Thursday, June 28, 2012

Editing Requires a Thick Skin and a Sharp Eyes


Did you catch the error?  Look again. It' s not always so easy to see misspelled words. In other words, editing is tough work. But it’s got to be done. It's no wonder students resist it. How often have I tried to edit a student's work only to have them sneer at me and refuse to make the changes? Or, a student might feign compliancy but then keep the original text. The bottom line is that writing is subjective on every level. If we can keep that in mind, as writing instructors, then we can find ways to preserve the emerging writer's sense of identity as a writer. Handle with care should be the motto.

Nevertheless, most published authors and professional writers agree, that an objective party is the best way to ensure the piece is polished. But, on the other hand, editing can be overdone too. I know that each time I revisit a completed passage and make changes, I increase the risk that I will omit a period or comma or leave off a letter. As for the content, that's a matter of reorganizing, slashing, rewording, clarifying etc. A job that I need to do myself.


I stumbled upon a blogger by the name of Jeff Goins; he is the author of the eBook, The Writer's Manifesto. Check it out if you're so inclined.  At any rate, the blog was aptly titled Why Writers Can't Edit Their Own Wrok. (I'll tell you that I didn't catch that, initially).  He had excellent ideas that included the writer being biased and too subjective. The writer needs fresh eyes, someone that is not so attached to the work;  In the comments section it was a mixed bag—accomplished authors felt comfortable enough editing their work, but others agreed with Jeff.


I'm on the fence. I've used another pair of eyes and, still, errors remained. And sometimes it becomes confusing when someone eidts (oops, edits)  and asks you to change content (which happens) and you disagree. Sometimes, it's wise. But other times, maybe not.  How far do you go?
Bottom line: You are the creator; you don't always know why you write what you write; often times, it is on an unconscious level; it is aesthetic; your original writing is authentic and significant so don't alter it too much or it will become like a misshaped top, never returning to its original form;  trust your instincts; trust that you know what you're doing and avoid self-doubt.
Caveat: Don't ever think that you have to keep something that isn't moving the plot along or adding to character development. It may be a whole page or a chapter or more that you end up omitting. So be it. Try to think of it as liberating, opening space, cleaning house. When you discard words, passages, characters,  you open doors and allow new ideas to enter.
Thank you for visiting. Please come again, soon!
eb

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Let's Agree to Disagree said the ePubber to the Agent

Interesting Finds:

I found a blog that reviews self-published authors. I stumbled upon it in some tangential manner I can't even articulate. Needless to say, I was appalled by the harsh critiques. The majority of her critiques were BAD. So, who cares, right? Well, it wouldn't matter so much except that this blogger is a renowned agent with many connections, clout, etc.

Questions:

Hm. Why does she (said agent) want to review published authors (books must be POD), most of which are already successful (the ones I noticed) with more than two books under their belt and a fan base. So, then, maybe it's the self-publishing industry that's intolerable to her? And what's up with the authors? Maybe a stellar review from this agent will help secure a contract or sell more books? I don't know. I don't think I'd want to risk her scathing remarks. I'm too fragile. At any rate, I think there are more diplomatic ways to agree to disagree while preserving the dignity of the author, self-pubbed or not. The books must be good if they sell, right? I have lots of questions and it's clear I need to do my homework. I'm a naive when it comes to the industry.

Book update:

I just finished up a free promo; downloads totaled about 170 or so. Not too bad considering it's a specialty book. I was in the top ranking, lowest was 1,007. Wow! That's out of one million kindle books. But I decided to increase the price to $2.99. Now, it's stagnant and my sales ranking is in the 200, 000ish range. I wanted the 70 percent royalties with KDP. And if people want it, they can pay a few dollars. But, that's not to say that I won't return to the 0.99. I'll bide my time.

Novella:

I'm working hard at completing the final chapters. It's taking longer because I always wind up in places I didn't expect. My tweaking and editing is endless.  I hope to have it edited and published within a month.

Thanks for the visit.


eb

Twitter is a Sharing of Minds and Hearts

I like my twitter account. In fact, I like it so much, I worried that I was neglecting FB and friends and family members that don't have twitter accounts (believe it or not); but then, lo and behold, I realized I could connect the two. Now, whatever I tweet, goes to FB too. I like it because it's quick and I can tweet or retweet random musings, maxims, and interesting articles and keep abreast of news while connecting to like-minded writers, thinkers and artists. Today, for example, I had one of my random thoughts and it was related to childhood summers. I had an empty paper towel roll in my hand and held it up to my mouth, proclaiming my son's top score on Temple Run (impressive, actually, in the millions); and it got me thinking about when we were kids, hot days, downstairs, hanging out in our finished basement,, flipping over a table and imagining it was a house boat, etc. using a used paper towel roll for a telescope. Simple times. It makes me pine for easier days, when life was not so cluttered; I guess that's one of the reasons I love to read fiction and write it; I can return to the past, or imagine the future and create a scene, a setting, a character, and immerse myself in another realm; the language, too, evokes emotions like no other for me. My tweet today was so simply stated but to my delight it was retweeted, which means someone read it and related on some level. It is a reciprocal sharing of minds and hearts. That's what it's all about, really.
Continuing in the flavor of summer,  I spent my summers at Hawk's Nest Beach in Old Lyme and have fond memories. Well, I was seeking images to post and found this great video about Hawk's Nest Beach.  It's a mix of new and old photographs. Although these are not my family members,  it's a great summation of what Hawk's Nest Beach was like for me and so many other families.  
 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Good morning, friends.

