101 Names to Conjure With

3D CC Promo Visual

These are my published novels. Don’t you just love the covers?

I’m looking forward to showing you the cover to the next novel, called For What it’s Worth, which will be coming soon. I’ve done the writing, the rewriting, the editing, the proofreading, the polishing, the cover is underway, and it’s almost ready to go to the publisher. Yay!

So what’s next, you may well ask. And I’ll tell you.

My next WIP is called Gold Plated. I completed the first draft some time ago and am about to embark on the second draft. This is the time when my mind keeps going back to the story and the characters. I’ve let it marinate for a few months, since November actually. It was my November 2016 NaNoWriMo novel, so it has marinated for almost eight months and it’s started to bubble up into my consciousness again.

During the writing of the first draft, I became unhappy with the name I had chosen for one of my characters, and I am ready to think about what she should be called instead. She’s not a Rose or a Violet, nor is she a Tabitha or a Geraldine. Because she is my character, created in my imagination, I can call her whatever I want to, but I’d like it to be a name that fits her and the story.

She is a feisty, Scottish lady in her early fifties, but she was named by her much gentler, artistic mother. If you stop and think about it, a mother has no idea at all what her child will turn out like, so she can hardly choose a name that will describe that child’s nature as she grows and matures. It’s a fortunate coincidence when the name happens to fit in real life, an easier thing to pull off by the creator of fiction. So am I looking for a name a gentle, artistic soul might name her daughter, but that actually suits the daughter’s stronger, feisty nature? Or might it be fun if it turns out the mother chose a name that really doesn’t suit at all? Any thoughts?

I put this question to a group of FaceBook friends, and we had a lot of fun with their suggestions. I must have at least 101 names to conjure with, and a short list that’s not much shorter. I wondered if you’d care to join the fun and help me out at the same time.

Just tell me in the comments what you think would be a flowery, artistic name that a feisty, fiery lady would love or hate to be called. Either way, it will be fun to get your suggestions. They may add to my shortlist or help me whittle it down. Who knows, you may be the one who comes up with the name I settle on.

~~~

To read more about, or buy any of  my published books:

Please click the link to

Christine Campbell Amazon Author page

~~~

 

Introducing a Revamp

We all know that hard work generally brings the best result. You can only get out of something what you put into it, can’t you?

And, of course, that’s no different for writers.

If we want to get better at it, it isn’t just about writing more and more words, it’s about studying how to write, reading about writing, reading the work of other well-acclaimed authors, putting in the hours, weeks and months of hard work editing and polishing. Writing the first draft of a story is often the easiest part. In my experience, it is always the easiest part.

For some time now, I’ve been thinking about how my writing has developed and, I like to think, improved over the years I’ve been working at it. I’ve certainly put in a lot of hard work. So I went back to the first book I published and cast a critical eye over it. I was pleasantly surprised with how happy I was with the development of the story. But still, I published Family Matters as a paperback in 2008, followed that up with the eBook in 2013 – so – time for a revamp.

I decided Family Matters needed a new cover, then a bit of fine-tuning. I asked my artist daughter-in-law, Michelle Campbell, to come up with some art for the cover. Once again, she didn’t disappoint. I love the new cover she designed. It’s more modern and relevant to the subject matter – subject matter that I scrutinised and checked until I felt happy.

Next step? I thought I’d share the result with you in the following video. If you haven’t read Family Matters, perhaps you’ll enjoy the excerpt I’ve included.

Thanks for watching, folks. Hope you enjoyed the video. Hope you enjoy the book.

Here’s the link if you wish to purchase it or to READ IT FOR FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

And the link to my Amazon Author Page if you’d care to check out my other books.

Thank you.

~~~

Why not share in the comments what you think of the cover? Or the book?

And do share your stories of the hard work you put into the things you do.

Do you think hard work does pay off?

~~~

4 Plot Pitfalls You Need to Avoid – ProWritingAid

Okay! So it seems I need to go back to the current draft of my WIP brandishing a large red pen!

image

 Some great suggestions in this article, along with the comments from my beta readers, have made me re-examine my plot. I now know why there were parts that felt sluggish to my readers and to me, and what I think I’m going to do about them.

