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The self publishing craze has grown in popularity in
recent years. But popularity doesn’t always mean it’s the best or even the preferred way to become a
published author. Self publishing can have rewards, but it can also have perils.
Why People Self Publish
The reasons people self publish vary. These are the reasons I’ve encountered the most.
· They are too impatient to take the traditional publishing route.
· They do not understand how the publishing industry, agents and/or editors work.
· They have material that is controversial or doesn’t fit neatly into a specific genre.
· Agents were not interested in the project.
Why You Shouldn’t Self Publish
The ease of self publishing means anyone, whether they can write or not, can be considered a published author.
The following are reasons listed in the 2012 Guide to Literary Agents for reasons not to self publish.
· It’s difficult for a self published book to become a success.
· If you chose to later find an agent for your book, it becomes more difficult because the manuscript is not considered new material.
· The books are often not well written and/or were not properly edited.
· The assumption you are a difficult author to work with who is resistant to editing and revising your manuscript.
Other reasons to avoid self publishing:
· You’ll be marketing the book yourself.
· You’re damaging your reputation as an author, especially if you plan on acquiring a literary agent later on.
· The high cost of vanity press fee.
· There is no guarantee of the quality of print books.
· Not all self publishing companies are reputable.
Exception to the Rule
The exception to the rule is nonfiction because the nonfiction market is much harder to break into than the fiction. There also is a better track record for well written, self published nonfiction books than there is for self published novels.
In fact, I have written a book, Enterprising Women: Practical Advice for First Time Entrepreneurs, which I plan on releasing on eBook this month.
Why did I chose to self publish? Primarily, because I have no plans to write additional books in this genre.
If you’re an author in need of a copy editor, please contact me. I’d be happy to help.
You’re an expert in your field, but does that mean you’re a skilled wordsmith? Maybe. Maybe not.
One area where many businesspeople have, especially solo entrepreneurs and the self employed, is a weakness in writing. They are very knowledgeable in their fields or about their products and services but are unable to clearly express themselves on their websites or in their newsletters and blogs.
This failure to express themselves can lead to potential customers abandoning their websites or not even bothering to look through their
I have seen it many times, especially in blog posts. The businessperson has useful information to share, but cannot do so without grammatical, style and punctuation errors.
Not long ago, I came across a post for tips for marketing
on Facebook. I decided to take a look at it with the intent of learning something and perhaps putting the advice into practice. But when I started reading, it became clear that the article was so full of errors I could not get past the first paragraph. I wondered how many others had the same experience. This blogger would have benefited from the expertise of an expert, an expert in the writing field.
So what is a businessperson to do? Hire a writer or editor with whom they can have a friendly business relationship. A writer can write material from scratch, freeing up some time for the business owner. An editor can take material already written and polish it.
If you’re a businessperson in need of a writer or editor to make your website, blog or newsletter shine, contact me.
At the risk of sounding like an old woman, I am not ashamed to admit I dislike texting and what it has done to the English language. This is because texting abbreviations have left the phone and are now appearing in emails, online forums and articles, places they were never meant to be.
Here are 5 Reasons Why Text Speak Outside of Texting is Unacceptable:
1. If someone needs a code book to understand what you’re saying, then you’ve lost potential readers.
2. It’s unprofessional and shows you don’t take your comments/writing seriously.
3. It can give the false impression that you’re very young and/or uneducated.
4. It implies you’re not a talented enough writer to use words properly to express yourself.
5. As a writer, you should avoid slang whenever possible.
These are the most common texting abbreviations I have seen online: lol, kwim, imo, wtf, btw.
Do you find text speak inappropriate for anything other than texting? What common texting abbreviations have you seen online?
If you need a writer who is skilled with the English language, please contact me.
As with an profession, there is a learning curve when it comes to writing fiction. And as with any art form, it can take years to perfect. During the learning process, new fiction authors often make a number of mistakes while they are learning to perfect their craft.
The following is a list of the five most common mistakes I have seen new novelists and short-story writers make, but there are countless others.
1. Alternating Dialogue Tags
Unless you’re writing for young children, using alternating dialogue tags instead of simply using “said” or “asked” can be very distracting.
“I’m so upset!” she shouted.
“So am I,” he fumed.
“Stop following me,” she exclaimed.
To resolve the issue, the author should show readers the characters are upset instead of telling them. The dialogue above would be improved by
writing it this way.
“I am so upset with you.” Victoria threw her glass to the floor and walked away.
