Friday, August 9, 2013

Blonde Moments Abound

I thought I was doing so good today. I finished everything I needed to finish with the Molly contest I'm part of. I critiqued my friend Sunni's chapter. I went over the chapter we received critiques on for Fated. I typed up and emailed the minutes from the meeting I had with two people from HODRW for the possibility of a workshop setup. 

I was on it...until it hit me...I forgot to write a new blog post! 

So here I am, writing my blog, on a Friday night, instead of Friday morning. Well, at least I remembered before Friday was completely gone! 

What I wanted to talk about is there has been a lot of wonderful articles that I've read lately to help writers with everything from social media to creative writing skills. I have posted some of them on my fanpage on Facebook and I hope that some of you take time to reading them.

There is so much help out there that is appreciated, at least by me, and I like to share. Sure, some of them can be debated, but it's nice to see other writers helping their fellow writer friends. In fact, there is one of my author friends that I would love to see get a blog going. He is so knowledgeable and if you've read some of his comments on my blog, you would know what I mean.

Of course, I am talking about Ryan. The guy is on it. I wish I had the time and, not to mention, the eyes to brush up on everything there is to know about writing, publishing, and social media. If he ever gets his blog going, I will certainly share it with all of you.

Although I do try to post information from time to time. I'm not as up on it as Ryan, but it's always a good debate between he and I. I appreciate his participation though, and look forward to learning something new. 

But, one of the articles I read I thought was great news. I hope I'm not setting myself up for trouble, but I read that KDP, the publisher for Amazon, was sending out notices to authors if they have mistakes that need to be fixed in their books. I do understand why they are doing this. Amazon wants to have the reputation of putting out quality books, too.

My sister and I found some issues in Fable and fixed them as soon as we could. Since then, there have been others that have been pointed out. Not big ones, mostly grammar, and mostly based on the editor's style. (She is one of my mother's closest friends and was an editor for Stanford University. Plus she's 80 yrs old.)

There were a few of them we do agree on, but some were the older style of writing. We will fix them and reload the book once more. I hope that's the last time!


So even when you think you got 99% of the mistakes in your book, there's always some you miss. Well, we aren't perfect. I've seen plenty of mistakes in traditional published books, but I think writers who self-publish need to be more vigilant with this issue. Like I said before, if there continues to be all these self-published books out there with tons of mistakes, it makes those of us who take the time and money to hire an editor look bad, too.

And not just grammar and punctuation issues, but also if the book is tight and clean. This is the biggest problem I come across and it sends up the red flag that these books were never edited, or the writer ignored the editor's red marks because they didn't want to rewrite their book.

Like I've said before, I would be embarrassed if my writing was that bad. It's not the story, it's the info dump, the head hopping, the redundancy, those slow down a story and cause skimming. 

I have read a few books lately that have been great though so it's nice to see self-published authors taking the time to hire an editor/proofreader. It makes spending the money on it worth while. And I am one of those people that buy books, including my writer friends books. I like to be supportive.

Well, I hope you get a chance to stop by my fanpage and "like" the page and read some of the articles. I believe in paying it forward and that every little bit helps!

Have a great weekend all! Lisa







7 comments:

  1. Oh dear, I've somehow become a label ...

    Ah, errors and editing.

    One of the things that always irks me is when a reader comments on the (lack of) editing in a self-published book, as though it's particularly heinous. They always use it as justification for bashing, as if their precious, traditionally published tomes come completely error-free.

    At this point in the game, I always forgive a few errors. We're all human as are all those involved in our publishing process, be they friends, students, loved ones, or freelancers. Gaining perfection to the state of having no typographic anomalies is an expense of time and money better spent on improving one's craft. Because frankly, if the story's good enough, who cares if there's a mild error here or there? (Having said that, one should always try to get their homonyms right ...)

    I'm not just talking about typos, of course. While I've seen a few instances of "he" that should be "she" (it's an easy one to miss; done it a few times myself) in this particular series, I've also seen an editorial gaffe that just gives me endless amusement. The Dresden Files #8, Proven Guilty, chapter 2 starts off with the customary introduction of Harry's car, the Blue Beetle. There's a heat wave going on and he specifically mentions that the windows are all rolled down. Then, probably a page or two later, Harry rolls down the windows at the first stop light. He spends chapter 3 in the car (during which his windows are thankfully not mentioned). At the beginning of chapter 4, he rolls his window down to crawl out of the car because the door is stuck as a result of a crash.

    Whoops.