This article was published on the ProWritingAid website on April 16th, 2016,  written by Kathy Edens, a blogger, ghost writer, and content master who has extensive experience helping clients reach their readers with compelling and engaging material. You can find Kathy at www.kathy-edens.com

I’m so pleased I stumbled upon the article.

It’s so hard to ‘kill your darlings’, as William Faulkner and Stephen King would have us do. I knew there were scenes in my WIP that didn’t fulfil two important criteria: to move the plot along or to develop the characters.

Strike one!

But I like those scenes. There is some great writing in them: some clever, witty dialogue, some great observations on life, some handsome metaphors. But the story could live and thrive without them. One of my trusted beta readers (she’ll know who she is :-)) tactfully pointed them out when she said I didn’t have her whole attention at some points in the story – backing up my intuitive feeling.

Strike two!

Then I read this article. “If a character with a subplot isn’t absolutely vital to the denouement, use that red pen,” Kathy says.

Strike three!

I’d already deleted part of one character’s involvement. Now I think more the rest of her part needs to go.

There’s another character, Elouise, who I know I shall keep, but I don’t need to tell her story. This is not her story. It is Yvonne and Hugh’s story. She can play a part in it, but it is not about her, much and all as Elouise would like it to be.

“Think of it this way,” Kathy says. “Don’t kill your darling; simply move her to a new novel as the main character.”

Elouise is a great character and her story is interesting, so I shall delete those scenes in this WIP and use them in the novel I already planned to write about her at another time. I know she’ll be pleased to have a novel all about her. She’s that kind of girl. Win/win.

What fun editing can be when you listen to the wisdom of others who know the craft, and you find the courage to take their advice.

Okay, so this is all very well to talk about in theory, now I have to see if I can go through with it. Where’s that red pen? Gulp!

What about you? Is this article helpful to you? – well, I know, you’ll have to read it first, but after you do, why not let me know in the comments?

