Author Advice, Author Support, Cheat Sheet, Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant

Authors… Do you get confused with certain words? Not sure whether it’s an effect or affect? Read on… This post is all about commonly misspelled words, confused definitions, and homophones. I hope it helps!

Happy hump day!

Today I’m talking about some of the most common mishaps I find in the majority of manuscripts I am sent.

With every manuscript I open, I carry out some basic housekeeping before I start the actual editing. This includes checking for some of the most commonly misspelled words and I have a list of these printed out which I keep to hand. Whether from a debut author or one with twenty books behind them, these confusions appear.

It’s with this in mind that I thought I’d create you a cheat sheet to print out and keep to hand.

I have included some of the most commonly misspelled words, words whose definitions are often, and easily, confused, and some of the most common homophone (words which sound the same but which have different meanings and/or spellings) mishaps.

You can download the PDF here: Creating Perfection ~ Grammar Assistant

Do you have any tips and tricks for remembering the spelling of tricky words? One of mine is for necessary… one Coffee and two Sugars…

Let me know in the comments below if you struggle with any of these.

Have a super day and I do hope this helps 🙂

Emma x

Cheat Sheet, Grammar Assistant

Authors… Do you get confused with certain words? Not sure whether it’s an effect or affect? Read on… This post is all about commonly misspelled words, confused definitions, and homophones. I hope it helps!

Happy hump day!

Today I’m talking about some of the most common mishaps I find in the majority of manuscripts I am sent.

With every manuscript I open, I carry out some basic housekeeping before I start the actual editing. This includes checking for some of the most commonly misspelled words and I have a list of these printed out which I keep to hand. Whether a debut author or one with twenty books behind them, these confusions still appear.

It’s with this in mind that I thought I’d create you a cheat sheet to print out and keep to hand.

I have included some of the most commonly misspelled words, words whose definitions are often, and easily, confused, and some of the most common homophone (words which sound the same but which have different meanings and/or spellings) mishaps.

You can download the PDF here: Creating Perfection ~ Grammar Assistant

Do you have any tips and tricks for remembering the spelling of tricky words? One of mine is for necessary… one Coffee and two Sugars…

Let me know in the comments below if you struggle with any of these.

Have a super day and I do hope this helps 🙂

Emma x

Author Advice

Windows 7 is no longer supported by Microsoft… What does that mean for you as an author? #WritingCommunity

If you are running a Windows 7 PC or laptop, you will be aware that this platform is not longer supported by Microsoft.

Here’s the official quote from their website:

Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. This 10-year period has now ended, and Microsoft has discontinued Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 was January 14, 2020. Technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC are no longer available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.’

As an author, this will affect you in different ways, including reduced functionality within MS Word/Office products, but the main one, from an editor’s point of view, is that as you no longer have their security support, your files are vulnerable to virus threats.

You can read the full breakdown from Microsoft here.

It is with this in mind that I will no longer be accepting documents created using a Windows 7 PC or laptop. I hope you can understand and appreciate this decision.

If you need further information about upgrading your technology, please follow the link above.

Author Advice, Beta Reading

Today I’m sharing my top tips and advice for finding the right editor for you and your manuscript. Make sure you know what you need and what they can offer #CreatingPerfection #WritingCommunity

In today’s article, I’m going to talk about the different levels of editing available and how an author should decide which they need.

First, let’s look at the different levels of editing available.

There’s a detailed breakdown here but here’s an overview:

Structural/Developmental Editor: Will look at the big picture elements of your manuscript: plot, characterisation, point of view, pace, and narrative.

Line Editor: Sentence level elements including: word choice, clarity, consistency, conciseness, dialogue, grammar, and syntax.

Copy-editor: Sentence and word level elements including: paragraphs, dialogue, spelling and punctuation, consistency in minor plot/character details, and clarity.

Proofreader: Sentence, word, and layout: basic formatting, dialogue punctuation, chapter sequencing, and indentation.

Many freelance editors will offer one or two of these services, and will perhaps combine two of them, but I’ve yet to meet any who offer all four levels. Typically, a line and copy-edit can be combined, and maybe a copy-edit and proofread, but a developmental/structural edit should be done on its own.

