Edits

Editing is time consuming. Apparently I like the words “directly” and “suddenly.” Good news for me, punctuation is tight and my manuscript is more active than passive. Some changes, ok ok, many changes in the first four chapters. But it’s a task well worth the time. It’s what I’ve been up to lately. I needed a break so here I am to share an excerpt from one of my chapters. Since I’m in the process of editing it’s subject to change but here goes:

Liz got to her feet and steadied herself against the wall. Her dark blonde hair mangled, clothes twisted. Bill, Margaret, and George looked about the same, like they went through a twister.
“I can’t believe this,” Liz said as she looked around the room.
A second before a fierce fight between the serial killer and her ancestor abruptly ended, both apparitions disappeared, to where she had no idea.
George helped Margaret get to her feet, she more anxious than he to get to Liz. She dashed across the room excited.
“Liz, are you all right?”
She and Liz both looked around at what they expected to be a mess. Everything in the room, a war zone seconds before, was intact.
“We don’t need a séance now.” Margaret said with a wide grin.
“The clock, Margaret, did you hear the clock?” Liz asked.
“Hear it! My ears will ring for weeks!”
“Hey, everything… looks normal,” George said, scratching his head.
Bill laughed and said, “Everything except you three.”

Overall the story is dark. Some scenes aren’t meant for all readers. This is an example of me attempting to lighten things up to give the reader a break. The fight ended. The characters are excited but see how things are getting back to normal, from, “I can’t believe this,” to wide grins and laughs.
Yes I did notice the words like, twisted and twister. May change when I edit chapter six.
My manuscript needs work. I’ve decided not to rush the process. I’m concentrating on active vs passive, conciseness, word usage and well rounded characters. My goal, try not to drive the editor crazy. Not me. The real editor. I’m a self published author who has learned the hard way, editing matters.

New Authors, Fresh Voices

I’ve been working on my next novel The Genealogist’s Guests! You may ask yourself if you were researching your family history and your ancestors start appearing, in spirit form of course, what would it take to realize it’s not your imagination. When you hear the whispers, see movement, maybe a shadow, or a door opening on its own. Maybe your coffee has already brewed when you go to make a pot, or your computer is already turned own when you enter your office. Rationally, you may think to yourself there’s a perfect explanation, you left the computer on, made the coffee and don’t remember doing it, and the whispers are all in your head, but then what happens when your fireplace has a fierce fire built, your lawn in manicured, your evil ghosts, the menacing ex-serial killer ghost tries to kill you.  What happens when your neighbors find out your place is haunted, or worse it’s you that’s haunted. Here’s a little scene from the book:

George climbed back into his white Ford pickup truck. He looked back at Liz as he rolled along the driveway and as he faced forward he thought he saw a man in the tree line. He slammed on his breaks causing the gravel to stir. He captured Liz’s attention and she stood by her flower bed watching the peculiar way George moved around in his seat. George searched the tree line but didn’t see anything unusual. He saw Liz watching him through his rearview mirror. He threw the truck in gear and got on out of there. Liz searched the tree line herself and saw nothing unusual, except that it was a beautiful scene. In fact her acres looked as if someone had meticulously manicured it to a perfect setting. “How splendid,” she said. “My guest will approve.”

George wasted no time getting home to Margaret and when he charged through the door screaming, “It’s just what you said Margaret! She’s got some spirits over there. Saw it with my own eyes!” Margaret wasn’t surprised.

“Calm down George,” Margaret said. “We’ll help Liz. Now tell me what you saw.”

 

The novel is due for release in the fall 2012. Lot’s of work to do, next step get that book cover in the works. I’ve learned the hard way to hire someone to design the cover, along with editing. I self publish, not that I gave traditional publishing a good chance, I didn’t. The allure of self publishing and getting my works out to readers quickly excited me. I truly believe in the indies and have habitually scanned books on Amazon, reading those first chapters, searching for that fresh voice, that compelling story by the next best selling author-indie author. A huge variety of indie author’s works are now published through Amazon, Smashwords, CreateSpace to name a few, and more publishing companies are joining in on the fun. We, the indie’s are appearing on the New York Times best seller list and web blogs all over the internet. There’s real talent in the self publishing and I am excited to be a part of it.