Check out my new page, DAILY LINK.  I will try to update daily. Today's link is James Joyce's 1929 reading from Finnegan's Wake. Amazing, lyrical, obscure, alluring. When he gets to the end it's captivating. I hope you enjoy. I can't help but feel a yearning, a pulling to the old days, a time that is gone, before the digital age, and the saturation of writers and artists and gobbledy goo.

Blog keeps changing. I'm fickle, I know. I'm settling with the dark, serious tone. I just can't decide so this seems satisfactory. That will suffice for now.

I may post again today. Hope to hear from you.

toodles
I found a better cover and have decided to return to my original title which

To Err is Human

Yes, there are careless writers... like me. I've actually misspelled words and haven't gotten caught! But I wonder how many of you caught that spelling error in the previous post...anyone? Well, I'm not going to promote it; but what I will do is make sure that I've proofed my blogs prior to publishing. Oh dear.  At least I caught it. I want to apologize for misspelling the word, succinct. It's a tricky word, in my defense...if there is any defense for me. I'll just leave it at that. Honestly, I'm speechless at this point, cringing from embarrassment. Well, readers of my blog, you now know  that, yes, I'm human and to err is human, to forgive is divine. So, I hope you can forgive my carelessness.

cheerio

Saturday, June 23, 2012

KDP Invaluable

I wanted to applaud a site that has been invaluable to me KDP, Kindle Direct Publishing Community Forum. I can't say enough about the folks on the forum. I wouldn't have been able to publish without their help! 

So, I visit KDP frequently and my latest concern was that in the Reports (listed on this site) I noticed my sales ranking was decreasing to 190,000 or so and my sales were increasing. Ranking should reflect sales. Well, there was some glitch or lag in the system. And lo and behold, my sales ranking increased that same day to 60,000. It fluctuates quite a bit. So from now on, I'll be checking my Report first to determine sales.

I've sold 20 copies since June 1st, which isn't so bad. But I'm hoping more readers will jump on the band wagon and that I get more reviews. Any new information, related to sales, publishing, I'll post on this blog. My other two blogs are taking most of my time. I suppose when things start percolating, I'll be posting on here more often. I've decided, too, that when I publish my novella, The Sins of Dom, I'll rename this blog to include both books. Not sure what that will be, yet.

Okay, thanks for visiting.
cheerio

Never Underestimate the Power of Honest Writing

In the spirit of summer, I've included an image of Hawk's Nest Beach in Old Lyme, where I spent my summers. Magnificent memories! 

Creating a blog is easy compared to the other part, getting someone to read it! I now have two blogs, well, three, but one just sits there. It is a blog for my book, but, honestly, there are a total of two postings. One describes the book, the second talks about a few edits and that's it. What else would I say about it? It's done, published, now what? Oh, I included my one review too. So that blog is on pause, for now. Maybe if the book becomes a best seller then I can post stellar 5 star reviews, signing dates...oh sure, in my dreams. But, seriously, I think it reflects poorly on the author who has a blog with no followers, nothing at all. The big L comes to mind.

So, I asked my twelve-year old, entrepreneur, computer geek, web designer, app creator extraordinaire how exactly one drums up attention. And his advice was that I needed to offer something to people, find out what they want and then provide it. Easier said than done. But I like that advice and it's stuck with me. And after writing this, now that I think about it, I always hope that my writing is honest and can offer someone something, some advice, some bit of real life they can understand and internalize. So, that's what I offer.

Also, pic is of Hawks Nest Beach in Old Lyme where we spent our summers. Magnificent memories. :cool:

Thanks for the visit.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SUCCINCTNESS is just enough

I've heard it time and time again that brevity is best and economize your words and still I give TMI.  It takes me awhile, but, eventually, I do come along.

So, I wonder when enough is enough, when those final edits are all that you can do, all that you can muster forward. It's a sort of letting go, a release.  I've done that,with one piece Blogging to the Dead and know, in my heart of hearts, that I could not return to that work and revise (unless a  super top NY agent/editor wanted me to and I had specific directions...then, of course, I'm all ears).