I’d love to find I’m not alone in this.

~~~

Over to you Kathy …

We’re going to spend a little bit of time on plot this month—talking about what NOT to do. Sometimes it’s hard to see plot problems while you’re writing and you don’t notice them until the end. This will send some writers into a downward spiral of negative self-talk. Others will white-knuckle their way through half-hearted revisions. Here are a few common plot pitfalls and what you can do to rectify them.

Source: 4 Plot Pitfalls You Need to Avoid – ProWritingAid

Interview with Christine Campbell

It was such a pleasure to be interviewed by Elizabeth Hein for her blog. She asked some interesting questions about my writing process and the theme that runs through all my novels.

Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling In The Storage Room

Rusty Gold small .jpeg

It’s my pleasure to welcome Christine Campbell to the Storage Room today. Rusty Gold, the third book in her Reluctant Detective Series, was released yesterday so it’s a real treat to talk with her today. Christine and I write in the same genre and tend to address many of the same issues, but in very different ways. I love how that happens. Anyway, here’s Christine –

What genre books do you write?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, though some of them almost fall into the cosy mystery/cosy crime sort of area.

What types of books do you typically read?

Contemporary Women’s Fiction, Cosy Crime, Mystery, Legal/courtroom novels, Relationship novels (not really romance)

Whatever I read, I like it to be a ‘clean’ read, as in no swearing, sex or violence. I’m also not into fantasy or science fiction – and especially not paranormal or supernatural.

So I suppose I have a…

View original post 1,394 more words

Is My Novel Ready for Proofreading? by Guest Author Wendy Janes @wendyproof

Excellent advice from Wendy Janes on getting the best value from your proofreader.

Lit World Interviews

Is My Novel Ready for Proofreading?

I love my job as a freelance proofreader, but sometimes authors make it very difficult for me to do my job effectively.

However brilliant your writing, however delicious your story, if there are too many errors and inconsistencies, you are asking too much of your proofreader to spot everything.

Here are a few examples of things that should have been removed by the author/developmental editor/copy editor prior to proofreading. Just in case you’re wondering, they are all products of my fevered imagination:

  • A tear-jerking family saga opens with Davina playing with her five-year-old brother, Oliver, on the sprawling lawns of their darling papa’s country estate. When our feisty heroine rescues sweet young Oliver from his evil kidnappers two years later, he is ten years old. The hapless Oliver dies in a fire soon after his rescue, and (miraculously) reappears at Davina’s sumptuous wedding to…

View original post 565 more words

Point of View

IMG_1050

There are many ways to write a novel, so how do you decide on the best way? Get it wrong or muddled, and you could end up having to rewrite the whole story. With that in mind, it’s well worth taking the time before you start to think through the method and the mode you want to use to convey your story, to write your novel.

One of the first things to consider is whose story it is and who you want to tell it. Once you have decided that, you must write the story from that chosen perspective, at least for a chapter or a section of a chapter. While you are writing from that person’s point of view it is important to stay in that person’s head. You can only think or feel as that one person.

“… when you are writing a scene, you follow the character almost like a camera on the character’s shoulder or in the character’s head. You are looking at the character performing a specific set of actions or important actions in vivid detail.” — Jenna Blum in The Author at Work, 2013

If you want to tell your reader what someone else is thinking or feeling, you should wait until it’s their turn to tell their side of the story – in a new chapter, or at least a new section, often denoted by leaving a blank line between the sections.

What is not a good idea is to head-hop between characters, telling us what they all think and feel in one mish-mash of information. It can become confusing and does not make for easy reading.

If it is a story you as the author want to tell, or it is your story as the author, but you want to tell it as though you are an observer, if you are telling it, narrating it, rather than showing it, then you, the narrator, are limiting yourself to what you can see, hear, or assume about the characters. You cannot know what they think or feel, only what they do or say. This gives an unbiased point of view, an outsider’s point of view.

In the third-person narrative mode, each character is referred to by the narrator as ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, or ‘they’. In third-person narrative, the narrator is not involved, not a character within the story, but conveys the story to the reader. This is the most flexible and most commonly used point of view used by fiction authors.

In a first-person narrative, the story is revealed through a narrator who is also a character within the story. In this case, the narrator can only express his/her own opinions, thoughts or feelings, and cannot convey any other character’s thoughts, feelings, opinions or perceptions unless the other character expresses them in dialogue or shows them in action.

The second-person narrative mode, in which the narrator refers to him or herself as ‘you’, is not often used in fiction. It distances the narrator from the story. If he/she is also a character within the story, it is as though he/she is watching his own life from a distance. An example of this:

“You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this at this time of the morning. But here you are, and you cannot say the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are fuzzy. You are at a nightclub talking to a girl with a shaved head. The club is either Heartbreak or the Lizard Lounge. All might become clear if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Bolivian Marching Powder. Then again, it might not. A small voice inside you insists that this epidemic lack of clarity is a result of too much of that already.”— Jay McInerney, Bright Lights, Big City

This can be an interesting way of handling your story, but sometimes difficult to maintain and can become confusing when other characters enter the story and want to play a part.

It is, of course, possible to switch between points of view within one story, but such switches really are best kept to within chapter boundaries if possible, section boundaries at least. Never within a section, a paragraph or a sentence.

So how do you decide how you want to convey your story to the written page? How do you decide from whose point of view the story should be told? This goes back to the first question: whose story is it?

Through whose eyes are you going to let your readers ‘see’ the story?

The Writer’s Workshop says:

“Fiction is about inner worlds and inner journeys. If you use a particular POV repeatedly, then you must fully characterise that person. That means, a fully developed inner life; a fully developed character arc; a full set of challenges, encounters and personal change. If you work from a POV where the character in question is only partly developed, then this part of your writing will never come to life. if you aren’t sure whether a particular character is fully developed, then he/she almost certainly isn’t.”

This is such good advice. What is required is that you understand your characters. If you are a man writing from a woman’s POV, can you do it convincingly? Or do you write what you wish women were thinking? Can you imagine how a woman feels? Or do you assume she’ll feel much the same way as a man?

Similarly, if you are a woman writing from a man’s POV, you’d need to ask the same questions: can you imagine how a man might think and feel in a certain situation? Can you ‘put yourself in his place’? ‘Walk in his shoes’?

What about age and ethnic origin? These are also areas where research is needed to try to sound authentic. If you are writing your story from a child’s point of view, it would be important to find out how children think, feel, talk and walk. Don’t rely on your memory of being a child. That becomes overlaid with your adult interpretation. If you don’t have children of your own, go meet some children, ask your friends who have children if the family would like to join you for dinner so you can talk to them, play with them, observe them. *** I’d recommend caution here – you don’t want to seem creepy. Explaining that you are an author and need to do some research on children might be a good idea.***

Ethnic origin can be approached in a similar way, get to know some people of the ethnicity you want your character to be. Learn about their culture. Endeavour to understand where they come from.

Already written your novel but wondering why it doesn’t feel quite right? Try editing with coloured highlighters, highlighting when you are speaking with each character’s voice, one colour for the person whose story it is, different colours for when you pop into someone else’s head for a sentence or two. The whole of each chapter should be one, uninterrupted colour. If it is not, you’re head-hopping and that is a big no-no.

To correct it, look at each portion of a different colour and decide if it is necessary for that information to be included there. If not, remove it. If yes, find another way to convey it. Think about it: would the viewpoint character know what that other person was thinking? No, of course not. Not unless they told them or showed it in their facial expression or actions.

