Typos and Errors in Published Manuscripts

I originally published this article (or a version of this article) as a guest author on another blog, that no longer seems to exist, on August 8, 2014. However, I felt that the information was important enough that I wanted it in my blog feed as well, so I published it here… in 2014.

It has been almost a whole 5 years since the information was first published and it is still relevent… with some minor changes.

<wink wink>

Without further ado, I hope you enjoy my take on Typos and Errors in Indie-Published Manuscripts – in all manuscripts really. I hope you let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Editing

Are typos in a book a big deal?

Of course they are – to some extent! Typos happen. Let me say that again, TYPOS HAPPEN! Typos happen in books that are self-published and traditionally published. Typos happen to new authors and seasoned authors. Typos happen in eBooks and print books. It doesn’t matter how many people you have edit, proof read, re-read, etc. there is always a chance a typo (or two – or three – or four) is going to slip through. Does that mean the world is over, the author should never write again, or that the author should lose all credibility? NO!

Let me say that again – NO!

It goes without saying, although I will say it, that every author should take the time and effort to make their manuscript the best that it can be. Not only do readers deserve the best product an author can provide, authors deserve to produce their best work – which they can be proud of for years to come!

You might be asking yourself, ‘how do I, as a self-published author without the backing of a traditional publishing house, afford to make sure that my manuscripts are ready for publication?’

Good Question!

Editors, proof-readers, and copy-writing services all cost money! Plus, and here is the catcher, even professional editors, proof-readers, and copy-writing service professionals make mistakes! Yes, they are only human! Even when you pay good money for services like these, you can’t be 100% sure your manuscript is flawless. That doesn’t mean you should just accept the fact that typos happen and therefore you don’t need to worry about them. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure that you publish your best work. I’ve listed some examples of things I do below, but just remember you are never going to please everyone. There will always be someone who finds something wrong with your book.

What can you do to ensure minimal typos and errors in your final manuscript?

Below is a partial list of tools (free and/or low-cost) that I believe all authors (self-published or traditionally published) should be using:

SPELLCHECK – I LOVE spellcheck. No matter what I am working on I have spellcheck set to mark spelling and grammatical errors while I am typing. No, it doesn’t always catch misused words – but it is a great start to catching those words frequently misspelled. You can also add words to your computers dictionary. This is a great way to allow your computer to know that names (or other words) you use frequently are not incorrectly typed.

READING ALOUD – Yes, just like you did when you were in elementary school. One of the reasons teachers have their students read out loud is because we often retain more information when we hear text read out loud. For me, as an author, I like to either read my books out loud to myself or have someone else read them to me as I follow along. The down side to this is that it can be a rather lengthy process, but the upside is that it allows me to catch words that have been misused and dialog that doesn’t sound natural.

FIND / REPLACE – If you don’t use this Microsoft Word tool yet – YOU NEED TO! Microsoft can find just about anything from double commas or periods, extra spaces, repeat words, etc. Once you find them you can fix them. Although, what I really like about this feature is that you can easily replace mistakes with corrections. [Example: FIND: .. REPLACE WITH: .] Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to just trust your computer to make all of your corrections for you. When I do a search for an error I look at each of the results and decide if I want the correction to be made.

TEST READERS (AKA BETA READERS) – Or as I like to call them guinea pigs! My mom, my sister, and a number of my friends have all been my willing and loyal test subjects in this area. They have read, edited, and re-read all of my books throughout the writing process looking for errors that I might have missed. They are also a great resource when it comes to finding plot holes, unintentional cliffhangers, etc. It isn’t easy seeing your manuscript covered in red edits, but trust me this process makes your final manuscript much better than it would be with only you reading and reviewing it. Just make sure you get test readers who are willing to give you an honest critique. You won’t always like what they say, but try to listen with an open mind because they are only trying to help.

PRO WRITING AID – This is an online writing editor and personal writing coach. It checks grammar and spelling; helps to improve overall readability; finds overused words; improves dull paragraph structure; locates repeat words and phrases; checks for consistency of spelling; hyphenation and capitalization; warns you about clichés and redundancies; and so much more. I learned about this tool through a friend that does line editing as a freelancer. She told me that it was an inexpensive way to help improve writing as you go and that it was extremely user-friendly – SHE WAS RIGHT! I highly suggest trying it out. What is the worst that could happen? Want to try Pro Writing Aid, start your free trial by clicking HERE!

The Hemingway Editor App – You can use the free online version or, for just $19.99 you can down load a desktop (Windows and/or Mac) version. $19.99 is not much for such a great tool. The Hemingway App cuts the dead weight from your writing. It highlights passive voice, adverbs, weak language, confusing language, and lengthy/structurally complex sentences and, in many cases, gives suggestions for changes. For a really great review and comparison to similar products, click HERE! To download your copy of The Hemingway Editor desktop version, click HERE.

ARC – Advance Reader Copies! Okay, once your manuscript is complete, as complete as you feel you can make it, you need to offer advance reader copies. This is a great way to get feedback. You can request feedback in the form of reader notes and/or book reviews. I have even gone so far as providing a list of questions at the end of the advance reader copies I have sent out, this helped me to target key areas of my story, character development, dialogue, and/or editing that needed to be fixed.