 And this idea of succinct writing, for me, forces me to rethink my ideas (for creative writing anyway) and clop away at what doesn't need to be there.

But, I want to argue my introduction, the idea that the fog lifts on Edgartown just as Sammy is lured away from Leonardo's market. I like to set the scene; I imagine I'm directing a movie, and this is how it opens. But that's not right for a query. So, off it goes.  Yet, what we are losing is the setting, the terror of a kidnapping juxtaposed with the environment; iow, the fog lifting should present clarity, focus and thus the scene of poor Sammy Preston getting kidnapped is more vividly felt,  presented. I like the environment used as foreshadowing. Some authors do this brilliantly. I'm a wip.

OK, enough of that. So now I have a succinct query and/or product description for my psychological thriller. And it's short enough and includes just enough information to establish a tone (see below)  So, what else do we need?

Evil sometimes has an origin; for Dominic Burns, it began at an early age, at the hands of a sadistic father. As a young boy, Dom learned how to abuse women; he grew to know evil like the back of his hand.
But it wasn’t enough to know it; every sinner needs a victim: Dominic Burns practiced first on Lucy, a shy loner from a Baptist family, who he makes his wife; and next on five-year old, Sammy Prescott—the product of a one-night affair six years earlier.

When left unchecked, evil increases and multiplies:  Dom’s tyrannical torment of both Lucy and Sam continues for years, unimpeded.

Perhaps it is a necessary truth that evil must exist so the purity of good can rise above it. Such is the case when Dom’s victims desert him and Dom, enraged, belches out one last breath of fury that consumes him. But not before taking one more victim.

cheerio

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wary of Posting Work in Progress

I almost created another blog. Then, I deleted it. It's my WIP, which is a novella, almost finished, but the fact remains--it's not done yet. I don't want to showcase it. First of all, why would I?  Secondly, if it does become a popular read, after I publish, people can find out what happens before it happens!  I've never been keen on work shopping my writing. At this stage of the game, I know what I want and my writing style is pretty much already established.  I don't see myself as an emerging writer (too old for that nonsense).  I do wonder how many people enjoy work shopping their work.  I hear it is invaluable.  I guess I'm too stubborn. And I feel like it would cause me to become indecisive. I don't want to lose my confidence.  So, my work remains a mystery until it's published. It is a novella, and I'm working on the last pieces, heading towards a conclusion. I decided it will be classified as a psychological thriller. I'm pretty sure I'll ePub it just because it's too short to attract an agent. But I haven't researched the novella markets yet. So, maybe I could give it a try.

That's all for now.

toodles

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dog-Eat-Dog World for Writers in the Digital Age

Not much movement today or yesterday. I'm maintaining my sales rank status (whatever that means) and I'm number 14 in Kindle Books (whatever that means).  I should be getting on the ball, connecting, linking, tweeting, blogging, facebooking...I'm getting tired already and the fight has just begun. Publication date was  June 2nd. That's only two weeks or so. I've sold 15 copies. I keep thinking that this is such a small number for such a big market. But, what can I do?  I know. I can dabble on the other side and see what some people really feel about  egotistical, narcissistic Indie authors.  
http://phantomimic.weebly.com/2/post/2011/12/indie-authors-are-rude-pushy-completely-self-absorbed-and-their-books-suck.html

This guy is tough as nails. But I'm not an Indie author so he's definitely not talking about me. : ) And a few of the comments are right on the mark (the ones that defend self-publishing). 

But in defense of self-pubbers,  I'll post some links that show true grit and real Ebook author success!
http://www.secondact.com/2011/09/insurance-salesman-becomes-bestselling-ebook-author/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kiriblakeley/2011/03/18/the-top-selling-female-e-book-authors/
http://www.edainduguay.com/
http://calebwarnock.blogspot.com/2011/02/she-is-worlds-bestselling-ebook-author.htm
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204770404577082303350815824.html

I'll stop there. But, oh, there are PLENTY more!  I'll end on that note.

cheerio

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Short Stories and Autism Denied

I've changed the title and cover of my book from They Think That I Am Somewhat (last story in the collection) to my original title, Autism Denied.  Although the stories are fiction, they each include a character that falls somewhere on the autistic spectrum. IOW, that is the topic, the overarching theme of my stories. Hence, the title. What happens when someone with idiosyncratic behaviors and other challenges associated with being on the autism spectrum is not thoroughly understood?  The stories explore the ramifications.

cheerio.

Follow the link to my book: http://adf.ly/9iZ0P

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Prometheus Review and other

New title (Autism Denied) and edits made. Final publishing should be done by tomorrow morning. I think it is finally done. Now, I can move onto my WIP.  One is being reviewed by agents and being queried. The other is the novella, and I figure I have about 20 to 40 more pages to go. But it's hard to estimate, really.  I would like to experiment with some quick scary shorts (a collection) but I don't want to get too sidetracked. I think I could do it. It's been a long day. 