~~~

The Writers’ Workshop also offer this helpful handful of no-nos. Few of them are absolute rules, but if in doubt, you’d be very well advised to follow them.

  • Don’t switch Points of view in the middle of a scene. If you start a scene with Mary, don’t end it with Tom.
  • Don’t write a scene from the Point of view of somebody who is killed in the course of it. If you really want the last minute on tape, as it were, then you can end a scene with a final sentence like ‘He looked up. The gun barrel was pointing straight at him. He felt nothing, only emptiness …’ But not much of this, please.
  • If you are writing a scene from Jo-Jo’s perspective then don’t relate information that only Ki-Ki could have seen. Choose a Point of view and stick to it.
  • If you are writing a scene from Roger’s perspective, then you can’t relate emotional information about Fanny. If you want to tell us something about Fanny, you have to do it via information which Roger could plausibly have access to. ‘Fanny’s lips were tight and white. He knew the signs of her fury well enough by now …’
  • If you start a book with a good number of scenes from Laura’s perspective, then you can’t just ditch her halfway through – or at the very least, you need a jolly good reason to do this. If you’re not sure if your reason is strong enough, then it certainly isn’t.

http://www.writersworkshop.co.uk/PointsofViewinFiction.html

I hope you find them helpful.

~~~

Christine Campbell, author.

Family Matters ~ Making it Home ~ Flying Free ~ Here at the Gate

Searching for Summer ~ Traces of Red ~ Rusty Gold, coming soon…

What do We Know of Wendy Janes?

I had the great pleasure to meet up with Author Wendy Janes in London a few months ago. It was a real treat to get to know Wendy in person and I wish we lived nearer one another so we could meet often. However, we don’t, so we can’t, so there it is.

Next best thing, I’ve invited her to sit by my virtual fireside and have a chat with me about herself, her writing and her goals, and I’m inviting you to join us. So draw up a chair, help yourself to tea or coffee. Hot chocolate for me – plenty in the pot if that’s your pleasure too. Oh, and help yourself to the cup cakes.

~~~

w4400

So, Wendy, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I live in London with my husband and youngest son. I feel very lucky that since my youngest son started school I’ve been able to work from home, running my freelance proofreading business and advising parents over the phone on The National Autistic Society’s Education Rights Service. While I’ve always written diaries, short stories and prose-poetry for myself, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve had the confidence to share my writing with an audience. Some of my short stories have appeared in anthologies, and in October 2015 I self-published my novel, What Jennifer Knows.

Now can you tell us something that might surprise us?