EDITOROK, this one costs money, sometimes a significant amount – it depends on the length of your manuscript and the experience level of the editor. All of the tools above are free or can be done at a very low-cost, however hiring an editor is not cheap. If you decide to go this route – which I did – you do not want to skimp! You get what you pay for. however, you still have to remember – Editors are only HUMAN, they make mistakes too! Again, there is no way to guarantee – 100% – that your manuscript isn’t going to have typos or errors.

My novels may still have errors – heck, even award-winning authors sometimes have errors in their novels – but I can honestly say that I have taken all possible steps to ensure that the books I publish are the best they can possibly be. So, if there are still a few errors, as I am sure there are, then I’m OK with that. I’m happy with my finished products and that truly is all an author can ask for.

* Written by: Nina Soden *

Picking the right editor!

editorAs a self-published author, the idea of finding an editor can be very daunting. Everywhere you look, there are a thousand people, with a wide range of experience, offering editing services that vary in price and level of detail. To say that making a decision on which editor is right for your project is easy would be stating a blatant lie. With so many choice… to many choices… you may be tempted to just hire the first editor you meet, but that could turn out to be the biggest mistake you could make for your manuscript. 

I consider myself lucky, in that I was able to find and connect with an editor early on who I feel really “gets” my writing style and author voice. Does that mean I would never hire a different editor? No, but it means that while things are working… we’ll keep working. Writing is a very personal experience. You spend days… weeks… months… and often years planning and writing your manuscript. It is important to find an editor who not only values your project but also your individual voice and style as an author. 

Considering I only published my first novel, Awaken (book 1 ~ The Blood Angel Series) back in 2012, I still think of myself as fairly new to the publishing game… publishing world. However, in that short time and with 7 novels (and a few author assistance guides) under my belt now, I have come up with a list of things that I believe are important to do/think about when picking the right editor for you. 

#1. Decide what type of editing help you’re looking for

  • Beta-Readers
  • Developmental/Substantive Editor
  • Content Editor
  • Copyeditor
  • Proofreader

Keep in mind that you will more than likely need more than one editor/edit pass on your book. I usually do a series of beta-reader edits and then a minimum of 3 professional rounds of edits. For more detail on the different types of edits, check out Shayla Raquel’s blog post, What Kind of Editor Do You Need?

#2. Determine your budget
It is important, before choosing an editor, to know exactly how much you have available to spend on editing. Be realistic, spend what you can afford right now, not what you think you can cover with book sales. Editing is important. In fact, it is essential to the success of your book. However, it DOES NOT SELL YOUR BOOK ON IT’S OWN!!! The book cover and the story you’ve written are what sells the book… the editing plays a huge part in the readers decision to continue reading, what kind of review (if any) they give your book, and whether or not they buy your next book. 

Once you’ve decided on a budget, don’t deviate. I recommend having an editing price range… What I want to spend and what I’m willing to spend if I find an editor that I just love!

#3: Do your research and make a list
Do your research and create a list of editors to include contact information, experience, offered services, pricing, client reviews/ratings, and what genres the editor works in (if applicable). An editor whose only experience is in technical manuals might not be the right editor for your Sci-Fi novel.

There are a thousand ways to get this information, but I recommend doing a Google search; request recommendations from fellow authors; Search LinkedIn and upwork.com; search online author forums on NaNoWriMo, Goodreads, and any other author chat boards you can find!

Once you have a complete list of editors you should be able to find those that stand out above the rest.

#4: Narrow down your options
Start by deleting editors off the list.

  • Delete anyone that is absolutely out of your price range
  • Delete anyone who doesn’t offer the editing services you need
  • Delete anyone with less than adequate education or experience
  • Delete them if they just seem like they won’t be a good fit
  • Delete them if they don’t have experience in your genre
  • Delete them if their turnaround time wont meet your deadline
  • Delete them if they have negative client reviews/ratings

Don’t feel bad about being picky – you should be picky when picking your editor! What you should have left is a list editors whose price range, turnaround time, service offerings, education and experience, meet your expectations.

#5: Request a sample edit and complete reviews
Now is the time to make sure you select an editor you can work with. This person is someone you have to be able to trust… trust to help you mold and shape your manuscript… your creative baby! You can’t just pick an editor because they offer the services you need at a price you can afford. You want to be confident in your choice and the fact that their assistance is going to help move your story forward, and not backward.

The best way to do that is to review sample edits. Most good editors will offer a free sample edit or consultation on a few pages of your manuscript. If the editor isn’t willing to do this, delete them off your list and move on.

Take advantage of this opportunity for a sample edit, but don’t expect to send a different chapter of your manuscript to twenty different editors and call that a round of edits.  This is your chance to really get a feel for what it would be like to work with a particular editor. Send the same 2-3 page sample to all your prospective editors so you can compare their work – apples to apples. The more samples you get the easier it will be to choose the right editor for you.