Value Your Work, Value Literature

As DOJ, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, and the like battle it out over eBook pricing here I am, a self publisher of one novel, thinking of my decision to price my book at 6.99. Good decision? I think so. I could have priced it at .99 cents… wait are you kidding me? I put a lot of work into that book! It’s not a short story, it’s a full novel. In my opinion there’s a fair market for short stories at less than a dollar price range. I recently read one and was pleased with my purchase. But should a full novel go for a buck? No! Authors! Do not sell your hard work out like that! A three hundred page novel should not sell for the price of a thousand word story.

I considered pricing  my novel at 2.99, a good price range for  new authors trying to attract the attention of readers I think, and I’ve watched many new authors sell a lot of books at 2.99. But what about the value of each? If a hundred thousand people purchased a book at 2.99 based on good reviews wouldn’t they do the same at a 6.99 price? I think so. I would, shoot I’d pay 9.99. So I ask, why price your book at 2.99? Ah yes, to get people purchasing, it’s a tough market out there. I feel you!

So why did I price mine at 6.99? I think it’s a fair price for a new author. I know it’s a fair price for the work I put into it. If people like it they will purchase it, if not they won’t, nothing secret about that.  I, like everyone else can make many assumptions on what the eBook  pricing wars outcome will be, but the responsibility lies on us, the self publisher, to NOT devalue our work. I have never walked into a bookstore, you know where the traditional (published) books are and purchased a new novel for 2.99! Paperbacks that have filled shelves for years still go for 6.99! That’s where my fair price thought came from, let me explain.

If you feel you have a voice, a good story, something for a large population, or a select genre, whatever your fancy, don’t price your brand new voice, your talent for story telling, your place in the literary world-dirt cheap-for the sake of selling as many copies as possible for a quick buck.  Have faith in readers! They will find you at more than 2.99 a copy. The real challenge in self publishing is not with pricing, it’s with marketing. Letting readers know you have a product they will enjoy. For me self publishing also means we must keep the value of literature in its glory.

Borrowed Dreams

Recently there have been talks about a website called LendInk. I was concerned about it myself. I also wrote LendInk and requested my title be taken off their site. That same evening, after more discussions, I went back to the website to gather information on how the site operates but could no longer view it. My Norton antivirus screen popped up with its warning about the site.  I have since learned the owner took the site down after recieivng complaints. This link was sent to me to shed some light on the subject:

http://aprillhamilton.blogspot.com/2012/08/congratulations-you-killed-lendink-and.html

Perhaps some education on lending policies would ease tensions. I do not have the scoop on this subject, but what I do have is an opinion. Some would shine a positive light on the use of such “lending” sites. I’m certainly not opposed to getting my work out there to readers. In fact that’s why I give it free to begin with, I run the special to get interested readers with the hopes of a review or two. The review hasn’t happened but I keep hope, maybe even pray someone takes the time.

Getting back to the point, I want readers but, go figure a but right? I’m not in the know of how the, “lend,” sites actually work. For instance, there was no actual purchase of my title in the eBook format when my book appeared at the LendInk site. I know because being new to self publishing I obsessively check the stats! However, there were free purchases, my doing of course, I put the special out. I’m guessing this is how my title was picked up and sent to LendInk as a title that someone can borrow. Ok, I’m still not opposed to reaching readers. As a self publisher, not having the marketing support of a traditional publishing company, I, and all indie’s have to watch for ourselves.

So here comes the fear, My book is being lent to a thousand people and I haven’t sold a single copy, OMG! Do you feel me? How am I as a self published author to know just how many sites my title is being offered for free at, one, two, one hundred…more?

It’s a hot topic and I want to learn more about “lend” sites. If they are a benefit to authors, (self published), what are the true benefits? Is this program a good way of getting our works out there to readers, much like us giving them out for free? If so sign me up! But if I haven’t sold a single copy and my book is being borrowed a hundred times over without, and here’s what’s tearing at my gut, without a single review from any of the borrowers, I’m the loser.

I’m not savvy in developing these type of websites, but if I were, I’d without a doubt create one, but try and get retailers like Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, etc., to provide a link to authors/publishers to my “lending” website where they can monitor the the borrows, maybe check off the total they allow to be borrowed, have borrowers leave a review for the author and future customers with a link back to the retailer (Amazon, Smashwords, etc.) where the review can be seen.

Now that’s lending/borrowing sense. But right now, self published authors are operating clueless, we don’t know where our books have landed in the world of borrowing, or the number of sites offering them. And if you’re a brand new author, new to self publishing, like me, it’s troubling.

Deadline Forward

Delayed and hindered is how I felt, however I’ve worked my way through illness, lots of family activities, work and chores, you know the drill, and have just sent chapters 6 – 13 of The Thrust to my editor Diane Reynolds. I’m now realizing my April 1 deadline to have it published will be more like May 1, if I work passionately. But I am excited.