“So am I,” he said, his nostrils burning as he went after her.
“Stop following me!”
2. Not Providing the Right Information
New authors often have a habit of providing the reader with the wrong information, either by providing them with information they don’t need, or by not providing what they need to know.
Examples of useless information: scenes/chapters which have nothing to do with the plot or characterization; describing the weather for more than a sentence or so (unless it’s vital to the plot); telling readers the characters height, weight, income, ect, unless it’s essential to the plot.
Examples of not providing information needed: not setting the mood or tone for a scene; not describing where the action is taking place when it is need for the plot; not establishing transitions between scenes/chapters or the passage of time.
3. Overuse of Adjectives/Adverbs
Just as the overuse of alternating tags is distracting to the dialogue, the overuse of adverbs and adjectives is distracting to the descriptive part of the manuscript. This is not to say authors should not use adjectives and adverbs. They should, but whenever possible the author needs to show, not tell, what a character is thinking, feeling and doing.
4. Not Taking Notes
Failing to take numerous notes before writing begins is another novice mistake and can lead to novels with no clear plot line, unbelievable characters and weak settings.
Before beginning a fiction story, authors should write their characters biographies and have an outline of how the plot will go from beginning to conclusion. They should also know their setting and, if necessary, have completed any research, especially for historical novels.
5. Silly Plot Lines
A consequence of no effective planning is silly plot lines -- plot lines that don’t make sense, have no clear conclusion or where nothing interesting
Are you a new author in need of an editor to make your dreams come true? Contact me. I can help.
Whether we like it or not we are judged by our writing. People make assumptions about others based on how they write. They look at typos, verb tenses, word usage, clarity and other factors and make assumptions about the writer’s education, intelligence, social class and background. They decide whether the writer is creditable and whether what the writer has to say is worth their time.
A real life example: Recently, I read a post in an online forum from a mother talking about the importance of her children’s education. The problem is she spelled education “edication”. The presence of the misspelled word weakened her argument. How important is education really to this mother if she cannot spell the word? Is she uneducated and this is why education is so important to her for her children? Or was she simply too lazy to run spell check?
Here is another real-life example: In that same forum was a post in which the word prepare was spelled phonetically as “prepair”. The same assumptions can be made about this person. We assume she is uneducated or, at the very least, too lazy to run spell check before hitting the post button.
You Never Get a Second Chance
First impressions matter and you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This adage doesn’t just apply to job interviews and face-to-face introductions. It also applies to writing as well. This is especially important if you are a small-business owner or a writer.
Think about it. Would you purchase a service from a website full of nonsensical sentences? Would you purchase a book or eBook full of misspellings and grammatical errors? The answer is of course not.
If you have a website or are an author, clear writing is important because ineffective writing can cost you a sales. Even if you’re not selling a product on your website, clear writing is the difference between someone staying on your website or hitting the back button.
This is why first impressions are so important. Those people who left your website or put down your book, are never coming back, and may tell other people to look away.
If you’re a business owner or an author in need of an editor, please contact me.
The Internet has opened up a new world to writers that wasn’t available as recently 10 years ago. These changes include things like emailing agents, electronic submissions to magazines, content mills and ezines, not to mention the most popular tools available to writers, the blog.
It doesn’t matter whether they use Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr or another site, there are thousands, if not millions, of bloggers out there, each with their own point of view and writing style. Some are extremely popular, well written publications while others will make you hit the back button within seconds of visiting.
Here are the pros and cons of creating a blog.
Pro: Anyone can have a blog.
Many blogging platforms are free, making them available to anyone with Internet access and a desire to write. This has allowed creative individuals to express their point of view free of editor’s guidelines or having to submit their material to websites or magazines. Blog platforms also give writers creative control over how their blog is designed.
Blogs can be creative exercises or marketing tools; it’s up to the blogger.
Con: Anyone can have a blog.
One aspect that makes blogging wonderful is that it’s open to everyone. That’s also one of the downsides. Many blogs use harsh colors that bother the eyes, look tacky because they are predominately advertisements or, worst of all, are badly written.
The most common errors I have observed are failing to run spell check, no spacing between paragraphs, no paragraphs at all, over capitalization of words, using numerals when the number should be written out, poor sentence construction and no direction in the blogger’s writing.
Pro: You can create a blog effortlessly.
Just as free blogging platforms make blogs available to everyone, user-friendly features make setting up a blog effortless. In just minutes, anyone can create an account, customize their blog and start posting.