Once you have as many sample edits as you can get, compare them! Look to see if the editor did a good job marking errors in punctuation, grammar, syntax, and work usage. (Tip: I like to include some specific errors when I send my sample… It allows me to test the editors and see who catches the errors and who doesn’t.) If the editor made suggestions/comments on sentence structure or dialogue, or how was their tone? Did they seem constructive or condescending? Did the editor keep their text suggestions within the same voice and style that you prefer? 

You are looking for an editor who not only has the technical abilities to edit your manuscript but also the skills to work with one on one with you and respect your creative process and writing style. This isn’t just about one book… on manuscript. If you can find an editor you work well with, an editor who understands your style and is willing and able to work within it, then you can build a wonderful working relationship with them. Like I said before, I’ve been working with the same editor now for 7 novels and I know exactly what I will get from her every time… LOTS OF AWESOME SUGGESTIONS AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM!  

#6: Hire your editor
Hopefully you were able to find an editor that gave you a great sample edits, with lots of awesome suggestions, who also respected your creative voice that seems like they would be easy to work with. If so, HIRE THEM! Hire them A.S.A.P. before someone else scoops them up and they are no longer available. There are a thousand editors ready to offer you their services, but finding a good one can be hard. When you find that good one… the needle in the haystack you grab them fast!

On the other hand, if you weren’t able to find the perfect editor – try again. Hiring an editor can be expensive, don’t settle for someone you aren’t excited about. Wait until you are sure you’ve found the right editor before putting out the money.

I have one last piece of advice and I say this not to scare you but to prepare you – The editing process sucks! You’ve worked long and hard to write your story… It isn’t easy to get it back from an editor who has had it a couple of weeks, maybe a month, and see it covered in bright red markings. Each edits poking at your soul like a personal insult.

With that said, as hard as it is to see your marked up manuscript, you don’t want an editor who will just tell you everything is great. That isn’t what you pay an editor for and in the end it would be a waste of your money. You want someone who will be completely honest with you, no matter how bad it hurts. 

When I got my first manuscript back from my editor, I cried. I took one look at it, flipped through the pages and cried. I didn’t pick it back up for a month. Then, when I finally took the time to read her edits, consider her suggestions, and really think about my story I knew she was right. In the end, my story is so much better because of the care and time she and I spent working through the issues the original manuscript had. It doesn’t matter how good of a writer you are, in the end your editor will – if they are good – find things that MUST BE CHANGED in order to make your story the best it can be.  

Don’t pick an editor who makes you feel great about yourself, pick the editor that cares more about making your story great than coddling your feelings.  

Typos and Errors in Indie-Published Manuscripts

I originally published this article as a guest author at http://timothy-oullette.blogspot.com/ and http://www.timouellette.com on August 8, 2014, but I felt that the information was important enough that I wanted it in my blog feed as well. I hope you enjoy my take on Typos and Errors in Indie-Published Manuscripts. You can let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

 

TBS_typosgraphic1

 

Are typos in a book a big deal?

Of course they are – to some extent! Typos happen. Typos happen in books that are self-published and traditionally published. Typos happen to new authors and seasoned authors. Typos happen in eBooks and print books. It doesn’t matter how many people you have edit, proof read, re-read, etc. there is always a chance a typo (or two – or three – or four) is going to slip through. Does that mean the world is over, the author should never write again, or that the author should lose all credibility? NO!

Let me say that again – NO!

It goes without saying, although I will say it, that every author should take the time and effort to make their manuscript the best that it can be. Not only do readers deserve the best product an author can provide, authors deserve to produce their best work – manuscripts they can be proud of for years to come!

You might be asking yourself, ‘how do I, as a self-published author without the backing of a traditional publishing house, afford to make sure that my manuscript is ready for publication?’

Good Question! Editors, proof-readers, and copy-writing services all cost money! Plus, and here is the catcher, even professional editors, proof-readers, and copy-writing service professional make mistakes! Even when you pay good money for these services you can’t be 100% sure your manuscript is flawless. That doesn’t mean you should just accept the fact that typos happen and therefore you don’t need to worry about them. There are a lot of things you can do to ensure that you publish your best work, and I will give you some examples, but you have to remember that you are never going to please everyone. There will always be someone that finds something wrong with your book.

What can you do to ensure minimal typos and errors in your final manuscript?

Below is a list of tools (free and/or low cost) that all self-published authors should be using:

 

  • SPELLCHECK I LOVE spellcheck. No matter what I am working on I have spellcheck set to mark spelling and grammatical errors while I am typing. No, it doesn’t always catch misused words – but it is a great start to catching those words frequently misspelled. You can also add words to your computers dictionary. This is a great way to allow your computer to know that names (or other words) you use frequently are not incorrectly typed.

  • READING ALOUD – Yes, just like you did when you were a kid. One of the reasons teachers have their students read out loud is because we often retain more information when we hear text read out loud. For me, as an author, I like to either read my books aloud to myself or have someone else read them to me as I follow along. The down side to this is that it can be a rather lengthy process, but the upside is that it allows me to catch words that have been misused and dialog that doesn’t sound natural.

