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

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

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 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.

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

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

#WritingCommunity Andrew Barrett joins me today to share why he thinks #writing is easy … or not @AndrewBarrettUK #AmWriting #CreatingPerfection #IndiePub

Andrew Barrett was one of the first authors to share his writing journey with us (you can read that here) and I’m delighted to welcome him back today to share another piece about his writing journey today.

Being a Writer is Easy…

Back in the fifties, long before I was born (no, much longer than that!), my dad was pretty good with cars. He wanted to set up his own garage fixing, and maybe selling, them. He approached the council who agreed to sell him a plot of land, and even agreed to move lampposts to improve vehicular access.

And then he had second thoughts and backed out. That decision haunted him for the rest of his days. What if…

I’m pretty sure there’s nothing quite so corrosive as regret. So I try my best not to have any. I still do though: I don’t speak in public (too shy); I don’t hang-glide (scared of heights); I made the wrong choice in women (now corrected); I started smoking (now stopped); I began writing.

What? Writing is a regret?

Yes, of course it is. Well, let me qualify that. The word writing, in this instance, refers to the whole ensemble: writing; editing; making covers; organising beta readers; sorting out the website (or not, as the case may be); taking the plunge with an Audible book; sorting out the accounts; paying the business bills; and a thousand other things. That’s ‘writing’.

And I regret writing because I have become obsessive about it. Truly, I have. I have just put the finishing touches to my latest novel, CSI Eddie Collins’s fifth outing: The Death of Jessica Ripley. Well, I’ve just re-organised some of the chapters this evening, after spending every spare minute over the last two weeks making the corrections suggested by my editor (two whole weeks!). And now it’s out with a special reader to make sure it’s not total shit. Fingers crossed. I won’t settle until it’s back. In the meantime, I should be doing some marketing because I’m skint. But I don’t want to. For the last month or two I’ve had a new story circling inside my head like a buzzard waiting for Ripley to pass away. And I’m mad keen on making a start – itchy fingers.

All this and I have a very full time job and a family.

While I’m at work, I’m thinking about the story, and I’m thinking about writing (see the definition above), and although I still give 100% to the victims I work for, I possibly give a little less to the other office-based aspects of my job.

And my family? We went to the flicks last week to watch How to Train Your Dragon 3. Great film, but I was thinking about my new story through most of it.

That’s why I regret being a writer. If I was normal, i.e. – not a writer, I’d give 100% in the office at work, and I’d have understood why the dragons in the movie left town (sorry if that was a spoiler). If I was normal, I’d be downstairs right now watching Hunter Killer – it’s a DVD that I bought almost three weeks ago. It’s unopened on the shelf along with D-Day, a Steptoe & Son box set, and the three Formula One races I haven’t been able to watch this year.

So, you feeling sorry for me yet?

Don’t. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love writing. Let me say that again – I LOVE WRITING, and all the peripherals too (except marketing, urgh!).

And while I play a full role in this alter-career of mine, you’ll remember that I dipped into becoming an author for a publishing house of note a few years ago. The relationship didn’t last, and I’m back doing it all by myself, and have been since January. In the three months since I returned to the soft bosom of indie-land, I’ve re-uploaded six books not only to Amazon but to Kobo and another distributor; I’ve taken the plunge and had a wonderful narrator (Collen MacMahon) bring The End of Lies to life; I’ve published The Lock, and have all but finished The Death of Jessica Ripley. I have been seriously busy. But I still haven’t got back on the marketing bike yet – it’s why I’m skint.

So although it might look to some as though the publishing house excursion was a disaster, it wasn’t really. You see, I can tick it off; I can shove thoughts of publishers so far to the back of my mind that they’re in danger of falling off the edge. I built my garage and got the council to move the lamp posts. The partnership might have failed, but guess what – that’s fine, because now I know how that chapter in my life turned out instead of wondering, instead of regretting.

Now, onwards and upwards.

Someone recently asked me how I manage to overcome the shite and become a successful author.

Firstly, I don’t know what their definition of successful is, but it’s not me. I’m just an average arsehole, and likely as not will stay that way until I curl my toes up. But it’s not for the lack of trying. Let me be honest with you here; remember that bit in the paragraphs above where I growl about being obsessive about writing when my inner self wants to go downstairs and watch Steptoe & Son, but can’t? Sometimes I wonder why I bother with the struggle. Why don’t I just watch the damned film, enjoy the movie, participate at work? Why must I battle all the time?

There’s probably a good job for a psychoanalyst in me somewhere.

Sometimes I really give serious consideration to packing it all in – because it is a hell of a lot of work, and it’s a hell of a lot of work consistently. It never ends. And it wears me down. And the guilt I feel for foregoing all the other things in life, as well as neglecting the kids, the wife, the lawn, the friendships… constantly, makes me think that I have given it my best shot and I’ve still come up short; that it’s time to bow out gracefully, pull the Facebook plug, and turn off the Amazon light.

I’d be no worse off if I did. In fact, with all the monthly bills this little empire of mine costs to run, I’d probably be better off, and I’d get my life back, and the kids would get a father who was focused on them instead of staring off into the distance thinking about story and character development.

I guess about now you’re waiting for the punchline or the fairy-tale ending, the motivational slap around the face, or the ‘Aha, I got you!’ line. Well, there isn’t one.

I was writing stories long before making money on Amazon was an option – at least 15 years before, actually. I was writing them to become an author for Hodder Headline (or whoever), and when that bit the dust, I was writing them for me. I loved writing (and I still do), and I’d given up on the dream of ever earning money from it. Back then I did it because I enjoyed it, and I was okay-ish at it. That is the mark of a pure writer*. All the Amazon stuff is sparkly bollocks – but don’t get me wrong, I’d still like to make a million or two like some authors have – and if I did, I’d bin the day job and spend even more time neglecting my family (d’oh!).

If I made no money at all, and I’m quite close to that particular target just now, I would still write.

So perhaps those words ‘successful author’ do apply to me after all: I have written books, and I have enjoyed writing them. Maybe this is where my true happiness lies; maybe this is what I was born to do. Yeah… I’ll take that, thank you.

*Though aiming to make money by selling books does not make you an evil person!

Thank you so much, Andrew!

What a brilliantly honest piece this is and I’m certain it will help other authors realise that they aren’t alone when it comes to all those things we have to give up just to find the time to sell one book.

You can find out lots more about Andrew by following his social media accounts: @AndrewBarrettUK

Want to know about his latest book?

The Lock: A CSI Eddie Collins Novella by [Barrett, Andrew]

I’m Eddie Collins, a CSI. This is the story of how I saw a dead man die.

I was finishing up at a sudden death in an old house, waiting for the body snatchers to arrive, when I heard a noise from the cellar.

I had time to kill, so I went to investigate.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one with killing on his mind.

If you like fast-paced crime thrillers with a forensic slant, raw emotions, and characters that reach out of the book and grab you by the throat, you’ll love Andrew Barrett’s CSI Eddie Collins series.

To find out what’s in that cellar, buy The Lock today.

About Andy … 
Andrew Barrett
Do you like your crime thrillers to have a forensic element that adds to the realism? Do you like your lead character to be someone intense and unafraid to take on authority?

Andrew writes precisely that kind of crime thriller, and has done since 1996, about the same time he became a CSI in Yorkshire.

He doesn’t write formulaic fiction; each story is hand-crafted to give you a unique flavour of what CSIs encounter in real life – and as a practising CSI, he should know what it’s like out there. His thrillers live inside the police domain, but predominantly feature CSIs (or SOCOs as they used to known).

Here’s your chance to walk alongside SOCO Roger Conniston and CSI Eddie Collins as they do battle with the criminals that you lock your doors to keep out, fighting those whose crimes make you shudder.

This is as real as it gets without getting your hands bloody.

Find out more about him at where you can sign up for his newsletter and claim your free starter library.

Author Advice, Manuscript, Publication, Publication Ready, Special Offer

Special Offer! Have your manuscript polished and formatted ready for e-book and paperback publication for just £150 ~ ends 30 April #CreatingPerfection

There’s just under a week left to take advantage of my special offer.

Book my Back to Basics Proofread and E-book Formatting services together for just £150.00 saving a whopping £50!

You can book and pay for this offer now and redeem it at a future date.

Offer ends 30 April 2019.

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

#WritingCommunity Author Sarah O’Neill joins me today to share her self-publishing journey @soneillauthor #AmWriting #AmEditing

Thank you so much for joining me, Sarah. Can you introduce yourself and tell us when your journey began?

My name is Sarah O’Neill and my journey began almost ten years ago when I studied Creative Writing in college and it became more than just a hobby, it was something that I wanted to make a career of.

Tell us where you are on your self-publishing journey right now in terms of books published, where you publish, if you’re yet to press the publish button etc.

I currently have one published novel and I’m working on my second which will be ready for editing and publishing later this year. I currently publish primarily online via Amazon and Kobo. I publish paperbacks via Createspace which are available at Barnes & Noble and The Book Depository.

Why did you choose to self-publish?

At the time, it was the best option for me because I had tried other routes and was unsuccessful. I researched self-publishing and found that it suited me more than any other option.

What’s best thing about self-publishing?

The full control that you have over every aspect of your book. You are totally in control of editing, cover design, etc. The book is still 100% yours at the end of the process because you’re responsible for everything.

And the worst?

The responsibility of every aspect. Especially as a new, emerging writer that no one has heard of because you are the sole person responsible for getting your book into as many markets as possible, for promoting your book, and for selling your book. It’s hard work but at least you know that you’ve done everything you possibly can.

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

I wish that I had researched the market before I published so that I was more prepared. My book was published in December 2017 and I’m still learning how to market, promote, and sell. This is very important information to have before you publish.

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

I wish that I was more prepared for every aspect that comes with selling and promoting your indie book. If I could change one thing it would be that I had researched before I hit that publish button.

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

Research, research, research. Have all your information ready before you decide i.e. editing services, cover design, selling portals (and the difference in formatting for each one), marketing plan, book reviewers, and budget. You don’t get an advance from a publisher so you need to invest your time and money and be prepared that you may not earn that money back or barely break even.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Believe in yourself. Self-publish if it feels right for you but always make sure that you’re publishing work that has been edited. Readers spend their hard-earned money on your book so you want it to be the best it can possibly be. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the experience.

Some wonderful advice here, Sarah, thank you.

Sarah’s debut, Deadly Obsession, is out now, folks.

Here’s the blurb …

Lilly Mason has always run from her problems, this time, she’s running for her life…
When word of a family bereavement reaches Lilly, she flees an abusive relationship in California and returns to Kansas to face her fears – the family she abandoned and the man she ran away from four years ago.
Donnie O’Malley knows that Lilly is hiding something. She’s terrified, on edge, and she’s got bruises she can’t explain.
Lilly’s new chance at life is threatened when her past refuses to let her go and she and her family are forced to fight for their lives against the enemy that threatens to end them all…

You can get your copy now:

And you can keep up with all Sarah’s news by following her on social media:


Twitter: @soneillwrites

Instagram: @sarahoneill23


Sarah O'Neill

Sarah O’Neill lives in South Wicklow in Ireland with her fiancé and their dogs. She is a college graduate with a B.A in Humanities. An avid bookworm and animal lover, she is happiest with a good book and her beloved dogs. Deadly Obsession, her debut novel, is the first in the new Mason Investigations series.

If you’re a self-published author who’d like to share their journey, please follow this link.


Author Advice, Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant, Publication, Publication Ready, Punctuation

Creating Perfection has two new author services! #CreatingPerfection #WritingCommunity #AmEditing #AmWriting

Good evening all,

I’m delighted to bring you two new author services this evening.

First, E-book and Paperback Formatting

Second, Back to Basics

Do take a look and let me know if you have any questions.

Have a wonderful week, and keep writing!

Emma x