Monday, February 13, 2017

When Opportunity knocks, do we run away #WritersLife

Ever notice that when opportunity comes knocking, so does fear?

I have an opportunity in my day job for a new position with additional income, but I'm drowning in "what ifs". I already think I'm a bit commitment phobic, so the uncertainty of the unknown is getting to me.

What if I can't handle the hours?

What if I don't like it?

What if it doesn't give me time for family and friends?

What if I fail?

These are all completely stupid fears, but the mind doesn't always recognize reality from fiction. The one thing that sticks out the most though is that this is a great opportunity. I wanted to say yes when it was first offered, but my fear of commitment won out.

As an author we work from the 'what ifs' of life to create engaging characters, exciting plots, and twists and turns no one expects. We put our characters through these fearful things, because they make for great stories. When it's us authors who have these fearful things thrust upon us though, it's not so much fun.

The 'what ifs' of life can plague you to the point of becoming stagnant and not growing. That's not good for anyone's future.

I have a sign up on the wall of my office that says, 'Everything you want is on the other sided of fear'.

Such true words. If I'd let fear rule, I'd never have published a book. I'd miss all the awesome authors that I've come to know, and I'd never had met my best friend and fellow author, Kari Thomas.

I wish I knew the outcome of my decisions, but I guess that's not life. Living is about free will and the adventure that comes when you choose a path.

So, with all this in mind, I took the new job position and am off on another one of my adventures. Wish me luck!

Mary

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Importance of Edits #WritersLife #AmWriting

Editing is one of the most important things you can do to make your book a success. Whether you are going with an established publisher or self-publishing, your book is an impression of you that lasts.

I recently bought a self-published book that had so many editing mistakes, including the heroine's name, that I didn't read beyond page fifteen. I can ignore punctuation or small mistakes but some mistakes were so elementary as to show the author didn't read her own story. She made quite the impression on me. While I will never again buy her books, I wish her well in her career and hope she improves.

Publishing your work is a business. As such, readers expect a certain level of professionalism, which means your work must be as free from common spelling errors as possible.

Working with a publisher.

Publishers use professional editors to improve your story. This is not to say that during the editing process you shouldn't reread your book. You may catch spelling mistakes an editor misses. Most every published book will have a mistake. That is forgivable to a reader. Multiple careless mistakes that take away from a story are not.

Don't rely solely on an editor to catch every mistake. Likely it's been a while since you've read the story when you first get back your edits. Use the opportunity to read, line by line and word by word, what is written. Small mistakes involving the use of he/she are quite common. Spell check doesn't catch these but you can.

Don't be afraid to correct an editor if they aren't understanding your use of a word. Their job is to make your book the best it can be, so work with them so that both parties publish a work that reflects the highest degree of perfection achievable.

Self-publishing your work.

I will state right off that I am not a self-published author. That said, I know many successful authors who are traditionally and self-published. In some ways self-publishing takes more work, time and consideration. You own every mistake in the book you release, without exception.

As I said before, readers will forgive small mistakes, but constant, simplistic mistakes make it harder for the reader and thus they will toss aside your story. You've lost an important person, because they now know you for the wrong reasons, and likely will avoid your books in the future. Let's not forget word of mouth, as well, when it comes to readers.

I recommend using an editing service if you intend to self-publish. Make sure to use one with a good reputation so that you get your money's worth. If you can't afford such a service, use your beta readers.

Lastly, print out your story before publishing. Why? You'd be surprised how many mistakes can be found on a printed version of your book that you wouldn't notice on the computer.
 
Final Thoughts

Editing is an essential part of your work and a reflection of your respect for your readers. Don't rush the process just to get your book published. Readers won't thank you for sub-par writing and your reputation is important in this business.

The same care you put into working characters and plot, should also be put into editing. In this sea of tough competition, from the thousands of books released every day, yours can only stand the test of savvy readers through engaging characters and exceptional editing.

Your book will likely contain a mistake or two, noticed once published. Don't stress, it happens to the best of writers. Readers will forgive. Remember though that even bestselling authors are not immune to readers turning their backs for lazy/no editing.

Publish when your work is clean and as error free as possible. It's part of the professionalism of being an author. Take pride and respect your readers. 

Mary

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January has not gone as planned #WritersLife

Maybe it's just me, but as an author I hate when my writing plans go awry. Halfway through the month and I haven't kept up on my blogging goals. Yes, contrary to notice, I intended to blog once a week.

Unfortunately, two illnesses decided to come at me at once, right after the New Year. It's not all bad news, though. I'm now on the mend and foresee that if I make sure to rest, I should get through the rest of the January without any more drama.
I might even manage one more blog before the end of the month. Don't quote me on that. I'm wary of goals at the moment.
 
There is good news. I've actually managed to get three chapters done on Clandestine Engagements, and the story is moving along at a nice clip. I'd love to get it finished soon and republished. I'm now at 34K words and counting. Quite the difference from a story that was first published as a short story of 1K words.

Anyway, I'm going to do a reset starting in February of my blogging goals. It's such a romantic month, how can I miss it.

Keep reading and if you'd like some snippets of my writing, please follow me on Twitter. I love playing hashtag theme games through the week, and usually participate daily.

Happy reading,
Mary