Category Archives: A Writer’s Night

November 20, Fodder For Posts After Nano

Tonight I attended a meeting at a library about half an hour from my house. The meeting was called: A Writer’s Night. There were five authors on the panel, several have published what would be considered the normal route, although as things keep changing that won’t be so normal in the future. Several of them have begun to utilize self-publishing and that might mean different things to different people including authors and publishers.

Some of the people on the panel considered self-publishing such that the author did all the work or at least found others to do what was needed for them. They would find and pay an editor, they would either illustrate the cover themselves or find and pay someone that would put that together. Most of them would market the book themselves.

One of the authors considered a publishing company that did the work for the author for a sum of money a vanity press, but one of the authors there did not consider her publishing company in that way. I thing the difference would be whether the author made sure the company they picked was one that provided editing services or not. If not then the author should make sure that they do have someone in the business look over and proof their work ahead of time to make sure it is the best before sending it off to a publisher, unless editing is in the package deal.

Even if editing is in the package deal, the author may want to check out other books published by that same company and make sure it’s not riddled with errors. Even though a company says they provided editors, who’s to know for sure how well the editors do their work?

Probably the majority of the time that a book is riddled with errors it is because the author never considered that the publisher wouldn’t have an editor look at the material before it was published. That would be considered vanity press the way that I understand it. Whether it is because the author didn’t want any changes made or because they didn’t make sure someone would be editing it, it would still appear unfinished to the reader, and cause the reader to reconsider purchasing that authors books in the future.

I have a book in my possession that is just such a book. It was written for young adults and is a mystery with the main character being an American Indian. It would be a great book if it had been edited by someone with a background in American English, preferable someone with a major in English, Journalism or Editing, or other similar backgrounds.

As it is, it’s awful and how do you tell an author they made a mistake not getting it edited before publishing it? I don’t even know how old the author is. I suppose I could do a book review of it, but I would want to use a pen name I think.

I had my husband read it to see what he thought. I haven’t read it for several years and all I remembered was that it wasn’t written very well. He reminded me of some of the other problems it had. The plot had holes in it. It was a murder/mystery. The main character was a sleuth, supposedly like Nancy Drew, except this person would talk about clues she would find and then nothing was ever mentioned about it ever again in the book. There were lots of issues like that all the way through the book.

I remember that I was going to give up reading it before I even got part way done, but kept hoping that the author would get it together before too long, but it never improved.

We don’t want our readers to ever think that way about anything we write, therefore we need to consider getting someone other than a friend or relative to read anything we plan on publishing.

For my freelancing blog after nano, I hope to research the different types of publishing, there are many more types of newer publishing than what there used to be. I think some of them people consider to be cross-overs maybe because they don’t understand what everything means or realize that if something is edited first, almost any type of publishing might be fine for the book should be in tip-top shape before it ever hits the bookstores or the e-book distributors.

One of the authors that also does self-publishing for other authors believes that places like, create-space and author house (?) are all ones that will take any book whether the book is the best it can be or not. While that may be true, it doesn’t mean that everyone that uses one of those as a means for publishing didn’t get their books edited first, for I know several authors that have used them after editing them first.

One thing that was mentioned by one of the authors was that many people tell us to write what we know, but she recommends that we write what we enjoy reading in our leisure time.

One self-publisher that you want to do a lot of background checking for first before considering is Xlibris. We found out about them over ten years ago and were planning on publishing with them one day. At the time I think they may have been a good publishing company. We first heard about them in the beginning of 2000 or so. When we found them again, we thought they were still a good company but then found out some things online that weren’t the best.

Anywhere you approach to get your items published you do want to read the fine print to make sure you retain exclusive rights to your items.

There are still small press companies that work similar to larger publishing houses in that they will allow you to submit manuscripts to them, and if they agree they will offer you a contract, fine tune the editing-after you have it edited first- and then it follows their process to publication.

I work for such a small press in that I’m a intern submission editor. I read the first three chapters of a larger novel, or if it’s a children’s book it would be the whole story. I determine whether the ms should be accepted, rejected outright or sent back for revision.

I have accepted a few but most of them need some revision. One of them I got back after it was supposed to be revised and I really wanted to accept the story because I really liked the story line and what it was teaching, but many of the things that I pointed out the first time through were never changed in the revision process.

A different one that I was reading, I don’t remember everything about it, but when it was into the third chapter there was a line written in orange that said ‘edited to here’. For one thing if you put something like that on a page so you know how far you got, you make sure you take it out before sending it to a publisher, and for the other thing the sections before hand weren’t edited like they thought they were.

As you have probably noticed while I’ve worked on this blog and some of my other ones is that I’m not perfect with my punctuation. I am getting better. I’m learning about comma splices and trying to eliminate them in my writing, but I know that I have a long way to go. When writing dialog I used to do it incorrectly, so when I write dialog now I have to think is that the way I used to do it or the right way? Sometimes I can’t remember. I would like to find my copy of Strunks and White that I have buried somewhere, but I also can download a style sheet from the publisher I work with and I hope to study that during the winter months when I’m not so busy.

As I said yesterday, I need to work on active voice rather than passive, using stronger verbs and another thing I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet is that I need to work on showing rather than telling in my stories.

I know that in certain stories that I’ve written I’ve done fairly well, with others I fall short. I’m hoping that I can find a writing class that teaches that so I can tell the difference. For me, to understand the difference I think it’s if you’re reading something and it reads like you are reading a newspaper, then that is telling, whereas if you are able to be a part of the story it’s showing.

The only thing is, if you are reading a newspaper article and you happen to know the person it’s talking about, you could envision yourself there and to you that would be showing… That makes me think that my understanding of it is all wrong.

Any of you have an easy way to keep it straight?

This post is 1531 while other writing I wrote earlier is-766, totals 2297

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