  • FIND / REPLACE If you don’t use this Microsoft Word tool yet – you need to! Microsoft can find just about anything from double commas or periods, extra spaces, repeat words, etc. Once you find them you can fix them. Although, what I really like about this feature is that you can easily replace mistakes with corrections. (Example: FIND: .. REPLACE WITH: .) Don’t get me wrong, you don’t want to just trust your computer to make all of your corrections for you. When I do a search for an error I look at each of the results and decide if I want the correction to be made.

  • TEST READERS Or as I like to call them guinea pigs!  My mom, my sister, and a number of my friends have all been my willing and loyal test subjects in this area. They have read, edited, and re-read all of my books throughout the writing process looking for errors that I might have missed. It isn’t easy seeing your manuscript covered in red edits, but trust me this process makes your final manuscript much better than it would be with only you reading and reviewing it.

  • PRO WRITING AID This is an online writing editor and personal writing coach. It checks grammar and spelling; helps to improve overall readability; finds overused words; improves dull paragraph structure; locates repeat words and phrases; checks for consistency of spelling; hyphenation and capitalization; warns you about clichés and redundancies; and so much more. I learned about this tool through a friend that does line editing as a freelancer. She told me that it was an inexpensive way to help improve writing as you go and that it was extremely user friendly – SHE WAS RIGHT! I highly suggest trying it out. What is the worst that could happen?

  • ARC Advance Reader Copies! Okay, once your manuscript is complete, as complete as you feel you can make it, you need to offer advance reader copies. This is a great way to get feedback. You can request feedback in the form of reader notes and/or book reviews. I have even gone so far as providing a list of questions at the end of the advance reader copies I have sent out, this helped me to target key areas of my story and/or editing that needed to be fixed.

  • EDITOR OK, this one costs money. All of the tools above are free or can be done at a very low cost, however hiring an editor is not cheap. If you decide to go this route – which I did – you don’t want to skimp! You get what you pay for!!! But, you still have to remember – Editors are only HUMAN, they make mistakes too! Again, there is no way to guarantee – 100% – that your manuscript isn’t going to have typos or errors.

My novels may still have errors – heck, even award winning authors sometimes have errors in their novels – but I can honestly say that I have taken all possible steps to ensure that the books I publish are the best they can possibly be. So, if there are still a few errors, as I am sure there are, then I’m OK with that. I’m happy with my finished products and that truly is all an author can ask for.

 

 

Written by: Nina Soden
Author, the Blood Angel Series
Revenge (book 3): http://wp.me/P1Ft9W-bR

 

My Fingertips Are Bleeding!

There are days when I feel so creative that my fingers can’t keep up with my thoughts.

Today is one of those days!

I have a new book editor and she is awesome! Trust me… I hate to see my pages covered in red just as much as any author. However, I also can appreciate that all those edits, comments, deletions, additions, etc. etc. etc. are only going to make my manuscript better.

So I say, BRING IT ON!

Since I was getting some great feed back on my books AWAKEN and BEGINNINGS (with the exception of a reoccurring negative comment about some minor grammar issues) I decided to re-edit and re-release the books. I hired a wonderful editor out in California and am now doing a thorough edit (round 10+) of Awaken, Beginnings, and my soon to be released Revenge (book 3 ~ The Blood Angel Series).

I can’t wait to re-release Awaken and Beginnings and see what type of difference the new edits will make on their reviews.

MORE SO… I can’t wait to announce the release of REVENGE…

RELEASE DATE TO BE ANNOUNCED SOON!!!

Revenge ~ a Blood Angel novel (BOOK 3) by Nina Soden COMING SOON

Revenge ~ a Blood Angel novel (BOOK 3) by Nina Soden
COMING SOON

REVENGE: 

Having died in her father’s arms only to awaken in a pool of blood surrounded by the corpses of the mutilated, her true love among them, who could blame her for what she did next? Wouldn’t you seek REVENGE?

REVENGE ~ book 3 in the BLOOD ANGEL SERIES

The Editing Process…

editing2Edit: To prepare (written material) for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it.

Editing: The act of putting something (a written work such as a literary work) into acceptable form.

Editing_Red_Pen1-300x225

When you decide to right write a book… you have to understand and accept that editing is all part of the process. The worst WORST part! YET ESSENTIAL!!!

Yes in the end the editing process makes your book story novel the best it can be. However, the moment you get your manuscript back from the editor… and it is covered COVERED in RED ink INK… WOW!!! Your heart stops!

At least mine does.

I imagine my editor sitting at her desk stacking piles and piles of red pens… brand new – fresh out of the box on the desk in front of her.

Red Pens

 

I can almost feel her excitement, from a thousand miles away, as she gets ready to strick strike that first line across the page. Yup, her joy is my pain!

The waiting… that time between sending her the manuscript and getting her mutilated improved  mutilate yet improved copy back… is almost as bad as the first ten seconds after opening the package after it arrives in the mail.

I SAID ALMOST!

