relate to point of view, narrative voice, pace, characterisation, word choice, cliches, pleonasms, tautologies, immediacy, focus, continuity of style, plot etc. These are probably the most important contributions an editor will make. Whilst editors should do their best to help you eliminate errors in your writing, their role is not at all the same as an advanced spell-checker.

So, to recap, make sure you've spelled your characters' names right (and done so consistently throughout); check your use of capitalisation and make sure it's consistent. If you are uncertain, flag it up alongside the text, or email your queries to your editor.

With all levels of editing, you should be prepared to do some rewriting. Sometimes it will be the odd line or paragraph, but more often than not it's entire scenes. Some books (even those that are in pretty good shape) may even require complete redrafting. The choice is always the writer's, but please keep in mind that an editor is not likely (except in very rare circumstances) to just give you a pat on the back and advise you to hurry and release your book.

The process, as we recommend it, should be:

1) First draft;
2) Wait a few weeks;
3) Read first draft; make notes; make revisions;
4) Wait a few weeks;
5) Read aloud (preferably to someone else); get feedback; make notes;
6) Make revisions
7) Read aloud (or at least read it again, checking for errors);
8) Send it to your editor;
9) Read the editor's comments; accept/reject corrections; make revisions;
10) Submit any redrafted passages (or the whole redrafted book) if you feel you still need editorial input (note: there is an additional cost for this service); or read your revised book.
11) Send to your beta readers; consider any advice and implement changes;
12) Read it again!
13) Send it to your proofreader.
14) Read it again!!!
15) Format and preview. Check proofs.
16) Publish.

You are encouraged to stay in contact with your editor throughout the editing of your work. S/he should happy to answer queries before, during, and after the edit. You should not be making any changes to the text whilst the editor is editing your manuscript. Re-submissions at this stage can lead to confusion. Make a note of whatever you want to change and implement/discuss it with him/her once s/he has finished with your manuscript.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Death by Editing -

They say misery loves company, and we all know they're right (whoever 'they' are). So right now, since I'm miserable--and I'm miserable because I'm still in the editing process even though I thought I was done--I feel akin to the many, many writers out there who are editing and/or polishing their manuscripts.

With that being said, I'd like to introduce fellow writer and guest blogger (and recent book winner) L.J. Stephens. Stephens has just finished the first draft of his Y.A. Urban Fantasy novel and is now heading into the editing stage. Of course, I feel elated for him, but I also feel something else--dread. After all, editing is hard work...emphasis on the word 'work.' But it's not impossible work, so let's return to the first word 'elated' and stay with it. Yes, I feel elated for L.J. Stephens as he moves into the editing stage because he is nearing the finishing line. I hear the crowd cheering already.

Death by Editing

I have been a writer all of my life. As a hobby since I was old enough to string words together, as a freelancer since 2008, and as a novelist since this weekend when I typed "The End" for the first time on a novel. I was ecstatic. It was 2 am and I can't tell you how hard it was to resist the temptation to wake up my wife and tell her the great news. That feeling stayed with me until I remembered that it was time to move on to the editing phase of the writing process. Don't get me wrong, I am still happy and proud of myself for finishing a novel (something that many people want to do, but not many actually follow through with), but even though I have accomplished something that I have always dreamed of doing, I realized that there was much more to my dream than simply "writing a novel." I don't just want to be a novelist, I want to be a published novelist, and that will require more work.

Whether I decide to self-publish my novel or start to submit to agents and publishers, my work will have to be as near to perfect as possible. The alternative is having a novel full of errors floating around the Internet or ruining my chances of signing with an agent or publisher after they've read it. The future of my novel, and my career, may depend on the editing that I'm doing now. No pressure, right? What makes this more difficult is that I am extremely impatient. (And a little lazy)

One of the things I learned through self publishing my short story is that editing is hard to do well. (Which is probably why there are people who get paid to do it.) I read through my short story, Just Enough, at least ten times, and still I found errors after it was published. And that was just 9600 words! Imagine how many errors could slip through in a novel length manuscript. Just the thought of an agent tossing my manuscript in the trash after too many typos makes my palms sweaty. I could hire an editor to look at it for me, which I will probably do anyway, but even professional editors can miss things and it is a good idea to self-edit even before you give it to a real editor. My thought is that the less errors there are when the editor gets it, the less likely something will slip through unnoticed. 

So, how do I make sure that I catch as many problems as possible before I release my manuscript out into the world? One piece of advice that I have gotten is to edit backwards. When you read through your work, it is all too easy for your eyes to glide smoothly over things like "are" instead of "our" or "then" instead of "than." I've also found that I sometimes see what I thought I wrote, and not what is actually on the page. But, by editing backwards, starting with the last sentence and working forward, your brain will not as easily forgive these small errors. I'm no pro, but it makes perfect sense to me.