In The Tug a youth gets caught up in some trouble with the law and is sent to jail. An unbelievable thing happens when he is backed into a corner by a group of ruthless predators. To survive he must learn the ends and outs of this deadly subculture. He survives but Anna his girlfriend doesn’t. Macon the MC does the unthinkable to save her.

The setting is in current times, in an updated jail with doors instead of bars and dayrooms for inmates to interact. Anyone who’s ever been in jail or have heard the rumors about jail will connect to the story. It is truly another world once one is behind those cinder block walls. My targeted readers are everyone of course but people who work in jails and prisons, or use to, police officers, detectives, anyone in the courts, friends and family of those who are currently in jail, and the curious will find The Tug interesting.

The Thrust is a sequel to The Tug and picks up the story with a deeper plot and surprising twists, with a sense of what it must be like in jail, keeping in mind that officers don’t have as much control as they think. Much goes undetected leaving vicitms on their own…while in Jail! But to make it work, survival that is, inmates must have connections inside and out of jail. Macon’s survival depends greatly on his ability to gain connections. Question is what will he do when he gets them.

I am thrilled to present a modern day jail experience for readers! It isn’t contained inside and could reach any one of us at any time!

Tools

Amazon makes it easy to publish an eBook. For those of us who plan to publish or already have that’s old news. It’s good to keep up with all the news on self publishing, and so I’m forwarding an article I found this morning from PRWeb .

I find it interesting that Amazon has 275 million registered users of ther site, and with 100 million people searching Amazon a month, wow it’s amazing Amazon is only fifth place in terms of web traffic as the article reveals. Leaves me to wonder who’s in 1-4th place. ebay? Guess I’ll have to follow the convenient link from the article to Alexa.com to find out.

Links to the orignial report from the article is here  a link to an advertisement to purchase the 17 page report Partnering with Amazon by Ryan Diess. Only the first 1000 purchasers will get the report at $7.

I don’t know if I’ll need this report and many readers of this blog may feel the same way. But any tip on how to sell an eBook through Amazon sounds like a must and so I’ve download the report to my desktop. I’ll be publishing a second  book here soon and I’ll be checking the report out. Tips? I’ll let you know what I use.

New Self Publish Blue Leaf

I try and keep up on all new ideas for self publishing and I came across this article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46670997 TheWriteDeal eBook publisher has introduced Blue Leaf self-publishing series to begin later this month. I signed up for membership and downloaded their guide for submissions to Blue Leaf. The Style Guide. The first thing I noticed was that authors would submit a manuscript for acceptance. Feels a bit like traditonal publishing. Submission are by email.

If the WriteDeal publishes your work (if) they design the book cover or if they think the authors own book cover is “intriguing” they’ll accept it. Special note: This could solve my book cover needs. I’d be interested to see what their book covers look like.

If The WriteDeal accepts the author’s maunuscript for publication he/she would be contacted and be asked to sign a contract, traditonal? I don’t know yet. It’s brand new, maybe the first of it kind, so what benefits would the author get besides having their editors approve the manuscript for publication. Could it be possible that due to the editorial and acceptance process the author has a better chance of selling more of their work, something to think about. Are they suggesting their serivce will produce higher quality self published ebooks?

The author would also be selecting payment options, not sure if that meant the author pays to get their work published or how they want to recieve their royalties. 60% is what they advertise.

In addition, The WriteDeal introduces the author with high quality works to traditional print publishers. Like I said its new, it’s interesting and I’ll wait for the reviews. So, what do you think?

 

 

 

New is Good

I gave in. I purchased a laptop with the hopes of getting more done, with writing that is. Sharing a desktop with four other people was difficult, but now I can hide in my room, a coffee shop, McDonalds, the book store, library, or wherever, and write on. I am excited about my next release, The Thrust, and now I can grab more time to finish it. I’ve joined The Book Marketing Network, Twitter, Branchout, Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, and weRead and so I’ve been spending time getting familiar. I think they are addictive and I am enjoying the chats, and reads. I gave a review on Amazon and am about half way through on the next novel. I chose to purchase and read new author titles or at least new to me. They are Darcie Chan and A K Alexander, both entertained me well. I’ve jumped on board with reading and giving feedback on newly published authors and their work. It escapes me where I got the idea now, but we all need support, or at least reviews of our works, just as much as we need to write. I’m new too! I’m here to stay. I love to write fiction.

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