But, I won’t lie, after I’ve spent the next few weeks reading and rereading all of her edits, comments, deletions, additions, etc. etc. I do have a better understanding of what will  is needed to make my book better the best it can be. Then, after spending a couple of week on rewrites… well, I feel more confident that sending the manuscript off to the editor AGAIN isn’t going to be as painful.

My process is this: write – edit – rewrite – edit – rewrite – edit – rewrite – edit – rewrite – final edit – final rewrite – final review by editor – final review by me – format – review – format edits – review – and so on… until publication!

I do not don’t use only one  1 editor… I have a team of editors. Why? Well, because if you read someone reads the same thing document over and over you they start seeing what the words should be instead of what they are. I like to have a fresh set of eyes to edit at different stages of the process.

THAT IS WHERE I AM TODAY!!!

I have gone through all the edits, all the comments, all the changes my editors could come up with. Yes, I accepted most of them but not all! I am now ready to move forward with the final round of edits. This round is purely for grammar – spelling – punctuation – etc. NOT TO CHANGE THE PLOT, CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, OR THE STORY! I want the book to have my voice – not the editor’s voice.

As my son’s karate teacher would say…

“BRING IT ON!”

 

Rewrites… Week Five In Review

Haven't checked out the Blood Angel series on Facebook yet? Well, you should!

Haven’t checked out the Blood Angel series on Facebook yet? Well, you should! www.facebook.com/BloodAngelSeries

Why is it that when I’m approaching a personal deadline my life gets crazy CRAZY busy?!

Tech week… performances… babysitter cancelling… work deadlines leading to me having to work LATE EVERY NIGHT… stress… StReSs… STRESS!!!

Wow… So I didn’t have much time to do anything this past week, but I did get the book uploaded to the online self-publishing software. Now I just need to make the final edits, error corrections, format adjustments, etc. and then hit send!

Okay, it feels crazy that I am this close to publishing book two. If someone would have asked me two years ago if I believed I would publish a novel I would have said, doubtful! I definitely would never have guessed that I would have two full-length novels published! But man does it feel good.

Okay so here is a recap…

  • Week 1 – Reread the book and all editor’s notes – (YEAH, THAT DIDN”T GO AS PLANNED)
  • Week 2 – Outline changes, rearrange chapters (if needed) based on editor’s notes – (NOT REALLY GOING TO NEED TO OUTLINE CHANGES AND REARRANGE CHAPTERS – I WILL JUST USE THIS WEEK TO FINISH THE REREAD!)
  • Week 3 – Rewrite cover to cover – (YES IT WAS AMBITIOUS, BUT I DID IT AND I AM PROUD OF MYSELF FOR IT. ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING EVERYTHING I HAVE ON MY TO DO LIST RIGHT NOW.)
  • Week 4 – Reread the book for content, timeline, character motivation (YEAH, I KIND OF CHEATED AND TOOK CARE OF THIS DURING WEEK 1. HEE HEE HEE)
  • Week 5 – Reread the book for edits: grammar, spelling, etc. (DONE and THANKFUL FOR IT!)
  • Week 6 – Final changes, format, upload, and publish (VERY EXCITED TO SAY THAT THE BOOK HAS BEEN COMPLETELY UPLOADED AND FINAL ERRORS WILL BE WORKED ON THIS WEEK. I HAD PLANS TO HIT “SEND” AND SUBMIT IT TO THE PUBLISHER BY THURSDAY OF THIS WEEK, BUT THAT ISN”T GOING TO HAPPEN. I AM CROSSING MY FINGERS FOR SUNDAY!)

Yes, it was short but sweet… Next week my update better say “PUBLISHED”. However, I am not going to get down on myself either way… Just going to think positive!

Now, off the subject… Sunday was Mother’s Day and mine was great! My kids and husband got me the prettiest charms for my favorite bracelet and we got to go out to dinner after a day at the theatre. Spending the day on stage with my hubby and being backstage with my kids at the theatre (because the babysitter cancelled) was actually very nice. They were very well-behaved and loved by everyone.

Okay… back to work.

When you get a chance tell me how your writing is coming along. I know I talk a lot about myself here, but I really do care how my readers are doing and what you are all up to. Please share!

Rewrites… Week Three In Review

Yes, I know it is Thursday (NOT MONDAY). I get it, I am three days late on my weekly review. Although I am not big on excuses (NOT), let me just throw this out there…

  • 2 kids in school (wake, feed, clean, teeth, school, homework, cuddle, bath, teeth, bed…)
  • 1 full-time job (work, work, work, proposals, contracts, accounting, work, work, work…)
  • 1 amazing husband (love, cherish, respect…)
  • 1 lead role in a theatre production (memorization, memorization, memorization, character development, character development, character development, rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal…)
  • 1 house (clean, vacuum, laundry, dishes, clean, vacuum, laundry, dishes…)

You get the picture right?

So… with that behind me I will say this; my goal for week three was to rewrite the book cover-to-cover!

Do you think I made my goal? YOU BEAT YOUR BUTT CHEEKS I DID!