With all of the pressure I have put on myself to have my novel perfect, how do I keep from staying in an endless loop of self editing? I can easily see myself struggling for years to try to get everything "just right." Where is the line between sending out my manuscript too soon and over editing, never allowing my novel to see the light of day? And how long will it take me to find that happy medium? We all know that writing is rewriting, but at some point I will have to put down the red pen. I just hope I don't do it too soon.

L.J. Stephens

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

February's winner of my book giveaway is Lawrence Stephens! He's walking away with the big book of agents. When contacted he had this to say about his awesome luck - "Wow. Really? I won? That is so freaking awesome on so many levels. I just got to type "The End" this weekend. (Although we both know there is still much more work to do) but it's my first, so I'm excited. The Guide to Agents would be great, as I will be diving in as soon as the editing is done. Thank You so much. I get a free book and topic for a blog post. Life is gettin' good. :)"

L. J. Stephen has just finished the first draft of his novel...Check out his writer's blog Bartleby's Bookshelf

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tips 4 Editing Those All Important Sample Chapters


 - review grammar rules;
- print out a hard copy of your work;
- if you've already read your work over a few times print it out using a different font;
- read your work on a flat surface with good lighting;
- edit your work in a different location each time;
- use a colorful piece of paper to highlight each sentence and edit sentence by sentence;
- edit with different focuses (punctuation, spelling, consistency, sentence structure);
- have your dictionary on hand;
- have your laptop handy to look up words;
- for consistency, do a 'find' check on words;
- know your weakness and be ready for it - if your weakness is comma use then get out a good punctuation resource and keep it handy;

Common Errors That Go Unnoticed:

- words wrongly capitalized
- 'then' used instead of 'than'
- run-on sentences
- wrongly hyphenated words
- words that sound the same but are spelled different: 'their' and 'there'
- cumulative adjectives with commas
- missing commas before or after quotations

Here are some blogs with more tips:

Copy Blogger
Publishers Resource
Proof Reading tips


Friday, March 9, 2012

Platform--Build That Website and They Will Come

Our mentor, agent Michael Larsen tells us our website is "the front door to your living room in cyber-space..." If this is the case then let's remember the rules of "curb appeal."
- symmetry (giving balance to your home page is important, symmetry makes the page pleasing to the eye and also guides visitors);
- new hardware (add in those website buttons using style and interest);
-dress up the front door (make your personal statement on your home page with color and a few simple words);
- create gardens (gardens are those little 'go-to' places that people can discover);
- architecture (make a grand entryway into your website by remembering to build it with a style in mind, rather than plain-Jane);
- add outdoor art (add your book covers and images and some pics!).

Your website is you home-base. It tells about you and your books. It's there to engage the reader as well as capture the interest of that elusive agent. My website introduces me to the world. It contains my immediate goals (publish my memoir) as well as my long-term goals (lead a grass-roots movement to teach on the subject of the femininity of the Holy Spirit). A tour of my home should help any visitor get to know both me and my work. 

Bought from on my site: author's note reading, logo video, rap song 'Intro', book trailer, blog header, 3-D book cover, and blog background (not yet ready).

Sunday, March 4, 2012

No. 1 Reason Your Book Was Rejected

As I continue on this journey of seeking an agent, I am once again reminded of that dreadful No. 1 reason we get REJECTED...Our Writing is Crap. I appreciate the way agent Mike Nappa doesn't sugar coat this issue. He doesn't tell us, "Remember, send out your best work." He instead gives us the lowdown from his point of view. He rejects us simply because he can't say, "Hey, this writing is good."

Why am I looking back on this issue? Well, as I was working through my final edit on my Saving Mary book I found a horde of little errors and I gasped, "I sent this manuscript out to agents! With these errors! No wonder I got rejected!" This got me thinking, why had I not payed attention to these little errors before? The sad answer is rather simple: I didn't take the time to completely edit my work because in the back of my mind I always thought, Well, an agent will help me do that. Which brings me to Reason No. 14 of why writers get REJECTED: You Are Lazy.

The sad truth is, somewhere along the line I began to think that editing was an agent's job and not mine. But when I decided to publish an ebook suddenly, now, editing was my job--and I took it seriously. I edited and found quite a few errors, and then I took another step: I hired an editor--who found even more errors. But the editor didn't find all the errors. What she did was awaken me to the kinds of mistakes I was continually making. So, from there I edited some more, then I edited some more and some more. In a manuscript that I had always thought was 'good enough for an agent' I found five missing As, a set of inverted words,a doubled word and some not so right sentence structures...and I spelled a few words wrong (and spell check didn't pick up on them and neither did the editor). I also found some 'thens' that should have been 'thans.' I found capitals where capitals shouldn't be, I found cumulative adjective with commas between them and I found missing commas and missing quotations marks. All in all, I found a lot of errors.

The truth is, in order to get the attention of an agent or publisher, we must send out--not just a good idea with some good writing--but our best work. Which means taking editing seriously--especially if we are new to the scene. Of course, you don't have to hire an editor to look over your whole manuscript, but I do advise that you hire one to look over your sample chapters. An editor can teach you to become a better self-editor. So don't be lazy like me. Do the work.