Now let’s look at some of the areas an author may find they’re struggling with:

  1. Punctuation
  2. Overwriting – too wordy
  3. Characterisation
  4. Grammar
  5. Plot development
  6. Narrative point of view/head hopping
  7. Consistency in formatting and layout

The type of editor you need will depend on the issues you have, using the examples above, here’s who you’d need to call on to help:

  1. Line Editor / Copy-editor / Proofreader
  2. Line Editor
  3. Developmental/Structural Editor
  4. Line Editor / Copy-editor
  5. Developmental/Structural Editor
  6. Developmental/Structural Editor / Line Editor
  7. Line Editor / Copy-editor / Proofreader

As you can see, not all editors specialise in all areas and you need to find out what any editor you approach offers.

‘What if I don’t know what my problems are?’

It’s easy for someone in the business to say you need A, B, but not C, but that doesn’t always help the author if they don’t yet know what their sticking points are, after all, you can’t mend something if you don’t know it’s broken. A tiny gap and huge hole are very different things.

Consider this; an author skips a copy-edit as they’ve been told it’s the big picture elements that matter most, not a few typos. But what if it’s not a few typos? What if the novel has a wonderful and captivating plot, is beautifully paced, and full of characters their readers instantly fall in love with, but on a line level, it’s so full of spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes all the good stuff is lost inside and it’s too unpleasant to read?

Or, on the flip side, the author has been meticulous with their line level editing and proofreading, the sentences flow with no spelling, punctuation, or grammatical mishaps but the characters are one dimensional, there are plot holes galore, and the reader is left with nothing but unanswered questions.

It’s such a minefield for authors, especially newbies. The best advice is to find some beta readers you can trust to provide honest and constructive feedback, or have a professional critique done on your manuscript.

There’s also the possibility that a sample edit from a freelancer will help shed some light on where you may need assistance.

So, how do you know when you’re ready?

I love how Jane Friedman explains it:

[N]ever hire a copy-editor until you’re confident your book doesn’t require a higher level of editing first. That would be like painting the walls of your house right before tearing them down. (‘Should You Hire a Professional Editor?‘)

This is such a brilliant way to look at the editing process. There’s no point in having all the typos dealt with if your plot and characters aren’t doing what your reader needs them to do.

Therefore, there is a specific process, and it’s not based on importance but on logic.

Start your editing process with the big picture elements. Whether a professional critique or feedback from trusted beta readers, get all the structural elements in place. If no issues are found, brilliant, if there are mishaps, that’s great too as you can deal with them, either yourself or with a professional, before they are brought up in reader reviews.

Once you have the big picture elements sorted, you can look at the line and sentence level mishaps. I would always recommend an author employs a professional at this stage as although they may not be a specialist in the big picture elements, they will know if things are amiss.

They will guide you to getting your work into great shape and will advise if there are further needs.

I offer two main services, the Big Difference Edit which combines line and copy-editing, and Little Tweaks Proofread which combines copy-editing and proofreading. I also work with authors on a Step by Step and Consultancy basis

Your copy/line editor should be able to pick up other elements relating to the proofreading, but don’t expect miracles. They aren’t Superman and at this stage, there are likely to be more revisions to the manuscript during which further mishaps can be introduced. For more on this, read here.

Remember: Your editor, at any stage in the process, isn’t a ghost writer. As literary agent Rachelle Gardner explains:

Using a freelance editor can be a great idea – if you use it as a learning experience. You need to do most of the work yourself. I think it’s wasted money if you’re counting on someone to fix your manuscript for you. The point is to get an experienced set of eyes on it to help you identify problems and figure out how to fix them. (‘Should I Hire a Freelance Editor?‘)

There’s no doubt you need to have at least one professional editing pass on your manuscript. As this poem by Anon shows, we cannot rely on a spell checker:

Eye halve a spelling chequer

It came with my pea sea

It plainly marques four my revue

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a quay and type a word

And weight for it two say

Weather eye am wrong oar write

It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid

It nose bee fore two long

And eye can put the error rite

Its really eve wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it

I am shore your pleased two no

Its letter perfect in its weigh

My chequer tolled me sew.