That’s right, I did it, I rewrote the book cover-to-cover. I took into account all of the notes, edits, comments, and revisions my two editors put into it and I rearranged, deleted, added, and just plain improved my book. At least I think so. 🙂

Seeing as it is Thursday of week 4 I am sure you are probably wondering if I have already started my week 4 goal of rereading the book for content, timeline, and character motivation. The answer would be: yes, yes I did. Actually I kind of cheated. While I was rereading the book and all the editor’s notes in Week 1 I also took notes about timeline, content discrepancies, and character motivation. Yeah, that might have been why week one took a little longer than expected, but hey… I got the job done right?

Having already done that portion – I was able to utilize the notes I had taken during my week three goal while rewriting the book. So, in fact… although it is only week 4 right now I have begun the week 5 goal of rereading the book (AGAIN) for edits such as grammar, spelling, and word substitution (there instead of their, to vs. too, etc.).

AUTHOR DISCLAIMER: The Blood Angel Series are self-published books… I don’t promise that there are no editing errors (grammar, spelling, word substitutions [see above for description]) but I do promise to put my heart and soul into everything I write and to do my best to make my books as entertaining and exciting for my readers as I can. I don’t know if that is enough to make you want to buy my books, but I hope it is, and, if you do… I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing, editing, rewriting, and reading them over and over again.

Okay, so week 4 is almost over what more is there to do in my 6 week plan to go from edits to published?

So once again here is the plan:

  • Week 1 – Reread the book and all editor’s notes – (YEAH, THAT DIDN”T GO AS PLANNED)
  • Week 2 – Outline changes, rearrange chapters (if needed) based on editor’s notes – (NOT REALLY GOING TO NEED TO OUTLINE CHANGES AND REARRANGE CHAPTERS – I WILL JUST USE THIS WEEK TO FINISH THE REREAD!)
  • Week 3 – Rewrite cover to cover – (YES IT WAS AMBITIOUS, BUT I DID IT AND I AM PROUD OF MYSELF FOR IT. ESPECIALLY CONSIDERING EVERYTHING I HAVE ON MY TO DO LIST RIGHT NOW.)
  • Week 4 – Reread the book for content, timeline, character motivation (YEAH, I KIND OF CHEATED AND TOOK CARE OF THIS DURING WEEK 1. HEE HEE HEE)
  • Week 5 – Reread the book for edits: grammar, spelling, etc. (WORKING ON IT NOW… WOO HOO)
  • Week 6 – Final changes, format, upload, and publish

Let me know how your writing goals are going…

Beginnings ~ a Blood Angel novel by Nina Soden Coming soon to e-readers everywhere!

Beginnings ~ a Blood Angel novel by Nina Soden
Coming soon to e-readers everywhere!

FROM IDEA TO SELF-PUBLISHED NOVEL ~ STEP BY STEP!

Step One (1) – The Idea

Okay, lots of people have ideas… I have about 50 at any given moment, but that doesn’t mean any of them are worth a dime. They might be, but if you don’t get them down on paper (or computer) then how will you ever know? YOU WON’T! That’s my point. So you have an idea? Great – Go home sit down at a desk, table, couch, bed, or just a comfy corner and put your thoughts on paper. I started with just a few disorganized sentences – they turned into what I am proud to call Awaken, the first book in the Blood Angel series I am writing.

What are you waiting for – go try. You’ll never know if you can until you try. Okay, wait don’t go yet… read the rest of this article first. 🙂

Step Two (2) – The Outline

Not everyone writes an outline before jumping into their novel. Is that smart? I really don’t know one way or the other. I can tell you this – I skip this step. I don’t do an outline. When I write my characters just kinda speak to me and tell me where they want the story to go. They lead it – not me.

Okay, that sounds a little crazy – I don’t mean that I actually hear voices or anything… I just… I follow my gut. That’s what I do, I follow my gut.

That doesn’t mean I don’t keep track of where my story is going. Basically I write an outline (Excel is my friend) as I go. I keep track of family trees and chapter details in an excel spreadsheet as I go. That way if I need to move things around I have a quick glance as what has already happened. I can move full chapters or just sections whenever needed.

Step Three (3) – Writing

Like I said – I skip step two or at least do it with step three. WRITING is the key. Don’t focus on getting everything perfect at first. Just focus on getting your thoughts down on paper. Don’t focus on word count – seriously I think there is entirely too much hype about “word count”. How is a 80K word novel any better than a novel with only 69K words? The answer is that it isn’t any better. Honestly, if the book is just full of fluff it isn’t going to be good no matter how many words it has. So, my point – just focus on writing – get all your thoughts out there and then weed through them in the editing process. Trust me a lot hits the editing room floor in the end.

