Who edits the editors?

I’ve been looking at lists of editors who work on self published projects. One of the glories of self publishing is that anyone can do it. One of the worst things about self publishing is… anyone can do it. Apparently, this also holds true for editing.

Vermeer Lady Maidservant Holding LetterThe first editor I saw on the list had a website, so I went to check it out. The Welcome page was the first page the reader was taken to. It only had two links. Both were broken.

When I went back to the site where the editor had listed her services, I saw comments pointing out that the links were broken. They had been left months before. Not a sign of an editor who cared about details, even for her own business. I realize the editor might be too busy to fix problems like that, but it makes her look careless about the details. Not something that would make me want to work with her.

Another editor’s website looked presentable, except again there was a problem with the details. She wrote things like, “I provide two types of edits.” And then she listed all three of them: 1) X type of edit 2) Y type of edit 3) Z type of edit.

I understand no one can be expected to edit themselves and do a perfect job. But surely an editor should know this too, and to take it into account when creating a website that is almost the only thing I have to judge them by.

The ONE thing all authors must do

I’m trying out a mailing list pop-up message. I’m told a newsletter is “the” way authors connect with their readers. I’m all for connecting with you, so I’ve added the widget to the blog.

Does it work?

I want to be hip and cool and trendy (so I probably should avoid using dated terms like those). One piece of advice that I hear is that I need a newsletter. (Thanks to Christine Dillion for the reminder.)

After His Forgotten Fiancée, I am going to publish Geoff and Lia’s story. There are other stories in the pipeline after those two. If you’d like to keep track when I have a release out, please do sign up for the newsletter!

I promise I won’t send you weekly pictures of my cat or omelet recipes or anything else except for a notification of when one of my books come out. Or if one goes on sale. I’d send out a notification for that. I don’t know if Harlequin puts their books on sale very often, but if they do then I intend to be prepared.

Apparently, this is the ONE thing all authors must do. Well, that and finish the book.


NotMyCat wants to know if you’ve set up a mailing list yet.

Update: the path to publication

Demon Roller CoasterI’m not sure if it’s a path, exactly. More of a rollercoaster. Long, arduous climbs up to an exciting peak and then plunging down again. Sometimes feeling as if I’ve been turned upside-down.
His Forgotten Fiancée has jumped through all the production hoops like a champion. Almost ready.
The last few months before publication will involve:

  • Blog posts with excerpts from the story
  • The cover being revealed (!!!)
  • A digital sample of the book available for you to download

At some point, a box is going to show up on my doorstep with actual physical copies of a book that I wrote. Incredible thought. I will post a picture here as Proof That I Wrote A Book. (I’m still trying to convince my subconscious that yes, I am a real writer.) Then I will be able to send out review copies, host a giveaway on Goodreads, etc.

Nothing but good times ahead! Or at least very interesting times 🙂

Quote: All paths lead to the same goal

Battery Dance Festival - FJK Dance (28673655353)There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song – but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny.
Pablo Neruda

I’d like to be assertive, if that’s all right with everyone

Irishfairytales01step 0193

Not a picture of the critique group

I signed up to join a critique group. It’s set up so that for every two critiques you give, you get to submit something for other people to critique. Seemed like a good way to get feedback on a manuscript, so I went for it. I read a lot of other people’s chapters and critiqued them, then sent a chapter of my own and asked people to look at it.


A week went by.

More crickets.

I could see that other newbies were having their work critiqued, so it wasn’t that there was no one around to look at my chapter. Something about it wasn’t grabbing people. After a week, I sent my request out again. This time, I asked if there was a problem with the manuscript that might be stopping people from wanting to read it. I want to fix the problem(s) in my writing, but I need to know what they are first.

As soon as I clicked ‘Send,’ the demons of doubt and self-criticism leapt on me. My email was petulant, crabby, whining. I was berating people for not looking at my deathless prose and sounding like a loser at the same time.

It is possible that my email did come across as cranky. I didn’t mean it to, but it’s not always easy to gauge a person’s mood in emails. Even so, it is not evil to ask for feedback. Maybe that’s the lesson I was meant to learn by joining a critique group, how to ask for what I need.

Update: And yes, kind people pitched in to critique my chapter.

Amanda Palmer gave a whole Ted talk on the art of asking. (And a book as well.)

Running away

City Beach, Perth, Australia (February 2017) (33389330432)

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.
– James Michener

Just stopping by with an update.

It’s too hot to write in my house.
It’s too hot to sleep in my house.
It is, in short, too hot in my house.

I am escaping to the library, to the nearest Starbucks, to the back corner of my backyard. Anywhere except for the house.

But I’m taking my notebook with me.

Finding the right title

Lavery Maiss AurasA British sitcom had a running joke about a man who wrote a memoir:
Man: “I’ve written a book.”
2nd character: “Oh? What’s it called?”
Man: “My Life in Kenya.”
2nd character: “What’s it about?”

In a way, that’s a successful conversation. Even if the subject matter should be obvious from the title, at least the potential reader wanted to know what the book is about. Anything is good if it generates a spark of curiosity long enough for the person to turn the book over to read the back cover, or to click on the More link to read the description.

Writer’s Digest has 7 tips for coming up with the perfect book title.

His Forgotten Fiancée is another title that sums up the book nicely. I wish I could take credit for it, but my kind editor was responsible. The story started, for me, with a man waking up in a strange room with no memory of who he was or how he got there. A woman came into the room and told him they were engaged. Figuring out how he would react was what started me writing this story.

Do you choose a book based on its title? Or do you go for a nice cover instead?

The first anniversary of this blog

Grasset-aoutIt’s been a year.

One year to the day from that August morning when I was sitting here at my desk typing away and heard my phone ring. I saw it was a NY area code, and I assumed that it was another recruiter trying to interest me in a temp job at Intel. I almost didn’t answer. But I did, and I got to talk to my kind editor, who said that she wanted to buy my book.

I don’t remember what I said, exactly, but I remember quite clearly thinking how unreal it felt to hear an editor say that she wanted to buy something I’d written. After we’d hung up, one of the first thoughts that crossed my  mind was that if I’d let the call go to voicemail, I’d be able to play the message back. And maybe then I’d believe it.

It took months before I began to accept the possibility that there might actually be a published book in my future. But that distant possibility is starting to get closer and closer… and I’m starting to believe I might actually see a finished book in my hands.