A Beta Reader Is Not An Editor

It seems there is the one or other author around who either don’t know what the job of a beta reader is. Also, some authors don’t want to pay for an editor and therefore try to ‘use’ the beta reader to get the editor’s job done.

From what I learned in my ‘long’ career of two published books (and a few lined up)… my order of ‘writing and publishing’ is the following:

  1.  Drafting
  2.  Copying out
  3.  personal editing #1
  4.  personal editing #2
  5.  professional editing (proofreading)
  6.  filing for copyright
  7.  sending the manuscript out to the beta readers
  8.  having the book cover done
  9.  possible corrections when getting the manuscript back from beta readers
  10.  publishing

At times the corrections, added paragraphs or even pages, demand a second round of proofreading or editing.

Now, what does the beta reader do?

Beta readers are helpful people around you – can be friends, co-workers, family members. They are asked to read the book pre-release. Often they are asked to review the book online, just after release. Most beta readers are very happy to do so in exchange for the book.

Every beta reader works differently. Some return a paper manuscript with scribbles all over the place…, some send an email with a few ideas, suggestions or remarks, some send texts whenever they discover something. When I beta read, I write a list and later send that list by email. So far, I never discovered a huge plot hole, but I found the one or other ‘thing’ that bugged me and that I had to let the author know about. Many other beta readers do the same thing.

There is one thing beta readers don’t do: they don’t correct typos and grammar. That’s what’s the editor is for. I’m not saying they always are perfect, and should I catch a forgotten typo, of course, I will tell the author about it. But I’m not actively looking for them.

I am lucky enough to have a beta reader who is sweet enough to actively look for typos and grammar problems that escaped my editor’s attention. The one or other author might be just as lucky. But generally, beta readers are not here for editing!

They should return your manuscript with a bit more than ‘I liked it.’ You want to get their notes. You want to hear about their feelings… when did they laugh? When did they cry? What scared them or amused them? Did they enjoy the read, and would they recommend the book? According to them, what age range is the book for (if you’re writing Young Adult), and what did they not like so much?

Did they discover something about the plot they didn’t like? Do they have questions about the story, the plot, or the characters? Is there anything they discovered that isn’t right?

Let me give you a couple examples. One of my last beta readers told me that she loves my book, and she finds ‘Sundance’ as a character very interesting. However, she misses Katie, the ‘Soul Taker’ and wishes her back. She is an exceptional beta reader and informed me about several other things that I later corrected. (I did not write more ‘Katie’ into the second book since that is ‘Sundance’s’ story).

When I was beta reading for a male author, I discovered a wardrobe flaw with one of the female character’s ‘undergarments.’ I told my fellow author about it, and he corrected that.

We all were grateful to have our beta readers. It is important to us having people with open minds paying attention to our stories. And we always hope we don’t ask too much.

Thank you, beta readers, for helping us with your time, your efforts, and your honesty. We need you!

 

 

 

How To Pitch Your Novel In Person To An Editor or Agent – Written By Bryn Donovan

I found a great post published by Bryn Donovan on her blog. To many writers her article provides valuable information on how to pitch in person. Thank you very much Bryn.


Hi friends! I’m writing this post at SleuthFest, a terrific writers’ conference for mystery and thriller writers. As an acquiring editor, I’ve spent hours here hearing novel pitches and chatting with writers. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I love talking with fiction writers about their projects, so I enjoyed it.

Writing conferences often set up agent and editor appointments so that writers can pitch their work in person. The goal is usually to have the agent or editor say, “Yes, send me the full manuscript,” Beyond that, it’s an opportunity to learn more about an editor and agent and to make a connection.

To read the entire article, click here:

How To Pitch Your Novel In Person To An Editor or Agent

 

Finding The Best Grammar Checker To Correct Your Writing – written by Derek Haines

 

My search for the best grammar checker I could find

No matter what you write, you always need to check your text.

However, it is not as simple as thinking that a quick spell check in Microsoft Word is going to result in error-free writing.

Whether you are an author, content writer, blogger or social media marketer, writing errors are a fact of life. That’s why we have editors and proofreaders, but they are not available for everything we write.