(Sauce unknown)

As you can see, there are many mistakes which won’t be picked by standard spelling checkers as they are only checking for incorrect spellings.

So, what now?

You know you need an editor, but how do you find one you can trust?

Word of mouth is the first place to start. Ask in the writer groups you belong to, (if you’re not in any groups, but would like to be, let me know and I’ll guide to some brilliant groups) who do other people use? If you’re not in any groups yet, you’re left with Google. There are many search terms you can use: freelance copy-editor/proofreader for example, this will bring up lots of pages for jobs and companies who offer these services but scroll through a few pages and you’ll eventually start to see the freelancers.

Always speak to more than one editor, and to help you determine they know what they’re doing,

here’s what they should be asking you:

  • What genre is your manuscript?
  • Have you already identified any problematic areas?
  • What are your publishing aims? (Self-publishing/submitting/time frame etc.)
  • What stage are you at with the manuscript? (has it already been looked at by a professional/beta readers?)
  • Where are you on your journey as an author?
  • Do you have a deadline for this?

here’s what you should be asking them:

  • What levels do they specialise in?
  • Do they have experience in your genre?
  • What style guide do they follow? (I follow the Oxford Style Guide)
  • Do they have references and testimonials?
  • What books have they edited?
  • Have they worked with indie authors before? Publishers?
  • If they are American, can they edit to British English style guides? And vice versa.
  • What are their costs and payment terms?
  • What timescales can you expect?
  • Do they offer a free or paid for sample edit?

Any editor worth their salt will be able to answer those questions for you. If they can’t, I’d be tempted to move on to the next person on your list. Full transparency at this stage is vital, you don’t want to end up in a position where you choose your editor, get your heart set on them, only to discover they charge twice as much as your budget will allow and aren’t free for a year.

So, there you have it.

You are now able to make a fully informed decision on which editor you need, you understand the roles played by both the author and the editor, and that full transparency by both parties can, and will, lead to a wonderful working relationship.

If you’d like to have a chat with me about your project and my services, please do drop me line, I’d love to hear from you.

Best of luck with your project!

Author Advice, Book Reviews

Today I’m reviewing Motivation Matters by Wendy H. Jones @WendyHJones @LoveBooksGroup #WritingCommunity #AmEditing #AmWriting

I have something a little different for you today, folks.

I’m reviewing Motivation Matters by Wendy H. Jones.

Jones is an award-winning author with two crime series under her belt, along with several author advice books. Motivation Matters is her latest offering for her fellow authors.

Here’s the blurb … 

Has your motivation to write flown out of the window? Do feelings of self-doubt creep in and haunt your writing day? Looking for a way to beat the doubts into submission?

Award winning author and writing coach Wendy H. Jones shows you how, with 366 glorious exercises you can use to boost creativity and change the way you think and feel about your writing. Techniques that can easily be incorporated into your day, becoming part of your writing routine.

It’s time to change the way you think and feel, in order to set your creativity free.

Has your motivation to write flown out of the window? Do feelings of self-doubt creep in and haunt your writing day? Looking for a way to beat the doubts into submission?

Award winning author and writing coach Wendy H. Jones shows you how, with 366 glorious exercises you can use to boost creativity and change the way you think and feel about your writing. Techniques that can easily be incorporated into your day, becoming part of your writing routine.

It’s time to change the way you think and feel in order to set your creativity free.

My thoughts …

I LOVE this book and strongly recommend you all just skip straight to the buying link and get your copy NOW!

First of all, it isn’t a deep and detailed book in the sense of long, rambling paragraphs. It’s perfectly easy to dip in and out of the advice, without having to sit for hours and hours reading.

Jones covers all sorts of motivational tips, from the more obvious write down your goals and look at them every day type, to some that I think are absolute genius but which I’m not going to share … you’ll have to get the book!

This book is great for when you’re having those moments of self-doubt. For when writer’s block kicks in. For when you’ve been sat staring at your WIP for sixteen hours and haven’t written or edited a single word. For when you have the end in sight but there’s something stopping you getting there.

The ideas Jones shares are wonderful, easy to do, and, more importantly, they work.

No, I’m not an author, but I spend all my time working on manuscripts and the methods Jones shares work just as well for when I’m in need of a kick up the backside to keep going!