I’ve never learned how to drive. I did try when I was seventeen and gave up after the lesson when I nearly caused an accident by pulling out into a main road in front of a car. I simply didn’t see it coming. Thank goodness my instructor had dual-control. I can still feel that dart of hot-cold shock when I think about him slamming on the brakes that day.

1992 wendy the dancer

Something you haven’t told in an interview before — perhaps because you haven’t been asked:

I once performed at Wembley Arena. Over twenty years ago a group of us (including my mum) danced to The Trout by Schubert as part of a day of movement and dance. I think you can see how excited I was from this photo of me at the ‘Artists Entrance’!

Oh, my, look at those glasses. My only excuse is that it was 1992.

I love them! I wore glasses since I was four years old till I got contacts, and I can tell you, there are worse than yours of 1992!

And I love the ski pants. Loved wearing them back then too. And the dreamy long scarf…

I just love this photograph, Wendy. It really brings back the late 90s. And I wish I had seen you dance.

So, can you tell us something you are proud of about yourself?

At the end of the 1980s I started up a local branch of a support group for lonely and isolated new mums. We’d meet at each other’s houses, go on outings, and a small core of us would provide information and support where needed. When the group became too big to fit in each other’s houses, we raised funds to set up a mother-and-toddler group in a local community hall. I’m still close friends with five of the mums from the original group.

And something you feel you need to work on:

My husband’s untidiness.

He’s a wonderful man, but he genuinely doesn’t seem to see the piles of papers, clothes, tools and camera equipment that he leaves lying all over the place. After thirty years of tidying up after him, encouraging/cajoling/nagging, some people might say he’ll never change, but I’m still hopeful that one day we’ll live in a completely clutter-free house.

Hehe! I love that you think you have to work on your husband’s untidiness. All the best with that… 

What makes you smile, Wendy?

My granddaughters. At six years old and nine months old, the way they embrace all of life’s new experiences is a joy to see.

What makes you sad?

Unkindness.

I know you enjoy your work with The National Autistic Society. Can you tell us a bit about that please?

A small team of us help parents whose children have a diagnosis of autism to try and secure the right education for them. We each work from home offering a listening ear and giving advice via phone and email. Much of my time is spent ascertaining what the parent wants to achieve and then using law, regulations and guidance to empower the parent in reaching towards that goal. Sometimes we can come up with a way forward in a trice, other times it takes far longer, and sometimes things don’t work out as expected. Whatever the outcome, I always hope I’ve helped in some small way.

It’s an absolute privilege to do this work.

Has your work with The National Autistic Society influenced your writing?

Yes. Working on a daily basis with families has made me want to bring some of the issues into my writing. In my novel, What Jennifer Knows, Jennifer’s grandson is struggling at school and she suspects he’s on the spectrum. Here’s a link to a guest blog post I wrote which describes in more detail how my work and my writing dovetail: http://www.jerasjamboree.co.uk/2015/11/autism-and-sen-in-fiction-guest-post.html

And your work as a proofreader? How has that influenced your writing?

I’d say my nit-picky proofreading brain has meant I take an age to write anything. Not only am I prone to want to edit the words before they’ve even reached the page, but once the words are down, there’s the endless tinkering, re-working, double-checking, re-tinkering…

I’ve read books that annoyed me to the point where I wanted to throw them across the room. Sometimes because they have lacked a good editor and/or proofreader. Other times just because the story is weak or the telling of it poor. 
As a reader, rather than a proofreader, what do you think makes a good story?

Unfortunately many books are spoiled by poor editing and proofreading. A typo can completely jolt a reader out of a story, and when that happens over and over again, I’m not surprised you’ve wanted to throw a book across the room!

As a reader I think authenticity is at the heart of good writing. If a story is populated by two-dimensional characters or by characters that don’t ring true then the story won’t come alive.

What one thing has a ‘bad’ book taught you not to do in your own writing?

Telling the reader in the narrative that something is happening; telling it again in dialogue; and then, just in case readers haven’t got the point, telling them again in the narrative. I strive to avoid this mistake that turns stories into stodge.

As a writer, what elements do you find are the most crucial to include in your stories?

