Editing and Proofreading: Two separate processes that equal one great story.
Like most writers, I hang out with a boatload of other writers. Still, I never saw much of other peoples’ works in progress until I coordinated a contest several years ago. Coordinating contests changed the way I see writing. Period. It was a window into both sides of the submission process.
Plus, I saw firsthand one of the important talents that separates the amateurs from the professionals: the ability to both edit and proofread.
In novel-writing, editing is King and proofreading is Queen.
Professional writers, whether published or pre-published know: You never get a second chance to make a first impression.They work hard to make a great first impression.
As a contest coordinator, I had to read every piece of paper sent between the judges and the contestants to ensure everyone played nice with each other. (It should…
Since the huge shift to online purchasing and e-books, a common meme is that there is some kind of “discoverability” problem in publishing.
The funny thing is readers don’t seem to have any problem finding books they love. Any readers I talk to have a time problem – reading lists a mile long and never enough hours in the day to read all the great books they are discovering.
The real discoverability problem in publishing is that readers are discovering (and enjoying) books that don’t come from the large publishers. What these publishers have is a competition problem not a discoverability problem.
Amazon regularly gets slated for purported anti-competitive actions, but it has done more to create the digital marketplace than any other company. It has also done more to open up that marketplace to vendors of all shapes and sizes than any other company. Small publishers and…
So I find myself as a cheerleader for my writing buddies — trying to do what I can to help as their 2013 release dates approach. I help in two ways: 1) I use my own experience of writing & publishing books to share advice on what they can expect and plan for; and 2) I simply do whatever little things I can that help in any way.
This last part brings up an important point: Anyone can support an author’s…
So here I am. I had found a quickie book review job that I knew I could read and write about in a day. A quick $10.
The requirement was to write an honest review and post them to the usual places and any networking sites that might be appropriate for the review. The end goal is really to get traffic to their book and boost sales, right?
So I read the book. A put-downable book. Anyone who knows me KNOWS that I cannot put down a book once I start it! I will take it to the bathroom with me, I eat while I read, I go without sleep until I read from cover to cover. I must get to the end. It’s just how I’m wired.
There are exceptions to this:
When I am part of a critiquing group and we go chapter by chapter because we want to present our best work for publication.
When I’ve got my editing hat on.
When the book needs improvement (Note: I did not say ‘bad’ I said ‘needs improvement’).
Needless to say – I read the book: a lesbian erotic romance. I wrote a fair but honest review and began to post as directed. Not five minutes later I received a ‘cease and desist’ email saying they didn’t like my review. We went back and forth with some communication and before I knew it I was being attacked. Apparently I’m biased. I have a thing against lesbians. I don’t know what I’m talking about because their other paid reviewers gave them 4 or 5 stars.
In all sincerity the book did not warrant 4 stars. I had a hard time giving it 3! There were grammatical errors and word flow issues. There were areas that were too abrupt in their transitions. The sex was hot but it could have been hotter and there was a distinct lack of synonyms. The characters could have benefited from a back story. The author used a proverbial ten-foot stick to poke at LGBT issues like family acceptance, religion, and community but never gave us any meat on the bone. If those issues aren’t what propel and shape your characters’ behavior and action then why the hell did you mention it in the first place?
Isn’t this all stuff their editor should have addressed PRIOR to publication?
Now I don’t have a problem with paid reviews. You do what you have to in order to get your body of work noticed. But if you want HONESTY then you’re going to need thicker skin when someone doesn’t think you are brilliant. It’s going to happen! Am I brilliant all the time? Hell no – and I’ll be the first to admit it.
But here’s the point I’m trying to get at. If you want honesty and don’t like what you hear then just take it, chew on it, investigate it and either work on it or dismiss it. Don’t attack someone because you said ‘Let me have it’ then cry when you got it.
On the other hand: I’m a creative writer! I could have lied if that is what you really wanted. Your directive could easily have been: For $10 read my book. Give me 5 stars. Stroke my ego and let the world know how brilliant my book is! If it was worthy of 5 stars I would gladly endorse it. If it’s crap I will post under a pen name. Easy Peasy!
In the end I told them to keep their $10 but I am compelled to leave my review alone.
Since then they have revised their job posting to include “Do not bite the hand that feeds you.”
I’m not a mean person. I am never purposefully mean! As human nature goes, there is a huge part of me begging to be spiteful to their delicate sensibilities and post the review on my blog. I know it would probably bother them considerably – especially in light of their (over)reaction. Ultimately, I am a better person for stopping here. Karma is a fickle bitch. I just want to finish with this quote by Henri Frederic Amiel
“Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are travelling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.”
Just like the ocean, freelance life has its own ebb and flow.
If you’re considering life as a freelance writer, you’re probably wondering if you have what it takes to make it. You may be worried that you aren’t experienced enough, talented enough, or connected enough to build and maintain a business. Those are all valid concerns, but they aren’t nearly as important as you might think. Truth is, there are plenty of experienced, talented, connected writers out there who never manage to pull off writing full-time for a living.
Would you like to know what holds them back? It’s one, small chink in their armor: an inability to adjust to the ebb and flow of the freelance writing life.
For anyone coming from a 9-to-5 background, a transition to the comparatively freeform existence of a self-employed writer can be quite a shock to the system. Set routine, regular hours…