Please, go and get your copy now.

Hugest of thanks to the author for my copy and to Kelly at Love Books Group for inviting me on to the blog tour.

About the author …

Wendy H. Jones

Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took her all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals. Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August, 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. This book is currently shortlisted for the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award Book of the Year. She is also a highly successful marketer and she shares her methods in the book, Power Packed Book Marketing.

She is currently writing a new series called, Cass Claymore Investigates. The first book. Antiques and Alibis will be released in January

Book Reviews

Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Lucy V Hay’s #HowNotToWriteFemaleCharacters @LucyVHayAuthor @Bang2write @gilbster1000 @rararesources

I have something a little different for you all today, a review of Lucy V Hay’s How not to Write Female Characters. Lucy is not only an amazing author – here are my reviews of her psychological thrillers Do No Harm and The Other Twin – she also writes wonderful writing advice books and runs the brilliant site, Bang2Write … If you’ve yet to discover this website, go there now!

It is a fantastic resource for authors and Lucy’s advice will blow your mind, seriously. I can, and have, spent whole days reading through her articles!

Now, her latest book is all about writing female characters, here’s the blurb …

Female characters. When fifty per cent of your potential target audience is female, if you’re not writing them in your screenplay or novel? You’re making a BIG mistake!

But how should you approach your female characters? That’s the million dollar question … After all, women in real life are complex, varied and flawed. Knowing where to start in creating three dimensional female characters for your story is extremely difficult.

So … perhaps it’s easier to figure out how NOT to write female characters?

Script editor, novelist and owner of the UK’s top screenwriting blog http://www.bang2write.com, Lucy V Hay has spent the last fifteen years reading the slush pile. She has learned to spot the patterns, pitfalls and general mistakes writers make when writing female characters – and why.

In How Not To Write Female Characters, Lucy outlines:

•WHO your character is & how to avoid “classic” traps and pitfalls
•WHAT mistakes writers typically make with female characters
•WHERE you can find great female characters in produced and published content
•WHEN to let go of gender politics and agendas
•WHY female characters are more important than ever

Lucy is on a mission to improve your writing, as well as enable diverse voices and characters to rise to the top of the spec pile.

My thoughts … 

Once again, Lucy brings her wealth of experience to the masses. How Not to Write Female Characters is one of her best yet and is an absolute must-read for anyone wanting to get their characters right.

Just shy of 50 pages, the advice she manages to get inside is brilliant. Drawing examples from movies, books, and TV shows over the last 30 years, Hay shows us how the female character has, and hasn’t in some cases, developed over the ages, and shows us how to get it right.

How Not to Write Female Characters is full of information which will help authors at any stage in their career, whether just starting out or about to publish their 50th novel, all will take something from this and I strongly recommend you download it!

I’d also recommend you look at her other advice books, Writing and Selling Drama Screenplays may have screenplay in the title but it’s not just for script writers, the advice Lucy shares will prove invaluable to anyone who writes anything!

Go and check her out, now!

About the author …

Lucy Hay

Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS for fiction as well as screenwriting. Her debut crime novel, THE OTHER TWIN, is now out with Orenda Books and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspapers, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine.

Author Advice, Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#WritingCommunity #SelfPublished author Emma Miles joins me to share her publishing journey today … @emmamilesShadow #CreatingPerfection #amwriting #amediting #fantasy

I am over the moon to welcome one of my favourite people in the publishing world to Creating Perfection to share her writing journey.

Who are you and when did your journey begin?

I’m Emma and I’ve been writing since I learned to hold a pen! I wrote a lot of poetry as a very young child and invented stories for my many cousins. I knew for sure I was a writer when I was ten and read the Lord of the Rings.

Tell us about where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish etc.

I’ve just published my fifth novel and my sixth should be out around May this year. I originally self-published through Lulu.com but moved on to Amazon. My latest novel is the first one for which I have been able to employ a professional editor and cover designer. (NB. I’ve heard the editor you chose is pretty spectacular!)

Why did you choose to self-publish?