Believable characters
Purpose
A surprise or two
Some humour
Genuine heart

What are three things you have experienced as an author that have helped you during the writing stage?

Support of other authors. I’ve met some wonderful authors online, many are now very good friends.
Support of family. My husband and youngest son are particularly brilliant sounding boards, and excellent at reminding me that there is life outside of the PC.
Reading some wonderful fiction while writing helps me strive to improve my writing.

You said you think authenticity is at the heart of good writing, and I do agree. You also said, “If a story is populated by two-dimensional characters or by characters that don’t ring true then the story won’t come alive.” The goal of a writer is to give the readers characters they can connect with. The characters in your novel, What Jennifer Knows, are very engaging. 

51xuKwBmwjL._UY250_

UK link : US link

What advice could you give other authors to help them find that authentic voice that speaks to readers?

Thank you. I’m so pleased you found Jennifer and her friends and family engaging.

I know some people suggest you read your work out loud, either to yourself or others. I think what can also help to hone your voice is to have someone else read your work back to you. That way, you can hear exactly how your words sound to someone else.

You have a gift of storytelling, and I know you have written many short stories, some of which appear in published anthologies, have you ever thought of publishing a compilation of your stories?

Again, thank you. Yes, in April I’m planning to self-publish a small collection of new short stories. While writing What Jennifer Knows some of the supporting characters had their own tales to tell that would have detracted from Jennifer’s story, so I’ve been working on six stories that reflect significant moments in their lives.

I hope people who haven’t read the novel will enjoy meeting Rollo, Cynthia, Sue, Gerald, Blythe and Tim, and will want to see them again in the pages of What Jennifer Knows. And for those who have read the novel, I hope they’ll enjoy their reunion with characters they met there, and be entertained by the glimpses of Jennifer as she matures from young student to grandmother.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before you started writing your first book, that you could share with eager, would-be writers?

If I’d known that a first draft of a book doesn’t have to be polished I could have saved myself a lot of early angst and self-doubt. So, my advice to would-be writers is to get the words on the page and let your ideas flow. No one else needs to see your first draft, stop thinking about your audience at this point and simply write what you want to. Then, once you have that first draft you can start to work on it.

Where should readers go to check out more about you and what you do?

Here are links to my presence on the web:

Goodreads

Facebook author page

Author Central Page, UK

Author Central Page, US

Website

Twitter

Facebook profile

Google+

~~~

Well, I do hope you enjoyed getting to know Wendy a little better. Hope you can join me again soon. I’ll replenish the cup cakes, I promise.

~~~

Christine Campbell is the author of six published novels: Family Matters, Making it Home, Flying Free, Here at the Gate, Searching for Summer, and Traces of Red.

You can find out more if you click here, on the sidebar of this blog, or if you click on ‘Books’ on the menu bar.

~~~

Why do You Want to Write that Book?

We looked in a previous post at the inspiration behind writing certain books, and why that might be of interest to a reader. This post, let’s look at why you would want to write a book at all.

The sheer love of writing could be one reason, and that may seem the best one.

But is it?

While it’s fun to write a stream of consciousness, do you still find it fun to plot and plan a story, have a proper beginning, a middle and an end? To write a novel, you must take your protagonists on a journey that has a clear destination. Can you see your way there? Do you have enough story to hold a reader’s attention for some 70,000+ words?

Perhaps you love reading and think you’d like to have a go at creating something for others to read. It will surprise you how much work goes into producing a novel. After you decide what it’s going to be about, plan and plot it, write the first draft, the second and the third, you’ll begin to understand how much craftsmanship went into the writing of some of your favourites.

Perhaps great books should come with a warning: please don’t try this at home without adult supervision, the adult being a writing tutor or handbook.

Because you have a story to tell is a sound reason to write a novel, and you may have heard many authors claim, ‘the book was just waiting to be written,’ and that may be true, but I suspect, more often it’s a matter of finding a subject you’d want to stay with for 70,000+ words.

 If you want to write a novel because you view it as a challenge, something new to try, be prepared for a roller-coaster of a ride. The challenge may well be to hang on tight and not fall off before you can complete your challenge.

The reason I ask the question, ‘Why do You Want to Write that Book?’ is not to discourage you from trying to write one, but to encourage you to think about why you want to. Because, unless your reasons are valid, sound ones, you will lose impetus and find it difficult to sustain the writing momentum through the whole lengthy process.

So, if it’s a vague fancy you have to write the novel people claim everyone has in them, I’d like to  respectfully suggest you find a better reason.

Writing novels is terrific fun, hugely satisfying, and the sense of accomplishment on completing the challenge is hard to beat, but it is also hard work, time-consuming and anti-social.

Still determined to try?

Go for it!

I did, and, much to my own surprise, I have managed to produce a fistful plus of published novels with number seven waiting in the wings.