Step Four (4) – Editing

The all hated EDITING process. I can honestly say I have a love hate relationship with the editor of my first book. I hated the day my manuscript arrived in my email completely red-lined and torn to shreds with “constructive” criticism. It took me about two weeks before I was mentally and emotionally able to read through all of her notes without taking them personally. You know what? THAT IS A GOOD THING! Your book is your baby – you should be emotional about it, especially when someone is pulling it apart one page at a time. However, you also have to be able to get past that emotion – step back and realize that this person has an outside eye and that he/she is trying to help you. It won’t be easy, but in the end the editing process is what helps you get your novel to become the best reflection of your “idea” your “dream” your “creation” that it can be. So, find the best editor you can. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – it can be your husband, your wife, your best friend, even your mom. Just make sure whoever you pick is willing to tell you their true opinion. If they are just going to bullshit you and tell you, “it was great” “I loved it” “I wouldn’t change a thing” then they aren’t the right editor for you. GET SOMEONE ELSE.

Step Five (5) – Rewrites

Yes – rewrites come next. After the editing process you don’t just go back and fix a few small grammatical errors and BOOM you have a book. I wasn’t kidding when I said my manuscript came back from the editor completely red-lined. I will tell you there was literally only 3 or 4 pages that didn’t have notes covering the page. So, editing seriously led to rewrites that changed major story plots within my book. Don’t get scared – if you make it to this step then you have the drive it will take to make it through the rewrites. You’re already fully invested in the project – KEEP GOING!

Step Six (6) – ISBN

I’ve complained about this one already in another blog. When buying your ISBN number for your book keep in mind that you have to get an ISBN number for every format of the book. That means if you are going to have it printed and formated as an e-book then you need two ISBN numbers. In that case – you’ll need to buy the ten pack because its cheaper than just buying two individual ISBN numbers. This is CRAZY – What if all I plan to do is write one book? What do I do with the other ISBN numbers? Its like wasting if I don’t write more… Okay, sure I have two more books planned in the Blood Angel series, and I have a children’s series planned out, and another adult series… okay I’m gonna need more than ten, but that doesn’t mean everyone needs that many. Besides – I don’t need them right now – It’s going to take me years to use them all. Hello, I work full-time, I’m a mom, I’m a wife – I don’t have much time to write.

Step Seven (7) – Format and Cover Design

The cover really does sell the book. So, don’t go cheap here. find someone who designs book covers for a living and pay them to design your book and format the layout. A great book can sit on the book shelf untouched just because the cover isn’t eye catchy enough. In the same token a poorly written book can be gobbled up and sell out just because the sexy guy on the cover draws all the ladies eyes. You know what I mean! Make your cover POP!!!

Step Eight (8) – Self-Publish

Sure, we all want some publisher to hear about us, call our number (who knows how they get it – but they do), and tell us we are the next big thing and they have a million dollar contract for us to sign. What are the chances of that happening? NOT LIKELY. Okay, sure it happens, but for it to happen to someone who hasn’t published anything yet, or proven they have a fan base already – it just isn’t likely. So, stop waiting for that call and DO IT YOURSELF! If you want to be published, if that is one of your life’s dreams – then make it happen. There are literally tuns of self-publishing vehicles online these days. Find one that works for you and just do it. If your writing for the fame and money then you’re really not writing for the right reasons. If you’re writing for the love of your story then you’ll find a way to get yourself published! Good luck.

Step Nine (9) – Marketing and Promotion

Yeah, I got nothing! No, seriously I have no clue how to do the marketing and promotion for my book. I am still on Step 7 – Formating and Cover Design. That doesn’t mean I haven’t already started Step 8 because I have. I am researching all the self-publishing sites to figure out which one is best for me. And, I have even done the basics for Step 9 – you know contacted all my friends and family to give them a heads up about the book coming out. Other than that – I am using my blog, Facebook, and twitter accounts to publicize my soon to be released novel Awaken a Blood Angel novel.

So, do you know how to market and promote a new release e-book – from an unknown author? If you have suggestions please leave a comment and share them. There are lots of great authors out there that just aren’t getting read because they don’t know how to get seen. Please share, not just for me, but for all of them.

Have a creative day 🙂

Publishing…

Why is it so difficult? WHY? Seriously, it should be easy. Write a book, edit, re-write, edit, re-write, edit, re-write, edit, re-write and on and on for months (okay, so it was more like a year and a half). Then you should just be able to publish! That is my thought. I get that you can just format and publish online, but I don’t want to just self publish online. Okay, I do, but I don’t just want to self publish online.

I WANT A BOOK!!! A book to hold in my hand. One that has my photo on the back cover – you know, as proof that I actually spent time, sweat and blood giving all of my creativity to my book. I want to share that with my kids as they get older. Something to give them to show them mommy did something. You know – really did something.

I’m not a big time lawyer with her own law firm (like my sister). I’m not a teacher molding young minds (like my brother-in-law). I don’t work in the medical field (like both of my parents did before retiring). I’m not an amazing, could have gone pro golfer (like my husband). I’m just me – a could have been actress (who left Los Angeles just as my career was ready to blossom) – an artist who hasn’t had time to pick up a paint brush in years – a wife and a mother who would do anything for her family and to tell you the truth my family is my most important accomplishment. But, this book – this book was for me. I wanted this for me – to prove to myself that YES I CAN!