We all live and work online so much now that our writing accuracy is challenged whenever we sit down at a keyboard. That’s why we all use an online grammar check in some form from time to time.

Continue reading here

How Much Money Does It Cost To Publish A Book? – Written By Derek Haines

 

The cost of self-publishing a new book is now very affordable

Long gone are the days of wishing and hoping to publish a book. There is no need at all to beg literary agents and publishers today. You can also forget about paying thousands of dollars for vanity publishing.

Self-publishing gives authors the freedom to publish at any time. But with this comes the responsibility of publishing a quality book.

Yes, we all know that it is possible to self-publish for free, and many authors take this route. Publishing an ebook on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is very easy. All it needs is a Word document file and a cover image and that’s it.

That’s why there are millions of ebooks available on Kindle, and Kindle Unlimited. But so many of these quick and dirty ebooks are of very poor quality. All but a few find a steady stream of loyal book buyers.

Continue reading here:

https://justpublishingadvice.com/how-much-money-does-it-cost-to-publish-a-book/

DSM Publications – With Don Massenzio


Welcome back, Don Massenzio! It’s good to have you here again. Let’s talk about your new business and how it is part of the writing world.

 

 

 

 


1. With your blog you are helping so many aspiring authors. What made you decide to do more than that?

There were a few factors. I wanted to be sure that I enjoyed editing and formatting the work of author authors. I’ve worked with a few authors and find that I still enjoy helping them bring their work to life. Another factor was the stigma (perceived or actual) that independently published authors face. Traditional publishing purists will tell you that our work is substandard due to the lack of professionalism and quality. I wanted to help the independent author community, as a whole, improve the quality of their work with professional editing and formatting at a price that won’t break the bank. If we can bring each other up, it will improve the entire community. Finally, I have always thought about launching this type of business as a retirement thing, but I lost my day job a few months ago and I accelerated the launch as a way to bring in some income.

2. Did you always plan on offering author services or did this idea just occur?

My author blog started about three years ago. I was very prolific with posts designed to help indie authors improve their quality. After a year or so of doing this, I collected them all into a book. (You can now get that book for free if you sign up for my newsletter). These author services are a way to help authors with the things they typically shouldn’t do for themselves.

3. Does your service include more than just editing?

Beyond proofreading and line editing, I offer developmental editing which encompasses looking for things like redundancies, continuity errors and other elements of writing that are apart from just making sure spelling, punctuation and grammar are correct. Additionally, I offer supplemental and complete ghost writing for writers that have an idea or an outline that they just can’t complete as a finished work. I’ve done some ghost writing in the past and it is gratifying to help someone realize their vision. I also offer formatting services for both print and eBook. The two formats are very different and it’s important to devote some time to formatting so that a book can look as professional and polished as possible.

4. How do you work cooperatively with authors?

Once I begin the editing process, I like to work closely with the author. I will edit their manuscript using Microsoft Word in twenty-page increments. This way, I can give and get feedback during the process and not wait until an entire book has been edited to uncover a problem. For instance, one book that I’ve edited recently involved characters that were from another time. It took a bit of back and forth with the author to land on exactly how old-fashioned spelling and phrases would be handled in a way that wouldn’t confuse or put off readers. Once we established the ground rules, it went very smoothly.

5. How does your editing process work exactly?

As I mentioned, I start by editing the manuscript in 20-page increments. Within the manuscript I use the ‘track changes’ feature in word and suggest edits, word substitutions and other modifications based on the level of editing desired. I then supply a ‘marked up’ copy showing every change and comment and a ‘clean’ copy with all the edits applied. The author can then make the choice of assessing each edit suggestion individually, but they can also read the manuscript from the clean copy with all the edits applied.
Once the manuscript is completely edited and the changes have been approved by the author, I will format the manuscript for print and/or eBook if that is desired. I provide discounts to authors that wish to have both editing and formatting services.

6. Who can contact you for your services?

While I am targeting my services for independent authors, any author that needs these services is welcome to reach out to me.