Con: Maintaining a blog isn’t effortless.
“If you build it, they will come” may be a famous line from the movie “Field of Dreams” but it also applies to novices’ beliefs about websites. Many a notive writer or businessperson thinks all you have to do is set up a website and the traffic will come pouring in. In reality, maintaining a blog means posting new content regularly, learning about search engine optimization, purchasing a URL, setting up social media pages and networking online.
It is a laborious, time-consuming process all in the name of building up traffic and perhaps being able to sell ad space.
Pro: Businesses can use blogs to talk about their services.
Blogs are an outlet that allows small-business owners to educate potential clients and customers about their products or services. It can be used as a marketing tool and as a way to increase traffic to a website.
Con: Not every successful businessperson is a good writer.
Just because a businessperson is an expert in their field does not mean he/she are an effective writer.
For example, not long ago I came across a blog post written by a professional makeup artist. The title of the post was “World AIDS Day”, the photo was of a hand with lovely, manicured nails and the text was so badly written I couldn’t tell what it was about, but clearly it was about neither World AIDS Day nor manicures. It was riddle with spelling errors and nonsensical phrases.
What can be learned here? The blog’s owner failed to check to see if her headline matched her post and that her photo matched her post. She failed to examine her work and didn’t bother to run spell check. She was also guilty of writing in such a conversational tone that she didn’t come across as creditable.
When deciding whether to set up a blog or not, ask yourself the following questions.
1. Do I know how to communicate clearly and effectively when I write?
2. Am I creative enough to consistently create new topics?
3. Do I have the time and commitment necessary to run a blog?
4. Do I know how to self edit?
5. Am I willing to hire help if I can’t write well and/or edit my own work?
If you need a blog writer or a blog editor, please contact me.
If diamonds are a girl’s best friends, then the Guide to Literary Agents is a new author’s best friend. The resource, published yearly by Writer’s Digest Books, provides a wealth of information for authors aspiring to break into the industry.
As Writer’s Digest puts it on their website:
“Is your dream to become a published author? No matter what you're writing — fiction or nonfiction — in order to make your dream come true, you’re going to have to find a literary agent. … After all, landing an agent is one of the most important steps with the traditional publishing process.”
I highly recommend this book to new authors. This resource provides a wealth of information and is thorough enough to educate new authors on how the publishing industry works. Many new authors are frightened by the process of getting published, and the guide goes a long way to dispel myths and misinformation.
New authors will find the following most helpful:
-- An explanation of what a literary agent does and why it is beneficial.
-- How to find a reputable literary agent.
-- How to write a query letter and book proposal.
-- How not to begin your manuscript.
-- The pros and cons of self publishing.
-- Copyright information.
Like with anything, the more you know, the more powerful you are. If you are an aspiring author, educate yourself and reach for your dreams.
Ready to find a literary agent to represent you? The last step before sending out queries is to have your manuscript copy edited. Contact me to see how I can help you achieve your dreams.
Next to attorneys, used-car salesmen and politicians no profession is as misunderstood and mistrusted as the copy editor.
In more than a decade of experience as a copy editor, I have heard a lot of mistruths. Some of them have downright shocked me, especially how common these mistruths are. Even worst, the majority of these misperceptions and myths have come from authors. Strong belief in these misperceptions and myths has kept a number of authors from seeking the help their manuscripts need. It also has led them to avoid seeking a literary agent out of fear their manuscripts would be altered and stolen.
The following are the most damaging misperceptions and myths about copy editors as well as the truth behind the myth.
Myth: All copy editors do is run spell check.
Truth: While copy editors do run spell check – or use a dictionary when editing a printed manuscript – they do much more. They also check for grammatical mistakes, punctuation errors, style errors as well as problems with the flow of a manuscript, with dialogue, look for plot holes and check for scenes which are confusing.
Myth: I can self edit or have a friend edit my manuscript.
Truth: Self-editing is what you do to ready your manuscript before handing it off to your copy editor. During the course of a self-edit, you will be able to correct simple mistakes, but authors are too close to their work to catch problems with plot and dialogue.
As for having a friend edit your work, don’t do it unless your friend is a trained copy editor. Someone who is not trained in grammar, punctuation and style will not be able to catch those types of errors.
Myth: If an agent/publishing house see my potential, he/she/it will copy edit my manuscript.
