Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Importance of a GOOD Editor

AuthorConfession #35
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I make friends on Twitter or other places with other authors who self-publish. There is a risk involved with this. Not like a stalkery kind of risk that they take over your identity or rob your house, but all self-published authors have to make a decision about editing, to do it themselves, or to get someone else to do it. As a writer, I want to support them, but when their published book downright NEEDS a real editor and is very hard to read from the first paragraph, I cannot honestly support their work.

Beta readers who are HONEST and authors who can take CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM are essential to this process. Nothing kills your fans like a product that doesn't live up to all your hype. "Buy my book! Here's a sneak peek!" and the sneak peek sucks because the author didn't get anyone good to read it; that's a real bummer.

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It's like a bad blind date.

If the character is human, then not human, then magical, then can see behind their head, then I'm inside their head, but their thoughts would be better explained by an omniscient narrator, but the author prefers paragraphs of italics filled with questions that are telling and not showing the reader...INHALE, then I'm not going to read past the first page. I'm certainly not going to buy it.

I'm gonna leave before the main course by sneaking out the bathroom window.

Not that my own works are all quality. All of my free stuff hasn't been edited by a GOOD editor. As I learn, I go back and edit myself. I'm much better now than 10 years ago. I republished and updated two old works this summer. I am not immune to mistakes.

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Unedited authors learn slower. Join Critique Circle and help authors learn. If you are writing and need beta readers, join Critique Circle.

Pay for an editor if you can. Don't let your friends edit your works who don't read a lot, or don't write as much as you do. They will think you are a god or goddess of the typewriter and will only tell you you are awesome and never tell you that you suck.

David Lodge says he doesn't listen to academic criticism, "designed to exert the critic’s mastery over the text." Yeah, you don't HAVE to listen to all critics, but you DO have to listen to some of them. You are not superior to all others, but you do have the right to not listen to them and to not change parts of your story that you feel work, or bring your books to the 21st century, or whatever you tell yourself. Don't let them kill your voice. But do let them help you grow.
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Compromise with yourself and your critics.

Lastly, I made up that Author Confessions number. Perhaps I should edit it and make it number 1 and do a series...  I realize that the hashtag author confession is a real thing with a calendar of topics for the month. Yeah, I'm not part of that. This is just me and my thoughts.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How I Make Book Covers

This week we found out we were rejected by Asimov's.

My aunt said she'd buy a copy of our story if we published it. She's very sweet. My co-author said he wasn't opposed to the idea of making it into an ebook and using that later as a freebie when we market our longer works.

I began to work on some book covers. I came up with 2 of them and needed some opinions. You can help until August 14th if you have a Wordpress account.

Vote here.

Making book covers is easy with Canva. Sign up. Check it out. It's free. You choose a template that works for you, then you can edit the text and font, as well as change the background images. Download the images to your computer in whatever form you choose. I download them all, just because of the different file formats required for different self-publishing sites.

You may use images released for commercial use. Pixabay has a decent selection. Download the images and use them for whatever you wish. I use them for book covers and for making memes for Spoonfuls of Sugar.

I know that's a big link dump, but that's how I'm feeling, full of helpful information. I hope I can help you, too.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Wordpress Website Fun

I found out, months later, that I actually paid for two domains when I paid Wordpress for my website.

I spent some time fleshing out those two and creating links and funnels between them. Basically, one is a landing page of sorts, complete with our short stories - -

 - and the other has our blog.  - Both have the same information for Contact and About and What We Do.

The trick was to make the link for 'blog' go to the site as well as link back to the main site when you clicked on 'home' while you were on the blog site.

But this all came about because I found my OLD Wordpress blog Spoonfuls of Sugar and I decided to use what I've learned from website building to make Spoonfuls better.  (old website design)

And I edited the content and started using it to share positive posts. I'm a pretty laid-back and positive person, but I've noticed a growing trend with bouts of loneliness and depression in myself. I think it's something I'm going to keep track of.

Back to the websites...

It took me several hours to figure out what each tabbed part does on the Wordpress dashboard in order to customize my website. Some themes do things differently. I found a new theme I liked and changed Spoonfuls. There are a couple basic things I need to edit, but I like the thumbnail images for people to select the positive message they feel they need right now, or what speaks to them. I know that's how I want to use it.

New website design!
I thought about making a website, and paying for it, for ElshaHawk, but having two sites for HawkandYoung, one for Spoonfuls, as well as two Blogger blogs, two Facebook pages, two Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, two Amazon author pages, and multiple ebook sites, I'm pretty busy!

I'm getting good at automating these accounts, however. Wordpress is great at sharing across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other social media sites. Blogger, not so much. Marketing is getting faster. I only need some sort of money maker and I'm golden!