 Prometheus Review:  I don't think it was like Alien (a few parts maybe). It got 4 stars but it must have been for the special effects which were over the top!!!  It was, overall, entertaining and kept my attention. Yet, the script and dialogue were a bit hokey and forced at times. Also, some plot points were not clearly embedded but rather plopped down without an anchor. For instance, the "father" and "mother" situation. This kept on without any real significance after all. I'd say the beginning was great! I really liked the intro (special effects) but the end was ALL special effects, edge of your seat kind of stuff and the outcome was ridiculous and melodramatic. I won't give away too much.  The eerie music you hear on the trailer, btw, is not included (too bad).

Here's a link to the trailer:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sftuxbvGwiU

toodles

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The utter horror of E-Book publishing

I just spent the last few days republishing a published book after finding some errors that could not be dismissed, and it's been absolute horror, utter horror.  Imagine it...the idea that your writing is out there, and people are purchasing it, and they are reading it, and they may, not for sure but there is a possibility, find a missing letter or comma or repeated word!!! UGH. I can't describe the feeling. So, I've republished the new edited version a couple of times (first time didn't take) and I think this one did. Time will tell.

I've concluded that the more times you tweak, the greater the chance for errors.

Now, for the positive points. You can do it. If and only IF you have a niche, and you are serious about your writing. But, you have to know that it's not a ticket to success. It's all about finding the right niche, writing and editing and writing and editing (repeatedly) and not putting all your eggs into one basket.You should have multiple projects. Also, you need support of other writers. I have the community forum on KDP and they are invaluable, and AQ (Agent Query forum) and, of course, my sister. She is my reader, editor, and I trust her completely. 

One more tip:  avoid the negative (there is plenty of it) and embrace the digital age. I pay attention to the successful authors. That's where I'm headed. The nay sayers are not my bag.

Okay, it's late. But I felt as if I was shirking my duties as a blogger so here it is, my third post (I think...maybe it's the fourth).  No daily link for today. Sorry, too tired.

toodles

Friday, June 8, 2012

Article related to previous post on autism and Grinker. Autism's Stigma Replaced by Eminence.

ENJOY
Seeking that perfect blurb. I'm convinced it exists and so I've tweaked yet another book description and published the changes. Odd, I know. But I feel as if I may have done better with the original blurb. I added characters and excerpts from stories and it was too much. I suspect that if someone is seeking a book on autism, even if it is fiction, they want some facts too. So the blurb includes some statistics and references my favorite book entitled Unstrange Minds:  Remapping the World of Autism by Richard Roy Grinker, anthropologist at George Washington University. Great read. I highly recommend.

Updates on book:  it's steady now at top 140 or so in my genre which is autism and fiction category. Sales rank has fluctuated quite a bit from 38,000 to 160,000 out of one million kindles which I suppose isn't so bad. I would like to get to the 100's or even 1. So the idea is the lower the number the better.

Novella is coming along, Sins of Dom. I really think this ebook is going to do well. It's a powerful read (some parts are difficult to write). I am considering posting chapters on this blog. Still thinking about it. If I get some followers, maybe. Otherwise, what would be the point?

Blogging to the Dead, my YA novel is still being reviewed by excellent agent (he has full). I should be querying more agents, but I've been so busy with other projects, life etc.

Okay, hopefully I won't lose this post like I just did with the previous one!  UGH.

I would love to hear from someone. So, please feel free to comment. Share your ideas, musings, chapters, poetry, whatever you like.

toodles

Thursday, June 7, 2012

social media and publishing

I think I really need to spice up this blog. But, I'm not sure what or how to do it. It is, I fear, one of many many blogs and how do I draw people to it?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Okay, so I suppose I can talk about my book, my ebook, which is published on Amazon. The title is They Think That I Am Somewhat which is somewhat obscure but it's from a Tennyson poem and the last story in the collection. All the stories relate to autism related issues. I enjoyed writing the stories and am pleased to see that now they are in a collection and out there for others to enjoy.  I guess I should tweet my blog or FB it or some such thing. But, honestly, there is nothing to it, yet. Once it becomes a real BLOG with links and photos and followers and comments, well, then maybe.
IMO, I feel a book sells because it's good and people are attracted to the title, the premise, the plot. Blogging my book is going to get readers. But what do I know. I just think that even if I didn't have a twitter account or a blog, my book would still sell. Okay, now I'm ranting.

toodles.

Monday, June 4, 2012

My very first attempt at blogging. So, what to say. Here I am. I'm not sure how long this will last. I will try to include interesting information and links related to education, politics, my writing, publishing etc. No dull stuff here.

Thanks for visiting. I swear it will get more interesting...or, this will be my one and only entry.

toodles.

eb