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Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

red send buttonWell, a few minutes ago, I pulled on my big girl panties and hit the ‘send’ button.

After months of working with my editor to fine-tune the writing, firm up the plot, and deepen the characters, I’ve sent my story along for the final phase of preparation before publication.

Nothing to do now but watch for the galley proof to arrive. My final opportunity to make sure everything is in its proper place. That nothing has been dropped. That nothing has been added or duplicated. That all eyes are dotted. That all tees are crossed. Forgive my bastardization of those two letters.

While I wait, I guess I’ll turn my attentions to my next story…sigh.

 

 

 

 

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ListWell, now that the editing is nearly complete — my editor was vacationing in Maine all last week, which allowed extra time for fine-tuning –and the cover art is a done deal, it’s time to provide the remaining cover details.

1st… The Story Blurb… this is unbelievably difficult to create! It’s more or less the same as the elevator pitch. The wording needs to hook the potential reader and encourage them to purchase the story. Several versions have passed through my writing group, and it finally reads as concise and captivating as we can make it.

2nd… Author Bio… keeping this relatively simple: name, retired, first novel, where I was born, and my general location now with cat and husband.  My publisher thinks there will be room for the professional photo I had taken a while back.

3rd… Acknowledgement Page … need to be sure I thank everyone who was involved during the writing of my novel, including research sources, writing group members. and assorted friends and relatives.

Gotta go dig into my files to be sure no one is overlooked… more later!

 

 

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woman artistWell, the professional editing is nearly finished, so we’ve reached the point when the cover art needs to be discussed and created.

To that end, I met with my publisher from Riverhaven Books in Whitman, MA, and we reviewed the various aspects of the cover design… images, colors, font style, placement.

 

We created the initial cover based on an online format that caught my eye, but the printers proof didn’t quite do the trick, so I requested four adjustments:

1. Replace the purple surround with a neutral shade so it doesn’t conflict with the red brick of the building in the background of the photograph.

2. smudge the word LIBRARY over the entrance so the reader won’t be mislead. In my story, the abandoned library has been converted to a home.

3. Retake the 3/4 view photo of my step-daughter after making her appear older by tying her hair in a low-sitting ponytail and adding a hat… googled these tips.

4. Alter the rectangular shape of the new photo to an oval that echoes the arched doorway.

With these changes, I’m hoping the cover will have a more pleasing look and grab the attention of potential readers…fingers crossed!

Next chore on my list… find a location for my book launch party this fall!

 

 

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cartoon lady with pencil and notepadWell, I re-worked chapters 38-41 of my story before returning the file to my editor Sunday night. Although I’ve reviewed and tweaked each page too many times to count, I’m still finding verbs that need to be upgraded, two sentences that will be strengthened if combined, and paragraphs that must be re-sequenced to make sense.

Despite the agonizing slowness of the editing process, I can’t tell you how pleased I am with my editor’s suggestions. She asks hard questions about a character’s thought process, or the relationship between one character and another, or a detail that seems to have changed from a previous chapter. Very little gets by her.

All I have to do is bang my head against the wall until I’m inspired.

My editor should be returning the file by mid-week. I’ll review her comments about what I submitted, and move on to review the next few chapters.

Oh, before I forget, I’m meeting with my publisher on Wednesday to design the cover art… how exciting!

 

 

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revision by handThe editing process is taking longer than I anticipated, but I’m not complaining.

My manuscript is emailed back and forth between my desktop and my editor Ellen in New Hampshire. Although I sometimes overrule one of her suggestions, for the most part, her comments to invent a better story are dead on. My characters are gaining depth, the plot line is gaining traction.

We manage to fine-tune several chapters each week. If we stay on track, we’ll finish this part of the self-publishing route by early June. Although my story will be available as an e-book and print-on-demand from Amazon, I will also print a quantity of soft covers, hopefully in time to sell at the Cape Cod Writers Conference in early August.

In the meantime, I’m re-writing the blurb for the inside flap and working with Stephanie at Riverhaven Books in Whitman, MA, to design the cover art.

I have to say…this is fun!

 

 

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hands on laptopAt this point, my editor and I have exchanged the master manuscript several times. In the last round, she pointed out a major discrepancy concerning last names. I had to rethink my characters and their relationships to find a way to make it logical in the narrative.

Another comment involved a walk-on character. My editor’s suggestion?…either eliminate the woman entirely, or make sure she shows up again in the story. I chose door #2 and added this wacky character into two future scenes, liking the effect immensely.

And let’s not forget a few grammar lessons! I love to use ellipses, and sprinkled them liberally throughout my story to indicate an aside remark, which is not it’s proper use. However, since I couldn’t locate even one online article to back me up, I had to replace them all with either an em-dash or a comma, depending on the sentence structure.

In an effort to strengthen word choice, I found the following website of 297 flabby words that rob writing of its power:  http://boostblogtraffic.com/weak-writing/. The list not only indicates the words to be avoided, but provided samples of alternate ways to write around them. I was astonished to see the number of times I used to word ‘so’.  Only a chosen few remain.

However, a word of warning. When you find a dastardly weak word lurking within your story, you’ll sometimes find yourself rewriting the entire paragraph that surrounds it! But have no fear… it will become a better read.

DAMN. There’s another ellipsis!

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hands on keyboardSeveral weeks ago, I purchased ten hours of editing and met my first-ever editor via phone. We discussed the level of editing I was expecting from her, and she explained how to use the “Track Changes” feature of MS WORD.

She emailed my first two chapters with not only comments to deepen characters or clarify a scene, but line editing for minor punctuation and grammar corrections. Time used: 3.5 hours.

When I panicked that my ten hours was being used up so quickly for such a small portion of the novel, she explained that she wanted me to see what a complete edit would include. That at some point, line editing would be necessary before going to print or e-book.

The next three chapters arrived with comments only, using another 2.25 hours.

Although I’m very pleased with her suggestions, and have no doubt that my story will be improved with her input, I’m thinking I’ll tackle my own line editing after we finish fine-tuning the chapter details.

 

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