7. Do you have a website for your services?

I do. You can find it at https://dsm-publications.com/

 

8. Is there anything else you want to tell us about your work?

The indie author community is full of wonderful writers with great stories to tell. My goal is to help those storytellers produce work with the best possible quality so that they can have their work stand toe-to-toe with traditionally published authors.

Thank you so much for this interview! Please come back any time!

Authors Should Think Twice Before Signing A Book Contract – Writtey By Derek Haines

Getting a publisher is every author’s dream. But beware of book contract nightmares.
Never sign a book contract with a publisher without doing your homework first.

There are so many small publishers nowadays offering publishing agreements, and while some are good, there are many that are not so good, or worse.

Even among some well-known small publishers, problems have arisen with overdue payment or no payment of royalties to authors.

In recent times, Ellora’s Cave has experienced financial difficulty, and it seems as if it is now taking legal action against the RWA, who asked Ellora’s Cave to pay overdue royalties.

To read the full article go to:

https://justpublishingadvice.com/authors-beware-think-twice-before-signing-a-contract/

In Memoriam – A Fantastic Helpful And Wonderful Woman – Kelley Lynn Crandall

This post was written and prepared to be published March 1, 2018. But due to the news I got on this very sad day I was editing and publishing it today.


A few years back I had an extremely hard time in my life. It was a phase where nothing turned out the way it was supposed to be according to my plan.

During this time there were so many of my friends standing by my side; not only my friends and family who had been with me for a long time, nearly all my life but also FB friends. Friends I’ve never met in my life, but only met on FB, on other social media, people I could count on and who became real trustworthy connections in the meantime. (I will get back to them in another post!)

One of these people was Katie Jenkins of Magical Designs. Through Katie, I met another amazing woman: Kelley L. Crandall, a writer, and Marketing Specialist.

They both helped me significantly through this time, were in contact with me nearly daily, supported me and gave me advice, suggestions, help, and encouragement.

Since then, Katie became the Mom of beautiful twins, congratulations, Katie! Of course, she concentrates on her family now. But whenever we’re in contact again, I’m still grateful to know her. She’s such a wonderful person!

When I started feeling better, I had been talking on the phone to Kelley, and we talked and talked like women do sometimes. At one point I told her: “I wish I had an editor for my stories, and I wish so much it could be you.” And wonderful, amazing, gold-hearted Kelley said: “I wish that too!”

That is now how I got my editor. Kelley understood the problems I was fighting with – and she understood me. She searched her way through my work, and she even liked my books, which is, in my opinion, a very important thing. (I mean, how can a person edit something if the story isn’t liked?)

Kelley was patient, encouraging and supportive; she was helpful, humorous and an amazing friend! She became a part of my heart!

Today I got the Information that Kelley has passed away. To say I’m sad would be too mild… I’m heartbroken.

Only last week we chatted and today she is no more.

I am thinking of Kelley’s husband David and her children. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I know, this blog post isn’t particularly long – but today I wanted to thank my friend from the bottom of my heart:

THANK YOU, KELLEY L. CRANDALL!

For everything you did, for your work, your heart, your understanding, and your friendship! You mean a lot to me!

I will never ever forget you, Kelley. You left your love in my Soul. I don’t want to say Goodbye… I want to say: SEE YOU!! You will be sorely missed!!

My Writing Progress – 4

In my last ‘Writing Progress’ post, I wrote about finishing the draft of my second book in the series which I just had drafted by then. In the meantime, I had typed it in, edited it and sent it to my editor. It, in fact, turned out to be a novel, not a novella, like the other two books, number one and three in the series.

Shortly before I went on vacation, I had finished drafting the fourth book in the series. I posted this in my newsletter, and I’m still very proud of it.

I took the fifth and sixth book of the series with me on vacation. I had started both but wasn’t too far yet. But my friend’s backyard and pool were extremely calming and relaxing and tickled my fantasy. It’s November, and even though I’m not a participant in the NaNoWriMo, I still finished the fifth book of the series and continued the sixth one.

I’m very surprised, but then I shouldn’t be. I love writing this series and create these characters in each book and meet the existing ones again is such an adventure for me.

I hope very much you will meet some of them soon.