So, WHY IS IT SO HARD?????

* Deep Breath*

I wanted to be published by the end of last week. I had a plan – get the ISBN package. About that – Why do you have to buy them ten at a time? Not every author can commit to writing ten books. I get two at a time. I mean you are required to have different ISBN numbers for print books and electronic books. So, you know most people publish is both formats right? So, two makes sense, but TEN? Really? Come on! I mean, I’ve written two and a half books. Book two is still in the rewrite – edit – rewrite – edit phase, and book three is only half way done. I have a long way to go before I need ISBN numbers 3-10.

The real issue I have with all of this is that once I shell out the $$$ for the TEN ISBN numbers and pay the formatter to design the cover and format the book for both print and ebook… then what? Most self-publishers sell copies to their family and a few of their friends (not even all close friends ever really shell out the $2.99 – $9.99 to support their friends). WOW, come on people – it’s less than $10.00 you spend more at the local fast food place for a hamburger, fries, and a drink. Then after you do buy the book the author only gets like 10 cents for every dollar spent – The chances of a self-publisher ever making back the money they spend on self-publishing is slim to none.

Does that mean I’m not going to self-publish? HELL NO! I have to. Like I said this is something I need to do – for me. I have to prove to myself that I can. It just seems to be taking me more time than I had hoped. GOTTA SAVE THE MONEY. If only I could find a money tree.

Okay, that was my little rant – Sorry – I just needed to vent!

Have a great day!

A Warm Welcome to 2012!

A fond farewell to 2011 and a warm open armed welcome to 2012!

I know that it is already January 6, 2012 and some people may say that its to late to announce my New Year’s Resolutions, but I would say bah humbug to you. It’s never to late to put in print what you plan to do for the new year.

So, with no further stalling involved here is my list…

Drum Roll Please!

(1) Go Green! I can not say that I’ve ever really been the reduce, reuse, recycle kind of girl, but I want to be. I reuse, which is to say that after working in a private preschool for the last four years I don’t see empty paper towel rolls quiet the same. Now I look at them and see ‘potential’. I see binoculars, hand puppets, towers, Christmas tree ornaments, and oh so much more. So, yes I reuse (when an art project is looming on the horizon). I have in the past recycled. I grew up in a state where you got 10 cents back for every soda bottle or soda can you returned to the store. So, yes I always took them back, but now you don’t even get a penny let alone a dime. It has kinda discouraged me. Though I will not let that stop me in 2012. On New Year’s Eve I went to the store and got myself ‘hooked up’. I now have three 30 gallon trash cans in my kitchen (soon to move to the garage). One labeled ‘GLASS’, one labeled ‘PLASTIC’, and one labeled ‘METAL’. I was sad to discover that after only three days the ‘PLASTIC’ container is already full. So, now I know how important it really is, because a family of four produces A LOT of waste, and a large portion of it is recyclable.

(2) Exercise More! Now, I could say loose 10 pounds, drop a dress size, etc. like everyone else, but I’m not going to. I will say Exercise More. That might be walking more, lifting weights, doing aerobics, what ever my heart desires. The reason I’m not saying drop X number of pounds or drop a dress size is because I just don’t see those goals as being very realistic. If someone who doesn’t know me looked at me they might think I was in pretty good shape. I’m not over weight, nor am I underweight. In reality I do look pretty good, even if I do say so myself. But, I don’t feel good about myself. So, in order to feel better about myself, like the way I look in my skin, and for an all over healthier feeling I choose to exercise more. If the end result is that I drop 10 pounds or even get rid of my muffin top (even as small as it is) then that is just a bonus for me. Oh yeah, I started this one already too. I went out on New Year’s Eve and bought a pair or ankle weights and a pair of wrist weights. I wear the ankle weights every where I go. See, exercising already, even when I’m not doing anything that I wouldn’t already be doing. Gotta love it when just a slight change in life style can make such a big difference – the pain in my lower legs!

(3) Write More! As you know I am trying to write a book… a series of books actually. I have finished the first book in a three to four book series, and two days after I submitted it to my editor she backed out on me. My first reaction was to cry. But then I thought, ‘No I am better than that!!!’ So, I picked my self up off the floor, wiped the snot and tears from my face, and told myself that there has to be a reason… Everything happens for a reason, and maybe this is just telling me that particular editor wasn’t the right person for this job. So, now that I am half way through re-writing book two I am going to finish book two and then start a new search for an editor. Sending a little silent prayer up to the Big Man in charge, ‘Please send me an editor that wants to work with me, is going to put his/her heart and soul into this project, and isn’t going to break my bank!’ So, yes… write more, and finish the re-writes to book two, as well as the first draft of book three.

Only three, but to me they are important. My family (husband and children) come first in my life, and they always will. But, this year I need to also think about me hence the finding time to write more, and the exercising. The recycling, well that is me trying to do my part (even as small as it is) to make a difference in this world. I hope to instil that in my children, and make it not something only I do, but have it be a life style change for my husband and children as well.

There you have it… it’s in writing… Lets see how I do come December 2012!