Multi-passionate writer, author and solo-preneur

Tag: indie publishing

Links: What’s Steampunk, Sleepy Hollow preview, and more

I didn’t get all of my freelance work done before the weekend, so I’m having to work today. It’s mostly my own fault for not managing my time as well as I could have, but then again this was a pretty hectic week that involved more errands and more reasons to leave the house than usual (including a second trip to Bixby to pick up Pete’s meds from the vet because she didn’t have them stocked when we were there on Wednesday. Let me tell you, that is quite a long way to drive for such a simple errand), so I’ll go ahead and cut myself some slack.

The plan is to get this last article written before lunch, then I’ll be free the rest of the weekend. Except I also have a couple of short things I need to write for a Fiverr client by Monday evening. I’m still dithering on whether to buckle down and get those done today so I can take Labor Day off, or just wait and do them Monday so I can enjoy most of my Saturday. Considering that “enjoying” my Saturday involves laundry and vacuuming the house, I’ll probably hold off on the extra work until Monday.

Also on today’s agenda: trimming my unruly hair (still debating whether to give myself straight bangs or keep them longish and side swept, even though I usually regret straight bangs because they never lay down like I want them to, and yet I never seem to learn), fiddling with the outline for the new novel, and pulling my horror short story collection together for beta readers.

And now I’ll leave you with some links that are open in my browser that might be of interest to you:

The truth is I have no idea what I’m doing.

I’m taking a break from my Stephen King binge to read House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It’s been on my wish list for a while now and when I came across a (battered but readable) copy at the used book store the other day I snatched it up and since then I’ve been doing my very best to force myself to meet my responsibilities and obligations and not just lose myself in this book until I’m done. I don’t want to say too much about it yet — partly because I don’t want to spoil anything; you don’t read this book so much as experience it, and it’s really best if you come to it knowing as little about it as possible — and also because I get the feeling I won’t really know what I’m talking about until I’ve finished it. Anyway, it’s good. Scary. Scary good.

My patreon campaign isn’t going so well, which is discouraging, because to be honest this is kind of my last-ditch effort at being an indie author. I’ve been looking over my sales totals and, despite excellent reviews, despite decent publicity here and there, despite about a dozen other things, the numbers are just pitiful. I’ve said since I started this experiment that self-publishing isn’t for everybody. Now I’m starting to face the harsh truth that it might not be for me. At first I liked the idea of DIYing everything and being in total control, but the truth is I just can’t do it all by myself, and I don’t have the resources to put together a team to polish everything and make it look truly professional. And honestly, if you can’t do that, then you don’t have much hope of competing in this market.

I’ve been kind of depressed about this, honestly. Definitely discouraged. Trying to figure out where to go from here. With nobody showing any real interest in Intruder (apart from a small handful of Facebook likes) I’m wondering if I should back-burner it and focus my wee slivers of writing time on finishing Radium Town and then submitting it to agents. Or if I should start submitting Restless Spirits and/or Dominion of the Damned to some small publishing houses. Or maybe even submit them to agents. I don’t know. I’m overwhelmed and flailing, and this is why I think I might need an agent, so he or she can help me figure out what’s best.

Or should I just stick it out and focus on getting two more books out there and see what happens when I get to the “magical” number six? Six books seems to be the average number when sales really start to take off and royalties start to become a livable wage. Am I just not being patient enough? Not tenacious enough? I don’t know. I only know that I’m very tired and the technical production and design aspects of my books leave a lot to be desired and I’m barely finding time to write, let alone to market them effectively, and it seems that teaming with an agent and publisher(s) could help fix at least some of those problems, but I fear it would also create as many problems as it solves.

Just thinking out loud here. Maybe I shouldn’t, but there it is.

In other news, Hannibal and Once Upon a Time both kind of broke my heart this week, and the Walking Dead season finale was kind of uneventful. Right now on Twitter everybody’s talking about the How I Met Your Mother finale, but I don’t watch that show, so I can’t comment.

And now I’m going to make some cocoa and dive back into my scary book and try not to think about my even scarier sales reports.

Editing the Heck Out of Your Indie Novel – Part Three: 3rd Draft to Print

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This is part three in what’s shaping up to be a four-part series. If you missed part one, which mainly covers WHY you should take extra pains in editing your indie novel, you can read it here. Part two, covering initial revisions and rounding up good first readers, is here.

 

 

Step Five

Send it to your beta readers. This group should look for both story problems AND technical problems. While you wait for feedback from this group, round up yet another group of beta readers. This last group should contain your eagle-eyed grammar cop friends, because they’ll be focusing mainly on looking for technical errors. These last two groups might sound redundant, but believe me, the interim group is necessary. They’ll catch things the first readers missed as far as story problems, and also get you well under way to a clean and polished fourth draft.

Step Six

Repeat Step Four with the latest round of feedback. This time, as you read through your manuscript and make edits, you’ll want to go through the whole thing, sentence by sentence. Start by doing a blanket find & delete of words you know you tend to overuse. Read every sentence and paragraph and justify every word, every dialogue attribution, every piece of punctuation, every chapter break and paragraph break and scene break. Read it aloud to yourself — especially the dialogue — to make sure nothing is stilted or awkwardly written.

Once you’re satisfied, or you just can’t stand to look at it anymore, celebrate completing your fourth draft and send it to the last group of beta readers.

Step Seven

Protip: don’t send it to this entire group at once. Send it to the majority, but hold off on sending it to the most trusted and eagle-eyed members of the group. Once you get the initial feedback, go through the manuscript again, formatting it for publication and fixing any errors they pointed out as you go.

Now that it’s all formatted and proofed, send it to the last of your beta readers. If possible, send it to them in its final format. Send one an e-book file and send the other a paperback proof copy. Have them look for formatting errors as well as typos and grammar & spelling errors. This is important, as these things WILL come back to bite you when people start leaving reviews.

If they find errors, fix them. Order another proof and check that the errors are indeed fixed in the print edition.

Congratulations. You have completed your fifth and final draft. NOW you are ready to unleash your masterpiece on the world. Upgrade your beverage to a glass of champagne and toast yourself as you upload your novel files to your various publishing platforms, confident in the knowledge that you did everything humanly possible to make it professional and legit.

Now to recap: that’s SEVEN steps involving FIVE drafts and FOUR different groups of readers. That’s what it takes to bring your novel up to a professional, publishable, ready-for-primetime level “by yourself.” If indeed you want your readers to regard you as a professional and take you seriously, don’t take any shortcuts that don’t involve simply hiring a professional editor to do most of this for you. And if you can afford to do that? Then just do it. You’ll be glad you did.

Do you have any questions for me about the editing process? If so, leave it in a comment. If it’s not already addressed in the next two parts of this series, I’ll do a follow-up Q&A post at the end. Also, I’d LOVE to hear any editing tips you have to offer.

Ready for the Q&A? You can read it here.

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