A long story so bear with me. I started, many years ago, by submitting to agents for traditional publishing. The third agent I submitted to ask to read all of my manuscript. After about three months she wrote back to say that she was sorry to have taken so long, but she’d asked a few of the others in the office to read it also, but that they’d decided that my work needed more editing and wasn’t quite ready. At the time I didn’t realise how fabulous a response that was. I decided to complete the trilogy before re-submitting and then go back and re-work the first book. I was in a bad relationship with an abusive alcoholic during that period and so my writing became very hit and miss. By the time I finished the trilogy, any kind of professional editing or cover design was a dream well beyond my means. I escaped my abusive partner but had to sell belongings to even afford to eat. I did make a few attempts at submitting my work, but I had no confidence in myself and was appallingly bad at writing cover letters to try to sell myself and my work. Sadly, when I felt I was ready to re-submit to the same agent, I discovered that the lady who had founded the agency had recently died and I felt it would be inappropriate to bother them about my book. It was not long after that period when I was introduced online to a lovely man who wrote and self-published horror books. He encouraged me to go for self-publishing and I did.

What’s best thing about self-publishing?

Ha ha, not having to write a synopsis! Seriously, I would say it’s having control over my work and not having to be restricted by word count or publication dates.

And the worst?

Not seeing my books on the shelves in bookshops and having to do all the advertising, promotion, and networking myself.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

Self-publishing was in its relatively early days when I first did it and I myself very naive. I foolishly thought I could just publish my book and people would find it and love it; I didn’t realise that to get anywhere I’d have to do a huge amount of self-promotion. It was lack of resources really that I wish I could have changed and most importantly lack of a support network.

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I wish I’d had the money to get professional edits and covers done.

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Find yourself a support network of other writers, bloggers, beta readers etc. There are great writing communities on Facebook and Twitter where you can get help and advice, encouragement, recommendations, and the benefit of other peoples’ experiences. Also build yourself an online presence and following, you need to start promoting yourself and your work before your book is available.

Thank you so much for sharing with us, Emma. What an incredible journey. You are such a talented author and have a wonderful way with words and deserve so much success!

Readers, if you’d like to share your journey, click here.

Emma’s first book in her Fire-walker series is The Raven Tower

Here’s the blurb …

The Raven Tower: A captivating fantasy adventure (Fire-Walker Book 1) by [Miles, Emma]

What price will Kesta and the fire-walkers have to pay to keep their people from enslavement? The raids were more ferocious, more desperate and much earlier in the year. When Kesta sees in the flame who is really behind the attacks the Independent islands of the Fulmers seem doomed to fall. Their only hope is to cross the sea to seek the help of the King of Elden and his sorcerer, the Dark Man.

You can keep up with all Emma’s news by following her on social media:

Twitter: @emmamilesShadow

About the author …

Emma Miles

I presently live in the stunning county of Dorset where I’m a cat slave to Wolfe and Piglitt I spend as much time as I can outside in nature and love exploring and learning about new cultures and languages. I’ve visited Greece, Serbia, Transylvania, Sicily, and Norway as well as making several road trips around our beautiful United Kingdom. I paint, sculpt, dabble in photography and do a little archery but most of all – whenever I get a chance – I write.
My writing started from a very young age when I often found myself being the one taking charge of and entertaining all my younger cousins. They loved to hear my stories and although they mostly called for ghost stories it was fantasy I fell in love with when I read The Lord of the Rings when I was ten. I went on to write stories and short ‘books’ for my friends through school and college; then one evening whilst I was waiting for my aunt and uncle to visit an image came to my mind of a boy sitting beneath a bridge. I didn’t know who he was or why he was there, but from exploring those questions The Wind’s Children trilogy blossomed and grew with roots going back into his far history as well as stretching out to his future.

The boy’s name was Tobias. I have since left Tobias’s world of ‘Naris’ to explore the Valley with Feather in the Hall of Pillars which is now available through Amazon. I am now presently finding my way through Elden, the beautiful Fulmer islands, the ravaged Borrows and haunted Chem with Kesta Silene; a shamaness of sorts with a big journey ahead of her. I hope you come along to share her story and join her adventure; she needs you and you won’t regret it.

Publication Ready, Special Offer

Authors … I have a new service! Come and take a look #WritingCommunity #AmWriting #AmEditing #CreatingPerfection

I’m delighted to announce my new service: Get Competition Ready

If you’re looking to enter your short story into a writing competition, this is the service for you.

