July 25, 2011

My proofing guidelines.

     With all the talk of proofing lately, I thought I might share my own proofreading guidelines. With the exception of #1 below, I go through this with every edit of my own manuscripts, as well as those of friends and other writers who trust me with their work. Here's how it works:

1. Read the entire work and enjoy it. 
Make a note of any major problems but don't focus on editing.

Why? Because events in chapter 1 have consequences in chapter 20. How can I give someone advice on plotlines and structure in the beginning when I don't know what it could mean for the end?

Now that I know the outcome...

2. Read chapter 1 again.
Highlight any SPaG (spelling, punctuation, and grammar). Make a note of any breaks in the flow of reading. Give suggestions on sentence structure if needed.

Now that it's more clear and flowing...

3. Read through the chapter again.
Focus on plot holes and timeline. Highlight strong and weak points of EVaD (essence, voice, and development).

4. Wash, Rinse, Repeat for all chapters. 

5. Pre-review.
After I've brushed up the ms to the best of my ability, I write a pre-review. A Pre review is simply a 'letter' of sorts to the author detailing my own opinions and suggestions for the overall ms,

I look at things like:
-Was a certain excerpt too dragged out?
-Was it too descriptive? Or not enough?
-Was there anything that could have been left out without consequence?
-Was there something that needed more explanation?
-Was there something I wanted to know, but it doesn't tell?
-If I could change anything, what would it be?
-Is there anything that just doesn't fit.
-ALWAYS tell them the parts of their ms that I loved

And then I hit send and start the journey of e-mailing back and forth with the author to clarify things, talk to them about the ms, and get THEIR feedback on what I've suggested. I always reinforce my belief that everything I give them is purely suggestion and they're welcome to throw it all out if they don't feel it is right for their work. The author knows their work better than any other person in the world, only they can decide what is really right for their ms and what isn't.

If you have any suggestions to add to my list, of course I'm always up for improving my proofreading along with my writing.

July 23, 2011

I want to...

Proofread. I enjoy it and it's a very nice break from all this writing. Got anything that needs a good free proofreading?

July 15, 2011

Marketing Strategies you haven't already heard.

     The same day I finished my first novel, I began writing out a detailed business plan for marketing. Hours and hours of research led me down the same paths many times over. Most of them were ads that led me to a book about marketing that I could purchase for the small price of **$99.99** or some other insidious amount. The articles and blogs I found all pretty much said the same things, so I decided to dig deep into my brainpit and find something DIFFERENT.

I came up with some ideas and did some homework. Here are a few of the strategies I came up with. (As of yet, I'm not certain of the results...)

1. The first thing I did was buy a magnet. A WHAT? Haha. Yes, a magnet. A car door magnet. Everywhere I look around town, people have these things advertising business. Selling a book is a business, so why not? I found a very affordable plan at www.vistaprint.com. I tested it out, ordered a small one for $8. I'm very pleased with the product, and went on to order larger ones with more info on where to find it.

Also, if you decide to buy one with them, google "Vistaprint discount codes". I found a 25% off code and saved even more before checkout. I haven't received the larger ones yet, but this was what the little one looked like:

Don't go making fun of my grandma-mobile =) Also, I had to put it in a weird place because my car is made of plastic... Anyway, I've had people stop me in Wal~Mart parking lots to ask about it, so it's definitely something I would suggest.

I'm also planning in the future to hit up some local owner/operator truck drivers to see what they might charge me to stick one on a truck that travels nationwide.

2. Consignment sales. I'm not sure if that's what other stores call them, but my local Hastings bookstore offers these sales. You take in however many books you'd like to sell there, fill out a paper, tell them how much profit you want to make, they mark them up 30% and put them on their shelves. It's a pretty sweet deal. They ask you to come in once a month to check sales, restock, and get paid. You can pull them out of the store any time you'd like, so it's a no risk situation for all. I started small with 10 books, and I'm waiting on more this very moment because they sold out. If you have a Hastings Entertainment store around, I wouldn't hesitate to put it to good use. I'm not certain yet if other bookstores offer something similar, but I will be checking around.

3. Facebook Ads- Okay, I'll have to admit this wasn't my idea... Scott Niven offered this advice on his blog over HERE. I set up an ad for $1.50 per day and have gained followers to my Facebook page. I'm not sure how this translates into sales, since I can't see who buys the book, but the more eyes on it the better.

4. The Book Trailer. Again, not sure if it's boosted sales any, but I've had views from 80 different sources, 25 of which were linked at the end of another video on YouTube. This has allowed me to expand my reach to people who would have probably never even heard of it. And of course, it didn't cost a penny =D

Other than the typical sales schemes of a book, these are some great ways to help you promote. If you have any other methods that aren't blogged about on a daily basis, feel free to comment below and share your knowledge.

July 9, 2011

A little fun

    I found a neat little gadget today that allows you to paste in your work, and it analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them to those of famous writers.
   I plugged in a few chapters and this was my result:

You can try it out for yourself here: I WRITE LIKE...

While I think I'm far from Rudyard Kipling, it was still fun. If you try it out, let me know what the results were =D

On another note... I'm so stoked about getting the first copy of my book in paperback!!

It feels amazing to be able to hold it!! The paperback is available @ Sounding Waters. The only downside is, my husband thinks I'm crazy for wanting to bring it to bed with me. I'm sure you understand...

July 5, 2011

It's 2:30 am and the garbage can looks nice Oo

     Now with the first book "finished" (meaning other than advert, there's nothing left to do =D), I'm moving more into book 2, The Origin Stone. I feel like I lost my wings. The first novel I finished just kept coming to me in spurts. The words would just appear in my head and I couldn't get them out fast enough. This was the cause of immense amounts of typos in the first draft, but that was easily remedied.
     This time? Not so much. I've pushed out about 9k words so far, but I'm having trouble liking them. The more I look back over what I've written, the more I want to scrap it all and start over. The best descriptive word that comes to mind is, "Bleh". It's maddening when you know exactly what you want to happen, but it doesn't seem to want to happen. I've been arguing with one of my MCs for 45 minutes now because he doesn't want to do what I want him to. Maybe I'll reconsider making my characters so stubborn in the future...
     I know plenty about writer's block, but this is different. Its more like "writer's drunk" in that my metaphorical speech is slurred and things are a wee bit blurry. Have you ever had writer's drunk? Did you pitch out the work and start fresh, or go back and sort it all out?

July 1, 2011

Changes in the release

     Well, it looks as though this might all wrap op a month sooner than expected, so I'll be releasing this book sooner than originally planned. I'll update as soon as I know for sure.