At this point, I do feel a bit worried about my editor being ‘overflowed’ with my manuscripts. And I have to type in two more novellas as quickly as possible.

Wish me luck.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of google.com

How To Deal With Impatience When It Comes To Writing?

For years already I know that ‘patience’ and myself aren’t on friendly terms. If I want something, I want it now; not sometime in the future, but right now, as in ‘this instant.’ So, me being a writer hasn’t changed me significantly. Sometimes I want too much, too early. The process of writing (or typing into the computer) cannot be accelerated. It still means, to write one letter after the next, one word after the next, one paragraph and then chapter after the next one. I understood that pretty quickly, and that’s not mainly what bugs me.

But being a writer, even deciding to self-publish, means to call on other people’s services. We’re talking about cover designers (even though, mine is faster than lighting!!), editors (and mine is an angel and works with all her heart to make this book look good!!), copyright lawyers, author support service people and so on… Each one of them works with all their knowledge and ability, with all their heart and soul to make my first book a success.

But to me, all I can think of is there are so many people involved in my book – and there’s so much work ahead of me that still needs to be done, that every single delay, like financial straits, is driving me up the walls.

I want to see this book published – and not around Christmas – but now. Now as in ‘tomorrow.’
But: of course, to the same time, I want my book to be perfect. I don’t want anything hasty and sloppy, just because I’m swinging a whip. I want all my supporters and helpers to work at their own pace because I know, they’re excellent in what they’re doing! I’m not impatient with them – I’m impatient with myself, wanting too much too fast – and knowing about it.

My head knows very well tomorrow and the day after won’t be possible – but that little devil on my left shoulder permanently drizzles its poison into my ear and makes my brain fuzzy.
So for the past few months, I have been trying to calm myself down and try to practice patience. How to do that? There are so many different things that are suggested, and I think I tried them all.
Toni Bernhard J.D. writes that she can turn impatience into patience by distracting herself. For example, being stuck in traffic, she starts concentrating on models, colors, and drivers of the other cars. It helps her keep her mind and eyes off the clock.

This, I decided was a good start, but I figured it would be asked to much to listen to the radio to find out where there’s a traffic jam, only to find out how to distract myself… in particular since I’m not in a hurry anyway.

So I tried to distract and calm me with other things. Going for forest walks and swimming helps me a lot, in particular, to focus on myself and my way of dealing with things. Writing lists on what still has to be done, what the delay is and when that particular problem with my delay will be solved. To see it in written form helps me to see more clearly and not listen to my little devil.

I’ve been doing so much research on the things that need to be done before flawlessly publishing a book, that I have been prepared for this and accepted it. Which means, any hold-up is only caused by the weakest link in the chain: myself (or whatever ghost is hunting me currently) Everyone else does a fantastic job with their part of work on my book.

I want it done right, and I won’t let any little devil torpedo my dream, only because I permit my impatience coming the better of me.

This is a wonderful opportunity to say ‘Thank you’ to all the people working on this book currently: my cover designer, my editor, and my lawyer. You’re doing such an amazing job!! Thanks so much!!

Are you never impatient? What it is that causes it, in terms of writing? And how do you deal with it? Please let us know, we’re curious.

 

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Picture courtesy of: https://www.askideas.com/60/what-is-destructive-is-impatience-haste-expecting-too-much-too-fast-may-sarton/

 

 

Bashing People for What They Read

I honestly think Steven Capps makes a point with his blog post. Thanks for this.

The Bard & Books

Hey guys, sorry about the lack of post last week. I have been teaching summer school over in Atlanta and have been super busy. This isn’t really an excuse, but I feel like its always good to keep you in the loop. In other news, I got a contract for a super small part in an audiobook, so I will make sure to let you know once the story is published. Enough pretense, here is this week’s post.

Bashing People for What They Read

boxing-ring-boxers-fight-70567

So this is going to be a bit of a rant. I want to discuss a few extremely popular books such as Twilight, 50 Shades of Grey, and Harry Potter. If you regularly frequent the literary blogosphere, you might have an idea about what this is going to be about, but I am NOT going to write an entire rant disbarging the quality of writing in the…

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