I will edit your manuscript following my Big Difference service, feedback on the plot and characters, and format it as per the needs of the competition host.

This service is for short stories with a maximum of 5000 words.

As a special introductory price, the cost is £50.00 until 31 May 2019, after which it will be £75.00.

For more details and to get in touch, please follow this link.

Case Study, Self-Publishing Author Case Study

#WritingCommunity Beth Duke joins me today to share her self-publishing journey #CreatingPerfection #AmWriting #AmEditing @bethidee

I am delighted to welcome Beth Duke to Creating Perfection today to share her self-publishing journey.

Hello, Beth, please tell us a little about you and when your journey began?

I’m Beth Duke, and I’ve been a dedicated reader pretty much since I opened my eyes. I’ve always loved words, and specifically, putting ideas and stories into words. I began writing fiction around 2007.

Where you are on your journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish etc.?

I have three published books and a tiny mountain of short stories in magazines and journals. I publish paperbacks and e-books through KDP and paperbacks for wholesale distribution through IngramSpark.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

There is no greater agony that the query process. I have been embraced and whirled around the dance floor, only to be left alone by the punch bowl, too many times. This was particularly heartbreaking with my third novel, which an agent adored and kept locked up over a year. I was eventually offered a fairly crappy deal with a small house, and it wasn’t for me. I realized at that point I could start over and hope my book would be out within eighteen more months…or I could publish it. I’m thrilled I did, because it’s been atop an Amazon Best Seller list for well over a month solid and earning all the money I wish I’d made over the last eight long years or so. I still could’ve made more overall by grilling burgers, but I am thrilled so many are enjoying my work.

What’s best thing about self-publishing?

I love having control over my content and cover. I love having a much greater share of royalties than trad pub even more!

And the worst?

There were long years (2011 on) of trying to scale my sales and gain a wider audience, years in which I hadn’t the vaguest idea what I was doing.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you published your first book?

It matters not one whit if you’ve written a brilliant novel: if your cover isn’t professional-looking, it will never sell on a big scale. People *do* judge books by their covers!

If you could change one thing about your self-publishing journey, what would it be and why?

I’d have sought out a reasonably-priced, talented cover designer like Rachel Lawston, and hired her for my first book. She might have still been a teenager in 2011, though…

Do you have any advice for those who might be looking in to self-publishing?

Never, ever pay someone to publish your book. Educate yourself on book promotion. Join ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors), ask questions, and listen to the answers you receive. There are many great resources for indie authors these days. Make yourself available for book club discussions (via FaceTime or whatever if necessary). Have a strong social media presence. Be a nice human, help other authors when you can.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m grateful for this opportunity to share, and hope there may be one small thing that may help someone. Please feel free to contact me if you’re starting out and want to commiserate by the lonely punch bowl. I’m always happy to talk to fellow writers. We all learn from each other!

Thank you so much, Beth. Self-publishing can be a lonely place if you don’t know others are in the same boat.

Authors, if you’d like to share your journey, click here.

Now, here’s her book …

Alabama, 1947.

War’s over, cherry-print dresses, parking above the city lights, swing dancing. Beautiful, seventeen-year-old Violet lives in a perfect world .Everybody loves her.

In 2012, she’s still beautiful, charming, and surrounded by admirers. Veronica “Ronni” Johnson, licensed practical nurse and aspiring writer, meets the captivating Violet in the assisted living facility where Violet requires no assistance, just lots of male attention. When she dies, she leaves Ronni a very generous bequest―only if Ronni completes a book about her life within one year. As she’s drawn into the world of young Violet, Ronni is mesmerized by life in a simpler time. It’s an irresistible journey filled with revelations, some of them about men Ronni knew as octogenarians at Fairfield Springs. Struggling, insecure, flailing at the keyboard, Ronni juggles her patients, a new boyfriend, and a Samsonite factory of emotional baggage as she tries to craft a manuscript before her deadline.