    It's terribly funny to read, but it suggests to me that a) the person editing it didn't edit consecutively (so much so that days must have past between chapters, or for that matter, the first half and second half of chapter 2) or b) it wasn't edited at all. Because frankly, anyone with marginal reading comprehension is going to notice windows being rolled down not once but twice after it has already been noted that they are down. And I wouldn't be surprised if there was no editing. I know Dean Wesley Smith has noted once or twice that a lot of the books he does ghostwriting for go straight to press after he turns them in.

    I know once upon a time there were hordes of editors picking manuscripts to pieces and make sure that every syllable was just right. That time has come and gone. While it would be nice to have that kind of perfection, is it really achievable? Can you imagine the countless hours that would go into such in-depth editing to make sure something has NO errors in it? I'd rather not entertain the notion. I've done editing projects before. They can take a very long time, depending on how clean one's writing is, and that's when you're just trying to go through and catch everything. But to make it the mission to absolutely positively get EVERYTHING? Hell's bells ...

    Most great editors will tell you that no editor catches everything, and they're right. You'd have to pass it through several like-minded editors (I say several editors because once one has gone through a manuscript, they are less able to spot errors; I say like-minded editors because you don't need to introduce errors while editors squabble about their own pet peeves) to get it anywhere close.

    And to think, that's just my comment on editing.

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    1. See, this is why I love your comments, Ryan! You are, if anything, detailed and, not to mention, relentless. I agree with everything you said. Actually, those types of mistakes don't bother me, it's the ones I talked about. Nothing's worse to me than skimming through half the book because of the redundancy and info dumps galore! I want to enjoy my time when I read, not skim.

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  2. Kindle Desktop Publishing is definitely a strange one. I've never received notices myself, but I too have heard of authors getting their books pulled for having too many errors. To the best of my recollection, this happens when one or more readers report errors in an e-book, be they formatting or editing issues. KDP will then pull the book and let the author know.

    If you end up making enough substantial changes, I typically recommend contacting KDP to let them know that the text has been updated and in what manner it has been updated. Their staff will then decide whether or not the change is critical or optional. Critical changes will be uploaded to people automatically when they sync their Kindle libraries. Optional updates readers can access through their "Manage My Kindle" section.

    And of course, as I've said once or twice, I am working on starting a blog, don't you worry. My day job situation is just getting crazier and crazier, otherwise I'd just set things up right now. But I can't guarantee I'll be able to add new content to it on a regular basis until things settle down. Until then, I leave you only with the wisdom I have put forth today.

    Let me know if I missed commenting on anything in this blog. For now I go off to snore waiting for my book to appear for sale on Amazon.com (its detail page has been there for a week, and it's been available throughout Europe since last week). Now if only Amazon.ca were part of CreateSpace's normal distribution. Alas, anyone not in the US or UK (or select parts of Europe) really get the shaft when self-publishing.

    I could write a whole blog post on that alone. Though I am grateful for one thing. At least I'm not Australian. Because they really get screwed with self-publishing.

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    1. Let me know when your book is available so I can download it. I look forward to reading it! By the way, have you read mine yet? I will be changing some mistakes in it soon. My sister is the one going through the marks from my mom's friend and changing as she deems necessary, so once she is finished we will reload. Have a great weekend Ryan and thanks for your comments!

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    2. I haven't bought it yet. I try to save purchasing books until I'm ready to read them just in case they get updated (unless it's on Smashwords, where I can download any updates that have happened since I bought it).

      I still have one book left in my tri-annual Harry Potter marathon, unless I decide to read Beedle the Bard again for whatever reason (not that it's long; only takes about an hour to read in its entirety). Then I will tackle the second half of Les Misérables ... we'll see how far I get with that one.

      Then I should have a chance to read Fable, probably before the year is out anyway.

      As for my book ... Well, all of my current books are available as e-books and have been since their release. With the exception of The Legion Rises: Omnibus, they are all awaiting new covers and I have been rather tardy in getting those updated, though I will endeavour to have it done sometime in the next few days. With the fourth episode of Shadows coming out Friday, with the new cover, it is imperative that the rest of the books have their new covers, too.

      If you want print, on the other hand, you can get it (The Legion Rises, anyway; Shadows #1 and #2 should be available in a week or two, with #3 and #4 following a few weeks later) either directly from CreateSpace or wait until Amazon.com sorts out whatever issue they're having that has made it unavailable there.

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    3. Oh, and of course there are some subtle improvements to the books that are getting new covers. A few minor tweaks here and there. Mostly, though, the Shadows books will now include a sample of the next episode, typically about 2,500 words (which is about 10% of an episode).

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    4. So, what do you suggest I read first?

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