~~~

So, what impels you to write your novels?

I’d love to know.

~~~

We Are the Gatekeepers

image

One of the accusations made about Independently Published books is that the quality of indie published books is poorer than traditionally published works because there are no ‘gatekeepers’: that the book does not have to go through an agent and the rigorous editing, copyediting, proofreading and all the rest that goes into Traditionally Published books.

Now, while it is true that it doesn’t have to go through all these processes, that does not have to mean that it won’t. Just that it won’t all happen ‘in house’ with one of the large publishing firms.

But it does still need to happen.

Indie Authors, we must become our own gatekeepers.

In order to refute the allegation, we must help one another achieve the highest standards of publication that we can. How?
Well, for one thing, we must make sure our own manuscript is absolutely as good as it can be, then we must be honest with our fellow Indie Authors.

I advocate honest reviews.

It is too easy to think that by ‘banding together’ and giving one another five star, great reviews, we are supporting one another. I don’t believe we are. I welcome the odd three star review if it gives me pointers as to how I could improve my writing – especially if the reviewer happens to PM me too with more of their reasoning. I want my work to be taken seriously. If it takes a few stinging reviews to help me improve, I’m up for that.

To give five star reviews just because it is a fellow Indie Author is not actually helpful. It perpetuates the accusation and it doesn’t help the author improve in the necessary areas. Yes, it may help them make a few sales of their book, but it won’t help them sell the next one.

If a book you are reviewing needs editing, why not PM the author and explain what the problem is. Is it the spelling and punctuation? Tell them. Is it the paragraphing? The plotting? The character development? Tell them. Offer helpful advice. Add some links to expert advice on the subject. Give them a second chance, an opportunity to put the problem right before posting the review, before deciding on the star rating.

What if you are on the receiving end of such a PM or a three-star, stinging review. Don’t feel hurt or annoyed. Look at the reasons. Be honest with yourself. Is there room for improvement? Every one of us can become a better writer. Try not to be daunted by the prospect of all that editing again. Your book is worth it. Your readers deserve it.

In short: if we want to compete with Traditionally Published books in the marketplace, if we want to hold our own or make our mark in this fiercely competitive business we are in, we must be our own gatekeepers.

~~~

Editing/Proofreading Tips for Indie Authors

I couldn’t agree more with Cassidy Salem about the need for Indie authors to get help to edit their novels before unleashing them on their readers.

There are a number of reasons why this is essential, not least among them – those readers deserve value for money. Plus, they may not buy the next book if they found the first one too flawed.

Cassidy's Bookshelves

As an indie author, you are responsible for the entire publishing process – writing, editing, proofreading, publishing, and marketing. But that doesn’t mean that you should do it all yourself. Even if you are working with a low or almost non-existent budget, make sure that you get someone else to participate in the editing process – someone that has editing experience and who won’t be shy about pointing out problems in your manuscript. Your editor can be a paid professional editor or a qualified and capable friend.  You should never unleash your masterpiece on the world without having it properly edited.

Before you submit your work to your editor, make every effort to  weed out as many of the errors in your manuscript as possible. Eliminating simple typos, extra spaces, and so on, will make it easier for your editor to focus on the story flow, the wording, and the important stuff that you simply don’t see because you are…

View original post 704 more words

Previous Older Entries

Follow cicampbellblog on WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: