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, 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 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.

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:

Blog http://www.sarahoneillwrites.blogspot.ie

Twitter: @soneillwrites

Instagram: @sarahoneill23

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sarahoneillauthor

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

#WritingCommunity Why typing #TheEnd isn’t actually the end for your #writing journey #authors #CreatingPerfection #amwriting #amediting

One thing I’ve noticed over the last three years working in the publishing industry is that not many authors fully understand that writing The End isn’t actually the end of their journey with that manuscript.

In fact, that was probably the easy part … yes, I heard that collective gasp of, ‘Yeah, whatever, Emma …’

But seriously, whether you’re going for a traditional publishing contract or are self-publishing, your journey is only just beginning.

Today I’m going to talk about the things that you’ll need to think about now that your manuscript is ready, but which should be thought about when you get to the halfway point in your WIP. These elements apply to any and all authors, whatever route to publishing you’re taking.

So, have you got the following lined up?

  • Beta readers
  • Editor
  • Proofreader
  • Cover designer / own software to do this
  • Typesetter / own software to do this
  • Advanced readers
  • Contacts in the blogging community
  • Marketing / blog tours
  • Active social media accounts
  • Website
  • Contacts with local media groups?
  • Contacts with local book shops?
  • Advertising budget
  • Publishers and agents you want to approach
  • Professional bodies you can join
  • Self-employment
  • Accounts and tax
  • Submission package, blurb, synopsis writing

You can be forgiven for thinking you won’t need any of this if you’re going for a traditional contract with a publishing house and they’ll do it all for you, right? You finish the manuscript, send it off to them, complete the edits they return, choose a cover from the two or three they send you, then that’s it. Sit back and wait for it to hit number one in all the right places, the money starts rolling in, you move to a cottage in the middle of nowhere, and hide out while writing the next one until it’s the night of the movie premier of the adaptation in Hollywood and you’re there to meet your characters.

That’s how it works, right?

Unfortunately, not.

This is also something many authors don’t fully understand. Publishers only have so much money so once your initial marketing and publicity has been done around publication day that’s it for that book. Think about it, if they constantly publicised every book every author on their list had out, they’d need an army of staff and a bottomless pit of money to keep up with it all. I’ve spoken with many authors over the last three years who are signed with publishers and had no idea how much time they’d have to spend on the things I’ve listed.

Publishers will typically do the following:

  • Edit
  • Proofread
  • Initial marketing and a blog tour
  • Potentially media and book shops

The rest is up to you.

Don’t get me wrong, some publishers will do more than others, some will do what they do with such passion you’d think they’d written the book themselves! It’s all down to the publisher and your contract – I am talking in broad terms here, so please, don’t be offended if you do more than what I’ve detailed.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to look at each element in detail and offer tips and guidance to help you navigate the tricky world of publishing. The information I’m going to share will be useful for all authors.

Before I go, something else self-publishing authors don’t always know at the start is the cost.

If you’re not already, sit down.

It typically costs between two and five thousand pounds to publish a book.

Yes.

That’s right.

A minimum of two thousand pounds if you use professionals to do your editing and cover design. Don’t think these elements are important? Read some of the Self-Published Author Case Studies I’ve shared on the blog. These are things people have gone cheap on and lived to regret down the line. Also, the people you expect to buy your book deserve it to be in the best possible shape when they part with their hard-earned money.

Hopefully, at this point in your journey you know you need to be saving some money to get these things in place, you will have thought about some of the list above, and will be prepared for it.

So, now we know that there’s a long road ahead, I’m going to let all this sink in and next time I’m going to be looking at editors and proofreaders. When to start sourcing one, what you need to look for, how to approach one, what they should do for you, and how to work with them when you send them your manuscript.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this; have I missed anything? What was the biggest shock you had either as an indie author or with a publisher? Have you published one way or the other and have a story you’d like to share? What would you change about your journey so far? Is there something else you’d like me to talk about?

See you next time.

Keep writing x

Author Advice, Beta Reader Questionnaire, Beta Reading, Publication Ready

#BetaReaders ~ what to look for and how to get the best from them #AuthorAdvice #AmWriting #AmReading #AmEditing #CreatingPerfection

In today’s article I’m going to talk about beta readers.

A beta reader is someone who reads your manuscript before it’s sent off for editing. Most likely after you’re happy with the structural and developmental edits but before you go for the final copy/line edits and certainly before you start submitting to agents or publishers.

The idea is they’ll provide feedback from a reader’s point of view on the plot, pacing, and consistency of your manuscript.

They are not proofreaders or editors although some of these professionals will offer this service from a critique partner point of view, so don’t expect them to pick up, or even look for, any mishaps in terms of grammar, punctuation, or spelling.

Beta readers are an excellent resource to authors and when they are used properly, can provide invaluable feedback to strengthen and improve your manuscript.

But what makes a good beta reader? And where do you find them? 

The best place to start is your author friends. If you’re on social media, there are groups on Facebook where you will find people willing to help out, but before you start sourcing them make sure you know what you’re looking for:

  • They should be in your target audience. This way they will know what works – and more importantly, what doesn’t – within that genre and can then apply that knowledge to your manuscript.
  • If they aren’t in your target demographic, they should be experienced in the publishing world and be able to appreciate decent work that doesn’t perhaps appeal to them. They will recognise what creates suspense and what entices the reader to read until the end. They will understand characterisation, plot development, and structure. They will also appreciate that at this stage, a few typos do not a bad first draft make! I’ve heard of manuscripts being torn to pieces by beta readers who didn’t quite understand that this isn’t the final stage of the process and who haven’t appreciated that this is still a work in progress.
  • They should know how to provide constructive feedback. The last thing you need is someone killing your dreams with their harsh words. Constructive criticism allows you to see the areas needing improvement while giving you the hope that it can be fixed.
  • They shouldn’t be too close to you so they are unable to say things you might not want to hear. You may have a best friend who doesn’t hold back on honesty, but others who may shy away from potentially upsetting you and not give their honest opinion.
  • They should be regular readers. There’s no point asking someone who doesn’t enjoy reading.

This is a short list of the ideal characteristics you need to look for and not everyone you select will fall into each category, but that’s fine.

Now let’s look at what you want from them.

What happens if you send your manuscript to ten people with no clear instructions on your expectations? You’ll most likely end up with ten different reports and no idea how to implement all the suggested changes as they’ll probably conflict with each other.

And how do you qualify what each one says?

Perhaps you think a character or sub-plot needs attention but none of the feedback mentions it specifically.

Vague responses can be a nightmare to dissect too.

‘I loved Joe Bloggs.’

‘I hated Jane Doe.’

These might be the reactions you wanted for those characters, but they don’t tell you why or what you’ve done to create those emotions.

Making sure each beta reader has the same ‘instructions’ to guide them is imperative. Outlining your expectations of the feedback isn’t going to be a problem for anyone willing to beta read for you.

Using this Beta Reader Questionnaire, or one similar, will help ensure you’re getting quality and quantifiable feedback that you can make informed decisions about when it comes to editing. If all your betas come back saying the same thing about an element of the manuscript, then you know it’s most likely true; if only one does, then you can put that down to personal preference.

When you do get your feedback, try not to take it to heart if it’s less than complimentary at this stage. This is your opportunity to make your work the best it can be and it’s better to get it perfect now rather than when you’ve re-mortgaged the house to get stock of your paperback into every bookshop in the country!

Let me know what you think in the comments.

How did you choose your team of beta readers? Where did you find them? What else would you add to the questionnaire? Share your tips so other authors have the best chance of getting meaningful feedback.

Have a wonderful day and happy writing x

 

Author Advice, Blog Post, Cheat Sheet, Grammar Assistant

Removing these two words from your writing will make it stronger and more concise! #Strong #Verbs #CreatingPerfection #GrammarAssistant #Author #AmWriting #AmEditing

Today’s article is short and sweet.

There are few words in the English language I dislike but I must admit very and really are two I could happily live without.

Using these words before certain verbs can make your writing appear weak and lazy and using two words instead of one can damage your precious word count – so cut them out.

I’ve created a list of the most common examples I find in my work and have put them into a printable download with my suggested stronger verb alternative.

Strong Verbs

I hope this helps and happy writing!

Author Advice, Editing Assistance, Grammar Assistant, Punctuation

#GrammarAssistant #comparative and #superlative forms #AuthorAdvice #Grammar #CreatingPerfection

In today’s article I’m going to talk about comparative and superlative forms.

We use the comparative and superlative forms of adverbs and adjectives to compare people, things, states, and actions in writing.

Adjectives and adverbs have three forms: the positive, the comparative, and the superlative.

Adjectives:

Positive Comparative Superlative
Green Greener Greenest
Tall Taller Tallest
Joyful More joyful Most joyful

Adverbs:

Positive Comparative Superlative
Fast Faster Fastest
Joyfully More joyfully Most joyfully
Far Further Furthest

Comparative form

The comparative form is used to compare one person, thing, action, or state to another:

Daisies are prettier than roses.

My sister is taller than me.

Our house is noisier than the library.

Superlative form

The superlative form is used to compare one thing to ALL the others in the same category:

This road is the quietest.

My bag is the heaviest.

My rose is the prettiest.

The comparative and superlative are formed differently depending on the word’s positive form:

  • Usually we add the suffixes -er and -est: warm / warmer / warmest
  • When the adjective ends in -e we drop it and add -er and -est: large / larger / largest
  • When the adjective ends in one consonant, double it before adding -er and -est: red / redder / reddest
  • When the adjective ends in -y change it to –i and add -er and -est: juicy / juicier / juiciest
  • If an adverb ends in -ly usually add the words more (comparative form) and most (superlative form): slow / more slowly / most slowly; lazily / most lazily / most lazily
  • Some adjectives use more for the comparative form and most for the superlative: famous / more famous / most famous
  • Some comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs are irregular: bad / worse / worst; much / more / most; well / better / best

Rules for forming comparatives 

  • One-syllable words form the comparative by adding -er and -est: brave / braver / bravest; small / smaller / smallest; dark / darker / darkest
  • Two-syllable words that end in -y, -le, and -er form the comparative by adding -er and -est: pretty / prettier / prettiest; happy / happier / happiest; noble / nobler / noblest; clever / cleverer / cleverest
  • Words of more than two syllables form the comparative with more and most: beautiful / more beautiful / most beautiful; resonant / more resonant / most resonant
  • Past participles used as adjectives form the comparative with more and most: crooked / broken / damaged / defeated
  • Predicate adjectives (adjectives used to describe the subject of a sentence) form the comparative with more and most: afraid / mute / certain / alone / silent
    Ex. She is afraid / He is more afraid / They are the most afraid of them all

Following these guidelines should help stop abominations like more pretty or beautifuler from making their way into your writing!

And, as always, if in doubt, look up the preferred inflected forms in the dictionary, I find the Oxford English Dictionary Online to be a wonderful resource.

Happy writing!