Truth: Your manuscript needs to be copy edited and polished before it goes to a literary agent or publisher not after. Agents and publishing
houses are not copy editors. In addition, they do not have the time or resources to invest in having your manuscript copy edited for you.
Not having your manuscript copy edited for you before you send it to an
agent or publisher is like asking for your manuscript to be put in the reject
Myth: No matter what title they hold all editors do the same thing.
Truth: There are several types of editors. Proofreaders review final
drafts of manuscripts and documents for any errors that made it through previous edits. Copy editors do more in-depth editing.
Editors, managing editors and executive editors who work
for magazines and newspapers hold management positions whereas the editors who work for publishing houses are responsible helping decide which manuscripts the publisher takes on.
Myth: Copy editors will rewrite my work without my permission.
Truth: A copy editor may reword and revise the wording of sentences if that is what he or she has been hired to do. An ethical copy editor, however, will not reword your manuscript without your permission.
The editor will instead leave an editorial note for the author. It is then up to the author to make the change or not.
There is one notable exception. This would be when you hire an editor to do a developmental edit, taking a manuscript that has serious problems and cleaning it up or taking previously written articles or stories and putting them together so they flow smoothly.
Myth: Copy editors will steal my work and publish it as their own.
Truth: This is perhaps the most damaging myth of all. This is like saying an accountant will steal your tax return money because he or she did your
taxes. An ethical copy editor will not steal your manuscript. An ethical copy editor is there to help you polish your manuscript and make it the
strongest possible manuscript it can be.
If you need a talented, ethical copy editor to edit your manuscript, please contact me.
Writers are everywhere yet most people know nothing about them. When they hear the word “writer,” they picture an eccentric person in front of a typewriter or they picture a journalist in a newsroom.
There are a number of misperceptions out there about
writers. In my more than a decade of experience in the writing field I’ve no doubt heard most of them. It’s time to set the record straight.
Here are the most common misperceptions about writers and the reality.
Myth: All writers are rich.
Truth: Unless a freelance writer is a household name, odds are the writer is not rich. According to Deborah Ng of Freelance Writing Jobs, the average freelance writer earns somewhere between $12,000-$24,000 a year. The 1997 edition of The Writer’s Market listed the average freelance writer’s salary as $14,000 annually. As you can see, not much has changed in the last 16 years.
Why have salaries stayed so stagnant? Part of the reason is content mills and job bidding sites. Why should a client pay a freelance writer a livable wage if the writer is willing to accept $1 for 500 words, 50 cents an hour or a penny per page view? And legitimate publications don’t pay much better: five to ten cents a word if you’re lucky.
Novelists don’t make much more. With so many people self-publishing in recent years, writers are lucky to even make a sale, and with many eBooks selling for 99 cents, writers should consider themselves lucky to make $12,000 a year.
Magazine writers and newspaper reporters don’t fare much better. Their average salaries are in the $20,000-$60,000 range depending on the market.
Myth: Writing is not a real job.
Truth: Anyone who has ever tried his or her hand at freelance writing, painting, music or any other artistic pursuit has no doubt heard this one. The argument here is that because writing involves creativity it’s not a real job. And, let’s face it, fiction writing especially involves a lot of day dreaming before ideas are committed to paper.
But the truth is freelance writing involves a great deal of work. Freelance writers must not only be talented, but they also must be willing to learn the business side of writing –learn about magazine submissions, query letters, literary agents – and they must be incredibly self-motivated and persistent. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, freelance writers must be willing to spend six to eight hours plus a day in front of a computer writing, editing, sending out submissions/queries, doing research and finding new clients.
Myth: Writers who work from home have a lot of free time.
Truth: This myth is true of many people who work at home and freelance writers are no exception. Freelance writing is a solitude pursuit. The majority of a writer’s time is dedicated to things he or she will never be paid for, things I listed in the previous myth.
A freelance writer who has a lot of free time either is underemployed or considers writing a hobby.
Myth: Masterpieces flying out a writer’s head.
Truth: This myth is intertwined with the last two. People who have never attempted to write before are under the assumption that great articles and manuscripts simply happen, all the writer has to do is put pen to paper and start typing.
Does this ever happen? Not in the real world. Writers, especially novelists, must write and rewrite their work to get it in sellable shape.
Myth: Good writing is easy.
Truth: Anyone who can spell can write. Clear, concise, effective writing is another story. This is why novelists need copy editors and why businesses need the services of professional writers to write their web copy and blogs.
If you are in the market for a talented writer, please contact me today.