But then the secrets start to emerge, some of them in person. And they don’t stop. Everything changes. Alternating chapters between Homecoming Queen Violet in 1947 and can’t-quite-find-her-crown Ronni in the present, IT ALL COMES BACK TO YOU is book club fiction at its hilarious, warm, sad, outrageous, uplifting, and stunning best. In the tradition of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand and Olive Kitteridge, Duke delivers an unforgettable elderly character to treasure and a young heroine to steal your heart.

About the author …

Beth Duke

Beth Duke is the recipient of short story awards on two continents and is eyeing the other five. Her novels DELANEY’S PEOPLE, DON’T SHOOT YOUR MULE, and IT ALL COMES BACK TO YOU have earned a great deal of critical praise, including ‘Beth Duke is a wordsmith of the best kind and her stories rank with the best in classic Southern fiction’ from Dan Brown, Author of Reunion. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and literary digests. Beth lives in the mountains of her native Alabama with her husband, one real dog, one ornamental dog, and a flock of fluffy pet chickens. Baking is a hobby, with semi-pro cupcakes and amateur macarons a specialty. And puns-she is a proud punslinger. Travel is her other favorite thing, along with joining book clubs for discussion. Please visit bethduke.com for more information and photos of the most beautiful readers in the world.

Author Advice, Author Rant, Author Support, Dark Side of Publishing

The truth behind the glitter … a look at the dark side of the publishing world #WritingCommunity #AmWriting #AmEditing

As an editor and book blogger, I spend all my time talking to authors. One thing that’s shocked me recently is the number of conversations I’ve had about the dark side of the publishing world.

Not just the stuff in the public eye, but what goes on for the authors on a personal level.

The world has a certain idea of what an author’s life is like and as such, authors feel the need to keep up a pretence to the public.

It’s with this in mind that I’ve started this feature to give authors a safe place to talk about the things that go on behind the scenes.

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I want to show people that they aren’t alone, that all the fears and hates and things that terrify them about this world do the same to others, we just don’t talk about it properly.

These posts will be anonymous unless the author wants their identity sharing.

If you want to rant … follow this link.

Now, here we go … our first ranter is up!

Author, tell us a little about your publishing journey so far …

Having been successfully published for factual writing for many years in a variety of media and formats I found the conversion to fictional writing a learning curve. Even someone with experience can feel daunted when facing a new type of writing genre. I literally had to step back and start from scratch. Means I’ve learnt a lot over these last 11 years in my new role as Author and Publisher. The latter is due to my mentoring younger writers and publishing some of their work. The writing part is in most respects the easy bit.

The hard bit comes later. The publishing, the marketing, selling the books, getting your name noticed and of course following that first book up. Most importantly one has to enjoy the writing, or it becomes a chore.

And I do.

Now rant …

The snobbery more than anything. I sometimes feel traditional publishers, and dare I say it, some traditional bookshops, look down on people who have written and published their own work. Bookshops even reject those who have had the help of a small, local but qualified and experienced publisher.

I suppose my pet hate is those people who are in the public eye like, David Walliams, Michele Obhama, and Oprah Winfrey to mention but a few, automatically get a “Best Seller” just because they are who they are. As I review and edit lots of manuscripts, I get quite frustrated when I see good, well written novels etc been refused because they are by Indie or unknown writers. Sites like Amazon and Vanity Press were bound to take advantage. Hence the pouring out of a lot of not so good writing.

My other pet hate is the need for social media (unfortunately a necessity these days) and the vindictiveness of readers. Especially those who are so critical that they don’t care how much they hurt someone’s feelings. You need a hard skin to survive and I don’t see any of these trolls writing so, until they do, they should keep their nasty remarks to themselves.

Thank you so much for sharing and venting.

I do have issues with famous names getting bestsellers when they’ve had a ghost writer. That gets on my nerves, but I think the ones who have done the hard work deserve it the credit when it’s due.

Hopefully one day the snobbery will stop, it really is atrocious how some people think indie authors are any less able to write than someone with a traditional publishing contract.

Look at the likes of L.J. Ross, Conrad Jones, and Mark Edwards! They are all indie authors, do everything themselves, and are all international bestselling authors with millions of readers the world over.
Fingers crossed this attitude changes.

Huge thanks again for sharing, Anonymous Author.

Readers, do let me know your thoughts on these issues.

I hope the rant helped x